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Old 10-23-2014, 11:55 PM   #1
mknight OP
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ISDE 2014 - San Juan Argentina

A year ago in November, my son Josh and I went down to our local KTM dealer, ADS Motorsports in Ogden Utah, and picked up his crate that had recently been shipped back from Sardegna Italy. It contained his bike and gear, used at the 2013 ISDE in Italy. We had just enjoyed another experience of a lifetime at the ISDE and were getting back into regular life.

I jokingly told him at that time if he had any aspirations of trying to qualify for the ISDE again, that the only way it would be possible financially, would be to park that same bike in the garage for another 6 months, ride it at the ISDE qualifier in June, and then have his results be the decision maker for another run at the ISDE in Argentina in 2014, where he would have to use the same bike.

It turns out, the ISDE is in his blood and here we find ourselves, preparing to leave for Argentina in a few days.

Based on the interest and encouraging words from many, I intend to share our experience again this year through both pictures and word (time permitting). I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing how much more exposure and interest there is in our own local racing community in Utah, in the ISDE, as well as throughout the nation and world. The ISDE is unlike any other motorcycle race event anywhere in the world, and I realize for most, it is only a dream to even spectate the event, let alone participate as a racer or U.S. Team support personnel.

My goal this year is to tell both the story of the U.S. Team as a whole, but also tell the personal story through my own eyes as a Dad, mechanic, friend, and support team member, as well as through Josh’s insight as a racer, son, and member of Team USA.

There are many who want the insight of the team experience as a whole, but I also know there are many friends and family at home following who have a particular interest in Josh. There are also many fascinating stories and insight of other U.S. Team members that I will share where possible. We have made life-long friends all over the world and country through the greatest motorcycling event in the world, the ISDE.

For anyone interested in reading more from previous year’s blogs about the ISDE and how we got to this point, I encourage you to read the following:
Germany 2012
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=800782
Italy 2013
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=903634

Mexico 2010
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=632778

Reading those blogs will provide a lot more context and perspective. I also use the term “we” loosely. Make no mistake about it, Josh is the racer, and is the one with the skill and talent, and hard work to qualify. But I’ve also learned, this is a huge effort and sacrifice on the part of the entire family (as well as our extended racing family and community). It really is one of those things where you can’t imagine the work effort that and financial commitment that is involved until you go through it. But, it’s also one of those things that when it’s all over and you look back on it, it is totally worth it.

Before departing for Argentina this weekend, I wanted to share a few photos and offer some perspective on the preparations for this year.

As most are aware, there are really only two ways to go to the ISDE: 1) attend one of two qualifiers (usually a “West” and an “East” coast qualifier) in the nation, usually in the May/June timeframe, and finish first or second in one of three classes (E1, E2, E3, or E4) or 2: be selected by the AMA for one of the Trophy Teams (World Trophy, Junior Trophy, or Women’s Trophy).

Josh qualified from the West Coast event, the Idaho City qualifier, in the E1 class, riding the same bike he rode in Italy last year, a 2013 KTM 250XCF. He will be riding the exact same bike in Argentina. The class designations are differentiated based on bike displacement/engine size. For those trying to qualify through one of the qualifiers, there is always a little bit of strategy as to which class and bike size to ride, but it’s always a crapshoot, as you never know exactly who your competition will be. Last year, in Italy, Josh discovered that the C1 class was completely stacked and was by far the “fastest” club class on average. In other years, it could be totally opposite. At the real ISDE, there is an “E” or “C” designation put in front of the three classes, with the E being for the Trophy riders and the “C” being for the Club riders, but they’re all scored together for the overall results, but scored separately for individual class results…….confused yet?.

In this photo, Josh lines up for Day 2 at the Idaho City qualifier with friends Ben Meza and Michael Allen from California.


I was also fortunate this year to ride Idaho City with my other son Kobee. Idaho City did not disappoint as usual.


The Idaho City inpound the night before. There is nothing quite like the sight of an ISDE bike impound. At the real ISDE, there will be more than twice this many bikes. If you’re a moto geek like me, you will appreciate this picture.


After 2 days of solid riding in Idaho, Josh had secured the E1 win for the weekend. At the end of Day 2 Josh enjoyed a quick chat and some coaching from one of his most influential mentors, Jake Vainio. Jake is like a Roger DeCoster role model to Josh. He’s a former Junior Trophy rider from Finland who competed in multiple ISDE’s for his home country of Finland, and has since competed in two ISDE’s for Team USA as a club rider (Mexico, 2010, and Finland, 2011). Jake was there riding Idaho City this year.


After Idaho City, the official invitation was extended from the AMA, to be a member of Team USA at the ISDE in Argentina. One of the cool parts is that Josh will be on a club team (the GoFasters.com team) with Alex Dorsey and Travis Coy, both from California. The three of them each won their respective classes at Idaho City. They will be a solid team. Alex was on the team last year in Italy, and I witnessed how incredibly fast he is, and Travis was on the Junior Trophy Team in Germany and proved his speed with the overall win at Idaho City this year.

Once things became official, the real work began. This included bike prep, fund-raising, training, more fund-raising, training, coordination with sponsors, training, and more fund-raising.

Thanks to the Ogden Cycle Association (our local MX track and club), we were able to host a very successful ride weekend, where the local riding community turned out in mass. Thanks to everyone who supported this event!

Riders enjoy some relief from the heat with free sno cones and some bench-racing at Josh’s open practice fundraiser at the track (www.ocamx.com).





The track was prime and the riding was even better.




Remember what I said about this being a total family sacrifice. Mom and sister, are some of Josh’s biggest fans and supporters.


A big part of Josh’s program this year has been an increased focus on physical training. A huge thanks goes out to Coach Seiji and his virtual training program, which has really helped Josh and given him more focus and direction in his training efforts. Anyone interested in a virtual training program should give him a look.

http://www.coachseiji.com/athletes

Part of training has also been racing….alot of it. Here is Josh at one of our local USRA off-road races early this summer.


Another big fund raising effort was selling T-shirts and Hoodies. Thanks to Erek Kudla and GXE Design for the great help and design and Gaily’s T-shirts for the printing.


More training of every variety. This was a local Endurocross last month (yes, it was a rainy mudfest), competing against some very talented local riders.


Another underlying motivation for this year is to remember and honor a great role model and former teammate, Kurt Caselli. Nobody can ever underestimate the influence that Kurt had on young aspiring off-road riders. Josh was very fortunate to be able to call Kurt a teammate and friend who had started to take an interest in Josh’s progression and love for the ISDE.


Based on what we’ve been able to observe about San Juan Argentina, it looks to be very similar desert terrain to what we’re accustomed to riding. After some suspension tuning, Josh had one last opportunity to do some final testing on the bike before it had to be stuffed in a crate and shipped to Ohio to the AMA, and then on to Argentina in early September. This photo is from the Badlands in Western Wyoming. Based on some video we’ve seen from a World Enduro hosted in San Juan Argentina in 2012, there was a lot of terrain very similar to this.


It was then time to go through the bike in detail one last time and then get it shipped. Josh will be riding the same 2013 250XCF he rode in Italy. He loves this bike and in many ways, prefers to ride this bike over his 2-stroke.


After a lot of work and a late night, we got everything crammed into the crate.


Shut and lock the doors, on the crate, and hope we find it in the same condition when we arrive in Argentina.


Team Jerseys and Helmet arrived in time for a little personalization. Nothing quite like the distinctive and traditional skunk stripe helmet (and the new Arai’s look awesome).



We’re both very excited, and hope that if you are a fan of the ISDE and Team USA, that you’ll follow along this year. My goal is to share as much as I can about both the team, as well as those interested in following Josh’s story and experience. I’ll pick up in a few days when we arrive and get settled.
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Old 10-24-2014, 09:13 AM   #2
wrk2surf
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Looks like we may have a Replacement for Jeff Fredette ! 2 down 32 more !
Good luck in Argentina you will like it !
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Old 10-24-2014, 11:33 AM   #3
Country Doc
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Very cool!! Thanks for the story. Looking forward to riding along virtually and hearing the updates.

Good luck Josh!!

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Old 10-24-2014, 12:24 PM   #4
GalacticGS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Country Doc View Post
Very cool!! Thanks for the story. Looking forward to riding along virtually and hearing the updates.

Good luck Josh!!

dc
+1

Go Josh and Team USA!!!
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Old 10-26-2014, 12:43 PM   #5
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Good luck you guys and pumped to have taken a small part!
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Old 10-26-2014, 10:06 PM   #6
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Best of luck to Josh and Team USA.

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Old 10-27-2014, 08:41 AM   #7
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Old 10-27-2014, 05:47 PM   #8
slidewayes
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Best of luck to you and all of the team GO GET THEM
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Old 10-29-2014, 10:59 AM   #9
dickosaurus
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Bueno suerta. The ISDE is certainly one of the toughest tests of man and machine on this planet.
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Old 10-29-2014, 11:10 AM   #10
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Thanks for sharing this in a report! What are the main reasons Josh likes to ride the 4 stroke over the 2 smoker?
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Old 10-29-2014, 07:04 PM   #11
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*(This is from yesterday but due to Internet connectivity issues (which persist), I’m just barely getting this loaded for now.). I don’t know what I’ll be able to continue to post based on these issues, but will do all I can.

Tuesday October 28, 2014

After a very long, but reasonably uneventful 28 hours of travel, we’ve arrived in Argentina (as of last night). It’s exciting to be here again and get things started. Here are a few highlights, observations, and perspective on what we’ve experienced thus far:

*The entire U.S. Container is still stuck in customs. Normally, Tuesday of the week before the race (today) is spent unloading the container, uncrating bikes, and beginning initial setup. Based on the information we’ve received, it will be Thursday night at the earliest before it is available. This presents a very interesting variable in everyone’s preparation. Based on past experience, bikes are usually impounded or close to impounded by Thursday so at this point, we don’t know what that schedule will look like.

*As a result of the above, today was spent walking special tests, and we will likely be doing the same for the next two full days. Josh and I aren’t particularly concerned about the timing because he was one of the fortunate ones that was able to ship a full container. What that means is bike assembly will be minimal. He is also riding the exact same bike as last year, so all we really have to do is bars, wheels/tires, and a few very minor things. However, for others, they have a great deal of setup and prep to do which usually can take a couple of days. Many club riders were forced to ship bikes in “half” containers, meaning they’re much more disassembled and will require more time.

*Argentina is a lot like what I expected. It is very very similar to our experience in 2010 as support crew at the Mexico ISDE. The city is a weird mix of modern luxuries, with a healthy dose of poverty and incredibly humble “homes” everywhere. Inbred dogs running everywhere, men using horse and carriage for farm work, while an Audi sedan drives by, children playing barefoot in dirt soccer fields or in the gutter as huge trucks zoom by within inches. It’s typical South American humble, slow-paced, lifestyle.

*It’s hot here. Today was over 95 degrees as we were walking tests. The heat and the dust are going to be huge factors for the racers.

*To nobody’s surprise, it’s a desert here. It’s crazy how closely some of the terrain resembles what we’re accustomed to at home in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California. This is definitely “West Coast” terrain. No trees or mud here, just lots of rock, sand, cactus, and more sand and rocks.

*The Internet in the hotel is horribly slow. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to sustain getting photos uploaded. Simply getting a connection is painful, let alone doing any type of upload/download.

Below are some pictures from today. We drove to 3 separate special tests that will be used on Day 5. I’ve also provided a few candid shots to try and give a little bit of feel for the culture as that is a key element that influences the entire Six Days experience.

The first test we walked today was Test 1 from Day 5. A big group of the U.S. club riders traveled to the tests together to check it out, this included in this picture (Kyle McDonal, Michael Pillar, Justin Sode, Josh Knight, Rachel Gutish, Alex Dorsey, AJ Lehr, and AJ’s family).


Mike Pillar, Justin Sode, and Josh enjoying a laugh. Justin and Josh know each other from Italy last year.


The cactus is in bloom in the desert. This is full on desert. No trees or mud anywhere around here.


Brian Storrie from Texas, and Josh walking the test together.


The rest of the crew from today.


The Kelley brothers from Connecticut area. The desert was very new for these guys, but like all good racers, they’ll adapt.


Josh and I nicknamed this test the “Lucerne Valley” test based on its likeness to Lucerne Valley California where many of the National Hare n’ Hound and other desert races occur. This test is very “WORCS” style. It looks a dozer has gone out and bladed a course through the desert. It will be fast and flowy and primarily consists of rock and sand.



This picture could easily be mistaken for the California or Nevada desert we’re accustomed to, but we’re on the other side of the world.



We've come to realize the daily Siesta time. The kids are let out of school at noon. Moms (and Dads) come to pick them up and cram as many as they can on a scooter.



Most of the kids wear this white lab coat looking jackets to school. How many Argentine kids fit on a scooter? So far the record we've seen is 4.



Walking Special Test 2/5 of Day 5.



Josh and I have nicknamed this the Moab test because it is just like home around the Moab and Green River area of Utah. I can't believe how similar it is.





More of the "Moab Test".





These big thorn bushes are everywhere. Riders won't be "busting" through these.



Walking Special Test 2/5 of Day 5.



I love the desert.




Walking Special Test 2/5 of Day 5.



This test is really cool. Josh checking out his line.






Brian Storrie from Texas has taken a lot of the riders under his wing. He loves sharing his ISDE experience.




Later that night, Josh and I went alone to walk the last test of Day 5. There are 3 tests on this day.





Nothing particularly exciting about this test. It will develop serious silt ruts and has a bunch of up and downhills with a rocky turn track in the bottom.







One more picture of the Moab test (not the eal name) showing some of the terrain.

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Old 10-29-2014, 07:49 PM   #12
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Way cool. I'm pulling for all you. Good luck and thanks for letting me ride along
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Old 10-29-2014, 07:55 PM   #13
mknight OP
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Wednesday October 29, 2014

Another day in the books here in Argentina. The entire U.S. Team container is still stuck in customs so the mode of operation for today and tomorrow is still to spend the time walking tests.

Josh and I kind of did our thing today. We walked 12-15 miles, most of it in sand (I have the blisters on my feet to prove it), checking out all of the tests from Days 3 and 4. The same course is used for days 3 and 4, and there are four tests. The first time through, the racers will ride all four tests, then they will go out again and ride test 1 and 2 again.

There were very few people walking the tests today (other than Team USA), because most other teams are busy in the Paddock doing bike prep.

We had our first full team meeting tonight, and the good news is that the container has now on its way from Buenos Aires and should be here late tomorrow, which really means it will be Friday before anybody even gets to touch the container and get started on their bikes.

Our plan is to spend all day tomorrow walking the rest of the tests from Day 1 and 2 (we’ve been working our way backwards). There are another four tests to be walked.

The heat is still an issue, but today was slightly cooler than yesterday which was near 100 degrees. The forecast for the week is to cool off considerably, so we’re crossing fingers.

Below are some more pictures and observations from today’s tests. Theme for today (for the tests from Days 3 and 4) were sand, sand, or rocks….not a lot in between.

There are some of the most amazing vineyards all through this valley, and they are huge. The mountains in the background are very rugged. None of the tests really get into the mountains, but some are close to the foothills.




This is from the first test we walked today. It's very unique because you're driving down this beautiful tree-lined road with huge vineyards on both sides, and then it's as if a line is drawn and the trees and vineyards end, and it instantly turns to sand dunes, and the first test starts right off the highway in the dunes.


The Swedish Team was walking the test right in front of us.





More dunes from Test 1. It wouldn't take a lot of imagination to be right at home in Utah with this picture. Josh was really excited to see the sand. He knows it's just going to turn into gnarly sand whoops, but we ride lots and lots of that at home.




To my Sage Riders Mc friends, this test looks like it could be part of the infamous Sage Riders National Hare n' Hound starts in the sand dunes.



More dunes. It's a pretty setting, but will likely be the sight of a lot of carnage next week.





This test is truly, 100% sand.






Driving between tests, we snapped a few pictures of some of the typical Argentina homes that around found all throughout town and out in the fringes of town. This is a common site.







Anybody notice the irony of this picture? Josh and I didn't even notice until later, but almost everyone of these "houses" had a DirectTV dish on their roof. The Dish cost more than the roof.



It's kind of hard to see in this pic, but just beyond the sand, where the green line starts is a vineyard. They stretch for miles.




We then went to Test 2. Guess what, more sand. Test 2 doesn't really have any dunes or elevation change. It's more in a flat valley and it is exactly like a WORCS course. They've come in with a dozer or tractor and bladed a special test right through the desert. It will be very fast, very whooped out, and will reward those comfortable riding in sand.






Josh and I enjoying a little Argentine picnic after walking for miles in the sand. We found a Wal Mart in town and bought a cooler and lots of drinks. We just about polished off an entire case of Gatorade ourselves today.




Just a few more miles down the road is Test 4 of Days 3 and 4. It starts in this gnarly rock quarry. The rocks aren't really big, but they're loose.











Although the test starts in a rock quarry, about 80% of it is more of guess what......sand.




Returning through the rock quarry to finish the test. Sorry for all the pictures of Josh's back, but it was just him and I. We were about 40 miles out of town in the desert, with pretty much nobody else around.




We then went on to the final test of the day, which is Test 3 of Days 3 and 4. I forget the name of the "town", but it was very weird. There were some people milling about town, but most of things looked abandoned. If there was something such as a low budget Mexican Horror flick, it would be set here. Abandoned carnival buildings (merry go-round, picnic benches, pavilions, etc.), along with a pet cemetery with lots of shrines all over the hill. However, we later learned that about 10,000 people descend on this town once a year to honor a woman who sacrificed herself to the sun (or something like that, I'm sure I've got it wrong). I'll have to find out more. All I know is that it was out in the middle of nowhere and was a really weird place for a special test.



The test starts right from a parking lot on the edge of town and right into the adjacent hills. This test was by far, the most unique of the day as far as terrain. It's a true "Enduro" test with lots of rocks, off-camber, ledges, etc.




Looking back at the unique little "town" with the test following this rocky ridgeline.



Josh scoping alternative lines in this test.



More alternate line scoping.




Despite how crazy the first half mile of this test was, it then dropped into this wash and followed it for a long time. There had been a lot of work done on this test, and it will really be unique, but most of the craziness is in the first section right next to town....after that's it's just a fast wash.
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Old 10-29-2014, 09:11 PM   #14
GalacticGS
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Thanks so much for posting! Hope you get customs sorted out and bikes prepped in time. Go Josh and Team USA!
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Old 10-30-2014, 02:56 AM   #15
troy safari carpente
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Have been following this thread... as well the ISDE website, the Australian ISDE team on facebook and the Official org. posts on facebook.

http://www.fim-isde2014.com/en/

https://www.facebook.com/#!/2014ISDE

https://www.facebook.com/#!/ISDEArgentina2014/timeline

The test's this year look awesome... and unique (compared to a traditional european style ISDE type terrain and tests). Thank's for taking the time to detail the layouts for us Six Days fanatics on the couch at home.

I predict that the spanish and italians will do very well, and this type of terrain/climate will also see many of the western US hare 'n hound/mojave desert style competitors at home in the conditions as well, I am sure.

Good luck Josh and to Team USA... I am also quietly confident for the Aussie Trophy team, who have a world class line up of fit riders this year. I'm tipping them as a podium contender.

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