Hardwood Hills Enduro
The 3rd race of the season (2nd for me) was the Hardwood Hills Enduro held in Mansfield, MO.
This one was a bit different, in that it was held on the same weekend as the annual ADV SLAP rally at White Rock, AR. I didn't want to skip the rally for the race (or vice versa), so I planned to do both. I had precious cargo (like beer and t-shirts) to haul to SLAP, so I had to take a vehicle this time. No more Ironman style.
So the race was pre-empted by 2 days of riding in the Ozarks.
This wasn't without it's own set of challenges, in fact. Had a minor flat on my POS truck.
Fortunately, the time spent changing the flat was needed for the overheating motor.
Starting to wonder if I'll actually make it to the Enduro on Sunday.
Got the bike unloaded and since the area was only sparsely occupied, I took off on a short, easy ride.
As I neared camp, I crossed a creek and spied a 2-track trail that enticed me to enter. It was a fun little detour which crossed the creek several times, had some challenging terrain, etc. I still had my highway gearing and bald D606 on the bike, so I wasn't looking for singletrack just yet, but this was a nice warm up for the weekend. I even stopped to snap a few pics.
Life was good. Glad to be in the woods, but maybe things are a bit too calm...
Managed to wash out the rear end while ascending a short rocky climb and dropped the bike on its left side. No big deal- this happens all the time.
Wait... there is a pee stream of coolant shooting out of my radiator.
Damn. Time to extract. Fortunately, I wasn't too far from a road according to my GPS. I was sure that these 2-tracks would lead back to where I needed to be to reach the lodge. So I started hauling ass. I made a few wise choices at some splits and eventually hit the road and back to camp. Along the way, I managed to biff pretty nicely while negotiating a double-log obstacle at speed in 2nd gear. Brushed it off though.
Started tearing down the bike. Is this fixable by Sunday? YES IT IS! I have the time, tools, and skills. No big deal. The methods were a bit odd, maybe.
The bracket holding the rock guard on the radiator got bent inward. The screw punctured the radiator. Thanking my lucky stars that this didn't happen on race day.
I removed the now-emptied radiator, washed it in the lodge kitchen sink and put it in the oven at 250 deg for a half hour to dry so I could patch it with JB Quik.
Worked like a dream.
The next day, my fixed radiator seemed to hold, so I departed on a solo ride to parts unknown. None of my Tulsa peeps were there yet. I didn't want to ride singletrack because I needed to do a better job of preserving the bike and body for the Hardwood Hills Enduro up in Missouri on Sunday. My wanderings started at Mill Creek OHV on the blue loop (quad trail), and meandered aimlessly around the Ozarks until late afternoon.
I still had to prep the bike. Slapped on a fresh Trakmaster-II and swapped in the stump-pulling gears.
Saturday morning joined the crew for a half-day ride called the "Newner Backdoor" before departing to the Hardwood hills. On our GPS tour-de-confusion, we found some unused trails and did some bushwacking. It was great. Got to practice some double-log crossings. Good training for the enduro.
Ok, well the point of this write-up was the enduro circuit, so I'll digress...
Headed towards Mansfield, MO in my POS truck. Arrived at the pits to find several Okie buddies and pitched camp.
Up next- the race.
Spoiler alert- it whipped my ass.