|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
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
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.
|2000 Race Reports