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!