March 18, 2001
Finger Lakes State Park
Columbia, Missouri
6th of 13 in Open B
Finger Lakes plus Springtime equals Mud.  Which is actually a
welcome change from rocks, so after a muddy practice lap I was
actually excited to ride the slop.  The course was pretty much the
same as last year, starting on the motocross track and heading into
the woods through a section that was one solid rut.  After passing
through the main checkpoint, the trail opened up and had some fast
sections winding up and around the old strip mine hills.  On the first
lap, there was a section on the other side of the overflow staging area
that was swampy and getting worse by the minute.  I tried some
"creative" alternate routes, and at one point I decided to blast through
some willow-type trees.  Worked well until I noticed I was dragging
about 10 of them along with me.

On the second lap I made a bonehead mistake that I should have
known better.  At Finger Lakes, the best rule you can follow is that if
there's standing water in the trail, stay the hell away from it.  Some of
the ruts are incredibly deep, and I found an innocent-looking one,
fairly narrow, but my front wheel fell down and disappeared in the
water.  So there I sat, providing amusement for the 20 or so
spectators standing around in the woods.  A course marshal finally
came and helped me lift the bike out of the rut, a two-man job for a
motorcycle that was about 30 pounds heavier with mud.  The only
other place I got hung up was a nasty section parallel to U.S. 63 that
the ATV's had torn up badly.  Again I received help, this time by
another stuck rider.  Despite wasting some effort on mistakes, I did
four laps but fell one spot out of trophy contention with my 6th place
finish.  Had I not dropped my front wheel into the rut on lap 2, I
probably would have trophied.

I did learn a valuable lesson after the race, but this time from
someone else besides me.  Helpful Hint #2375:  Remove your cooler
from under your truck BEFORE loading your motorcycle(s).  I got a
good laugh while helping lift up the truck parked next to mine, so the
cooler could be pulled out from under the frame.  Sometime in the
future I surely would have learned this lesson myself, so thanks guys.

April 8, 2001
Steelville, Missouri
4th of 15 in Open B
Today's race was a reminder that the perils of our sport can reach
anyone, whether it's a beginner or an experienced racer.  On the
practice lap, one of the good guys of the MHSC, Everett Shinault, was
seriously injured after his throttle stuck and he suffered broken ribs
and internal injuries.  I do not know Everett personally, but those who
do say he is a smooth, careful racer and is a consistent top-5 finisher
in the Senior class.  We hope to see Everett back on the trail very
soon.

As for the race, conditions were just about perfect.  The course was
laid out similarly to previous years and included such familiar
obstacles as the 20-foot straight-down drop into a creek with a hairpin
left turn at the bottom, a jaunt through a manure pile (although I was
disappointed that the manure level was considerably lower than in
previous years), and an off-camber trek up the side hill that is always
wet no matter how dry the rest of the course is.  A new part of the
course was a section of boulders that resembled an explosion of the
Statue of Liberty.  Exact same color (only would you find this in
Missouri).

At the first corner I was 5th or 6th and gained a position or two on the
first lap, then settled in for what was a fairly uneventful ride to the
finish.  For a change, I made just a few mistakes and did not dump
the bike a single time.  Other than whacking a tree with my knee, I
was free of bumps and bruises that are a common part of my
post-race aches and pains.  The unseasonably warm weather began
working on my body on lap 3, which fortunately was my last lap.

In terms of percentages, my 4th place finish (of 15 in Open B) was my
best in a Missouri race.  Had to be the duct tape.
Columbia, Missouri
Steelville, Missouri