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Old 03-04-2013, 11:14 AM   #263
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On Any Sunday
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Columbia County
Oddometer: 736

As we continue to prepare for the upcoming season, Luke and I have been talking about getting in at least one or maybe two races before the D100 and the MK1. So we decided to ride the XC race at Eddieville on St Patty's Day (even Doc Sprocket is going to ride with us!) and then my old friend Don H (he is the one that gave me my SL350 back in 2011, and got me re-started on this adventure) said we should go ride the 6 hour team race at Eddieville on 3-3, just to get me familiar with the course before the XC on 3-17. He said I could ride "sweep" and get some seat time without racing an unfamiliar course on a less than competitive bike.

Don (H) has been riding at Eddieville for at least 20 years and he and his riding partner (also a Don (N)) have been racing and riding together longer than that. Don and I left Scappoose at 6AM Sunday morning and planned to meet Don N at the track at 9 AM. Race time was set for 10 AM. We had a nice drive up the Columbia River Gorge.

Don at the wheel;

While we were driving and talking, I asked Don how many riders they had on their team. He said it was just the two of them. Hmmmm. So then I asked would it be of any help to them if I rode a few laps, just to give them a little rest. Well sure, that would be okay. So riding sweep turned into racing pretty quickly (who didn't see that coming?).

So as we got closer to the track, we saw more and more of the famous windmills of the Columbia Gorge;

At this point Don mentioned that we would be riding right next to some of these windmills and that I should try not be startled when the shadow comes sweeping across in front of me on the track. He said that over the years at least a few people had managed to run off the track when this had happened.

Then I saw the track and it looked just a bit like the D100, just not quite as many vehicles;

Race Club here is the "Over The Bars Gang"

We unloaded the bikes and started to get ready;

Whatcha doin' Don?

Suited up and ready to go;

Don H

Don N


Since all three of us are getting close to 60, we signed up as Team Viagra. Laps were approximately 9 miles long over what amounts to a very large motocross course, with a small rock garden and also a section featuring small stacks of telephone poles and then finishes on an actual flat track that was pretty well groomed, and about 3/8 mile in length (nirvana!). The plan was to have Don H lead off, go 2 to 3 laps and then Don N would take over for 2 to 3 laps. I would then ride one lap, evaluate my ability and my bike's ability to do more and go from there. This was the first real test of my shoulder since last years injury and the TTR is basically a little foo foo bike, so we needed to make sure I could run at least close to a competitive speed and also not hurt myself.

Don came and went on his first lap, there was a 5 mph speed limit on pit road that was checked with a radar gun, and enforced with a one minute penalty (you were stopped and held for one minute). Before the day was over we would end up getting three such penalties. It is very hard to go 5 mph or less on a dirt bike!

When Don came by on his second lap, he was supposed to let us know if he was stopping or going on for another lap, but didn't see us until it was too late and he just kept going for his 3rd lap. Don is on the left;

After Don H did his 3 laps, Don N took off and did two laps, then it was my turn to give it a try. I'd never seen the course and had very little idea what to expect. At first I was hyper aware of the other riders and trying to stay out of their way and also just trying to learn the course and terrain and what my little trail bike would or wouldn't do. I also missed one corner (someone had mowed the flags down) and it took me a minute to get straightened out and pointed the right way. In the end it was a pretty uneventful lap, but I had cost our team about 5 minutes, we were averaging about 22 minutes a lap and my first one took about 27 minutes. I came into the pits, signaled I was going out for another lap and this time was feeling a little more confident and also starting to understand the limits of the TTR. There were smooth sections where it did pretty well and in the rough stuff I was working hard to find the smoothest lines and trying to keep the speed up. I ran off to the side of the trail in one place and gained some speed, but broke off a bunch of sage brush and jammed the brake pedal, so any time gained was lost while I stopped and cleaned out the vegetation! The new steering dampener also gave an added sense of confidence in the rock garden, not sure how much it helped, but no crashes leads me to believe it was working properly. Second lap took about 24 minutes.

Don H took off for another 2 laps and then Don N did two more, then it was my turn again & we figured if I rode one lap, then the other two faster riders would each do 2 more and that would finish our day. My last lap was my best and took about 23 minutes. I was trying to balance out my contribution to the team by helping them rest, but not riding so much that it created too much of a time deficit. At the finish we ended up with 16 laps or about 144 miles. Not bad for a bunch of old farts!

We had a great time, made some new friends and are all looking forward to the next event in two weeks.

Here is a post race photo of Team Viagra;

Good times!
"Nothing can stop us but fear and common sense”
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