October 15, 2000
White City, Illinois
4th of ?? in Open B
Holy mother of all that is pure and evil, what a terrible enduro this
was.  Ten days before, a rain storm dumped 6 or 7 inches of rain on
White City.  Although the rain held off just before and during the race,
the ground was still very saturated.  I chose row 25, I think it was,
figuring the trail would be well defined (unlike the previous year when
I had a heck of a time finding the trail on row 5).  No problem with
finding the trail, but the mud was tough.  After about 8 miles on the
club grounds, the course went to other sections that were totally torn
up anywhere there was a gully or creek crossing.  I lost plenty of time
in a section about a mile long where the trail crossed a small creek
about 10 times, each with huge, deep ruts.  By the time I got about 30
miles into the race (total of 80 miles), I had houred out and had to
quit.  The spot where I headed back to the club was the same place
where I had to quit last year after breaking my ribs.  So once again, I
had do ride through the center of Mt. Olive and pack up early.  Bill
Steele had already quit after having clutch problems, but he told me
later in the week where I had finished. I'm guessing there were about
4 guys in my class.  Of the 70 or so riders that started, about 10
finished.

October 22, 2000
Chadwick, Missouri
9th of 9 in Open B
Another enduro, another early exit, this time because of a flat front
tire.  After getting screwed over by a Super 8 motel in Springfield, I
spent the night in my truck. Not so bad, as long as you know where to
park.  I would not recommend the parking lot of an auto body and
24-hour towing service on a Saturday night.  Anyway, back to the
enduro.  This was another BJEC-series race, and as usual it was very
well organized and very fast.  The first time around the 40-mile loop
was an 18-mph average, which was basically a trail ride with a couple
of tests that added a couple of points to my score.  The race was held
in the Mark Twain National Forest, which means the promoters had to
work with the forest service in laying out the course.  This year the
club was not allowed to use any single-track trails, so it was all
two-track ATV trails.

Chadwick is famous for its rock ledges, and I had a hard time
adjusting.  Some of them would appear at off-camber sections and
were damp in the morning.  I think I crashed about 10 times on those
darned things before I figured out how to ride them.  Chadwick is also
infamous for the forest service's use of inter-locking bricks to control
erosion.  Paved trails...now that's getting back to nature.  They were
actually very slick and dangerous.

Shortly into the second time around the loop, with the speed average
bumped up to 24-mph, I pinched my front tube and decided to call it
quits.  Usually I carry a spare (duct-taped to the fender), but this time
I chose not to, since in all my previous enduros I had never needed
it.  Duh....  Predictably, I finished in last place.

October 29, 2000
White City, Illinois
1st of 2 in Open B
What a difference two weeks makes.  White City is pure joy when the
trails are dry, and this day was perfect (as in no crashes...my
definition of perfection).  I got a decent start and rode well the whole
race.  The course was very similar to the first 7-8 miles of the enduro,
except this time the traction was tractor-pull quality.  My lap times
were right at 40 minutes and I missed a fourth lap by a minute or two.  
I was actually disappointed not get one more go-around.  The only
other guy in my class lost his chain, but hey, a win is a win.

December 10, 2000
Crab Orchard, Illinois
8th of 17 in Open B
Did I really race 21 times this year?  No wonder my body has so many
pains.  One important lesson I learned at this race is to never break in
a pair of new boots at a hare scramble.  I couldn't wait to get those
things off me.  As for the race itself, it's not often that you get an
opportunity to race a truly new course, but Crab Orchard was just
that.  Put on by the same club that normally hosts the Jonesboro
hare scrambles, this race was the final round of the SOIL Series for
2000.  The course was laid out on an old strip mine property that was
purchased by the Little Egypt club with help from a grant from the
State of Illinois.  The terrain was similar to Belleville or Ottawa, with
several sections up and down a series of ridges.  Since Matt raced
with me, naturally the trail was very muddy from a rain the night
before.

The Open B class was fairly large, with 17 entered.  The first mile was
a grass track that bordered a highway, but the grass did not last
long.  It became mostly a 30-foot-wide path of slop.  The second mile
was a first gear off-camber section that was full of bottlenecks on the
first lap.  After that, the course was more traditional woods with two
sections of going up and down 8 or 10 steep ridges left over from strip
mining (like Belleville and Ottawa).  Somewhere in the first lap I didn't
make it up a hill and considered taking the long way around, but one
of the club guys dared me to try it again, so I did and made it.  Matt
had already passed me early on, but on the second lap I caught up to
him and passed him in an open section.

The scoring system is similar to the Missouri Hare Scrambles Series,
with a bar code on each helmet and an electronic scanner and
scoring system.  Their system went even further and had a stoplight
that was red until a successful scan, and then it turned green.  A
large digital number display would show what place each rider was as
he passed through.

At the end of the second lap, I was hopeful that time would run out
and I could go home.  The course was tough all around, especially
that mile of first gear off-camber.  I looked at my watch after passing
through the scoring gate to start my third lap, and after a quick bit of
math in my head, figured out that I would probably be doing two more
laps.  Man, was I out of shape.  Near the end of the third lap I
considered quitting, but then kept on going and struggled to finish
the fourth lap.  On the last open stretch before the finish line, I could
see Matt at the truck already loading up his stuff.  He did 3 laps and I
did 4, but he ended up only one place behind me in the 9th spot.
--------------------------------------------------------

So that's how the season ended.  I never imagined racing 21
times in one year, nor did I expect to win my class.  Best of all, I
stayed relatively healthy and the bike had no major breakdowns.  
I finished 6th in the Missouri Hare Scrambles series and 2nd in
the SOIL Series.  A long season, but a good one.
White City, Illinois
Chadwick, Missouri
White City, Illinois
Crab Orchard, Illinois