Headed out the door at oh-dark-fifteen for our second club trials of the season, the Ice Trial. Weather looks like it won’t live up to it’s name, although it has in past years. Get to the site, get unloaded in a light drizzle, and warm up. A little practice, and some time dialing the carb in a bit, since it was completely disassembled and cleaned a couple of weeks ago. Focus was on the smoothest possible off-idle response i could get, a key characteristic for a trials engine.
Got geared up and went over to the rider’s meeting. learned of an interesting plan: in order to manage traffic, our trials marshalls had built an ‘out-n-back’ loop. The plan was to ride the loop to the end, doing sections 1 – 12 (1−11 for Novices) and then ride it back to the bottom, hitting the sections in reverse order (12 through 1 on the way back). Then back to the pits for water, fuel, food, whatever, and then finish with a final 1 – 12 ride). sounds intersting. So we divide into groups, and away we go.
We quickly discover that a lot of the road and trails is a soupy, muddy mess. But the sections are challenging and fun, with very little actually dangerous. It took me a number of sections to loosen up, and to get a better feel for the gearing on the bike, with the new 9‑tooth countershaft sprocket (down from the stock 10). What I discovered is that I now have a choice of gears for a section, first for really crawling, second for normal or anything with a climb, and third for serious climbing. All in all though, the bike ran great and seems a better fit for my riding style this way. The loop was pretty long and rugged in spots and I was certainly happy to get back to the pits after our first two ‘loops’. Water, a bite to eat, and gas for the bike. And out to finish out with the third loop. At section 1, we run into the rest of the Advanced class, and they’re already finished! What the.…. turns out they just rode two attempts on all the sections on the way back down, so they only made two trips up and down the loop. smart guys!
In the end, i had some good rides, and a bunch of sloppy rides, 3’s that should have been 1’s, and 1’s that should have been cleans. Finished in 4th or 5th place, I think. I hope to get some practice before the next round, hopefully that will help keep me a bit sharper.
A question for all of you: how much do you consider the loop trail to be part of the challenge of a trials event, in particular, a local club event? There was some grumbling around the pits after the event about the folks who didn’t ride the loop trail all 3 (or 4) times, and I’m curious if there’s a consensus on this issue. I’m not serious enough about it to care that much, but my guess is that my score would have been 5 – 9 lower with the extra fatigue and arm pump that I had on my thrid loop. What do you folks think? Send me your comments, I’d love to hear from you.
keep those feet on the pegs!