Vintage guy on Vintage Enduro
My brother and I spent a lot of my youth on various motorcycles. I learned to ride on a little 50cc and rode almost every day in the fields around our home in southern indiana, later I rode my dad's streetbike. In college my brother and I rode some hare scrambles, and then life took over (marriage, work, kids, bills, etc...). I still rode occasionally, until I had to sell my bikes before/during my divorce. my ex was never fond of me riding bikes.
about 4 years ago, I decided to get back into riding and picked up a '85 XL600R, which fueled my new re-discovered addiction. I have been riding the XL600R all over, including some single track at various OHV areas in the area.I also met a riding buddy, who has the same addiction as I do and we had been itching to get back into some kind of racing as well. this winter I got a '84 xr350r from another friend, and this spring my buddy got himself a kdx200.
I got the bike ready, tuning the suspension at the nearest OHV park, and added a Honda Enduro computer.
of course, there were some setbacks...like this "over the handle get off"
but overall everything was coming togther. Finally, a cheap roll chart holder...
and I'm off to my first Enduro...
A vintage rider on a vintage bike hauled by a vintage truck..:D
Best of luck and remember it's an accomplishment just to finish!
I missed the first Enduro in the district's series but finally had all my ducks in order to ride in the Fool's Gold Enduro at Georgetown. this event is a little special, because of whatever rules they cannot get a commerical license to hold the event. the entry fees is "free", but you're encouraged to make a donation, same for the roll charts. since I had some issues with a state ranger at prairie city about my stock muffler on the xr350, I went up the night before the race to register, get a roll chart and have my technical inspection to make sure it passes without the baffle, which it did without trouble.
this is my first experience with roll charts. I loaded it into my MSR roll chart holder the night before. it's pretty cheap, but it mostly works.
there were some little details to take care of the next morning. E.g. I needed to label my number plate out of tape and permanent marker. I got a little label to stick on the side of my helmet. dropped off my fuel (and snacks/gatorade) at the fuel truck to take to the fuel stop. since my row was 69 and it was only 7am (start was 8:00) I had to kill some time. checking the oil, etc... went over to the start about 30mins early met up with the other riders on my row and eventually rolled up to the start.
finally, it was time. kill the engine, wait for the count down, start my enduro clock, kick start the bike and we're off....the first important place is the 2.9 mile odometer check. since the start is the first "known control", the earliest place we can have a check point, is at 3.0 miles. a mile marker is placed at 2.9 synchronize your odometer with the "route mileage". The idea is to synchronize your odometer with whichever odometer that was used to layout the course, however, it's legal for the organizer to "change" the route mileage at certain places to throw you off. basically, everytime you see a mile marker on the trail (as well as all the known controls), you have to make sure you adjust your odometer to match the route mileage, otherwise, if the advance the route mileage, it's impossible to figure out where you are on the roll chart and how your time is.
in any case, the course was easy so far, so everyone is early and we wait at the marker for our time. I mistakenly adjust the clock on my enduro computer. you don't ever want to do this, but I thought I could fine tune the clock, since I wasn't sure if I started it right on my time. the problem is that when you adjust the time on my computer, it stops the clock and you have to re-start it, which I forgot, so the time was now stuck and basically I had no idea what my time was anymore...
first lesson learned ! the next time, adjust the time on the computer "-1 minute" before your start time and start the clock when the row before you starts. this way, you accurately start the clock, without having to worry about starting your bike, etc... when it's your time to go, the clock will have counted down to 0:00 and is ready to go.
the first part of the course is easy, and pretty much serves as a warm up. also, I have ridden these trails on my XL600, so everything feels super comfortable... no worries, it gets harder.
Blast from the Past!
The Fools Gold! Georgetown!
That was the very last enduro I ever rode. 1980. I rode a YZ125F. My buddy rode a Honda MT 175. Dang he was good on that little thing until about half way it started overheating and losing power. He :cry all the way back to San Jose in my little yellow Dodge van shorty with the slant six and three on the tree. That Dodge was the gold standard of dirtbike haulers. :deal
I am surprised the new course was easy for you. In those days it was mostly single track winding steeply up and down through dense trees. The single track would be a deep rut over roots and slime by the time I got there. As I recall the soil was redder than what you might find around Clear Lake for the old Cowbell and Jackhammer enduros. Those seemed more rocks.
Enjoying your vintage tale. Sorry about the clock, but we rarely even kept time. Only the top guys did that stuff. Back in the pack was more like a hare scramble of attrition. We raced to be among the first to the inevitable mud bog before it was impassable. :lol3
No pics of the YZ, but here is some old gear from those days I still have. Just looking at it makes me smell Blendzall premix...:D
Cheers and keep her commin' :thumb
the first part was mainly trail 3, which goes around mill race rd...then it got more interesting. georgetown does have some really gnarly technical single track. they also open up some "special" trails that are normally closed. really, the xr350 is a heavy bike for georgetown, but since I normally ride my xl600 up there for fun, the xr350 "seems' pretty agile, until about 3hrs into the race...
I'm currently restoring a '83 xr200r, which would have been even more fun and which I may race at some point.
I mostly didn't worry about the clock once I started getting behind and just enjoyed the race. I was concerned on the first part, because my row was like 10 mins ahead at the 2.9 mile marker...
I'm a computer engineer during the week, so the Honda Enduro computer is a really neat retro/vintage gadget for me, considering it was all the rage 27 years ago. I wish I had a manual for it, but I think I figured it out, mostly. Incidentally, I got mine from a well known local Enduro rider who rode and won with xr350r's and the computer during that era in D36.
sorry, I was out of town on business...back to the fools gold enduro.
after the "warm up" lap aound the staging area, we start with some of the trails. the race was a mix of stitched together regular trails and some virgin trail that connected section as well as some special "event only" sections. a mix of tight single track, rocky up/down hills, a few tight switch backs and a couple of creek crossing. this year, they chose not to include the "deep water" crossing. they said something about concerns of fuel/oil getting into the stream when people drown their bikes.
since I gave up on keeping time, I generally had no idea if how early/late I was, however, looking at the time on the score sheet it was obvious that I was getting later. when you arrive at a check point, they note the current check point time on the score sheet. if it matches your row, then you are "on time". so, you subtract your row from the time and figure out how late you are. one of the interesting things that happens when you exert youself for a long time, like a marathon or ultra marathon, etc... is your mental ability decreases over time. towards the end you have a hard time doing math in your head.
I was doing well until the first fuel stop. stopped, got gatorate and clif bars our of my bag that I left with the gas can, but since I was doing OK on gas, chose not to refuel. i know, once should go to the bathroom and refuel, "when you can", i.e. don't wait until you have to. I left the fuel stop at some estimate of my current time. some more gnarly single track, plus some sandy sections and then "trish's trail", which was the only really trouble some spot for me. basically, it's a section on the side of a slate mountain with really steep downhills. here is a video someone else shot at a different time. the trail ridin' starts at 2:40...you get the idea.
I dumped the bike once. I guess the year before someone dumped their bike and it continued to slide down the side of the mountain with a shower of sparks, which caught the fuel on fire and burned the whole bike ! nothing like that happened this time.
after going down the hill I stopped to help a guy who lost his chain, figuring I had surely hou'red out by then anyway. sometime later, it was the flume trail, which is pretty cool and more countless trails/uphills, etc... after that until, finally, the second fuel stop. really the same fuel stop, but entering from a different trail. this time, I need fuel, filling up the whole tank. turns out I get close to 70 miles on a tank. good to know. more gatorade and glucose snacks... and on. after the fuel stop there was a killer uphill with a huge rut that my footpegs got hung up on an it took me over 15minutes to get out of and retry the hill, taking the high side. the next check point I actually hour'ed out, but kept on riding.
more single tracks, up hills, more up hills, and more up hills... some rock gardens, got hung up on some rocks... more rocky trail... at this point all kinds of people where stopped along the trail exhausted taking breaks, having cramped legs, shaking, being dehydrated, etc.... the bike is starting to feel pretty heavy now. and my legs where starting to cramp up a bit, but I just rode through it, which is not a problem until you have to slow and stop and actually put you feet down. finally some of the trails started to look like trails that were closer to the staging area and we're getting close. just a few more miles and since I know I can do all those trails in my xl600, it seemed a little easier on the xr350r. I finished the race, and thought I was disqualified a couple of check points before the end because I hour'ed out. turns out, I was disqualified after the 2nd checkpoint, because I missed it... I actually remembered riding through it, but forgot to stop....sigh.
well, that was my first enduro. thinking back to the hare scrambles I did, this was a bunch harder. I think after the first 50 miles it's really is mind over body. you just have to tune out all the discomfort, pain, cramps and convince yourself that it's easier to just finish it than trying to figure out how to hike out and retrieve your bike later. you also really need to have enough water. about 1liter/hours is the minimum. the trick, I think, is to ride conservative, so as not to make mistakes and dump the bike. dumping the bike make you burn 10x the energy and will wear you out in no time.
lessons learned... don't mess with the computer, don't worry about the time, just ride easy and consistently, have plenty of water. put an extra gallon of water and gatorade with your fuel to fill up your camelback. I bought a nice 3 liter tactical camelback, which will last half the race and is insulated and ultra rugged. also, eat glucose snacks, but don't forget to eat something real at the fuel stop, or you get stomach cramps.
the xr350r was a bit heavy for this particular area, but it's a blast to ride up hills and pass all the people on their 2-strokes that are trying to manage their clutch and powerband, or kick starting their stalled bike. of course, this bike is not "flickable" in the woods.... the knobs were starting to get torn up from the rocky sections. probably only had one more race on them (little did I know). also, sturdy handlebar guards are a must.
so, a note about getting hurt. I have read up on enduros and some people have written papers analyzing injuries for different types of motorcycle racing. turns out enduros are pretty harmless, mostly minor injuries/breaks to extremeties. anyway, buddy from the DS group I ride with is a EMT and volunteered for this ride. turns out there were several trauma cases, including one guy who impaled himself (abdominal laceration) in this race. I don't know the individuals involved and hope all is well. just a reminder to take it easy out there, no matter what the statistics say, getting hurt is no fun.
that is a great looking bike!:freaky Have fun!!!!
OK, after the Fools Gold I decided that the bike needed a new timing chain before the next race. I figured that this would be just a one day affair, but it turns out that once I had it back together it wouldn't start. this bike didn't have a index on the crankshaft like most XRs do. the index is when they punch a spline so it's wider and matches up with a groove in the timing gear and pulse generate cam. I thought I got it all lined up anyway, but it didn't start... take it all apart again and check it again, but it back, same thing. a call to the local motorcycle shop and chat with the guy that used to race these (and that I got my enduro computer from), confirms the alignment of the pulser cam. like so:
put it back together, still wouldn't start....ok back to the basics... fuel (ok), air (ok), spark (hmmm)....
turns out the sparkplug must have broke when I installed it... I intalled a new spark plug and it started right up. however, I missed the next to the last Enduro before the summer. one more left. the gorman qualifier, which is 370 miles away.
next installment is my VCMC Gorman Qualifier Day 2 race. in the meantime, I took my xr200r (see in pieces in pic above) out to Georgetown with my riding buddy (on a kdx200), last weekend, and I did a 35miles loop through some the extreme technical parts. the bike was a blast. it still has the nearly new 25+ year old tires on it and probably the original chain. the only thing replaced was the airfilter, motor oil and fork oil. I'm thinking that the xr200r would be more fun to Enduro on courses like georgetown than the xr350r.
I am parting out a xr350r (1984) on ebay right now. Let me know if you need any parts.
the Gorman qualifier is a two day "ISDE" style event. that means at the end of day one, they lock up the bikes so that you can't work on them during the night. the next day, you have to do a "cold start". that means you roll your bike to the starting line at your time and then when given the "go", you have to start your bike and make it to a predetermined point within 1 minute, you get disqualified.
you can also just enter each day as a separate one day event, which is what I did due to scheduling constraints. at 23;00 saturday night, I drove down to Gorman (6+hrs). I stopped somewhere along the road to take a nap and made it there around 7:00am in time for the gas truck to leave with the gas can to the gas stop. registered for the race, and then off to the technical inspection, which for a single day was just the sound check. the book they were using that lists the RPM to make the dB measurement for each bike only went back about 10 years, so they, just "grandfathered" my bike and I got a paint dot indicating that I passed the technical. I think the two day participants also got paint dots on various parts of the bike that you are not allowed to replaced during the race.
I was starting row 84. the first loop starts and ends at the pit area and covered about 30 miles or so of a variety of trails and sand washes. the sand was hard to get used to. not sure what the problem was, in retrospect, I think the tire pressure was off and the front tire I was using were pretty worn. there were two styles of sections. the transfer, which was "timed" but every one arrived early and were allowed to wait until their respective row. the transfer section were on shared trails and roads and you were supposed to go the posted speed limits as well as the "average", which noone did. the other style of section was called a "special" and you went as fast as possible and the shortest amount of time got the highest score. the specials were on closed trails.
the second loop, which also started near the pit and ended by the pit was longer and had a gas stop. it also had one transfer on real road, where CHP was actually clocking people. if you got a speeding ticket, you were disqualified. the second loop had some of the same trails, more sandy sections and more technical hill climbs and canyons, dry creek beds and gnarly single track. one transfer section was through this rocky creekbed and designed to wear you out for the last couple of specials. it was very hard, and even though it wasn't very hot (80s) there several people stopped suffering for heat exhaustion. past the dry creekbed and speed trap, into the los padres national forest. the first loop and part of the second loop so far had been on state OHV land.
the start of the los padres part had a nice single track leading up the side of a canyon, until we came to a stopping point. apparently, someone crashed and the trail was closed while they stabilized and did a helicopter extraction. I waited for about 2hrs, at which point I technically hour'ed out and it was getting late, still having to drive back to sacramento. so some of us decided to turn back and ride back to the pit. I ended up waiting for the fuel truck. it turns out that they opened the trail shortly after we left and continued the race for the rest of the riders, meaning that the fuel truck came back after all the riders went through the fuel stop. I would have been able to finish, had I known.
lesson learned. sometimes they stop and continue the race for some of the riders. I'm not sure how the scoring would have gone, but since they didn't take the transfer sections as serious, it doubt anyone hour'ed out and every one was just scored on their special section time. good to know for the next time I do this time of event.
bike and rider survived this race and managed to get home around midnight, very tired/exhausted. let's see, 12 hrs of driving, 3 hrs of sleep, and 4-5hrs of racing, in about 25hrs...
the about 6.5 hrs of sleep before getting up in the morning, taking the kid to daycare and then work... where of course some people noticed that I was dragging and limping around (looks like someone has a case of the "mondays") and asked me what I did. apparently, people don't have crazy hoobies like mine where I work. in fact, I don't think anyone races bikes, motorcross or enduro. there are people who ride, but not race. I'm sure there people that race bicycles and the occasional benefit 10k or something. in any case, got a chance to recover at work that week...
I considering approaching the owner/president to see if the company will sponsor me. lol
Cool, your company can buy you a new Beta 350 RR! SWEET! :D
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