Saturday Morning

Trip Start Sep 15, 2006
Trip End Sep 17, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Saturday, September 16, 2006

The next morning I was up early and went over to Taqueria Jalisco for the three taco breakfast special because I knew it was going to be a long time before I got another chance to eat. I was first to arrive at the park and Lance and Joe Miller were right behind me and I went over to greet them. More people began to arrive and I walked around shaking hands and met a new guy named Neil. He had just purchased a used Montesa and was here to ride his first trials event.

I wanted to make sure both the bike and myself were warmed up before the event began. The first loop is always my worst and the bike has a tendency for the clutch to stick and stall the motor if it's not good and hot. The first thing I did was to wind around between some trees as there are always lots of tight turns in the sections and it used to be where I lost a lot of points. I'm happy to report that I'm getting much better at turns and pushing of the front end doesn't occur with the regularity it once did. The next thing was to go over to the rock pile by the entrance to the loop. These rocks can take control of the steering and send you in a direction you don't necessarily want to go! It didn't take long for me to drop the bike in this area. I'm glad I got that over with before the event began and that no one saw it happen! Only the bike hit the ground and there was no damage. I picked up the bike, restarted and played around quite a bit on the rocks because I know they are a problem for me and there are some waiting for me in Section Six!

Once registration began, I had a moment of excitement while, standing in line, I couldn't find my AMA card. I hadn't seen or needed it since the previous event and walked back to the truck thinking perhaps I had left it in my checkbook. Then I remembered that my checkbook was back in my gear bag in Hyde Park! I looked in my camera bag just in case and there it was. Now I could go get back in line.

At some point while I was waiting in line, I realized that the skinny guy in front of me was Kevin Schwantz, 1994 500cc Road Racing Champion of the World! When he was finished I asked him if Michael was coming out. No last name needed. He told me that he had talked to Michael and he wouldn't be able to make it.

Michael Martin, Formula USA and multi-time National Endurance Champion and Instructor at Kevin's Racing School at Road Atlanta lived across the street from me and we rode minibikes together as kids. I knew that he and Kevin had taken classes at the Trials Training Center in Tennessee and have been doing some trials competition when their busy schedules allow it.

There was still some time before the Rider's Meeting at 10:30, so I used the time to practice turning through the trees and going through the rocks. I think this helped a lot later on.

Rider's meeting was called and it was brief. It was decided that we would ride in groups of five or six. There were six sections and each one would be ridden three times. On the first loop, we would ride each section one time, and on the second loop we would ride each section twice as it became really hot and humid. I chose to ride with Mark Shetzel who is from around there, knows the park well, and is a real nice guy. Kevin Schwantz walked over and joined our group and I thought, "great! I'm going to get to watch Kevin ride all day!" This is going to be a real treat.

Our group would be starting at Section One; the other five groups would start at one of the other five sections and then follow the loop around. Section One was fairly difficult for the Experts and Intermediates. They had to go up a large inclined flat rock with a sharp turn at the top. The expert line also had a good sized boulder to ride over near the entrance with a right turn immediately following it. After we walked the section looking for lines, Kevin mounted up and showed us how it's done; cleaning the section and making it look easy. The novice line was not much of a challenge and I rode it clean, as I also did on the other two attempts later on. I was off to a good start!

Section Two, was in the dry creek bed and had a bit of everything, a descent, loose rocks, loose dirt, exposed roots, turns, an ascent, and a tight turn with a tree stump in the middle. On my first ride, I rode the outside line of the stump, which wasn't my plan. I clipped the tree and put down a foot and scored a one.

Section Three began down low in the creek bed and went up the high side with some tight turns on the way up. It wasn't particularly difficult, but I still managed to put my foot down twice on my first attempt.

Section Four was also in the creek bed and had a rock at the entrance followed by a tight turn with a step the brought you out of the creek. Then after another turn you were back in the creek bed with its loose rocks. To make the final turn, you had to ride the wall on the high side of the creek and out the exit. I took a couple of dabs here on my first attempt, but got better later on. The expert and intermediate lines were much more difficult with the riders having to go up the wall without any room to get a run at it and there was a fallen tree in the middle of a turn that had to be ridden over.

Section Five was near the end of the main loop and like and old friend of mine. I had practiced in that area quite a bit when I was in town for South By Southwest back in March. I didn't get to ride one of my favorite parts of the section which I had mastered after countless attempts. This section was the easiest one for me. When I finished my first try, I rode up to Kim and told him, "I was going to have you kick me if I didn't clean that one because I have ridden it so many times. Kevin blew a split marker on his first attempt here and got a five for what had been a great ride up to that point.

From there we rode to the parking area and crossed over to the last section, number six. I have also ridden this area in many different configurations, but the jagged rocks and turns here always seem to mess me up. Today was no different I was doing OK until I got a little out of shape and went to the left of a split marker and up against a tall rock. I got out with three dabs, but since I got off of the novice line and briefly on to the amateur line, I received a five.

From there I went back to the parking area and got a cool drink of water and topped off the gas tank. In a minute we were back together and blasting down the trail to Section One. This time we had a few spectators watching us, including Kevin's father and brother. I just took it easy and scored two more zeroes.

In Section Two, I tried to go tight and inside of that stump and it didn't work for me and I scored a two. I made the mistake of trying the same thing again and received a two in a section I should be able to clean. This was the only section that I failed to improve on in subsequent attempts.

Section Three was better this time around. I took a dab in the first attempt and then went a little higher up the wall in my last attempt and cleaned it. I also made a major improvement in Section Four by ridding clean both times. No room for improvement in Section Five. There were lots of spectators here due to its close proximity to the parking area. I put in two more clean rides for the crowd and then told Stephen that I was going on to Section Six to wait as there was more shade and we were all really hot and tired at this point.

There was another big crowd at Section Six and the group ahead of us was still riding it so I parked my bike and walked around the section and tried to develop a strategy for getting through it. The first part wasn't too bad, but once past the rock where the split marker was the turns were tight and full of rocks. I was also worn out and that wasn't helping matters any. I believed I could clean it and was going pretty good when I lost my balance in the last part and did a bunch of baby dabs and took a three. I still knew I could do better and on my last attempt, I cleaned the section, my tenth clean of the day. I had finally gotten my revenge on Section Six!

From there I rode directly to the truck and straight up the ramp and into the bed. It had been a fun day and I was fairly pleased with my riding, but I was glad it was over. After I had tied down the bike, I reached into the cooler and pulled out a cold Topo Chico.

After we cooled down, I followed Dee Kay and his girlfriend to Ski Shores Café on the lake for a Cheeseburger Basket and iced tea. This place is kind of like a drive in for boats. You can pull right into a slip and have food and drinks. The burgers are excellent and I've heard their catfish is the best! They have live music on the weekends and even show movies outdoors in the springtime. I wish I had brought my trunks so I could have jumped into the cool water like Dee Kay did. Next time!

As we were enjoying our burgers, a George Jones song came on the jukebox. "Wow", I said, "man, great food, nice weather, good company, scenic views, and George Jones on the jukebox. What more could you want?"

"It don't get no better than this," said Dee Kay.

"I wonder what the po' folks is doin', " I asked

I didn't think I had been gone that long, but when I returned most of the folks had gone. There were a couple kids at the registration table and I asked if they had the score sheet. One of the answered, "yeah, it's in the box here and you won. You tied with Morgan Hafler, but had one more clean."

"Alright," I replied," there's a first time for everything!" We both had a score of 18 points, but my 10 cleans broke the tie. It looks like that clean in the last section is what did it for me. I'm so glad I didn't give up just ride through it to get it over with as I could have easily done. I really wanted to beat that section and I did it.

I want to thank all of the good folks of the Central Texas Trials Association who worked hard to put on this great event and build six good challenging sections. Thanks also to Stephan Hetzel for being our group leader and guide.

Saturday night was a big night for music in Austin with the Austin City Limits Festival going on and the many afterparties in various venues around town. I had wanted to see Leo Nocentelli at the Saxon Pub, but I was just too worn out. Instead, we went to the old Threadgill's on North Lamar and had some good old Southern home cooking that put me ready to crash when we got back to the house.
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folkmusictrekke on

Well run trials
Along with the difficulties of each section your brain must have been multi-tasking to recall all the intimate details of the run. Well written. Congrats again.

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