Enduro Timekeeping How-To...

Discussion in 'Racing' started by neduro, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

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    Alright, with that in mind, we’ve covered the foundation needed. Now we’ll go through how the race actually unfolds.

    The number one first thing is to prep your bike before you go. It’s miserable trying to get organized in the rain/dust/whatever at the race, DAMHIK. This includes Goggle prep, Camelback prep, etc. Do it ahead of time.

    The first thing that happens on raceday is a rider’s meeting. You should attend this, because they often will change things at the last minute and explain about it here… and there are also often clues about what the day will be like (watch for the mudhole in the second special test, etc).

    The next thing you have to do is get your gas on the gas trucks, if applicable. Many races will send gas out to a remote location so that you can refuel on the loop, and the truck carrying the gas typically leaves before you do. I like to put a second set of goggles in a ziplock and duct tape a Gatorade and a Clif bar to my gas can. You should also do something that makes your gas can easy to recognize- there are only 200 other 2.5 gallon red cans like Walmart sells. Colored duct tape, survey tape flagging, whatever will make your can stand out at a distance. Don't send a gas can out on the truck that you couldn't bear to leave without... the truck sometimes doesn't return until long after you're done, and if you have a 700 mile drive ahead of you, you probably value the time more than the $3 gas can.

    You should also write your row number and starting position (ie: 48C) on the duct tape you used on your gas can. Often the race guys will set the cans out along the gas area next to signs with a number… the number equates to the minute (8) not the tens of minutes (4), so that everyone isn’t clumped together when gassing. Sometimes the gas stop is near camp, in which case you get to do this yourself...

    You can always tell the FNG’s by them going to the riders meeting in full gear, and warming their bikes up just before key time when they are on row 84 (124 minutes before they start, in other words). Pit riding in any amount is obnoxious and junior varsity, so just chill out, put your clothes on 30-40 minutes before your start, get the bike running 10-15 ahead of time, not more unless you're worried about it starting.

    So, now you’re over at the starting line, with 3-5 minutes before your row is called. Seek out the other guys on your row, find out what class they ride, and make friends. Not only are they most likely very nice people, they will be in a position to help you with timekeeping or getting your bike out of a tree or whatever. Generally, you can sort of decide who should get the holeshot based on class and division- it’s rare to have 2 people in the same class on the same row, so often you’ve got an A guy, a B guy or two, and a C guy or two. There’s no reason to kill each other at the start- let the A guy go, and if he’s holding you up, you’ll be able to pass him later. Also, you'll likely restart with these guys a few times over the day, so you can guage subsequent starts on how the trail speeds compared in the first test. This is not motocross- you aren't racing these guys, and everyone will try to help you if they can. Do the same in return.

    2 minutes before your row starts, look at the watch you set to key time, paying special attention to seconds. If it’s off, you want to know. You’ll be using this over the course of the day. Typically, I’ll get my watch set to keytime perfectly the night before, and the next morning, it’ll be a second or two off in the morning. No biggy, you just know to watch it as you enter checks that you got to on time. More on this later.

    If you have a computer, you will key it to start as the row in front of you goes off. Then you’ve got perfect time… very nice.

    So now we’re ready to start racing and timekeeping… later tonight.
    #21
  2. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

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    So remember those complicated rules for where a check can and cannot be? Well, in practice, it’s very simple to keep track of. You’ll buy a rollchart at the race, like the one Javarilla has documented for us below.

    [​IMG]

    On the rollchart are printed all the possible checks in the race, calculated by checking time against speed according to the rules of the race. Also printed on the chart are the other relevant information to keep track of- resets, speed changes, any course splits, and whatever else you might need to know.

    This gives you an easy way to keep time- look at the minutes on your clock (set to keytime minus your row number), look at the mileage on your odometer, and compare them both with the rollchart. Now you know whether you are on schedule or ahead or behind.

    For example, from the chart above, if your mileage is 17.5 and your clock reads xx:10:00, get on the gas and don’t check the rollchart again until you go through a check or a reset. You are late. If, on the other hand, your mileage reads 17.7 and your clock reads xx:9:30, you’re right on schedule.

    On the right margin, you’ll notice a little number that indicates the speed average at that point in the race. You’ll notice that where the average is 30mph, possible checkpoints occur only twice per mile, while when the speed average is 12mph, they occur 5 times.

    In the middle of the picture, you see a reset from 16.6 to 17.2. This will also be posted on a tree alongside the course. What it means to you is three free minutes, or possibly, that you’re now 3 minutes less late. If you get there on time (clock reading before xx:07), adjust the odo, take a whiz, whatever. If you get there late and you don’t have a computer that automagically advances the mileage for you according to the program you entered before the race, keep track in your head of the need to add 6/10ths of a mile to the odo the next time you stop.

    So here’s how this works out in practice.

    The enduro breaks down into two parts, and you don’t know which is which ahead of time. One part can be called “transfer”, implying that if you are organized enough with time keeping, you can zero the checks. The other part can be called “special test”, in which case a good score results from being fast. I can’t help you there.

    Obviously, the faster you are, the more timekeeping you have to do. C-Novices often experience an enduro as one long special test, while AA riders zero checks that cost me lots of points. There’s a class for everyone.

    The trick is knowing special apart from transfer. There are some clues that you can use from the sheet, but I never have much luck trying to predict the race very well and then keep track of it. Obviously, if the speed average for a section is 60mph, it’s a special test. Likewise, if it’s 8 or 10 mph, it’s probably transfer. But it’s hard to know ahead and even harder to keep track of it. So I never worry about it. Instead, gauge it by your progress on course compared to the roll chart. The biggest advantage to a computer is that you never spend 30 seconds figuring out that you are late… for actual timekeeping when the pace is manageable, a watch is almost preferable.

    The game is this: the trail you are riding will not allow a consistent speed. The enduro organizer is trying to fake you out, by giving you easy, fast stuff and hiding a check where you’ll be hot, or take points from you by putting a high speed average on a tight section.

    You can twist the situation to your advantage by keeping track of possible checks (listed on the roll chart) and riding as hot as possible everywhere there is no chance of a check. That way, you have the most flexibility for dealing with changing trail speed. You just have to slow down and burn off time at those “wickets” along the way where they might be hiding a check. Make sense?

    Let’s start a pretend race and go through the eventualities.

    On the start line, assuming there was no reset in the first 3 miles in the rollchart, you know that you have 3 miles before the first check can come. This is called “three for free”… don’t worry about time just yet. Get comfortable on the bike, don’t stress about going fast, but don’t waste any time. For me, arm pump is a big issue in the first third of the race, and if I’m going to do well, I have to concentrate on relaxing and loosening up more than on going fast. Try to ride for 2.5 miles without looking at your odo or clock… just ride the pace that’s right for you. People will pass you, you’ll pass people, it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

    When you’re convinced you must have ridden at least 2 miles, glance at your odo, clock, and rollchart. Eventually, you’ll learn to look down very quickly, memorize a picture of what is there, and then analyze it once you’re already reading the trail again. Because there are no possibles in this 3 miles, you’re going to have to interpolate from what time and mileage the first possible is compared to your current position. So, for example, the first possible is at 3.2 miles at 9 minutes, and you glance down to see 2.7 miles and 7:30, you know you’ve got 90 seconds to go .5 of a mile, which is a 20 mph average. Stay in it.

    Often, the first section is one where you’ll be able to keep the time, so the trick is not to burn the check. Here’s where the game starts. You know there could be a check at 3.2 miles, and let’s say you are running 50 seconds hot (ahead of the pace). Stop at 3.15 miles, let the clock run down until you’re just ahead of the desired pace (take the time you want to be at 3.2, subtract the time it will take you to get there, and subtract say 10 seconds as a buffer), and then proceed. If there isn’t a check at 3.2, and the next possible is 3.5, pin it up to mile 3.45 and then look at time again.

    By riding from possible to possible in this way, just a little bit hot, you are managing risk. You are taking the risk that the organizer will catch you (but if you are only 10 seconds or so hot, that’s hard to do) in exchange for the benefit of making sure you can be where you need to be when you need to be there.

    Typically, what happens in these situations is that the enduro organizer will put a big open field in, trying to tempt you to get ahead of time, then hide a check right at the edge of the woods. Or, they’ll have you ahead of time through fields, and then make the last 4 tenths into the check very tight and slow, so that you were hot for most of the mileage but still wound up late. You can beat this game by riding possibles aggressively.

    Another trick, albeit risky, is to get within a tenth of a possible, shut your motor off, and listen for revving engines. With all the loud 4-strokes that race these days, you can frequently locate checks by sound… if you don’t hear anything, then maybe you’ll decide it’s worth the risk to proceed very hot, in hopes of staying ahead to the next possible.

    My rule to try to ride about 10 seconds hot into possibles, because I know that I can burn off 10 seconds in the time between when I see a check and when I enter it, almost no matter what. You have to keep moving forward, you can’t stop or put a foot down, but if you’ve got reasonable bike control, you can burn 10 seconds in the 20 feet you’re almost sure to have without a problem. This gives me, in effect, a 70 second buffer for zeroing the check- I can get there 59 seconds into my minute and still get a zero.

    So let’s say you ride your possibles right, and zero the check. As soon as they write your number down on your score card, get on the throttle. Assuming no resets, you’ve got 3 miles before they can throw a check at you, and you want to be as far ahead as possible at 2.9 miles (or, if it turns out that the pace is too fast and it’s a special, you wanted to be going fast anyway). Memorize the mileage where the next check could be (at least 3 miles from what the odo reads in the check), and get going.

    So the game continues through the day… Often, you wind up with 15-20 minute breaks where you can eat or adjust your gear or the bike, and just as often, you get behind early in the day and ride everything as a special. Enjoy whatever the day throws your way- it’s all an adventure. And it’s a big smile when you guess the organizer’s nefarious scheme correctly and beat it, and an even bigger one when you finish the day and feel good about your ride.

    The number one biggest lesson I’ve learned from timekeeping is not to trust others to do it for you. Group think, where all the mental fish start swimming in the same direction in a shallow pool, is as often wrong as right- the last enduro I ran, people were taking risk all over the place, by waiting at resets where there were no possibles for a while beyond.

    A few final words on enduro etiquette. There are two major areas where this turns into an issue- the first is passing, and the second is bottlenecks.

    Passing: if someone catches you on the trail, they already put at least a minute into you. Trying to “hold them off” is stupid, risky for you both, and costing them time. Get the hell out of their way, and maybe you can catch a ride from them for a while. But if someone is revving their engine behind you, or even if you just see them coming, find a place you feel safe giving them room to pass ASAP and do so.

    Bottlenecks: this is a tough situation. On one hand, it’s a race and you don’t owe anyone anything other than their own safety. On the other hand, you’re racing only yourself, and if you cheat by going around, you’re cheating only yourself. Here’s what I do: I ride as fast and clean as I can. If I can’t get through a bottleneck without someone else moving, I help them out. Let your conscious be your guide.

    Enduros are a hell of a lot of fun, if you approach them with the right attitude. You’ve got to let go of direct competition with others, and race only yourself. You’ll have unbelievable highs as you get to ride some great trail without worrying about traffic or getting lost or gas or anything else, and you’ll have some huge lows as you sit next to your broken bike in the bottom of a mud pit.

    I’m not all that competitive by nature, but enduros have turned out to be one of my favorite things in the world. If you are proud of your ride in a race, you’ll have a smile that can’t be erased for some time.

    Go do it.
    #22
  3. Rbott

    Rbott Been here awhile

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    Neduro thanks for all the info on how to ride enduros. I went to the Snow Run Enduro yesterday in CT. It was under Brand X rules so some things were different than you explained. The way Brand X works is if you come into a check late, that becomes your new minute. I guess this is to stop people from hammering on the road sections to catch back up to there minute.

    I have to say that enduros are a blast. Unlike harescrambles where you ride as fast as you can for a couple hours you actually have to think a little and make sure to stay on your minute. The course was mostly snow covered trails, but there was the occasional dirt and paved road sections, some and watre holes, and some reallt rocky old stream beds. I rode the C Heavy class which was about 50 ground miles, about 15 less than the AA,A, and B classes.

    I burned one check by a minute because I got impatient sitting on the side of the trail for 3 minutes, guess I should have waited one more minute. I hit a couple right on my minute but most of them I was late. It was fun to be blasting through the woods and come up on a reset, you didn't even need the route sheet because there would be a whole group of riders waiting on the side of the trail, stop, shut off your bike, take a drink and wait for your minute to come back up. I rolled into one check after a long woods section and was 16 minutes late. I thought to myself that I wasn't doing to well, but I kept riding as fast as I could and keep control in the snow. There was basically one line and if you got off line the bike would go wherever it wanted to. When I advanced my route sheet towards the end and saw the words "END C-SS-Masters-Women" I knew it was almost over. At that point I was way off of my minute so I cranked on the gas and headed for the last check. A total of 35 points for the day. That was good enough to get the C Highpoint trophy.

    I will definately be doing the next one. It should be a little easier when there is no snow involved.

    Ryan
    #23
  4. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

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    Sounds like an awesome time! It sure is a fun way to spend the day... and overalling the C's is a darn good way to start! Congrats! :thumb :ricky

    The catch 22 of enduros is that when the course is easier for you, it's easier for everyone. My best results have been at the hardest races, and when the conditions are perfect, and I feel like I'm hauling ass, everyone else is too.

    I've never run a Brand X race- are there any other differences than not continuing to accumulate the same points again and again?


    #24
  5. Rbott

    Rbott Been here awhile

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    From what I understand from reading the NETRA rules is that there are a few differences.
    1. A rider receives a new "minute" if he doesn't arrive on time at a check.

    2. There isn't any "free territory" in Brand X. So the checks can be anywhere on the course unlike AMA where they have to be at least 3 miles apart.

    3. If a rider comes in to a check earlier than 5 minutes he is suspended. I think AMA is 15 minutes.


    Ryan
    #25
  6. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

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    To me, those sound like rules aimed at keeping people from houring out and controlling speeds on critical sections more closely (such as public roads). Interesting.



    #26
  7. 12bridn

    12bridn I need throttle therapy

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    Thanks Ned et al for this. I now know how little I actually know about timekeeping. :lol3
    #27
  8. AceRph

    AceRph Affluenza Free! Administrator

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    Thanks Ned. I haven't thought of enduro riding in many years. Last time I ran one was in the late 70's.

    It seemed back then the my riding buddy & I would always get behind the old guy that wanted to touch all the rocks with his feet. That would be me now. :lol3
    #28
  9. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

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    One more thought:

    Take some white duct tape, make a loop around your handlebar, and write the bare essentials down- miles to gas, resets, and known controls. When you're totally lost in the timekeeping and just wondering when the next break might be, this is very helpful.
    #29
  10. cbob

    cbob Been here awhile

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    If I set my key time to 12:00 on a 24 mph average and it's 1:48 then I must have gas :puke2
    #30
  11. Dysco

    Dysco Diaper slinger

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    Bump! I'm trying to read up for Cloudcroft.
    #31
  12. utopia

    utopia Adventurer

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    Thanks Ned, and everyone else...I'm looking forward to riding my first enduro in the spring and after a little searching I came across this thread. The timekeeping makes alot more sense now, but I'll probably have to read it about 10 more times to get it all.

    It really won't sink in for me until I ride one. I was thinking of getting a fancy enduro odometer, but after reading all that I think I'll stick to the basics and just use an odo with a clock and a rollchart. That will be about all my brain can handle.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for an odometer that will display the mileage and clock at the same time? I was thinking about a Trailtech Vector odometer because it also has a remote switch for the handlebar and it does have a speedometer which I would like to have to keep my semi-street legal bike semi-street legal. But it looks like the clock numers are kind of small. Any other recommendations?

    Greg



    PS Ned, love my new XCW. Due to unusual lack of early snow here in the valley, I got to ride it twice last week.
    #32
  13. cbob

    cbob Been here awhile

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    Just a regular speedo will do, like the Trail Tech standard speedo. For a clock you can pick up a wrist watch from Wal-Mart. Make sure your watch has seconds and minutes displayed at the same time. I use one as a back up duck taped on top my bar pad.

    If you can come across a stock modern KTM speedo (the skinny one) from ebay you can program it to show mileage with tenths and real time clock with seconds at the same time. But they are expensive and rare.

    You might even be able to pick up an older generation enduro computer. I'm still using an 80's vintage ICO Pro3. It handles speed average changes, mid race pauses, etc.

    Once you get all dude-ed up with timekeeping the best thing to do is get to the start line and pick some other smart looking bloke with some enduro equipment and just cue off him. We call that time leaching. Try to pick an 'A' rider. Nothing wrong with it as long as you don't get in his way.

    Just ride and have fun.

    - c bob
    #33
  14. _SMF_

    _SMF_ Been here awhile

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    Hi, sorry for my stupid question, I did my first enduro this past Oct. It was really fun, I never had armpump and cramping so bad before but it was worth it.

    My question in your example of a roll chart it has the minute next to the mileage. Is that normal on all roll charts? The one I had didn't have that.

    Is each of the entries a possible check?

    I did manage to zero 4 checks and burn 2 by 3min, I just tried to keep moving and not stop. I had no clue what I was doing,(still don't). Anyways I'm trying to get a grip on doing this timekeeping for next year.

    Thanks.

    [​IMG]
    #34
  15. cbob

    cbob Been here awhile

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    Most enduros in the Southeast will have a route sheet with turns, mileages and time in the rider pack. Sometimes you have to ask for it. Sometimes they have a generic route sheet you can buy.

    The race starts at, say, 9am on a 24 mph average. That's a mile every 5 minutes, a tenth of a mile every 15 seconds, 4 tenths to a minute and so on (after doing these for 20 years you start thinking like this). The club can put a check anywhere there is an even tenth at the top of a minute. Well, almost anywhere. There's some other rules, but that's the basic one.

    First, set your watch so that when you leave your watch says 9:00 (or whatever start time is). If your start time is 9:54 then you set your watch 54 minutes behind key time (to the second). When your enduro watch rolls up to 9:00am it's really 9:54 on the clock in the truck. You'd better be on the line ready to go.

    * * 24 MPH * *
    1. 0.0 START 9:00:00
    2. 1.2 RPR 9:03:00
    3. 2.6 LWR 9:06:30
    4. 3.0 RESET TO 5.0
    5. 5.0 SWR 9:12:30
    6. 5.1 RWT 9:12:45
    7. 14.9 RESET TO 24.8
    8. 24.8 SWT 10:02:00
    9. 24.8 CHANGE TO 30 MPH
    10. 25.2 XDR 10:02:48
    11. 32.4 SWT 10:17:24
    12. 32.4 RESET TO 39.9
    13. 32.7 LPL 10:33:00


    This is just an example I made up in my head (and my brain hurts!). Imagine 3 columns of this stuff. You'll need scissors, scotch tape and a highlighter or two to turn it all into one big long strip then roll it up into an Enduro Engineering (or other brand) route sheet holder.

    The first reset is simply to push the mileage forward so they can put a check at 5.2. How do you know there will be a check at 5.2? Because after that there is nothing but WT (woods trail) for almost 9 miles!

    Next check is at 14.8. How do we know? Because there is a big whopping reset at 14.9 and 14.8 is the first tenth before that at the top of a minute (:00). You should be at 14.8 at exactly 9:37:00 but don't worry, you'll be plenty late.

    The reset at 14.9 will give you a chance to rest, catch a drink, talk to some buds, massage some forearms, etc. You'll need to advance your odometer to 24.8. Here's a hint: You'll notice a gaggle of riders all sitting around like a little tea party. They are waiting for their minute to come up so they can get going again. *IF* you were Russell Bobbit you could expect to wait 25 minutes. Your wait time varies with your woods speed.

    At 24.8 miles they up the ante with a faster speed average - 30 mph. Mostly they do that to make sure to take points, or if it's a bunch of WR (woods road) they might put in a faster average. It makes mental math a whole lot harder too. Just ride faster.

    If by some chance you start passing riders that are just poking along, turn around and look what row they are on. If they are on a row lower than yours you'd better slow down or you could burn a check. If they are trying to go fast then they are just slower. It's pretty obvious when a rider is going 10 mph on a wide open dirt road.

    At 25.3 you find another check. You know why - 8 miles of WT ahead!

    And, of course, another check at 32.3. Only 7 miles but at 30 mph it should only take 14 minutes! You have a 15 minute rest (probably more like 5 depending on your speed). Don't forget to advance your odo.

    Sometimes instead of RESET they will use PAUSE. A PAUSE is exactly what it sounds like - at xx.x mileage sit and wait yy minutes. It could look like this:

    10. 25.2 XDR 10:02:48
    11. 32.4 SWT 10:17:24
    12. 32.4 PAUSE 15 MIN
    13. 32.7 LPL 10:33:00

    So instead of the odo advancing you sit and wait for your watch to get ahead.

    Either way, pay attention to the guys with all the enduro doo-dads and what row they are on, especially if they are on your row. And if you ever see a 15 mph average you are in for a really good time.

    I hope that helps.

    - c bob
    #35
  16. cbob

    cbob Been here awhile

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    BTW - I started out riding WNYERA enduros. Furthest East on our schedule was Speedsville NY, outside of Binghamton. That was a nasty muddy one . . . .

    - c
    #36
  17. _SMF_

    _SMF_ Been here awhile

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    Thanks cbob. I just went to a hs in Belden, NY not too far from binghampton.
    #37
  18. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do Super Moderator

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    Great stuff, cbob. Thanks! :beer
    #38
  19. GOT DIRT?

    GOT DIRT? Been here awhile

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    After reading this, I still want to try an enduro next year.
    #39
  20. Knute Dunrvnyet

    Knute Dunrvnyet marooned in realtime

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    Yeah, Speedsville Nat'l was a finicky one-
    sometimes it would be a mudbath due to summer t-storms;
    other years, it was a dry, 8 hour HS.
    I earned my B rider points
    via a 7th in the under 200 class on my IT175
    @ one of those dry years.

    There's nothing more intimidating than starting an enduro in a torrential downpour: been there, done that, it's not always fun.
    it's interesting that I continued to ride enduros-
    'cuz it feels so good when ye stop.'
    Well, the rewards are great.

    The only, ONLY time I got a 1st, [in my class,] was w/ the IT175,
    @ Square Deal's 'Bear Swamp Enduro' 'way back when,
    in the dark and distant past, circa '79-'80ish.

    [Did any of you attend the short track races at Afton Fairgrounds during the same time period, late 70s-early 80s?
    Sometimes they'd get Nat'l Dirt Track riders,
    when the ST was the Sat nite before the Syr. Mile.
    Gosh, those were the days.]


    If I recall, "Brand X," didn't penalize ye for being early-
    but then you had to work offa that earlier time/number.
    Check me, I may be wrong, it's been a long time.
    [Of course, I wasn't savvy/skillfull enuff, back then, to have to worry about that.]

    When ye first start riding Enduros, it seems the rule is:
    'Ride as fast as you can until you are an hour late.'

    Enduros are great fun, a great way to get to ride new trails.
    In my 'retirement,' I ride my TW200- if I finish within my time, I'm good-
    and the organizing club seems to love it:
    "Wow, here comes the guy on the TW!"
    Well I ain't doing it for them, I'm doing it for ME.
    [In a PA enduro, in coal country,
    I was down 39 minutes over a ten mile section,
    on my TW -
    - but I finished!]
    :poser
    Dog, enduros are fun!!!

    Question: how many inmates come to this site/sport from
    the off-road racing side?
    What kind of crossover, in either direction,
    i.e., dirt to adv, or adv to dirt,
    is our demographic?
    [but that's another thread...]

    thanks, Neduro!


    Knute:toney
    #40