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Old 10-14-2013, 01:25 AM   #1
VxZeroKnots OP
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Vx finally enters a race, or a newb tapes on some numbers

Well it's finally in the books, it is a long drawn out story which I wasn't even sure was ever going to happen, so grab a beverage and get comfy or scroll down and look at all the lame pictures before clicking onto something more interesting.

I've been riding since 2009ish and been racing and riding mountain and BMX bikes my whole life. Despite my relative inexperience I had a two wheeled head start and am a bit of a nutter. I've been putting off racing for years because honestly I don't really like going that fast and I don't like jumping. Smashing myself or my bike into logs, piles of rocks, and falling down the sides of mountains I'm perfectly fine with.

That being the case I entered Last Dog Standing in the expert class as I'm stupid, crazy, and had be cajoled into it by inmates cross-country and thump_co. About a month before I rode in Montrose with inmate enduro-ince, or "the -ince" on some pretty gnarly stuff and was feeling good.

Here is "The -ince" eyeing up a healthy slice of bike smashing suffer pie.

riding with the ince

Driving back from that ride I started to feel extremely tired and achy. Not the kind of tired and achy a 28-year-old would feel after a hard days riding. I was getting sick.

I slept it off and went and rode a shorter local loop the next day, and felt pretty decent all day but that night it came back with a vengance. The next four days I had a high fever, whole body aches, and extreme fatigue. I still went into work every day as we had an important project to deliver and it wouldn't have happened without me.

The next weekend my buddy andrew came down to ride and i was still sick but less so, so I went out for a couple rides with him.

Me doing some log hoppin!
yog hops.

Andrew getting all splishy splashy

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The second day I made a lot of mistakes and he commented "Man you are all over the place today." It was true and I knew it. This was about three weeks before LDS. The following tuesday I was having Margaritas in the back yard by the fire pit with my wonderful girlfriend and noticed I was stumbling like I'd drank ten of the things, not two. It kept getting worse, I wasn't physically sick anymore but my motor skills were going to shit. I normally ride my bike into work and that got down right hazerdous, I had to stop driving. A week later I arranged to work from home until I got better as the Dr thought it might be a couple of weeks for an inner ear thing to work itself out.

Wrong.

LDS came, and went. I was able to have cross-country use my entry. A month later I was having trouble talking, could only walk like someone 15 shots in, couldn't touch the end of my nose with my finger to save my life, and was referred to a neurologist and told it was bad. I pretty much thought it was over and the moments spent lying on the front porch in the sun under the russian olive in front of my house with the dogs and my girlfriend would be some of my last.

I went to the neurologist who put me through the gamut of tests and determined my inner ear was fine and I needed an MRI. Time to go in the tube. By the end of that week they had determined there was no tumors or visible cancers and a blood test had come up normal. I didn't know it at the time but a pattern had begun to emerge.

Still with the sober walking and talking abilities of a college freshman who is a handle deep into the nights shots I spent the next four weeks on the couch extremely thankful for netflix and in and out of the hospital.

MRI. Nothing. Blood Test. Nothing. MRI with contrast dye. Nothing. Spinal Tap. Nothing. Blood test sent to mayo clinic. Nothing.

The weeks drug into months like your bike does after it falls off the hitch carrier and you pull it nervously by the straps for the next hundred yards until you can fight your way through traffic to the side of the road. I put down seasons of sci-fi shows faster than a toddler drinks a juice box. Languishing all day in a dog hair filled couch I couldn't clean up. I wanted it to end, and certainly had the means, but knew it was just another obstacle I had to beat.

Three months after it all started I began to ride my mountain bike up and down the block. There were lots of very awkward slow crashes. I started going to physical therapy and learning to walk again. People said I sounded better on the phone and not like I'd spent another morning with the hair of the dog. Then I rode my bike around the block. Then I rode my bike to work. I stopped using a walker and started using a cane. Progress wasn't measured in days but in weeks and months and life still pretty much sucked. I was getting better but had no idea how much better I'd get.

I started riding my mountain bike on single track again going very slow and crashing often. I've stood the the top of podiums, have a collegiate conference gold medal for the one year I raced that, and here I was; riding at the level of a brand new beginner. It was frustrating as hell, but damn was it good to be out on the trail again.

Skip to about four months since it all started, and el doctors determined they had no clue what the fuck had happened to me but I was getting much better and it was probably some very unlucky virus which had been beaten by my immune system before they could turn my into a lab rat. Regardless, my noggin had been damaged and it took all that time to get pretty much every motor skill back, walking, talking, driving, typing, putting socks on, the works.

So fast forward to the beginning of September and the riding season is shot to shit and I am completely caught up on Star Trek, Star Gate, and Fringe. All of it. I was nervous to go ride a dirt bike out in the woods because there are things to drop them off and things to fall down. So I did what I figured was the more logical thing. I rode my 950 with a dead clutch around the neighborhood. About 20 Miles around the neighborhood.

S.T.L.R.B. with mineral oil all down her side.

Untitled

It felt great. Not riding proficiently or safely great. Wind in my face, endless coasting, two wheels, and a healthy motor great.

I continued to ride my mountain bike and was getting to level where it was fun again. Time to ride a dirty bike.

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Oh god damn yes. All the struggles I encountered riding a mountain bike were about 10% of the obstacle at this point on a dirt bike. Inmate thump_co had talked to me about doing the denver endurocross so I figured what better a celebration of my recent rise from shittyness than to make a fool of myself in front of a crowd.

I made lists and spread sheets. Riding my moto three times a week, my mtb 3 times a week and goind to the gym.

Untitled

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It was still hard, I still made a lot of mistakes, and was still functioning at around 95% Walking and standing still give me problems. Fortunately I've always been pretty clumsy so others don't really seem to notice.

Five days before the race I was going to go out for one last short testing ride to make sure some jetting changes I'd done felt good.

The bike felt great but the 5mph awkward slow crash into a recent rain rut caused this:

Untitled

Shit.

Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.

The next day I called every dealer in the US I could think of. No one had a brake pedal I could overnight. Lesson Learned about riding oddball bikes in races.... Everyone I talked to on the phone was very helpful and sympatheitc to my cause. So props to Halls Cycles, Jim of Dual Sport Utah, and Doug of Dougs Kawasaki who offered to try and weld my pedal should I not be able to find a replacement. Finally I called Gunnison Motorsports and talked to the owner Fritz. He offered to take the pedal off a brand new 2013 Gasser 300 and sell it to me. I was so thrilled!

I had my hotel reservations, the friday before off, and a bunch of new stuff like tires and such I bought for LDS but obviously never used.

IMG_2135

IMG_2136

All I had to do was stop through Gunny on the way to Denver and everything would be set. Oh yeah, except for the most part I had no idea what I was doing.


Everything is ready to go!


So on Friday I drop off the dogs at my mom's hop in the car with the gf/mechanic, and hit the road in the season's first snow storm

IMG_2142

IMG_2162

We got the brake lever and pulled into Boulder, where we were staying, around 9pm. Ate some din and then hit the sack the next thing I know is this. Slept through the alarm, shit show engage.

IMG_2209

We met my buddy andrew at the venue as he was riding in my class. Thump_co talked me into racing and then bailed with some lame excuse about bike problems so shame him when you see him post.

At the Western Center parking lot my mechanic/ wonderful girlfriend guards our fine euro steeds.

IMG_2210

Andrew putting his numbers on.

IMG_2212

Hell Yeah! Race time baby!

IMG_2214

Scenic views. What adventure is complete without them?

IMG_2215

A quick pose before the rider's meeting.

IMG_2216

Well we wandered/scrambled around like idiots and managed to get registered, make the track walk, and get our kits on in time for the first practice.

The course, of course.

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I was pretty nervous because it was my first race and I can't ride for beans at the moment, but overall felt fairly good. I lined up for the first practice and made it throught he first three obstacles without too much effort. Then came the log matrix. I got very stuck, as I did every lap, and it made me so tired everything else, which was pretty rideable, became very hard. I got stuck again in the rocks and again in the river rock turn. So in perfect newb fashion, I huffed and I puffed and I whiskey throttled my bike off the next non-obstical on the first lap of practice and broke my subframe to shit. Instead of stopping and watching some more experenced folks lines or getting my wits and breath back I put myself out of the race by breaking the ass off my bike.

Oh wait never mind, god gave us zip ties, electrical tape, and jb weld.

Untitled

I was very thankful threw in a cordless drill "just in case" because I needed it. And the jumbo pack of zip ties!
I was also very thankful my wonderful girlfriend was along because she dove into the tool box and started patching shit back together.

Considering I got basically ten minutes of practice, two to four laps at best, before qualifying, and my bike was broken in half but held together with fifty cents worth of shit I felt like things were going pretty well. In my second practice I got stuck in the matrix on my second lap and some one ran into me from behind and really broke my broken rear end. Regardless, the dreaded stack of tires never even got me once!

meTires

I got the unholeshot in qualifying, which was good, because my bike made it to the second corner and..... just fucking died. I ran the battery down trying the e-starter, then kicked and kicked and kick until one of the course workers came over and started joking with me. It was actually pretty funny considering. After what felt like fifteen minutes I kicked and she fired, so I rode the next obstacle and the next course worker told me to pull off because the checkers were out. Hallelujah, I didn't have to ride the matrix!


I went back to the pits dejected, thinking my day was over. I met andrew who got 3rd, just one position shy of qualifying. He was actually riding really well the day I thought.

Andrew coming out of the rocks.

andrew wheelie exposure up


Andrew in the reever rocks

andrewRiverRocksTurn


Andrew coming out of the reever rocks

AndrewExitRiverRocks

Andrew blasting into rock mountain.

andrewEnteringRocks

Well I talked to an AMA offical who said even though I DNF'd qualifying I still got to race LCQ. Being grouped with the worse was my best time at the race. I cleaned everything but the matrix, despite coming in dead last. Being that two months ago I was using a walker, and my bike was completely fucked I was very thrilled with how things went!

Rounding turn one in last place.
meTurnOne

coming into turn two.

cornerTwoMe

More turn two.

drew logs exposure up saturation down

Jumping the big tire spine thing.

meTireJump

This is the obstacle I whisky throttled. It was the easiest bit of the course haha.

meRockWall

Cleaning the rocks

meRockPile

Hey, I'm not on the ground so things are going well right?

meRiverRocks

I could get half way through the matrix before getting epicly stuck.

meMatrix

Don't be fooled by the timing of this photo. I rolled the double every time

meDouble

Rounding the last turn right before my completing a successful first race without injury, dismemberment, or death!

exitCornerTwoMe

All in all it was a great experience and I learned a lot. Bike can be fixed and I definitely want to enter another endurocross. I hope to spend some time on a course similar to the one we rode and get an actual feel for it as I felt like every lap I got better and better. I maybe never "got it" but certainly reached the point where I could see myself a least finding the middle of the pack. Since I'm ridiculous I don't see to many hair scrambles or regular enduros in my future, but would lvoe to see what hard enduro is all about and race some more EX.


Honestly I'm just super thankful to be back on a bike.
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Old 10-14-2013, 05:33 AM   #2
enduro-ince
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Great read Drew! Really good to see you back on the bike!! Get that baby fixed up so we can hang this weekend!
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:03 AM   #3
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Great story! Glad to see you back on a bike!! Cheers!
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:18 AM   #4
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Nice. I was there for the practice, cheering my friend Brandon who raced his KX250. He got stuck on the starting gate during the LCQ so unfortunately he didn't qualify. We were parked a few cars down from you, wish I'd have known that was you.

Great job going out there and getting after it!
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:25 AM   #5
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Awesome Job! Love seeing the 2T's out there too. They sounded so much better than some of the super obnoxious 4 strokes some of the guys were running.

I took my three little boys (10, 5 and 3) to watch the afternoon practices and they loved it. I talked to one of the pros and he was saying that this was the toughest of the courses they've ridden because of the spacing of the obstacles and having no time to catch your breath between things.

Never having ridden a course like this I had a question for anyone who tried it. How much shifting were you actually doing? It almost seemed like everything was set up to be run in one gear?!

Props to you (and the other amatuers) for running it
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:56 AM   #6
Thorny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaParkerColo View Post
Never having ridden a course like this I had a question for anyone who tried it. How much shifting were you actually doing? It almost seemed like everything was set up to be run in one gear?!
Last year I rode the whole course in 3nd gear on my KTM 250xc. This year I rode the whole course in 1st gear on my KTM 350sxf. With 13,000rpm to work with I really didn't have a need for shifting.

From talking to some of the pro's last year, they shared that they only have 2 gears in their transmissions, so not a lot of shifting there either.
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Old 10-14-2013, 08:24 AM   #7
VxZeroKnots OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olas View Post
Nice. I was there for the practice, cheering my friend Brandon who raced his KX250. He got stuck on the starting gate during the LCQ so unfortunately he didn't qualify. We were parked a few cars down from you, wish I'd have known that was you.

Great job going out there and getting after it!
Yeah sorry, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to keep up so I didn't get to look for inmates really.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaParkerColo View Post
Awesome Job! Love seeing the 2T's out there too. They sounded so much better than some of the super obnoxious 4 strokes some of the guys were running.

I took my three little boys (10, 5 and 3) to watch the afternoon practices and they loved it. I talked to one of the pros and he was saying that this was the toughest of the courses they've ridden because of the spacing of the obstacles and having no time to catch your breath between things.

Never having ridden a course like this I had a question for anyone who tried it. How much shifting were you actually doing? It almost seemed like everything was set up to be run in one gear?!

Props to you (and the other amatuers) for running it
I pretty much stayed in second the whole time, maybe shifted down to first when I got really stuck, and maybe into third when I accidentially bumped the shifter. I have to add, seeing the pros get stuck in the matrix and seeing them sucking wind after practice made me feel a lot better about my own struggles. I heard a few times that this was one of the more difficult courses they'd ridden.

Also, thanks everyone for the proppers!

Now the carnage.

Pretty much everything from the air filter boot back was toast. $$$

Untitled

I just started taking off broken things until I got to things which were not broken.

Nakey bike.

Untitled

Oh oh! Whats this? Well looks like I am taking the motor apart to see how it looks too. More $$$$.

Looks like the air filter peeled up at the bottom and let some crap in. How much or how bad, I guess I'll find out when I pull the top end... Ugh.

Untitled


To follow up a little more, Andrew ended up getting 2nd in the LCQ so he was one position away in both qualifying and LCQ from making the main. Pretty damn good if you ask me.

The day after before coming home the girlfriend and I drove out to the Highway Dirt Bikes shop and checked out their operation and had a few beers with the-anti-paul. He makes a top notch product and I certainly tested out their impact resistance on a ex course. Not much of my bike stayed intact, but my levers and bars did

Sorry ince, moab this weekend is looking pretty grim at this point...
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:46 AM   #8
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Awesome to see you back on a bike, and way to stick it out. Looked crazy difficult. I hope you are able to patch back together for next weekend!
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:18 PM   #9
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Wow! Congrat's on overcoming such hardship (riding with -ince, that is). Just amazing.

Any chance that could have been West Nile?
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:16 PM   #10
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Possibly but not likely, I tested negative for West Nile and my symptoms weren't totally in line with what I read/heard about that. Bickerstaff's Encephalitis had pretty close symptoms to my un-medically trained, internet induced hypochondriac self;but nothing was ever conclusive. The official diagnosis was cerebral ataxia associated with the archicerebellum. This basically translates to an observed loss of coordination especially in the vestibular system.

The how and why if why that system was damaged remain a mystery, but fortunately it repairs itself fairly well. The important part is that I've gotten a lot better since the onset, as those suffering from rare cancers and genetic and or degenerative diseases don't really do that. I'll know about a year from this past august how much better I'm actually going to get but things are looking pretty favorable at the moment.

As to riding with "the -ince" through my understanding friends and family and years worth of professional counseling I should be able to overcome this devastating event. I'm afraid my riding confidence has nearly died from the few encounters I've had. I can't listen to music with a bass guitar without having debilitating flashbacks.
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Old 10-14-2013, 04:23 PM   #11
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I have accepted my shame.

..and somehow it is quite well counterbalanced by my lack of physical pain today. I believe I may have found a new niche as a "motivational rider" in getting others to sign up for these things. See all the helpful training it did for you? You're welcome.


Quote:
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As to riding with "the -ince" through my understanding friends and family and years worth of professional counseling I should be able to overcome this devastating event.
-Ince's gravitational field slowly absorbed your awesome, and Dale's substantially quickens the effect. You were lucky to have escaped early enough you could still drive home that weekend.

Seriously Drew. Great job on the recovery.. and for the sack to race EX within a couple months of learning to walk again!
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Old 10-15-2013, 07:44 AM   #12
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I have accepted my shame.

..and somehow it is quite well counterbalanced by my lack of physical pain today. I believe I may have found a new niche as a "motivational rider" in getting others to sign up for these things. See all the helpful training it did for you? You're welcome.

You need to work on your wardrobe.

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Old 10-15-2013, 09:05 AM   #13
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You need to work on your wardrobe.
I see no problem with the wardrobe.

But I'm realizing that haircut does make me look a bit heavy.
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:12 AM   #14
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Dang Drew! I had no idea! HUGE KUDOS to you! Races and log matrixes don't mean a hill of beans. You're #1 in my book!

My weekend did not go as planned. So I did not make it to Endurocrosss. Still, I am totally impressed and inspired by your story! ATTABOY!
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Old 10-15-2013, 11:50 AM   #15
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Yeah....damn man....I too had no idea. Watched ya racin....looked hard. Real hard. The pros said it was hard. But you did it! Excellent comeback!!

Now get that bike repaired and go enjoy some trails. They'll all be cake after EX.
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