GRINDING HALT

GRINDING HALT


GRINDING HALT

For a few days the faithful Toshiba had decided to shut down on me leaving me with a black screen. No
problem I think and just a matter of dust inside and overheating. Annoying yes, but it always fired up with the
restart button until a week ago last Saturday when no matter what I did nothing happened, not even a hint
of any internal action.

With Brenda away on her yearly family visits I’m left in a computer void with no pics and no way of getting to
them as my black box can’t be accessed. The final solution is get another one and finally get some order
restored. Meanwhile the Colorado weather has been anything but friendly with non stop storms and heavy
rainfall for most of the month. The grass has been growing at an unacceptable rate along with the weeds
and today it looks like I’ll actually get the mower on it after nearly 3 weeks of inactivity.

Previous computer apps have all gone so I’m into a new phase of things like picture conversions which I
wasn’t too impressed with but like most things I’ll have to suck it up and embrace change. Looks like I need
a computer tutorial with these new systems and from what I’ve seen so far they are hardly faster or more
user friendly !

Hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly.

TONY DOWN 

THE THREE AMIGOS

THE THREE AMIGOS


THE THREE AMIGOS

All Yamaha mounted today

Day 3 at Casper and today its ITSA only so we are back to buddy checking and once more its the trio
of Dan, Chris and myself doing battle on the 2 line. We start down in the remodeled creek which is
now minus all those giant logs which just floated off downstream. Looks a bit different but still a sort
of  similar section to those of the past.

Today we start on the Pits side go round the tree and drop down over a root jungle to get into the water.
Move to the other side amid the well washed golf ball sized white pebbles and round another tree.
Back down to the water with many choices of line before a blast up the steep grassy bank to the exit
jink. I lose my line amid all the rockery coming back down to the water and need a prod on the bank for
the final line up. Dan takes 1 as well with Chris cleaning it.

Lost my line coming across this lot !

Up the track and past yesterday’s opener and the and the once tiny single bike creek is now more like
a freeway with all the burnt away brush and the disintegrated rocks. Section 2 could easily have been
called the “Maze” as there are marker boards and splits everywhere and from the way they are
positioned there are a multitude of ways you can go and still be legal so its make a plan and try and
stick to it.

We drop in down the bank and cross the creek and can now either go straight up to the top of the
bank, or take an early turn back around a dead burnt tree to climb up on the original bank and
complete a left 180 turn before a jink between two more trees and then a full power burst up to the top
of the highest bank and pick a path through the burnt out stumps. Once up here select a down hill path
and round one more tree at the bottom in wash sand and idle out to the exit. Dan tries the early turn
which means he still has a card to pass on the far bank once he comes back down the hill. Can’t say
that I like the line much so I’ll try first card first, then lazy turn in the wash sand, drop down by the burnt
tree where I catch a roller and take and dab, and then up the hill and back down without problems.
Chris is not so lucky and after the burnt tree and plateau misses the jink split between the trees for a
classic 5 !

Dan takes his own line around the stump and straight in

I go up the main hill  and through the first split to turn in the wash sand

Getting steeper at the top

3 starts just after the finish of 2 with a drop into the water then up some loose marble rocks, cross to
the far bank which is all black ash then back to the center island for a looping turn, once more to the
far bank then back across everything one more time for a sharp climb out of the water and into a left
hand descender back into the water through some burnt trees. Last turn on the far bank then up to
the top. All goes to plan for me with a nice controlled clean.

The black ash on the far bank

Across the meadow and something a bit different with a very long ditch that the flood water has carved
out, would have been even better with water and mud…. but I’m biased. Exits all the way up, 4’s then 3’s
then us. Its a long ride but we are all through clean.

Down the hill and round the corner an old section from years gone by and today’s variation on the
theme are some simple turns through the upper trees then either a down up sequence or straight
across the ash adverse then into the big descent, left turn and back up. I have a “dummy” on the ash
while Chris and Dan go clean on the lower line.

A bit of loop riding and we are back at another tried and true. Blast up a steep hill, right turn into steep downhill S then continue down side hilling into right/left/right to exit.  A poor decision here as I elect to
tighten up the back brake and immediately stall the bloody thing after the S !!! Mary Poppins is on hand
” The hills are alive with expletives”  ….. however I did manage to grab the clutch and walk it out for a 3.

More loop along the bottom and into a series of old sections that neither the fire or flood has changed.
In the next two sections it might have helped my cause if it had! The first is a famous “Fred” tight turn
twister starting today at the back we come through a tree then along a bank turning back to cross a
fallen tree that has grown upright from the now fallen trunk, over it and through it and back again. At
the first turn I manage to cross the blue tape but the rest is ok. Next is another up a bank and between
a carved out tree with a root ahead to bump the front wheel off into the turn, now hang left on the blue
and turn back to cross the fallen tree. Around the end of the tree on loose adverse dirt and idle to the
exit. All goes well until the end of the tree when I catch my shoulder on it and I need a dab to fend off
but my foot slides away on the dead yellowed grass and I have an undignified “splits” 5 ! Not happy!!

Right beside this one is Section 9 where the manic axeman has been before and cut out the center
of the tree stump. Today through the stump then drop off the 6′ bank down into the ditch, up the
shallower gradient side to complete a 180 left then  through the newly deposited wash sand and
back up the 6 footer with its big root. Turn right on the bank and meander to the exit. Clean but had
a bit of work to do coming out of the sand.

Follow the loop along the bottom past Saturday 8 and 9  and come to today’s 10 by the edge of the
Pits. This looks very tight to me with some turns between the trees and a lot of ducking under low
branches. All at 6’s and 7’s here for a stumble bum 3.

Not that easy !

Last section of the loop is up on the Hog’s Back and one that has been used in multi directions over
the years. Start against the cliff wall then swing out to position to scale the wall, reposition and now
take the far track in an upward right hander swinging down through the gap behind the big top boulder.
Everybody through here without a problem on a section that is anything but easy!!

Chris starts his turn to come back up the steep ledge

Fortunately tons of grip

Dan eases her over

Chris off the top with the run down to the exit

Same line

Close up on Dan

Quick drink and we are off again down to the creek. I get a better line up this time but the bank is
getting slippy and as the bike slows the rear tire is running out of grip (more of this later) and needs
a push on dab.

Better line up this time

Power on !

Power off

Section 2 and its maze are a bit clearer this time and a better entry to the first drop down and plateau
turn secure the clean.

Dan shows the way through the split that Chris missed first time round

Now up the big hill

First turn good

On track for the clean this time

Section 3 was going nicely until the last turn off the downhill into the creek when I rolled one in the
water and took 2 to recover.

Yet more rollers on every turn

Left turn and drop back in the creek

Safely through these rollers

All’s well until dropping in the stream when a roller took me for a 2 !!

At the ditch we all scoot through clean and do the same on 6 where I had stalled it coming through
the S. Over at 7 I stay in bounds and just take a dab and then clean 8 where I had slipped on that
yellow grass (12 points better on those 3 sections this time). Another clean on 9 for me but Dan gets
it cross threaded for a 2 on the bank having hit the root badly. At 10 we take a break as Dan is needing
fuel but on his return he stops 1/2 way through ?  ……..yes the fuel was off!! I improve with a 2 and over
to 11 where both Dan and Chris couldn’t resist a dab on the upper climb. Clean for me.

Nearing the top for my second clean on this one

Gently through the top turn

Down at 1 the exit bank is looking pretty muddy and slippy so I take a new line up the bank and clean
it. Dan gets 3/4 up but the Yam decides it wants another look at the water and turns round for a very
unexpected 5. You just never know what will happen at Casper !! Dan has now racked up two 5’s and
a dab in the last 3 sections ??

On the new line

The clean at last !

Up to the maze of 2 and several paths are now fairly clear and more cleans in the book. Overall a nice
section and one I’m sure we will be seeing again.

Top of the first hill on Section 2

Through the lazy wash sand turn, now line up for the drop down to the plateau turn

Up the big hill for the last time

Section 3 appears clearly defined with wet and muddy lines established on the white golf balls but I
hit a loose one coming out of the first turn in the river but the rest rides nicely.

Surprize dab on a roller here

The mid section turn in the rollers of Section 3

Over at the ditch I can’t hold on, although I tried, and take a dab on the exit. Chris comes up next and
hits something for his dab and then hits something else for another. Dan also takes a dab here. We
are all clean through 5 & 6. Same dab on 7, a 2 on 8 and another clean on 9. 10 is a mystery to me
and its a 3 prodder again! Just 11 to go

The last turn for Dan

Up behind the big rock for my third clean on 11

Very gentle on that brake

Another good clean on 11 to finish the day and the weekend. Apart from the first loop, which was less
than stellar, I would have been around 20 which would have been reasonable for the course. Great fun
however you look at it, and of course I’ll be back next year. Thanks Dan and Bob for a great weekend.

TONY DOWN

 

OK, OKO YOU WIN

OK, OKO YOU WIN


OK, OKO YOU WIN


Sunday morning and we are the early group today so pump up the slow leak in the rear tube which is
also beginning to creep. Tire looks about shot too so time for another when we get home. Today we
start with 3 in the creeks then 5 along the Hog’s Back, some logs down by the start and finish in the
concrete of Lego Land.

Up past what used to be the “Waterfall” and find 1 which is in now in a very wide 30′ wide creek. This
used to be just rideable at around 3′ wide in years gone by. Seems a lot of these white rock pebbles
were once giant rocks that crumbled and got washed by the raging water. Drop in down the hill, cross
the shallow creek and a classic steep uphill round the tree and back down into the river, then position
for an up the adverse 3′ step turning left in some burnt out stumps and trees and dropping back into
the pebbles and stream. Lots of choices on the far bank and I waste a lot of time looking at the wrong
exit until I see that our 2 line is not gated to the left which makes life a lot easier. Glad I saw that one
in time so a clean to start the day.

Cross the meadow and back to the lower creek which looks very much like previous years apart from
where the fire came down to the top so there are some burn outs on the upper banks. Cross the water
and up the muddy bank then behind a burnt out black tree with a wiggle through the stump complex
and out into a tight left hander in wash sand which has found its way up here some 12′ above the
creek. Drop back in and cross over to the exit. No problems here so on down the creek and trail to 3.

Not too much fire damage but signs of where the water rose to are quite alarming!  3 starts on  the trail
has a right, left in deposited silt coming back over a log which has now broken in two. Steepish down
hill to cross to the far bank which is getting muddy, turn inside a small pile of loose rocks and climb
back up the bank to set up for a choice of lines through a tree with some burn damage. A tight wiggle
through two uprights if you can place your front tire exactly in the catapult like fork of a burnt sapling, or
straight across the tree at a 45 degree angle. See Bob Strohman crash in the water after touching a
roller and a few 5’s for those trying the 45 cut over the log. I try the “catapult” and get it spot on for the
clean.

No 4 is more or less the same as we used last year which is a series of tightish turns through big
static rocks then up a narrow track around a big rock before descending to the checker. The initial
part is a step onto a huge bedrock, jump off the other side then over the flat ground to set up for a
gentle idle left turn up around the rock by the fence. Shouldn’t be any problems here unless you catch
your footrest turning too tight. Plenty of room to complete a right turn on level ground to set up for a
tight 180 left through some rocks then set up for the uphill wiggle. Looks easy enough especially the
first part. True enough the first half goes well with a smooth turn down by the fence but coming out
onto level ground it goes awfully quiet !! Memories here of Podium at Dolores ???? Well 5 lost, fire
it up and complete the rest of the section feet up….. very, very annoying.

Section 5 has a nice shape to it with an uphill off the path swinging left hander braking downhill
to come through a footrest catcher set of rocks into immediate uphill right then another of those
jinking wiggles uphill between a couple of big handlebar height rocks keeping the path blind until
you get there. Simple downhill braking with jinks to the exit. Rides as planned for the clean.

More choices of line over at 6 with either a turn straight up between two big rocks or go around the
lower rock and then uphill from there. Can’t really see much advantage on the lower line although both Trialsmasters Bob and Dan take it ? From the top a sharp right downhill into a dipping lefthander to
come back up and swing tight right through 180 for the exit. I take the higher line and arrival spot on
line at the top and turn right and the motor stops again !!!!! Exiting the section in disgust its now time
for problem solving. Mike Shay agrees with my conclusion that I need a little tweak on the idle screw
as these carbs clearly don’t like running with zero space under the slide which is how I normally run
my Mikunis.

Today’s 7 is a repeat almost of yesterday’s 6 with a slight uphill entry to do a 180 uphill right into a
swinging lefthander uphill to come back around another shoulder high rock into blind uphill, then
more downhill turns to the exit. I consider going further along inside the blue before making the turn
but eventually take the tighter turn and then take a dab coming out of the lefthander.

Section 8 has me searching for split cards as I’m having trouble finding any. No it really is that easy
and is a follow the path just off idle and then come downhill in the loose dirt….. so this one must be
the gimmee of the day.

Now for the logs just behind Ed and Evelyn’s RV and no surprizes to see who’s checking here. Enter
stay tight on the red for a square 90 left turn to line up for log number 1, then around the bush, more
wash sand and silt, and then over a much wider log, right turn and out. No problems so only Lego
Land to get through.

Lego Land looks a lot smaller than I remember and maybe some of these blocks and things got
moved ? In and around the first table block into more deepish silt for the left hander through the big
Diamond, now over the next table block into 180 right inside a cable drum, continue into left to line up
for a mini log crossing and ride out to the exit. First loop of 11 with 2 stalling 5’s.

Off we go again and no changes on 1 & 2 so try the same line on 3 having watched a few cleaning
it with the 45 degree crossing. Bit of a bump off my catapult fork and a dab goes out the window and
I’m lucky to hang on to prevent a second ! At 4 where she stalled a faultless ride this time but at 5 a
dumb dab coming out of the bottom turn after clouting my foot on the rocks. A bit fast up 6 and round
the top turn with skidding front tire in the loose needs a 2 to get it back on line. Same story for a dab
on 7 so a longer run at it next time. 8 is the gimmee so back to E&E where I turn too early and I’m off
line for the first log but escape with a dab from poor positioning. 10 wasn’t much better as I was too
fast off the table and couldn’t complete the drum turn without a little assistance from a guiding foot !
Sure had my “dabbing” boots on that time round for 7.

Confidence is high for the 3rd loop as the OKO problem is now OK ! Good consistent cleans on the
first two sections so time to relook section 3. Several people are now making nothing of the 45 slash
at the log so I’ll give it a try and it “main roads” and I regret not having used that line on my second
visit. Clean again on 4 but same mistake on 5 for the dab. Arrived at the top of 6 in perfect position,
just like loop 1 but this time with a running engine I clean this one at last. At 7 I take the longer run in
and have plenty of time to set up for the first uphill where it runs on rails. Catch my little finger on the
big rock but power through as I’m not going to be denied  this time! 8 through 10 all clean this time
so a much better effort for a 1 point loop……. could have been a good day if I had been a bit more
consistent and put a decent card together, but as they say that’s trials!

Not a single picture for the day despite all the photographers out and about.

TONY DOWN

PILGRIMAGE

PILGRIMAGE


PILGRIMAGE

Dawn breaks …… we may be able to repair her later

Despite all the problems of fire and flood the Casper event rolls on and the annual pilgrimage begins.
Normally a 2 day run to get there, this year we elect for a butt crack of dawn start, which for those not
used to Mountain Man time, is about 2 hours before the crack of dawn and 3 before dawn breaks.

We actually leave only 30 mins late and the 12 hour drive begins. A problem free drive and I’m soon
learning how to control the Safari engine temp playing boost against coolant to keep the dreaded red
light off. This problem has to be addressed in the next couple of months and after many consultations
it requires the complete removal of the radiator and a mega clean. One of the issues with this engine
is that for some reason, and unlikely as it sounds, the dipstick is the wrong length ! So, if you fill to the
full mark you have put in about 1/2 a gallon of excess oil which the engine now gets rid of via the CAT
called “slobber tube” or as the rest of us would call it a crankcase breather. The slobber tube stops
short of the radiator so the hot oil blows directly onto the radiator and now with dust and grot blown up
by the rear wheels blocks the lower portion of the rad causing the overheating. According to the CAT
people this is a simple, but time consuming fix, and costs around $4000 to do.

12 hours of driving later we are at the Trials Mecca ……. just downhill and through the gate where we meet the welcoming committee

“You must be Tony ?    ……. Raeph sent us ……. enjoy”

The twelve hour drive is complete and we roll in and get our first real look at Mother Nature’s attack on
the hallowed trials land. New ribbons all down Hog’s Back in the newly discovered sections. The pits
area is unaffected by the devastation so we roll into our reserved parking slot that we have used since
2005 and are quickly set up for the weekend.

Whether Raeph and Priscilla have got their way, or maybe the recession has bitten into disposable
income I’m not sure, or it could be that many of us vintage riders have just simply retired I don’t know
but we are missing an awful lot of what used to be the vintage crowd when Ahrma was in its trials
heyday. Only 7 Ahrma entries ? …… I can remember when I came here in 2005 for the first time there
must have been 50+ ……so where have they all gone ??? If I were to list them all from names that just
flash through the memory banks I can think of 30 that are still alive and kicking and as we know that
trials bug just never goes away. Maybe we need to rally the clans once more, maybe put in more easy
sections that are not intimidating for the 60 and 70 year olds ?

But, no matter, good to see all those that DID make it and fantastic work by Dan and Bob who have
struggled to get this up and running against everything that has been thrown in their way.

Day 1 begins at around 2’ish and if memory serves me right we have 7 sections on Hog’s Back then
down to the remains of the creek for 8-10.

After two very good rides at Dolores I’m hoping for more of the same but over the years I’ve had some
variable results at Casper despite it being my favorite event on the calendar. Lets see how today goes
as No1 is a variation on previous years and has a choice of lines at about mid section with either a
straight up attack or a roll off after the first set of embedded rocks and a dip down lower line with both
lines then turning left into the downhill wiggle. One thing about ALL Casper sections is LINE! If you
are on it the section almost becomes a gimmee, but stray a few inches either way and you can be in
all kinds of trouble.

I elect to take the upper line and hit the rock jumble a little too far left which throws the back wheel
sending me towards the large overhang  rock and a very unspectacular 3 ! No clean card today thanks
to a less than positive attempt. Lower line next time!!

Section 2 doesn’t go much better despite giving myself a severe talking to. I get target fixation on a
clump of cut sapling stumps and of course ride straight into it ! This sets me up badly for the uphill
and I hit a smooth rock with power on and need a 3 to get round the first turn…….. very dumb!

Section 3 goes well and I stay exactly where I want to be and of course it rides as a gimmee. 4 takes
marks from the group I’m with but looks cleanable with care. An upshot to turn above an outcrop then
gentle right on idle to set up for a left onto an upper ledge and ride out to the exit. Nice clean here so
on with the show.

No recall of 5, but at 6 its again choices, choices, choices. Either up onto an upper plateau and then
slight downhill into dipping left hander and up the hill for some simple turns and downhill run out, or
take a lower turn across the adverse and straight into the dipping left hander. I take the high line and
it seems to work but poor body weighting and I can’t quite hold on so a “tippee toe” is in the books!

7 looks simple enough with an adverse rock crossing as the starter noting where your wheels go
to avoid any chance of track crossing later on when you come back down to the exit. Second obstacle
of a big slab requires positioning so that you get a smooth transition coming off the rock to set up for
the rest of the hill and then descend keeping tight on the blue near the exit. It rides as planned.

Hog’s back done, so now down to the creek and see what damage has been done down here by the
flood. 8 is an old favorite with shallow running water on a firm base, some mud, and a whole load of
silt wash sand dragged in by the raging torrents. Cross the stream, wide on the mud/grass and a
quick squirt up the bank, then adverse sand which will pack down, and gently back across the creek
into uphill left turn on the opposite bank which is getting wetter with every passing rider. Well I’ve
always liked this one and it has memories of my youth.

9 looks like the remnants of the old “Island” section lower half and has had some dramatic changes
which give it a whole new flavor. Drop in the water out of more wash sand, loose rock turn to cross
into a water turn around some bigger rocks and then left over a few trees into a gentle right downhill
back through the water. Up onto a grassy flat bank for a tight right hander to the exit. No problems
here so on to the last of the loop.

Dan mid way through 9

Wolfy in action on 9

John Clement  takes the Honda up the bank

Bob on the tabletop

Ed and Evelyn are checking this one down in the creek by the start. The basic shape of the “old”
tried and true section is here but all the giant logs and rocks have gone walkabout and are nowhere
to be seen. Quite amazing the power of angry water !! Adverse downhill to the water and through a lot
of golf ball sized well washed white rock gravel. Follow the stream with a few loose rocks to the climb
out point then blast up the rutted hill and around the tree. New piece takes us downhill again to the
edge of the water and then up a 10′ bank to the exit. 7 lost this time round but it was cleanable and
Dan or Chris could easily have a clean loop !

Trialsmaster Dan having a great ride today

Rick Armstrong lining up for the exit

Chris pops up the bank



Out of the creek, up the slot, now round the tree 

……. and when the cameras are out you can rest assured there will be some showboating so first we
see Trialsmaster Bob with his frisky Baby Yam

Whoa boy !

STEADY Girl, Steady!!

…….and MTS Expert Mike Shay shows us a release from his latest film  “The Trials Fugitive” starring
the infamous “one legged man”

Mike Shay at the finish of 10

Loop 2, and with checkers today I seem to be riding by myself with very few holdups. Try the lower
line on 1 but too fast into the dip and another dab goes out the window. Stay on line in 2 for a nice
clean so 5 better than last time with a bit more concentration. Clean all the way to 6 and after another
walk around the choices I elect to use the same upper line which doesn’t ride as well so another dab
is lost. 7, 8 and 9  go well and on E&E’s I hit a roller in the stream which takes me by surprize for a
second round total of 3. Again should have been round clean.

Nicely in control on 10, shame about the dab in the stream

Last loop with lots of time, and now the upper line of 1 is looking very tempting. Wolfy cleans it  with
ease so I’ll try the same. Close but no cigar and yet another clumsy dab. At 2 the fixation is back!! I
am now way wide at the bottom of the hill and need a curling uphill to get to desired line and still
have the power on when I hit the smooth rock. Back wheel skips off into deep loose dirt and I can’t get
her up and round the bush which results in a 5 that I could have done without. Back at 6 I take the
lower line and it rides on rails…… wish I’d done that on the previous attempts. No more mistakes and
6 for the loop. Not a winning performance today but good practice and an enjoyable trial nonetheless.

Good clean to finish

TONY DOWN