A Graded Hill you say ?  What pray is this jewel in the Trialsmaster’s Crown ?  Well going back in time when there were NO lines or split markers in sections and riders were either Experts or Novices once in a while the Clerk of the Course (Trialsmaster) would include one of these beauties if the terrain permitted.

I have always found them a bit of fun, especially the comments that they generate most of which can’t be printed here due to the excessive number of expletives!

With Vintage Trials we try to create similar sections from the 60’s and 70’s era so for the Dolores event there are a few that fall into the “as it was” category. We have a classic “one line for all” a “double sub” and the “graded hill”.

This year’s offering is called “Saddam” and uses one of his famous catch phrases “…… the Mother of all Graded Hills”


Keeper of the Graded Hill, Saddam,  will be at the start board


A handy map shows the layout of the hill as its too steep to walk!

With most graded hills riders look at it and mutter ” it can’t be done”, “should never have been included”, “what was he thinking?” “nobody will ever get up that!”………… and then as the event progresses more and more riders make it to the top……..  The rules are very simple, stay inside the boundaries (if there are any) pass between the 5, 3, 2, 1 and ENDS cards using everything at your disposal …… and your score is recorded as to where the front wheel ceased to rotate and forward or upward motion came to an end. Stop between the 3 and 2 and you score the 3. Stop between 1 and ENDS and you sir have a Dab.

Common mistakes or this sort of section are:

Poor Planning

Wrong Gear

Trying to ride it ALL feet up

LOOPing !

Tuesday, and with the marker boards redone time to struggle up the face and see where we can go. My first time up it and there are multiple choices of lines and while I might have my idea where I would go it might not be how you see it. Suffice to say it will be a good workout. Its steep, its wide, its loose, its rocky and it goes on and on!


NEW marker boards ready to go

Some time later I crest the summit and now need to find a way back down. A path is found and undergrowth hacked out of the way to get back on the lower trail.

Set off on the 2nd ascent armed with marker boards and hammer but the weather is rolling in and as usual its taking much longer than expected. Black skies, thunder and now it starts to spit rain. Not a good place to be so after planting 5’s and 3’s time to retreat to base camp and go for a repeat climb tomorrow to finish the job and complete the way down marking.

Wednesday and I’m on it and I will crack this graded hill one way or another. Much struggling and humping but I’m up to the top again. I’m beginning to think I’ll give anybody a “3” just for WALKING up it!

Well lets see it in all it’s magnitude…… you have walked it, can’t believe it, called me every name under the sun, but now its your chance to shine!


You arrive at our cheery dictator tyrant and study the map……. you look ahead……..


That’s the 5 board


Passing the 5 the 3’s come into view


Is that the 2 board ?


Blue sky and the 1 boards


“End of Hill” …….. who will get to see these?








One thought on “SADDAM”

  1. I would like to thank you for
    the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog.
    I really hope to view
    the same high-grade blog posts by you
    later on as well. In truth, your creative writing
    abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal blog now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *