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