Monday, June 30, 2008

Enduro De Oucho (Part One)

It is extremely rare, perhaps absolutely unique that I have this many pains from a weekend of bikes, beer, diesel busses, dodge-ball, pump tracks, jumps and oh so much more.

To try and describe what went down in the 828 this past weekend is a functional waste of what was reality, even if it didn’t seem like it at the time or never will. I will do my best to relay the events as a reporting participant. You will have to excuse the fact that my camera died during the trials event on Saturday and so those will be the last pictures I can offer. I took more of the Bunny Hop comp but they are on Dennis’ camera. I will get those up when I can.

This is an event by event breakdown of what I observed as a participant in the Enduro De Ocho:

Uphill Mass Start: 5000 -> Spencer Gap -> Trace

Zach, Dennis and I all rolled up to the Trace parking lot early enough that we could warm up on Bear Branch. Then it was on to discover what would be happening for the first event in the Enduro. During a discussion of where we were going, I tried to help people out by instructing them on where the turn off of Wash Creek Road was.

We went out for a rolling neutral start with Jut’s compatriot Beth leading the group. We made the small loop for the start when Beth pulled up with a flat. We all got a good laugh and pressed on. Once we were back out on Wash Creek the race began and I was soon in the back of the pack pulling up the rear with the flatlanders from Ohio. I provided further instructions to their crew, explaining that the left turn was in a sharp right hand corner.

Going up the hill I was completely anaerobic sitting down with my 34X22 assaulting my legs. I quickly realized that I had actually missed the turn, it seemed as though I had been climbing awhile and even though I have ridden this trail hundreds of times before, I missed it. I could see the Blue Ridge Parkway and I knew that was real bad. I knew there were people up ahead of me that had missed the turn as well and soon enough they were coming back down toward me. I made it about 200 yards from the parkway and turned around with someone pulling up the rear following me back down the gravel so we could get back on course. Halfway down I hear “We are going all the way to the pavement!!!” it struck a little panic in me but I knew I was going in the right direction now and soon we were onto Spencer Gap climbing. I was lucky number 13 or 14 out of 17 on the uphill. However, I had a beer in my pack that I gave to Jut when I got to the top, this helped my overall standing in an ever occurring theme called “Bonus Points” over the weekend.

Trace Ridge Time Trial:

I knew this was one of the few events that I would excel at so I was hoping to pin it and come down Trace at a quick pace. The trail was tacky and moist unlike the dusty days we have been used to lately.

The trail was smoking fast and I held my speed right on the verge of control until I had the thought “I would break every bone in my body if I fell at this speed” and proceeded to get on the brakes just a little. It just so happened that my inner trail mind was speaking to me because I was coming up on the only hair pin left turn on Trace. I had scrubbed just enough speed off that I just held on and flew around the corner without touching the brakes. That’s when I thought that I had never and would never ride Trace this fast again in my life.

I got to the bottom of Trace and knew I had some work left on the flat stuff. I crossed the parking lot onto lower trace and spun like a madman. Quickly I came up on the left hand turn and tried to spin fast again but felt sluggish. 6th/17 place on the downhill. Not bad for one gear.

Industry Nine Trials and Jumps

Skinny ride comp:

Justin had arranged a 100 foot skinny ride with a small gap jump in the middle for good measure.

I am no good at Trials but I gave it a go anyway. I think my accomplishment was about 15 feet nowhere near the gap jump. No one made it all the way with their five attempts but some valiant attempts were made.

Bunny Hop Comp:

For me, this was one of the most exciting events to watch. It was a simple arrangement of a small metal pole placed on cinder blocks with wooden planks to raise the height each round.

I am not much of a bunny hopper. I can get over obstacles in the woods by placing my front tire on the tree and then moving my body so that the back tire hops up on the tree. This is no good for getting both wheels high off the ground.

The first round was no more than 7 inches off the ground and everyone made the jump. The second round wasn’t much higher and I was able to make it even with my defunct technique.

Dennis also had a “unique approach” to this competition. He had been celebrating his birthday all day and decided he would use the blitzkrieg technique on the bunny hop. He came into his final attempt at a blistering pace, pre-loaded his suspension, hopped and then proceeded to nick the bar as he went over. This turned him slightly and when his tires met the pavement it over-exaggerated an already bad move, his tires turned inward further putting him parallel to the ground. He turned into the fall and this sent him scraping shirtless across the asphalt after a pretty large impact. He was ok and everyone had a good time watching that fall. THANKS DENNIS!!

The competition soared after this and the bar was getting pretty high for mountain bikes. After the bar was up around two feet, there were only two riders left Adam riding a rigid Karate Monkey and Matt who was on a big full suspension rig. Proving that it is the rider rather than the bike, these two went on to virtually tie as the last bar rise had them both stumped. Attempt after attempt these two were literally a ¼ of a tire knob away from clearing the bar but to no avail. I was impressed to say the least. Good work gentlemen.

Trials Comp:

A small trials course that consisted of two raised four by fours followed by a turning exit onto three stumps, down the stumps, up and over some wooden crates followed by a small ledge ride. Again I was out in a couple feet; two went on to complete the course but nothing too notable here. Good riding.

Pump Track Time Trail:

The pump track at I/9 was tough! We were allowed to pedal and we were told to do four laps. I felt good on this one but I am not sure how I did overall. There were some pretty good crashes in the berm that made for an exciting event overall.


Nothing notable here besides the fact that I can’t jump and others can.

This would end the day at Industry Nine. Thanks to Jeff for letting us whoop it up at the factory.

The night time activities followed by Sunday’s illustrious events will have to wait for tomorrow. Maybe I can procure some more pictures by then as well.


cornfed said...

Sorry I missed out. Though the video posted of you eating it in the turn (while I hoped you were ok) had me in stitches this morning... It was like a prat fall from a comedy.

(hope you are ok)

Pisgah Princess said...

my oh my..
ya'll want more pictures..
Matt Johnson just set this up with the photo taken by mostly me -- accept those i'm in of course..

see this:

flickr - enduro de ocho