What to do on this Sunday? I asked Christopher what he wanted to do. His answer, "What else, go ride". Only this time it was back to the motorized version of two wheel fun and a return visit to Warrensburg for myself.
Some of you may remember the Midwest Fat Tire Championship Series used to pay Warrensburg a visit. We raced Mountain Bikes on both the "East" and "West" sides of the road. The East side has some very cool trails that back up to the Knob Noster State Park. (Speaking of Knob Noster, they are having a race this weekend - Possum Scramble). The West side was generally used when when it rained a lot and the creek crossing got flooded due to heavy rain.
A blast from the past. Check out the below photos of the powerful Bikes and Boards racing team. Four of the key members of our team back then in action at Warrensburg.
|John Oberrider, Chris Locke, Brian Bass and Damian Almanza|
|Brain Bass before the post race beer.|
|Damian Leading as usual|
|John O chasing the dream|
|Chris Locke chasing Andy Brewer|
It has been a month since our last ride on the motorcycles so both Christopher and I were a little rusty. When we arrived at the race site I was surprised to see a several very muddy bikes. Some of which were being pulled in because they were flooded out. Warrensburg only got a couple of inches of rain earlier in the week and I honestly thought that the trails should be in prime conditions. It was then that I remembered the famous creek crossings that Warrensburg is famous for. Not as famous as the Black Water 100 or anything, but close :-)
Before we unloaded the bikes we walked down to the creek crossings and watch some other riders navigate the muddy mess. I actually wanted to just head back to Grain Valley and just ride on the MX track - Christopher needs some serious corning practice anyways. I was also concerned about his ability to make a lap on this course. The last time he rode mud on a motorcycle was 4 years ago. We were out behind the house in a construction area during the winter and he got off course in a big way and sunk his bike into the mud. It took us an hour to get his bike out and him going again. It do not want to talk about the choir of cleaning up that motorcycle in 35 degree weather. I can still feel the pain in my frozen fingers. None the less, he decided he still wanted to ride and give it a try. Sure, Dad will clean up everything anyway right?
At 1:00 pm we head out for our recon lap. The creek crossing and mud run sections were in the first and last mile of the course. The worst two being in the first mile right after the start. As we approached the first mud pit I honestly did not think Christopher was going to be able to make it through. It was very gnarly with some very deep ruts. For sure he would end up like the guy below picking up his WR250 out of the mud. (I wish I had my Go Pro on because the footage would have been great. With all the mud talk and all I totally forgot to put it on my helmet - Update: found the above video from #99 in Christopher's class. As you can see the start is critical along with the ability to ride mud :-)). To my surprise, he followed me with easy as we took some good lines and got through with limited problems. Aside from the mud holes, the Warrensburg course is very cool with mostly flowing single track. There were no open fields and very limited places to pass safely.
The start today was going to be critical. I did not want to get behind a field full of riders going through mud and on single track trail with no place to pass. My goal was top 3 and that is what I got. I rolled through the first turn in 3rd and quickly moved up to 2nd place. We hit the first mud hole and I took an outside line to take the lead only to see out of the corner of my eye a rider cutting off 1/2 the mud hole via a short cut. I grabbed a hand full of throttle and got him back before the next muddy hill. Poor Christopher did not fair as well as I. He ended up outside the top 20 and had to play follow the lead for the majority of the race. His ability to pass is not there yet. He can ride a lot faster than he races, but just has a problem passing. If he got in the top 5 I bet he could stay there the entire race. Of course he would still not try and pass, but we will work on that. He really wanted a top 10 finish before the Hare Scrambles season ended and I feel sorry that he could not make that happen.
As for me I was just not riding that well today. Sure I was in the lead and quickly started catching the back markers in the other classes, but I just was not my self today. When we caught up to the 600/700's guys I was having a very hard time seeing through the dust and from the glare of the sun. You can not pass if you can not see. Which several guys found out the hard way. Every couple of minutes someone would try to pass and crash. After a handful of crashes and near missing on my part I started getting some serious arm pump due to riding tight. Before I knew it I had fallen back to 3rd place in my class and was even passed by some other riders that I had passed earlier in the lap. I got mad at myself and pushed it the last part of the lap to be 2nd at the line only 2 seconds behind the leader - Randy Lust. I got by Randy on the second lap and put in an o.k. lap and maintained the lead on the 2nd lap but only had a 10 second lead. Normally at the point in a race I would put in some solid laps and increase my lead. Just as I had done the previous two rounds. Not this day. Fatigue really set in and I kept thinking that I was just not over my cold yet. Add some arm pump in and you get what we got here on Sunday. I got passed by Jimmie O'dell for the lead and he proceeded to check out mainly because I started to slow.
I really wanted this race to end on the 4th lap, but we came in under the 2 hour time and had to go out for a final lap. This is when I ran into Christopher parked along the trail. I stopped to check on him and assist. I thought for sure he got water sucked into the carb or something from the mud. But no, he was "just resting" Muscling that motorcycle in the mud is kind of tiring. He said he did not feel safe riding when he could not grip the handle bars anymore. Smart kid because you can hurt yourself very quickly if you are not on top of your game. The stop allowed 3rd place Randy Lusk to close in on me and make the pass for 2nd. I had nothing for Randy the last lap and had to settle for 3rd place on the day. Congrats to both Jimmie and Randy for great rides. This will be the last Hare Scrambles for the season. It was good to get in a final event and see where I stand for next year. I have the speed, I just need to bring my A game for next season and get back into top shape.
I asked Christopher if he enjoyed the day. He said very much so. That is what it is all about. Having fun and enjoying life to its fullest. One Any Sunday you will find us out riding and having a great time.