March 29. The race at Steele Creek. Or, should I say Mud Creek?

We are at Steele Creek.  The weather report for this area for the last month has been dry.  The forecast had no rain in it, as late as 2 days ago.  Then, on the way here the forecast was changed to rain all weekend.  Can you believe it?  I mean, this area of the country is actually in a severe draught.

Of course, since there is a GNCC race here this weekend, what does the weather do?  Well, it rains all day Saturday.  It turns everything into a mud pit.  The temperature has dropped to a high of 43.  It is going to rain all weekend.  Ugh.  Mud.  Not just a little bit of it either.

At about 6:30 this morning, it started to rain.  We got up at about 7am.  There were already quads ripping around.  Quad riders are truly rednecks.  I bet, that if I would have looked out the window, at least one of them would have had  cigarette dangling from their mouth.  I would not have been surprised if they were already drinking beer also.  The standard riding attire for a quad rider is carhart work coveralls, work boots and a nylon jacket.  The standard post ride routine for a quad rider is a cigarette and a Miller Lite beer.

After the quad race, Scott and I were watching 3 guys load their quads into the trailer.  Each one of them took a big swig of their post ride beverage, and with a cigarette dangling out of their mouths they wheelied up the ramp and into their trailer.  Once inside the trailer, they each did a burnout, inside the trailer while hooting and hollering.  Amazing.

We had a full day of working on bikes planned.  I had to put a new clutch in my bike, and Scott had to fill his with oil.  We both started to it at about 9am.  I pulled the clutch plates out of my bike, and could not believe what I found.  The frictions were completely gone and the steel plates were completely blued.  Smoked.

I put all new plates in, and started up the bike, to find that the clutch really did not work.  The bike would just die with the clutch lever pulled completely in.  Not good.  I pulled it apart, again and tried it again.  No luck.  I pulled it apart again – still no luck.  After working at it for most of the day, I gave in and went and talked to the Suzuki guys.  They guessed at what it was, helped me out with a few parts that we did not have.

I replaced the springs – they were shot – still no luck.  I turned the rod that pushes through the motor to the clutch.  Still no luck.  I have now taken the motor apart and put it all back together at least 10 times.  I am really struggling.  Finally, Shane Nalley from Suzuki comes over and helps me out with the last possible piece.  The clutch clevis.  It is completely worn out and needs to be replaced.  Once we do that, and button it all up again for about the 10th time, it works like a charm.  Shane and Suzuki are absolutely the best.  No one else would have gone to those lengths to help me out.  Thanks guys, you are absolutely the best!

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That is me, working on the clutch for about the 10th time.

After going through registration and tech, etc… I went for a walk on the course.  OMG!  This course is un-ride-able!

I have never seen anything this hard, in my entire life.

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You cannot even believe how steep that is.  And, there is no where to go if there is a bottleneck.  The sides are pretty much straight up.

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This is the top of the hill.  Those “sticks” on the ground are super slimy roots going all directions.  You also cannot tell in the picture that between the roots the trail is littered with sharp pointy rocks.

Ugh…

I cannot even imagine how 300 riders are going to get through that section.  Someone will be on their side in the trail, and the rest of us will be stopped at the bottom of the hill.

I walked for about a mile of the trail, and saw evidence of at least 2 more uphills like this.  And, remember that whatever goes up, also comes back down.  The down hills are probably even harder than the uphills!  I saw that in just a mile.  The whole loop is 10+ miles around!  There might be 15 hills like that.

It is going to be fun.

 

Joe

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