DAY TWO AT SIPAPU

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Having completed the first day here, without crashing, hurting myself or wrecking the bike I’m ready to do it again. The now permanent open fuel cock didn’t cause any problems and the weld, although not the prettiest, seems to be holding. Checks done, start up ……. and lo, a fine mist of fuel is now coming out of the left side seam on the tank!

By the time we  get to our 1st section fuel is dribbling down the underside of the tank and dripping on the top of the engine ……. not good. A spectator offers to go back to the start for me and returns with a roll of tape while I walk the section and then ride it. Another gentle opener to the day on 9 section all on the left of the loop. This one is a simple in and looping uphill ride in the trees with multiple exit lines from the top of the hill. Clean this without catching fire and on to the next.

The tape is applied to anything it will stick on going around the underside of the tank and after about 1/2 a roll we have the leak stopped, well not dripping anyway! It might not look pretty but it should last the day.

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Not pretty!

From the walk to the post taping ride I’d clearly forgotten where I was planning on going and in the rush turned back through the trees at a lower point than I had intended and was forced to take a dab to get back on the correct line!

Section 3 has a little more meat on it  coming over a gentle blind bump before a tight left into downhill in a mixture of roots, rocks and leaf mold. Several lines to cross the hill to a uphill step between the trees and then idle along path to the exit. It rides better than it looks for clean number two.

At 4 Ed and Mike are not happy about the start which I agree seems harder than the 2 line but it looks pretty doable to me. Drop off a ledge into a natural ditch come wash then up and over some branches, rocks and roots in the damp leaf mold and woodland ground cover …… on and upward with changing adverses  as the line comes up the hill and crosses over a ridge line and then slowly flattens out before coming back to the sunshine and ends cards. They don’t fare too well with this one but the Cub climbs it well for a single dab. This one has memories from my youth! I like it.

Meet up with two other groups at Section 5 which is today’s high point on the loop just along from where a new ski run is being laid out for next season. Another drop in section to a left turn then line dependent routes all coming back for a one line for everybody exit which is a difficult jink between footrest wide chunks of solid bedrock. Get on the line and a clean can be yours, miss it by a couple of inches and the score can be 1,2,3, or 5! The only two riders I see making this last bit are Dan Straka and Bob Strohman while the rest struggle and clang and bash their way through or get stopped dead.

A solid rock on the lead up to the jink is not as solid as I thought and costs me a dab on the line up but I glide through the gap without touching a thing.

We miss 6 which is Masters only, and follow the descending loop to 7 which is a flat route through the trees over logs with a few turns before coming back to the exit hazard of solid rock and tree which requires the upper body handlebar flick to get past.

8 has to be the “gimmee” of the day and is the same for the 2 line with a straight forward up the hill round the corner and back down affair.

Two sections to complete the loop. 9 is a blast into the gloom in the trees straight uphill into a quick right hander then some downhill braking on the steepish hill to the exit.

Little sting in the tail for 10 back at the resort. Enter into immediate full right 90 turn over an up/down turn area in the rockery picking up a full  180 left around a fallen log. Staying just above the water over some, as yet, dry roots then stay on the narrow track to a 90 left uphill to the exit.

Total for loop 1 just 3 single dabs so a clean loop is quite possible with a little more thought and care. It seems the rest of the party don’t want any more today. John didn’t start, Bill has had enough and Ed is very tired, but Mike Becker wants to beat Ed for the win. Decision  is finally made and we set off again.

Clean on 2 this time, helps to go the right way! …… and a hard working but satisfying clean up the long climb of 4. pinch my toe in the exit of 5 for a dab and then clean the rest for a 1 point loop.

Ed and Mike decide they have had enough with 7 and 17 respectively for this loop so time to load up and go before I catch on fire.

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Next event is now Tucker’s Ranch in September so its back to gardening.

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

…. T,B, C …….

1650 Thursday night I arrived at the welders and much pleading my man says he will fix it. Back home and finish loading.

Friday morning and I get the tank back but he tells me both seams need a bead as they are wafer thin. Pressure tested and no leaks so home and on with the show leaving about 1 hour later than planned.

Looks like a good crowd with some extra faces as this is our “National”. Happy to be here so I’ll leave fitting the tank until tomorrow as its o’beer thirty and it was a long slow drive.

Morning, and the generator is reluctant to start, must be the altitude but eventually it fires up and the coffee is in hand. Bike is soon back together and after a great breakfast time for the rider’s meet and get out for some fun.

My group is Ed, Mike Becker, John Holbrook and a lady rider on a new Beta. 10  sections but we don’t ride 5 which is Experts and Masters only. We decide to avoid the queues and start at 10 which is up by the Ski Lodge. No Excuses is banging about and won’t run cleanly and I’m none too impressed. Back to the Safari and suspecting a blocked pilot the carb is almost removed when I notice the choke is ON !!! With the “senior moment” done the carb is replaced and I rejoin the group at section1 with a smooth running Cub.

From the path into the trees for a couple of mini turns descending into a long left hander across the adverse and continuing uphill to the exit. Nice simple clean to start the day.

We are at just over 8000′ and the loop is the same both days taking us up and around the ski slopes topping out at 9500′. All today’s sections will be on the right side of the loop.

Section 2 is pretty easy after dropping in off the main path just follow the uphill meander through the trees to the exit and then enjoy the rocky twist to get back in the sunshine. Had the last bit been put in this would have taken a few marks.

3 should ride well with a slow downhill wander through the trees to a gentle left hander around a fallen tree turning back to parallel the log turning uphill right to cross a pile of logs with one blip and then turn left after the Ends to another fun climb out.

Another drop in for 4, small jink to line up for a climb to turn right 180 at the base of a tree then taking care in the leaf mold adjust right to get around a mid point tree while braking and descending.

5 is the Masters section so we come back to the upper path and swing across the upper ski runs before turning downhill to see what 6 has to offer. Into the trees and right into slight uphill rock pile with moss turning left around another fallen trunk for a series of turns over rock piles. Just be careful rounds those turns and it all goes well.

Down the ski run to Section 7 which I’ve ridden before on previous visits and this one is way above what we have ridden so far. Simple entry but then a very difficult left turn between a big solid rock and close aboard trees on the outside. Get your entry into the turn wrong and you will pay the price! Everybody in my group falters here with 5’s and a 3. Get round that big rock and then right into a tight turn to cross a difficult rock jumble and uphill exit. The Cub sails round for a very pleasing clean.

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Ed in a spot of bother around the big rock

Further down to the ridge above the resort area and Section 8 starts with a log and rock step climbing up to a rocky area for a left turn descending to the exit. No problems here.

Section 9 is a switchback of adverse turns below and above a fallen tree. Its going well but I manage to stall the bike on the 4th turn!!! First marks of the day and very annoying.

Now I need to ride 10 where the others started down by the river. Roots, turns, and rocks amid the trees by the water. Simple section but taking a few marks but a nice clean so finish loop 1 on that awful 5.

We start again at 10 as “Mr Bill” is taking photographs but missed our group. Clean again and the card stays that way until 7 which was the most difficult. More 3’s and 5’s and through again for another great clean. 8 rides well but at Section 9 I’m convinced I can do it but repeat the same stalling trick at the same place as last time? Clearly I don’t have the technique right here!

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Right where I stalled it on the third loop

Out on the last loop and all clean arriving at 7. Round the difficult rock and tree hazard and line up for the exit and stall it in the rock pile!!! Clean on 8, and this time I’ll not be taking a 5!!! Turns into a lot of dabs for a 3. Total for the day 18 and a comforting “best on the line” despite 3 horrid 5’s.

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Very nice trophies for this event and another class win to give 4 in the season. Try for another tomorrow.

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

ANOTHER SIP OF THAT SIPAPU CUP

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Well it has to be said that Sipapu has not been my favorite trials venue for the last 2 years where I’ve had some major machine issues and a few disastrous crashes!

My first visit started well enough but on the second day at Section 1  I stalled the Superglitz on a large rock and the bike started to roll to one side and there was NOWHERE to take a DAB………… 12 feet or so lower down the hill where I landed on my wrist the faithful steed arrived pining me to terra firma.

Two sections later on an adverse bank with a mini log crossing I watched 3 of the leading lights on the 2 or B line all fail. Admittedly we had had a thunderstorm and downpour on the Saturday afternoon and the ground was wet but I was pretty confident I could redeem my earlier error and clean this one. Well, wrong again, and another rolling downhill rag doll lands on the SAME wrist again before crashing headfirst and landing on my back breaking the camera in my bum bag. The next section is the last as by now I can’t steer and can’t operate the front brake.

Second visit, and with everything loaded and ready for departure the bloody generator refuses to start!!! Luckily or otherwise we manage to get a RV site at the venue with full power so no problems in that respect so things are looking up until the following morning when the Cub starts leaking oil and even with that fixed the little beast is off song and way down on power. 1 loop is completed but its not fun so punch through the rest and try and fix the Cub.

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2014 on the “gutless” Cub

Day 2, still very much down on power, just complete 1 loop and then take the Glitz out for a free run at the same sections. Now on a down hill  adverse full lock right turn in leaf mold which I had cleaned twice, the front breaks away and I go over the bars catching my left boot in the new sooper dooper expensive clutch lever and break the perch right off the bars!! THE END!

On the way home the fun just keeps coming on the bumpy NM roads with an almighty BANG as we land after another bounce shearing off TWO axle bolts with the impact.

The Cub is re-jetted, re-bored, hi comp piston, and new valves and with everything else loaded its out for a ride on the Thursday and seems to be good until I notice the bloody fuel tank is leaking in front of the petcock all along the lower seam and dripping fuel on the exhaust pipe! This Sipapu jinx is getting to me!!! Panic sets in and I whip the tank off and rush into town in the hope that “my” welder can help me………

……….. To Be Continued     …….

 

TONY DOWN

CASPER MOUNTAIN WEST DAY 2

Up early and a very warm day in store. Coffee first, generator reluctant to start?   Well, the LP gas is in the red so better get into town and refill as the dogs will be needing AC during the day and for the run home.

Dump the trailer and dash into town and refill then back to the start and get the trailer back on, breakfast and away a little late but as I’m on my own I can ride at my pace.

First section above the start and not much to it on my line just a couple of turns and step and a rock pile at the ends card.

Second section just an exercise in peg weighting with a few turns on the top of the hillside.

Section 3, in and along the bank then right turn down the bank in bumpy long grass then continue the adverse back up turning right for the exit.

Standard loop takes me to a water section for 4 and I get a boot full on the inspection walk! Better order some new boots as the Sidis have had their day. Very simple ride through the river.

No 5 has a bit more to it crossing the river over some wet rocks, tight left turn dropping into muddy ditch and out over some muddy roots.

Out of the loop at the old start area where the mowers are hard at it and it looks and smells great. Up to the rock section for 6 and I’d be pretty annoyed if I lost any here and on to 7 with all the big logs on the far side of the meadow. A meander through the trees, an adverse down and up and more fallen trees.

 

Cross the creek and see section 8 where the old waterfall used to be which was always my favorite Casper section. Downhill start into the river then follow it all the way down, drop off a rock step into tightish left hand on rocks to the exit.

Back on the loop and the pleasant ride over to the woods and mud for 9. Tight left into tight right then into the mud slot and ride around to the exit.

Last section at 10 above the RV at the start on the ripped up pile of gnarly rocks we used yesterday. Uphill start on yesterday’s exit, left turn and pick a line across the bumpy loose adverse and take it all the way to the blue before turning uphill and a snap left for the exit gate.

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Steady run across the hill to the upward turn

Clean loop so off for round 2 which goes the same way and rides well with no surprises. Loop 3 and clean through1-8 and then a very dumb moment in 9 running close to the red and needing a silly dab to stay in bounds! Good ride on 10 to finish for a 1 point day.

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Nice clean on 10 to finish

 

 

TONY DOWN

 

CASPER MOUNTAIN WEST DAY 1

An early start and not that many vintage riders but a good number of modern bikes so the section builders time has not been wasted. We have 11 sections each day and my line does not ride section number 1.

My group is Mike Shay and John Clement so could be a fun day. I ride 2 while I wait for them to come back from 1 which apparently is proving pretty hard for all. For my line its in on one bank, downhill, then turn left to cross the stream, parallel the water into right adverse turn and uphill to the ends cards. Simple clean here and once they are through off to section 3.

Section 3 is a well used favorite down in the bottom creek and over the years I’ve ridden this one from just about every direction. Two fallen trees, today one has been dragged out the way to provide extra hazards for the top riders, the other tree, after  it’s fall has grown up 3 upright branches which are now trees in their own right but still with the main parent trunk as the step. Entry in either direction is through some tight uprights and of course features the handlebar turn to get through! My line goes around the outside of the fallen tree(2) and across a loose dirt adverse or tighter under a low hanging branch. It rides well and another clean in the books.

Section 4 is a new one from last year only today it is basically reversed. Up and through the river and onto the rocky bank, a few turns and down to the water again across the rocks. Quick upward jink and full left turn to the exit. Clean here, and continue down the river to 5 which is an up & down affair with a few more up down turns depending on line …….. quite steep in both directions. My line is basically around the bottom in the mud so I can get some pics while they are at it.

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John on the way back down while Mike checks his line

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Mike on the way up 5

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On we go to 6 up by the old start area which now looks very good with all the new seeded grass and watering facilities. The port-a-loo driver had ripped up some grass and made a real mess so I can quite understand why the owner’s said use the other Pits. Again more or less a reverse of last year coming in by the gnarly tree, crossing the river and then line dependent exit back across the river and a new pile of rocks from the flood.

7 is up on the hillside and I don’t see too many marks being lost here so its back across the lush new meadow to Lego Land for 8 and another chance to get the camera out for a shot of Mike and John.

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Through the Diamond of Lego Land

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Another bouncing clean

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Airborne on the TY Stumpuller

Over the creek and up the hill to another well proven section. Can’t quite see where the Trialsmasters  want my line to go but I take it down the hill and turn at the bottom and come straight back up the bank which is tricky but works.

Up across the field and join the regular loop out to 10. Not much here as long as you keep the speed down and don’t fall off the ledge or tangle with the trees.

Back to the start area and section 11 lurks just up from the RV on a gnarly ledge with loose dirt and rollers with some ugly rocks embedded in the grass. Stick by the blue tape and come up and around the hill with a diagonal crossing of the rocky ledge and then careful adverse descent in loose and rollers. End of loop 1 and a zero score.

Loop 2 and another good ride through 2 and on to 3 and although I’m on the same line I can only imagine I didn’t duck low enough going under the branch around the adverse as suddenly I’m compressed like a spring with the big branch on my shoulders which takes 2 dabs to get free…….. very, very dumb!

The rest of loop 2 goes well until 9  where I decide to re-walk it but can’t find a line I like better than the one I used previously. Turn a little wider at the bottom and hit the step badly for another dab.

At 11 the scene has changed with rocks rotovated in all directions and I elect a faster crossing of the rubble which works well.

Out on the final loop and a few more pictures but need to go a little wider on 3 to avoid that branch but the front starts to slide on the adverse and a simple dab is lost through poor weighting. Another re-walk on 9 and eventually I see it!!  …….. I can turn earlier up on the bank and this makes the section very easy. 11 has got worse but the faster approach holds good for a 1 point loop and a total of 4 for the day.

TONY DOWN

THE TRIFECTA MINUS ONE!

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Off we go!

Thursday and 579 miles to the Mosteller Ranch at Six Hat just to the south of Casper WY for Rounds 5 & 6 of Mountain West’s Vintage Trials. All loaded and ready for departure by 1030. The plan is to add an extra day and night stop at Palisade outside Grand Junction where there is a Distillery, a Brewery and a Wine Tasting store.

Having done this once before its time to relive “The Alcoholic Trifecta” one more time but apply the lessons we learnt from our last visit!     What were those you ask ? ……. the Distillery is good ….. and a tasting here could spoil your judgment on what’s to come. The Brewery also good, including some smoked meats …….. the Wine tasting ……. not so good!! ……… and be CAREFUL where you park the rig as the Toytown railway track will be busy when you least expect it!!!

Arrive around 1500 with temps in the low 90’s and park in the vacant lot as far away from the tracks as possible. Ok, distillery first and the tasting begins.  Not sure about the peach brandy or the pear variety…….. but the Vodka was what we came for and a bottle of their “Agave” which by any other name is of course Tequila .

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Now time for what I came for and their Bloody Marys’ which are one of the best I have ever had……. superb! Wander out into their patio area with growing hops and bump into another School bus driver from Cortez ? Small world! Several Bloody Marys’ later time for the brewery. I pick the perfect pint first time round and a few more later its still a good choice.

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The place is getting pretty full for a Thursday but so are we so time for dog walking and bed. The trains are not too much of a nuisance and we are on the road for Casper by 0830. Uneventful drive up through CO and WY with very few antelope sightings and hit the Casper circular road to the South. Normally we get our weekend’s worth of LP gas at the freeway gas station but today its closed with a power outage! Looks like we will have enough so press on for the last few miles to the start.

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Here we are!

Up the bumpy rough track and follow the markers to the NEW Pits on the other side of the creek about 2 miles closer than the one we have been using for the last 10 years.

TONY DOWN