Topic: Tree Hugger Harescrambles Report
Posted: 08/21/2005 8:41:15 PM
Well, my club held its first offroad race this weekend. We've been working rediculously hard to get trails cut for the race, as a month ago none of our trails were rideable. We managed to pull it together and setup an awesome course of TIGHT, TECHNICAL trails connected by old logging roads and the motocross track. We split the course up into a B loop and an A loop. Everyone rides the B loop and then the A riders also ride the A loop. I could ride everything, but my racing class only does the B section (Junior Under).
Race day came way too fast. I haven't done any racing since the May long weekend in 2004 and have never raced my Gasser. I spent the past three weekends riding and working on the course, so I was beginning to feel alright on the course. I got up to the course just before 8am on Sunday as my parents were working a road crossing and I wanted to get my pit setup. I got a couple of my friends that are sort of into bikes to pit for me. More on that later.
Anyways, we ran a Sportsmen class in the morning on a shortened course for kids and first timers. Some sandbagger entered and absolutely smoked everyone. He was probably faster than me, yet he was riding the easy course! He left right after his race because I think he even realized he was in the wrong class. The time seemed to fly by and all of a sudden it was almost time for the riders' meeting and my pit crew hadn't arrived. They finally showed up about 5 minutes before the riders' meeting so I explained what they had to do for pitting.
We started the race at 11:00am with a typical offroad start: dead engine, hands on the head in waves starting with Masters (pro) and ending with Juniors and Women. The start lead directly to the motocross track which was really dusty. I managed to pull a decent start then jumped into 4th over the first table top. I then promptly washed out in the next corner when I decided to take the inside line instead of railing the berm. I picked up my bike in last place, got my head together and got going. The track was REALLY DUSTY, hopefully next year we'll have the watering system installed. I could barely see two feet in front of me but managed to pass two people before we entered the woods. These woods are extremely tight and packed with trees, so trying to cut trail has been tough, to say the least. After a few corners and uphills I came to the rest of my class and a few others stuck on a pretty nasty hill. There were two lines, the left line wasn't as steep as the right but had a left hand corner near the top. The top three riders in my class were all stuck in this line digging their way to China while a guy got his bike turned around on the right line. I waited a couple minutes as a couple more people helped the guys in the left line while others tried the right. I got a chance at the right line right when two guys in the left line started moving again. I made it up the right line no problem. Man I love the snap of my bike! It pulls up hills GREAT! I had decided to take my goggles off by this time and was having a tough time seeing in the dust. We made it out to an old skid trail and headed up that. The two guys ahead of me were moving pretty fast, but I could still hear one of them. I let a guy on a CRF250X pass me only for him to dump it 30 seconds later. Some people can't handle a little pressure. I passed him again and headed on my way. My parents cheered me on when I came to the main logging road and blasted up that. The road was already getting rough so I backed my pace off a little bit to play it safe. I reached the next trail section and started to find a rhythm. I was cruising up the trail pretty good when another CRF rider came up on me; I let him by but found I could ride his pace. We caught up to the second place rider in my class who was stuck on a log. He finally got over but was having a tough time starting his bike so we went by him. I was feeling pretty good that I had made it to 2nd place, as my best finish to date in these races has been 7th, two and a half years ago. I was cruising down the trail, trying to find a rhythm again as the course was getting trashed from all the bikes on it. I took a new line that was developing only to find that it had a pretty big log at an angle on it. I got over the log, but had to bulldog it and the guy on the YZ125 passed me. I continued on the trail in 3rd place now, hoping I could catch him later on when he got tired (he was pretty small). I stalled at a checkpoint and the CRF250X rider got by me again. I caught up to him on a road section but didn't pass him there (big mistake). I was right on his rear wheel through the next section (called the 'GROWing OPtion' as we found their water lines while cutting) but couldn't get by him. There's a couple of big hills in the Grow Op section and he bobbled, but made it up the hill. I, on the other hand, lost my momentum and got stuck on the first part. I eventually had to turn around and take another run at it, but no before another guy in my class got by me, riding an ancient XR200. I made it up the first hill but got stuck on the next bigger hill. The ruts were getting huge already, and I still had two more laps around this! I found a good line after a few minutes and made it up the trail without any further trouble. I had expended a lot of energy though and was feeling tired, which was not good as I was only 40 minutes into the race. I completed the lap without any further problems and found a lot more motivation from my friends cheering me on through the pits.
The second lap went a lot better than the first. I got by the XR200 guy in the same bottleneck as last time. Again, I love my bike! I rode the rest of the lap really well, except for getting stuck on a different hill in the grow op section, but I managed to lift my bike out of the hole I had made and got the bike up. Oh yeah, one mud hole on the 'B loop trail' was starting to get a big rut at the end, but I still managed to get through it cleanly. I passed a guy on a 2006 KTM250SXF (can you say bike envy?) in a ditch on the section up to the pits then I pulled into the pits for gas and water only to find my pit crew asleep at the switch. They weren't sure if it was me coming or not. I got gas and water and actually put my goggles on, which was a good thing as the KTM250SXF got by me before I pulled out.
I ate lots of dust all the way around the track but I let off for some clean air. No one was stuck in the bottleneck section so I blasted up it again then continued to the skid road. I had a little trouble on the skid trail as rocks were coming out and it was slippery. On the 'B loop trail' I crashed on a short section of skid trail, back end slid out in 4th gear. I was a little sore from that, but the bike seemed ok besides the left bark buster pointing well up of level. I continued on the trail, only to drop the front end on a rock section and go over the bars, with the bike landing on top of me. These rock sections were little rock out croppings that dropped off on the backside. The trick was to keep the front end very light, but as I was VERY tired I screwed up and paid the price. I twisted my ankle somehow but got my bike up quickly as I heard some bikes coming and would be toast if they got to me because it was blind with no alternate lines. I got back on my bike but took it easy as my ankle was killing me. I couldn't stand up for awhile but I was getting beat up by sitting the whole way, so I gritted my teeth and stood up. I came to the previously mentioned mud hole only to find a couple bikes stuck in it. I waited for one to clear, then a Master and two other guys showed up. One was a riding buddy racing Vet Expert. The Master went full on bonzai style through the right line but managed to make it throught the rut that was seat deep at the end of it. My buddy wasn't so lucky. We got stuck in the end rut and had to lift his bike out. The third guy found a sweet line that missed an ugly buried log as well as the rut. I followed this line and didn't get stuck. I continued down the trail, letting a guy on a YZ400 by me just before the checkpoint. I caught him again on the road section connecting the B loop to the Grow Op (great names, eh?). I stalled in the grow op so he got ahead of me, but I caught him at the monster hill section. I waited as a couple guys came up behind as and blasted up the section while another guy on a KTM300 with autoclutch and no rear brake went bush wacking. Another riding buddy on a RMZ450 blasted up the hill and I cheered him on. I used the same line I had used the previous two laps and made it up the hill without getting stuck. Don't know what happened to Mr YZ400. Just as I got to the top of the hill yet another riding buddy passed me (He rides a KTM450EXC, along with my buddy in Vet Expert. The rest of the crew is on a KX250, CRF450R, KTM525EXC and RMZ450, but he blew his bike up.). I continued along the trail without any other problems and finished the race sore, tired but very happy.
I ended up getting 3rd in Junior Under 200cc which is my best finish to date. This is pretty much it for riding this year as I head back to Edmonton and University in two weeks. Next year will hopefully be my last year in Junior Under as all my riding buddies are Intermediate to Expert riders and I've improved immensely in the past couple months. Hopefully work will permit more racing next year (it'd be nice to get in 6 races next summer) and then in 2007 I'll be in the Intermediate class.
Reply by ThumperTDC on 08/21/2005 10:07:47 PM
Awesome ride report, sounds like it was a fun race.
Reply by SpeedyManiac on 08/22/2005 8:41:09 PM
It was a great race. I can't believe how hacked up the course got though. It was 10km of constant bouncing. Even the roads got rough with bumps.
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