Brought to you by
We are back! After a couple weeks off with the ISDE race I am now home, recovered and in my comfy typing chair. What a crazy couple of weeks it has been though, this race is something else.
Fortunately, Honda helped Nathan Bles and me out with the bike rentals because I feel like if it was up to me to get the bike set up with lights, Kickstand license plate etc. it would have been a complete disaster. It was nice to throw my bars, grips, a seat on and just go. It definitely didn’t compare to my fire breathing Bondi CRF450, so it took a little time to figure out the best time to shift, where to weight the bike in the turns and get used to the Magura hydraulic clutch lever set up the bike had. The air box was really closed off to which made the power slightly muffled even to a stock bike for longevity purposes as the silty-dust would try its damnedest to sneak into the motor. Also, we had to use FIM approved tires that pretty much everyone has to use that were not the MX31 Dunlop’s that I’m used to running all year long. I was thinking, “Ah, I won’t need to change tires every day. A brand new set should last,” but as I discovered in the 4th test 5 hours into the day, in 44-degree heat, I found out pretty quickly how fast the tires would go away.
I didn’t think that we would be spending so much time riding on the roads and it’s not like you can take in easy on them when you’re cruising at 90km/h just to make it to the time checks in enough time to feed yourself. As the days went on I found myself figuring everything out more and more (with the help of all the Team Canada members) and getting more comfortable with the bike as well my body was getting used to the long days in the saddle, so mornings 4-6 were not near as bad as morning 2-3. Basically you trail ride with a couple people all day who are on the same start time as you and along the way you do these special tests which are basically small Time Trial races that take anywhere from 6 to 11 minutes to complete and there are 5 per day which adds up your score overall along with any penalties you may receive for not starting on your exact time be it late or early. The tests feel like qualifying at the nationals when you are trying to put down a heater lap, only it lasts 3 or 4 times as long. All of the off road stuff I have done before this event has been hare scrambles so I had to figure out the Enduro thing pretty quickly. It’s almost the same thing as a mountain bike Enduro except they have a whack load of traditional rules as the race is over 100 years old. The atmosphere was really good around the whole event, the city really got into it. We were in a parade to introduce all of the countries that walked downtown. They had a huge TV truck, trials demo, and the whole meal deal.
Nathan and I were playing practical jokes on each other throughout the week, the best one was as follows. He was getting Justin Rooney to cut maple leafs out of a red background for his all white helmet that he had bought since Air Transit somehow lost his bags on a direct flight. While he was in the shower I cut out a dick and stuck it on the side to see how long it would last, he obviously noticed it immediately. We got a chuckle out of it then went to bed. The next day when it was time to go to the opening ceremony parade, keep in mind this is in the late afternoon, the whole team is gathering chatting waiting for it to start; everyone is taking pictures and snap chats etc. As we start the parade I’m holding up my phone taking video with my arm fully extended straight up (there are thousands of people and all the teams/riders) Nathan kindly says he can’t handle it anymore and points out the big red dick he peeled of his lid and put on the backside of my phone that had been on all day flaunting around for everyone to see: Touché. I felt less guilty about farting in the car after that when it was just him and I.
I was really pissed when I had to change my radiator in the ten minute work period and ended up losing 4 minutes (better safe than sorry though) I had my dad there guiding me through the work and it caught a couple of the team members off guard when we started yelling at each other with F-Bombs like lunatics when I started to panic about losing time. It was the turning point in my race though because after that my times were dropping into the top 5 and even top 3 overall. The next day was even better topping the times in one test and getting second in another. Coming into the last day it was a motocross race so I was excited for that got a 4th place start, worked my way into the lead with two laps to go and ended my six days with a win.
For anyone to complete this event is an accomplishment in itself. Team Canada had a lot of first timers this year who all rode very well. Madi Watt had the worst of it though crashing hard on the first day and had to spend most of the 6 days in ICU with some internal injuries but from what I hear she is on the mend now and hopefully gets to come back to Canada soon! Nathan had some bad luck on day 4 breaking the frame on his bike from a small case on a little step-down, the big guy may have needed a bit stiffer suspension but I’m sure he is going to want to get revenge on this race next year. Shelby Turner and Phill Chaine were the vets and it showed with how well they do at these races. It’s ridiculously impressive how good they are at doing work on the bikes. Phil can change both tires, do an air filter, bleed the forks and still have time for a beer in the 15 minutes that you’re allowed to work on the bike. This is the area where I need improvement.
Just as quickly as it came it’s over and we are now onto the next challenge in getting ready for MXON. I have to go get my bike ready so that’s all I have for this week. Until next time, get out there and put in a heater!