We’ve been getting ready for this over the last few weeks but I will recap the last and this weekend only for brevity sake. Last Saturday was a full workday to clear rocks off of the worst trail sections, and to break in the trail as last-minute course changes by the BLM kicked in. Surprisingly it really was not much fun riding the course Sunday as I had problems staying upright; less than a few miles from the start the guy (Conner, expert) I had teamed up with threw his chain on his new-to-him CRF450. That was the only time I was able to see him after we started! Up until then it seemed his front tire was in the air more than not. We repaired his non-O-ring chain with my X-ring master so as to avert a tow back to camp. No one at camp had the right master link for his, so he was offered a loaner bike. Well, he was just as fast on that one too but was kind enough to wait for me at various places. 25 miles later, in the last hairpin before camp, I low-sided and call it a morning. Which reminds me: I haven’t quite figured out cornering on my KTM; it feels like a stand-up-is-best cornering bike, but there’s a place that I’m too far (it digs in more than necessary) over the front or not enough (vagueness) – a very thin line, and I can’t seem to find it easily. This is not to say it will not corner well; it does but I know there’s more room for improvement. Sitting I can do well on corners, with my head and inside leg way forward, although sitting does not seem optimum coming out of corners. I’m going to try the slimmer SX tank (vs. EXC) and see if that helps me find/feel a better standup point. The afternoon was for the worst as my timing was off for the various G-outs. Good they were lower speeds while I kissed the ground; nothing broke nor did I suffer any pain other than some humbling. In all my crashing since early 2003 my helmet has not suffered scratching; in one day it’s 3x! Now this last Saturday was the kid’s and mom’s races, though my time was spent on Sunday’s course with the preruns/practice allowed the day before by the promoter for a nominal fee; first all of the dirt bikes then followed by the ATVs. I was assigned to do sweep after the last riders went out, and that worked out fine as the pace was just below my level. No problems were encountered with the bikes, and later one ATV suffered loose axle bolts, which were discovered about a third of the way out on the course and tightened thanks to a mix of tools found in my pack and another’s. I’ve gotta hand it to those ATV riders; their pace is not much off from the bikes; now these aren’t the type who ride without helmets and a can of beer in the other, nor do donuts near camp, so I take it there are differences within the ATV community – these were serious racers, so serious, their experts did 4 25-mile loops just like the bikes! Today I was as well assigned sweep, and half way on the first loop I was thinking this was the best assignment ever: riding at my own pace – no pressure to ride over my head - and taking in a terrific course. (The course was a bit rough-edged for the first half with all the rocks and G-outs, and just plain fun on the second as it was sandy with lots of dried grass, turns, and smoother sections.) About 1/3 into the second loop and the last rider got a flat; I had some large cable ties to keep the tire in place and after attaching those, lead back to camp via dirt roads. Back at the scoring trailer I was asked to assist in taking finisher cards or go out again for sweep, and ended up taking cards for both the bikes and later the ATVs. Speaking of the latter, I got a good view of their starts. The Yamaha twins were the best sounding, like RC cars a buzzin’ – seems like they have too much power but oh so entertaining to hear winding up and throwing roost. The promoter did sweep after the last expert ATVer came through the scoring gate, and when he later got back we packed it away and called it a day, but not before the promoter wrote some big checks to the winners. I know I had more fun helping than I would have if I entered, and it’s good I didn’t enter as the temptation to go fast is too great and healing oh so slow. Results will be up in a few days on rmdrc.com.