Monday, September 16, 2013

Trails Revenge Race Report

Trails Revenge Hare Scrambles.  I do not know where the name came from, but those trails in Thurman Iowa did enact a bit of revenge on us this weekend.  What we did wrong is still in question.

Some sweet dirt up in Iowa. The course was advertised as having no rocks and some good dirt.  Sure enough they delivered but what they did not tell you about is all the ravines, drop-offs and ridges that you had to watch out for.

On our practice lap Christopher fell in one of them when we were taking an alternate route to get around a long line of riders waiting to cross a small muddy creek section.  We tried to pull his bike out, but with weight of the bike and the front wheel being stuck a foot in the mud it was going nowhere.  With only one choice/chance I decided to try and ride out of the ravine.  Once I got the bike upright I got her going along the edge of the dirt wall where it was a little drier and offered some traction.  The ravine was about 5 to 7 feet deep with near vertical walls. I noticed a small bit of erosion and some roots down the wall and on the side where we needed to get up to continue on the course.  I clicked his 250X up into 2nd gear pinned it as I tried to gain enough speed to cross the foot deep mud and make it up the other side.  I still do not know how I made it, but I did.
Big air can also be found up in Thurman, IA.  This section reminded me of Unadilla MX before it got all modernized.  Cool natural jumps that allowed some nice air time. Nick Plesa taking the high line on Sunday.

A good field of riders in each class.   Most were series regulars who made the trip North, but there were also a few local riders who really knew the quick way around this course.
Doug finished rebuilding my bike on Saturday.  New piston, rings, valves.  It was running like a champ on Sunday.  I had very quick reactions and was able to have excellent clutch and throttle control which got me out to a great start.
Out front leading the Senior 45+ class. I seem to do very well when the starts are more open like a traditional MX race. 
After the start this little drop-off the technical trails started right away.  Some moisture in the ground made it a little greasy in sections that had no sun early on, but by the end of the race it was really nice.  Local rider and eventual race winner Dennis Murphy begins his charge to the front early on.

Christopher was about 3rd off the start.  This would soon change once on the course.

Lots of cool woods sections.  The one element that gave Christopher trouble was the up hills and muddy .  Some were very short like the these above and below.  Others were very steep and long.  Being in the correct gear at the base was very important along with plenty of momentum.

On the easy single track sections Christopher looked good and was able to bridge up to riders in front of him.
One of the many short climbs out on course.  If you hit the correct lines and kept the power to the ground things were easy as I demonstrate.
This is what happens if you did not hit your lines correctly and/or another rider had already crashed in front of you.  Notice the girl laughing at Christopher crash.  He does seem to crash in a silly kind of way as most beginners do.
Out front on the first lap.  The off-camber sections were a little tricky but if you used good form and control you could really fly.  I was going good until I bridged up to some 600's/700's.  They had crashed down in one of the many short gullies and I tried a line to get around them.  It did not work out so well for me and I ended up getting stuck just at the top when my rear wheel got stuck in the large root.  By the time I got out my lead was gone and my eye glasses were all fogged up.
 Local Iowa rider Dennis Murphy was on the gas and went flying past me on one of the fast downhill sections after the jump.
After my little incident I did my best but rode very tense. Mostly because I could not get my glasses from fogging up. There was just enough humidity in the air to cause me problems with vision.  It is very hard to ride fast when you can't see the trail, especially one you've not ridden before. I ended up falling  back to 4th place during the middle of the race.
When Christopher was alone he rode well and fast.  Other riders and their mishaps caused most of his problems today.  However, there will always be other riders out on course so we all have to learn to work around them.
The last lap I finally settled into the course and got my vision clear. I started to attack the course and was able to bridge up to 3rd place.  Soon after I passed another local rider Jerry Warner from LaVista, NE. for 3rd place.  My final lap (6th lap) was my fastest in 19:26. 
You really had to attack the hills and Christopher did this well, but sometimes he does not know when to back off .
Luckily you usually end up going where you are looking and Christopher narrowly missed this tree.

Christopher  end up getting 8th on the day.  Not a good points day at all, but as I would later find out he is only riding for the fun of it and having a bad results day out riding his bike is still fun.  

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