As promised, here is my main entry on my experience down in South Carolina.
John Buechner, Brian Terry and I decided a long time ago that we would head down to South Carolina to do the opening 2010 National Enduro. I do not really know how it came about. I don’t recall how we came up with the idea, but I think it dawned on all of us at about the same time. So, we signed up way back in October. In spite of that, or maybe because we wanted to make sure we got on the same minute, we got put on the 101st minute. I remember my friend Pete said “oh don’t worry, it doesn’t really get bad until the 110th wave or so.”
So, we all took the day off on Friday and instead hopped in the car at 5am and started the drive down south. I was so excited that I twittered the trip down just about every hour. I get a kick out of the goofy things that Brian says when he is talking and driving, which the 2 don’t always interact that well. I note at the end of the post a bunch of funny what I call “Brianisms”. Enjoy those. They are all in good fun.
Sumter South Carolina is mostly sand. It rained huge on the Friday and Saturday before the race. I figured, “great, typical, I travel to do a race and of course it is muddy. But, it cleared up overnight and sucked the moisture right out of the ground. We were left with mostly super moist sand. It was one of those absolutely epic days conditions. OMG. My luck was turning around.
Overnight it was really cold though. I think it got down to about 19 degrees. That is cold. Cold for everywhere, even for Wisconsin. In South Carolina, they just are not prepared for that kind of cold. The ground was frozen in the morning and there was ice everywhere. The morning was completely clear and it was about 30 at our start and about 44 in the afternoon. Better than the day before, where it was raining and windy and really cold.
I am not much of an experienced Enduro rider. I had to learn what the racing format is all about. There are timed sections in the new Enduro format and transfer sections that are not timed. In the end, your times from the timed sections are added together to give you your overall time. The transfer sections are just to get you to the start of the next timed section and do not count on your overall time. But, you still have to ride there in time to go into the next timed section at your designated time. You start 1 minute apart, 5 people at a time. Unlike a GNCC, the course is all singletrack and it can be TIGHT.
There were 6 timed sections. The A’s and pro’s did all 6 sections, the B’s did 5 of the sections, the C’s did 4 of the sections. Everyone does the first 4 sections, so that means that 500 riders went down the trail ahead of us in all 4 of those sections. That is a lot of bikes for one piece of singletrack. It means that every corner has a huge hump of sand going into it by the time we get there, and every straight has major whoops.
Section1 was pretty nice. I think it was 9 miles long. But, I did not ride it so well. The gun went off, and you have to GO at that point. I was completely out of sorts, as I have not ridden a motorcycle since October. In addition, I made a prep error with putting my glasses inserts in despite the cold. Of course, my goggles fogged up right away. I took the goggles off, but quickly discovered that I could not ride without them. There was just too much to get in my eyes. I stopped and took the glasses inserts out of my goggles and then got going with goggles back on. But, I figured I lost a few minutes to the whole episode.
Section 2 was much much harder. It was tighter and had 3 or 4 really bad mud holes. I saw 2 bikes buried up to the seats and the rider was no where in sight. As you come up to a spot like that, you just look for the safest line through. They were tough mud holes that almost everyone got stuck in.
Section 3 was a bitch. It was crazy effing hard. It was sooo tight. The trees were really really close. There were soooo many trees that the gap between them was narrower than my handlebars. I have completely lost count how many times I had to get off the bike to pull it through the trees.. I hated this section more than I can tell. My riding style of standing up most of the time does not lend itself to this riding.
Section 4 was the queen section. It was 21 miles long and flowed really well. It only had a couple of tight sections. But, because 500 riders were ahead of us it was 21 miles of sand whoops. It was relentless. I enjoyed this section, but by the end of it my body was pretty beat. My back was pretty torqued with it.
Section 5 was pretty good. It had some tight tree sections, but because the C riders were not on the course any more, the trail was not nearly as whooped out. Much better. It had some tight sections, but overall it was not bad.
Of course all the pro’s said section 6 was the best because it was much smoother. I wanted to ride this section, but I was pretty worked and the sun was so low in the sky that I was having a hard time seeing at that point, so I headed back to the truck. Completed.
We headed out after the race, and started the long long drive home. Stayed overnight on Sunday night in Asheville NC, then drove all the way home on Monday.
– I got to meet Patrick Koether from Rekluse. It was good to meet him there. He was the rock star showing up and riding one of the Husaberg bikes. Good on you Patrick.
– Since I am getting over this chest and sinus cold I blew out a ton of snot from my head during the race. Yuck. Breathing was tough also. I am sure that didn’t really help my pace. The inside of my helmet was pretty gross.
– I must have smacked my head against a tree or something during the race. My helmet was cracked and needs to be tossed now.
– My bike was really really good in the fast stuff, but kind of tough in the tight stuff. I would need to set my bike up for more seated riding if I was doing more of these. My bar height seems wrong, my lever placement seems wrong, my rear brake lever is way way to high. It is so high that I cannot get at my brake lever without lifting my foot off the peg. Eventually my leg cramps that way and I cannot ride. Scott thinks I need to try a left hand rear brake. I think I might.
– This is a list of “Brianisms” from the trip
– Brianism #1 – Brian just said “huge midget” in the same sentence. Yep.
– Brianism #2 – That’s one old and ratty Moose hat there. “it’s dirty and I got it free”
– Passed a girl in a crappy Chevy Cavalier. Brian says “hmm, that was cute.”. I said, “that was a girl in a Cavalier”. Brian said, “that just means she has low standards”. (Brianism #3)
– Brianism #4 – Some people call it an abacus, but beads on a string works also.
– Brianism #5 – I’m wearing shorts out of principal.
– If I am going to order into a microphone, I want my food delivered by a girl on rollerskates.
That is it for now, hopefully more pictures later.