Enduros....have a habit of kicking my ass. I've tried 2 over the years and failed to finish either one. At 62+ miles they are a challenge to figure out how to pace myself and finish so when I heard about the LBJ in in South Carolina being "the one to do" I was intrigued. Labor day weekend myself and 2 other guys(Randy and Jack) made the trip 9 hrs north to see if it was true.
With 5 riders to a row spaced at one minute intervals enduros are a different beast. Compared to hare scrambles where 15+ guys all start at the same time they are a more solitary endeavor. Our group was on row 14 so that meant at 9:14 Sunday morning we were released into the wild woods of hilly SC with hope and ignorance on our side.
Simply put the trail was awesome! Conditions conspired to give us little dust yet little mud as the moist clay offered oodles of traction to us noobs form the south. I was soon at the 2nd check out right as my row was scheduled to go off. This would be the only instance I would be "on time" against the 30mph average all day..another words every following check to the end I would never get a break..
My goal was to not hour out, meaning I would never fall more than 60 minutes behind the average and my race ending.
So I just rode. Not really fast, but not really slow. The hardwoods offered shade and a decent temp as I put miles behind me. Soon I came upon one of a dozen or more bridges that are used to cross the steeper ditches. This particular one had a hill that started just past the end of it so I applied some gas and prepared to climb...or not. It seems those bridges are under that nice cool, moist canopy of trees all year also...and veeeeery slippery. Just as I was getting near the end of it my rear tire broke traction and over the side I went !!!
I was thinking "I can't believe I just did that" as my front fender was ripped off by the edge of the bank and the bike/myself tumbled to the creek bed 6ft below. I've driven too far to have this cr@p happen in the first 5 miles! I was picking up the bike just as a rider rode by above and when glancing down asked "Holy $hit are you alright???". I was.. luckily.. but now how do i get out of this creek? I rode down 20 yds until I found a gradual enough slope to get out. I ripped my score card off the front fender, tucked it in my waistband, and took off hoping this was the worst thing to happen that day. Wishful thinking.
Took a while but I soon got used to seeing my front tire spinning in front of me. The spectators would laugh as I rolled by and the look on the check point volunteers faces was priceless as they would walk up with pen in hand ready to write down my score only to freeze unable to process the fact I didn't have a card, or a fender for that matter..
"14D..put me in the back-up book!" was the my opening statement there on out.
Uphill, downhill, off camber, you name it this trail had it. Nothing really that intimidating, just miles and miles of it. Charlie Mullins (#1 national enduro rider for KTM) came by me several times during the day just to remind me how fast looks. Right before the gas stop (roughly 1/2 way point) my day got worse as I went over the bars on a down hill right hander. As I hid the ground I felt my helmet bottom out on my Leatt neck brace to the point my throat was sore the next day from the chin strap pulling on it! As my feet made their way over my head I felt an excruciating pain in my right leg. I knew right away I had pulled my hamstring..sigh..this is going to be a long afternoon. I struggled to get the bike picked up and soon it started and I was back riding...painfully. The problem was I couldn't stand up on the pegs. Every little bump, dip,root was going to be transmitted through my poor ass. It didn't deserve this but if I wanted to finally finish one of these that was the way it was going to be.
The gas stop came and went as I quickly ate a few energy bars and a large gatorade. I was losing time but I had to eat something. The next 25 miles were slowly put behind me. Cramping was something new to me but was annoyingly apparent the last 5 miles. There were a few turns that happened right near the edge of a step drop..I had to tell my self to not look down. There was one really sketchy bridge that was 2ft wide with a slight kink in the middle over a deep part. I swear i felt it moving beneath me
as i passed over. Enventually I pulled up to yet another check only to be told " That's it, it's over "...
4+ hours of riding yet the feeling of finally finishing one was so sweet as I rode a parade lap around the parking lot showing off my modified ride and telling my story.
No trophy and a horrible finishing position but the key word is Finish !!
C Super Senior (45+) - Check-by-Check Score by Place
Place FTRE# Rider Name Brand Row
1 56259A James Waldron 6E 0 0 17/1046 0 23/1381 0 13 0 18 0 29 11 100/2427
2 58639A Matthew Covey 47C 0 0 19/1115 0 28/1699 11 24 9 26 7 36 11 160/2814
3 58839A Steve Whitfield 71B 0 0 21/1272 1 34/2028 13 29 13 36 18 48 11 213/3300
4 56638A Troy Stainbrook 14D 0 0 18/1109 14 31/1889 13 27 11 36 17 48 11 215/2998
5 58501A Jack Hatfield 14B 0 0 23/1358 6 41/2488 25 42 26 48 30 10 241/3846
6 56353A Don Chriss 52E 0 0 17/1005 0 21/1267 5 17 3 8 63/22