Independance Trial, July 8, 2007, Deer Flats

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 14 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 12 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.

About the Author

Jim Harriger