|10-02-2012, 09:39 AM||#1|
Joined: Jul 2012
Location: near Danville IL
And Sunday at West Virginia...
The weather was gorgeous again this morning, as we crawled out of bed in the new-to-us camper that has been the 3rd major purchase in as many months to better feed this addiction we call trials.
The sunrise view was as breathtaking as sunset had been, and just like Robert DuVall’s quote of “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning”…I have to say that I, too, love the smell of premix to jumpstart my morning.
Morning warm-ups on TriXTer were great fun, playing on small segments of these rookie-wrecking rocks (well, ok, they were wrecking THIS rookie…), up and down some steep banks, and practicing wheelies over car tire carcasses. Riders meeting began early to help ensure we were on the course on time. The CD had chosen to keep us at 10 sections after all, but had shortened some lines and otherwise made significant adjustments to help minimize the bottlenecks even farther today. We again had the choice to go to sections 1 or 6 (he even added section 2) to jumpstart the day.
It was a terrific plus for today that the loop was, literally, identical to yesterday (we even rode through Saturday’s section 1 to reach today’s.) That meant we all knew what was ahead of us, and those of us worried about time or needing to prep for a long drive home could ride more smoothly and confidently between the sections. It also meant that the areas that I found worrisome on Saturday were still worrisome Sunday.
Section 6 offered the rookies a challenge that I’m learning at home, but just haven’t quite mastered. We had a 180+ degree turn from flat on a lower level, up a mildly offcamber bank, and back to flat at the top. As I understand it, most of my class found this section easy and scored well all day. Well, ok, ALL of my class -- but me. On all 3 loops I came into the power too late as I tried to focus on the bottom segment of the turn, got behind the bike, and ended up paddling through the top portion of the turn. It offered a slight bit of fear that I would high side the bike … but otherwise, like most of this weekend’s sections, the focus was wonderfully technical, not frightening. THANK YOU CD.
Section 7 offered me a tight technical S that I came very close to completing with a 2 on my last loop (close, but not quite). The sportsman had a unique challenge – starting into the same S I rode, but having to square the turn FAR sharper, crossing onto a significant rock plate, then again squaring a tough left and on throughout the S. it was so interesting to watch the different riders choose different lines and use different skills - -some bouncing front end or rear, others pirouetted some in the air, the less experienced worked to use a single dab to its fullest. Mike, who is just learning to consistently hop, was able to hop the bike into position and clean the section his first ride. On loop 2, he watched in awe as Jerry Young moved easily into the segment and somehow weaved through and over and out, with no hop, pivot, or even hesitation. The next two loops, Mike dabbed his way through as he strove to match Jerry’s most impressive line.
Section 8 was the only area where the loop was poorly marked; I can’t help but wonder how many riders missed the turn and had to come back. Section 8 was a lesson in line selection for the novices – a single entry gate and a single exit gate capped off a roughly 12’ x 25’ mine field (oops, did I say mine, I meant rock field). One fellow rookie chose the straightest line from tree to shining tree, which involved a fairly large log that cost him a 5; I chose a route nearly as straight as the West Virginia roads to ensure I could get the bike set up straight for the most slippery or jutting rocks. Did I mention I actually cleaned this one??
Section 9 was checked by a husband and wife we know from the series. Their experience working together helped really move riders along through what was one of the longer sections on the loop and had the highest risk of bottle necks. The sportsman line here intended to include a difficult off camber challenge to a large stump. On loop three, Mike was able to finesse his line, loft from a kicker to a wheelie on top of the log, and set her down right where he wanted her. This was one section that let me accurately use a skill I’ve been working hard on at home – a mercifully flat segment, the entry included a sweeping long left turn around a very large rock. The rock was SOOO tempting to dab (yep , it drew me into it’s clutches on the first loop), but I knew I didn’t need it. Slide the arc farther past the rock, stop looking at the rock, and it feels just like a section I’ve ridden dozens of times at home. The rest of the section, like #8, offered novices more than a dozen different options in line selection.
Section 10 had a checker helper that was a young lady who has never seen trials before today. She was fascinated, and asked great questions when I rode each loop. If it had been Saturday, I would’ve coaxed her to come up and ride my bike, or one of the 125s, and gladly shown her what little I have to teach. This section also gave the novices a ton of latitude in line selection, and the nasty jawtoothed rocks weren’t so severe as the 1-5 side. There was quite the rock jump inside this section for the upper classmen to ride.
A quick jaunt through the pits – it was SO nice to have the loop crisscross the pits at half way, where a restroom break or fuel, or simply a quick rest were so easily had. And it was time to head on through yesterday’s 1st section and into section 1.
Ah, section 1. A tight right hander on the flat opened section one, with short, stumpy versions of novice-wrecking rocks all around, across a step, and back into the line-du-jur open space for novices to work their way to the exit, where just one more jumbo sized rock waited to keep us honest. I never quite managed that right hander without a dab, and on my tired loop 3, I just didn’t have the energy to let the bike hippity hop her way through the rocks, and finally sat and paddled. Maybe next time. Mike had great fun with section 1, with the tall sweeping off camber climbs.
Section 2 was positioned right next to 1, and offered a different challenge for me. We had the usual rocky entry, a small down, and then a multi-step climb through the West Virginia rocks. Repeating my all too common mantra, “don’t pull the clutch, throttle early, no, no clutch, throttle early”, I succeeded with the first half the section. Unfortunately, the 180 degree weave through the shark’s teeth was outside my skill, and I took a serious 3 here each loop.
A quick jaunt up the backwood road, and we were at section 3. The sportsman line involved some challenging rocks and lines, which I genuinely enjoyed watching Mike ride. He cleaned his way through the bulk of this section each loop. The novice line offered me a challenging right 180 that I managed each loop, then an off angle log through the jutting rocks. The final loop, I was simply tired, and slid down the slippery log to a frustrating 5.
Section 4 and yep, you guessed it, more hop-n-hope rocks. The CD repeatedly did a nice job of giving the novices at least one tight technical segment in every section, and this one was no different. Unlike Saturday, we had less complex pieces in sequence, which gave the novices more of an opportunity to ride out with a lower point count.
The loop from 4 to 5 had a segment that was particularly rocky and tough, physically exhausting, but mercifully not terribly long.
Last, and most certainly not least, came section 5. The novice path included just a few gates, and again offered a wide swath of options for tackling the course. That flexibility saved me twice -- allowing me a foolishly wide right banking curve to get to the simple log in much better form than the most common line, followed by a hard left 90, a weave through more trees, and out of the section I went. The upper class lines involved a steep bank and large logs, complex pivots and exits that were fascinating to watch.
We were all worried about time today, given the number of riders who ran out of time Saturday. Every time riders were waiting in line, there was anxious chatter. The CD had clearly worked hard to keep things moving more quickly today, and at 315 (45 minutes to go) all classes were completed except sportsman and advanced. Numerous of us were particularly nervous when we arrived at section 7 on our first loop, and there were no checkers. At 10 minutes, still no checker, and multiple riders agreed to check one another and keep moving. Mike and I were about to ride when the checker arrived, got setup, and the section was officially underway. Thankfully, someone arrived later in the day to assist that checker in punching cards for the long and complex section.
Sadly, just like yesterday, we either heard or heard of riders harassing the checkers. One checker told Mike that he strongly considered simply walking away and going home late in the afternoon because riders were so harsh over a mistake or a mild delay. As I heard mike say more than once, we all need to remember that these people don’t HAVE to be here. They are volunteering their time to help US enjoy our sport. Mistakes will be made. Rules will be misunderstood. A checker will cause delays. Riders, we make mistakes all ride long - -hence the need for checkers!
Just one poor tone will ruin the impression for our checkers, and make it harder and harder to find volunteers. They aren’t paid, they aren’t “SCAB” replacement refs at NFL football. We need to show them respect and genuine appreciation, all ride EVERY ride. You CAN educate a checker without belittling or offending.
The spectator turnout was terrific Sunday. Apparently one or more of the motorcycle clubs who enjoy use of the site encouraged local riders to stop by today. I had the fun of visiting at length with 4 or 5 local gentlemen, one of whom hadn’t seen trials in more than 20 years. They showed genuine interest in our obsession, being motorcycle obsessed themselves. One, a 20-something, really began paying attention when I spoke about how much less expensive our bikes are to maintain and how seldom we do damage. He is a harescrambler, and it was clear that the cost of tires and bike maintenance limits how much he is able to enjoy his bike.
I would encourage the CDs to find a way in the morning to use loudspeakers to announce the youth trials and that location to our spectators and guests. I personally told multiple families about the youth trials and aimed them in the right direction. One dad teasingly “thanked me” an hour later, letting me know that his son is avidly pleading for “every motorcycle he saw down there today”. Both dad and son were clearly bitten by our bug … and I genuinely hope we see them again at the next event.
The facility was exceptional, and mike had the rare pleasure of visiting with the land owner briefly. It was so generous of him to allow us to compete there, and Mike expressed our appreciation loud and clear. The owner is an avid motorcyclist, and a rare breed that is willing and able to offer use of such a spectacular location to clubs such as T.I.
As always, a massive thank you is in order for the land owner, the CD, the T.I. experts who run the office so smoothly even during minor equipment mishaps.
And last, but NEVER least, thank you checkers for all your time, your careful attention, and your patience with us all.
AnnMarie Cross, permanent Noob! & proud wife of "macattack"
Join us in 2014 at the 2nd annual Tilton Trials, Illinois!
Novice owner of "GheeGhee", '01 GG 80big & also '01 GG280 "TriXTer"
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