July 18, 1999
4th of 9 in Open B
One word sums up this race...HOT!! I had been to this race a few years
back when it was very cold and slippery, so I was looking forward to
better conditions. Unfortunately it was very dry and dusty this time. I had
stayed up a little later than I should have the night before, so I didn't have
the energy I needed. This was a National race that draws the pro riders,
and the promoters make them longer than the usual 2 hours (was 2.5,
shortened from 3 because of the heat). The entry fee was a ridiculous
$40, plus a $10 gate fee. I wasn't expecting this and didn't have enough
money in my wallet, so I started cleaning out the change cup in my truck
for every spare coin, looking under the seats, hoping to find a forgotten
stash of cash. No luck--I ended up about a buck short. I loaded up my
pockets with the coins and jingled to the signup area, hoping they would
have mercy on me and still let me race. I started dumping my assortment
of coins and currency on the signup table and the nice lady collecting
money looked at me funny and said "We do take checks."
A complimentary t-shirt helped ease the pain of the $50 cost of racing.
The course was well suited to my riding style, with a lot of tight woods.
They had a nice motocross track that we came onto a couple of times
each lap. Each loop was 10 miles long, and after the second loop I was
dead tired. The fourth lap was pure torture. The heat took its toll on all
of the riders. I came across one guy passed out on the trail, being
helped by some EMT's. One of the few things keeping me going was a
sporty young girl hanging out at one of the checkpoints. As the race
went on and the temperature increased, she wore less and less each
time I came around. Talk about inspiration!
After the race mercifully ended, I felt horrible and just laid on the ground
for about an hour. I tried to walk to the signup area and see where I
finished, but 20 yards into the 200-yard trip, I felt like I was going to puke
so I went back to the truck and cranked up the air conditioning. After
another hour of sleep in the cool confines of the truck, I was able to try
again. I stumbled to the signup area and they had just presented the
overall trophy, won by national rider Doug Blackwell. The Missouri hare
scrambles point leader (Steve Leivan) got 2nd, followed by one of the
Garrahan brothers who later competed in the International Six Days
Enduro in Portugal. I ended up in 4th place in my class, which was my
best finish in the Missouri series and one of the better finishes for the
year. I accepted my trophy in a daze. It was very large and now sits on
display on my dining room table. When compared to all riders, I finished
well within the top half. A successful day, but the ride home was very
August 8, 1999
5th of 19 in C Class
All of the riding I'd been doing this year finally started to pay off at this
enduro. I was on the bike for over 4 hours and didn't start getting tired
until just a few miles from the end. And I rode about as good as I could
have. Conditions were perfect, and I got off to a decent start. In the first
section there was one annoying guy who absolutely refused to get out of
the way and let me pass, for about 10 minutes. He was either an
inexperienced racer without knowledge of trail etiquette, or just a real
a**hole. The very last part of the race ran through the same section, and
once again I caught up with the same guy and he still wouldn't move
over. No other major hang-ups except a series of log crossings that held
up everyone. Typical Roselawn sand with lots of whoops. The first and
last sections were much drier than the previous two times I had done the
race. During my first ride here in 1996, I got stuck in the deepest rut I
had ever seen. It literally swallowed my bike. This time, the swamp had
somehow been drained.
I did a decent job with the timekeeping, and I was finally starting to
understand it better. I was one minute early to a check, which I shouldn't
ever do, but I nailed the emergency "tiebreaker" check. The object is to
get there at 30 seconds into your minute. At most checks, there's
basically a one-minute window for you to reach the checkpoint. If you're
scheduled to arrive at 10:17 a.m., you can get there one second before
10:18 and not get penalized. Of course, you never know where these
checkpoints are going to be. So the emergency checks serve as
tiebreakers in case you finish with the same score as someone else.
They time you down to the second, and your goal is to arrive exactly in
the "center" of your minute, which is what I did. I'll probably never do that
again, so it felt good.
One other "highlight" of the race was the folks from the local nudist
colony who lets the race run through their property. They were out
watching the race in their normal attire. Unfortunately, the kind of people
you hope will be at nudist camps are almost never there, and this day
was no exception. One word best describes the scene of the 15 or 20
naked spectators: Saggy. I rode faster just to keep from having to look at
them any longer than I had to.
I finished in 5th place and received my first ever enduro trophy. Another
good day of racing.
August 22, 1999
5th of 8 in Open B
Another hot, extremely dusty Missouri race. The guy at the gate said
they hadn't had rain for about 7 weeks. I had spent the prior two days at
the Ozarks with friends, so I wasn't exactly rested and got a late start in
the morning. I didn't have time to pre-ride the course but figured that the
way I ride it probably wouldn't matter anyway. Also, I forgot my jersey and
could only find a black long-sleeved t-shirt at Walmart, so that made me
hotter while sitting on the line waiting for the race to start.
We started off in an open field and it was so dusty that I had to stay back
about 50 feet from the rider in front of me. Needless to say I couldn't see
much, and that can be a bad thing. About ¼ mile into the course I hit
some nasty ruts and crashed. The guy behind me couldn't see I was
down and ran over my rear fender. Of course, I didn't actually see him
run over it, just heard the thump and crackle. It had already been
cracked before, and by the end of the race was only being held on by the
fender brace. This was the rockiest place I have ever ridden. There was
a long rocky creek bed to ride through and a lot of flat, sharp-edged
rocks. They had some long straight sections that were balls-out fast.
After the first crash I got around two guys but couldn't make up any more
places. The guy at the scoring gate kept telling me I was in 5th place and
that I needed to hurry, but that's where I finished. Near the end of the
last lap I took a hard crash in third gear after hitting one of those
"no-see-em" rocks. I decided then and there that if I was going to be
riding in Missouri, I needed to get a steering damper. With it, I probably
wouldn't have crashed. No injuries, fortunately, but it definitely rang my
bell. I was glad to see the race end. The rocks took their toll on my pipe,
which had another major dent just above the pipe guard.
Damage Report: Major dent in pipe; rear fender bit the dust.