September 29, 2013
Like manna from heaven, the clouds opened up tonight and dumped rain on the parched soil of Sardegna, Italy. Whether or not it is enough to suppress the dust and make for ideal course conditions remains to be seen.
Today was the final day of anticipation before the real reason we all came here, starts at 8:00 tomorrow morning.
This was our only real “down” day, so we took advantage of it by participating in a few simple activities while we are half way across the world from home. We found a small local congregation of our church and attended services. We then went spent a little time at one of the local public beaches which is right adjacent to the “KTM” test, and just tried to relax and prepare for tomorrow morning.
A team meeting was held tonight and final instructions and information was communicated to everyone. Team pre-riders are no longer allowed at the ISDE, so there is one rider who rides the days course and provides information back to the team jury delegates at a meeting each night. The “intel” we received on the course was, “It’s not hard….it’s not easy, and the tests will be dusty.” Pretty profound information. Ironically, about the time we sat down for dinner tonight, some real dark clouds were brewing in the mountains to the west and they let loose long enough that it should at least make a dent in the dust for a little while tomorrow.
At this point, all the preparation, worrying, walking tests, and analyzing have been done. It is up to the riders now to go out and make bikes and bodies survive 6 days of Enduro.
U.S. Trophy Team riders Thad Duvall and Zach Osborne are the first to go out at 8:01 tomorrow morning. Josh is the 5th U.S. Club Team rider to go out at 9:44.
Other than a quick walk along the beach early this week, we’ve not had a chance to enjoy some of the beautiful public beaches. We took about an hour today to just hang out and try to enjoy our last and only down day. This beach is within walking distance of the KTM special test.
Beautiful views of the Mediterannean
Another cultural observation of this area of Italy….they love American cartoon characters. This big ferry ship is painted with Looney Tunes characters. We’ve seen Pizzeria’s named after “The Simpsons”. We ate at a “Gelataria” (ice cream shop) last night named after Peter Pan. It’s kind of a funny fascination they have with American pop culture.
This is what the mountains to the northwest of us looked like tonight just as we were heading to dinner. The “Monte Pino” special test is right in these mountains. With any luck, the riders will enjoy an hour or two of great conditions tomorrow. With a lot of luck, the rain will keep up. It’s still raining at this time.
It was great to visit a local congregation of our church for a while today.
With the paddock (which is a boat dock/port) right in the middle of town, the riders have to come in and out every day. There are roundabouts and turns everywhere in this city and if a rider is not careful, they can get really lost and turned around which could cost them time. Doing well in the Six Days requires not only a very fast off-road rider, but a rider who can mentally stay alert to all of the confusing signs. There are three different colors for different days and multiple types of signs (arrows, dots, etc., and various combinations of those that mean different things). There are better examples around the city, but if you know what you’re looking for, there are multiple ISDE markers in this picture along with many regular city traffic signs.
Being an International motorcycling event has really brought out motorcycle enthusiasts everywhere. We’ve seen every kind of motorcycle imaginable and they’re parked in masses all around the city.
I previously mentioned that cars in Italy are tiny. Well, so are their parking spots. When we walked by, a woman was parking her car in this spot. I had to take a picture to illustrate what I mean when I say small, and what they consider an appropriate parking spot.
Here is the U.S. Team Rider list and their start times for tomorrow morning. Let’s do this.
This map is hanging in the hotel conference room indicating where all the team riders are located across the country.