Big Buck – I finally cracked it!

Last night was another cold one. It was only supposed to get down to about 50, but it cleared up after dinner time, and the temperature plumetted. It was another of those nights that feel really really cold inside the camper. Scott got up to step out and pee at about 3:30 am. I laid there curled up in a ball, trying to stay warm but not doing a very good job of it, for about another 30 minutes before I broke down and went outside to start up the generator and get some heat going. After that, I slept like a baby until 7am when the first kid had to start up his bike and ride around the pits.

It is always funny to hear dads and kids getting ready to race. The dad will say something like, let it warm up! While the kid is revving it like crazy. Or, the dad is working on the bike while the kid and his buddy are jumping their BMX bikes over a makeshift jump. The dad finally bellowing at the kid to come and get ready to race. GNCC is really a family event. The entire pits is full of RV’s and campers. Wow!

After my usual breakfast (oatmeal, a bunch of fruit cut up into it, a bunch of vanilla yogurt stirred into it, juice, coffee), and Scott’s usual breakfast (3 different kinds of cereal, fruit cut up into it and 2% milk, glass of juice), we got started right away working on bikes and gear. We both were ready to go by the time the morning adult race started.

We rode over to the start of the morning adult race and then made our way down to the creek jump.

They had the creek jump closed off for the morning race, saving it for us and our race. Basically, you would come bareling down the side of the mountain, make a sharp turn and the launch over a 20 foot creek on a jump that they had built specifically for that. But, the morning guys were not doing it, so we were not sure

how it was going to work. Oh well, I guess you learn some things on the fly.

We made our way over to the 10 mile creek crossing where we discovered absolute chaos. The trail came up to the creek and fanned out into a million different lines through the creek. It was meant to be hard, but it was not really that hard. The morning race was having an absolutely shatered time with it though. There were bikes and bodies everywhere.

A few photo’s from the morning.

I can’t get up the creek!

Neither can I!

I hope I don’t drown!

I always wondered why the magazines always ran phtos of someone going through a creek, and then said something below like “Here is Bob getting ready for GNCC racing!” I know why now. There is always a few creek crossings like this in EVERY GNCC. They love dragging us through this kind of stuff.

We made our way back to our pits, but along the way we went by the GNCC trailers, and saw their whole set up.  They drag around 2 big semi trailers that are full of 2-3 bulldozers, and a couple of bobcats.  There are dozens of trailers and ez-ups all over the place for official things like registration and timing and tech inspection and…  There are also at least 5 serious work Quads, miles and miles of ribbons and stakes etc…  it is incredible.  They do trash pickup as well.   I would guess that there must be a work crew there at least 3-4 days in advance of the race – getting it all ready.  I would also guess that there is a work crew there for a few days afterward, cleaning up as well.

I snapped that shot of the back of one of their semi trailers.  Notice the stack of 20 bags of grass seed also.  I think they even go through and reseed everything that the race tears up.  Pretty cool.

So our race got off as usual, at about 1:20.  Of course, i don’t get to start until almost 15 minutes later.  We start so much after the pros, it is impossible to get the same number of laps in as the pros.  This race, only the top 5 in my class even got in just one fewer than the pros.  Most of us got in just 2 fewer than the pro’s.

I don’t have a photo of the creek jump, but it was pretty cool.  I did not know if I was going to hit it, but I followed someone right over it.  I did not intend to, but that is how it worked.  There will be photos of me going over it on the Racedaypix.com slide show.

I got a horrible start, and then rode like an absolute fleeb in the first lap.  I crashed 3 times.  Once on my own, i just got my front wheel on the wrong side of a tree.  But, it was hard to get going again.  Another time, I could not make it up a hill and had to rodeo the bike back down the hill and try it again.  The 3rd time, someone smashed into me from behind in the woods and sent me flying.  I ended up a complete yardsale up against a tree.  The bike was on it’s side, and there was a tree between the front fender and the front tire.  That took a huge effort to get going again.  At this point, the first lap is not over and I have to be in about 25th place in my wave.  Yow.

I finally got some rthym, and got going.  By the end of the first lap, I was in 19th place.  I continued to put my head down and at the end of the next lap I was in 14th.  The next time around I was in 11th, and finally at the finish I was in 10th.  I did it.  It was not pretty, but I did it.  I said I was going to be in the top 10 today, and I just barely made it.

So, we are 4 races into the GNCC series, and I have learned a few things.

1.  GNCC and WORCS racing are not that different.   The big difference is mud and trees for GNCC and MX tracks for WORCS.   But GNCC courses are generally wide like WORCS, and completely whooped out and super crazy rough – like WORCS races.

2.   GNCC racing and local HS racing are 2 completely different things.  GNCC’s are fast and rough and whooped.  Local races are slow and super tight in the trees.

3.  I have got to figure out the first lap thing.  There are so many racers in my class (this one was 34, and that is as small as any have been), that the first lap is really really chaotic.

4.  I am decently fast, but I do not ride fast enough or with enough confidence at the start.

5.  I rode with my glasses inserts in my goggles today, and that did not work so well.  I was better without them, after I switched goggles.

6.  I ziptied 4 GU packs under my chest protector.  I pulled them out generally, one per lap.  Magic stuff.

7.  David Knight is a freak of nature.  (yes, he won again today)

8.  You cannot trust a redneck with a beer in his hand at the creek crossing.  They will point you toward a bad line, just so they can watch you get stuck.

9.  Suspension set up and fresh tires make an even bigger difference than I thought they did.  I am really picky now about my suspension, and I would not start without a fresh rear tire and a really good front tire.

10.  I bike with a button is a really good thing.  I love my Suzuki, but I would love it even more with a button.

11.  Everyone has a story.

12.  Late in the race, when the Pro’s are coming around again, and now the A riders are also putting you a lap down, it is really hard to ride with any kind of pace or confidence.  I am not used to being passed so much.  In our local races, I might be caught by a couple of the local AA riders at the end of the race, but that really is it.  Generally, I am doing the passing.   Not at a GNCC.

I did not do to bad.  10th place in my class out of 34 riders.  That puts me in the top 30%, which is good.  I finally cracked it.

Next week, I would like to move a little bit deeper into the top 10.  Maybe even get close to the top 5.

Thanks for reading.

Joe

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4 responses to “Big Buck – I finally cracked it!

  1. Judd de Vall

    Yeah Joe and Scott,

    Stoked that you are hammering at the GNCC’s. Went for a great moto ride today here on Vancouver Island. High rivers and still a bit of snow but stoked to get out in the cedars for some tight woods. Enjoyed putting a good beat-down on my riding partner. Maybe I missed it but you should post your 2008 race schedule on your website… are you thinking of any ISDE qualifiers? Anyway, I enjoy checking out your site every now and then. Have fun racing!

    See ya,

    Judd

  2. vadeboncoeur

    Hi Judd,

    The team schedule and results are on the main website. http://www.vesrahsuzukignccamateurs.com

    No qualifiers for us. Just stuff where there is a start and finish line, and you just go as fast as you can in between there.

    Joe

  3. Come on give me some more reports you are lagging behind. Isnt this your fulltime job?

  4. vadeboncoeur

    I am a slacker!

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