Due to the usual combination of work, chores, other motorcycles, etc. I hadn’t been on my trials bike until the evening before this event. To make the grim even grimmer, I sprained my back on wednesday, ballet dancing with a weedwhacker. So the evening before, I go out into the pasture for 30 minutes, work up a good sweat, and manage to semi-remember what this whole trials thing is about. kinda. not too confidence inspiring.
So when sunday morning rolls around, we (my lovely wife accompanied me to this event) mosey on out to the site. A new area, about a mile farther than Deer Flats, on the same crummy road. 5 miles of hard, rocky, potholed dirt road. about 10 – 12 mph is all my old truck wants to do, at any faster pace, it wants to pitch it’s occupants through the roof. Hmmm, maybe there IS a drawback to the $29.95 shock absorbers. Arriving at the site, we scope it out, and find a place to park, mostly off the road. Not much parking room here, so everyone is pretty much parked on the road shoulder, and strung out over about 1⁄4 mile of road. I proceed to sign-up, where I sign up for AM Sportsman. That means I’ll ride the easy sections, but my score won’t count for trophies or points. This way, I get to have some fun, get some of my chops back, and not run the risk of aggravating my back too badly. It looks like it will be a great day, weather-wise, too: 75 or so, clear skies.
After signing up, I gear up and head out into the woods to warm up, and take a look at the loop. I find a bunch of both morning and afternoon sections, looks interesting. I bop around a bit, and then try to find an obstacle that challenges me a bit; i find two parallel logs, 8 inches apart, and behind them a slippery pair of rocks. Looks good. after 3 or 4 attempts, I’ve got it pretty well, and I feel like I’m riding OK. So i meander up the trail to find the rest of the morning loop trail. I’m on the trail backwards for a while, and then lose it a bit, but I can see some ribbons in the distance, so i head that direction. There I find section 3, and there is an observer and riders there! Holy cow, I’ve lost track of time, missed the rider’s meeting, and now the start! Ask the observer where 1 is, and head out. I find the first section, force myself to relax a bit, and walk the section.
By the end of the first loop, I’m only behind the next-to-last rider by about 5 minutes, so no problem on time. I relax and my riding starts to get better. It’s a short loop, only about a mile, and there are only 8 sections (normally, a loop contains 10 sections). About 1⁄2 way through my 3rd loop, I think to ask an observer “How many loops?” “Four” is the reply. Ah, now I have another loop to ride. No problem, I ride reasonably well, but not great. I finish, total the score (38 and 9 cleans), hand it in, even though no one is going to write it down anywhere, and hunt down the Marshall. My lovely bride and I have a party to attend, and if I am not needed to observe in the afternoon, we’ll skate. So I ask, making it clear that if I’m needed, I’ll observe (it’s considered really bad form to ride and then not offer to observe, as the event is contingent on having observers). He allows as how he has enough, so I can split. We do, and make our way home.
A couple of days later, I check the scores, just to get an idea of where I would have placed: looks like in intermediate, I would have won by a single point. So that’s not bad, for no practice. Now I look forward to the next event. Our next event is at a location outside ellensburg that we cal Funny Rocks. It’s a bit of a drive from here, so I’m debating whether to go or not. More news as I decide.
Thanks for reading.