Train Robbers Enduro, Bismarck, AR
Hosted by the Arkansas Dirt Riders, this race was the 4th in the circuit, but my 3rd.
I had a 4-hour commute to the race, so I trailered. Between Hardwood and Train Robbers, I made a transition and got rid of the POS truck in favor of a sweet Econoline van.
I worked a deal with my brothers and we decided it was time to have a van wrapped with our company logo, so you'll see the transition in later installments.
On the way to Train Robbers, I had the fortune of interacting with a different style of adventure riders. These guys were dispersed all around a gas station tweaking their rigs, checking/adding fluids, and bench racing. Cool stuff, so I figured it was picture-worthy.
Sorry for the diversion, but it was part of my experience.
I guess the concept of these guys turtling around on public roadways was a good allegory for my KLR in an enduro race.
The pits were situated on a powerline/gas line within the woods. I set up camp where I could. It was dusty as hell and starting to get pretty hot.
Despite the fact that I was surrounded by loud generators, dust, and heat, I had some pretty cool neighbors. Three dudes rolled up in an SUV with one race bike, a quad, tons of beer and some Doritos. Oh, and a window unit air conditioner.
I cooked some fine cuisine over the camp stove.
We stayed up late shooting the shit over beers. I generally try to temper my consumption the night before a race. The last thing I need is a hangover.
I got the best night's sleep that I could, what with the heat and noise. The rider's meeting the next morning was a bit different for me.
The Arkansas Dirt Rider's club is a tratitional and patriotic one. This was the first time I had seen a middle-aged man in full moto gear stand at saluted attention to sing the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America. Furthermore, there was a full sermon from what I could best describe as the moto-pastor. He even had a church tent set up in the pits and had one or more scheduled worship ceremonies.
I also got to see some other enduro buddies- Marvin and his son Manuel.
As usual, I was surrounded by typical enduro bikes and riders. Some faces are starting to look familiar. Nods of recognition are becoming more common.
I registered in a sexy row to go with my curvy bike.
I didn't do any particular bike prep. Basically just the basic fluid service, etc. Tires were still pretty good from last enduro.
The race was about as challenging as any other. The dry conditions and heat were pretty tough, but the dust was usually a temporary inconvenience when being passed.
Like usual, I had a fun first loop and the second loop whipped my ass. I got to see my camp neighbors on the trail. I came into a nice series of rock ledges which are probably no big deal for most riders, but they were tall from my perspective. The two dudes had loaded up some beers on the quad and ridden to the rock ledges to watch riders on this obstacle. As the ledges came into sight, I instinctively slowed to assess. As I did this, I was met with hooting and hollering from my camp neighbors, each with a beer in one hand. "Hit the gap!!" the both yelled as the pointed at a small crevice with each empty hand. I gassed it in that general direction and bucked my way over the ledges. "Woo Hoo!!!" I heard their cheers as I got a second wind and headed into the latter half of the second loop.
Unfortunately, what would come next was the experience that stuck with me as the only real sour note for the whole season.
To be continued...