THE SEASON AHEAD


dsc00324a

First time out at San Ysidro on Superglitz

Time to review the upcoming rounds of Mountain West and what and where I will be going this year. Since we left San Ysidro in the rain the weather has been just that with rain nearly every day for the past 3 weeks. 4 more working School Days then 2 + months of paid time off to attend to gardening and many personal projects.

Just been asked by the Town about the Escalante 2 Day and told them NOT this year! After last year’s debacle physical laying out of trials is a thing of the past. So this year the 2 months spent cutting the loop and sections will be spent on other things and maybe a little fishing and other pleasurable activities, although Casey did tell me he has cut some trails to join one side of the property to the other and wanted me to join him for a runaround which I might well do. You might remember that last year I could not get a soul to help even with a demo for the TV people!! …….. and then NOTHING but complaints as they couldn’t clean everything on the first loop.

Today it has rained solidly for 12 hours and its been cold and bloody miserable all day but we did have our mason back in fitting some very nice stone trim pieces in the main lounge/stairway area and in the bathroom just to pull everything together. My plan had been for some spannering in the workshop but it can wait a day.

Plan for the Season, at the moment, looks like this:

CASPER                               20/21 June

DSC0696

Without doubt my favorite venue

thumbs_DSC09329

Last year on “No Excuses” with the oil leaks

SIPAPU                                18/19 July

IMG_8771

Never had my best rides here! Some memorable crashes though!!

IMG_8703

Try again this year

TURKEY ROCK               19/20 September

thumbsdsc0027

Not much of a trials year by previous standards but it may re-fire the confidence to do a bit more next year if my shoulder plays ball. A far cry from 10 years ago when it was 10 events in AZ with CAT and another 12-16 with AHRMA and the Rocky Mountain Group.

 

TONY DOWN

FREEDOM !

IMG_0487

School bus driving came to an end yesterday so now 2 months plus of freedom to do personal things without getting up in the middle of the night to go to work! There will of course be a LOT of sleeping as it always takes it’s toll as the end comes into sight and fatigue sets in.

DSC0373

IMG_2866

None of this and countless hours of cutting and laying out

Without the cutting and route finding tasks of the last 2 years for the Escalante 2 Day Trial I will have a lot more opportunities to complete projects that have always ended up on the back burner. Routine maintenance is first with the weeding saga and getting the remaining beds up and ready for June planting. After that the “waterfalls” need my attention and a liner will be needed for the lower return pool which was losing water last year. The ambitious raised veggie garden has a better than even chance of getting done this summer, a lot of work, but fresh salad veg will be mine!

Day 1 of the long holiday starts and everything is wet and soggy from last night’s storm. Puddles everywhere and that dampness hanging in the air. Forecast is yet another week of this and despite all the local pundits desires for more rain I’m getting a bit tired of it!

Car decluttered after all the bus bits have been removed now time to get in that workshop and get some bike work completed. I had a quick look at “No Excuses” footrests to see if I could fit a set of the Apico ones I like that now adorn Superglitz but the shank length is longer on the Cub ones and of course Ray fabricated the hangers for the pegs I sent him. I suppose I could alter them ……. a bit more thought required on this one?

IMG_2768

What I wanted for the Cub but the hanger would need some serious modification

Time for the gaskets and a comparison shows just how much thicker the new ones are. I can only assume the “finned” covers are slightly shallower than the originals hence the need for a thicker set.

???????????????????????????????

A LOT thicker!

???????????????????????????????

Fitted at last

All fitted, lets hope no more “ticking” on start up.

Fit the redesigned tank now without the crossflow tube so the Cub is ready for action again.

???????????????????????????????

NO Cross-flow

Moving on to the strimmer the line is replaced with Stihl’s finest and strimming begins clearing the front area (man the grass is growing like crazy with all this rain) and as I reach about the 10% mark the rain starts again! ……. followed but thunder and lightning and goes on all bloody afternoon forcing me inside yet again.

That was Friday and it has rained ever since and today, Sunday, it was another very wet start to the day and no chance of gardening at all so we tried the “Wild Asparagus Hunting”……. it grows wild in this part of Colorado, or so they say, BUT nobody will EVER tell you where it is ? We went on a wild goosechase a couple of years ago following some sage’s advice but never found any!

Today we meet up with Andy who works with Brenda and who we also gave the old couch to a few weeks back. He says he knows where it can be found …… and lo’ we actually find some and now know what we are looking for!

???????????????????????????????

Suitably prepared it will be tonight’s veg with the pork chops.

???????????????????????????????

Yumee

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

REPEAT OR RETREAT ?

With a good ride yesterday and a zero card I was all set for a repeat outing  and another fun day’s riding ……… however, as the alcoholic mist dissipates another mist is hanging in the air and its raining, been raining, and going to rain some more, and a lot more!

So here we are in the start area and the only way out is back uphill in the sand. How will this sand behave?  Better ask the locals ….. answers range from “No problem” to “need to wait until it dries out” and now I’m seeing several people loading bikes and getting ready to go. Decision is to leave as the last thing I want is to be stuck with 20 tons of RV in a gooey sand pit.

Of course as an Englishman trials riding in the wet is pretty normal and on a personal front the worse the conditions the better my results have always been but today common sense says get the hell out of Dodge or San Ysidro!

All packed up, the route out walked, time to get moving before others try and fail blocking us all in. Easy with a 4 x 4 and lightweight trailer but a 40′ RV and trailer is a different matter. Being first out the wet grass binds with the sand and we have forward and upward movement for the hill which I’m sure will get quite nasty. Over the summit and all is well. It rains ALL THE WAY HOME !!

Interestingly as we pass through some of the New Mexico oilfield areas there are all the oil and gas tankers with CHAINS fitted so I’m fairly pleased we made the right decision.

No events in May and I’ll be missing the next rounds as Brenda will be away on her annual family visit back east while I’m weeding post school finishing. Next event will be the end of June and my personal favorite at Casper.

Home again and time to review what  “No Excuses” needs to make me happy. Clearly the knocking tappet noise has to go and trolling through Ebay , lo, here is a set of double thickness gaskets specially for the finned rocker covers!!! This then is not an uncommon fault so a pair are duly ordered and arrive from the UK yesterday.

???????????????????????????????

Double thickness gasket for finned covers

$_57

The other fault which was bugging me was a design problem on the fuel tank where we fitted a crossflow system as the tank was so narrow.  With the bungs fitted I proved the flow can be achieved by “splash” so the tank was taken to my local excellent alloy welder and he removed the system and welded the holes for the princely sum of $25.00

$_57a

???????????????????????????????

Not quite enough room

???????????????????????????????

Crossfeeds removed

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAN YSIDRO TESTING

With Friday as a day off the intention is to be away by 1200 and loading begins early morning. A bit more coolant, top up the oil in the main motor and a bit in the generator but my compressor won’t handle the 11R x 22.5’s so a quick call to Jack at the Bus Barn to borrow their airline.

Drop Brenda at Walmart for last minute essentials and air up the tires in no time until a nasty little valve core jams on me with a bit of corrosion on the brass portion. New core fitted and the mission is underway at 1300.

Pleasant drive, no rush, smooth roads for once and arrive at 1700 and then the DRIVE IN !!! bumpy would not do it justice, but a very big turn out for the season opener. Good to see Ed & Evelyn out and Ed planning to ride.

My shoulder is still causing me considerable pain and of course I’m still sorting issues with “No Excuses” with oil and fuel leaks and the “ticking” noise from that forward tappet cover, despite having fitted yet another new one. I’ll be riding Pre Historic Int until confidence in both rider and machine is restored.

Standard story evening chez Ed’s with drinks and nibbles.

Saturday morning and a very pleasant day ….. warm, little or no wind and no time limit from the 1100 start time. My group is old friend Jim Crain from Santa Fe on his Cub, Pete Slothower,  Mike Becker on his Honda and a lady rider on a modern Gas Gas.

3 loops of 10 sections and we elect to start at 1. Variation on a theme from my last visit with a small step after an initial 90 turn from the tape on solid bedrock. Our line traverses the bedrock for a right hand descending turn in the crumbling rock to the exit. No mistakes and on to 2.

Another variation from my previous visit …… initial down hill on bedrock and sand then left turn to line up on a double step and then a right left downhill to the exit. Clean here and off to 3.

A run through some big rocks on solid bedrock, a jink right and left  through some loose stuff by the prickly bush and out over another good sized rock to the exit. No points lost but my “standard” loss of skin on left forearm thanks to the bush!

Section 4 is the last in this group and after a tricky uphill slotted line stay on the red tape and watch for potential rollers on the way to the exit. Another simple clean and now a ride through a load of wash sand to find 5. This would actually have made a great section!…. but I always think deep wash sand is fun.

Arriving at 5 looking for a parking slot I can see fuel dripping off the crossfeed bung so a bit of forcing to push the bung on further. It still touches the oil line so this needs to be sorted when I get home. Good news the oil leak fix appears to have worked.

Section 5, itself, has a natural flow up a canyon mainly on the bed rock with wash sand on the corners. The real bite is the last turn around a medium sized rock to line up for a step before the exit. My line is good and No Excuses pops up the step in good order for the clean. Others are not quite so fortunate and a mixed bag of results shows it wasn’t that easy.

Pleasant uphill ride along a rock strewn trail we arrive at 6 and our line looks fairly virginal. Dropping in over a rock ledge into a wide right turn to a choice of all the way down the hill before picking up a wildlife trail, or cross hill on the unused adverse and join the trail 3/4 way up before entering another right left sequence to the end gate. The group all opt for the mid line. The plan works well and another easy clean.

7 is a very simple section so just follow the path over bedrock with loose stones and small bits of rock.

Very close by is 8 which has a bit more meat to it and the planners have elected to place the start cards a little in from what could have been an awkward step entry. This is one of those “datums” sections where you need to mentally have markers as each unseen hazard comes into view. So from the start, off idle uphill to cross large rock on the right edge which drops you down by the blue tape and now take on a large rock midway rather than try the wiggle between it and another which could grab a fork leg or footrest. Plan works fine so back on the trail for the last 2.

Catch up with the “Masters” at 9 and watch some spectacular riding most impressive! Certainly Mountain West has encouraged some much more difficult sections and quite amazing to see old bikes taking on these challenges and proving it CAN be done.  Our line is more reasonable and requires precision placing of the wheels to get the easiest route through the hazards. Nice confident ride for clean number 9.

Enjoyable bit of trail riding to 10 which is a series of turns on bed rock before all routes come together for the final turn and hazard. I like this last part with a right hand turn in sand into a tight left through a big rock on the right and a footrest grabber on the left. Any error here and marks will be lost ! Small “clang” on the left but boot still firmly planted and a clean loop is in the books.

???????????????????????????????

Ed on 10, and he completed all 3 loops!   Progress!!

Refuel, new cards and out for loop 2. Being mainly bed rock don’t see too many changes so just a quick inspection for anything that’s been rotovated or moved. Same results in the first group of 4 and more skin lost in the bush on 3. Section 5 still causing problems for some but no problems. At 6 the mid hill line has now bedded in and is clearly defined. Cleans here and at 7 and another quick look at 8 where the line is fairly critical. As expected no changes and another on line clean. No problems with 9 and another satisfying run through 10. Two clean loops in the book so out for round 3.

???????????????????????????????

Pete riding well on 10

First 4 all as before but a wider line past “that” bush in 3 and retain the skin this time. 5, 6, 7, and 8 all ride as before so just those last 2 to do. Clean again on 9 and only 10 left. As we arrive other groups are finishing off and some of the results are disastrous with 5’s and 3’s and even Chris Adams takes a dab as he grounds out on a big rock and gives Dan Straka the Clubman win by 1 point. New Sec Daniel has been fighting hard with Bob Strohman who is on 20 with Daniel on 19. Dan’s ride looks to be going well but the wheel hits the big rock on the last hazard and jackknifes him over the bars giving Bob the win!

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

Steady clean from Bob moments ahead of Dan’s crash

Jim and I both clean 10 and I finish the day on a zero card with Jim on 3.

I have the camera in the fanny pack and manage to take a few shots to round out the day

???????????????????????????????

Mike Becker on the last hazard of 10

???????????????????????????????

A lifted “non touching” foot from Pete

???????????????????????????????

A silly dab from Chris Adams gives Dan the Clubman win

 

TONY DOWN