August 13, 2000
Roselawn, Indiana
In a way, this enduro reminded me of White City last year.  Problems
from the start, and then I got hurt.  At Roselawn, the bike fired up on
the first kick, then died after about three seconds, and then refused to
start.  Naturally, this occurred ten minutes before I was scheduled to
start the race.  A quick change of the spark plug produced no better
results, and fuel was reaching the carb, so I was stumped.  The guys
parked next to me rode KTM's and offered another plug, and even
installed it for me while I continued cursing.  My starting time came
and went, and as I talked with the guys helping me out, a dreadful
thought came to my mind: Could I have forgotten to remove the two
paper towels stuffed into the intake side of the carb while the air filter
was being cleaned and oiled the day before?  That would explain my
problems, but oh what a bonehead mistake that would be!  I opened
the airbox door, peeled back the air filter, and holy sh#@, there were
the two paper towels blocking all airflow into the carb.  By this time I
was about 10 minutes late for the start, which put me out of trophy
contention before I traveled a foot down the trail.

So now I'm basically trail riding, figuring I'd catch up to Ryan Baker
(the Bourbonnais guy I rode with at this race in April) and his buddy
Jeff (also from the Kankakee area) somewhere down the trail (we all
rode on the same minute).  After the first 8-mile section through the
nudist woods there was a long break back at the setup area before
heading out on the road, and it was there I discovered my steering
head was loose.  I pulled out of the staging area about 5 minutes late
and made up 4 minutes by the next check.  As I passed through the
check I could make out Ryan and Jeff heading the opposite direction
down a dirt road, which seemed strange, especially after it took me
about 10 more minutes to get to where they were at.  I caught up to
them on a paved road section, told them my story, let them laugh at
me for awhile, and then asked them why they were so far ahead of
me.  Answer:  they were 8 minutes early to the last check.  In an
enduro, early means very bad, and a little quick-in-the-head math
equals 37 dropped points right there!!  Who's laughing now,
speedy?!?  My airbox incident cost me about 20 points total (two
checks before the first reset), so I was still beating them.  Now we
were all trail riding.

I kept Ryan and Jeff on time (or at least not early) for the next few
sections, but we were all getting beat up from being some of the
earliest riders to go through the trails.  At Roselawn, the club guys
take machetes and hack a patch wide enough to walk through, and
that's your trail.  Jeff was the fastest of our group, so he lead for
awhile, and then we traded off.  Just before the gas stop, Ryan got
hung up and I got around him, but then at the gas stop we didn't see
him and figured he had problems.  Jeff and I took off with me leading,
and in the next section I smacked my arm against a tree.  I had to
slow down and let Jeff by, and limped along in first gear for what
seemed like 5 miles before the next road section.  After that I rode
back to my truck with a very sore, very swollen arm.  I had it X-rayed
back in St. Louis but it was not broken.  The DNF was disappointing,

Editor's Note, August 2020: on the 20th anniversary of this race, I
reminded Jeff Snedecor of this date. We have become good friends
and riding buddies over the years, and he has never let me forget this
incident. His take on this race, two decades later:

"That was my 2nd enduro. Story goes, Tom, me and my buddy had no
idea what we were doing and this 'know it all' parked next to us said he
would show us the ropes. We talked before the race and I was glad he
was helping us. Now, 5 minutes before start his bike won't start. So
after me and Ryan look like buttholes at the starting line and get to
probably the 2nd reset, here comes John. Says 'I left a rag in my air
box'. Been a joke with us ever since."

August 27, 2000
Sedalia, Missouri
5th of 9 in Open B
These Missouri races tend to get repetitive after awhile.  Always rocky,
usually dry, and definitely hot.  Sedalia is about 3 hours from home,
but at least Matt came along so the ride didn't seem as long.  Even
though it was pouring rain when I left, Sedalia was dry as a bone.  
Matt has a pop-up awning that is great for providing a shady place to
sit while waiting for the race to start.  For the second time in a row, we
parked next to a guy named Lars who rides the 250 B class and
drives an old Honda or Acura or some little car with a trailer (and has
a Colorado license plate).  The practice lap was not too bad, but I
could tell the heat was going to be a problem.  I forgot to put on my
elbow guards, so naturally I bumped my sore arm against a little twig
of a tree, and it was hurting again.  At the starting line, I was lined up
next to Pizza Man.  I'm not sure what his real first name is, but that's
what he goes by.  It's even listed that way on the scoring system.  
He's a nice guy, owns a pizza joint called Shakespeare's Pizza
(hence the name, Pizza Man).  He noticed that my chest protector
wasn't fastened and got me hooked up.  Thanks, Pizza Man.

At the start, the regular fast guy in the Open B class, Cookie Monster,
jumped into the lead, followed by Matt, Pizza Man, me, and another
guy.  Cookie Monster leads in the point standings, mostly because
he's fast and goes to every race.  His last name is hard to spell and
pronounce (kinda like mine), but it sort of sounds like Cookie Monster,
so that's what they call him.  Maybe someday I'll race enough
Missouri events to get a nickname.  Something easy to remember, like
"That Guy Who Crashes Alot."

Anyway, I settled in the dust and eventually worked my way past
Pizza Man, and then caught up to Matt after he got hung up on a
log.  Later on I crashed on my sore arm and Pizza Man got around
me again.  That's about when I started running out of energy.  I
hadn't worked out much since Roselawn, and on the last lap I was
just trying to finish.  Towards the end, I could hear what sounded like
Matt from behind, but I figured there was no way he could have
caught me.  I'm in much better shape than him, right?  Wrong.  Two
hundred yards from the finish line he came roaring by me and took
4th place by a couple of seconds.  I learned a valuable lesson, but it
still pissed me off that I lost bragging rights.  Our buddy Lars got
second in the 250 B class.  Matt and I were both shut out of the
trophies and went home, dead tired and blowing out dust boogers the
whole way.
Roselawn, Indiana
Sedalia, Missouri