2000 Race Reports
April 2, 2000
Finger Lakes State Park
Columbia, Missouri
6th of 11 in Open B
Another repeat of Westphalia, with Matt finishing in 5th place and me in
6th.  This time he beat me fair and square.  Columbia can be terribly
muddy this time of year, but today conditions were about as good as they
get.  I got off to another decent start but rode like a fool for the first 5
minutes or so.  Matt passed me after I went down going around a slow
corner.  I caught up to him while he dug himself out of a mud hole at a
creek crossing, but then I got hung up there, too.  We both got going
again at the same time, but he lost me when I took a slower line through a
section.  The next two laps I could see him ahead of me on the motocross
track, but I never could catch him.  When I tried, I kept crashing, once on
the motocross track right in front of the spectators.  I did get the balls to
do the big double jump, but I went over it with the bike almost vertical.  
The landing was soft, but it scared the hell out of me and I didn't try it
again.  Plus, I couldn't slow down in time and overshot the next curve,
passing dangerously close to a group of spectators.  Actually it was kind
of funny watching them try to decide if they needed to scramble
(fortunately they didn't need to).  On the last lap, the bite valve on my
Camelbak came off again, and just like at the White City enduro last year,
it started siphoning out the water and providing an unnecessary nut
cooler.  Matt finished about 3 minutes ahead of me, but they gave out
trophies through 6th place, so we both took home some hardware.

April 9, 2000
Roselawn, Indiana
6th of 22 in Open B
This event was the fifth consecutive Sunday I had raced, and my body
was starting to feel the effects.  All week my back had been sore from a
hard landing off a jump at Columbia, and my throttle hand had some
soreness.  Roselawn normally has only one enduro each year in August,
called the Summer Bummer.  But this year they added a Spring race to
the schedule, called "Brrr in the Bush."  Based on the early morning
temperatures and the narrow trails, this was a good name for the race.  
Last year I earned my first-ever enduro trophy here, so in 2000 I decided
to move myself up to the B class for enduros.  The week before the race,
I happened to see that one of the club members heading up the race was
an active participant in an internet discussion group called dirtrider.net.  
His name is Bill Steele, and what really caught my eye was that he lives in
Bourbonnais, my old place of residence.  I exchanged e-mails with Bill and
got some route information before the race, and he hooked me up with
another Bourbonnais guy who was looking for someone to share a row
with.  Funny how all the time I spent in Momence and Bourbonnais, I
never came across any enduro riders, but now that I'm 4 hours away, I
meet two guys from that town who are into the sport.  The guy I rode with,
Ryan Baker, has a buddy who he usually rides with but couldn't go to the
race.  He said they know a few riding areas around Kankakee, one with a
6-mile loop.  Geez, all those weekends I drove down to the farm to ride my
measly 3-mile trail...these guys drive a few miles outside of town and ride
on weeknights!

Anyway, Ryan raced the C class, and right away I could tell he would
probably be moving up soon.  He rides a Kawasaki KDX220, which works
great on the narrow Roselawn trails.  We started on row 32, which was
good because at least 100 riders had already cleared the trails for us.  
They ran us through the same 8.5-mile loop around the Naked City
airport (our setup area) and I lost 10 points in the section.  As always,
they gave us a nice long reset to gas up and head out on the road.

The next 20 miles followed familiar trails to a checkpoint that began the
long 20-mile all-woods marathon.  I started following a fast guy and kept
up pretty well until I hit a tree and went down.  It was a small tree, but it
got stuck between the back wheel and the sidepanel, so I had to spend
some time dragging the bike away from the tree before it could be
uprighted again.  The rest of the section was fairly uneventful, just a lot of
narrow trails and some very loose "sugar" sand.  There was one log,
however, that stood out.  It was about 3 feet in diameter and they made
us ride over it.  Ryan and I both agreed that it was the largest log we'd
ever had to cross.  They had another long reset at about the halfway
point, and it was there that I noticed my odometer was not working.  
Thanks to a bonehead oversight, the cable was flopping loose against
the wheel and stretched itself out of the odometer drive.  I had forgotten
to strap the cable to the fork.  Turned out that it didn't really matter
because the major timekeeping sections were over with, and there were
numerous signs posted that listed the mileage.

The last loop was through the same section we started in and I finished it
with no problems.  My final score was 61, my best ever.  I tied with
another rider in my class, but beat him on tiebreakers and got 6th place.  
Not bad, considering the huge size of the class.  Ryan did well in the
C-class, despite bruising his foot, and finished in 3rd place with a score of
74.  Not bad for a guy who's only been racing for a couple years.  The
season was going well, and but for a couple of mechanical problems I
might have won trophies in all 5 races to date.

April 30, 2000
Oakley, Illinois
10th of 16 in Big B
Great weather and dry conditions made for a large turnout, considering
this was an Illinois race.  The C class had over 30 entrants, and my B
class was also big.  They started all of the B classes in one row, so there
must have been 25-30 guys all gunning for the same corner.  The start
was in an open field with a quarter-mile of wide-open acceleration and
then hard braking at a 90-degree left-hand turn into the woods.  I was
mid-pack going into the corner and never really got by anyone else
during the whole race.  This was one of those races that I never found my
groove, or hit that "zone" where everything feels fast and easy.  The trails
were so hard-packed that at times the rear wheel wanted to spin out even
when going straight.  The club has a small motocross course that we went
around, which then led back to the open field where we started.  At the
border of the motocross track and the field, there was a nice little jump
that I was hitting in 4th gear and sailing 30 or 40 feet across the cultivated
dirt before landing softly and then pulling hard on the throttle.  Other
interesting obstacles were a troublesome log sitting high across the trail
and a tremendously steep 40-foot downhill with a hard right-hand turn at
the bottom.  Anyone missing the turn would have taken a cool swim in the
Sangamon River.

At the halfway point the engine started to cut out, and eventually the bike
ran out of gas...again.  I filled up at the truck and probably lost 5 minutes.  
A few weeks later I finally found the culprit-a hole in the fuel line that
wasn't very noticeable.  Back on the course, I finished up the race
uneventfully.  Had I not stopped for gas, I probably would have placed
high enough to bring home a trophy.
Columbia, Missouri
Roselawn, Indiana
Oakley, Illinois
Relaxing at Columbia
GT Sports Photography