I get to the event around 0715 - 0730. Figure out sign up tech inspection and sound test. Pretty simple and everyone is really helpful. I wind up finding Crankshaft, AKARob, Ed Fetz and GBG. Everyone is starting ahead of me except for Rob and he wont be behind me for long. I tape my score card and number to the front of the bike. ( I remembered the packing tape, Thanks Cdale) and barry to the back for good luck and a little extra weight over tyhe rear tire since I am not running studs and there is supposed to be some icy sections, plus an extra set of eyes watching my back never hurts.
0810 get lined up and turn on go pro, errr try to turn on go pro. I brought fresh batteries, wtf? I think I may have forgotten to actually put them in the go pro. Oh well no footage this time. My number gets flipped and off we go! Why is everyone going left this route sheet says right? Hmm guess I'm already lost, this is going to be fun. Guys in front of me are running studs and there tires are smoking within 20' of pavement. Oh yeah Im gonna kick there ass! Then I realize I cant pass cause I'm lost already
Back to plan B.
First check point is in somebodies driveway. I can see you enter some woods behind their house and then go into a field. I can see other riders out there and think they don't look so fast this is going to be easy . My number comes up and off I go!
What the hell? this ain't a damn trail its a deer path through trees. I guess its just something they did to get to the real trail. I'm already behind the other people on my number but not too far. I hit the field and gas it! Yeah thats right Im bad ass in the open! Too bad the field is only about 100' long and now Im onto a billy goat trail. What kind of race is this? A couple riders in front of are having trouble in some rocky climbs but the trail is too tight for me to get by and once they get over the rocks we are about the same ability so I cant pass. We are going through trails that never open up and its really not what I expected. They are pretty much just a marked path through the woods. As we come to the middle /end of section one I notice people standing up in the woods ahead. My first thought is wow thats really cool people coming out to watch. The I realize they've come to see the carnage. Not only did they route this race through deer paths and billy goat trails (I did see goats at some point) they ran it through bottomless pits of black water and boulders. I think if I ever order a kahlua on the rocks I will call it a NETRA Enduro.
And that was an easy section for me. In section 3 there was a part that had to be at least 10 miles long, the black water was 6' deep and the rocks may have actually been volkswagon beetles.
I complete section 1 8 minutes behind but there is a catch up point and I start section 3 on time. Section 3 contained the numerous water hazards I described I was really surprised about them. I knew that these enduros were run though tight trails, rocks, mudholes etc but this section I couldnt believe. I am looking at them thinking I would hesitate to take my 4x4 quad through them. I am actually able to navigate them but it is taking all my energy. I stop and take a break to catch my breath and drink some water a few minutes later I feel better and continue on and make it through what looks like the last section. Thers is a rider stuck on the hill that climbs out of the beetle ridden tar pits and I lose my line and drop the bike. What ever energy I got back on my break is gone. I get the bike up and off to the side I am gasping for air and think I'm about to vomit in my full face helmet and am frantically trying to get it off. Didn't puke and its break time again. I am seriously considering throwing myself into the tar pit and dying. I also am still wearing layers of clothing and am sweating my ass off. I strip down my top layers to just my thermal, white of course, long sleeve undershirt. While propped up against a tree wondering why I have chosen this patch in my life a group of riders comes by. I get passed by a girl or a guy with long blond hair and pink gear, oh god my life sucks
. I muster up my energy and put all my extra layers in my pack which no feels like it weighs 70 lbs if not more.
I wind up passing to guys one is working in his bike and continue on by myself, these are the last 2 riders I will see for the rest of the race and will ride the rest with only barry for support. Man this 4th check point is taking forever. at the gas stop I fill up and make the decision to dump my back pack with my clothes tools and water. Its too heavy and beating me up. The 2 guys I passed catch up and are giving up and trying to find away back. They also comment that no one was at check point 4 and we must have houred out. I'm not going back unless I'm on a stretcher or removed at gun point, I came to race and I'm finishing even if I'm dead last! I'm getting my $45 dollars worth. My chain is a little loose but Im so far behind and don't want to get caught by the sweepers so I get going.
Around the corner is check point 5 and its manned Im 45 minutes behind out so Im still good and carry on...
The rest of the course is pretty much a blur as I am shot. Having removed my pack and some easier terrain I actually catch my second wind. Some of it is open forest road and Im used to that, I actually stand up and hit 3rd Im doin pretty good and that really makes me feel better. There are some difficult parts that strain me a little but nothing that makes me want to give up. 2 things I notice is that my suspension is stiff as hell and the bike is really beating me up and that my chain is making all sorts of noise and Im getting thirsty. Having left all the necessary things to remedy any of those situations behind there is no use stopping.
The hill from hell!
Here I am felling pretty good the tar pits have pretty much disappeared and rock strewn hills don't really bother me, especially since I'm by myself the 22exc is a tractor. I move my ass back on the seat and just idle right up the hills so when I see this hill with no rocks it's no big deal. Half way up I hit the lube. The hill is a sheet of ice under a 1/2 of dirt and leaves. I start sliding backwards! after about a 10 minutes or so I am able to find away around the hill and re locate the path. My chain sounds like its going to snap and moment and Im pretty tired again. I go on and make all the check points and get a little disheartened because section 1 needs to be run again and I just want the race to end, Im that beat.
End of section 12 I finish!!! 49 minutes behind Im glad I made it and think I was the last rider to actually finish. Not sure on my score yet I have to get in touch with them. I think it wasn't posted because I got back so late or maybe because of section 4. i know I didn't miss it because I never got off the path or missed an arrow and the checker at section 6 made a comment about another rider who missed section 4. I have a funny feeling they packed up and left after they thought everyone was through.
That's it. I'm off to the orthopedist for my arthritic shoulders