The Second Greenbush Adventure (June 9)

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#1
http://www.steeleracingphotos.com/bikes/Greenbush2/index.html

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Those are the pictures; here is the first part of the story:

Well, it’s back to Greenbush this weekend, so I woke up early enough to drive the half hour to get my bike and put it on the trailer. I somehow managed to get to bed at a little after midnight, and was up a little before 4:00 am. Mr. Cool met me outside with breakfast (don’t ask me how he managed to get up at that hour…even I was pretty amazed to see him standing there!), and even had the bike all ready on the trailer for me. However, he only gifted me with one ramp to use because he had to have his 450 inspected later that day.

I started off on the two hour drive, eating a huge piece of chocolate cake (on a paper plate with no fork) and yelling the lyrics along with Tom Petty, Nickelback and whoever else happened to have their songs played on the radio. This occurred in between bites of cake to keep me awake. I was feeling pretty good, and made it to the track by 7:15…

I registered, then took a nap in my car while it was still cool and (fairly) quiet out. I woke up twenty seconds later to realize that I hadn’t unloaded the little CR, nor had I walked the track. Unloading was pretty easy, even when I only had one ramp. I was quite glad that gravity had chosen to be kind that morning, helping me wheel the bike down easily instead of having the bike drop off the ramp and land on me (squish).

With all the rain during the week, the track was pretty wet. I was told that it was going to be a perfect day for racing with a great track. There was standing water in between the lanes too, which made me a little nervous. I haven’t done much riding in mud, and don’t think that I’d be too good at it, especially when the little CR is so tall in relation to my diminutive stature. I decided to try measure the doubles, feeling the need to make a preemptive strike against them, especially given my previous luck with them from the last race here.

At the peak of each jump I found myself muttering an “Aieyah” just for good measure. Counting steps, I guessed the first double to be about 20 feet from peak the top of the landing. From what I’d read a few years ago, someone said that a 20 foot double was supposed to be good for beginners. The next jump I came to was the big triple, and given my inability to levitate, I didn’t even try measure that one. I’m pretty sure I would have been off by a good 130 feet had I tried.

The second double seemed to be a little longer, and I guessed it to be about 25 feet from peak to peak. When I came to the last double, I estimated its length, without counting steps, to be around 25 feet as well. Being tired, I decided that I had counted and guessed enough, and also decided that I didn’t need to analyze the corner set of jumps. I simply walked over them and gave a good “Aieyah” to each. As I kept walking, I noticed that the whoops were a lot sharper this time around, and deeper too. Since the women’s class is set pretty far back, I figured that they would be well beaten down by the quads before I started, so I had no worries there either.

Having satisfied myself with the walk, I went back to finish my nap. Forty-five minutes later another racer pulled up beside my ‘Scort, and started some music. I didn’t mind, as it was some pretty good stuff. I had another ten minutes of shut-eye, then got too restless to sleep. I dug my gear out of the hatchback, and gave it a quick look-over before setting it on the trailer. I started stretching out, and was thrown into a fit of giggles by witnessing a poor woman opening the door on a “portaloo” while a very large man had been inside. (it was facing away from me, so I didn’t get the unpleasant surprise, only the look on the woman’s face.). She had jumped a good three feet too, which made it even better!

With that, the driver’s meeting was called, and we crowded in to hear what the guy in charge had to say. The microphone or speaker was broken, so they had us crowd in even closer, and I quickly started feeling like the smallest sardine in the can! There were scoldings about the yellow flags, and then we were called for the national anthems. What happened next was that almost everyone literally turned in a complete circle where they stood, myself included. Now that I think back on it, the act would have looked incredibly humorous from an outsider’s standpoint, as we pretty much did it all at the same time. There were no flags!

The situation was straightened out quickly, and we got on with practice!

The big bikes got lined up and ready to go, only to be held back because the ambulance was late again. Am I beginning to see a trend? They were late last time by almost 15 minutes.

Practice went alright, I took it easy and rolled all the jumps except for the tabletops. The track was nice and open because there were only three other women racing that day. All of them were fast, and I got lapped, which was no surprise to me. I held easy and tried to work on my turns. Because it had rained all week, after most of the bikes had been through, it was very loose, but tacky dirt. The CR was all over the place, and I had a hard time getting out of the turns. My front wheel plowed to one side or the other while I accelerated (means I need to sit on the tank doesn’t it?).

Even though I expected to get lapped up, it was still a little disappointing when I couldn’t hang on to her tail. My practice was cut short a lap early. The quad rider who parked beside me asked how I liked the track when I got back, and I explained my problem with the doubles and turns. His answer was short, sweet, and sounded way too simple.

“Just pin it.”

As the races started and passed, his words just kept bouncing around in my head like…red…hot…uhm…ping-pong balls…for lack of better description. I went to the track and watched the quads and a couple of the motorcycle heats, trying to listen to what gears and judge how fast they were going. All my learning must have been implicit because I didn’t feel like I gained any important knowledge, although I did feel a little better about my race coming up.

Soon we were lined up at the gates in the sweltering heat, waiting for the 125s to go. It’s always funny how I get hungry at the weirdest times (well it was noon, so maybe not such a weird time at all). In literally two seconds, I went from nervous to “starving wolf hungry” with growling stomach and everything else included. I had to laugh a little, and the “clothespin lady” (I have no idea what her name is. She just gives us clothespins with the numbers on them so we can line up) asked me what was so funny. When I explained, she gave me a handful of nibs (cherry licorice pieces type candy/food/whatever it is they’re good/things).

Her hands are bigger than mine, so I ended up having quite the struggle. Keeping the bike balanced on tiptoe while using both hands to hold a huge pile of nibs. With my helmet on, I couldn’t exactly tip my head back and dump them in. I learned that the hard way, and on my first nib-to-mouth attempt, I nearly tipped myself, the little CR, and three other riders over. Then my situation got even trickier! The class in front of us left and we were supposed to move up to the gates. “Crap!” With one last desperate try, I shoved both of my hands into the front of my helmet and began stuffing nibs in what hopefully was my mouth. As I did this, I realized that I very conspicuously looked like a human chipmunk with a helmet on. Actually, I felt like one too.

Then I began choking on them because, seriously, who could do what I just did without laughing?!

My cheeks were so full that they hurt, which also made it impossible to chew, it was also just as impossible to spit them out! My face was stuck! However, my hands were free and I was able to push the bike to my starting position. I had picked the last number, so chose last. With four riders, there were still some good spots left. I stayed to the right of the gate operator, and the 150 rider.

With the last of the nibs finally swallowed, I felt my race attitude coming on. The quad rider’s words were still tossing themselves around in my mind, though. The red light came on, and I started the little CR, feeling the adrenaline build quickly with the sound of my engine. I had pre-warmed the bike, and didn’t feel bad about giving a few snaps just to add to the “hype” a little. Doing that somehow makes me feel good. Even through that, all I could hear and think of was “just pin it.”

The yellow light came on, and I revved to ¾ power and held it as the green light flashed on. The gate fell.

“Just pin it.”

The clutch was dropped just a little too quickly, and my start was slower than I would have liked, but I held the little CR wide open as I approached the first friendly jump. I was still on the tails of two riders, with the third coming up quickly beside me. We went over side by side.

As the first double quickly approached, I faltered a split second, and began to roll off the throttle so I could roll the ramp and jump the landing without flinging myself over the handlebars. As I did, I saw the 150 move past me, which wasn’t what I wanted her to do.

“Just pin it.”

I pinned it.

Watching the landing come up to perfectly meet my tires was incredibly surreal. I had just landed my first double.

With a victorious “AIEYAH BABY YEAH!!!” I screwed up the first turn, and came out well behind the 150. When I saw the triple, I got a little ambitious and moved to double that as well. Just as I came in hard, I saw the 150 case it and tip over. The yellow flag thwarted my attempt. I shrugged my shoulders and went for the straightaway turn that leads into the next double.

I screwed up the corner, and with the very loose track, I came up short, and landed my frame squarely on the peak. I have never been bounced so hard in my life! Looking down in panic, I saw that my feet were a good foot off the pegs, and my rear seemed to be planning a trip over and past my head with my legs and feet in close pursuit. Of course, I stupidly held on for dear life.

Split seconds later, I found myself still (amazingly) on the bike. “AIEYAH YEAH BABY I JUST CASED A DOUBLE AND SURVIVED!!!”

I managed to case the rest of my double attempts, either due to poor judgment in shifting, or not getting enough speed up out of the corners because of the loose dirt. However, I came around to see the blessed white flag which meant that I would get to see the real checkered flag. I didn’t get lapped!

This was an incredible accomplishment for me, and something that the dad has nagged me on since I had started mentioning racing to him. Unfortunately I had no witnesses…

The second moto went much the same. I roosted the 150 rider out of the gate because I got lucky on the start, but she passed me seconds later. Again, I pulled the first double nicely, but cased the rest because of rider error and track conditions. I didn’t get lapped, and I didn’t fall off the little CR. However, I was probably all over the track.

I have graduated from “timid double roller” to “Noob goon rider”

I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, but it was another great adventure! :)
 
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Apr 30, 2007
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#3
It was a win in my book too! Doubles were my biggest fear! Hopefully I won't be a goon for too long... :)
 
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Apr 28, 2007
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#4
Congratulations little gal. That is a very exciting feeling to meet several of your goals in one race. I'm excited for you!

Another excellent rendition, which I continue to find very educational.

Good job! (And thanks for taking the time to share it with us.)
 

zero_it

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May 20, 2000
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#5
Great race report. Sounds like you're getting in some good riding and lots of learning. Congrats on your promotion to "noob goon rider", wear that title with pride!

You talked about the front end plowing. Here's an idea for you. Find a big flat spot to practice figure-8's on. Work on your form, transitioning from left-to-right-to-lefthand turns. Play with throttle input, body positioning, inside foot out in front of you and inside foot up on the peg, how far over the bars you keep your head, slipping the clutch, try it in 2nd and then 3rd gear, etc. Progressively increase your speed and then progressively tighten up the 8's. It's a simple looking excercise, but you can learn lots. Give it a try. Once you're good at that and understand the output of your various inputs you will see real improvement on the track. After mastering flat turns, bermed up turns will make you feel like you're cheating and you can really haul the mail! Carry a little more speed through the turns and just think how well you can set yourself up for the doubles. The "Aiyah" yells combined with that speed will make you a superhero. That chick on the CRF 150 better look out!