Category Archives: event reports

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!

Event Report: Walker Valley, October 3, 2010

Anoth­er Sun­day in the Pacif­ic North­west, it looks like so many of it’s brethren, damp, over­cast, and dark. But it’s not rain­ing, so it’s not as bad as it could be. I put the rest of my gear (cof­fee, lunch, the few near­ly for­got­ten items) in the truck, snug down the tie downs on the bike, and head for Walk­er Val­ley ORV. Today is our last offi­cial club event of the year; our sched­ule hav­ing been abbre­vi­at­ed by our dif­fi­cul­ties in get­ting per­mits and per­mis­sion to hold events in the region.

90 min­utes finds me pulling into the park­ing area, find­ing about 15 – 20 folks already there, unload­ing, bull­shit­ting, get­ting ready, ya know: the stuff rid­ers do when they’re get­ting ready to ride! I sign up for the Advanced class and get the bike ready, tak­ing a few min­utes to put a few neces­si­ties into a day pack: extra water, snack bars, ener­gy goo, and a liter of extra pre­mix. Our loop today will take us 3.5 miles up the moun­tain, through three loops of sec­tions, and back down to the park­ing area. We have per­mis­sion to ride, but not to park up there, appar­ent­ly. Gary, the co-mar­shall today, tells me that we’ll be doing group check, so I want to make sure I have every­thing I need with me, don’t want to be a drag on my rid­ing bud­dies.

Head­ing out for a bit of prac­tice, I note that my left knee is com­plain­ing on mod­er­ate bend­ing under load. Hmm, not too good, I’ll have to be care­full of that today. Oth­er than that, things felt good, if a bit rusty. I head back to the truck, top the fuel tank up to the very top, and go look­ing for my lit­tle pill box that has the sodi­um naprox­en and ibupro­fen in it. Rum­mage, Rum­mage, Rum­mage, crap! left it at home. At that moment, they sig­nal the rid­ers meet­ing. Oh well, i’ll sponge some off of some­one lat­er. We get our instruc­tions, find our groups, mud­dle around for a few min­utes when one of our num­ber arrives a bit late, and head up the moun­tain.

A pleas­ant mean­der up the moun­tain finds us at sec­tion 1: a twisty, tech­ni­cal lit­tle job­bie with a tru­ly unfor­tu­nate­ly placed 24” high stump right after a sharp uphill right hand u-turn. That pret­ty much set the tone for the day: Not a lot of awe-inspir­ing obsta­cles for the Advanced class (a few expert lines looked a bit more, er, puck­er-induc­ing), but tight turns and tricky obsta­cles strung togeth­er. Sec­tion 6 was a bit of an excep­tion to that, more lat­er. I strug­gled get­ting my rhythm for most of the first loop, then start­ed to loosen up a bit. My knee was still com­plain­ing, but it turned out that walk­ing the sec­tions was the hard­est part, after the first loop, when we cut down on the stum­bling around, it felt bet­ter. I was still very care­ful not to stress it lat­er­al­ly at all, but it didn’t hin­der me too much.

And then there was sec­tion 6: We’ve all seen then “over the log, turn, over the log again, turn, over the log…” sec­tions, often with some oth­er lit­tle gim­mick throw in: water, rocks, mud, you name it. Well this sec­tion didn’t rely on any gim­micks: the log is the thing. around 48” in diam­e­ter and a cou­ple of tricky approach­es, oh, and yes, here an added twist: an absolute root-infest­ed off-cam­ber climb to the exit. Many of us found our attempts to scale the log sum­mar­i­ly reject­ed mul­ti­ple times, In one observed case, plug­ging the exhaust of the bike ques­tion so tight­ly that the bike wouldn’t start! many egos, and a few fend­ers were abused in that sec­tion. I final­ly man­aged to strug­gle through with a ‘3’ on my last attempt, and was ecsta­t­ic with that!

We final­ly get the sec­tions fin­ished, with only a mod­er­ate num­ber of cuts, bruis­es, and com­plete­ly cramped fore­arms, gath­er our packs and head down the moun­tain. I’ve been keep­ing an eye on fuel in my bike, and knew I’d be close to get­ting back to camp. Sure enough, about ½ mile from the pits, bwaaaaaaaaaaaa…. urp. I fum­ble for reserve, get it run­ning, and wob­ble in. Count­ing the score tells the tale: a rough event: 82 points with only 3 cleans on the day. But it was good enough for 3rd, and only 3 points off of 2nd (which makes the last ‘5’ in Sec­tion 10, from just a bit too much front brake on a easy part of the sec­tion, real­ly annoy­ing. I was on a clean, which would’ve giv­en me 2nd place clean­ly!) oh well, that’s the way it goes.

Thanks to Gary and Jon for all their work, as well as the efforts of oth­er club mem­bers to get us per­mis­sion to use this area. It was a cool event, thanks!


Back from the wilderness…

Hi Gang! It’s been two years since I post­ed here, and near­ly that long since i had rid­den an event until the 13th of Jan­u­ary, 2013. No excus­es, just a hec­tic life, spiced up with a man­gled left knee in August of 2012, that has kept me off the loop and out of the sec­tions.

Rode the first PST event of the year, the Plas­tered Pur­ple Pen­guin, at Marysville. Two sto­ries dom­i­nat­ed the day: my ten­der left knee, which it turned out, acquit­ted itself quite well, and the bit­ter­ly cold weath­er, and accom­pa­ny­ing frozen tun­dra. In many sec­tions, the line was pol­ished smooth due to the action of tri­als tires on frozen dirt. Very chal­leng­ing. But my knee and I sur­vived, I didn’t take home last place, and I had fun, so there will be more events in my future, and more post­ings here.