New start and lines at the 4th St Bridge

Two months of brush cutting, tree felling, solo cliff walking, laying of tape, rock rolling, card placement and …….. finally the one man band has arrived at Saturday morning, Day 1 of hopefully another super trial.

Only major issue was lack of help, in all departments, but particularly the “riding in” of the sections which never happened and as I WAS hoping to ride I clearly can’t be seen to be practicing on my own sections. Well no matter, the ones that I wanted “gardened” and packed in would happen with the passage of riders …… or so I hoped. This would really be no different from trials of my youth except that you don’t want to be “early” on this loose shale and sandstone dirt mix until its hit a firm bottom.


8 on the upper cliffs, 1 on the way back and 6 spectator sections along the river

Today is two loops of 8 up on the cliffs and then a solo on the loop before completing the 6 riverside spectator sections. With 30 sections ridden the last riverside 6 would comprise a very short third loop.

Continuing the one man band theme nobody is available to do sign up or scoring duties so I’m sidelined and not riding. A poor local turnout from riders who had promised to come and the absence of landowner Casey with some family issues. Dan Straka was also having similar woes and forced to stay in WY with his ailing mother. Secretary John is “time sharing” work and trials this year and was one of the many non attendees. Are we really losing a lot of members or is apathy creeping back in during August ? However there were a few new faces including the Boltons from KS, Daniel Joslin from Pagosa and Sam Reeder from Colorado Springs and our 3 man contingent from AZ making the return trip having enjoyed last year.

No matter 17 riders take the start and after our standard town parade run we are at the 4th Bridge and ready to get going. About 2 hours later a very disgruntled bunch arrive back at the start and their views are less than praiseworthy bordering on downright rude and belligerent.  While I can appreciate that loose rolling rock may not be to anyone’s liking and while using a trials bike as a backhoe it IS THE SAME FOR EVERYBODY ! ……. and clearly things are not going as I had hoped for and sections are not bedding in at ALL !! Only thing to do is to scrub certain sections that are deemed as currently  non-rideable. Even with this action it seems I can’t please this bunch as I’m fielding complaint after complaint which if they only knew is taking us down another avenue that we will cover in a later paragraph.

The senior classes continue as they know the problems but others wish to continue berating me as though I had personally endeavored to make this their most miserable trial of the year. I look forward to seeing the TV coverage of the mayhem up on the cliffs when it is aired.


Al rounds the turn on “Alcatraz”


John on the 1 line exit from that Black Rock


Up and out for John


Better exit from Al second time around


Tom lines up the rock for the 2 line exit


Big Men action on 15 ….. Daniel


Walt in full cry

Day 1 winners were very much as expected with John Clement tops on the 1 line and Jim Wagner romping home in Mod Sup Int  but hotly pursued by a VERY determined Kirtis Wyatt on the Gas Gas from Mancos. This is only Kirtis’s 3rd event ever and he was a mere 7 points adrift from Jim. Just to prove it ISN’T just the bike Bob Strohman had the best 1st round loop on ANY line with only 16 lost on the 2 line on a 76 Yam. Some thing to do with “old age and cunning overcoming youth and skill”. Clinton Bolton from KS won the Novice side in the biggest class of the day with a 7 mark advantage over Daniel Joslin who has been riding exceptionally well in recent events.

While moaning minnies  seek solace in adult beverages elsewhere I enjoy a few beers in solitude in the Shade Garden. Sure enough as cook out time arrives so do they and in some cases are still as grumpy as ever wanting refunds of their entry fees, while some are looking a little sheepish after their earlier defamatory outbursts. The situation is explained but doesn’t appease those that want to ride 36 sections and have a clean card! …… we move on, discarding a section from the Sunday event……. but the Graded Hill is STILL IN.. and if you DON’T LIKE IT then DON’T RIDE IT.

So with 20:20 hindsight yes, I made an error of JUDGEMENT insomuch that I EXPECTED the sections to “ride in” and they DIDN’T……. so SORRY, what else can I say. OK, I got it wrong this time but in 52 years of riding (1962) maybe 1 isn’t that bad?

Sunday morning and again I don’t get to ride and still have the score table ……. well I wasn’t planning on riding the Yam anyway so it really won’t make any difference although I did WANT TO RIDE.

Today we are over at LCC at “Honey I’m Home” …… what you didn’t like riding through that one last year????  perhaps the photo will refresh your short memories.


2013 at “Honey I’m Home”


12 sections reduced to 11 before the start and I’m expecting 2 more to get thrown out during the first loop but we continue. The 3 sections in the Creek all ride well with only a few dabs lost and a few 5’s which I can only assume to be missed cards.


Up the Creek with Bob


District Attorney, Will Furse, finally joins us for the Trial


Sam concentrates on the Creek bed


Daniel looks at home on LCC

With section 4 deemed impossible for today, as it was not ridden in, the route is altered using the two way alternate to get to the Graded Hill. As I said at the Saturday awards if you ride it like a trials  section you will most likely fail ! Seems most people obviously know better with their vast knowledge and predictably only make it to the “3’s”. Last year Bob Strohman was the first rider to make it to the “2’s” using the correct technique and this year has a fabulous ride all the way up the virgin terrain to the “1’s”. Now to achieve that for someone who is shall we say “vertically challenged” or short, being politically incorrect, is nothing but amazing!

Yes, I’m tempted to give a demo but I walked over so I don’t have the bike but I know its quite possible to clean it. Follow the current groups back down to Tin Can Alley and the Grassy Knoll which both ride well with only a scattering of dabs and some threes from those straying off line. What do we say about line ? “Line is ESSENTIAL!” and now I get asked “Why is the 3 line harder than the 2 ?”  I’m sorry I can’t see this but as clearly I know precious little about trials I’m completely stumped for an answer.

They ride “Barney’s Rubble” at 8 but can’t get through Musketeers and onward to Poke in the Eye so those 2 get thrown out and we are now down to a 9 section loop. Back to the scoring duties.

Of those classes where a competition is taking place Jim and Kirtis are within a point and after two laps Kirtis has it by 1 ! WOW! Bob Strohman is consistent as ever with two 9 point loops in Hist Int and the Hist Nov class is nip and tuck between Daniel and Clinton after their second round. Sam is a bit peeved as he was 2 and 4 points up on them respectively after the first loop when he said enough.

With scores up to date I venture back to the Graded Hill for a little photo shoot and just miss Bob cleaning it and 15 year old Wyatt Bolton using the right technique getting up to the “1 Boards” which clearly made his day.

The last group arrive and Al tries riding it up and of course loops it as expected. Rich is looking pretty tired and goes for a 3 on a straight up line. Well at least it was over quickly.


Photographer ready at the 2 Boards


Al tries to ride it trials style


Too far back ………..


Fairly predictable!


Good enough for a 3


Low and forward and leg it ……. Kirtis on his 3rd clean


Low and forward ……. nobody said it would look pretty


……… and it isn’t !! but Jim gets his clean and the only clean loop

1300 and we are done for this year’s event. Final scores are totted up and where there was competition Bob has put in his third 9 point loop to take Hist Int.  Jim has turned in the ONLY clean loop of the two days with a brilliant ride in Mod Sup Int and Kirtis dropped a 3 and a 2, maybe trying too hard, to finish 4 points behind Jim.

In Hist Nov both Daniel and Clinton have dropped 41 so now we are into the tie break and they both have 13 cleans! Well we could have a ride off but we are not going to so as President and Trialsmaster I decide to give them JOINT 1st PLACE and JOINT CHAMPIONSHIP points.

Well that wraps up Dolores and I don’t just mean for this year! No I’m NOT prepared to spend TWO MONTHS of my summer humping up mountains in cougar country, cutting through brush trying to find safe and challenging sections only to be shouted at, berated and told I don’t know what I’m doing. ITSA MWVTA needs a NEW Trialsmaster and venue and right now a NEW  President. Maybe, just maybe,  ONE thank you would have eased the pain and the only touching jesture was Walt Buckholts and his wife turning up last night with all the section markings and tape from Sunday’s event. Thanks Walt and Peggy.











3 thoughts on “ESCALANTE 2 DAY TRIAL 2014”

  1. Tony,

    From the photos it looked challenging but not unridable. Bob and John seemed to handle it well. Don’t give up on the Vintage trial scene! After all the ‘Outlaw’ series has been going for 27+ years in Canada and still draws a crowd and as you know it’s not a walk in the park.


  2. Now you know why I stopped laying out trials. Nobody cares how much work you put into it.
    If it isn’t a zero fest, you are making it too hard.
    The sport is trials, not zeros!

  3. Hi Tony,
    I agree with the two comments above, you have been a rider from the 60’s onwards and know your stuff. The guys that were bitching need to raise their game, or go find something else to do. The point is that it is a challenge and there are different lines for different abilities withing the sections, something that was never around years ago….it was one line fits all, be you novice or expert. If nothing else, keep prepping your bikes and riding, I for one really enjoy your blog.

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