Event Report: Ice Trial, 7 Feb 2010, Walker Valley

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!

About the Author

Jim Harriger


  1. T McIntosh

    I think the loop trail is impor­tant. Since I was rid­ing with you. I think it would have low­ered score. Oh well, Great day any­way! But any day Im rid­ing is a good day 🙂

  2. t sackett

    The loop is part of the tri­al. A well designed loop will cost you points in the sec­tion. I’m a fan of long tech­ni­cal loops. The VMC point rounds are a great exam­ple of a good loop. The loop was hard­er than the sec­tions. The third time around a hard loop lets the fit rid­ers shine.

  3. Bill Latham

    I actu­al­ly enjoy rid­ing the loop trail.
    There have been times in the past when run­ning out of time, we had to rush the third loop and I know that caused high­er scores. 

    My under­stand­ing from the PNTA rules is that “No sec­tion may be rid­den more than once per lap (loop).” I seem to recall some­one being penal­ized for skip­ping a sec­tion a cou­ple years ago.

  4. Larry

    Hey Jim, You’re abso­lut­ly right. My group got to sec­tion 12 and decid­ed to go along with the rest of the ille­gals, and what’s a guy to do, so I went with the crowd. We were cir­cling thru that sec­tion as if it were a free ride at the coun­ty fair.…ha,ha,ha,. Now for me, rid­ing back to back at a sec­tion proved to be detri­men­tal in some cas­es. Any­way, great fun, good job Bill, Ron and all. Thanks

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