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Old 09-29-2013, 04:30 PM   #61
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Now we head towards the far back corner of the property. The track is fun, and the next obstacles is a series of camel humps, with some off track weave cones.

This is the furthest point from home, and the rain is really coming down now.

Here's Blaster's cam
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Old 09-30-2013, 03:27 PM   #62
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The furthest point from the tent, here's the track from Blaster's cam. Lots of little things along the way some gravel some sand, but a nice ride in the rain no less.

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Old 10-01-2013, 04:47 PM   #63
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If there is one thing I could tell you to practice for next year...it's cone weaving. These folks love them a cone weave!

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Old 10-01-2013, 04:56 PM   #64
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So the X5 course has a teeter totter....except it the weight required to drop it is a bit slow for a bike. I believe it has shock returns. Well, it's not too slow for those that ride Hippopotamus bikes.



The petite little 650X had a bit more challenge getting it to drop. In fact, I had resigned myself to just jumping off the end after the first aborted attempt. Sorry about the crappy camera angle, I guess smashing into the fence two obstacles earlier didn't help it.

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Old 10-02-2013, 03:22 AM   #65
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After the teeter , there was another small hill climb. But, I am all "hilled" out..so lets go watch Blaster in the water hole. The radio the judges have been lighting up hard on the water challenge. It seems that the R1200s are coming in too fast, creating a wake, then passing their own wake. In the process, they flood the bike out. Well over 10% of the bikes were flooded out.



Nope, not going to get their feet wet helping ...but they eventually dive in.
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:58 PM   #66
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I get to the finish line, and feel a bit relieved. In one sense, at least my bike isn’t in the bike of flooded out ones and yet someone also isn’t in a bucket of broken parts. In another sense, I now reflect on what could have been. Certainly not my best showing this weekend, but I’ll live to tell another tale.

I watch a few of the riders wallow like a pig in the water trough. With that, the rain is picking up and it’s time to get back to load out. I am greeted by friendly, J4S and Blaster. We load up the bikes, change clothes and head over to the check point tent.

The unfortunate part is we’ve now collided the time table the other direction. We’ve finished 1.5 hours before the dinner bell, and final scores. It’s clear I have no worries about riding in the top 10 on Sunday. However, J4S was in the running, and Blaster has certainly moved up. So we wait again.

Dinner is served (Carolina BBQ) earlier, and boy is it a welcome distraction...comfort food.

Coleslaw


Blaster never found a cookie he didn't love.


Note to self: Baked beans are not photogenic!


Pulled Pork


Smoked Chicken

Jalapeno Cornbread


Peach Cobbler. Mostly missing indicates it was barely editable (or rather they inhaled it!)


Nothing like a really bad dinner guest. Mother nature was a witch! A tent is no place in a thunder storm...as a river runs through us!



Apparently, the boys' like have a nice post-dinner interlude. Here Neale Bayle entertains them with the day's splashes and crashes, as they eagerly await the final finale-the top 12 riders whom will advance to tommorrow.
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:40 PM   #67
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As the second hand swept the top of the dial, our master of ceremonies, Ross, magically appeared at precisely 1800. 138 eyeballs are fixed on him, as a loud roar of conversation is dulled. The participants can only wonder what information is contained on those few sheets of paper. And why does he appear to be holding plaques, despite the fact the completion is not over?

Blaster has the claim to have ridden 4 days at the Performance center over some very challenging obstacles, and had yet to have a good dirt nap. He’s surely moved up in the rankings, but was it enough? J4S was clinging on the brink of the cut line, but reports that the afternoon ride was rough. Although, there was a lot of carnage out there, so maybe he’s lucky enough to also hang on. For me, I’ve never been one to hang around long enough to attend an award ceremony. It’s not for lack of pinning, but it’s entirely too much waiting for my type A personality. However, today I am certain there will be no podium, which in my exhausted frame of mind is just fine.

Soon enough, Ross begins to call rider numbers. Though the tapping of the rain on the canopy of the tent is distracting, everyone is eager to wonder who the lucky “12” will be. These will be the riders to advance to the last and final selection day. Sure enough, the point leader for the last two days, Blur (Blair), is sauntering his 6+ foot frame towards the lineup.
For those not worried about their number being called, I have plenty of time to count the heads. However, somehow Ross has now called 14 riders and one is me? We have a fox in the hen house.

As the story unfolds, there are apparently two awards for the best falls of the weekend. I have to say I was in the shadows of both groups of riders. I was neither the most ‘athletic’ fall, nor was I was the eloquent rider.
The 13th rider describes his get-off as “surreal”, as he watched his bike literally barrel-roll down the backside of the hill. I think this was Day 2, exercise #2 (hill climb). By the luck of god, he somehow didn’t get smooshed, and stands there cheerfully accepting his victory. Although he was able to ride the bike for the rest of day, I sure hope it came with a 15% off coupon to fix broken kit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HalfPlate View Post
This guy is my hero. When he crested the peak it looks like he grabbed some front brake and went down, than his lovely GSA decide to flip all the way to the bottom. Everyone was okay and he rode that bike all the way to a standing ovation and the award for being “Unstoppable”. Even more impressive is this guy’s day job, he is a navigator in an F-22!


The 14th rider is me. Apparently, seeing all sides of an obstacle and being too ornery to quit gets you a pretty plaque. I understand from some folks, that is doesn’t matter how you get the plaque, just as long as it is rightfully yours. So what the heck I will put it on the garage next to my 3rd place Blind Enduro plaque. Pretty is as pretty does, and the insignia on the plaque you’d never know how I got it



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Old 10-03-2013, 02:55 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorito View Post
Blaster has the claim to have ridden 4 days at the Performance center over some very challenging obstacles, and had yet to have a good dirt nap.
Actually never taken a nap of any kind at the performance center...I must not be trying hard enough some would say, I did move up ten places but only got to forty second place. I am hoping with a lot more practice I can move solidly into the twenties. I left some very easy points on the table as probably most would say they did as well. So hopefully all of us will come back next time and really raise the bar for this years finalists. Are you guys . Like the finalists have anything to worry about from me. I did have a great time and meet some super nice people that I hope to stay in contact with.

Dorito thanks for capturing all this as it will come in handy as a training aid!
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:19 PM   #69
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I hope to improve 10 places for the next qualifier.
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:39 PM   #70
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Reckoning Day: 3

Forlorn that none of us with have a hand at the final obstacles, we also get to have a nice relaxing evening. The next morning we treat ourselves to a leisurely bfast at Cracker Barrel before we head back over to see what is in store for the top 12.

We are excited that non-riders will be allowed on the back field. We start walking back and the then the first team joins us. It seems the rules of engagement have changed. The 12 riders have chosen colored poker chips from a hat. They are grouped into 4 groups/3 riders per group. They are also now also on BMW performance steeds vice their own sleds.

Each group has been told they are being timed and scored on their teamness. The "trail" is nothing more than tape which creates a pattern about 5-7 feet wide forcing them to "ride" all kinds of crap.


Early on the course...a tree slightly too narrow to ride the bike through


There will be lots of pushing, pulling and grunting


Over some rock ledges like it's a 300-lb two stroke or something


Ross had an interesting sense of humor. There are all these monster obstacles and he marks this one as a trip hazard


(JUST KIDDING, he was using these to mark the early stages of the course before the tape was up)

Next up was this ledge. They are not allowed to ride this until the bike is on the far side.


Knowing that this is timed, no faster way to the bottom than giving it a "ghostie" and pushing it off the ledge. It is after all a brand new, never been dropped $15K bike owned by Corporate. What could go wrong?




The judges sat in awe. On one hand, if time was the factor you were optimizing, that was the fastest way to bottom. They said they never thought of someone doing that! However, they did remind the team the bike had to be running at when it crossed the finish line.

This team had the best finesse for the obstacle. Put it in gear, and let the bike drag itself down:


Notice the bike is fuzzy side up..rather than the previous 'ghostie'


I think they ended up in the same river no less than 4 times




Team 1 had an incredible technique...rolling the front tire by hand was very effective




The by standards got schooled pretty quick. Despite setting a rainfall record yesterday and drenching the earth, they still managed to find dry dirt to roost us. Don't worry, we wised up not to stand behind the tire after than one..


And then there was the man-made obstacles..


No doubt the boys had there work cut out for them..gravity will always be 32.1740 ft/s working against you.


They probably only went 1/2 mile...but boy did they get some camaraderie in that time! At this point I am **almost** happy to be on the far side of the tape.
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:21 PM   #71
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Departure Time

Late morning it's time to get the show on the road. The finale won't be until after lunch, but we have an 8.5 hour drive ahead of this.

All of the massive fun will only get immortalized in empty photos:

J4S Photography:

















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Old 10-08-2013, 07:20 PM   #72
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Great report! I signed up to go ride my F800GS at the event, but broke my foot while getting in a 'final practice' on 17 September. Maybe next time. I also enjoyed your reports of riding out around Sugar Grove/Harrisonburg.
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:27 AM   #73
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Really sorry to hear about the broken foot! Wishing you a speedy recovery.

My wingmate, Blaster, is getting ready to get his foot fusion surgery done this week from an unfortunate incident last year.

Foot dislocation (Lisfranc Displacement)
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Old 10-09-2013, 02:31 AM   #74
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2014 Team USA

Quote:
TEAM USA IS READY TO GO FOR THE GS TROPHY
After an exciting experience at the GS Trophy qualifying event at the BMW Performance Center in September, the dust has settled and the members of Team USA have been decided. Congratulations and best of luck to Thomas Blair Young and Benjamin Profitt of North Carolina and Robert Wooldridge of Georgia. Follow their journey at the GS Trophy in 2014.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:32 PM   #75
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Clsoing thoughts

Since we weren't given an event evaluation form, I've taken some creative liberty to jot down my thoughts..

Praise:
• Kudos to Ross! It’s clear there was a ton of work cut out for you and you certainly did an exemplary job!
• Liked the sheer variety of the activities and felt like the activities really tested rider and machine
• Loved the fact that scores were not based on “time to complete” each event
• Sat AM (dirt) ran much more efficiently. Having folks ride from one obstacle to the next was much smoother.
• While incredibly inefficient time wise, having to wait for the entire team to complete the on-road exercises built camaraderie.
• Drinks were plentiful in the Check Point tent
• Energy bars at breakfast were a great idea!
• Generator, air compressor and fuel were nice thoughts
• Although the time table slid, it appeared there was the proper number of personnel supporting the event from a safety perspective
• Loved the correctly sized, personalized moisture wicking shirt in the goodie bag
• Liked having the photog around
• Was fun enough that I would certainly encourage others to go and would probably return myself

Suggestions for improvement:
• Other than a two sentence email sent when I signed up months ago, pre-event communications was non-existent. Never even got a "welcome package" in the mail as you send for your classes. Aside from the fact the facebook sitehosted a few new photos, I am not even sure I would have known it was cancelled. BMW is a great propaganda machine usually over-communicates and can build up the enthusiasm for event day!
• The information for the event seemed fractured; some on the bmw motorcycle webpage (entry form), some info (time table, pics) on facebook. I don’t care where you put it, just coral it all in one place. Maybe have the summer intern doing the facebook updates including updates on event day!
• The road activities need better explanation. For example, the red lines on the sharp right/left turn were a surprise until you were on them. Were they scored?
• Activities seemed to range widely in points, and not correlate directly to how hard the activity was. Some activities were worth 10X (on-road slalom cones vs ride the boards).
• The water stations/potty stations for the on-road exercises were mostly inaccessible
• The Performance Center is known for the outstanding culinary food. While dinner lived up to the normal expectations, box lunches both days left the taste buds yearning. (More bananas, fewer apples!)
• I didn’t like the way the teams were assigned (by order we signed up). It seemed that teams that had more expert riders were able to demonstrate to other members a possible solution to the on-road events. Meanwhile, less experienced teams wallowed by trial and error experimenting for a possible way to succeed. It was certainly true of the riders in grouping #15-30. Also, while it’s fun to ride with new folks, it would also be fun to ride with folks we traveled down with. Maybe ask if we have traveling teammates on the entry form and balance the experience level a bit?
• Understand the need to stay in the order for scoring purposes, but really put a drag on he first and last rider of group.
• It's been 3+ weeks, and I am losing hope that we'll ever see our photos.
• The scoring Enigma. It wasn’t at all clear how much any event was worth, how many phases would be scored etc. It would seem that a GS event would probably have more weight given to the off-road events.
• Scoring was a (slow) monster. However, it’s also a problem that most other sports struggle with. No reason to re-invent the wheel, and maybe take look similar sports to see what they have done to minimize scoring delays.
• Might need to keep a better eye on weather. The forecast all but guaranteed heavy rain Sat afternoon; yet it didn’t appear any attempt was made to prioritize events. .
• The scavenger hunt took way too long to set, and too little time to complete. One suggestion might be to send teams over there one group at time. Every team is timed. Between each team, the items are reset to the same locations. This could be done concurrent to the “play zone”.


Thoughts for the future:
• It’s all about bikes. I believe the BMW offers some sweet deals to the car clubs if they fill an entire class. Have you thought about doing the same thing for the bike classes?
• Among my traveling group, we’ve been to 4-5 classes at the BMW center. However, of all those classes, we’ve only ever done **one** obstacle on the X5 course; the #8 hill after the teeter totter. Have you thought about hosting a trail-side training where you spend an entire day out there doing the same exercises?
• The gift shop in the main building doesn’t have a single motorcycle themed shirt, but some nice “M” shirts


Would I go back next time...yeppers!
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