2000 Race Reports
May 21, 2000
St. Joe State Park
Park Hills, Missouri
3rd of 10 in Open B
This race was the annual St. Joe enduro, the same one that just about
killed me last year with 72 miles of rocks.  This year I was more prepared,
starting with pre-registering by mail, downloading the route sheet from the
BlackJack Enduro website, making my own roll chart with all the speed
changes, and finally, showing up on time for the start of the race.  I arose
early at 5:00 a.m. and was on the road by 5:30 (probably a new record
for me).  I had planned on riding with Matt Sellers, but he had a work
conflict and couldn't go.  However, he had ridden at St. Joe the day
before and the course was already marked, so he scouted the part of the
course that was inside the park boundaries and called me the night
before with a few tips ("Watch out for the rocks"...ya think?).  When I
arrived at the sign-in, I saw my name already written in on row #4, and at
that point nobody had chosen the earlier rows.  It's usually not ideal to be
among the first groups to start the race, because sometimes the trails are
not very well defined and you have to totally rely on looking ahead at the
arrows to see where you're supposed to go.

After my pre-race dump, I was feeling good as I pulled up to the starting
area.  My group of 3 riders was the first to go into the course.  One of the
guys was a 250B rider and the other was pretty much a recreational
rider.  In fact, after the start I never saw him again.  The first few miles
were pretty tame, with a 15 mph speed average.  Later it increased to 18
mph, and then 24 mph.  I managed to crash during the slow section, but
no damage was done to bike or body.  Conditions were a bit dusty, but
being on the first row meant that there weren't too many people ahead of
me to stir up the dirt.

The course was very open and fast for an enduro, and I was pleased to
see that I wasn't dropping very many points at the checks.  Plus, at the
resets I actually had some time to stop and rest (unlike last year).  So
either the course was faster this year or I was riding better.  The only
incident I had was when a tree limb pulled off the little door that holds in
the roll-off tape on my goggles, so for a while I had a three-foot trail of
clear plastic streaming behind me.  Luckily the trails were dry and I didn't
really need the roll-off tape anyway.  The course was set up just like last
year, with a 40-mile loop that the "A" riders did twice and the "C" riders
did once.  The "B" riders like me had a cut-off about 27 miles into the
second loop.  The last part of the loop was very rocky, but because of the
cut-off I only had to do that part once.  In between loops the reset gave
me about 20 minutes to rest, look over the bike, and have a snack.  
Again, it was a nice change from last year where I barely had time to gas
up before heading back to the trail.

The second loop was mostly uneventful, but I started to get tired about 5
miles from the end.  Even so, I finished with a score of 21, which was the
lowest I'd ever carded.  Too bad everyone else had low scores too.  The
overall winner had a score of 6!  I didn't stick around to wait for the scores
to be posted because I had been the first of the "A" and "B" riders to
finish and didn't feel like waiting a few hours for everyone else to finish
and for the scores to be calculated (the scoring  process takes forever).  
The BlackJack website had the results posted a couple weeks later.  
Overall, it was a fun race that didn't beat me up nearly as badly as the
year before.  After doing about 10 or so enduros, I'm finally getting
decent at the timekeeping thing.  After every reset there were checks
within a mile, and I was on time for every one.  That was a good feeling.
Check out this
race picture.

May 28, 2000
Kingman, Indiana
10th of 17 in Big B
Three inches of rain in the two days leading up to this race made things
very interesting.  I walked some of the course beforehand and it reminded
me a lot of the Keen farm where I used to ride.  Very tight with lots of
weeds and grass, trees spaced very close together.  One very nasty
off-camber section was taken out because if one rider got hung up, there
was no way around.  And with conditions as they were, there were bound
to be some hang-ups.  While I was walking the course, the minibikes were
doing their parade lap.  After the main group passed by, I suddenly heard
a desperate cry for help from one of the riders, over and over again, so
desperate that it seemed he must have been trapped under his minibike.  
I finally found the little guy and he had lost momentum going up a hill and
couldn't get started again.  A "sweep" guy came around and we helped
him get up the hill.  I found another little guy (even smaller than the first
one) who had fallen over and couldn't get the bike started.  I tried to start
it for him but the darn engine wouldn't fire.  His dad finally found us and
started the bike after one kick...after he flipped off the kill switch (duh!!).

The race started amid a rain shower that lasted just long enough for my
goggles to fog up, so they came off before the end of the first lap.  I got
off to a decent start but lost about 10 places when two guys in front of me
tangled up and crashed.  About 5 minutes later we arrived at what
seemed like the main check, except they pointed us back to the starting
area and said there would be a re-start.  Apparently someone got off the
course and several others followed (including me).  Riders were meeting
each other head-on, so for safety reasons they made the wise decision to
start over.  Some of the riders were none too happy, particularly one guy
who went ballistic with a tirade of profanity directed at a couple of the club
members.  If it had been me listening to that, I probably would have sent
the guy home.  But the club should have known that homemade arrows
(triangle-shaped paper with two orange dots spray painted on them)
would cause problems.  And as I've seen before, it doesn't work well when
a club tries to run the minis and quads in a simultaneous race prior to the
bike race (on separate courses), and then combine the two courses for
the motorcycles.

After what seemed like forever, they finally restarted us for a 1.5-hour
race.  Most of the course was rideable except for a couple of nasty creek
crossings and an uphill out of a ravine.  I didn't really get hung up on any
of it, and there were plenty of people helping with the creek crossings.  
The only problem I had was a close encounter with a tree branch that hit
me near my right eye.  If my goggles had been on, I wouldn't have even
felt it.  When the race ended and I had a chance to look at it, it didn't look
good.  I went over to the ambulance to see if the EMT's had something to
clean and sterilize the cut, but I think they were there more for show than
for anything else.  I asked them a few questions, like "Do I need stitches?"
and "Are you old enough to drive this ambulance?" and the best they
could do was give me a tiny alcohol pad and a huge, face-sized
bandage.  Let's see, I've got a bloody half-inch cut about one inch from
my eye, and I get a 4 inch square bandage and a sterile pad just large
enough to clean a small pimple.  So I used some leftover water from the
CamelBak and an old Dairy Queen napkin from the glove box and
cleaned it up real good.  A few days later I had a nice black eye, my first
one ever.

June 4, 2000
White City, Illinois
2nd of 11 in Open B
Oh, so close.  After two hours of racing I was less than a minute behind
the leader in my class.  Less than one minute from victory.  If I hadn't got
caught taking a shortcut through the woods, I might have won, but more
on that later.  Matt and I went together and both signed up for the Open B
class of the SOIL (S. Illinois) series.  White City is one of four clubs that
hosts one or two races each year as part of a regional hare scrambles
series (Belleville's race was also part of this series).  When we arrived
and walked part of the course, it looked to be in perfect condition, unlike
the previous year when it was hot and very muddy.  I've ridden in both
good and bad conditions here, so I was very pleased to see that I would
only be fighting my spodely riding skills and nothing else.

Naturally, 20 minutes before the race the skies let loose for a brief,
moderate rain shower.  Not much accumulation, but just enough to make
the trail very slippery.  When our row started, my tire spun in the wet
grass and Matt took off ahead of me.  The rain continued just long
enough to render my goggles useless, so for the second week in a row I
rode most of the race with no eye protection.  My shiner from the previous
week was still noticeable, and as the race progressed I was having visions
of unseen tree branches poking my eyes out.  Fortunately that didn't
happen, but on each of the three laps I got hung up on some obstacle.  
On the first lap I didn't make it up a steep hill and lost about 5 minutes
getting restarted.  On lap 2, a tricky off-camber had deteriorated to
impassible, so the wasted time and energy cost me more time.  The third
lap might have been my fastest, since the trails were more tacky, but
some of the sections were getting torn up and guys were getting hung up
on some of the hills.  At one of those hills, I took an alternate path to
avoid a downed rider, which took me right to a bunch of club guys who
told me to turn around, but I didn't think I had cut the course and just kept
going.  Apparently I was wrong and they wrote down my number and
docked me one minute on my overall time.  After the race was done and
the scores posted, I questioned the scorekeeper about the minute added
to my time.  I think several guys got caught doing the same thing I did and
had already complained, so by the time I talked to the guy his patience
was running out.  He wasn't too friendly and told me that if I kept pushing
the issue I might not get second place, or any place at all, so I just walked
away.  The incident kind of took away some of the good feelings I had
from placing second, so I grabbed my trophy and went home with Matt (he
got 4th), who kept saying "Every time I go with you to an Illinois race it
rains the whole time...."
Park HIlls, Missouri
Kingman, Indiana
White City, Illinois