Enduro: A Welcome Challange!

Discussion in 'Racing' started by header, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. header

    header Chris

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    [​IMG]

    Time is standing still, I can’t tell how long I’ve been racing or how much longer I have to go. I barely notice the line of spectators packed to the gills along the course’s edge or how narrowly I missed the last hay bale on the inside of the previous turn. It’s funny what gets pushed out of consciousness when your focus is peaked.


    It feels like everything is speeding up and the volume is slowly coming back as I realize I’m about to come out of the woods and barrel onto a straight across a corn field. I grab third, as I air it out coming off a small rise, and twist the throttle to the stop letting my KTM 530 flex. I start to chase down the two stroke that I’ve been keying off of for the last lap and a half. I know I can’t beat him in the woods, my shoulder won’t hold out at that speed but I can exploit the massive amount of power the 530 makes and take him in the straights.


    I’m within an arm’s reach of his rear fender; we both go into the turn. He goes to the inside; I swing wide ignoring the roost blasting my side from hip to neck. His bike is screaming as I grab 5th and put the hammer down, the 530 obliges and growls to life as I shoot past him. I brake at the last minute but only down to forth. I know I can put some distance between him if this is the turn I’m thinking of. If not I’ll get to pass him again. It is and I bounce over the braking bumps and float through the first section of whoops while standing on the pegs fully committed and concentrated on charging. I’m more comfortable attacking the trail than I am walking to my car, everything comes without thinking and my body reacts to each input from the trail by its self.


    This is living.
    #1
  2. Vicks

    Vicks gets stuck in sand

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    Nice. Love it.

    Thx
    #2
  3. racerron

    racerron dysfunctional

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    Well said! :clap
    #3
  4. header

    header Chris

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    There aren’t very many endures in Indiana and the ones that are here stay up north where the land is flat and boring. I knew if I was going to try one I wanted it to be in the hills somewhere and have old school time keeping. Appalachian Champion Enduro Series (ACES) was the closest series around that I thought met my requirements.


    I serviced the bike with an oil change and air filter. The rear tire had lost its edge but wasn’t bad enough to take off so I flipped it and changed out the tube. I greased the axle and checked the tension bolts. With the rear wheel bearings feeling good I switched sides and played with the front end a little and found everything to be ready.
    With that I loaded the van and camped the night before making friends with the people around me and learned what I could.

    [​IMG]
    (don't mind that oil leak...)

    Morning came fast and I was up, eager to see how things start at an Enduro. I had prepped most of the bike the night before but stopped with the score card and roll chart. After realizing the only thing I left at home was the roll chart holder :baldy I borrowed some tape and highlighters and started prepping the chart with the sophisticated swagger of a kindergartener, changed into gear and headed to the start line to find my row. I was on row 16 with a trail rider, one B and A rider.

    Of course I forgot to take any pictures of the start :bluduh
    #4
  5. Av8rPaul

    Av8rPaul Have bike will travel

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    Alright, I'm in!:D
    #5
  6. racerron

    racerron dysfunctional

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    Starting on row 16 with an A rider on your row, man! you can't get luckier then that. ride a good pace, don't pass the A rider, and you have it made.


    Back in the day, we had a enduro almost every weekend in my area. But now there's only one all year. :cry
    #6
  7. header

    header Chris

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    Yeah, thats what I thought :uhoh

    I'll post some more tonight.
    #7
  8. header

    header Chris

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    After years of harescrambles the Enduro's start seemed a bit toned down almost to the point of a glorified trail ride. To some that may seem a bit dull but I really liked it. Don't get me wrong there's nothing like a dead engine start trying to beat 50 other hot heads to the first corner but I like trail riding a lot more than racing. Most of the time I end up riding by myself anyway so why not make it a little more of a challange and make a trail ride a race? Enduro's seem pretty close to that, a good long trail ride over some fun ground with a few nasty sections mixed in to keep you warm. I like it.

    The start went well, my bike started and the computer was on time. I fell in line behind the A and B riders and followed them down a county road that quickly turned to gravel. A few turns of gravel and we were routed over a ditch and straight into tight singletrack. I still liked it but boy was my pace way down from everyone else. The trail rider passed me quickly and the previous row caught up to me soon after. Luckily I was starting to get into a groove and followed the last guy from another row and learned a bit.

    I stopped fighting the bike and started picking my lines better, hugging the outside edge and ignoring the small trees my handguards brushed against. If they were big enough to brush off without losing my line I ignored'em :ricky

    No sooner did I start to figure things out my bike started stalling in places it shouldn't :bluduh. Quickly it became obvious the bike wasn't going to make it. I hoped to make the first check and started limping it along, but a mud hole made the decision for me.

    I waited, defeated, for the sweep crew to help unlock the wheel from what felt to be the drain keeping the creek wet :baldy. The helpers told me there was another race in a month but it’s the last one of the year. While I exercised my leg kicking the bike back to life I decided to race the next enduro. I didn’t get very far in this race but I did learn a tremendous amount to apply to my next race and more importantly to my training.

    I knew what I had to do and I knew how much time I had, with this I formulated a plan for the next race. As the sun set across the dash of the van the emotions of defeat and anger were being replaced with excitement and anticipation. A challenge was proposed, and a plan was set.

    Game on.
    #8
  9. header

    header Chris

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    I thought I had a decent amount of experience in singletrack but the only singletrack we have at our local riding hole is stuff like this.

    [​IMG]

    Speed isn't very critical compared to control. Like I said earlier, I know what I need to work on and the thought of the last chance to prove myself for the year is some pretty good incentive.

    Up next: A GNCC for practice! Woot!
    #9
  10. Osnabrock

    Osnabrock Ditch GPS

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    Think about coming North.
    After reading a number of people's posts, I'm feeling quite fortunate that there are many enduros in Minnesota and the surrounding areas, both old school timed events and the "new" way.
    I'm happy to read about your interest.
    I'm not one to post videos, but I think this an apropos time to do just that. It's a video from made by one of our local guys, featuring other local folks.
    Enjoy.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzRWHQWHsxE
    #10
  11. Tbone

    Tbone off-ramp slayer

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    Nice writing !!
    #11
  12. racerron

    racerron dysfunctional

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    Sucks your bike quit before the first check, I've been there, all set to have a good ride and the bike quits. :(:

    One month wait for the next Enduro. sure your going to be ready for that. :clap
    #12
  13. header

    header Chris

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    Wait until you hear how the last Enduro went...Lets just say this RR is more real world than hollywood :lol3

    More tonight :deal
    #13
  14. racerron

    racerron dysfunctional

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    Bring it on! :D


    As I have found from past rides, the ones that go all wrong. Get lost, i'll get gas at the next stop, that mud holes not that deep. Have givin me the best bench racing story's, some true, and some colored up a bit. :wink:
    #14
  15. header

    header Chris

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    :lol3

    Thats the way I see it too. Its the hard, drawn out battle to the finish that you remember long after the ride. Even if it did suck at the time.
    #15
  16. header

    header Chris

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    I knew if I wanted to get better at racing I needed to race more or atleast ride like I was racing. Normal riding though, even when pushing, isn't the same. Trails you know don't teach the critically important "i'm not letting off the throttle if its straight no matter what" kind of thinking racing demands, it doesn't matter if there is a lot of trail junk you need to know you'll make it through, regardless.

    I stripped the bike down, threw a new piston and rings in. Checked valves again, coolant, oil and filter and put a new MX51 on the back. Made sure it ran fine and parked it. On Thursday I loaded the bike for a quick test ride and tweaked a little bit with the clickers to accomodate the faster pace of the GNCC and loaded the van for the race.

    [​IMG]


    Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) races are pretty simple; besides being on a national level they’re standard hare scrambles with a broader range of terrain and longer courses. The morning race, consisting of the “C” class riders, “Vet” classes, Trail Riders, and “Sportsman” (Non-points A and B rider) classes, all race for 2 hours on the same course as the afternoon riders who race three hours and consist of the fast guys and the pros.

    The attendance rate for a national is much higher than a local race so to host such a large event the providers need to have a minimum of 500 acres and a course length of about 10-12 miles to keep the group spread out and the course from getting beat up too bad. This allows the race to have a really nice spread of speeds and technical sections.

    The Ironman starts out in a farmer’s corn field and meanders in a serpentine pattern before darting off into the woods where the convoluted path is continued in a tighter fashion for a few miles before coming back out into the field where you really get a chance to put the hammer down.
    #16
  17. header

    header Chris

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    I always have fun at this race, it has so much more diversity than any other race i've ever been in. To start off your row is so huge you can't even see everyone your racing against, my row had 92 racers on it alone! :eek1 Not the time to choke! Or you stay to the outside and pass all the red necks who wad it up in the first three turns like I did :D

    After the start you make turn after turn with spectators surrounding every inch of the race course. They're screaming their guts out, waving, and cheering you on making you feel like a real hero. Even halfway through the course you are routed through a, depending on the weather, nasty creek and pretty steep hill climbs with literally a couple hundred spectators on the hills that grab and hoist the riders who don't make it up.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a buddy of mine just exiting the creek and starting a run-up for the hills, you can see some of the spectators. 62 years old and still throwing elbows with the young guns! :clap

    [​IMG]
    Here is the view after topping the hills, they literally fill the hill. Heads up for the occasional ghost rider! :zilla

    After passing the aforementioned two stroke I finished the rest of the race without too much drama just focusing on riding my own race. I have a defective shoulder from a skateboarding accident that keeps me from riding hard for more than a full lap or so which may not matter too much in a harescramble where I don’t get that many miles in but I need to know that pace for the Enduro game.

    I kept it on two wheels, managed the bottle necks well and stayed in a good groove finishing a little better than half in the overalls of about 750 entrants. It bothered me knowing I could have gone faster and done a lot better but I needed to keep my eye on what I really wanted and that is a finish at an Enduro.

    Racing is a damn good way to practice. It’s never easy, if it’s muddy you’re riding ruts and if it’s dry you’re looking at whoops. Riding hard over rough terrain like that for two hours is damn good practice for racing and gets you into shape quick.

    That’s why I decided to do it again the next weekend. I got invited to a team race by a local club that lasts three hours in a two man team. I’ve done it a few years before and many other races with that same club. I knew it would be another great race for practice and hey its only 5 minutes from my house :D. The course they lay out is always a bitch. Rough rock infested, rooty, off camber you name it they’ve got it and put a creek crossing with it.

    [​IMG]

    Thumbs up boys!
    :ricky
    #17
  18. nickgindy

    nickgindy KLR Basher

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    badass
    #18
  19. racerron

    racerron dysfunctional

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    You the Man! :thumb


    Couple local guys raced the Ironman GNCC. They did the hole series, said the Ironman was the best one.
    #19
  20. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    What a fantastic movie.

    I rode with many of the guys featured. Actually houred out of an enduro when I stopped to help Mary at an enduro.

    So many great memories.
    #20