Eager readers are on the edge of their seats as they await news of our Harlequin duo who we have
been following for many years on our annual pilgrimage to Casper WY. No doubt many of you are
asking what befell them during the fire and more recently the big flood.

A bit like the mystery surrounding the Dolores bar fire last year just before Escalante Days when the
Hollywood burnt down. There has never been a full report although arson was suspected but not given
as the reason.

The end of the Hollywood

The same may be true for the Sheepherder’s Fire at Mosteller’s last year and some say Police are
still wanting to inverview Raeph who is a prime person of interest in their inquires. You may recall my
previous insights into the couples dislike of motorcycles disturbing their lovers secret meeting place.

Of course it could have been lightning or the careless cigarette which usually get blamed or perhaps
a genuine accident with the lover’s campfire getting out of control after another post apple picking
bodice ripping session up at the Fish Ponds. I shall miss the apple picking  this year as that was
always on the Saturday list of things to do.

More apple picking and bodice ripping at the Fish Ponds

We do have evidence from previous years of the lover’s intent when Raeph drove the wild horses into
the pits area on the Friday night and destroyed many of our hillside sections by eating all the blue tape
….. a dastardly thing to do !

” Raeph are you sure releasing the wild horses will destroy their sections
and keep those trials riders from coming back ?”

Under cover of darkness Raeph releases the horses into the pit area

As we know we DID get to ride after a small delay but our couple were not pleased and have been
hatching some wild schemes ever since. Priscilla it is said joined a coven in the Casper area and
became fully involved in Black Magic. Could all the incantations and “Hubble Bubble” have started the
fire ? and been the cause of the flood??? Other unconfirmed rumours are that Raeph joined Ahrma
under an assumed name and became a board member voting for NO MODERN TWINSHOCKS and
the reduction of the Casper event to just a 2 Day. This would surely be easy to apply the final screw as
there were no longer any vintage trials in Colorado and if he could convince the board Casper would
go as well as there wasn’t a MX track available.

On the night of the flood our couple get into an argument as it seems Priscilla has discovered some photographs of her witches initiation ceremony which she was unaware that Raeph had taken and
had kept

” Raeph…….what were you going to do with these pictures?”

…….and then it started raining………. and as arguments go there is always
the kiss and make up session


Raeph….. Raeph      ……… Priscilla …….. my darling………. Priscilla  etc, etc

When the rains stopped the lovers went to survey the damage.

“Raeph we may have gone too far this time. First the horses, then the fire,
and now this……… its just a sea of water and mud and you know what that means……. that wretched Tony Down will be bound to come as he loves
mud and he will bring all his ITSA friends” 

We may not be able hold them accountable for the flood but with the sizeable burn scar caused by the
fire there was little to hold back the devastation caused by mud, ash and water. However, our stalwart
team of Dan and Bob assure me the parking/pits area is fine and 17 of the sections are ready to go as
of 8/18 …… well done to you. Well looking at the pictures of the carnage you can only be horrified but
with all that rock and mud moved round there should be some new and interesting sections even if I
don’t get to test the bashplate mods on what was always my favorite section “The Waterfall”.

Locally the Cortez Journal photographer was too busy with other events of the day and by the time he
came to see us the storm had arrived and hi-tech cameras were put to bed. So no follow up report
this year but on a brighter note the Chamber of Commerce were round once more and awarded us
FIRST PLACE in a different category …… so a big thank you to everyone who made the effort to come
out and ride in the parade.

Must have been the Tee Shirts

Back in Casper as Dan and Bob put the finishing touches on the 3 Day Event more news as Raeph
and Priscilla have reportedly left the area, or for the time being anyway.

“Raeph we must leave, …….  and you must get a haircut,   and I have to go
shopping in New York as this really was my last bodice!”

Police are still anxious to interview the couple and eliminate them from their inquiries and have
issued a wanted poster with artist’s impression as to how they may look today


          PRISCILLA                                                                           RAEPH


1.  RUSTLING       Wild Horses circa 31 August 2008

2. SCRUMPING    Picking and stealing of apples



Hope to see you all there at what promises to be another great weekend ….. don’t miss it !





Last weekend the place was full of trials riders and all their kit but now the pressure is off and life is
back to normal with the next round of tasks to get done. Some gardening, some personal, a few bike
things to do, yet more strimming and mowing and the final run round checking I have all the sections
picked up. It was quite an event and after all the work that went into it very satisfying to have a couple
of decent performances.

Looking back the sections that gave me the most personal pleasure were, Day 1 the “Horseshoe”,
“Enchanted Garden” down in the trees by the river and the last two “The 4th Bridge” and the “Rock”.

Day 2 has to be the “Graded Hill” after all the flack about it being too hard so 3 cleans here was very
good. “Spuds” was always in the back of my mind very much a maybe section and I was toying with
the idea of throwing it out and finding another but Superglitz made nothing of it for 3 excellent cleans.
I really enjoyed “Tin Can Alley” as perhaps the “perfect” section and I’m very pleased I followed Kirt”s
suggestion to reverse “Grassy Knoll” which became a very doable challenge but just hard enough
to take a few marks.

Grassy Knoll reversed

Slippery when wet !

There were a few learning points and things to store in the memory banks. Those sandstone slabs
do not like water on them and become exceedingly slippery when wet. The Day 1 rain made section 1
much harder than I expected and cost me a 2 first time round and then a 3 on the second visit. On the
cliff edge “Horseshoe” was a classic spin 5 feet up affair during the first downpour but then the high
winds dried it up for a clean just before the big storm hit.

Quick look at “Horseshoe” as I strip it down

Short but a good challenge

Day 2 our group pressed on a little too quickly and we were the section cleaners for anything where
the rain had caused problems. The first big surprize was the Picket Fence where I was more
concerned with the goop going up the exit trail. However I didn’t even get close as the moment the
front wheel touched the old wood of the picket fence pile the bike departed left at high speed as
though it was on ice ! The undignified face plant 5 was a complete shock but old wet wood goes into
the bank labelled DANGER, DANGER and certainly needs a little walking boot scrub like Scottish
rocks before any gung ho attempt. A stall on the Podium steps had me thinking and I still have zero explanation as all appeared to be good. If you make a mistake its easy to understand but this one
still has me wondering as to how it happened. Fortunately for me the cleans on the Graded Hill and
Spuds kept me in the running  despite my two 5’s and a 3. Shame we didn’t get any photos of the 2
line group up Spuds. Maybe some will emerge from other photographers.

A close up and personal instant sideways 5 on the top pile of fencing……
never saw it coming !

3 good cleans on the Graded Hill

In or out ? glad I kept it in as I had 3 super cleans up the dirt side

The Superglitz finally gets cleaned and brought back to spec. Stakes have been cleaned from the
sections I picked up and I know there are still 7 to go up on the cliffs and then check we got the cards
and tape from Lost Canyon.

Superglitz gets the nod for Casper

I expect a few section boards will be missing and I know Doorway went south to AZ as a souvenir
with Jim Wagner after he picked up 1-4 in the Canyon. Out to the Canyon one last time and all the
sections have been stripped and the associated tape, cards and boards are humped in the Cadi so
all clear on the day 2 event so just the hike in to the cliffs for the last time.

The last of the Lost Canyon debris

Finally up on the Mesa and Brenda joins me for a walk round to see where 2 months of walking and
hacking was spent. We clean up three sections and the crossover loop tape but then it gets dark again
so time to go. The thunderstorm arrives after we get back but I need to go out again to finish this job
as my attention is now moving back to driving the old school bus. The last sections are picked up and
all the generous route marking removed.

Boards ready for storage and next year

Last bucket of stakes to clean





After yesterday’s survival training conducted up on the mesa and cliffs we now present the Escalante
Days Trial Part II for your added enjoyment. The weather forecast is good, anything is GOOD after
yesterday’s nightmare and as  Monty Python used to say “Now for something completely different”

Today we are down on Lost Canyon Creek with “Honey I’m Home”, Section 12, as our start area.
3 loops of 12 sections with 2 novelty sections included. I think I’ve been over the Graded Hill enough
but if the message hasn’t quite got home then one more time. A difficult section is laid out with
numbered boards up the hillside and this is a “one line for all” section. You progress up the hill using everything at your disposal and your score is where the front wheel stops. Pass the “2” board and you
have a two and so on. Eventually, it is hoped, it will become easier and by the end can be ridden feet
up by a good number of riders. Definitely a section where, with a big entry, you would ideally want to
be late. Old maxims apply, be early on the mud and late on the rocks. Common mistakes are the
WFO technique especially if the hill has turns, failure to read the lines and the hill, and not enough
brute force, leg power, and ignorance.

Camp Boards you may see on your way up Everest

Sir Edmund’s handy guide map up the South Col

How it might look on the day

The other “novelty” section is “Honey I’m Home” which is a continuation of the bike rodeo buffoonery
from Turkey Rock. Today its actually in a house and after saying out loud “Honey I’m Home” you climb
the steps and enter through the front door and follow your line dependant ride through the house
exiting through the back door. Optional kit, as this IS an observed section, is a large dress, purse and
fluffy dog. Although not specified in the rules an exit wheelie is appreciated…. there are no extra points
for style of lack of !

Section 12 “Honey I’m Home”

We start with 4 sections of non stop rocks which should shake out the cobwebs, ride some picket
fencing, try our up down skills on Grassy Knoll, enjoy a rock classic at Tin Can Alley and then take on
the double sub of Bottle House & Podium. With 9 gone time for the Graded Hill then over the road to
Spuds and back to the start for the house attempt.

My group this morning is Bob Ginder, Bob Strohman and of course Dan Straka. I manage all 4 of the
Creek sections without penalty but by the time you emerge from the Creek you know you have been
on some rocks !

Best Beginner from yesterday, Corey, moves up to the Novice line

Jimmy still on the drip

John Dowson really wants that win today in Historic Experts

Group leader, checker, minder, Bob Strohman pushes on up the Creek

Rich Palmer with rain jacket didn’t trust my forecast

Visitor Bruce Clegg thunders the Thundesley Greeves up Yabba Dabba

Local man Walt should have an easy class win with John Holbrook not

Fast improving Peter won’t let Walt have it all his own way In Hist Nov

Serious precision stuff from the Guru

Section 5 “The Welder & Picket Fence” has a gentle left hand uphill hairpin and then set up for some
piles of picket fencing avoiding all the nails and other debris. Then a downhill adverse into a gentle
uphill left in soft dirt (now mud) to a mini “S” before the exit. The first piece of fencing …… and its like
soap and the front wheel slips out from under me for a VERY unexpected 5!!! I hope its not going to
be ONE of THOSE days ?

Bob is forced to dab in the uphill mud

Dan dabs in the same spot

A lot more slippery than it looked

Some minor loop riding to Grassy Knoll where we drop down a steep trail on what was loose dirt
(now mud), swinging uphill right and line up for a good squirt and roll across a huge flat rock. Nice
clean here so on to Tin Can Alley.

Jimmy on the descent

Bob lines up for a squirt and roll

downhill with Dan

Not quite so easy at the top for Wolfy

The 1 liners take a “time out” and are hanging back

At Tin Can we cross a large daunting grooved rock, swing right to line up for an uphill blast over
rocks into left hander and down to the exit. Another good clean, absolute peach of a section in my
opinion. I see Dan have a dab on the groove.

Bob in first…… is that a dab ?

Thats a dab on the other side

Guru and James clean

I think he liked it !

Now we are at the double of Bottle House & Podium. First portion easy enough then a choice of
lines over loose dirt and very tacky hillside mud before the turns to get back over the adobe wall.
Bob Strohman legs it along collecting mud on his tires. Not surprizingly a three here, and then same
story for Dan until the exit when his front wheel touches a bit of 4 x 2 and he ends up flat on his face
just like I did on the picket fencing. Seems old woodwork isn’t any different to sandstone when its
wet. My turn and the collection of dabs and mud along the adverse and a very cautious exit line where
Dan had come to grief for the 3. Line up for Podium and a perfect in balace stall on the top step which
gives rise to a series of expletives. I’m now on 13 with the two 5’s and a 3.

Bob sidehilling and collecting mud

Sure was tacky

Ooooops !

Suspension on full compression …… now about that diet ?

Wolfy rolls over the dog kennel in Podium

Our group is very near the front and the Graded Hill hasn’t seen much action at this point. If I wasn’t
in a group I would be hanging back here. Bob Strohman works it and works it which is quite amazing considering his pelvic injury and without being unkind short legs. This is a section where big quads
have an advantage if you can control what might become a bucking Yamaha bronco ! Others are now
making the 3 board but that is the transition and where a little thought, skill and luck come into play.
Jimmy Allison enjoyed it and is determined for next time.

Spirited first run by Bob

Good enough for the first “2” of the day

Bruce with the Greeves

A smokin’ three !

Should have brought the 250

Thats a 3 …….. “Thanks Bob” 

The Rooster from Roswell

“I’ll have it next time!”

Eventually its my go and after all the flack I’ve been taking I’d better get my proverbial together. Burst
of power up the first steep bank, cut back to just above idle keeping momentum going, semi balance
but ready to get footing ……. turn and point…… power coming on, fingers ready on the clutch to catch
the inevitable lifting front wheel….. keep her turning towards that blue tape…… reverse the turn as the
gradient slackens now leg it for all your worth reducing power to gain traction……. don’t get showy
keep on legging and here comes the end gate and a round of applause for the first ascent of the day.
Well pleased with my effort I know I have clawed back a few points here so 2 sections left on the loop.

The TRIALSMASTER’S “SOLO”    First Ascent

Coming to the first turn ……slow down, weight forward, motorcross foot

stay low over the bars, turn for the blue tape, drive with the legs……..

swing for the fir tree, be prepared for sudden traction on the dry…. fingers
on the clutch ….. stay low, ….watch for a downhill slide……..

……..push, push, push…….(itsa boy) .. passing the “2” …… virgin territory

….here comes the “1”……..stay low DON’T be tempted to ride!!

…… passing the “1” boards ……. stay calm

At “Spud’s” the results seem variable. 2’s have the over the rocks choice or up the adverse dirt wall.
If you want the adverse a slowish speed line up is essential and then when line is established a
squirt and roll until the back wheel is up or it will slideslip into the rock face. There was a cheater line
here that I only saw at a very, very, late stage but nobody spotted it and all the 2 liners rode it as
planned. Up the dirt and keep the power on and you are doomed! squirt and roll boys and you shall

I liked it when I first saw it post Turkey Rock and then over the past week I’ve liked it less and less,
but today after the Graded Hill success I’m loving it again and it goes exactly as planned for a thrilling
clean. Some 1 line action at last from our Experts who the photographer has hardly seen

Bit of aviation from John up the rock face

Superb controlled ride by the other John

Just Honey I’m Home and thankfully no mistakes here even fooling around with that clutch thing
which often results in a disaster.  13 lost on loop 1 with two horrid 5’s but it can be done, lets see
how it goes second time around. Dan breathing down my neck on 17.

Bad error in 1 takes me for a dab as I struggle to regain the line and another going too fast out of the
first turn of Doorway. Yabba and Croc’s Back fine and now back at the Picket Fence where I had had
an up close and personal look at their carpentry ! Seems to have dried up and sail round for the
clean. Everything drying nicely and cleans at grassy Knoll and Tin Can Alley where Dan takes another
dab on that groove.

At Bottle House & Podium there is now a lovely main road where we had all been dabbing our way
over the adverse. Good cleans on both where I lost 8 last time. Now the Bobs are having all manner of problems with split cards…… wakey, wakey gentlemen !

Cleans on “Bottle & Podium” where I lost 8 the first time through

Here we go again at the Graded Climb and as expected several are up in the 3 zone and rotovating
dirt in all directions. I record another clean but she is gripping harder and lifting more so better back
off a little on the last lap.

Yes, I can make it again

Bob Strohman rounds the corner for the 3 but can’t get any further and takes a straight run back down
the hill until a bit of root stock jumps in the front wheel sending Bob over the bars in spectacular style!!
Thank God he didn’t hurt himself any more.

Looks promising for Casey with the Ty Stump Puller

……and then they grip !!

Hi-speed from Tony with the baby Mont

Determined attack from Big Walt

“Tip toe past the two boards”

The attack of the BSA

Don’t think John liked my hill

Guru and James puffing past the 2’s

Incorrectly seated Mr Palmer !

Kirtis gets unsaddled by the Ossa

Cleans again at  Spuds and Honey I’m Home so only 2 for the loop on sections I had cleaned first
time round so now I have cleaned everything. Dan is equally back on form dropping only 2 as well.
BUT ! this is Trials so anything can, and usually does happen!

Loop 3 and we are all in the Canyon. I clean 1-4 but boy the non stop moving rock makes your
shoulders sore. Misjudge the line on Picket Fence and take a dab but clean and on line through 6-9.

Clean up the Canyon

Dan gets over his groovitis on Tin Can Alley and cleans it in fine form. Talk to some townsfolk and
by the time I’m at the bottom of the hill my group have all gone ? Upwards and onwards and …….
ah ha ! here they ALL are at the top of the climb including Casey himself which must have been a
fantastic and very satisfying effort.

Passing the 1 boards for the last time……. just the final stretch of rubble…..
…… ah, there you all are…… and Casey too !!!

Change nothing at Spuds to record 3 nice cleans and then the run through at 12 minus dress. Not
bad, last loop for 1 so a total of 16 for the day.

Here we are at “Honey I’m Home” where the photographer is encouraging exit wheelies, here come a
few. Meanwhile Jimmy and Wolfy are in makeup and wardrobe and Wolfy wants to know if he can ride
sidesaddle ?

The Guru completes 2 Days at Dolores

Tony Gluec minus rear fender

My student from yesterday, Corey, moves up to Novice and records the
ONLY clean loop of the trial in any DIVISION …… Well Done !

More showboating

Nice wheelie from John after colliding with the front door

Lots of grunt from the big Bult

With make-up and wardrobe nearing completion our dynamic duo of 2 liners are nearly ready for their
dose of mini lunacy. Some argument over dresses and color but all is well as they pose for the press.

“Does this dress make my boots look big ?”

Do you know how stupid you both look ?

Jimmy, dress, purse and dog exit Honey I’m Home

Wolfy, similarly attired exits at high speed…… the dog is loving this!

…….. and now the crowd waits for the arrival of the 1 liners who for the most part have stayed away
from the press. Everyone is eager to see how you turn a mattress…… lets see what happens……

“Its Rich   Honey I’m Home ”

“I found your ear ring”

“Is that you Tony ?”


“OK I’m turning the mattress”

” Can’t find the clean sheets”

” The kid’s room a mess”

“Thats NOT my sock!!”

” Where have you been ? ……. you said you’d be home early”

” I’ve turned the mattress, made the bed, checked on the kids, walked the
dog  …….. is supper ready ?”

 60 sections ridden, many beer cans emptied, much banter and tales of yesteryear our band of trials
riders completes the Escalante 2 Day Trial for another year. Going to be difficult to think of something
different for the next one.

Did they enjoy it ? You be the judge


88 pics from a variety of cameramen and women   thank you




Two and a half months of planning and designing are behind me, the day has dawned and the test
begins. As with any organizer a million thoughts and what ifs are running through the mind. How will
it go ? Will it ride harder or easier than planned ? Sign up comes and goes, a good turn out doubling
last year and still a lot of riders who I would have liked to see but are no shows. Well you can only do
so much and maybe the ‘National” handle has caused people to think it will be too severe.

A good crowd with the eastern bloc riders supporting the event to truly make it a National and not just
the regulars competing with a more impressive title. Thanks other ITSA riders for coming over. Sign
up done and we slip down to the High School to ride in the parade which is important such that we
can ride our bikes on the road with Police blessing.

Flags and Veterans lead the parade into town

Ladies from the Flying Pig

……and now itsa us or just plain ITSA

let the fun begin

Dan plays “goosey goosey” with wife Coleen

Parade done, we get ready to roll off but a few extra sign ups so time slips away but we are soon out
there busting the “New” trail through the boondocks to section 1. I have the Beginner Class (6 riders)
with me so we watch all and sundry through here to get some space. The first log which was more
part of the terrain rather than a hazard causes a lot of grief and moves into all lines path making the
section unrideable so I have no choice but to remove it and invite people to re-ride the section. The
final rock step has become slippery for the 1’s and 2’s and can really take you by surprize as sand
stone rock and rain water don’t mix!!

Section 2, “Steps” and my group can now get some instruction, so line walking, hazard identification,
what’s next etc, and knees bent, good posture … and stop white knuckling those bars. Variable
results caused by all of the above and of course poor throttle control….. no, its not a race! Personal
memories were a 2 lost in section 1. Good clean on 2.

Section 3 “The Bear’s Den” and much walking for the beginners to show them the line which if they
tackle it correctly could get their first cleans. Some do some don’t. Now round the loop to See Forever
and it starts to rain! I ride it and can feel some slight wheelspin but good enough for the clean.
A mixture of results but young Corey, a local lad is responding well and Aus newcomer, Mal, is loving
every minute despite the 250 Honda.

The Horseshoe of 5 is now very wet and getting worse! Bit of a backlog here and the sandstone is
mighty slippy. Mostly 5’s from my team and no better for me with a graceful feet up spin to a stop 5.
Score now on 7 over to Woody’s for the log crossings. Some cleans a dab and a 2 and some over
the tape 5’s. I was heading for the Yucca after the log and had to take a dab to avoid the puncture,
score now 8.

Last one in this group is Powerline and if anything the shower has made it a bit easier. Mal and the
Honda make it and he has a smile to rival George Hamilton ! Corey likes it too and a Reflex makes it
to the top while the TY175 throws the chain.

At Cat Face I tell them they get to chose the line as after the initial gate I have purposely left a wide
generous path inside the blue boundary tape. Now they are beginning to understand trials and I’m
pleased to see them working it out for themselves. More smiles from most and throttle control is
starting to improve.

Back down the hill and the jink down to Riverside and Enchanted Garden, a mixture of the lower
scores on 9 and some pleasing rides on 10 through the freshly mowed grass. I have a very enjoyable
couple of cleans especially on 10. Get to see Mike Shay bounce the SWM to an incredible clean.

Beginners elect not to ride 11 and 12 (their choice) but ask if they can watch me so I’d better have my
“A” game on or “teach” will look like a dummy. Brenda is on hand with the camera so a good clean is
in the books with photographic evidence too boot of the under the “4th” bridge crossing. Man its dark
in here!!

In the gloom for a nice clean with Superglitz

Mike Hyslop enters the 4th Bridge

 John Dowson takes on the Bridge with John Clemente waiting

I liked 12 from the moment that I first saw the huge rock so now time to sample the same. When I first
laid it out there were two choices of entry line either out to what looked like a flat slab diving board and
a wider drop down gentle turn to line up for the big mother. I watch the group ahead of me and they are
going wide but cutting back and then squandering a host of inside dabs. There is a sort of knife edge
rock that widens slightly if you can get a precision ride onto it and this will set up for a perfect radius
turn if it works. Well it does and I’m chuffed to bits having cleaned both. Score for the loop a
respectable 8 and that incuded that 5.

Long time friend Jim Wagner from AZ finds the perfect radius

Jim and the big Beta 4 Banger sail on, as they say “line is everything”

Jimmy Allison NM lines her up

Local man Kirtis Wyatt brings the new Ossa Explorer through

Visitor Mike Hyslop in good form on the TY175 today

Determined effort from Wolfie our Hist Int points leader

It has taken almost 3 HOURS to get the beginners round one loop so I tell them we will only be doing
one more and that will be it. Off we go again and no hold ups at 1 where they fair a bit better. For my
part the rock has become even more slippery and I look like I have it the bag until it suddenly grips on
the rock and I’m in a very shambolic 3 to stop an over the boundary 5.

They seem to have forgotten everything at 2 and chase about the section trying all 4 lines!! Hank
actually gets 2 and Corey another fine clean with the rest on 5. Some rocks moved about in the Bear’s
Den but their line rides well and some better scores. I hit a roller in 2 and lose yet another 1 so now
on 4 this time round.

Round the mini loop to See Forever and after straightening up several split cards time to get a move
on as looking westbound there is a MEGA storm rolling in with fingers of rain coming down and the
wind is already rising and its getting unpleasant to say the least. At the Horseshore we catch up with
another group but get to see Bob Ginder “our presidente supremeo” make nothing of the section with
a magnificent clean……. he did have to work it though!

Inbound from Utah ….. this doesn’t look good

Last time we were here it was wet, wet,wet, and very slippy but the wind has dried it up fairly well and
I sail round to the top where it wheelies just high enough to drag my arm all the way along the fallen
dead fir tree. With skin departing like tearing paper the bike and rider exit the section to achieve the
clean as blood gushes down my right forearm. Not quite sure what the beginners thought of all this.

A clean’s a clean !

Thunder and lightning is all around us with flashes brightening up some gloomy sections. We push
on and are quickly through Woody’s and over the logs. Now the big hill at Powerline and although the
rain is coming down in buckets it rides very nicely. A brief pause for card punching and on round the
loop. The wind has increased dramatically and now its hailing pea sized lumps of ice. I know they
said these new Airoh helmets were very COOL but I wasn’t expecting to have an ice pack on my head
as the pea size white stuff kept coming through the vents!!!

Vent holes perfect receptors for pea sized hail

The Yamaha yellow Von Zippers didn’t make the trial and arrived Monday

By the time we are at the edge of the Mesa the storm is on top of us with driving hail and the thunder
and lightning arriving simultaneously. Time to take cover and hole up. The thunder is alarmingly
loud and more a giant ripping crackle.

“Don’t panic Mr Mannering !  Everyone take cover”

With hypothermia setting in time to move on and now the Mesa is a real soggy mess with mud and
puddles everywhere (when I was a boychild trials rider I used to love riding in these conditions and
it didn’t take many threes before you had a big lead when everybody else was picking up 5’s.)

Off the Mesa and quickly through Cat Face and down the hill which is now a white water torrent
(reminded me of the Mamore Road in the SSDT) …… loving it! “Down By The Riverside” is stil rideable
but the water is rising and the rain has removed all the tire tracks in my Enchanted Garden. EG rides
nicely but she starts to spin in the goop at the top of that last climb so a well planned safety prevents
a roll back 5. Score on 5 at this stage. Everybody regroups and I tell them to be on their way after a few
pointers and well earned congratulations after their baptism of fire for their first trial. At least they were
smiling and most likely pleased they had survived.

Back at the Bridge the start table and everything else has gone and a wet Secretary John tells me
its a done deal….. No more Cards!! Of course I still have 2 to go and carefully scrabble into position for
the 4th Crossing. Clearly its as dry as a bone under there but I can’t see it with my Von Zippers on!!
With glasses in the fanny pack I see the line in the gloom and set off. Compared to what I have just
ridden over this, believe it or not, is the “gimmee” of the day.

11 down 1 to go, me, the storm, and the rock. Take the knife edge again, any slippy mud has been
washed off by the deluge and it rides perfectly. I’m pretty cock o’hoop with just 5 points in these
conditions so head back to the Cozy with a rooster tail of cold rain water going up my back. Meet Dan
pushing in with no sparks after a lightning strike. Dolores is pretty deserted but no surprizes in view
of the weather.

Escalante Days, Dolores 8/10/13

Back at the Cozy we light a fire in the Lodge room, hot showers are running non stop, and liquids are
flowing but in my case a hot cup of coffee is the preferred beverage. Dry clothes later and warming by
the fire many tales of “daring do” as we settle in before the Pot Luck.

A cheery blaze helps the hypothermia while Bob and Coleen complete
the forensic examination of the wet and torn cards

Warming up

Rich, Jim and John relive the trial

Some time later having thawed out entry and spectators alike it stops raining as the storm moves on
to Rico and Telluride. Got to feel sorry for the festivity organisers but we can’t stop mother nature trying
to refill the water bucket. Temps are now well down from the summer tee shirt weather of the 80’s that
we rode the parade in and are around 40-45. By now its o’beer thirty and everyone is getting ready for
John’s cooking on the grill.


John is ready to cook !

Evening sun for some of our out of state visitors, “Thanks for coming”
I’m sure there will be a campfire story or two after this one

Another big “Thank you” to Casey for the land use who says it will be
much better next year with more trails and riding areas

 Pot luck cooking done and time for our daily awards and then the 2 Major ITSA trophies which Bob will
present with a little history.

History lesson on the Baker Trophy and Nubbie

2012 Baker Trophy winner  …….. BILL TODD


….and from Brenda and myself thanks for coming and hope to see even
more of you next year





Two weeks of taping has left the Trialsmaster like this

Over 2 months of preparation, miles of walking, blunted saws and secateurs and its done! Into the last
5 pre event days, so maybe, just maybe I’ll get that bike out for a run around and see how it looks from
a rider’s perspective. I’m sure that I’ll have to change an odd marker or two along the way where my
ambitions have exceeded common sense.

Secretary John should be here tonight  so we will be out carding Begins and Ends on those nude
sections tomorrow and he can play devil’s advocate on the lines.

Today I need to construct the loop off the top of the Graded Hill and take down the previously laid out
one closer to the road. Casey wants some NO SPECTATOR signs in a couple of areas so something
extra to get on with. Need to check the river levels again this morning and tape and card Enchanted
Garden which is Saturday 10. The weather forecast doesn’t show thunderstorms for the coming
weekend so we might get a break and not need the reserve section after all.

A few changes with a few phone calls and a local rider Lonnie turning up out of the blue with his
grandson. Small world again as I take the little boy on my elementary run to school. Lonnie will be
joining us having been out practicing for the last two weeks…… wish I had !

Phone call from Hank Jones up in Montana who is coming and buying a Reflex Honda in Vail on the
way down. Going to flash some new IRC’s before he gets here. Secretary John is having some truck
problems and is delayed until Tuesday.

The Graded Hill return trail gets cut and flagged for those lucky enough to get to see it. (the Ossa
failed and didn’t make it to the 5 boards……..teee heee) Grassy Knoll looks easier than it is, Tin Can
Alley rides as I expected.

Landowner Casey just dropped in with his new 1986 TY350 with 45 miles on it from new!!! Quite a
bargain. He needs taller bars which I will order for him from Bob Ginder before he leaves on
Wednesday morning.

Planned afternoon activity failed! I must be getting tired but this morning I intend to be right on it with
a host of things to get done in the workshop and then get the bike loaded up. Currently the workshop
is looking like the inside of Bottle House !! Torn between riding both loops or just Day 1 and then
laying out Enchanted Garden or Saturday 9. Need some more section direction arrows along the
route as some of the red tape gets caught up in all the prickly bushes.

Itsa tip!


Casey’s parts are ordered and Bob will have them with him. Now time to sort out the DA’s oil seal
dilema. Better check on Jim over at Summit and see how he is progressing with his pilot jet change.
Major clean out of all things shower related as they will be in full flow Saturday night. There are some
very hairy people around……   I think Sasquatch has been using the ladies showers!!

Showers get done, bike rack on the car and finally Superglitz gets loaded! Workshop cleaned saw
dust removed, things are shaping up. Afternoon and I’m set to ride…….. well nearly, John pulls in so
tell him where I’m going and he joins me at Enchanted Garden where I had previously cut down all
the mega high grass……. yes, its back but I can’t let this spoil the show, tape the first half and decide
one portion might be too hard so revise the plan. Then it rains. Retreat to the Cozy. Dumb tenant has
locked himself out of the cabin…… send for locksmith. Talk with John, rain eases up so go and load
the strimmer. Second attack on Enchanted Garden….. much better……. home, trim another space by
the fence for overflow riders. More strimming……..

Loaded ….. but still unridden!

The grass gets cut again!

Back to the workshop and find the last name boards I left outside have got rain water in them ****!
Make plans for Wed, Thurs, Fri……..

Wednesday morning……. DETERMINED to ride today!!!  Its my BIRTHDAY . Still a few things I want
to do and this lack of riding is very annoying.  Now the weather forecast is a trialsmaster’s nightmare
with 80% chance of HEAVY RAIN today then 70% chance overnight!! Could be a drinking day!!

Not so fast Jose ! Itsa raining! Itsa very annoying, Itsa going need plan B, C, and D ! However while
mindlessly stumbling around I did find two boards I can use as maps for each day so if it keeps
raining I can do some drawing.

By 1100 it clears up enough to take John out for a look at the Sunday sections and then the spectator
sections for Saturday. The river seems to be behaving and is quite clear at this stage. We finish Sat
10 and return for lunch. Kirtis is here so after a bite and coffee Superglitz is loaded again and we set
off to show John the Saturday offerings up on the cliffside. The rain is on and off but can be seen up
the mountain and looks pretty nasty up there.

Superglitz gets to see the loop

John’s bike refuses to start so he elects to walk the loop while I get my first taste of what I’ve been
laying out and hacking my way through over the last 2 months. A few minor adjustments to Lewis &
Clark to please one and all but with the recent rain the sandstone is amazingly slippery !

I’m thinking there will be some more changes coming on a few just to tidy up the lines and at 6 we
removed a very large dead tree that three of us were able to knock over and roll out the way. Second
part of the loop is rideable and will improve as everybody goes round. A bit more loop marking on the
way home and now its fun time for me as the birthday boy. The rain starts again and the river has
changed color to a nasty muddy brown….. yuk !

Thursday morning and some early map making, they may not remember them but its a useful tool
for the rider’s meeting. Kirtis and I meet over in Lost Canyon and Brenda and John are off shopping
in Cortez for some of those extras ! No1 birthday present turns up…. really nice! … thank you. Stumble
up the Canyon stapling start  cards on the vacant boards and make some more revisions to Grassy
Knoll, Podium and the now unpopular Graded Hill. Start picking up Penzoil bottles which are
everywhere. Finally get Kirtis to do a ride through in Honey I’m Home. Still won’t work so more sawing
after lunch.

Day 2 map …a useful tool at the rider’s meet

Brenda into work and off again with the saw. It works !! Now back to the Graded Hill and yet more
whining  “Too difficult, we can’t do it, only for experts, why can’t it just be a section?” I’m getting a bit
pissed off by now and redo the start run in yet again and give it a try. First attempt in second and I
make the 3 boards. Second effort in first and a little further up ……. good enough ! Its IN and its going
to stay IN !!! If YOU don’t like it DON’T RIDE IT ….. I think its fun.

Friday and still things to do with 3 sections down by the river, last minute loop marking and some new
boards to make up. People are arriving and the show rolls on. My plan to ride the mesa gets nowhere
but the loop marking is done.

Water levels are low enough so 9 gets carded and taped and the new
Rand McNally route map of the Graded Hill is taken over to Casey’s Climb

Last 2 Saturday sections under the bridge are laid out with Bob and Dan removing brush up the wazoo and John stacking cut branches

We are done!





British readers who may be in my age group will remember the classic comedy “Dad’s Army” all about
the WWII exploits of the Home Guard. Our little band of reservists were led by Captain Mainwaring, the
local bank manager, and a host of the town’s shopkeepers and others who were ready at a moments
notice to keep the German hoards at bay in the event of an invasion. Perhaps the two most memorable
phrases that were in every episode were the  one from L/Cpl Jones (Clive Dunn)  who always called
the leader Capt Mannering.

“Don’t panic Mr Mannering !” and the other one with Pvt Pike who always had some lunatic ideas that
he would propose to the Captain which always drew the response “You stupid boy”

“what if we went up there etc”

How does any of this relate to trials and Trialsmaster duties you ask ?  Well with just a few days left I
feel I’m a little behind my own planned schedule, hence the “Don’t panic Mr Mannering” and the other
which other trialsmasters can attest to is the “willing helper or bystander” who keeps offering silly and
unrequired ideas and info…….”wouldn’t it be better if we went up there, round that one then over this”
which draws my response as the Captain, “You stupid boy!”

1/2 way then, after 9 weeks of climbing, crashing through jungle and undergrowth, fruitless journies
of non-discovery to a point where I’m closing in for the kill with only the monsoons to screw up my river

Friday and now we are only one week away, a bit like Christmas, excitement, anticipation, will they,
won’t they ? Will I have enough energy left to ride ?…….. and I still haven’t ridden the loop myself but
having walked close on 50 miles, put in over 200 man hours I should be able to remember most of

Local man Kirtis came out again yesterday with his new Ossa Explorer and thankfully does not
behave like Pvt Pike but did make me think about the Grassy Knoll which is yet to be taped. Perhaps
I should run this section in the opposite direction ?….. worth a look, might be even better.

Yesterday afternoon after a couple of early beers and some food at the Brewpub back to the carnage
at Honey I’m Home and while I’m sorting through plywood panels for section boards a small white
dog appears from nowhere ……. I’m not making this up, very wet and bedraggled and was obviously
sheltering from the storm……. bit too big to fit in a purse ……. I hope it found its way home.

Back out this morning and Sunday 1-4 all carded and ready for action. I have now officially run out of
Begins and Ends cards but I have everything else so the show goes on.

4 to lay out but I’m out of Begins cards

Sunday 1

Splits in and yet more clipping

Under the bridge for the start of “Doorway” into “Yabba Dabba Doo”
which are continuous subs

Changeover to 3, “Yabba Dabba Doo” with the emphasis on “Dab”, the
Ends cards can just be seen

Start of Sunday 4

Splits on the “Croc’s Back”

The afternoon is slow and heavy going, nothing seems to be coming together as I want it but the
struggle continues and Section 5 gets finished. Extra hazard thrown in for the 3’s & 4’s and a load of vegetation and thistles removed. Lots of glass and nails in this dump type section. Kirtis has been
thrashing the Ossa up what should be the Graded Hill and tells me its too easy? !! ??? Well on the
walk out tonight I see a deer trail on the slope and I’m thinking this one is where ITS AT !!

Start of 5, “The Welder & Picket Fence”

Novices and Beginners line in 5

Thistles and scrub removed in 8

9 gets finished

The investigation will continue tomorrow!

One week to go and I’ll be signing everybody up and getting ready to join the parade down at the High
School.  Let’s review where we are at close of play yesterday. Day 1 sections have 8 complete and
taped and carded with Enchanted Garden and the reserve section to be cut on Monday. The last three
down under the 4th Bridge will not be done until Friday morning to stop the kids and fishermen from
destroying them.

Day 2 sections should be finished over the weekend with Grassy Knoll and Tin Can Alley as my next
two and then moving on to a revised Graded Climb. I seem to remember seeing this one on my first
walkround but thought it might be too hard, however having seen the Ossa make nothing of my No1
choice it caused some major rethinking. Always difficult to find the right blend with a graded hill.

Graded Hill MKII

Saturday morning and time to cut more boards for the Graded Hill, lawn to mow, and then maybe a
looksee at the “new” graded hill. Today’s horoscope seems to reflect the last 10 weeks!

Hi Tony! Here is your Daily Horoscope for Saturday, August 3
Your commitment is rarely questioned, but right now you need to make a bigger show
of your willingness to stick around and keep up the good work. Persistence is the key
word today!

An afternoon stumble up and down the MKII Graded Hill and I think it might work especially if I throw
in an “S” turn at the bottom to slow everything down.

a left, right, left sequence should be a challenge….. even for an Ossa !

 Getting hot, clouds building up again so time to get Tin Can Alley up and running to finish my day as
a serious thirst is on the horizon.

Sunday 7, “Tin Can Alley” taped and carded

Tin Can Alley  ……. done ! a really nice section

……. and then the thunder came and yet another downpour which the forecasters are going for over
the next few days but by next weekend it looks good. Another look at the Grassy Knoll and I think I will
reverse it.

Sunday morning and still haven’t got my bike out to ride the loops and see what I’ve missed so I’m
getting impatient to get out there. First continue with the mission and tape up Grassy Knoll (reversed)
thank you Pvt Pike…….. and then some serious tree felling on the Graded Hill MKII, thank you, Ossa.

Overnight the situation on the Graded Hill has Escalated (play on words) and the Top Brass has
called in our local reservist elite.  The Captain unveils the new TOP SECRET plans which he briefs
the team on.

“Right men, things are not going well over in Dolores and Top Brass have
told us to get over there and build a new Graded Hill ……. we will be going
in behind the blocked in gun emplacement trailer and then straight up !”

The defences at Lost Canyon Creek

“From the trailer we will build a series of turns up to the fir tree to slow
down those Ossas, Gassers and beater Betas “

“We can leave these dummy routes around should those ITSA boys get a whiff of what we are up to”

“Mr Mannering, Sir, we could use my van if it would help” ……”Good idea Jonsey go and load her up”

Jonsey’s butcher van is loaded and brought to Lost Canyon

“Remember its where the front wheel stops”

Boards all done time to load up and get out there to hit the objective. This morning I’m hoping to fix
the Grassy Knoll and then sort out this MkII Graded Hill. Yesterday’s survey showed the potential for
linking back up with the loop as it comes off Tin Can Alley so I now need a bypass for section 9 where
I had given full path width for the section.

Last set of boards ready to go

A silent “Checker” on the section 9 bypass

Now remove all the previously laid red and blue as we are going in reverse and start again! Drop
down entry for everybody and most should turn high up on the knoll before coming back into their own
lines. 4’s ride out below the big rock with 3’s on a sail up across the dirt. 2’s jink right, left and up while
1’s get an expert challenge. This was the Grassy Knoll !

Downhill start in the soft stuff

Exit lines up the Grassy Knoll

High Noon and I’m mighty hot and soaked but now its that Hill !! What I want is a SLOW speed start
and none of this 3rd gear Ossa nonsense so time to devise a “nadgery” entry for Casey’s Climb. Start
will be by the gun emplacement trailer amid the debris and then into a double 90 left around the end
of same. Soft dirt adverse to the 5 boards and then tricky 120 right into another adverse to the 3’s. If all
is well another 90 left to scale more loose to the 2’s where I have removed half a fir tree. Still going?
ever upward in more loose, but not as bad to the 1’s and the eventual Finish of Hill…….. ENJOY !!

Keeping it tight for the entry to 10

The fun boards are in place

Graded Hill MKII complete!

“Well done men, the Trialsmaster likes the new hill”





One good thing about cliff, river and natural canyon sections is that it doesn’t involve miles and miles
of tape ! Remembering back to our first mission at Bull Hollow last year when Ed, John and myself set
out the “no splits” 25 sections a day ITSA style event we used over 8000′ of tape!!!! This should be a
little different.

8000′ of this used at Bull Hollow last year !

Difficult to find a “cheater line” on the edge of a cliff, who knows whats in the river ? and when you are
in a canyon you are IN ! Have to confess after 2 months work at this I’m really looking forward to seeing
the finished article. There have been highs and lows, sagas of misadventure, plans, replans, and a
host of issues due to the trials virginity of the land. Its not as though I’m turning up at a faithful yearly
used site and playing “variations on a theme” by using tested and true sections that require minimal
brush and branch removal and a well proven loop that all ability levels can safely negotiate. This has

True, if you find something worthwhile !

O’head shot of Casey’s  Can you see me ?     I’m the one waving for help  

Time to offload all the essential Trialsmaster kit from the Safari that I picked up from John at Sipapu
….. and no my wrist still hurts but no wimping!  Haven’t checked everything but looks like I have more
than enough to start the operation. Still tidying up loose ends, a bit more pruning here and there, and
a last bit of the Day 2 loop to complete where we come back down from Casey’s Graded Climb.

A little over two weeks so I’ll chance my arm and start taping up and then be prepared for last minute
damage control. With rains and thunderstorms a daily occurence all the cards will be “bagged” to
avoid the soggy mess and if animals stop eating the tape we should be good.

12 days to go and 2 sections complete so 22 to go. Just one small piece of strimming left which was
planned for this morning along with a first ride round but along came the rain and put an end to all of
today’s wishful thinking. …… and then it rained some more! I’m sure the pundits will say we needed it
but it lost me a day.

A wet and soggy Monday morning with the forecast for more of the same and then better for the rest
of the week. 22 gems in the rough needing to be turned into fine jewels to be completed by this
Sunday night, well thats my plan. I will have run out of begins & ends gates but John will be bringing a
load more when he arrives next week.

The show must go on and despite the doom & gloom weather forecast its actually very pleasant today
so I took in Lost Canyon this morning and completed the last of the strimming through the jungle
grass down to Section 1. Some more touches on Honey I’m Home and still a few more to do but nearly

The start of “Honey I’m Home”, front entrance strimmed, swept and ready
for visitors

The redesigned bedrooms await

……. connecting rooms

Over at Bottle House the tapes are up and a few cards set along with artifacts and that completed the morning before handing over the car for Brenda’s ladies luncheon. No evidence, as yet, that the
promised thunderstorms are anywhere close so maybe venture out on the Beemer for a standby
section to cover the contingency of losing my riverside section to the river which is well up today!!

The start of the double 8/9 at “Bottle House”

8 ends, 9 begins as we move into “Podium”

The afternoon changes with a few more alterations to Honey I’m Home as the last two doorways are
a little too narrow for riding through without removing knuckles and levers. They sure used a lot of 6″
nails in these doorframes but brute force and ignorance has them out.

Size is important ! so an extra 3″ for the doorways

The back garden exit at Honey I’m Home

Splits all in for Bottle House and Podium so only a little extra taping and those two are ready as well.

Tuesday and I have 2 riders coming out to put a few tire tracks down on Casey’s upper cliff area loop
and see if they can find their way round without any directions from me. While they are busy doing that
I’ll tape up Lewis & Clark, Woody’s and Power Lines. Might get to do Cat Face on the way home and
then if that all goes well I’ll finish off Podium at Lost Canyon creek this afternoon while Brenda is at

The planned 3 sections are all carded and ready, tire tracks on the loop and they didn’t get lost so we
should be able to get round in one piece. Total now stands at 7 completed out of 24 and I’m feeling
that I should be further along. Well I’ll console myself that the last 3 down along the river will not be set
until Friday before the event so that brings me down to 14 to go. I was down there last night and found
my “reseve” section should the river keep coming up, but that will need to be cut out sometime next
week if the waters don’t go down….. so a “Plan B” is up my sleeve.

Today looks like I’m going nowhere with friends turning up at noon so that gives me no worthwhile
time to get anything completed.  I did manage to salvage some start gate panels from the plywood
walls and I can cut and fabricate those this morning ready to set out up on the cliffs. The more I look
at the cliffs I’m beginning to see other sections on the next lower level and Casey tells me he is going
to put in some trails for next year if we want to use it again. That would sure save an awful lot of time
hacking about in the undergrowth.

Carpentry skills today as the plywood gets sawn and out with the tenon saw to cut the bottom of the
stakes. Found a bag of nails so the whole project is a freebie with only my time which as we know is

Stakes are cut

Stakes and boards ready for assembly

So, Thursday will be humping and dumping day along the cliff edge to finish the 4 off up there and
with the long distance ones (all things are relative) out of they way I can complete some of the easier
ones where I can drive the car up to them.

Weather forecast 60% chance of thunderstorms and already overcast.  Today’s mission is “Steps”,
Bear’s Den”, “See Forever” and “Horseshoe” then if that all goes well “Cat Face”. Need to pick up yet
more plywood from my wall demolition to make the last section boards.

Thursday morning mission

Section 2, “Steps” complete

The Bear’s Den

Cards go in

Coming to the exit of 3

Morning goes nicely to plan and 4 good sections in the books as finished and a couple of “cheater
lines” spotted and corrected. Storms stayed away so try for another couple this afternoon to get back
on track. No sooner had I finished Cat Face than it arrived with thunder and lightning and then the
monsoon downpour. Well no matter 5 for the day was good and that now makes 12 complete and 12
to go with three of those to be done next Friday morning so I’m looking at 9 to finish before Sunday.

Last hazard,  the “Cat Face” can be seen