The View From "C" Class - 2010 NCHSA Series

Discussion in 'Racing' started by nobrakes, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. MotoMind

    MotoMind Long timer

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    Sounds like you're running that bike awfully low in the revs in the first vid, 2-3K? Ol' KTM got too much power high up?
    #61
  2. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    There certainly no lack for power on my bike. But I generally ride lower in the RPM especially where traction is questionable as it generally hooks up better. Also, when I do need to power out, there's plenty of head-room to do so vs being in a lower gear. You can really hardly be in the wrong gear on this bike, there's plenty of torque down low. I'm far from an expert rider, though. As my skills improve, so likely will my ability to carry more speed more consistently and in the upper range of the power.
    #62
  3. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    The starting area is organized chaos. There were 176 riders in the afternoon race, so here we are all lined up. There are about a dozen rows, each one a class, broken down by various criteria for the afternoon "C" class race, mostly by age. This race actually includes some of the older "B" guys as well - VET, SEN, and Masters, but most are "C" classes split up by age. I'm in the 40+, since I turned 44 the day following the race. The groups are typically separated at 5 year intervals. I'll race the same class next year since it goes by your age at the beginning of the season, that is, unless I can somehow manage to improve enough to ride in the SEN B class. I would much prefer the latter. I will self promote myself if I can consistently finish in the top 5 or so. But even in my 40+ C class, the top 5 seem to be at a whole other level, I've got a ways to go before I can hope to mix it up with them. One practical advantage of doing that would be that the "B" classes are in the first few rows to start, and they are better riders, so the bad bottlenecks that we suffer in the back rows, especially the first lap, are not nearly as bad of a problem.

    This is my starting row, I think I'm in row 8 or 9. There were only 2 or maybe 3 rows behind us, so we are near the back. That's my bike right there to the left - #351.

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    Sorry about the quality of these, these were all screen captures from my helmet cam. My nerves are wound a little too tight on race day to snap many photos, but the helmet cam provides pretty good coverage, if lacking quality. :deal

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    This lady gets the enviable job of walking up and down the rows, checking off riders that are actually on the line and racing. One hole in the NCHSA posted results is that they only show riders that actually completed at least one whole lap and came through the scoring tent, and got their helmet barcode scanned into the computer. But it does not account for 1st lap DNFs - those that started, but for whatever reason, never made it back to complete at least one lap. Generally, the tougher the course, the larger this discrepancy. The posted hard-copy score sheets at the race show the first lap DNFs - largely as a result of this starting line documentation. The number of trophies that are given out are based on how many riders actually started, so that includes 1st lap DNFs also. So this lady's job is actually pretty important and can make the difference of someone getting a trophy or not, and tallying the overall count of riders in the each class and the overall.

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    Ran into my buddy Ron on the line - notice the creative helmet cam mount. This is the guy that helped me get my bike un-stuck from that mud-pit at Devil's Ridge. As such, if I ever see him stuck, I will be sure and return the favor. haha He rides in VET B and flat out hauls!

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    This is the front of the pack at the starting area - first row is VET B, followed by SEN B. I would love to be racing in SEN B in a year or two if I can improve enough. I've got a good ways to go before I can hope to hang with these guys, though.

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    #63
  4. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    While it seems to be pretty much unanimously agreed among the riders that the course was rough, the climbs were steep with lots of roots and rocks, the descents were treacherous, it is also unanimously agreed that it was a GREAT course. I know I liked it, though I could do without the first lap bottleneck:

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    Patience seemed to be the key in getting through here, but it was tough with other riders banging trying to scoot through ahead and then not being able to make it, and slipping into you sideways. The first lap through here I got held up a good bit, but it could have been a lot worse. The hold-up was purely due to the riders bunching up. On subsequent laps, this area presented no problem at all for me anyway, once the congestion cleared.
    #64
  5. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    Gotta love the photographers that brave the elements, exposing their expensive equipment to dust, heat, humidity, rain, and mud, climbing the hills and scrambling the treacherous paths, avoiding riders and machines each week to get some great photos of us during the races:

    This is Rae, from BlueJackalPhoto.com:

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    Nobrakes - coming through! Thanks, Rae! :clap

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    #65
  6. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    Then we come to the 2nd bottleneck. This one was a bit more tricky and every lap I came through here, there were quite a number of riders stuck or struggling. Fortunately, I was never really affected too much by it. It took my time, and picked my way through. The first lap through, I stopped a few moments and surveyed the situation. Then I followed another guy through that looked like he knew what he was doing. Fortunately, he did, and I made it through with little drama. Such was not the case for many others.

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    #66
  7. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    The punch cards they hand out to you at sign up are attached to the left side of your handlebar and at some point through the lap, they have a checkpoint where the punchers will punch a hole. So in theory you will get a hole punched for each lap. At the end of the race, all the punch cards are cut off the bar and then used by scoring to verify that you actually did the number of laps that the bar code scanner says. The intent is to make it harder to cut the track. If scoring says you did 4 laps, but you only have 3 holes in the punch card, you only get credit for 3 laps. It's not fool proof of course, and they have other ways to root out cheaters that try and cut the course by watching for "short laps," but that's the NCHSA system. Mainly, it keeps the honest people honest.

    Here I am going through the check-point:

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    #67
  8. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    Near the end of the first lap, I came around a rutted turn that also had a bit of a lip on it, got a little hot on the gas, and wheelied a bit. I was unable to reel it back in before going off-course and into a tree plastered with course markers. And of course, I did this near the end of the first lap near scoring, so there were a lot of people around to witness this, ah, moment of weakness on my part. One lady even screamed a little as I had my close encounter. You will notice from the video that no one came rushing to help or see if I was OK. :bluduh :lol3

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    And this would be the reason why I don't run my stock headlight on my bike during races. This probably would have been a $90 headlight replacement if I had. :eek1
    #68
  9. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    And finally, on into scoring to finish out the first lap. Here, they scan the barcode on your helmet with your race number on it. You can see mine at the far left of the frame in all these helmet cam shots.

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    After you get scanned, the red tent just beyond the scoring tent covers the electronic display that shows you your current position in your class, and how far back you are from the guy in front of you in your class. It's pretty nice.

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    #69
  10. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    So that's the first lap of the NCHSA Round 3 Brushy Mountain Hare Scramble. I hope that gives an idea of what the races are like, and a little bit about how our series in run.

    And here's the whole first lap on helmet cam - from the drop of the flag to coming through the scoring tent, raw, and uncut, with all my successes and mistakes - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Mostly the ugly. :lol3 Hope you like it. Laps 2 and 3 were markedly better, and I'll get to those, but I'll probably edit those down for length and post them as one entity.

    Brushy Mountain Hare Scramble - Lap 1:

    <object width="800" height="530"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=11466122&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=11466122&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="800" height="530"></embed></object><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/11466122">2010 NCHSA Rd 3 - Brushy Mountain Hare Scramble</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user555192">bsd512</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p><p>This is the start and the first lap of the 2010 NCHSA Round 3 Hare Scramble - Brushy Mountain. It was a great course, pretty challenging with steep and rough climbs and descents. Bottlenecks formed in some places.<br /></p>
    #70
  11. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    Almost forgot, all that effort resulted in some hardware: :evil I got 10th out of 21 in class, and 83th out of 176 overall. About mid-pack. I'm good with that.

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    After collecting the spoils, we packed up and headed home on the 3 hour drive back east:

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    #71
  12. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    really excellent report this time - if anyone want to know what it's like to race one of these, this one shows it. Congrats on the trophy.

    So, did you wick it up more in the fast parts this time?
    #72
  13. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    Thanks, DC!

    I did my best to do that. I stood on the pegs more, more-so in the laps 2 and 3, perhaps that's one reason I did better on those laps. But I had to keep reminding myself to do it. I did have it in the forefront of my mind to not waste any time on the fast parts, thinking about what you said, though I was not always successful - had to get a drink occasionally so had to slow down for that, and also adjusted the top suspension clickers at one point on the fly to help smooth out the rough, so there were places where I could have otherwise gone faster but was occupied attending to hydration or bike adjustments. I'm convinced the extra attention to stand more and also to constantly remind myself to not tarry where I didn't have to, made a difference, likely of several positions. The next guy behind me in my class was only 30 seconds back - if he would have passed, I would not have gotten the trophy. So staying vigilant and pushing more surely saved that position and likely several others. In a 1.5 hour race, the seconds add up quickly.

    Overall I am very pleased with my result.
    #73
  14. IT 400

    IT 400 Junk Collector

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    I'm with you on that "Sir Brakes"...at my age, and with a spuradic race history at best, if I can hang at the end of the fast pack or at the front of the middle pack I'm WAY HAPPY!!! I also know that if I'm running in that area, I'm in a position to take advantsge of opportunities when they present themselves, and on occassion win one:eek1

    Maybe this summer I can go run one of these things with you...maybe I'll tag along when TW makes the show...I can provide "comic relief"...The quote of the day would be..."You're gonna ride THAT???":ear

    Later Bro...see ya' in the woods...Oh yeah, cool report :thumbup
    #74
  15. Tbone

    Tbone off-ramp slayer

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    great stuff !! Man, those bottle necks on the hill sides makes it hard to get around them. In Florida, not so much an issue.
    #75
  16. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate the comments and support.

    Here's a neat video someone put together about the race. If you watch close you can see me at about 5:50, #351, at the little step-up section just after the start.

    I like the interviews with the kids, though. Those little kids have about 10 times more experience at this stuff than I do, at 44 y/o. lol

    <object width="800" height="600"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=11512772&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=11512772&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00ADEF&amp;fullscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="800" height="600"></embed></object><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/11512772">NCHSA round 3 Brushy Mountain race recap video</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user3255662">ftiracing</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p><p>Some great action, a couple of crashes, young racer's interviews... <br />
    <br />
    As well as an on the spot, just broke my foot interview with Craig Moore!</p>
    #76
  17. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    Quick update on the TireBalls I put in a while back. Today I decided an inspection was in order, so I pulled the rear wheel off and removed the tire. After 2 races and 3 or 4 regular rides, all the individual cells were still completely intact, and no mud or grit had entered through the old valve stem and 2nd rim lock holes. I had previously filled those with RTV sealant before taping over the spokes. Good to see it has kept the mud out.

    They had lost a little bit of pressure, so I went ahead and topped them off and put the tire back. In the process, I was able to squeeze one more cell into the rear tire. My confidence in these is growing. It's great not having to worry about flats. So far so good.

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    #77
  18. Tarheel Wheeler

    Tarheel Wheeler Around

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    NB, Just finished your video. Sweet stuff for sure. U got me stoked for this weekend. :wink:

    Really enjoyed the ride today. :clap
    #78
  19. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    Thanks! Yeah, that was a good ride, looking forward to riding some this week, too.

    Looking forward to riding Flat Rock with you, though even though I think you'll be starting from the row behind me, I would expect to see you coming by me in pretty short order. :lol3 Just give me a whoop-whoop and I'll move aside. :deal
    #79
  20. eatpasta

    eatpasta Lawnmower Target

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    Ive finnaly found time to watch your whole lap - and there at the end, I was sitting here in my office and I yelled TREE!!!!

    :loco

    then i looked around to see who heard me

    :lol3

    right on! I cant believe you guys race almost exclusively in single track... how the hell do you get the broken down bikes out of there?!?

    :scratch

    I wonder what its like to race in the SHADE all day long....

    :huh
    #80