….AND THEN IT RAINED !!
…. AND THEN IT RAINED
Two and a half months of planning and designing are behind me, the day has dawned and the test
begins. As with any organizer a million thoughts and what ifs are running through the mind. How will
it go ? Will it ride harder or easier than planned ? Sign up comes and goes, a good turn out doubling
last year and still a lot of riders who I would have liked to see but are no shows. Well you can only do
so much and maybe the ‘National” handle has caused people to think it will be too severe.
A good crowd with the eastern bloc riders supporting the event to truly make it a National and not just
the regulars competing with a more impressive title. Thanks other ITSA riders for coming over. Sign
up done and we slip down to the High School to ride in the parade which is important such that we
can ride our bikes on the road with Police blessing.
Flags and Veterans lead the parade into town
Ladies from the Flying Pig
……and now itsa us or just plain ITSA
let the fun begin
Dan plays “goosey goosey” with wife Coleen
Parade done, we get ready to roll off but a few extra sign ups so time slips away but we are soon out
there busting the “New” trail through the boondocks to section 1. I have the Beginner Class (6 riders)
with me so we watch all and sundry through here to get some space. The first log which was more
part of the terrain rather than a hazard causes a lot of grief and moves into all lines path making the
section unrideable so I have no choice but to remove it and invite people to re-ride the section. The
final rock step has become slippery for the 1’s and 2’s and can really take you by surprize as sand
stone rock and rain water don’t mix!!
Section 2, “Steps” and my group can now get some instruction, so line walking, hazard identification,
what’s next etc, and knees bent, good posture … and stop white knuckling those bars. Variable
results caused by all of the above and of course poor throttle control….. no, its not a race! Personal
memories were a 2 lost in section 1. Good clean on 2.
Section 3 “The Bear’s Den” and much walking for the beginners to show them the line which if they
tackle it correctly could get their first cleans. Some do some don’t. Now round the loop to See Forever
and it starts to rain! I ride it and can feel some slight wheelspin but good enough for the clean.
A mixture of results but young Corey, a local lad is responding well and Aus newcomer, Mal, is loving
every minute despite the 250 Honda.
The Horseshoe of 5 is now very wet and getting worse! Bit of a backlog here and the sandstone is
mighty slippy. Mostly 5’s from my team and no better for me with a graceful feet up spin to a stop 5.
Score now on 7 over to Woody’s for the log crossings. Some cleans a dab and a 2 and some over
the tape 5’s. I was heading for the Yucca after the log and had to take a dab to avoid the puncture,
score now 8.
Last one in this group is Powerline and if anything the shower has made it a bit easier. Mal and the
Honda make it and he has a smile to rival George Hamilton ! Corey likes it too and a Reflex makes it
to the top while the TY175 throws the chain.
At Cat Face I tell them they get to chose the line as after the initial gate I have purposely left a wide
generous path inside the blue boundary tape. Now they are beginning to understand trials and I’m
pleased to see them working it out for themselves. More smiles from most and throttle control is
starting to improve.
Back down the hill and the jink down to Riverside and Enchanted Garden, a mixture of the lower
scores on 9 and some pleasing rides on 10 through the freshly mowed grass. I have a very enjoyable
couple of cleans especially on 10. Get to see Mike Shay bounce the SWM to an incredible clean.
Beginners elect not to ride 11 and 12 (their choice) but ask if they can watch me so I’d better have my
“A” game on or “teach” will look like a dummy. Brenda is on hand with the camera so a good clean is
in the books with photographic evidence too boot of the under the “4th” bridge crossing. Man its dark
In the gloom for a nice clean with Superglitz
Mike Hyslop enters the 4th Bridge
John Dowson takes on the Bridge with John Clemente waiting
I liked 12 from the moment that I first saw the huge rock so now time to sample the same. When I first
laid it out there were two choices of entry line either out to what looked like a flat slab diving board and
a wider drop down gentle turn to line up for the big mother. I watch the group ahead of me and they are
going wide but cutting back and then squandering a host of inside dabs. There is a sort of knife edge
rock that widens slightly if you can get a precision ride onto it and this will set up for a perfect radius
turn if it works. Well it does and I’m chuffed to bits having cleaned both. Score for the loop a
respectable 8 and that incuded that 5.
Long time friend Jim Wagner from AZ finds the perfect radius
Jim and the big Beta 4 Banger sail on, as they say “line is everything”
Jimmy Allison NM lines her up
Local man Kirtis Wyatt brings the new Ossa Explorer through
Visitor Mike Hyslop in good form on the TY175 today
Determined effort from Wolfie our Hist Int points leader
It has taken almost 3 HOURS to get the beginners round one loop so I tell them we will only be doing
one more and that will be it. Off we go again and no hold ups at 1 where they fair a bit better. For my
part the rock has become even more slippery and I look like I have it the bag until it suddenly grips on
the rock and I’m in a very shambolic 3 to stop an over the boundary 5.
They seem to have forgotten everything at 2 and chase about the section trying all 4 lines!! Hank
actually gets 2 and Corey another fine clean with the rest on 5. Some rocks moved about in the Bear’s
Den but their line rides well and some better scores. I hit a roller in 2 and lose yet another 1 so now
on 4 this time round.
Round the mini loop to See Forever and after straightening up several split cards time to get a move
on as looking westbound there is a MEGA storm rolling in with fingers of rain coming down and the
wind is already rising and its getting unpleasant to say the least. At the Horseshore we catch up with
another group but get to see Bob Ginder “our presidente supremeo” make nothing of the section with
a magnificent clean……. he did have to work it though!
Inbound from Utah ….. this doesn’t look good
Last time we were here it was wet, wet,wet, and very slippy but the wind has dried it up fairly well and
I sail round to the top where it wheelies just high enough to drag my arm all the way along the fallen
dead fir tree. With skin departing like tearing paper the bike and rider exit the section to achieve the
clean as blood gushes down my right forearm. Not quite sure what the beginners thought of all this.
A clean’s a clean !
Thunder and lightning is all around us with flashes brightening up some gloomy sections. We push
on and are quickly through Woody’s and over the logs. Now the big hill at Powerline and although the
rain is coming down in buckets it rides very nicely. A brief pause for card punching and on round the
loop. The wind has increased dramatically and now its hailing pea sized lumps of ice. I know they
said these new Airoh helmets were very COOL but I wasn’t expecting to have an ice pack on my head
as the pea size white stuff kept coming through the vents!!!
Vent holes perfect receptors for pea sized hail
The Yamaha yellow Von Zippers didn’t make the trial and arrived Monday
By the time we are at the edge of the Mesa the storm is on top of us with driving hail and the thunder
and lightning arriving simultaneously. Time to take cover and hole up. The thunder is alarmingly
loud and more a giant ripping crackle.
“Don’t panic Mr Mannering ! Everyone take cover”
With hypothermia setting in time to move on and now the Mesa is a real soggy mess with mud and
puddles everywhere (when I was a boychild trials rider I used to love riding in these conditions and
it didn’t take many threes before you had a big lead when everybody else was picking up 5’s.)
Off the Mesa and quickly through Cat Face and down the hill which is now a white water torrent
(reminded me of the Mamore Road in the SSDT) …… loving it! “Down By The Riverside” is stil rideable
but the water is rising and the rain has removed all the tire tracks in my Enchanted Garden. EG rides
nicely but she starts to spin in the goop at the top of that last climb so a well planned safety prevents
a roll back 5. Score on 5 at this stage. Everybody regroups and I tell them to be on their way after a few
pointers and well earned congratulations after their baptism of fire for their first trial. At least they were
smiling and most likely pleased they had survived.
Back at the Bridge the start table and everything else has gone and a wet Secretary John tells me
its a done deal….. No more Cards!! Of course I still have 2 to go and carefully scrabble into position for
the 4th Crossing. Clearly its as dry as a bone under there but I can’t see it with my Von Zippers on!!
With glasses in the fanny pack I see the line in the gloom and set off. Compared to what I have just
ridden over this, believe it or not, is the “gimmee” of the day.
11 down 1 to go, me, the storm, and the rock. Take the knife edge again, any slippy mud has been
washed off by the deluge and it rides perfectly. I’m pretty cock o’hoop with just 5 points in these
conditions so head back to the Cozy with a rooster tail of cold rain water going up my back. Meet Dan
pushing in with no sparks after a lightning strike. Dolores is pretty deserted but no surprizes in view
of the weather.
Escalante Days, Dolores 8/10/13
Back at the Cozy we light a fire in the Lodge room, hot showers are running non stop, and liquids are
flowing but in my case a hot cup of coffee is the preferred beverage. Dry clothes later and warming by
the fire many tales of “daring do” as we settle in before the Pot Luck.
A cheery blaze helps the hypothermia while Bob and Coleen complete
the forensic examination of the wet and torn cards
Rich, Jim and John relive the trial
Some time later having thawed out entry and spectators alike it stops raining as the storm moves on
to Rico and Telluride. Got to feel sorry for the festivity organisers but we can’t stop mother nature trying
to refill the water bucket. Temps are now well down from the summer tee shirt weather of the 80’s that
we rode the parade in and are around 40-45. By now its o’beer thirty and everyone is getting ready for
John’s cooking on the grill.
John is ready to cook !
Evening sun for some of our out of state visitors, “Thanks for coming”
I’m sure there will be a campfire story or two after this one
Another big “Thank you” to Casey for the land use who says it will be
much better next year with more trails and riding areas
Pot luck cooking done and time for our daily awards and then the 2 Major ITSA trophies which Bob will
present with a little history.
History lesson on the Baker Trophy and Nubbie
2012 Baker Trophy winner …….. BILL TODD
….and from Brenda and myself thanks for coming and hope to see even
more of you next year