Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Walters Ranch Revenge

We returned to Cole Camp, Missouri this weekend for round #4 of the Forward Motion Hare Scrambles Series.  This would make two races in a row here at the very demanding Walters Ranch circuit.  Not my favorite type of terrain, but Christopher for some reason likes the rocky stuff.  Looking forward to the day I can ride/race back in Florida on a good old fashion sand course like Croom where huge burms are made from that wonderful sand. If you could just see under my helmet below you would see a huge smile on my face which would be in direct contrast to what I had on Sunday.

No sand to be found today so after not getting a practice lap in last time we rode here I made sure we got up extra early so we could arrive in plenty of time.  They promised a different course which was supposed to be easier and a little shorter.   It was different with several new "virgin" sections.  Christopher thought I took a wrong turn during our practice lap because there was no trail.  "Trust me it will all change after the first lap"  Sure enough the new sections got burnt in quickly and it was like they were there all along.

We made a huge mistake today.  We forgot our hydration systems and had to ride without any water system.  I went ahead and made both of us carry a bottle of water behind our number plates.  Honda must of engineered this into their bikes because a water bottle fits perfectly.  Sure you have to stop to take a drink but it is better than thirsting to death on a hot summers day in the middle of Missouri.
Last race we started on top of a small hill and went downhill.  This time the opposite which was a little tricky.  Some even had to start in the tall grass. Christopher was part of that class that did have to start at the very bottom of the hill.  I kept thinking about ticks just waiting there in the grass ready to jump on everyone.
I kept sipping on my water bottle behind my water plate because I wanted to try and stay hydrated.  I think this and the fact that I was slowly rolling backwards on that darn starting hill caused me to get a bad start.  A few quick moves got me up to 5th by the time we headed into the woods.  Eventual winner Wade Hall (#1030), Tom Brunholtz (#1035) looking good at the start. 

Christopher appeared ready at the start with a good starting position.  I think he felt a tick on him and missed the gun going off to start him because he got a worse start than I.
I love the girl with her arm raised up and screaming.  She was pumped that her son got that holeshot.

Christopher rolled into the woods well behind the leaders and would have to practice his passing skills.
My main goal for today was to have a better ride than last weekends race where I rode very tense.  My other goal was to have clear vision.  Kind of failed at both again this weekend, but I was better.  Good enough to work my way into the lead by the end of the first lap.  This was made a little easier due to the fact that the leaders of the race went off-course at the top of this really rocky/technical section.  After the finish I had to stop for water and quickly fell back to 3rd place.

Looks like Christopher can pass now.  Well, at least on the technical trails of Walters Ranch he can.  On the first lap he rolled by in 2nd place only 3 minutes behind me.  He was attacking the trails just like I told him to.  I guess it is time I start learning from him because I sure the heck was not riding aggressive today.

By the second lap Christopher was on the gas and leading his first ever motorcycle race.  He was actually checking out and riding great.  Even with stopping to drink a complete bottle of water he still had enough time to stay in the lead. The kid was flowing today.
My friend and fellow mountain biker Steve Brack made a return to Hare Scrambles racing and was doing great.  While holding down 2nd place he crashed on a nasty downhill.  Check out his arms above.  Think off-road motorcycle racing is easy?  Just ask Steve how hard this sport can be.
The course and heat started taking its toll on me and by the 3rd lap I was really dehydrated and tired.  Not having any water to drink really sucked.  After a rather long pit stop with Carolynn to get water and have my glasses cleaned and have Steve soak me with water I felt better and ventured out for my 4th lap hopping that I could maintain my current position which was 2nd place.

Christopher with his youth was having no issues with the heat and by the 3rd lap had a nice lead of over 2 minutes on 2nd place. He started to have bike handling problems towards the end of the 3rd lap.  He wisely stopped and quickly double checked his bike to make sure everything was o.k.  It is good to see him use his head out there and be safe. After looking over his bike he found out a flat front tire was the problem.  The rocks of Walters Ranch will get their revenge on you one way or another.  Christopher rolled across the finish line in 1st and quickly went over to Carolynn and Steve (who had stopped after his crash).  Steve aired up his tire and sent Christopher on his way, but he only made it about a mile and then it was completely flat again.  He had to double back and return to the pits because there was no way he could ride the hilly rocky terrain with a flat tire - at least safely he could not.

Look at my big....Christopher show off his nice shiny 2nd place trophy.  Could (should) have first but as we all know mechanical failures are all part of racing. 

I finished up 2nd also but was really not a happy camper.   I rode better this visit to Walters Ranch but overall I still felt like I rode like a little girl in the rocks. Part of it was arm pump up and not having a good feel this weekend.  I guess I will have to work on bike setup in rocky terrain.  I plan to have Doug Stone work on my forks, replace my leaking fork seals and help achieve a suspension setup that would match my riding style - which currently is like a little girl.  If I keep this pace up Christopher will be kicking my butt which would actually be o.k. with me.

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