HANGING ON BY A THREAD

 

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I really do not seem to be able to a get a break this year, its just a constant round of frustration and as soon as one element is sorted another jumps up and says “how about me ?”

4 bloody copper washers and a domed nut and 4 days to get it here and fitted if I can find any ………. or ?

Of course I can anneal the old washers and change back to the standard rocker feed pipe from the Webco unit I was using.

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Webco unit I have been using and the old one (now repaired)

The advantage here is the standard feed is considerably thinner giving more thread for the nut to go on. Unfortunately the old unit had a crack in it which today I can’t find. I remember trying to JB weld it but it didn’t work ……. did I have it mended ? I can’t say.

Found it ! Now try my hand at some silver soldering, and it actually works. Cut down the tube length and its on and bit by bit I can ease these old tired nuts up the shafts and kill the oil leaks. Ray says he will send another domed nut which is just as well as my east coast man is out of them for a couple of weeks.

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The thick & thin side by side, might get a couple more threads using the old unit

The stripped dome nut goes on and tightens up as does the working one but I get the impression if I push my luck that too will strip out so gently does it until I can replace everything with NEW.

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Nasty business!

Fingers crossed and the oil leaks are all but gone. One of those domed nuts feel like its about to give up so unless another leak appears I’ll leave well alone and hope it lasts through 2 days of Casper…… please, please……please

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Hanging on………..

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

RUNNING IN WITH TIME RUNNING OUT

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Always wanted a flat tracker….. look out Casper

Today’s mission to find a British nut that will fit the exhaust rocker cover stud that some dummy has fitted with a real goofy locknut thing and a fiber washer !

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So thin when you tighten up the socket falls off the nut!!!

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Not a locknut but BSW and a bit more meat to grip!

Fortunately for me I have a local Vincent restorer who has several junk nut boxes with BSW and BSF left overs. Job done so that can be replaced and the leaking oil issue will be a thing of the past. Meanwhile over in CA Ray is sourcing the real things, studs, nuts and copper washers. When they will arrive is anyone’s guess.

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Studs, copper washers and locknuts

For today its lawn mowing and its long! Done!! now back to me and No Excuses and tomorrow I’ll fit the old stud with new nuts and take some test time around the garden and up the side road. NEW spark plug caps ordered to replace those rotted ones. As far as I know there shouldn’t be any other problems but I have a week to find them before Casper so fingers crossed.

Another wet Friday morning, cooler and not very nice, so time to change all the wiper blades on the Cadi as the others had started streaking and missing sectors. Also still need to fix the power steering leak and rebalance the wheels as I suspect a weight has fallen off on the back set.

The weekend is here and that means Casper is looming. Still waiting on those new studs from Ray which left CA on Wednesday, today or Monday I hope ? c’mon post give me a break here, and I can finally wrap it up and get some seat time. Wonder how this was sent ? I think standard letter mail would have been best and is 1/2 the time of Priority Mail Express!! …… a con trick, and a very expensive con trick at that.

Two hours until the post rolls in so with warming weather back time to clean up the shop, sort out the toolbox, and get back on track for some trials time. Interestingly with all this weeks rain I wonder how those cliff sections would have faired if we had enjoyed this rain 2 weeks ago? Could have been a VERY different trial, but I don’t expect they like mud either!!……. wonder what they do like?

Post arrives, but nothing from CA ….. most likely sent overnight which should take a bloody week! A bit from the UK ordered on 18 Aug arrives today 23 Aug …. it never makes any sense. Well I’ll go ahead and fit the old with new nuts and see if it leaks.

Toolbox nearly done, amazing what crap climbs in there over the years. Misc pliers, cutters, screwdrivers with broken flats, chisels, nuts and bolts, oddball plastic ties, chain fish plates and bits, dead plugs and other unknowns.

Floor cleaned now its Cub time…….. starts first kick, sounds fine, needs a little carb adjustment but that can be done later … but its still pissing oil out the front rocker cover or is it ?

Further investigation shows forward rocker sealed nicely so where is this virgin clean oil coming from ? Lights, action, roll ’em , and yes its leaking from the rocker shafts and dripping down the head and then coming to the low point under the top fin below the exhaust rocker cover. Looks like whoever rebuilt the head did NOT use NEW CRUSH WASHERS and its leaking…….. also one of the domed head nuts is stripped and in fact add that to the weird nut that was on the rocker stud + 2 nuts on the other one I get the impression that this head was rebuilt by a complete NOVICE … a real SHADETREE !!  I’m not impressed at all! If you are responsible for the rebuild and you have incorrect nuts or a STRIPPED one you either report it to a supervisor or CHANGE it yourself and if you are using crush washers you use them ONCE and once only. Overall this is a very poor effort.

I now have FOUR DAYS to get those crush washers and domed nuts or NO EXCUSES will not be ridden at yet another event and I think you can understand how angry that makes me.

TONY DOWN

 

THE SLOW SPEED WAIT

Certainly a summer of frustrations but there have been some bright spots and successes as well so not all gloom and doom although on many days it felt like it. As I come up on the “eve” of Casper I still have yet to complete an event this season!

My initial plans were San Ysidro, Sipapu (can’t think why), Turkey Rock, Dolores, Casper and to finish out Tucker Ranch. On the planning table it looks really good with 6 double weekends and 12 fun trials …… or so it should have been. Both bikes were ready pre season and everything appeared in good shape. Primary weapon would be “The No Excuse Cub” with all her frame mods and just itching to get back in competition after last year’s Superglitz run.

Superglitz had a quick bout of mods post Casper 2013 with a new tire, sprockets and chain, new Rockshocks and chain tensioner block not forgetting the clutch arm extension and new lever.

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NEW tire, sprockets and chain + those Rockshocks

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Not forgetting the MK II hangers and NEW footrests

So what went wrong ?   well school bus driving got in the way for San Ysidro as they had me on a 4 day Denver trip and we were short of drivers. Sipapu looked good until time to leave when the generator failed to start and as any RV’er will tell you “if the wife isn’t happy then NOBODY is happy!” ……. and that was compounded by the Cub not running well at 9000′ (yes, I forgot to re-jet) and then breaking my new clutch lever on Superglitz…….. but it didn’t end there with two of the front axle bolts shearing on bumpy NM roads on the way home!

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Replacing bolts post NM …… and the step saga, now resolved

Then the miseries started with the generator saga running on until Friday 11 July which was our leaving date for Turkey Rock. The Cub was meanwhile having some unnecessary surgery (as it transpires) when maybe all I should have done was change the jets. Initially (and this is often how it starts) Ray suggests a bit more WOOF by fitting a 9:1 piston and freshly bored new barrel. I needless to say accept and while in discussion also accept the offer of a head makeover to complete the job. None of this makes it back in time for TR and only arrives with two weeks to go for Dolores……… apart from the gaskets which take another week to get here!!

With Dolores fast approaching and zero help from anybody in ANY area I’m forced to concede that I will not have time to rebuild and get any “running in” time…. and as days slip by it doesn’t look good for me riding at all as there are no volunteers for the score table or signing in.

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Saturday section 1 ……. too hard, dangerous and unrideable  ??

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Contrary to opinion it takes a LOT of thought and TIME to lay out

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Section 2, also classed as too difficult ?

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all the 3 line required was to ride to the left of the Yucca then right to the Ends card ???

Then comes the event with all the discontent and moaning and bitching from some of the lesser lights and indeed from some others who should have known better. All that can be said on this issue is that thanks to their rudeness and inappropriate behavior they won’t have to endure any of “my” trials in the future as my yearly 2 months of trailblazing and tree felling on Casey’s land has now come to an END …….. and NO, I will not be reconsidering my position . The golden trials goose of Dolores is DEAD! You want one laid on……. get off your arse and go do it, but please don’t ask me to help !!

……. and now with 11 days to go until departure I still haven’t got the Cub engine running due to the NEW exhaust valve which must have a thicker seat and is therefore showing less of the valve stem out of the head and not allowing any chance of setting the tappet to 6 thou. Does life ever get easier ?

Monday morning and ready to go and see my expert welder. One final check to see how much the gap is and it seems its almost right ? Very strange! Maybe another retighten of the head and it will be close enough for govt  work. Last day of my summer holiday and back to school bus driving tomorrow so time to press on and get it buttoned up and started.

All ready for the test firing and kicking it over it seems a bit “chuffy” rather like a bike with a decompressor fitted…… thinks bubble …… not good!  No start, plug out, yes we have sparks but then notice the plug cap is in poor condition and needs replacing. New cap fitted, try finger over plug hole …… 4/5th of nothing! Consult Guru.

Must be an air leak somewhere but where? The cylinder gasket looks like the culprit as (a), it was new, (b), its difficult to get a wrench/spanner on the head bolts and (c), the neoprene gaskets on the pushrod tube may be too tough to compress fully at this stage. Following the Guru’s advice the motor was assembled dry whereas I usually put a little oil around the piston to grease the bore so to speak. Oil is NOW added, the 4 head bolts are loosened once more and after a search in the UK toolbox a Whitworth is found. For those not familiar with this its another wrench/spanner size which was the hallmark of the British steed, British Standard Whitworth, BSW and British Standard Fine, BSF can now join your “buzz words” collection adding to Metric, UNF, AF and plumbers pipe thread. Having found the correct size for the head bolts time to modify for this task. The headbolts are behind the pushrod tube and amid the fins! The distance between the fins is too close for an ordinary spanner so you can only get about 1/2 a flat of turn and then you have to turn the spanner over to get the second 1/2 of the flat……. all very time consuming…….. Out comes Mr Makita and the spanner is ground down to a size where I can fit it between the fins.

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A slimline Whitworth for head tightening

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Between the fins at last

The head is retightened, there is compression and this morning when the tappet covers were removed both adjusters are in full contact with their valves. Readjustments done and test fire…… YIPEE! it starts, doesn’t smoke or rattle but is leaking from the front rocker cover as it has a bodge up nut on it which will go tomorrow!

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It runs at last !

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One nasty nut to replace on the exhaust rocker cover

Some may remember a few weeks ago I was on my way to the bus barn to get the axle bolts replaced after NM roads and when I tried to leave the bloody bus steps would not retract. Well in this case it was self inflicted as we had decided to remove the screen door which was rattling and seemingly didn’t provide any useful service …… well not so fast mister, there was a magnet on the door, which when closed and with the ignition on, then activates the steps to retract! No screen door no magnet…… so while trying to source a new motor or whatever else was going to be required I watch a trouble shooting video ……. and lo, there is the magnetic door switch but of course we junked the whole door a few weeks ago. No matter another magnet is found and hey presto the systems works!

TONY DOWN

 

 

THE HIGH SPEED BUILD

The saga of my life continues as we creep into 2 weeks from Casper and the Cub is still in pieces. All I can do is press on and rebuild her until more news is at hand ref these tappet adjusters. At least they can be adjusted with the bike in a rebuilt state, save for having the tank on.

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After 2 months of frustration you are going back in!

The build begins after a bit of tidy up and first pop the motor back in place and start reconnecting oil tubes, the clutch cable and ignition wires. First thing of note will be some rerouting of those oil tubes which are a little close to the exhaust.

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Ready for a motor ?

Engine brackets and bolts in place and the always tricky exhaust pipe and its mounting bracket which connects on the new forward engine plates.

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Motor and exhaust on and the kicker noise reducer

Everything lines up and final tightening of all bolts and clamps. All looks good. Refill the oil, reposition inlet and return oil lines and connect the rocker system.

With exhaust all bolted up a new rubber cover on the kicker as it was rattling against the expansion chamber. Time for the carb with its new jets which just leaves tightening up the back wheel once the chain is back on. Rear brake connected  …… so until the tappet issue is resolved …… time for another polish to wrap up the day.

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Last bits go on

Well it looks good even if it isn’t working! Ray may produce some longer adjusters or I might try the welder who did the sump and see if he can put a blob of a super hard stuff called “stellite” on the end.

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If nothing else its CLEAN ! …… and polished

I feel a bit like Henry VIII and his beheading phase and the troubles with the Archbishop of Canterbury (my home town)  ….. “Will someone rid me of this troublesome tappet “.

The wait continues……. surely this CAN be fixed ??

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PATIENCE, MY SON COUNT TO 10 …….7, 8 , 9

7 , 8 , 9 ,

Having spent a weekend with some friends who ride trials and a bunch that ride cleans it is pleasant to now be able to use my time in the pursuit of what I want to do rather than waste two months on ungrateful and unappreciative bastards who I can honestly do without. As I said in the previous article there will be no more Dolores 2 Day Trials and NO MORE Trialsmastering duties for me!

No, its not sour grapes or lack of interest, far from it……. its more the total lack of understanding of the time and effort that goes into these events and what it takes from inception, the planning, and the execution to bring one to fruition.  Of course you always want it to be better than the last one, take all skill levels into account, and provide a fun and challenging event for all.  This time it didn’t happen due to some circumstances outside my control but I’m dammed if I am going to put up with abuse and bad manners because some of the lesser lights could not do better than 5 in a series of new untried and unridden sections. No Sir, you organize your own bloody events!

Right enough of that, I’ve got it out of my system and now I can relax and get on with rebuilding my Cub ready for Casper and Tucker Ranch, both places that I really enjoy.

When we left it I had devised a way to get the barrel on and get the rings located the right way up and with 120 degree offsets. The next stage is fitting the head and the fun of the pushrods and tube and with that all in place the fiddling with tappets etc. That will be my Wednesday task and if that goes well the rest should be relatively easy.

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Where I start, Wed 8/13/14

First few attempts have been frustrating ….. I can get the exhaust push rod on but the inlet defies every which way. Using the limited knowledge, a bent paper clip and maybe if that fails the rubber band trick I will try again……… surely they can’t be this difficult?

5 hours of workshop time says it is! Obviously doing something wrong but I’ll persevere. Eventually acknowledge defeat and decide to take the engine out of the frame so I now have it on the bench where I can see what I’m doing.  So close, but oh so far!

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Finally I give in and get the motor on the bench!

Forecast rains arrived and still raining this morning so another good excuse to be in the workshop and get it right. More Guru advice and today will be the rubber band, and dental pick trick and see if this one will be on tour at Las Vegas, yes I can see it now at the Mirage.

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Rubber band in place, lets see if this works

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Inlet left, Exhaust right, now held in this position by the band

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Flashlight, bent paper clip and the dental pick

Some investigating with and without the pushrod tube, and yes, I can do this with not too much trouble now I can see what I’m doing with the engine upright on the bench.

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Gottcha !!

Finally all back together, but I still have a few questions which can wait until tomorrow if I can’t get answers today. Now time to tidy up the workshop after the mess I made last night when I inadvertently whipped off the clutch cable, ignition wires, and oil lines as the last items holding the engine in the frame. In my frustration the fact that the oil tank was still full never entered the manic mind so I now have a quart of new SAE 50 on the floor ……. brilliant!

Run into town for a few misc duties and buy a new feeler gage as it seems mine is on permanent loan somewhere. Well Inlet no problem with adjustment but with exhaust adjuster fully screwed down the closest I can get is around 15 thou.

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Inlet can be adjusted

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Down tight on exhaust but still 15thou to go!

Closer inspection reveals that the new exhaust valve maybe marginally shorter ? Of course it could be that both adjusters are worn after 50 years of pounding their little hammers …. might need to have some bullet hard welding done on one of them to make it a smidge longer and for those not familiar with a “smidge” its longer than a “tad” and about 1/2 a “tooch”.

So here we are, 1 week post the trial, and with only 2 weeks to the next one at Casper…….. when does this saga ever end??

Today I will press on with reassembly in the hope that something can be done ref these bloody tappet adjusters and one day at some time I might just get to ride it once more.

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

ESCALANTE 2 DAY TRIAL 2014

2 DAYS IN DOLORES

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New start and lines at the 4th St Bridge

Two months of brush cutting, tree felling, solo cliff walking, laying of tape, rock rolling, card placement and …….. finally the one man band has arrived at Saturday morning, Day 1 of hopefully another super trial.

Only major issue was lack of help, in all departments, but particularly the “riding in” of the sections which never happened and as I WAS hoping to ride I clearly can’t be seen to be practicing on my own sections. Well no matter, the ones that I wanted “gardened” and packed in would happen with the passage of riders …… or so I hoped. This would really be no different from trials of my youth except that you don’t want to be “early” on this loose shale and sandstone dirt mix until its hit a firm bottom.

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8 on the upper cliffs, 1 on the way back and 6 spectator sections along the river

Today is two loops of 8 up on the cliffs and then a solo on the loop before completing the 6 riverside spectator sections. With 30 sections ridden the last riverside 6 would comprise a very short third loop.

Continuing the one man band theme nobody is available to do sign up or scoring duties so I’m sidelined and not riding. A poor local turnout from riders who had promised to come and the absence of landowner Casey with some family issues. Dan Straka was also having similar woes and forced to stay in WY with his ailing mother. Secretary John is “time sharing” work and trials this year and was one of the many non attendees. Are we really losing a lot of members or is apathy creeping back in during August ? However there were a few new faces including the Boltons from KS, Daniel Joslin from Pagosa and Sam Reeder from Colorado Springs and our 3 man contingent from AZ making the return trip having enjoyed last year.

No matter 17 riders take the start and after our standard town parade run we are at the 4th Bridge and ready to get going. About 2 hours later a very disgruntled bunch arrive back at the start and their views are less than praiseworthy bordering on downright rude and belligerent.  While I can appreciate that loose rolling rock may not be to anyone’s liking and while using a trials bike as a backhoe it IS THE SAME FOR EVERYBODY ! ……. and clearly things are not going as I had hoped for and sections are not bedding in at ALL !! Only thing to do is to scrub certain sections that are deemed as currently  non-rideable. Even with this action it seems I can’t please this bunch as I’m fielding complaint after complaint which if they only knew is taking us down another avenue that we will cover in a later paragraph.

The senior classes continue as they know the problems but others wish to continue berating me as though I had personally endeavored to make this their most miserable trial of the year. I look forward to seeing the TV coverage of the mayhem up on the cliffs when it is aired.

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Al rounds the turn on “Alcatraz”

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John on the 1 line exit from that Black Rock

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Up and out for John

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Better exit from Al second time around

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Tom lines up the rock for the 2 line exit

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Big Men action on 15 ….. Daniel

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Walt in full cry

Day 1 winners were very much as expected with John Clement tops on the 1 line and Jim Wagner romping home in Mod Sup Int  but hotly pursued by a VERY determined Kirtis Wyatt on the Gas Gas from Mancos. This is only Kirtis’s 3rd event ever and he was a mere 7 points adrift from Jim. Just to prove it ISN’T just the bike Bob Strohman had the best 1st round loop on ANY line with only 16 lost on the 2 line on a 76 Yam. Some thing to do with “old age and cunning overcoming youth and skill”. Clinton Bolton from KS won the Novice side in the biggest class of the day with a 7 mark advantage over Daniel Joslin who has been riding exceptionally well in recent events.

While moaning minnies  seek solace in adult beverages elsewhere I enjoy a few beers in solitude in the Shade Garden. Sure enough as cook out time arrives so do they and in some cases are still as grumpy as ever wanting refunds of their entry fees, while some are looking a little sheepish after their earlier defamatory outbursts. The situation is explained but doesn’t appease those that want to ride 36 sections and have a clean card! …… we move on, discarding a section from the Sunday event……. but the Graded Hill is STILL IN.. and if you DON’T LIKE IT then DON’T RIDE IT.

So with 20:20 hindsight yes, I made an error of JUDGEMENT insomuch that I EXPECTED the sections to “ride in” and they DIDN’T……. so SORRY, what else can I say. OK, I got it wrong this time but in 52 years of riding (1962) maybe 1 isn’t that bad?

Sunday morning and again I don’t get to ride and still have the score table ……. well I wasn’t planning on riding the Yam anyway so it really won’t make any difference although I did WANT TO RIDE.

Today we are over at LCC at “Honey I’m Home” …… what you didn’t like riding through that one last year????  perhaps the photo will refresh your short memories.

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2013 at “Honey I’m Home”

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12 sections reduced to 11 before the start and I’m expecting 2 more to get thrown out during the first loop but we continue. The 3 sections in the Creek all ride well with only a few dabs lost and a few 5’s which I can only assume to be missed cards.

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Up the Creek with Bob

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District Attorney, Will Furse, finally joins us for the Trial

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Sam concentrates on the Creek bed

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Daniel looks at home on LCC

With section 4 deemed impossible for today, as it was not ridden in, the route is altered using the two way alternate to get to the Graded Hill. As I said at the Saturday awards if you ride it like a trials  section you will most likely fail ! Seems most people obviously know better with their vast knowledge and predictably only make it to the “3’s”. Last year Bob Strohman was the first rider to make it to the “2’s” using the correct technique and this year has a fabulous ride all the way up the virgin terrain to the “1’s”. Now to achieve that for someone who is shall we say “vertically challenged” or short, being politically incorrect, is nothing but amazing!

Yes, I’m tempted to give a demo but I walked over so I don’t have the bike but I know its quite possible to clean it. Follow the current groups back down to Tin Can Alley and the Grassy Knoll which both ride well with only a scattering of dabs and some threes from those straying off line. What do we say about line ? “Line is ESSENTIAL!” and now I get asked “Why is the 3 line harder than the 2 ?”  I’m sorry I can’t see this but as clearly I know precious little about trials I’m completely stumped for an answer.

They ride “Barney’s Rubble” at 8 but can’t get through Musketeers and onward to Poke in the Eye so those 2 get thrown out and we are now down to a 9 section loop. Back to the scoring duties.

Of those classes where a competition is taking place Jim and Kirtis are within a point and after two laps Kirtis has it by 1 ! WOW! Bob Strohman is consistent as ever with two 9 point loops in Hist Int and the Hist Nov class is nip and tuck between Daniel and Clinton after their second round. Sam is a bit peeved as he was 2 and 4 points up on them respectively after the first loop when he said enough.

With scores up to date I venture back to the Graded Hill for a little photo shoot and just miss Bob cleaning it and 15 year old Wyatt Bolton using the right technique getting up to the “1 Boards” which clearly made his day.

The last group arrive and Al tries riding it up and of course loops it as expected. Rich is looking pretty tired and goes for a 3 on a straight up line. Well at least it was over quickly.

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Photographer ready at the 2 Boards

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Al tries to ride it trials style

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Too far back ………..

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Fairly predictable!

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Good enough for a 3

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Low and forward and leg it ……. Kirtis on his 3rd clean

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Low and forward ……. nobody said it would look pretty

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……… and it isn’t !! but Jim gets his clean and the only clean loop

1300 and we are done for this year’s event. Final scores are totted up and where there was competition Bob has put in his third 9 point loop to take Hist Int.  Jim has turned in the ONLY clean loop of the two days with a brilliant ride in Mod Sup Int and Kirtis dropped a 3 and a 2, maybe trying too hard, to finish 4 points behind Jim.

In Hist Nov both Daniel and Clinton have dropped 41 so now we are into the tie break and they both have 13 cleans! Well we could have a ride off but we are not going to so as President and Trialsmaster I decide to give them JOINT 1st PLACE and JOINT CHAMPIONSHIP points.

Well that wraps up Dolores and I don’t just mean for this year! No I’m NOT prepared to spend TWO MONTHS of my summer humping up mountains in cougar country, cutting through brush trying to find safe and challenging sections only to be shouted at, berated and told I don’t know what I’m doing. ITSA MWVTA needs a NEW Trialsmaster and venue and right now a NEW  President. Maybe, just maybe,  ONE thank you would have eased the pain and the only touching jesture was Walt Buckholts and his wife turning up last night with all the section markings and tape from Sunday’s event. Thanks Walt and Peggy.

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEE HOW THEY RUN

 

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DAY 1

With carding in progress time for the camera to capture the Trialsmaster’s  dream and see if all the hours of walking, cutting brush and felling trees has been worthwhile.

The route marking that I laid out last Sunday all along Merrit Way was kindly removed by some soul so that needs to be refreshed this morning before setting the last two sections under the bridge. All the others are done.

We start at Section 1 on the upper cliffs having come down the new and improved trail that I started cutting at the beginning of June. This is “See Forever” and runs in the reverse direction from last year.

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Saturday 1, a gentle run on the upper cliffs, and what a view! This gentlemen, .. is “See Forever”

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A good starter section for all 4 classes

Short ride around the NEW loop on the upper cliffs and we arrive at section 2 where I encountered the partially eaten predator. Also the section where I burnt out my new chain on the saw after cutting through a sandstone rock!

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Section 2, “What does the Fox say” ? Downhill start into left hander, 3’s and 4’s easy run out while 1’s and 2’s tackle the hill before right downhill to exit

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Could see clean cards ruined here!

The all new trail, that took a long time to cut, eventually brings us around the cliff edge to Section 3 which I put in during the last weeks as my previous effort had an exit that I felt could have caused some potential accidents. From the start cards you can see the enormous pile of fir tree cuttings that I removed and covered myself in resin.

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Section 3, “Lotta Sap” with the big pile of fir branches

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Left hander uphill, 1’s around top marker, 2’s through the firs and 3’s and 4’s may get a surprise on the lower rocks!

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Doesn’t look to bad from this view

Section 4 was designed as a bit of a confidence builder but has a lot of potential for future years ….. this is “4 in a Row”

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Everybody up the hill and single right turn around your card and out to the exit ….. should be the Saturday “gimmee”

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….good for the soul, “4 in a Row”

A gentle wander downhill on the second tier cliffs brings us to our next new section “Good Luck”, its a bit loose but should bed in but expect a few silly dabs on this one.

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Section 5, “Good Luck” even has the route markers on the map

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Should bed in nicely

A lot of loop changes to get a reasonable line up for section 6 and everybody could be burning rubber shifting loose rocks to get to the entry…… one of the problems of being a one man band and having to walk everywhere!

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Section 6, “Steps” which we used last year coming in from the top but today the run in could be harder than the section. The 1’s might not like this one.

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The staircase of steps for you Experts !

Another NEW section just above last year’s bunch of logs called “Rolling Stones” ….. not too complicated but might take a dab or two.

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Saturday “Rolling Stones” …. guess what will happen here

From 7 back to the way out section under the power lines that we rode last year. Everybody, including the Beginners got up it in that horrendous thunderstorm.

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Start of 8, “Power Line” the last in this group so back down to the start area and the river.

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The top end of 8….. read the markers!

Two way traffic on the trail out to the mesa then back down the track to last year’s Cat Face, well they do have 9 lives, so its in again and a great confidence section for the 4 liners.

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Coming down the hill Saturday 9, “Cat Face”

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Splits everywhere, make sure you are going the right way

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This is the CAT FACE

Back down Merrit Way and, providing the nice people have left our route marking, there will be a switchback to the right to lead us down to the river. 3 sections in this group including my favorite “Enchanted Garden” and the DOUBLE section of Griswold 1 & 2

These look good as no more thunderstorms are forecast so the river level should be great for the section.

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Peaceful setting at the start of the double section “Griswold 1 & 2”

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River levels looking good.

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The turn back to dry land

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The changeover point to Gris 2

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Exit from the “Griswolds”

Through the strimmed long grass area and arrive at the start boards for 12

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I really like the start of this section, its Saturday 12, and my fave “Enchanted Garden” ….. this year a little twist for the 1 liners

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What a nasty Trialsmaster!

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Through the trees

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Exit of 12

With these 3 done back down to the bridge (13) which I will lay out this morning and then  Alcatraz (14 ) …….. they will be something similar to last year.

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Yes, its me with a clean under the bridge last year

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Kirtis in full cry up the Black Rock in 2013

Last one is right beside the Rock and is ready to roll, although I can’t see this log rolling anywhere!

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Entry off the road, but its Escalante Days and anything goes

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Interesting !

Well there you have it the first 15 sections from one man and his bucket of stakes, novel start boards, ribbons and cards. Hope you enjoyed it and if you didn’t come put it on your “to do” list for next year.

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY WORLD OF GURUS

 

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Sipapu and OK on the flat, but way down on power on the hills

Readers may remember that a few months ago the 2014 plan was to push the No Excuse Cub through all the MWVTA ITSA events and see if all the frame and other mods had been successful.

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Need to test all the mods for 2014

Rounds 1 & 2 didn’t get ridden as I was sidelined driving the school bus to Denver but we did get to ride at Sipapu NM where this current saga really begins. Sipapu is up there in altitude and it was also pretty warm and the faithful Del Orto didn’t enjoy either! The carb which was set up by Martyn Adams had performed flawlessly at all previous altitudes since fitting in 2007. It seemed perfectly happy from sea level up to 7000′ without any need for rejetting and only once felt down on power at Turkey Rock when the temp was in the 90’s …….. but all the other Cubs were having the same issues.

New jets were immediately ordered and fitted and then my Master Guru suggested I should consider upping the compression by changing over to a domed 9:1 Hepolite piston. Of course normal trials compression was always 7:1 but Ray said this was a noticeable increase in WOOF! He had some pistons and some spare barrels in his vast stock and would rebore one and send same. He also suggested I send my head over and he would vapor blast it on his new machine and maybe put some new valve springs in.

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Off with its Head !

Head leaves, time goes by, and the problems start! Under normal circumstances this would have been back by the end of June in time to rebuild for Turkey Rock (mid July). At this stage the Safari is also causing mega grief with its generator. Finally the generator gets fixed but only on the day that we would be leaving for TR and with the Cub still not complete the whole mission gets the big CNX.

The planned piston fails inspection so another has to be sourced and the rebore now goes ahead. Meanwhile the head is stripped and goes through vapor blasting.

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Through the blaster

Seems the valve guides are not good so the head gets a complete makeover and is now in intensive care.  NEW just about everything later its ready to leave and arrives in Dolores on Saturday last.

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Head reworked and rebuilt

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Piston and friends at the ready

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ALL together and ready for homecoming

Despite my searches of the box the vital gaskets are not there and so the build is stalled once more!! They are now coming from both sides of the country in the hope that just maybe I can get her ready for the event.

Looking at “No Excuses” I see the tire has crept a little and on further inspection I also notice it  needs to be turned as the leading edge has gone. Might as well do the job properly.

First set of gaskets arrived yesterday but I was in the middle of other tasks so it joins the to do list. The lawn has now moved up the priority scale and is Thursday’s No1 and then the Cub leaps in at No 2  with Safari axle bolts at No 3 which are scheduled for 3 pm after which I can complete the fresh water tank cleaning that was started yesterday. Cloroxing 100 gals then draining and refilling once more, tedious task but has to be done.

Lawn gets done, back wheel out and tire off and the rim locks or security bolts have shed their rubbers ! Something else to do but this is trials so what did you expect?

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New ones or repair these ?

Time for the bus barn and those grade 8 axle bolts via Jack my No1 mechanic. The road into town is being  repaved so try and set off nice and early but the bloody steps refuse to come up. At the Barn it seems the step motor is toast so we disconnect it and wire them up. The NEW bolts go in and I’m home again some time after 1730. A beer is required while security bolts are cleaned and re-glued.

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New bolts fitted after the “steps” fiasco !

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Glued ready for Friday fitting

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Refitted after the turn

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Man’s gotta have an edge!

A quick look at the new gaskets and I’m doing a double take!! the top push rod tube gasket has a cut in it !! how can this be? Is the World determined that I shall never ride this Cub again?

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That green one looks an odd shape?

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A great start!!

Friday morning and a call to the East Coast and they will send more but the show moves on and the tire is turned, back on, and pumped up.

Saturday and the CA gasket delivery finally arrives and having been sent EXPRESS Priority mail it takes 4 days instead of the 3 or even 2 for a letter! We can rebuild her, if I can find the time amid the last few days of getting this trial finished.

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Priority EXPRESS, takes longer than a standard letter

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I think I have enough NOW

The rebuild begins! The gaskets are rubberized and dried, the piston goes on and the circlips are fitted. So far so good, but first attempt to get the barrel on defies all logic. Dismal failure and with failing eyesight and no nails the project is abandoned for the day.

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I give up! you win………

Will give this another mind bending go in the morning as it was exceedingly frustrating ….. you know what to do but just can’t make it happen…… a problem exacerbated by pudgy trials lumberjack fingers and NO nails! …… and old eyes to boot.

Had this been a Yam the whole job would have been 5 mins tops but, it isn’t, and now calls for some serious thinking. Because the barrel is a complete circle there is nowhere to squeeze the rings and trying to stabilize the piston as you lower the barrel down the 4 studs while trying the squeeze the rings is more than I can do……… thinks bubble? “where is the old barrel and piston?” Barrel located, upside down on the bench and after 5 mins the piston disappears like a rabbit down it’s hole. Now all that remains is to lower the pot/jug and piston down the studs and then slide the gudgeon pin in and fit the circlip.

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Cat skinning begins! This should work, 1st test of the “old”

At least using this method I should be able to guarantee that the rings will have the desired 120 offset. More Guru tricks and know how as I’m told the rings are marked top on one side…… never knew that, and they are slightly tapered. Fit them upside down and it will smoke like a WWII destroyer on escort duties.

Wednesday morning, all’s quiet, time to sneak into the workshop and try the theory with the new one. Good theory! Barrel and piston now on with very little effort …… happy chappie!

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All connected using “my” technique

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I think I have run out of time (AGAIN) but it should be to done for Casper

TONY DOWN

CARDING

 

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Saturday Section 1 “See Forever” all carded up and ready to go

Into the last few days and perhaps the best part of the Trialsmaster’s duties. With sections all taped, route marking in place, the last task of putting in the split cards and determining how hard or easy the section will be. In some cases 6″ one way or the other can produce very different results and scores. Well this year we are going down the slightly easier option as the sections are new, unridden, and have enough hazards with loose dirt and rolling rocks without calling for ridiculous tight turns and impossible steps.

There are a “few” to separate the men from the boys and it will be interesting to review 3rd loop scores when the sections bed in.

Once again 2 FULL months of my life have been expended on these hillsides and canyons for your pleasure. A lot of skin and blood has been lost in the making of this epic, and nearly an eye, and even more beer has been consumed in the rehydration and thinking phase. Bloody hard work but a lot of fun ……. and in theory as I cut and widen more and more trails it opens up extra terrain for the future.

Time to tape up the last 8 and get on top of the game. Generally successful weekend with 12 of the 15 Saturday sections taped up and ready for carding this week. Time to revamp those start boards and get all my boxes of vampire stakes out for the splits, although Sunday already has a no split section and of course the graded hill which is already complete.

The local paper reporter came and went and the article was published last Thursday…….. and despite sending some photos of last year’s event the paper reproduced yet another picture of Pete Slothower from last year’s copy. Hopefully we will get the Cortez paper to run it this week with our other desired pics.

Also on the media front Durango wants to do a TV bit for their local news on Thursday and wants some riders ????  Difficult to get a producer to understand that the event is not until Sat/Sun and we don’t allow practicing on the course ….. but I suppose I can get Kirtis to ride a few “in” as its the only event of the year that he rides.

Dismal day with rain this morning and 60% rain forecast. Doesn’t happen but it could at any moment. Press on with name boards and by close of play all 27 boards are done and ready to grace the hillsides tomorrow and Wednesday.

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Saturday name boards ready to load up

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……. and Sunday’s too

A real boomer at 1 a.m. and torrential rain for a short while but its blue skies again and drying up nicely. Forecast for the rest of the week looks good at the moment. Today and tomorrow are full action days for me with the split cards and boards, but no lopping of branches, felling of trees,  or clipping of bushes. …….. and of course I still need to get the Cub back together. Superglitz is looking like getting another outing despite my wishes to ride Triumph’s finest.

All loaded up and the first 3 river sections get all the cards done! Well only 24 left to go….. lets see what the afternoon brings, it could rain again,  but I don’t want all those cards ruined. Need to get this ALL finished by 1400 Thursday as the TV people are coming for interviews and some filming.

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Loaded and ready for the off

Over to LCC and Spuds 1 & 2 completed and then into the Creek for sections 1 & 2 and the Croc’s Back. Casey has been cleaning up his land and some areas are looking demi presentable compared to last year. I have an up close and personal look at the terrain humping  too much stuff up the hill at Casey’s Caboose and I might have to rethink a split card for the 3 line. Today the entry wire is down so I can drive down to Bottle House and have easy access to Tin Can Alley and the Grassy Knoll. Time has moved on and its o’beer thirty once more and gone 6 p.m. Well 9 done this afternoon so 12 for the day and 15 left to complete by my deadline of Thursday 1400.

Overall the one man band is doing pretty well but the hard work of carrying all the stuff into the cliffs will test my endurance and energy. I’m thinking 2 sessions with 5 in the morning then 4 more for the afternoon and then quickly back to LCC for Barney’s, Musketeers and Poke in the Eye. If the plan comes together then the last 3 Saturday sections under the bridge for Thursday morning.

A HOT day ! but work continued humping buckets of stakes and boards into the cliff sections and all 8 of the far away places are now done. It was 1730 when I finally walked out of the jungle.

Most annoying thing was that after loop marking Merrit Way on Sunday with red/yellow two way tape some well meaning person has removed every last piece of it for me!!!

Today back up to Cat Face and then finish the last three at LCC which is Barney’s, Musketeers and Poke in the Eye. With those done it will be time to smarten up the act and get Superglitz on the rack in case these TV people want to see a demo from the birthday boy….. its that time again as the old get older and 68 goes in the book.

TONY DOWN

 

 

THE LAST WEEK

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The Stage is set!

Friday and the clock has clicked over into August and the one man band tries to assess what’s left on the agenda and what must be completed on a daily basis.

A Cub to build, need to get the Cadi power steering leak sorted, and a few other things…….. Oh yes, a 2 Day Trial to finish! All this needs to be balanced with the ever changing weather forecast and the 50% chances of heavy rains, flash flooding, mud slides and in met office terms the plague of frogs. They certainly cover all their bases but so far the Gods seem to have been on my side.

The Day 2 portion of the event has the loop in place and all 12 sections taped and cleaned. Just Start and Ends cards and all the split markers to go in.

Today I must switch back to Saturday’s event and start taping sections. 15 sections for Day 1, two need final cleaning, and one that I spent about 4 hours on gets the heave-ho. So it will be back up that cliff for the first 9 as the last 6 are nominated spectator sections all down along the river.

Back up to the mesa then and widen the track once more adding yellow to the red to indicate the 2 way section. Start at “See Forever” which is running in reverse to last year. All taped and lines are in the mind’s eye.

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Over to section 2 which is “What does the Fox say?” and the reason for the naming was that when I first discovered it there was a dead Fox there which had been partially consumed but the head and tail were still intact. Sort of uneasy feeling when you are at the top of a cliff in thick jungle knowing that another predator has killed and eaten a lower predator on the food chain. Nice section that took an age to cut out with the chainsaw but now that’s taped and ready to go.

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Round my freshly cut loop descending to the next cliff level and then I see what will be the replacement section! A whole bunch of firs need extensive trimming and a lot of branch removal but it will be good, very good!  I have branches everywhere and start a huge pile and sit down on a stump to think what to call it. Its one of those sappy pines that every time you cut a branch it oozes resin……. the mind remembers the Christmas Vacation scene with the Griswolds  finding their Christmas tree and bringing it home.  Then going to bed with Clarke getting stuck to the magazine and then the bedside light and then Ellen’s hair………the section is called “Lotta Sap”

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With hands full of resin sap every page gets stuck and ripped out

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Now stuck to Ellen’s hair and the bedside light

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Section 3  “Lotta Sap”

 

Section 4, called “Four in a Row” gets taped and then the storm rolls in and that knocks Friday on the head so 4 done and 11 to go.

Saturday and Kirtis says he will join me with his Gas Gas. Back to section 4 and now need to rework the loop having dropped Canyon from the running order. That takes nearly one hour and at last I have a way in to 5, “Good Luck”. Seems I didn’t do much clearing here! … so another hour clipping and tossing dead trees around before taping up and rejoining the trail.

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Section 5, “Good Luck” I think the lines are fairly obvious

3 more sections to complete but the loop needs to be more user friendly so yet more clearing of debris and we have a run in to section 6 “The Steps”.  It gets taped and now time has slipped to 1500 and progress is slow.

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Section 6, “The Steps”

No sign of storms so I’ll press on with a new section “Rolling Stones”. This one was supposed to be easy but my “low energy” caption has come on, dry mouth is setting in and the cold frostie beer o’meter is showing in the red zone. Time to get off this hill for another day and wrap these last three up on Sunday morning.

Sunday off back up the hill and up goes the two way route marking all down Merrit Way from the Bridge up to the Mesa. The walk in is shorter as sections 7 & 8 are the closest. A few more branches come off and the tapes get put on. “Rolling Stones” is finished !

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Last one in the group is “Power Line” which is quite simple and we used it last year. So that completes 8 of the Saturday 15.

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Kirtis is out on the Mesa so now its back down to Cat Face which needs all the grass cleaned out and the last action for the strimmer. Tapes are in so Section 9 is done and now its off the hill and down to the river.

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Section 9, “Cat Face”

From 9 I can see the house so give Brenda a call and she comes outside and after some directions she can see me up on the ridge.

Now its time for Griswold 1 & 2 and Enchanted Garden which if I can complete today will only leave the last three up by the bridge on town land. These were extensively cleaned and weeded including the linking trail through knee high grass so this should be easy to lay out. The water levels are acceptable in the Griswolds which are continuous subs and Kirtis tries his luck through the water part. The Gas Gas makes little of it, though it is a bit slippery, but the rear tire looks soft and is running on 2 lbs!

For those wondering why this group is called Griswolds when I first walked it 2 months ago there was this gorgeous little Christmas Tree slap dab in the middle of the changeover point between the two subs. Clearly it would have been destroyed by bikes and tires so it was rescued and has been living happily in my front conifer bed ever since. These two get the Red and Blue treatment and its off to one of my favorite sections “Enchanted Garden”.

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Griswold 1 by the river or Section 10

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Griswold 2 start board just where the tree was, Section 11

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 The “real thing” now living at Cozy Comfort

Over to Enchanted Garden at the start over the big rock with a kicker for the 1’s going over an extra log, wander through the shady trees and roar up on the bank, dropping down again for the compressions in the grass, then a simpler exit to get back up the bank that got pretty muddy last year.

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Section 12, “Enchanted Garden”

So well pleased with today’s progress o’beer thirty is declared and its time for home!

A few beers later the Cadi is emptied of Gatorade bottles and various tools which I’m done with for another year. Now time to turn my attention to the start boards……..

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Time to revamp for 2014

TONY DOWN