After taking an epic whoopin’ in northern Kentucky at IXCR Whiskey River, I laced up the running shoes, added 2 teeth to Jerri’s rear sprocket, changed the oil and coolant and got back in the ring for another round:
Apparently, I finished 19th in “Class D open” (Novice) back in July at “Whiskey River”; after breaking in a new set of running shoes and hitting the local trails hard on the Honda, the “TooFatty” and I laid down lap times sufficient to finish 8th at John Vincent last weekend (again Class D). Some of the crashes in this round were pretty epic; that opening “ejection” was probably the worst crash I’ve had off-road to date (pavement is a whole other story). That said, it felt good to finish a race with gas to do another lap. Maybe I should have ridden harder?
It’s amazing what racing will do to highlight shortcomings in your riding skills. From the first race, I knew I was way too winded and spent way too much time in the saddle. Prepping for this round I spent as much time riding hard while standing as possible. That’s something I still need to work on, but it’s clear other problems are now taking the forefront to improve lap times. I.e. I love tight technical sections, but if I want to move up a class I really need to master that whole stand-sit-pivot-throttle thing that the fast guys appear to do (“how” is something I have yet to figure out).
My own “self-assessment” aside, I can’t recommend cross country racing, or even trail riding enough. If you’re looking to improve your riding skills (on or off road), it’s amazing what you can learn from watching others, and deliberately putting yourself in new, challenging situations. Compared to Whiskey River, I obviously “banged bars” a little more this round, but the stuff that was “left on the cutting room floor” tells the story of how “family-friendly” the whole IXCR experience really is. Other riders pulled over to let me pass; I obviously returned the favor as often as possible (that’s much less entertaining on YouTube). That “epic ejection” was actually me trying to thread the needle to make room for the fast guys to get around… it didn’t work out quite how I planned it. Lots of people see images of supercross and pro motocross racing and say “no way”, but I’m here to tell you, it’s worth the $50 to come out to an IXCR event and just sign up for the last row and “trail ride” the event. Other riders and even spectators are going to help you get your bike around the track. As much as I like to go out and “ride hard”, I still have to be at work on Monday, and I suspect that’s the case for the majority of the field. My buddy Jeff got the bug from my last video and came out to join me this round. If you ask him, I’m sure he’ll tell you it’s some of the most fun he’s ever had on a bike. I’m sure he was pretty wasted after his first round, but just like me in July, the fuse was lit for the next round. If you’re able, I can’t wait to see you out on the starting line; regardless of how everyone finishes, it’s great to experience the same challenges with friends.