Short line @ spring grove skatepark. Sunny December morning.
The results are in…..
Saturdays GP: B Class, 3rd Overall
Fox Valley Off Road Overall (Open B):
FVOR Overall Points
Suffice to say, I’m quite thrilled. It feels good to have finally won some form of overall series since my Advanced Trials class in 2009. I rode far less than normal this year, but seemed to grow more and more confident in my riding. Thanks to my wife, family, and friends for all the support.
I’m well behind on this. What can I say, I’ve been busy. Since my last version was a TLDR Wall o Text, I’ll keep it short & sweet.
August 17th Harescramble. I don’t remember how the race went. For the bulk of the race, I thought I was in 2nd place. Turned out there was a timing\scoring error in my favor. 1st place Open B, 18th\48 Overall.
September 20th GP Race:
I did this race for 2 reasons. 1. I hadn’t ridden the 350 since the last race, and 2. I was in 1st place for the FVOR Open B Overall and racing the GP would give me some bonus points, should I not perform well on Sunday First moto I had a bad start, but everyone seemed to be moving a good pace. I learned the course (short) and ended up 4th\11 in the B class. Not bad considering I was shaking off some cobwebs. Second moto things were great……until the skies opened . Goggles were removed. I couldn’t see a thing, and it was like riding on ice. Lap times dropped substantially. I was riding reasonably well until I stalled the bike on the simplest of climbs. Go figure my E-Start button decided to not work. I tried kick starting the bike, only to slide backwards into a tree I got back up & finished 4th again.
Recap – Moto 1 – 4th Moto 2 – 4th – Overall 3rd. Apparently some folks stopped riding when the rain came….I said bring it
September 21st Harescramble:
This was the race I wanted to race. I knew if I won this one, I’d have the FVOR Open B overall. It had rained a bit more overnight, but luckily the morning race combined with dry weather made the course plenty tacky (though still a bit slick in areas). My bike was coated in mud from Saturdays race. My gear was coated & mostly still wet. Luckily I had some dry gloves with & some alternate goggles to use. Once again, I had a weak start (starter button is on the fritz). This time though, the bad start was a blessing in disguise. A group of guys piled up on the inside of the 1st turn, allowing me to squeak around the outside of them.
I had 2 or 3 guys in front of me from my class. I ended up making quick work of them & had them passed before the end of the first lap. Lap timer showed I was in 1st place. I knew at this point it was mine to lose, so I kept as sharp as I could, and kept pushing as hard as I could. Riding the GP helped a lot, as most all of the GP course was part of the harescramble course.
The Harescramble course first half was windy stuff through some sloppy wooded areas. After the first lap, this area tacked up pretty well. Next up was the endurocross. Normally I was jumping these obstacles. This time I kept the same speed, but tried to keep as low as possible on them. I wasn’t in the mood for heavy impacts. Next up was the 1st half of the moto track. I did what I could to keep pinned through here as it felt like “free time” to me as most guys don’t keep it full speed there. I tucked the front on a sandy turn though. Thankfully slow speed & the bike kept running.
After the 1st half of the moto track, we did a small climb\descent, hit the moto whoops, and back up another climb to the 1st grass section. This was good fun here. I’d do the climb in 3rd gear (slightly lugging) which kept good traction on the bad surface. It allowed me to rev out through 3rd into the first grass turn, keep in 3rd for the turn and up into 4th before dropping back into the woods. From here it was back onto the moto track, and another off-camber uphill climb. I was loving this climb. I went into the first portion in 3rd, and then dropped to 2nd when the hill got steeper. At the top, you’d jump out into the 2nd grass track section, where I’d click into 3rd, 4th, and then pinned in 5th to the end. It felt good to stretch the bikes legs a bit. From here it was some windy 2-track type stuff, through timing & scoring, and then across and down into the creek section. Again, another spot where I felt I made good time.
The entire race, I felt I was riding extremely well. I was confident on the bike (moreso than I’d been all year) and above all, just felt in control of things. I was a little sore from Saturday, but it wasn’t really affecting me. I wasn’t out of breath, and my muscles weren’t really feeling it. I was just having fun riding as fast as I could. On top of that, I was incredibly consistent. My times were within 5-10 seconds throughout the entire race.
I was fast, consistent, and having fun. Unofficial results 1st in Open B, 9th\48 overall.
These finishes should get me the FVOR Open B Overall too
Good weekend, finished off with a nice glass of beer when I got home:
And while it’s not much, a couple pics.
Bike after Saturdays GP (and before Sundays HS):
FreeMotoPix again snagged some photos from the weekend.
The bike was nice & clean at the GP
Leaving Timing & Scoring:
Probably the 2 slickest spots, there were others, but these 2 were the only ones I thought about in the race:
On the gas on the MX track:
Hillclimb just before getting on the 2nd portion of grass track:
Working the creek section (wow a shot where I have decent form ):
And a parting shot:
1991 Honda Nighthawk 750 overview
39,000 miles. Great running machine.
I’m just a wee bit behind on my updates here. Real quick on the June race. I’d like to not think about it too much, but if I don’t keep the past in my mind, I’ll likely repeat it. I don’t want that. Junes harescramble at FVOR went like this:
I got a poor start. I was then stuck behind a good deal of slower riders in my class and got frustrated. Not the end of the world, as I started passing people, but I unfortunately let a lot of their mistakes affect me. I went to make a hasty pass on a rider on a downhill section. I attempted to pass him on the outside, which was fine until he crossed over into me. I slammed on the brakes hard, but still managed to clip his rear wheel with my front. Front VS. Rear, Rear always wins. I cartwheeled down the hill. I picked up the bike, noted the bars were tweaked, as was the front fender. Each bump I heard a loud grinding noise. I was a bit mentally defeated at this point, and thought I was having little fun while trying to navigate some arrows & blown tape in the wooded areas. I wasn’t having fun, end o story. I called it quits early. Packed up and went home.
That’s the past and I aimed to do better come next race. This Sundays race, I kept calm. The little B & Big B classes grouped together for 1 line were too big, so they split us into separate lines at the start. I liked this, as I had no one on the immediate sides of me. I wear ear plugs when I race, so dead engine starts can prove to be tricky as I have a hard time hearing the motor start. I kept calm, and pulled the holeshot. I was holding a decent pace, but early on tucked the front in a slick turn. I got back up as quick as possible and kept pushing. I noted I was getting some arm pump pretty bad early on. I don’t normally get arm pump, so I figured it was a combo of not riding off-road enough & possibly having tossed a different set of bars on the bike (and pushing to keep up my early race pace). I calmed myself down and dealt with it.
On the second lap I tried getting a sip of water from my camelbak. Nothing. I thought Ice had clogged the hose, so I kept going. Next lap as I noted I slipped into 3rd place, I again tried getting some water from my camelbak. Nothing. At some point I decided when I had a decent gap from whoever might be near me, I would have to stop. I knew while I was plenty hydrated, I’d have a hard time making 105 minutes without water. The dust in some open sections had been coating my mouth & it was needless to say, not pleasant.
My gap (perceived or whatever) opened up enough where I felt comfortable stopping to fix the camelbak. Bladder out, and saw the quick release hose had released itself. A quick click back in and I was back going. Around 30 seconds loss I’d say. The rush of cool water was an instant boost and I felt a resurgence of energy. Unfortunately a group of guys had passed me (4 or 5). They were in different classes, but it meant I’d have to deal with passing them again. Not a big deal, but each person you gotta deal with passing is precious time lost. I managed to pass them within the lap, so that was good for me mentally.
As the race progressed I could feel I was making some costly mistakes. I let a few riders mess me up on some hill climbs. Both times I had selected alternate lines, only to mess up and lose my momentum. Not the end of the world, but HUGE energy sucks. I felt the end was nearing, and saw there were approximately 20 minutes left on the clock. At this point I had been lapped by the AA guys. I knew my lap times were over the 10 minute mark, so tried to push that next lap to try and maybe find the 2nd place guy. No such luck.
Last lap, my body was feeling it. My tweaked ankle (from a skateboard incident) was really bothering me, and I felt the blisters on my left thumb really cropping up. On the first real downhill, I managed to tuck the front (and subsequently destroy my left footpeg). I hadn’t noticed the footpeg, so I just tried trucking on best I could. I pushed when I could, I kept calm and knew no one was too close behind, and felt OK with the
(unofficial) 3rd. Official 2nd Place
I saw the checkers and relaxed as I crossed the finish line logs. I was definitely sore & out of breath. The early half of the race without being able to quench the dryness in my mouth hampered things a bit. I can really tell I haven’t been riding off-road enough. The past several years I’d been spending almost every weekend riding dirt. Lately it seems I’ve only been riding at the races. This does not help me keep my speed up. I’m going to have to figure out how I’m going to work around that. Having my messed up ankle (rolled it while skateboarding) didn’t help either, though this should be 100% by the next race.
So there we have it. I’ve got an unofficial 3rd place. Overall I’m happy with my performance given the circumstances. I’d really like to be winning every race, but well I’m trying to be as realistic about my situation as possible. I’m looking forward to the next one.
Update: Official result = 2nd in Open B. 28th Overall.
ps – I’ll post pics as soon as I can find any online.