Monday, June 23, 2008

Hare Scramble

They look dorky but I was glad I had these on!
My bike got a little muddy...
wet, muddy, sweaty and tired, not a good look for me:(

Ok I know I have been making fun of my brother for getting into woods riding, not because I don't like woods riding, mostly because you always make fun of what you don't know. Well that and his gas tank looks REALLY stupid. But since he shattered his femur a few years ago, taking two years to recover he has been a little reluctant to jump again. And while he finally started jumping and riding a motocross track fast again, in the mean time he found a love for riding in the woods, where there are no jumps. And he finally put to use the 74 acres in our back yard that besides a mile long sandy whooped out motocross track is mostly woods. Right now we have a trail system that takes about 9 minutes if you ride the entire track with it, but he keeps adding more everyday. After riding it a couple of times, and getting a camel back and bark busters he finally convinced me to go to a hare scramble with him.

We both signed up for the Z class which is the next class down from expert, and runs for 2 hours. Now we are both super competitive, though I think he is more competitive when it comes to me than anyone else. He has been finishing 2nd most of the time this year behind a guy that catches up and passes all of the expert guys from a minute back. Sandbagger. Anyways I knew my brother was going to beat me going into the race, I never get to ride woods and there wasn't any motocross on this particular track, 9 miles of straight woods. But it sure didn't stop me from trying.

We started dead engine with a flag. Terry being on a 250 two stroke definitely had the advantage, and it seemed so did every body else because I only beat like two people. Somehow I got behind my brother and followed him through the first set of woods, I had no idea what I was doing I just know I hated having to ride as slow as the people in front of me and found a sweet cheater line to get around him and the guy in front of him. The great thing about woods is what would be cheating in moto isn't cheating in a hare scramble. The trails were very hard to pass on and the first lap (which took just over a half an hour) I was screaming and yelling at the slow guys to move over, especially the guys who weren't even in my class. Of course non of them even listened, however later in the race when I was getting lapped I made sure to stay out of the way. You know the whole treat others as you wish to be treated thing that I thought EVERYONE had to learn in first grade but I guess not. Anyways I was able to get around some guys and when we came through the check point the first lap my dad was going crazy jumping up and down because I was in 2nd and Terry right behind me in 3rd. We were keeping a pretty good pace and I thought we were going to keep it up the entire race...boy was I wrong!

The first lap we went through it was a little bit muddy but not bad. It has been raining pretty much non stop for the last two weeks though so the mud holes had no bottom to them and with each bike that went through they just got deeper and deeper. I was caught behind a slower rider in a different class who just refused to let me by so when I saw the mud hole up a head I jumped at the opportunity to take a different line and blow by him. Except I didn't know the line I took was up to my gas tank and ran straight into tree roots that were up past my front tire. I was buried. Coming from a moto back ground my first reaction was to get all frustrated and scream and look around for someone to help me. Except I was in the middle of the woods and the only people around were other riders who sure weren't going to stop for me, not even Terry who later told me he laughed when he saw me sitting there. So i realized the only thing I could do was to calm down and get my bike out myself. I surprised myself at being stronger than I had thought when I got my bike out of the first hole. Unfortunately though my gloves were soaking wet and my hands kept falling off the handlebars from there on out. I was so tempted to throw them off but all I could think was the blisters I would get and how I have to race in Colorado next weekend. So they stayed on my hands, but not on my bars.

The track (or trail or loop or whatever you want to call it) had changed drastically from the first lap and while I didn't get stuck in every mud hole, I did get stuck in quite a few. When I had to pull over for gas (I might wear a camel back but I still refuse to use a big tank!) I chatted with my dad a little while, I really was in no hurry I had already spent so much time digging my bike out. The last lap was the worst of them all, so many spots were impassable. People waiting for other people to dig their bikes out just so they could take their turn to get stuck (I wasn't the only one!) By the end some guys were actually helping me, and I later gave my jersey to one of the boys who stopped to help. Other guys would just call out to me "come on Sarah" as they went by me. I was super bummed when I showed up at the riders meeting and people right away knew who I was. I knew I wasn't going to be that great and having people recognize me while I'm stuck in the mud has got to be one of the most embarrassing moments ever. Not to mention frustrating. To make matters worse it started raining on the last lap so not only was I tired, sweaty and muddy but now I was wet and cold too. I have never been so happy to see the checkered flag as I was yesterday and lean my bike up against a tree. After pulling it out of the mud so much there was no way I could lift it on the stand.

Even though I was pretty much hating life the 2nd half of the race it was one of those things that afterwards you are happy you did it. Sore and tired my brother and I had a whole bunch to talk about on the way home. I was bragging about the sweet pass I made on him and all he did was grab his trophy (he ended up sixth after getting stuck several times, and I ended up a miserable 12th) and stick it in my face. We may get along better than when we were kids but you can still tell we are brother and sister. He told me he was laughing at me when I got stuck in the mud the first time. Then later he told me he liked another one of my cheater lines on the first lap. Three guys were piled up after one guy crashed in a tight turn so I just banzaied through the woods. I replied "oh you saw that? I was hoping you got stuck behind them. Hahaha.

Though it was miserable at the time every one I met told me not to be discouraged because it wasn't a typical hare scramble and they aren't normally that bad. I think I might try another. If anything its always good practice for Steel City. It's always muddy there! :)


P Arrow said...

Love the mud face picture Sarah. Your stories always crack me up. Can't wait for the next one. You're the coolest!!!!

Anonymous said...

welcome the the world of hare scrambles! reading the terain and picking the right line are just as important as going fast, it just takes a lot of practice. Sound's like you did great for your first time.

Anonymous said...

did you have fun ??????



Elvis McCoy said...


I met Davey Combs of Racer X in PA. He came to follow my band through West virginia and a maximum security prison. I was checking his web site out and came across the blog links, found yours and see that you are from Northern MI. So are my family and I. My daughters are 13 and 11 and are looking to start trail riding in the Kalkaska/Grayling area. What's the best way for a dad who knows nothing about dirt bikes to get his kids involved. Camps? Clinics? I figured with you being from the area, you might be able to give my girls some direction.

Thanks - Elvis McCoy

sidney hauser said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Good luck getting the wma championship! Good job getting 5th at washougal,it was alot more fun watching you race than stewart. I wish i could ride that fast, but i cant, so i build bikes that go that fast and remain reliable. "Everyone is given a gift. To find that gift takes effort but to master it takes determination" -Matthew Olsen.