Ok, I loaded up the bikes on the old vintage truck and motored up the sierras over donner pass towards nevada. I stopped in Fernley (last place with a walmart until, I think Elko, I think) and got some coolant and oil for the truck, which uses both. Arrived at Toulon at dinner time. Now there really isn't much in Toulon, just an exit off I-80 and some enduro markers to a flat spot on the side of the valley where the pitts where. I later learned that Toulon was sort of infamous. apparently, someone from the donner party got murdered here...
I found a place to park the truck for my "camp" and proceeded to register for the race. I asked about the sound check and they just said "we only have a spark arrestor inspection"... ok, where was that ? "at the start. just be in compliance"... ok. I unloaded the bikes and noted that there was more oil on the xr350r fork, that must have bled out over the donner pass and with the extra pressure trapped in the forks due to the tie down and extra altitude, through the failing fork seal. oh well, I thought, the other fork is still OK, I'll take it out for a test ride. the bike felt great, however, I noticed that the front suspension was "topping out", i.e. they hit the stop when the extended... that's not good. since I didn't want to spend the rest of the night rebuilding the front forks, I decided to use the xr200r instead. took it out for a test ride, it's all good.
my row was 83... this is 1:23 after the key time of 9:00am, so 10:23. I adjusted the second time zone on my ironman wristwatch tied on my xr200r handle bars as "timekeeping" equipment. however, this race was in "National Format", which means timekeeping wasn't scored. you can only hour out when you're too late and you have to restart at some of the check that aren't tests back on your key time. so, it's pretty much just a hare scramble type event once you start getting behind. gas can in at 8:00, riders meeting at 8:30... wait for my start time talking with the neighbors at my camp site. I guess this was the pickup truck camping area, since all of the neighbors were camping in trucks and maybe a tent, as opposed to the "large diesel truck with huge toy hauler" camping area, which was about 90% of the rest of the pitt area.
at the start, we had our spark arrestor inspection, which consisted of one of the officials sticking the welding rod up the exhaust, about minute before our start time.... they didn't care wheter the motor was running or not, and I didn't see anyone actuall fail the inspection. the actual start was dead engine. the xr200r is a bitch to start when cold, but once it's warmed up it's a "half a kick starter". i.e. you just bump the starter a bit and it fires right up... which comes in real handy on the side of the hill when it's in gear and you only have enough footing for a "half kick" to get it started again. these races are usually in groups. the A class starts in early rows, followed by the B class riders a little while later and finally the C class, which started on row 65 in this enduro. the last row was 87, I think. so I started 4 minutes before the last riders... I wished some fellow riders I had met before good luck and proceeded to line up, introductions were made, exhausts were inspected and we were off...