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Do you want to know the least motivating thing in motocross? Loading your bike up in 30+ degree heat around 1:30 pm to go to the same blown out sand track that you have been to 3 days in a row and not 1 drop of rain has hit the ground in a week. Oh not to mention no one wants to join you because it’s so rough and gnarly that even the most positive minds can’t see any fun out of it. You just hope to God that you’re feeling the Moto and get into a good flow as quickly as possible or you’re doomed.
This was my Wednesday. Luckily I found the perfect song to pump me up just as I was buckling up my boots and I found my flow early linking together one of my best rides out there to date. You don’t have to bust your ass out in the sand tracks to do well at Gophers but it can’t hurt getting your body ready for what’s to come. Gopher is fun in practice, it becomes work very quickly. You have to be mentally and physically 100% ready to have a good race there because your body and mind are telling you to give up 15min into each race.
I have had every level of a race at the Dunes from absolutely sucking balls to winning in both classes so it’s hard to tell whether or not it’s a good track for me or just a good day. This year I feel as ready as I possibly could be. I’ve been working on technique a lot, putting in hard days, and I really want to get that feeling again when I won there in 2008. There is something to be said for conquering the hardest race of the year. Kyle Keast and I had an epic battle that day and we were a minute and a half ahead of third place by the finish. It didn’t feel any different than the effort I had been putting out all season and that is how it’s supposed to feel when you’re flowing on a sand track. In 2003 when I was an intermediate and it was the only a provincial that I got beat at straight up so as a kid I never liked going there because people who you don’t really race with can surprise you and actually kick your ass. It’s usually the kickoff to the humid weather as well during the summer. I remember a couple years ago it was 42 degrees and I had a Popsicle on the way to the line and it had melted before I got there. That was borderline dangerous though. I don’t believe we will be dealing with that kind of heat this weekend judging by the forecast but it’s still going to feel hot with the effort needed just to get around the track.
It’s always nice to see a few new faces racing too as the east coast has pretty good turnouts along with extra American’s who only want to do a few races up North. I also hope that there are some guys showing up for the MX2 class as the last round in Regina saw a few top guys out of the picture. Unfortunately, we got teased with a few rounds of unreal racing so the expectations are high but I’m almost positive that it will be back up to snuff.
Another cool thing about the dunes is trying to sort out the handling of your bike. You have just spent the first 4 rounds dialing in the bike to work good in ruts and harder pact tracks and now it’s tough to change stuff around since you feel like the bike is working good. That’s how it feels for me anyways, I like to stick with a setup once I’m comfortable because it seems more predictable and you aren’t questioning if it’s a bike change that’s making the bike do something out of the ordinary. Nothing is worse than chasing your tail with bike set up. For me, I’m starting off with 2 clicks stiffer on compression in the forks and lowering them almost 5mm in the clamps to keep the front end higher. I’m Not touching the rebound in either the forks or the shock. I’m going 2 clicks stiffer in the shock as well and running 112mm in sag. This is all that I’m starting with as this is the changes I made on my practice bike at home for the sand that felt comfortable and predictable. Of course, that’s not to say that I won’t be changing it but it more than likely will be what I end up on. I’m not changing gearing or anything else. I have 2 options for Holeshot device heights and judging by the practice starts at home I’m likely going with the taller of the 2. It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve been on the race bike so Friday I’m going to take it out for a spin at a local track near gopher to get the feel back. Then it’s business as usual and time to get to work. That’s all I have for this week so until next time, get out there and hang off the rear fender.