BigFoot Trial, Sept 9, Deer Flats, WA

After spend­ing most of the sum­mer rid­ing my street bikes and Dual-Sport machine, I got back to the Tri­als thing on Sat­ur­day, Sept. 9th. We had fan­tas­tic weath­er, around 75 degrees and clear skies, which prob­a­bly con­tributed to the good turnout. I think there were 25 – 35 rid­ers, includ­ing at least a cou­ple of folks who came out to help or cheer for fam­i­ly mem­bers! We had sev­er­al rid­ers from Cana­da, as well as a few folks from the Port­land, OR area. 

Logis­ti­cal­ly, the day went smooth­ly, noth­ing unusu­al on the dri­ve up, just the stan­dard crap­py road to deer flats. Signed up, and went out for a bit of warm-up. Found the loop and glanced at a few sec­tions. It is fair­ly obvi­ous that turn­ing is going to be a key skill today! Even the Novice/Intermediate sec­tions were tight! A bit or warm up, feel­ing decent, still a lit­tle trep­i­da­tion about large rocks, espe­cial­ly going down, but bet­ter. Head back, get my gear for the morn­ing, and head out to my sec­tion for observation.

I was on Sec­tion 7, a pret­ty straight-for­ward turn-log-turn-log… sec­tion until the end, where there’s a right uphill turn with tree roots, fol­lowed by a left down­hill, also with roots. An obsta­cle that real­ly rewards aware­ness of both wheel tracks, and the abil­i­ty to man­age weight and load­ing. With a quick, well-timed unload of the rear wheel, not too dif­fi­cult, but it’s a del­i­cate trick. I see a low score of 1, but a ton of 3’s and a num­ber of 5’s. The 5’s are from either stalling, or los­ing the front in the next to last turn and hav­ing it go out of bounds. Pret­ty soon, we’re done, and it’s lunch-break time. A quick snack, and get ready to ride.

We get our score cards and head out. Sec­tion 1 is a pump-fake: up/down/up/down, no logs, no rocks, just tight turns. I get through with a 1, and i’m feel­ing pret­ty good. At sec­tion 2, real­i­ty hits. Real­ly, real­ly tight turns, and two nasty rock steps, the first of which has an off-angle approach, and the sec­ond is a point­ed rock: there’s *a* good line, and it’s 1 inch wide. Gulp. I get through it with a decent 3; i.e. not real­ly floun­der­ing, using my dabs well, and hav­ing decent trac­tion. OK, not too bad. That set the tone for the day: lot’s of decent threes, a few floun­ders, and at least 3 real­ly dumb 5’s. The first came in Sec­tion 10, which was a long hill­climb with a cou­ple of gen­tle turns in it. Not too bad, unless you miss your line, and make the turn across the hill too early.

By the end of the third loop, I’d final­ly fig­ured out the hill-climb, but I was com­plete­ly worn out. Both fore­arms and hands were cramp­ing up, and my leg was begin­ning to real­ly hurt where i’d used it it keep the left foot­peg from get­ting scratched on the big rock in sec­tion 7. Back to the pits, tal­ly up the score, hmmm 90 and 0 cleans. 90 i’m OK with, but I was dis­ap­point­ed that i did­n’t man­age a sin­gle clean ride all day. My dis­ap­point­ment was to get deeper…

Back to the truck, get changed and loaded up, then back to scor­ing to check the results. Ouch! beat­en out of 3rd place by 1 point! Arrrgh! So many places dur­ing the day, I could’ve shaved a point off. Hell, I could’ve shaved 6 or 8 off just in sec­tion 10. Over­all, it was a close com­pe­ti­tion in the Advanced class, all 4 of us seper­at­ed by just 12 points. 

So in the end, it was a very chal­leng­ing tri­als, very tech­ni­cal, but fun and left every­one with the sense that they’d accom­plished some­thing by the end of the day. I’m get­ting back to form slow­ly, and my con­fi­dence is return­ing. We shall see how the next 2 events go. 

Thanks for reading!

Keep your feet on the pegs!


About the Author

Jim Harriger