A SIP OF SIPAPU
A SIP OF SIPAPU
The supply truck pulls in
Thursday 4th of July and time to get loaded ready for our morning departure for Sipapu NM. Another
new venue for me and Superglitz as the Stealth Cub is still under construction. John Holbrrok has
been there since Monday hobbling round sorting out sections for our delight. I wasn’t aware that this
weekend we clash with a Wyoming favorite the Medicine Bow Cup so our attendance may well be
down as the Wyoming and Denver lads will have split loyalties. Hopefully our southern contingent
from Texas and NM will turn out in force to swell the numbers.
Essential loading of goodies
We actually left on time, a quick visit into Cortez for some personal admin and then off we go with a
1530 ETA . All the Safari work made not one jot of difference and I’m now left believing its a crap
design and maybe all that can be done is to rip out the radiator and clean the inside face which must
be full of grot.
Arrive on time, a few beers, no internet so Brenda is not happy and then it rains ! Saturday and very
warm so off we go with an early start. This morning our group is Dan and myself with Bob and John
making those lovely 4 stroke noises.
Section 1 is interesting with a gentle downhill in the pines, soft dirt and needles, right hand turn into
increasingly steep turn with an angled turn to another upper tree for a tight left into another tight right
uphill on the side of some wig wam construction into a simple series of turns to the exit. Around the
first turn and some rapid body weight changes and power to save that inside dab but this takes me
off line for the second turn which now needs the big dab. Awful line up on the wig wam and a panic 3
goes in the books, but a little more application and a clean is feasable. Dan has the same fate with
a scattering of dabs.
Section 2 and all this is vaguely reminiscent of my youth riding in the Kentish woods. Drop in down
the hill into left turn to line up on fallen tree and once over that take care to stay on line for a smaller
log. Out left for a flatish right hander and set up for a fairly simple exit. Cleans here so on we go.
3 has another fallen tree but by taking a tightish left hander from the entry you can ride back along
side the tree with just enough room to line up to cross it without crossing your own tracks. Over this
jink right and back left to cross a series of branches that look worse than they ride and then set up
for the exit. Cleans here as well so up the hill to 4.
A couple of 4″ bouncing springy logs to start then a gentle wall of death on some vegetation covered
rocks into an uphill left 180 with a small log which has a firm rock kicker. Backdown in the gulley for
a 180 right hander to climb back up the hill into a gentle right hander into downhill exit. A little too fast
into the rock kicker and and now wide making the right turn about a 210 and too close to the wall and
a shambolic three prodder to get it sorted. Lack of saddle time beginning to show !
At 5 the first left turn looks problematic in loose dirt and wood chips but rides nicely. Natural line
through a right hander to set up for either a direct attack across some rocks or take a right/left jink
onto a smooth path to get up onto a large smooth embedded rock to turn downhill for a log and then
the exit. Alls well until the jink when I catch my shoulder on the tree tossing me left and forcing a rapid recovery 3 dab affair to regain the line. That really was dumb and thats two 3’s in a row which is very
annoying as I was expecting to clean both of those.
Spent a lot of time looking at the wrong line in 6 until I saw the way. A large lump rock with the marker
at the base, a sort of side crossing to put the bike in a good position for the right turn and then careful
riding to the exit over an assortment of logs.
7 looks like the first easy one of the day, downhill into left hander through rocks and logs and then up
the hill across embedded rocks for a jink exit by the tree. Maybe not so easy as it takes Dan for an
At 8 we have a dip into the first right uphill turn, into a 45 left with an angled tree root and then a long
curving uphill amid rocks and leaf mould finally turning right back downhill to the exit. Dan rides it
slowly whereas I go a bit quicker, results the same and both return nice cleans.
Right beside the path is 9 which is a straight shot uphill on a rock path, small dip at the top then
downhill over a series of steps on very firm rocks. No problems here for the 2 line but John and Bob
are in all kinds of trouble on the supposedly easier 3 line.
Down a ski run to the lift and lodge and section 10 across the river from the patio bar and restaurant.
Enter on the top of the bank and over a big slab rock about 15″ high, off that then through the trees and
line dependant gates to the river. Out of the water and up the bank across a nasty looking double set
of rocks in the trees turning back down to the water for a climb out on some softish gravel rock. The
front slips on a wet one in the river but the rest rides well.
Overall I’m enjoying it, I seem to be riding quite well and the two 3’s that were lost were rider error!
Dan has been very consistent and only lost 4 to my 10. Lets see how loop 2 unfolds.
Back at 1 nothing much has changed, perhaps it has bedded in a bit. Dan eases through for a well
earned 2 and I’m clean coming up to the wig wam thing. I take a dab but don’t make it count and i’m
forced to tippee toe for the 2…… silly! Make ‘EM count!!
Another dumb dab going too fast over the log in 2 and clean again on 3. Stick to the line on 4 where
I previously lost the unexpected 3 and it goes round clean without the slightest glich. No hassle in 5
where I hit my shoulder and a smooth clean here. Too fast over the lump rock in 6 needs a recovery
dab and then plain sailing through 7, 8, and 9. Back on the river the back skids on the big rock for the
dab but the rest rides well. Dan and I both record 5 for this loop and I think I could have been round
for just a single dab with a bit more effort.
Collect the cards and then ………. BOOOM !! the thunderstorm arrives, it goes dark and pours down
with some pretty hard rain. At 1 Dan comes through the turns with perfect line, speed and balance
and records the only clean of the day… a great ride! My effort looks good through turns 1 & 2 but I’m
wide at wigwam and its a frustrating 3 prodder. Section 2 isn’t much better with another prod for
balance coming off the log. No probs on 3 but at 4 I’m late into the bottom turn and need 2 to get
away from the wall.
A nice string of 5 cleans from section 5 through 9 despite the miserable conditions but by the time
we are at 10 the storm has moved on. 1 goes out the window in the river and another tippee toe on
the exit. Got to stop those!! Dan has a superb loop after that magnificent clean on 1 and slips round
for just 2 dabs. Well done.
Usual evening festivities and cook out. ………. and then it starts to rain again so the retreat is
sounded and time for a quick film and bed.
Sunday morning and an early start is planned which would have been fine if we had kept to it but as
I’m having breakfast at 0855 the riders all come past the RV indicating we have started even earlier!!!
Off to 1 down by the river and it seems the fir trees have kept everything dry despite all the rain. Enter
towards the river then immediate left up a bank for a 180 right to come back parallel to the river for a
180 left off the adverse to set up for a root cluster and rocks. The 1 liners have quite a ride here with
some tricky turns and a huge jumble of rocks. I watch John Dowson through and he has a superb
ride for a clean……. very stylish and clearly been practicing to good results. Dan and I are out of this
one with a dab a piece but clearly its doable.
Today Dan and I are joined by Jimmy who is getting better and better on the Bultaco. Over at 2 the
first hurdle of a big rock is causing some grief and Bob and Wolfie don’t much care for it and are even
asking if we should remove the large broken piece off the top. It should ride OK in my opinion and I’m
more concerned with the final corner which has a choice of two lines.
Dan gets through with a dab and I set off and get to the first big rock. As the bash plate strikes I ease
off as I’m expecting the bike to go over but it STALLS……… well if thats not enough and annoying the
plate rotates sideways to line up with the angle of the rocks and without the aid of a crutch, stilts or
an extending leg I’m about to do a “Honey I’m Home” out the side window !! Its a long drop and I take
the full force on my right wrist and then in this 45 down posture the bike lands on top of me trapping
me to terra firma. Well that HURT!! Its not broken but bloody painful
Clean the next one which is a fairly simple uphill climb with some extra turns then find I’m having
trouble steering in the next. Can’t maintain my line due to the pain and stall it again over the big log
as my wrist doesn’t like the throttle twisting.
The next one starts nicely enough over some rocks and then two choices of line to approach the last
hazzard of a tree lying downhill at about a 30 degree angle. There is however a bit of a kicker of wood
chips and a knurl on the top of the log which should stop the rear wheel sliding. Well it doesn’t and
I’m doing a repeat performance of section 2 on a steeper bank and a lot further to fall. Once again I
land on my right hand and tweak the wrist even more before impacting with helmet and shoulder.
Try the next one and escape with a dab as the pain shoots up the forearm. Next section after an easy
start into right turn I can’t apply the front brake and can’t turn the bars either……. OK enough is enough!
Punch through the rest and do some photography and notice that the camera view finder is cracked
thanks to my tumbling routines.
Jimmy as smooth as silk in section 8
Dan takes a “sneaky” in 8
Full cry from Jimmy on the logs of 9
Good control over the last hazzard of 9
Dan on 9
Steady dab from Jimmy on the exit of 10
Good controlled line up the exit of 10
……. and from a learning point of view I can safely say “You can’t ride a Trials bike ONE handed !”
13 days later and it still hurts!