Whew! arrive at the parking area about 8:30am sunday, got out of the truck, Holy Stiff Breeze, Batman! We’re at about 1900 ft. altitude, and up on an exposed hilltop where they’re running a gravel pit, and the wind is blowing pretty good. Get over to sign up, Sean (one of the Marshalls) allows as how we’re probably going to do a Group Check event, where riders go out in groups, and check each other. It allows all classes to run at once, which makes for a much shorter day, and given the way the weather looked to be movin’ in, the right call.
That said, I’m not a big fan group check trials, for purely selfish reasons: i historicaly haven’t ridden well in group check situations! I have a tendency to get into my own head too much, and psych myself out, especially after a couple of bad sections. When doing cross check events, I can take advantage of the clock, and give myself breaks, snacks, and re-group time where I need it. In a group check situation, I always feel like there’s something else i need to be paying attention to, and my riding suffers, especially on the first loop, when things are often quite slow.
Anyway, enough whinging! We get our cards and punches, and away we go. Down the hill, up the road, into the woods, and there’s #1. A tricky upslope with an angled log in it, then a sharp turn, cross-hill over to a descent over a slick slab rock, about 8 feet long. Not too tough, but I don’t have confidence in the traction yet, and get out of shape after the log, and paddle through. Oh well, not too bad, I think, and we go on. much of the first loop is like that, including a couple of really dumb 5’s, stalled the engine, hit a tree with the shift lever, that kind of stuff.
But as the day went on, I felt like I was riding better and better, and it all came together pretty well on the last loop, I put together a loop of 17 points, lowest of anyone in my class, and had 2 cleans. Alas, it wasn’t enough, and I wound up with 78 points and 3 cleans, which was a solid lock of 4th place advanced. again. At least I feel like my confidence is returning, especially on the last lap sunday, and my conditioning work is paying off, it wasn’t until the end of the third loop, after section 10, that i really started having forearm pump and cramping problems.
So, in short, it wasn’t the ride I’d hoped for, but I am still improving. If I could make the time and motivation to practice more, I’m sure it would advance my cause a bit faster.
Next event: Halloween Two, by Jon Payne, at Gold Bar, WA. See ya there, and keep those feet up!