September 26, 2012
The ISDE has really started now. The toughest day so far is complete, and taking its toll on some of the riders, but so many are still doing great. There has been some attrition. I’m happy to report that Josh had his best day yet and genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself today. He was smiling, and bench racing with me on the way back to the hotel after 215+ miles of some of the gnarliest terrain he has ever ridden. He’s not lighting up the scoreboard with his tests, but he’s been consistent and is trying to find that fine line between riding conservatively enough to not jeopardize finishing Six Days, and trying to ride fast enough to obtain good scores. It can be a slippery slope on either end of that spectrum and I’m trusting his judgment since he’s the one actually out there doing the riding and hard work. This is a huge learning experience for him on one of the world’s biggest stages. A good percentage of today was off-road miles and he said there were a lot of gnarly uphills and downhills to really test the rider.
The weather remains just about perfect….in fact there has started to be dust in areas, but I don’t think anybody is hoping for any rain. The course would be a disaster and probably impassable in some areas if it rains.
We were able to chase around to one check point and the same special test (the gnarly Enduro test that I posted pictures of last week). Based on the timing of when Josh goes through, we’re able to see most all of the Club riders. I’ve not had the opportunity to see the Trophy Team in any of the tests, but I figure there is a lot of regular media on them, so it’s kind of fun to be “in the trenches” with the club riders and share their photos and stories with so many of you.
Josh starting Day 3 (the duct tape and zip ties are holding his rear fender together nicely).
The pits are quite in the morning after all the riders leave, but by afternoon, they are anything but quiet.
We made it to Special Test 3/5 twice today. We were able to cheer on many of the US team riders. I love watching for the distinctive Skunk helmet to come through the trees and then cheer them on. I know as a rider/racer it can give you such a boost.
Nick Canny (for those of on the west coast, Nick looks like David Pearson riding a 250F every time I see him….great kid and strong support here for him). He had some bad luck today and went over the bars. He had to swap bars out at Check 4 and dropped about 30 minutes.
Rachel Gutish (Rachel has been amazing to watch and she has put down some great scores. Unfortunately today caught up to her and she’s injured her foot or leg. She hour’d out today but the crew went to work on her bike and they’re going to use the exception rule and allow her to keep riding (but not for a medal) tomorrow. I will wait to see in the morning if she is able to ride and she was really hurting. This girl is tough as nails so it wouldn’t surprise if she rides.
Sarah Whitmore. Sarah has been an asset to the women’s team, but she broke her knuckle on Day 1 and has been toughing it out. She got behind on today’s schedule, but is still riding. The first pic is her just after leaving Check 4. We then saw her in the special test on the gnarly hill climb.
She got up past this point and then got stuck in one of the big ruts with roots. I could see her raise her arm to the Marshall to ask for help (the riders were told that the Marshalls had to help if a rider was really stuck and if they did not, that it should be reported). My wife was standing right there trying to help point out the preferred line. The Marshall stared at Sarah and just shook his head. That set my wife off and she let “mama bear” loose on the guy. Some other Marshalls eventually came down and helped Sarah.
Back at Check 4, we saw all the club riders come in.
The miles were starting to take their toll on the bikes.
Devin Bolin leaving Check 4
Scott Bright leaving Check 4
The family was so happy to see Josh at Check 4 and know that he was still riding well and surviving the day.
Josh leaving Check 4
Then it was over to Test 3/5 again to try and help the riders. Josh told us at the check that there was a super gnarly hill that was causing a lot of problems. He said he got stuck for about 2 minutes on the hill during the first test trying to get through all the carnage.
This is the scene arriving to that test. It’s up in the hills. The scenery here is amazing. It’s not visible in the picture, but to the north in this picture is a huge castle up on a hill top. Directly across the dirt lane from the test start is a beautiful farmers field with jersey milk cows munching on postcard picture perfect green grass. There is still a very old-school east German feel to the area at times.
It didn’t take us long to find the hill he was referring to. We just walked into the woods and then started following all the cheering sounds.
That’s mud flying up in the air in the foreground. We were getting plastered with mud and sticks.
Me using my “American stick” to point out the best line to Josh up the hill.
Every time a German rider would come around the corner at the bottom of the hill, the entire place would go nuts. Cow Bells, Air Horns, and German flags being waved. I gotta admit, it was totally cool.
Josh made it up without too much issue compared to the first time but it was hard to avoid all the carnage.
Back to the pits and anxiously waiting for all the riders. Josh made it in on time and had a good tire change and a smile on his face.
Day 4 is next.