June 11, 2000
Jonesboro, Illinois
8th of 8 in Open B
What a difference a week makes.  A bonehead mechanical oversight
put me well out of contention less than two minutes into the race.  
Matt and I raced together again on a typically hot June day in
Southern Illinois.  We walked a small part of the course beforehand
and the trails looked to be in great shape.  The starting point of the
race was an open field that had been laid out with wood stakes and
yellow ribbon, into a series of 180-degree turns before dropping into a
creek and then heading back up through the woods.  I made it into
the woods ahead of Matt and suddenly discovered my clutch didn't
work.  I pulled over and saw that the bracket had come loose and the
clutch perch was flopping around.  Fortunately I was only a couple
hundred yards from my truck and made the repair, but it took me
about 10 minutes to get the job done and get back onto the trail.  Too
bad, because the course was excellent.  I didn't try too hard to catch
up to the rest of my class, especially since the race was shortened to
1.5 hours due to the heat.  I used the race for practice, more or less,
and worked on my passing skills.  Matt finished in 4th place and took
home a trophy, while I finished dead last for the first time in a long
while.  About 30 minutes after the race ended, the skies let loose and
poured down rain for 20 minutes.  A week later I opened my toolbox
and found an inch of water and many rusty tools.

June 25, 2000
St. Joe State Park
Park Hills, Missouri
5th of 11 in Open B
This race set up the way it was years ago when it was known as the
Flat River Grand Prix.  The object was to do 6 laps (100 miles), but I
figured I could get in 4 before the pros got their 100 miles and the rest
of the field was cut off at the finish line.  But two days before the race
I came down with a cold and didn't feel 100%.  The race started in the
little town of Park Hills, just like in the old days, with each class lined
up on the main downtown street.  Before lining up for the start, all of
the motorcycles paraded from the setup area in St. Joe State Park all
the way through the town--probably a two-mile slow-ride of 150 or so
bikes.  At the start, a 4-wheeler "paced" each class before pulling off
to the side and turning the riders loose into the trail.  To get to St. Joe
park, the trail wandered through a wooded area before going across a
highway overpass and down into the main part of the course.  They
wanted us to go slow over the overpass and had a bunch of orange
plastic barrels spaced very closely.  We were supposed to ride
between the barrels, but I knocked over about five of them.

After two 16-mile laps I stopped for gas and a long rest.  My cold was
sapping all my energy, but I still wanted to get in 4 laps.  But after the
third lap I couldn't take anymore and called it a day.  I felt horrible for
a couple hours, and most of the drive home was pretty bad, sort of
like Kahoka last year.  When the scores were posted on the Internet, I
could see that if I had just done that 4th lap I probably would have
placed in the top three in my class.

July 9, 2000
Tebbetts, Missouri
8th of 11 in Open B
Now matter how hard I try, this race leaves me incredibly frustrated.  
Tebbetts is the most wide-open race in the Missouri series, but
somehow I just can't maintain the speeds necessary for doing well
here.  Matt and I drove out together, and at the start he jumped out
ahead and I didn't see him again until the end of the race.  The
course was nearly identical to last year's race with the exception of
more jumps in the wooded motocross track.  My favorite part is the
fence crossing, which was two ramps on each side of the fence that
met over the top.  You ride up one ramp and down the other, praying
not to stall right at the peak.

The mile-long creek bed was challenging as always, and this time I
didn't fall over, thanks to the steering damper that kept me going in a
straight line.  The day was extremely hot, but I had been doing a little
bit of "heat training" on the mountain bike during the prior week,
which mostly consists of torturing myself during the hottest part of the
day by riding 10-15 miles without stopping.  When I finished the race,
I saw Matt completely changed into street clothes, and I couldn't
understand how he finished that far ahead of me.  Actually, he quit
after only three laps because of the heat, so he ended up in 10th
place and was as ready as I was to go home and recover.
Jonesboro, Illinois
Park Hills, Missouri
Tebbetts, Missouri