For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’
Yes, I just quoted Bob Dylan.
I’ve been reflecting back thinking about how much things have changed so far this year. Racing wise I kind of started out strong this year. New years weekend I raced the ironman class at the Battle of Atlanta 8 Hour Team Race. Then I raced the super muddy Broxton Bridge Enduro, Sumter National Enduro and a couple of other races. Come March I had decided that I wanted to do a few more GNCCs than normal this year.
I missed out on the Florida round but headed down to Georgia the Thursday before the race, hung out with the Norton family (thanks again for always having me!) did some riding Friday and raced Sunday. How did that go? Not too good. I raced Sportsman B, got a ok start, then all the 450s totally killed me in the field sections. About a mile in I dropped the bike trying to get around some guy and messed up the shifter, then a few miles later I had one of the hardest crashes I’ve ever had in a race. When I picked the bike up, the handlebars were twisted completely down and I rode a good 7 miles Scott Summers style (except a lot lot lot slower) with my elbows tucked in. I got back around to our pit then stopped to fix the bars. After fiddling with those for a while I finally got going again. Then nearing the end of my second lap, my silencer fell off. That totally took the wind out of my sails so I just quit while I was ahead. Plus I had a pretty good headache from the first lap crash and I just couldn’t take it anymore. Later I realized that when I crashed on the first lap, I went down hard enough to bend the point where the pipe connects to the silencer, and eventually it all worked itself loose.
When Steele Creek rolled around a few weeks later I hadn’t even touched my bike after Georgia, so I went on up Sunday morning and shot video. It started off normal enough with me hanging out and bsing with my friends during the mini and morning races. When the afternoon race started, so did the rain. The slow rain fall for 90% of the race made for a pretty miserable time, but I made the best of it. I also kept myself entertained even when I wasn’t shooting video. How did I do that? Well, let’s just say that Charkie Huegel and Tyler Hampton got some crude drawings on a pitboard. Once I gave up the hijinks and started shooting video again I managed to hike out to one of the nastier hillclimbs. I just kind of hungout there for a while because it kept a lot of the rain off of me since it was in some thick woods, and also it was good footage of these guys struggling to make the hill. Out there I ran into Charkie again, this time he stopped to hand off his goggles but that proved to be a challenge. They had somehow got wrapped around his handguard in a weird fashion and we were both there in the middle of the track fumbling to get them off. Finally we got them off the bars and Charkie was back in the race. I threw them around my neck and headed back to the parking lot for the finish… The one that never came. They called it mid-race since everyone was stuck on some nasty hill. After standing around in the rain all day I was finally ready to go home. I took Charkie his goggles back, talked a bit, walked back to my truck, changed my clothes and started my 2 hour drive home.
Next race was Big Buck. Once again I was planning on racing Sportsman B, but as I washed my bike I checked out my chain and sprockets. They were totally trashed. I didn’t feel like spending over $100 just to get ready for one race, so I decided once again to head down and just do video. Saturday afternoon rolls around and I was off to make the drive to Union, South Carolina. Saturday I was hanging out with my buddy Trevor in the sign up line, when we got up to the front of the line I was talking to several people then recognized Rachel Fluharty. I had talked to Rachel on Facebook and stuff and she even proof read my old website for me, so I finally introduced myself in person. She also introduced me to Hannah Reid. That was a good day, I always like meeting new people, so I was pretty excited about that. Sunday morning rolled around and again started out normal enough. After the mini race started I decided I wanted to do some ‘extreme’ mountain bike riding, so I took off full speed down towards the creek jump. I knew the kids weren’t coming through there, therefore I could ride pretty fast and wouldn’t have to worry about running people over. I came down way too fast and locked up the brakes for the turn near the bottom, somehow my front end washed out and I went down really hard. Luckily my face broke my fall. I got up, brushed myself off, made sure I didn’t break anything, took the mountain bike back and parked it at my truck. Once the Afternoon race started, I walked down to the creek jump to get some good video shots. After the creek jump and the smaller one near it, I walked backwards up the track shooting more video. I ended up walking a really long way and for the first time ever I actually felt really lost out in the woods. I actually got worried for a minute because I hadn’t seen any other spectators in a while and thought I might be going away from the parking lot, however, I analyzed the situation, my natural sense of direction kicked in, and I got out. Ok, the truth is I just used my sense of direction to get me out. I didn’t go back in the woods the rest of the day.
When Loretta’s rolled around, I was all set to ride out with Rob and Charkie. What happened? Well, I didn’t get off work until like 5pm, so I missed out. Oh well.
Next race was Yadkinville. Perfect. I love that track because, well, it’s only about 45 minutes from my house. I didn’t even consider racing this one because, well, I didn’t want to spend the money that weekend. I had been pretty content just shooting video thus far, so I went for it again. Yadkinville was the site of the Offroad Junkies Talk Show. Well, I didn’t get to the track until after 6pm, so I missed the majority of it but still managed to catch the last bit of it. The edited version of it was great. If you haven’t seen it, head over to www.offroadjunkies.com and look it up. After the show was done, Charkie, Mark Fortner and I headed back into Yadkinville. We actually ended up eating at this little pizza buffet place. I had drove by that place dozens of times going to Center Road Motocross but never ate there. It was pretty good. When we got back to the track, the Motorcycle USA Karaoke Party was going on. I grabbed my camera and viewed this as an opportunity to get some good footage of all sorts of crazy stuff. That’s exactly what I got. That’s also where Hannah Reid introduced Charkie and I to Rodney Tomblin. For those of you who may not know, Rodney is the announcer guy at the GNCC’s, he’s the man. (you’re welcome Rodney). We all hit it off pretty good because we’re all pretty cool. Just sayin. Once again, Sunday started off normal enough. However, I spent the mini race walking around with Rob Beacham from Passion4Dirt and we definitely put in some walking. Now, I’ve been to the Yadkinville track many times, and thought I knew my way around pretty good. What I didn’t realize is, I know my way around well when I’m racing. We ended up walking and walking and walking. Eventually we made our way back not long before the Morning race started. I had started wearing myself out already! After that I just kind of chilled out during the morning race. Before the start of the Afternoon race, I was hanging out by where Charkie and I were parked and got some more cool footage of some guys warming up. I actually got a shot of Paul Whibley taking a piss in the bushes. I spent the majority of the Afternoon race out walking around the woods, getting everything I could. For once, my time walking around shooting video was pretty uneventful. Good.
I missed out on the Pennsylvania round because I raced a 8 Hour team race in Georgia that weekend. For the record, we got 3rd in 250 Expert. Just sayin’.
I decided to ride to the John Penton with Charkie, Rob and Dan. We left out from Greensboro late Saturday afternoon and made it to Athens, Ohio around 11 or so. We managed to find a Holiday Inn Express. They wanted $168 for a room! We said bump that and headed down the road. We found some janky little hotel for $100. I say that was about $99 too much, but what do I know. Luckily we didn’t get bed bugs, or murdered or anything so Sunday morning we were off. We stopped off at a Kroger and Charkie went inside rocking his chest protector. I just wanted to mention that because it was totally awesome. Once we got to the track we spent a while looking for a place to park. The whole place was pretty muddy, so I knew we were in for a treat. This was also my first time in Ohio, so it was kind of like a new experience for me with the different soil. After the mini race was over, the bottom opened up and it poured down rain for a while. I made a smart move and bought a Moose rain jacket. I had been meaning to do that for a while, but had just then got around to it. It was worth it. Kind of. It stopped raining about 15 minutes after I bought it. Oh well. Once the rain started, there was a lot of talk about what they were going to do for the race. For a while it was thought that they would combine both Morning and Afternoon races into one 2 hour race. Eventually they decided to run two races on shortened time. I was hanging out down on the start and got a killer video into from Rodney and Hannah. It definitely made the video that much more interesting. Once the race was underway Rob and I both set up at the ‘mulch pile’ and both got shots there, then worked our way out towards the woods. I ended up climbing up into the woods a bit and walking backwards up the track trying to get all the shots I could. It ended up being kind of hard to tell who was who, especially when looking through a camera. After spending a while slipping and sliding around out in the woods, I headed back and just sat down until the finish.
Snowshoe. Wow. As I’m writing this, Snowshoe was the most recent one, and hands down was my most favorite race I’ve been to in a long time. Yes, it was a pain in the you know what to shoot but as a whole it was great. With everything from karaoke to meeting even more new people to the rugged racing, it was a total blast. I hung out with Rodney for a while Saturday evening and we shared some stories and had a good time. Oh year and I can’t forget Hannah randomly coming on over the radio. She didn’t know it was on. We had some fun with that one. Especially riding down to sign up and playing it back to her. Afterwards I hung out with Hannah for a while. Hannah and Rodney both introduced me to a ton of people Saturday evening. I actually can’t remember a lot of them because I kind of got overwhelmed with names, but it was still a blast. I also can’t thank Hannah enough for showing me a good time and giving me a cool new story to work on. Stay tuned for that. After what had already seemed like a full weekend, Sunday rolled around, and… Well, you guessed it, started off normal enough. During the morning race Charkie caught up on some Offroad Junkies interviews. I made a cameo in the Glenn Kearney interview, so stay tuned for that. Charkie’s dad was kind enough to let Rob and I borrow his scooter so we could get around a little easier. After the start of the Afternoon race we both hoped on and headed up to the “Top of the World” and got some footage of the long hill climb there. We headed back down to the main part of the resort, then worked our way down the mountain. Since the track was so long and spread out we had a hard time telling what was part of the track. We walked and walked and walked, then eventually we found the leaders. Well, it was more like they found us. After a while in one section we walked across the ski slopes to another section of track and waited for a while, walked a little further and finally found other spectators. We asked them about the section they were at and we were told the leaders probably weren’t too far out. So we waited a few minutes and it paid off. We got some good footage, then headed straight through the woods to the next section. After finding a nice mudhole and shooting there for a while, we worked out way to the bottom of the mountain and took the ski lift back up. I went ahead and took the scooter back, and headed back over for the finish. I finally got to sit down for a while before it was over. Once it was over I headed over the the podium, got my footage there, chatted a while before leaving, and that was it. Seemed like a quick ending to such a great weekend.
So that’s it for the first part of the year. This has been the first year I’ve been to this many GNCC events in one year, and I can definitely say that even though I’ve only been shooting video, it’s been the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I would really enjoy following the series full time. Heck, I’d LOVE to have a job working with the series (At Snowshoe I actually had a guy I know tell me I need a job like that). Who knows what the rest of the year will hold but if it’s like what it has been thus far, then I’m pumped to see how things will go.