Well, it’s been a long time since my last blog entry. Too much excitment on both the job and the family front has left little time and energy for thinking about trials. Nonetheless, I did try my hand at the Deer Flats event in July. I hadn’t been on a trials bike for about 2 months, and as expected, I was really rusty. I got through the event with a few decent rides, but never really got in the groove and never really got confidence in my riding. When it was over, the scores showed how rusty I was, last of the assembled Advanced riders.
Time marches on, I was out of the country for the September Trial, recovering from the creeping crud for Halloween I, which brings us to Halloween II, at Gold Bar. I had decided before heading out that since I hadn’t ridden in many weeks, and effectively only once since June, that I would ride Sr. intermediate instead of Advanced.
Arrive at Gold Bar about 8am, find a parking spot and get unloaded. First impression is of strange weather; it was below freezing when I left my house outside of duvall, but there was a warm breeze blowing at Gold Bar. Overall, a fantastic day weatherwise: sunshine, a bit of wind, and about 58 degrees. it doesn’t get any better than that on October in the Pacific NW.
Went out and warmed up, including trying out a few rocks that have given me trouble in the past. not too bad, but obviously out of practice. I take a look at a few Advanced/Expert sections and confirm my earlier decision to ride Sr. Intermediate; With no practice or riding time for the last 4 months, those sections didn’t look like a good idea.
Back to the pits, get ready, and away we go. Section 1 at many trials is kind of a gimme, an easy section to get you warmed up and build up your confidence, before of course, smashing said confidence like a china bowl on a tile floor. Being a trials marshall requires just a touch of sadistic tendancies. Not today however; a fun little section, but it has a diabolical uphill right turn in it, with a little exposed rock just where the back wheel will be when you need to lift the front wheel to float the end of the turn. Never did figure that one out; took a point there every time. Had a pretty bad first loop, including a 5 when I slipped on a slick rock in section 9, trying a different approach to the slick tree root step. It’s not just the mechanical riding skills that atrophy from no practice, it’s also the mental parts of the game; line picking and seeing the creative approaches to obstacles.
Anyway successive loops got better as I got back in the groove, even posting a loop score of 2 on the thrid loop. That’s what the good riders were posting from the beginning. My eventual score of 24 was good for 5th or 6th, not a shining performance for someone who took home a second place Advanced back in april! oh well. It was a great event, with good sections and good organization; as always: Thanks to Jon and family! you guys rock!
So all this brings us to the end of the season, and looking forward, past the holidays, to next season. The way I see it, I have three options as to how to approach next year. I could get off my ass, clean up my trail system on my property, build some practice sessions, get out there and practice, and set my sights on being competitive in Advanced next year. I could continue with my “ride when it’s convenient” plan and ride Sr. Intermediate next year. Or i could take a year off from competition, and attend all the events as photographer and scribe, try to generate even more press and some excitement around Observed Trials in the Pacific Northwest.
Right now, not sure which way to go. It seems as though work and family life are going to settle down a bit, so the ‘get competitive’ approach might be possible. I’m not going to make my decision until after thanksgiving, we’ll see.
See you on the trail, Keep those feet on the pegs!