PNTA Points Round #8, Walker Valley, June 13, 2010

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 14 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!

About the Author

Jim Harriger