Leaf River Enduro……….

The morning started with me causing issues on my bike.  I had forgotten that when the bike was last in at the dealer, they neglected to torque the shift lever to an appropriate spec, leaving it a bit jiggly.  No problem I figured and busted out the tools to get it locked in properly.  Bike leaned over, skid plate off, wrenches out.  Spin Spin Spin SNAP!  There went the shifter bolt.  Go figure, it snapped in a spot where it was still holding the shifter onto the shift shaft.  A little bit of pit area wrenching, and the old & mildly stripped shifter were removed; replaced with a modified YZ250 shifter.  Problem solved.

I’ve never done an Enduro, and spent the prior week stressing over having to keep time, navigate myself, and do all those things that make riding even more confusing & difficult.  Much to my surprise, I found that this enduro was run in the national\restart format.  Simpley put, it’s a couple mini harescrambles (test sections), grouped together by un-timed connector routes.  You are required to start each test section at a specific time.  If you’re really fast, you can arrive at the end of these sections ahead of schedule, and get docked points.  Or you can arrive late, and get docked points as well.  The connector routes are good for a couple things.  If you were late on your test section, you can make up time to get yourself back on time for the following test section, or it could be a great time to catch your breath and relax a bit, or use it as a time to have even more fun ripping around on your bike :-D.

So there I was, lined up on row 15 with a group of Kawasaki riders (great guys btw!).  Mildly nervous, but ready for what the day would bring.  Get to the start point, 5 seconds…..Off we roll.  WFO down and across a corn field, finally dipping into some woods.  I do my best to stay on the gas as much as possible, stand, let the bike bounce and float beneath me.  I royally mess up just before a short & steep climb.  I try to start right at the bottom and get myself up the climb, only to not stand up in time and watch my bike launch away from me into the air.  It was quite impressive, just about as impressive that nothing really broke.  After a few wrong turns, and bobbles, I manage to get to the first check-out point, unfortunately 7 minutes late.  I made it though, and roosted my way on over to the next start point.

The day continued on in a similar fashion.  Come lunch time, I was ready to eat.  Luckily, with the time we made, I had about 30-35 minutes to wolf down my sandwich, fuel up the bike, and get myself refocused for the second loop.  Second loop was essentially a better version of the first go around.  The first and second test sections I was still doing pretty well (energy wise), but by the final section, I could feel myself getting tired.  Understandable, as the day totaled almost 4 hours of ride time.

Overall, I was stoked on how I rode.  I knew that I could have ridden better, and pushed harder in quite a few sections.  Hindsight is 20/20, and I feel I should be better next go-around.  I couldn’t have been happier with how the 450 powered through everything.  Sure I could have pushed for some more front grip, but that was my fault for not dropping tire pressure as I should have.  All that being said, I’ve heard (unofficial) that I pulled a 3rd place in the B group.  I definitely can’t complain with that!

Now I must prepare myself for Fox Valley Off-Road GP race this Sunday.


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