1999 Race Reports
October 17, 1999
White City, Illinois
This was another of those races where nothing seemed to go right.  This
enduro is put on by a club where I've raced several times before.  At
signup, they let us pick which row we wanted to start on.  I chose an
earlier row because the area had received some rain during the week,
and after the previous mud race there in June and my experience of
being on the last row in Marietta, I didn't want to get stuck riding through
everyone else's ruts.  My choice of the 5th row turned out to be
bad...more on that later.  Again, I was running way behind in getting set
up, and had to throw everything together with only a minute or two to
spare.  The trails turned out to be in excellent condition, so a 5th row
position was not really necessary.  The summer had been so dry that any
rainfall had been soaked right up.  The problem was that the trails were
not marked very well, and there weren't many other riders ahead of me to
make the trail easier to see.  I kept having to stop and look around for the
familiar orange arrows and lost time in the process.  About 5 miles into the
race, my right contact lens started drying out big time and eventually it fell
out.  I was able to pull it out of my goggles and get it back in my eye, but
lost a couple of minutes.

The course went through most of the club grounds before heading out to
a road.  The arrows were very sparse, and I got lost a couple more times.  
By the time I got to the next woods section, I was actually late.  That
should never happen when the route is going over paved roads, so it
goes to show how poorly marked the course was. Also, some of the
mileage markers posted at different places were way off what my
odometer showed, so I had to make several adjustments.  The second
woods section was marked even worse than the first.  Plus, there were no
established trails.  Normally, these types of "virgin" trails are great, but
most of the time I couldn't tell where I was supposed to go.  It's hard
enough to concentrate on avoiding obstacles...searching for orange
arrows added more difficulties.

At one point I hit a gully pretty hard and noticed that my crotch was cold
and wet.  I don't normally wet my pants while riding, so I stopped to see
what the problem was.  Turns out the valve on the end of my drinking
water hose had come off, and water was being siphoned out of the tube
and onto my pants.  We're talking ice water here, in a very sensitive
place.  Wasn't quite as bad as gasoline, though.

After a long road section the route took us back into the woods.  I was
riding moderately well, and except for getting lost about 50 times and
losing my contact lens, I was having a decent race.  That is, until I missed
a turn and found myself heading straight for a 3-foot ledge that dropped
into a creek.  I panicked, of course, and didn't do anything except ride
down into the creek bed.  When the front wheel dropped down, the
sudden stop bucked me over the handlebars and I fell to the ground.  No
problem so far.  Then the bike flipped over on top of me and knocked the
wind out of me.  Houston, we have a problem.  When I tried to breathe, it
was like a knife was stuck in my left side.  After about minute of
uncontrolled gasping, I caught my breath but the pain didn't go away.  It
didn't take me long to figure out I was banged up pretty good and my race
was over.  First, I had to get the bike off my legs (intense pain).  Then I
had to stand up (extreme pain).  Then I had to get the bike back on its
wheels (unbearable pain...took a couple tries).  Then I had to get the
engine started again (pain is pain, by now).  I got back on the trail after
having served as a human warning notice to all the other riders that had
passed by and barely missed making the same mistake.  I limped along in
1st gear, hoping that sometime soon the trail would get me out of the
woods and take me back to a road.  Every hill, every log crossing, every
bump for that matter, was mind-numbingly painful.  After a couple miles of
torture, the trail led me to the next checkpoint, where I told the guys I was
done and asked for directions back to the setup area.  They sent me
back towards the town of Mt. Olive.  I rode right through downtown in full
riding gear while receiving strange stares from the residents.

Back at the setup area, I painfully loaded up my bike and gear and set in
for the ride home.  Fortunately, the club was only an hour from my
apartment, but I couldn't find a comfortable driving position.  My shoulder
was giving me a sharp pain that wouldn't go away.  The ribs were just
sore in general, and my right hand was bruised.  At home, I called up Rob
Rogers and he came over with his wife Cyndi to help unload.  Rob wasn't
in much better shape than me because he had just torn his abdominal
muscles while working out.  What a worthless pair we were.  They insisted
that I go to the emergency room to get checked out.  I felt bad that they
had to waste the better part of their Sunday afternoon sitting in the
waiting area while I had x-rays and a CAT scan.  Diagnosis:  broken ribs.  
I took off work the next day and began the long road to recovery.

So that's how my racing season ended.  I won the most trophies ever
(4), at the expense of my body.  The new KTM didn't look so new, and
the cost of keeping it in one piece drained my bank account.  I ended
up in 12th place in the Missouri Hare Scrambles series, top-5 in the
Southern Illinois hare scrambles series, and somehow managed a
10th place in the D-17 enduro series for Open B (White City was the
only time I raced the Open B class).  My best season yet.
White City, Illinois