June 10, 2001
Crab Orchard, Illinois
The Little Egypt guys really know how to put on a race.  Lay out one
of the longest loops an Illinois hare scramble has ever seen, and
make it tight.  Add a few sections of grass track, keep the rain away,
and you've got an incredible course.

But to enjoy all that the course has to offer, you have to ride smart.  I
made a silly mistake that ended my day early and set me back a few
bucks, but I'll get to that later.  Before the race I walked a small
portion of the 12-mile course and got back to the staging area just in
time to see the emergency helicopter land in a grassy area smack in
the center of 200 or so parked cars and trucks.  They don't land those
things in real life the way they do in Arnold Schwarzenegger movies.  
This one came in low and slow and right over about 10 pop-up
canopies, which are not exactly designed for the 100 mph winds
kicked up by a 30-foot propeller.

Only three bikes raced in the Open B class, and at the start the other
two guys jumped out ahead and I never saw them again.  Was I really
that slow?  The results would later show that the class winner placed
9th overall, out of 130 bikes.  So a Pro rider decided to race the Open
B class...bet that was a satisfying victory, friggin' sandbagger.  The
first lap was fairly uneventful as I tried to remember how to ride in
tight woods.  Crab Orchard is an old strip mine, so there are some
steep ridges, often in series, that we climbed and descended over
and over again.  With 12 miles of tight woods, lap times were fairly
long.  I completed my first lap in about 40 minutes and was halfway
into the second lap when I slowed down for a gully, applied the front
brake as the front wheel dipped into the gully at an angle.  The wheel
came to a quick stop at the bottom of the gully, causing the
motorcycle and I to do an Olympic-style somersault (judges score:
2.35 with no style points).  As the back end of the bike began its
"death flip" I had visions of White City in 1999.  Only this time it was
all in slow motion.  While lying on my back in the bottom of the gully, I
had time to give the back end of the bike a swift kick that deflected it
away from my rib cage.  Bodily harm averted...the gods were smiling
down on me.  I picked up the bike and began to start the engine, but
the brake lever assembly had rotated down around the handlebars.  
As I smacked it back up into position, I saw that the clamp holding the
brake assembly to the bars was missing.  The brake assembly was
still attached to the bars (barely), but the lever was pretty much
useless.  I finished my lap with no front brake, riding a nice C-class
pace.  At the scoring tent, the white flag was out and I actually
considered finishing the race, but then decided not to risk getting hurt
on some of the steep downhills.

Back at the truck, I discovered that the throttle housing had also
broken during my 2 mph crash.  I called it a day, drove home and
searched for motorcycle parts on the internet.

June 24, 2001
Marshfield, Missouri
3rd of 11 in Open B Class
The KaTooMer bike maintenance (or lack thereof) program struck
again.  On Saturday, after spending an unbelievable amount of time
tweaking the brake lever clamp and new throttle to fit properly, I
discovered during a tire change that my rear wheel bearings were
failing badly.  Naturally I had no 6005 bearings in my extensive
inventory of useless bike parts, so I figured what the hell, I could get
one last race on the bad bearings and then replace them.  When I
arrived at Matt's place at about 7:00 a.m., he took a half-second look
at the wobbly wheel and described the disastrous consequences of
riding on bad bearings.  So rather than risk destroying my
fancy-dancy Talon hub, we pulled out the old bearings and put in
Matt's two spares.  One minor problem, though: the Talon hub uses
three bearings.  I carefully evaluated the alternatives, which consisted
of: a) put in two new bearings and leave in a crappy one; and b) ride
on bad bearings and buy a new $250 hub.  Took me about half a
second to figure that one out, and 30 minutes later we were ready to

So I had already been a pain in Matt's ass first thing in the morning,
but that would only increase as the day went on.  The drive to
Marshfield is long, but I figured we would shave some time by cutting
off 15 or 20 miles on 2-lane roads to the race site.  O.K., so the map
sucked.  We got there, alright?  Too late to do a practice lap, but hey,
how much does practice really help anyway?  At least the line for
signup was short.

The word from the riders who did the practice lap was that the course
was very tight, a bit damp, and full of logs.  Perfect.  Off the start I
was about 5th and quickly moved into 4th, with Matt somewhere
behind.  I followed the guy in front of me for several miles before he
bobbled and I got around.  After that, I didn't have much company for
the next couple of laps, except for an occasional pass by a faster B
rider in one of the classes behind me.  The first few miles of the
course were extremely tight and muddy, actually rivaling the
Roselawn enduro.  Many of the logs were a foot or more in diameter
and at an angle to the trail.  On the second lap I came around a
corner and saw one of those logs too late and did a nice get-off.  
Somewhere in that lap, some tree branches grabbed at my goggles
hard enough to rip out my brand new roll-off's, leaving a long
streamer trail of roll-off tape.  I finally took off the goggles on the third

I never did see the lead guys in the Pro class pass me, which usually
happens about 2/3 of the way into the race.  I did see an unfortunate
rider in the women's class drop her bike down a ravine.  With the
exception of my single crash, I rode fairly well and completed 4 laps.  
Matt did three laps and already had his bike loaded up before I got
back to the truck.  He wanted to go home right away but I made him
wait until the results were posted.  With my third place finish, I earned
a trophy and made him wait another half-hour through the protest
period, then made him wait some more while the trophies were
distributed.  Man, was I ever a pain in the ass.
Crab Orchard, Illinois
Marshfield, Missouri