It was an early morning; up at 6 and on the road by 6:30. We get there shortly after 8:30 and were ready to go for the 10 am start by rider’s meeting. I was minute 24B, so at 10:24 I set out into the Ganaraska forest (Yes, that is where they found the plane earlier this week; no, we didn’t get anywhere near the crash site).
It’s a beautiful trail. I think I was too cold, too wet and too miserable already in October when I rode the Great Pine to notice, but the weather cleared up and it ended up being an absolutely perfect day to ride. The rain on Saturday was just enough to keep the dust down, but not enough to make things too muddy.
I think I dropped about 9 minutes in the first test, but their scoring was a little weird, so you couldn’t quite calculate how much you dropped on the side of the trail. I know I lost time crashing right off the start of the test, about two turns in. Loose sand is not my friend. I went down, and when I rolled onto my back to slide out from under my machine, a stick jabbed me in the back. Not a bad injury, just annoying more than anything. I spent the rest of the day itching like mad!
Test two went much better - I passed one of the girls in my class, only to find out later she had run out of gas. (Side note: Test two is BEFORE the gas stop; perhaps for the smaller bikes the rules could be changed to have a small amount of fuel at each test, just a few litres; the girl I spent most of the day riding with was on fumes by the time she finished the second test, and if she hadn’t borrowed some from the time crew, wouldn’t even have made it to gas. My 125 was fine; I still had a third of a tank left at the end of the day.)
I got worried when I heard a thunderous amount of people behind me, so I screamed for Dee, my riding partner for the day, to get over. John Nelson, Wojo, Craig Kennedy, Scott Bowes , Riley Jones and a few bikes I didn’t recognize come screaming past us and all of a sudden I am very confused, and so is Rachael, but you follow the arrows, and NEVER go backwards on the course. Ever. So we kept going. Turns out the section of trail we were on was used twice, once in the morning (us) and once in the afternoon, to get riders to the gas stop and then back to the pits.
We made it to the gas stop with borrowed fuel, and then headed back to the pits. Half way there I hear a sound, pretty far back, but coming in pretty hot, and move over and stop. I hadn’t pulled over and stopped the whole day, but instinct served me right. I was heading into a tight section, or at least tight for me, with CK and Wojo coming in behind me. Holding up someone I don’t know without knowing it is one thing, holding up someone I know when I know they’re coming... Not quite the same.
But, shortly after they passed me, we dropped out into the pits and my day was done. Three hours later the results showed I had finished 2nd, behind my riding partner Dee.
There are some people I didn’t get a chance to thank yesterday. John and Mark at Machine Racing and LGS - my bike worked awesome. I saw a lot of people struggling with some of the roots and the rockier sections, my bike just soaked up almost everything. Swampy wasn’t there, but he does help me out every week, getting me out and riding, and working with me on the basics, which isn’t the easiest thing since I’m pretty stubborn. A big thanks to Connor Brogan, as well, for helping me push my bike through a rough section of transfer were I got stuck.
Finally, I don’t know your name, but you ride a two stroke Husaberg and you were stuck behind me during the first test. We were about to go down a pretty rocky downhill, with some big boulders I was a little concerned about, especially knowing I was holding you up. You very calmly said “You’re okay. Don’t worry.” and really, it made the difference. Thank you.
Also, big thank you to all of the volunteers who ran gas, ran checks, did time keeping, arrowed, swept and helped put on the event. It was an amazing day in the Ganny for a race.
Maybe next week I can get that win.