ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRIALS-COTOPAXI 2007
Well the decision was made back in Jan when AHRMA and the local CAT could not get their act
together, so here we go head first into 3 Championships. This is going to take a lot of driving and
should be a lot of fun providing I don’t take things too seriously.
So with the 2007 Steed of the Tiger Cub we set off for rounds 1 & 2 at Cotopaxi . Steed is now
sporting the B50 forks, Yam front wheel and the Del Orto Carb, only problem seems to be getting
used to slow speed recovery and pull away on the 4 Stroke compared to the “come again” bite of
2 Stroke reed valve Yam. WE PERSIST!
Thursday we are out of the gate on time (we are getting better at this) and off up I17 and onto
I40 at Flag. Arrive at Albuquerque in afternoon rush hour (brilliant) but we are soon through
there and on our way to Trinidad for the first night stop. This leaves a short hop on Friday to the
ranch in Cotopaxi. On the road again after a Walmart stop for eggs and batteries (strange choice
for breakfast?) anyhoo now time to drain the tanks replenish the Starship with water, fuel, and
dilithium crystals. All done, and now the saunter down the Arkansas River watching fly fishers
trying their luck and amazingly we did see one fisherman with dinner in his hands.
Into Cotopaxi and turn over the river and proceed up the hill to the Ranch entrance. Now we try
section 1 and the co-pilot is flipping her lid as the track suddenly becomes tricky! An uphill left on
full lock into a full right which has to be taken right to the edge (a bit like Devil’s Staircase in the
Scottish)… round we go onward and upward. Road narrows but Mr Zulu follows the Captains
commands and we “Make It So!” Only problem comes on the downhill right hander where Starship
Enterprise is 6 feet longer than the curve will allow and so the trailer wheel slips over the edge
and Warp Power is selected to continue the turn dragging the underbelly down the track. Over
the top and here we are in the parking area which is delightful with snow topped mountains all
around. Ed and Evelyn have selected a space for us and we slip into it and the Starship
commences leveling and all is well.
THE VIEW FROM THE START
A little lunch and off to help with the laying out which seems to have been well thought out and
now only requires taping and direction cards. Wow, an awful lot of thought and work! Of course
this simple task is now made increasingly difficult with the arrival of yet more so called helpers
who seem to be spending more time riding the sections than actually doing anything useful apart
from trying to change the sections to suit individuals preferred lines? I’m surprised Ed kept his
cool under some VERY trying circumstances. Amazing how time flies and now with the time change
it’s almost 7 pm.
Start time and quite a good turn out so off we go in small groups for a standard buddy check.
Section 1 has split for 1 & 2 riders up around a path and then down a ledge to a turn. The 2 line is
actually harder! I get through here for a dab but then take another at the exit, no clean card
today. Brenda is competing today but the baby Yam is gutless and just won’t pull if it comes off
the boil. Very upsetting but she struggles on for a few sections before doing the wise thing and
calling it quits.
Section 2 has a tricky turn and then a rock pile to cross before a turning descent to the ends card.
A touch of nerves and 3 single dabs for an unimpressive ride on something I should have cleaned.
We end up at section 5 by mistake but ride it anyway. Now this should have been a gimmee but
for no reason at all I struggle and take a 2! So far my less than stellar performance is becoming
annoying and some one needs a talking to. Eventually find No 3 and this one looks tricky as well
but finally Sage and Steed get the proverbial together for a good and satisfying clean. No 4 has
some twisting uphill turns after a rock step start and I creep through for an unneeded dab, yes
we CAN do this one. 6 is one of those sections that I don’t much care for and another dab is in
the books. 7 & 8 are more to my liking and now things are going a little better and the enjoyment
factor is creeping in. So 9 on the first loop which should have been 3!
Loop 2 and find a better line on Section 1 and sail through for a dab up by the exit. A much more
thoughtful ride on 2 scores a clean and another good clean on 3. Same old dab on Section 4 but
ride 5 the way I should have done the first time. 6 takes the planned dab and clean on 7 and 8.
That’s better 3 dabs for a total of 3. Back at the start I see Mike Bucholtz is through 2 loops on
ZERO! Now that’s some ride!
Loop 3 and I see superstar take a crunching 5 on the opener and then I sail through for a perfect
clean. Well he is human after all and trials is a funny game so never give up. I take a safety dab
on 2 but should have ridden it for the clean. Clean 3 again and at last clean 4 and it feels good.
Please don’t ask what happened on 5 because I might throw up, down the hill squirt across the
rocks and up the hill, a little closer than desired to the tape so close the throttle and then try
again only to get the CHUFF and the motor dies 2 feet from the ends card, man am I sick? Still in
shock the planned dab goes out the window on 6 and an awful 3 dabber is on the card. I should
have been round this loop on 1 but I’m on 9. Mike also had another 5 so his loop was 10.
Was it possible? Maybe, I cleaned everything except 6 so could have been round for 3, but there
again Mike cleaned laps 1 and 2 so could have ended with a Zero.
Day 2 and a whole new set of sections which of course I had seen on Friday when we were
setting up. Again it’s buddy checking which I enjoy as being more sociable it can be a lot of fun
and sometimes a little more lenient on the beginners “good try”. Our group changes as some
people come and go but of the constant trio it’s Hugh, Ed and myself with guest appearance from
others racing on or who have lost their starting group.
Ed on Section 1
Section 1 has its major problem with an adverse turn uphill from soft dirt into a loose rubble mix.
3 good cleans here and Ed does well riding a mix of 2 and 3 lines. Section 2 is a nice
straightforward uphill around the tree and down a gulley to the exit. No problems here and on
to No 3. An uphill turn to the right and along a rock and bush filled track, over a fallen tree and
then turn right to the winding downhill. 3 more cleans, although problems for several riders and
by the second loop the fallen tree had gone?
A Determined Hugh on 4, The Halfpipe
Ready for another 180? Section 4
Over to the half pipe of section 4 and just a series of 180’s, no 360’s, 540’s or backward flips
and 3 more cleans. The contentious Section 5 has had all sorts of changes and much discussion
about the severity of the 1 and 2 lines. 2 different lines on the “2” after the first split, either turn
tight back down the hill for an easier approach to the second hill, or an easier turn at the split
but a tighter turn at the bottom to line up on the uphill. I choose the latter and it works well for
3 more zeros.
Section 6 is the tricky one of the day with a soft sand uphill turn fraught, with problems unless
it’s just right, before the uphill rock infested gulley. Well it catches me once out of three but I’m
well pleased with the other 2 cleans. Section7 has several choices of line and I pick a good one
for 3 more cleans. Over to 8 to complete the first loop and this section has changed from what
I saw yesterday. Now we are up and over a big imbedded rock into a tight right turn, wiggle
through a couple of trees and then turn to a log step and a gentle ride to the exit. Over the rock
OK, turn OK, power on CHUFF! 5!!!
Jim Looking GOOD on Section 8
Hugh makes the step look easy Section 8
Wolfy catches us Up. Nice with the Knees …. but that HAT has got to GO!
It took 4 more sections to get that one out of the system, had another safety dab here on the
last lap for a grand total of 7 which should have been a solitary ONE. Anyhoo, it wouldn’t have
mattered as Mike was in top form and finished on a clean card.
So 2 second places in the RM Championship with a lot more rounds to go.
The Way Home: Leaving Tucker Ranch we have the horrors of the way in, revisited! …someone
has filled some of the holes the trailer bottom created as it got dragged round the corner and
today we have 2 trials riders with us as escorts. A lot of action in the wheelhouse, until the final
downhill turn which requires a back up and reset maneuver. Back on blacktop once more and as
the weather is nice and all the passes are open we decide to trundle over “the road less
traveled” with a planned night stop in Walmart Durango.
Over The Top Wolf Creek Pass
IT’S BIG HORNED SHEEP HONEST!
We make good time and delight in the variety of wildlife as we come over Wolf Creek Pass.
Very soon we are tucked up at Walmart having had a great weekend and looking forward to an
easy non-stop 400 mile run across the reservation back to home… Ho F#*$%*^$ Ho!
Early morning start and Brenda gets catering to send up breakfast to the flight deck where we
are joined by Doof, Hayden and the soon to burst Rossi. Leaving Durango it’s a bit black and
overcast and as we make our way to Cortez we blunder through the odd snow flurry which of
course we think nothing of as it is Colorado.
Over the reservation we go and in the far distance there are the anvils of some vicious looking
thunderstorms which look like they are in the Flagstaff area. Approaching Church Rock as we
come over the crest and start the downhill run to Kayenta things are looking seriously nasty up
ahead and shortly after the traffic lights we are in snow which is coming down quite heavily.
On go the wipers as we slow Enterprise to less than Warp speed, and for a few wipes all is well
and then the Monaco Corporation plays it’s JOKER once more and the driver’s wiper flies off the
screen for the umpteenth time! The snow gets heavier and visibility decreases as does the
Soon the road is completely covered and the windshield is following suit….. S#$%^! This is
Arizona in late April! We grind to a halt with no knowledge of who, or if, anyone is behind us and
as Brenda, now playing Scott of the Antarctic, dresses for the blizzard the Captain searches in
vain for the Hazard Flashers. Some time later, the mystery flashers are found…. Now wouldn’t
you think something as important as Hazard Flashers should be on the truck driver’s wheel?
Brenda departs for the spacewalk and we wish her a fond farewell as she departs the airlock
and reappears to move the errant wipers to the park position and clear the screen as best she
can. Amazingly the wipers didn’t blow the fuse and with the weight of snow on them they
continue to work as we continue and drive our way out of the storm. Some 20 miles later we
emerge to blue skies and fairly clear roads and within another 10 miles it’s all back to normal
save for the astonished looks from oncoming drivers seeing a completely snow covered coach
rocketing towards them with chunks of ice flying off in all directions. Other than that,
Mrs Kennedy did you enjoy the drive?
Not forgetting the Trials Photographer BRENDA (pictures for sale on her web site, more news later)