This turned out to be an interesting day for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the parking and loops situation. There was apparently some last minute confusion between the club and the land managers about where we were supposed to park, and as a result, we wound up parking near the western entrance to Walker Valley, and riding a loop of sections that were all at higher elevations. I misunderstood the instructions in the flyer, which indicated that riders needed to be prepared to carry an extra liter of fuel ( thought it said ‘afternoon’ riders), and so arrived with no convenient way of carrying fuel. Anyway, got signed up, for Senior Intermediate, as I hadn’t been on a dirt bike of any kind for over 6 weeks and Regional Points events are known for being pretty tough. That was when they let me know that morning riders too, need to carry extra fuel!
did a little warming up, determined that i had forgot to let any air out the back tire after airing it up to put it on the rack. Yep, 7 PSI is way too much! i let it down to my normal 3−1÷4 or so; ah, much better traction and bite! Then i went back to the truck to figure out how i was going to deal with this fuel issue, as i have no aux tank my bike, and i had no fuel bottle. ah, well, here’s a big plastic sack, i’ll just wrap my 1 gal jug in that and carry it in the day pack. With that problem solved, I completely forgot about carrying any extra water or snacks in my day pack, and headed out without either. The loop was what i call a ‘lollipop’ loop: ride a longish trail ride to the start of the sections, ride all 10 sections 3 times, and then ride the longish trail back to the pits. This means you get back to wherever you dumped the daypack every loop, but not back to your vehicle. It wasn’t until the end of the first loop that I realized the I was going to run out of water, and had no snacks or other nutrition whatsoever. argh.
Oh well, section 1 was a pretty easy traverse of a pile of sharp rocks, but I got through OK, so that’s a good start. In general, I rode pretty well, but I had some inconsistent moments: stalled the bike in one section, a really stupid mistake, and didn’t plan an adequate safety margin into my line in another section the 3rd time through, and wound up skydiving off of a 10-foot high rock into the bushes below. I rolled to a stop, picked the bike up, and when asked if the bike was OK (yes, they asked if I was OK first), replied, ‘of course: it’s a Sherco, you can’t hurt these things!” Got through three loops with little drama, picked my pack up from section 1, and headed back down the mountain. Got back to the pits, and drank about a liter of water, right then. had lunch, and went to collect my punch for my afternoon observing assignment, I had section 3. About 1pm, I head back up the mountain, find section 3, and am then informed that there’s been a switch, I’m to observe section 4, a bit farther up the hill. Normally, this would be a trivial change, except that I’m already tired, and seperating the two is about 1⁄4 mile of some of the nastiest trail at walker valley. winding through the trees, over the roots, and really, seriously steep uphill. sign at the bottom reads “up, turn, up, up, turn, turn, up, up, up”. ha. you a funny man, Ron! But I climb the mountain and find my section: a really interesting combination of sharp turns and a variety of paths, depending on class, over a rock the size of a small cottage. The experts in particular, I thought, had a nasty challenge: a really sharp left u-turn followed by a rock climb with little run at the bottom, and only about a 6″ wide line. I spotted for quite a few folks there during the day, but had to catch surprisingly few bikes.
All in all, a very enjoyable day, great fun to watch folks like Max and WIll do absolutely amazing things with a motorcycle. I can’t wait to head out to Funny Rocks for our next event.
keep those feet up!