Toasted Hare Scramble Bellingham, WA 8/5

firecracker22

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#1
I should have known better

I entered the Toasted Hare Scramble in Bellingham, WA August 5. I had high hopes since the laps were short (6.7 miles) and the course was rumored to be easy since they run a bulldozer through the woods. It rained the day before but not that morning, so we expected the weather to be good.

But it was not to be.

I got off to a great start. There were 12 gals on the starting line which is more than I’ve ever seen at a race before, especially a hare scramble. I passed a couple in the first turn and a couple more on an off-camber uphill, and then got by a few more in a pile-up. I crashed on my way over the second log (jumped the first one just fine! :) ) but managed to drag my bike over by brute strength (meaning a lot of huffing and puffing). The others were still behind me, not having any better luck. The trails were cool and well-built. But the mud was nasty. It was greasy black slime that packed up in your tire and there was no traction anywhere. The ruts were getting deeper and deeper, like into the 2’ range, and if you tried to go around them you’d just slide down in anyway. I couldn’t even pick my bike up hardly at all since when I’d go to lift, my feet would just slide in the mud. So I was struggling quite a bit.

On the last woods section before the trail dumped out onto the mx track and pit row, there was an off-camber downhill hard left turn. There were large roots running diagonal and no good line. I lost the front end and landed with my knee twisted under me, and felt and heard it pop, then the bike tipped over on me and my knee popped again. I went fetal. I couldn’t move or think. I just laid there and tried to wiggle out of the trail as much as possible. Thankfully there were 3 guys there watching since it was a nasty section and I wasn’t the only casualty (although the worst). They picked me up and half carried me back to the pits. I couldn’t stand or walk.

Now, 2 days later, it still hurts like heck and I can’t bend it or put weight on it. My insurance doesn’t start for another 3 weeks so I am going to ice it and go easy (riding is out of the question) until my insurance is active. I may end up under the knife. :(

So I’m pretty bummed since I have not been riding well lately anyway. I feel like I’m not cut out for this. I feel like a wimp since it’s all happened since I got my KTM—is the bike too much for me? With a bike this great, I should do BETTER not WORSE. Now I can’t ride for at least a month if not more. We had a dunes trip planned, and there’s an enduro I wanted to do in 2 weeks, and I wanted to start riding during the week. Steve had some corner drills set up for me to help my cornering problems. I met some more gals to ride with. Now all of it will have to wait, and then we’ll be into nasty fall rainy weather. Why do I do this?
 

LoriKTM

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#2
Yikes! Sorry to hear about your knee, Sharla. Did that knee have a brace on it?? You should probably have it looked at right away, especially if you can't stand on it or walk on it. Then, if you need surgery maybe you can elect to have it done after your insurance kicks in. :(

Maybe you can take the time off to evaluate your bike. Did you get the suspension set up for your weight? Maybe think about adding a flywheel weight-- I did, and I think it's some of the best money spent. I have more confidence riding slippery nasty terrain-- the bike is easier to control, and has a lot less wheelspin.

It's not an easy road. Many, many times I've questioned my sanity in participating in the sport, especially on a full-sized bike. Every now and again though, you have one of those really good days that makes it all worthwhile.
 

firecracker22

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#3
I haven't had one of those days in a long, long time. I am tired of getting this frustrated with myself. Steve says I'm too hard on myself and that may be true but I just want to be GOOD at this and I'm not! I have been riding every possible day I can and don't feel like I've made any progress. I was feeling so good about riding before the Toasted and now I feel like I should give it up. My mom asked me why I did it and I couldn't tell her. I know another rider would understand and not even need to ask but I didn't have the words to explain.

No, that knee was not braced. Yes, I know I would now be okay if it were. I didn't have the extra cash to buy 2 so I just bought one for the knee that was already weak and easily injured. I have been lectured but no one seems to understand that when I get paid, I pay my bills, buy one thing for my bike be it parts or gear, and then have just enough left over to buy groceries and gas. I don't make enough $ to have any kind of a safety cushion. Smart? Heck, no. But you couldn't keep me from riding. I'll find a way.

As far as bike set up, I haven't bought a rear spring yet. It's next on the list (or was; next now is that second brace). I can only get so many things at a time and I refuse to put anything else on my charge account at the dealer. If I don't have "real" money I'm not buying it. I've been thinking about a flywheel weight, that may be next too. One thing at a time though. What do you think about your clutch? Have you done anything to it? I really don't like the stiff pull on mine.
 

SirThumper

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#4
Hey firecracker, I am with Steve on this one, I think you are being very hard on yourself. Everyone crashes, except 380EXCman:p . No really, everyone crashes.

Those of us that really push hard tend to crash a little bit more than those that kind of ride around ya know what I mean.

Just relax, The next time you ride, ( and you will ) just plan on going out to have fun, don't critique yourself or your every move just go out and have some fun for a change. I have seen you ride although not very much and you seem to ride alittle tense.

From what I have read of your ride reports, you do put alot of pressure on yourslef and you are very selfconscientious of your riding. In my opinion your concentrating to much on what you are doing wrong, try to relax, and just play on the bike.

Your to stuborn to give up riding and to quit trying so you can just throw that out the window:p

I hope your injury didn't do to much damage and you heal quickly. Don't wait to long to go to the Doc. It sounds exactly like my wife's injury and it healed quickly, the only thing is she gave up riding after that.:( There was no surgery required but she did have to wear a soft wrap around brace for a while.

I hope the best for ya.
 

XRpredator

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#5
Sucks that it was the "good" knee.:(

Buck up and choke down the Motrin (don't forget to eat a little something to go easy on the tummy).

If you worked for us you'd have insurance already . . .:think
 

endoquest

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#6
Like the other guys said, it's not the bike or the rider's fault, it's the off-camber turn with rootwads. Whatever you do, DON"T stop riding. I've heard rumors that once you stop riding your teeth fall out and you have to dwell in an "assisted living" environment. Also, once you've given into a sedentary lifestyle(watching television, playing golf, knitting and such), you begin to think about irrelevant concepts such as work and money and the future, all of which are much more painful than a twisted knee, eh? That's me two cents. BTW, I've got a nicely sacked out #1 KTM200 shock spring that might suite your fastidious requirements, I don't need it any more.

Oh yeah, here's some more advice: If you gargle with Maxima 927 and lemon juice, your knee will instantly stop hurting. Just kidding :)
 
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#7
Hey Firecracker,

I just happened to be a couple riders behind you when you took your spill.

OUCH!

I have to tell you...I thought you were going to pull it off :D

Don't be so hard on yourself. I watched a bunch of guys struggle with that section. It was a tricky. Besides I followed you for a bit earlier (back in the slippery stuff) and you were motoring right along. I know a few "expert" riders who spent their share of time picking up their bike. It was really slippery.

Being a California transplant I can tell you that the hardest thing to adjust to was riding ruts and mud. I think in all my years riding in CA I only rode in the mud twice. After nearly 4 years of racing here in WA I still HATE it ;)

Yea, slowly but surely I'm getting better at it but it takes time.

Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day:)

Hope your feeling better soon!
 

firecracker22

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#8
You really think I might have pulled that off? I still, thinking back, can’t imagine how I could have gotten down there without crashing. I was trying to stay to the outside but then the front end did its own thing. I think—I can’t remember much of that day! I felt like I was riding like a squid all day. I sat down way too much. Through that mud, I know there were places where I was riding too careful and that made me do one of my stupid tip-overs.

Ironmtn, I have to ask—I know I yelled “Sh$%!” when I fell, but did I make any other weird noises? I think I was laying there whimpering or something after I fell it hurt so bad but I don’t remember. It’s so embarrassing. I should have been tough and gotten up by myself but I couldn’t! I hate feeling like I look stupid laying there and making funny noises. Like getting the wind knocked out—last time I did that, I was all fetal and making gasping/grunting noises in front of a hot guy! Darn!

I’m just so disappointed with myself since my day started okay. I got a good start and passed a few gals and really thought I could do okay. So much for confidence. :think
 
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#9
Hey FC,

Did you make any weird noises? Naw...you could definitely tell you were in pain but I don't remember you even crying. That's pretty cool considering your a chick ;) You know how us guys hate to see a girl cry. Probably would have made me crash.

Relax...sh#t happens. All part of the learning curve. What did you learn from this? Hopefully it was to stand up on all downhills and carry a little more momentum through the turn. Oh and I'm sure the other one would be "knee braces good".

You know it's a tricky section when they have course workers stationed there. I'm glad Aaron was there to get you and your bike squared away.

Keep focused on the positive (good start, passed people) and you'll be back at it before you know it.

Hang in there!!
 

firecracker22

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#10
Yeah, Aaron and Eric and Brian were really cool. Later I wasn’t sure if it was Aaron or not since I saw him wearing a different shirt so I never got a chance to thank him. Brian (the guy who helped me walk back) was parked right by us and knows Steve so that was cool. I just really wanted to race! I haven’t raced in a couple months and I was really looking forward to it.

Problem is, Firecracker has a looonnng learning curve. I have crashed countless times from a.) not carrying enough momentum and b.) not standing up but I can’t seem to stop doing it! That’s what upsets me the most. I have these bad habits I can’t seem to get past. Steve has countless ideas on bike setup for me but I don’t like to blame my problems on my bike, it’s my riding skills that need work. But softer springs, maybe a flywheel weight, narrower bars, and a few other adjustments are certainly in order one of these days. After the other knee brace.
 
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#11
Hi Sharla! I am SO sorry to hear about your knee injury. :( Yes, I definitely think that you need to see a doctor, but if your medical insurance doesn't start until Sept. and you go see a doctor now, your new insurance may not cover it if they see it as a "pre-existing" condition. (Not sure, but maybe a doctor on DRN could verify this info. for you?)

No, your KTM is NOT too much for you! After all, it does have better suspension, better power, etc. You are still going through an adjustment period, I always do this. I hate my new bikes at first until I get used to them and have the bike properly set up for my weight & height, etc.

ironmtn_racing is right, Rome wasn't built in a day.

Now that you won't be riding for a while you should borrow, rent or buy every dirtbike learning video you can get your hands on & watch them during your recovery period. I once read an article on a scientific study about five athletes who physically practiced every day & five who only practiced in their minds. Both groups progressed at the same levels. I've never tried it, but I've been looking for a guinea pig to try it for me! :p

Keep us updated on your progress & I do hope the best for you!

Darla
 

firecracker22

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#12
Thanks, Darla. Although it still can't bend very far I can put more weight on it so I'm hopeful. It does throb if I'm on it for too long though.

Steve has a couple Gary Semics videos and books. I've been through one of the books a couple times already, so I might go up to his house and watch the videos (I don't have a TV at mine). That's a good idea.

I just didn't think it would take THIS long to adjust. It's been more than 3 months. :( Not that I was an A rider to start with!
 

XRpredator

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#13
Originally posted by firecracker22
I just didn't think it would take THIS long to adjust. It's been more than 3 months. :(
Cripes! I've been at it for 25 years, and I'm still slow! I have cut down on crashing, though, unless I push it too hard. I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm not gonna make a living at this, most everyone I ride with is faster than me, and I'm in it for fun! Last year was the first time I've ever taken home any hardware, but it was all worth it.

Just think, Airway Heights is gonna be a good place to get some confidence back (as long as it doesn't snow!:eek: )
 
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#14
Originally posted by firecracker22
I just didn't think it would take THIS long to adjust. It's been more than 3 months. :(
As soon as your finances allow, get your suspension dialed in for you by a professional shop--front & rear. It will definitely reduce the adjustment period and help you to become a better rider.
 
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#15
You sound like you are a good rider. But I agree with some of the others here lighten up a little. We ride for fun! I think if you put too much pressure on yourself it just ends up becoming a circle. You get frustrated because you are not riding like you want to and the makes you ride worse. Which makes you more frustrated... The results will come.

I have always thought "I get enough stress at work, riding is supposed to be fun." I agree maybe you should watch those training videos while you are out but maybe on your first couple rides when you heal you should take some nice trail rides instead of competing right away and remember why you started riding in the firs place.

(Sorry about the book.... lol)