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Offline SteveD

Joey and Kobus made me do it
« on: June 12, 2016, 11:34:36 pm »
I blame it on Joey Evans and Kobus Potgieter.
They don't know it, yet, but they unknowingly conspired to make this happen.

It started when Joey, or somebody linked to Joey, liked a page on Facebook with a link to a Mini-Enduro event to be hosted by EnduroWorld at Wild West.
"...a good opportunity to implement new skills and get advice between heats. Our objective is to teach riders basic and valuable skills from early on in their riding career, increasing safety, etiquette, techniques, confidence etc. This new series is aimed at Juniors, Novices and Lady riders to provide skills coaching and the opportunity to race in a safe and fun environment. The day starts off with an hour of coaching by experienced riders, followed by heat races on a short enduro track."
That sounded like a really good idea. Somebody should go and enter that.

Shortly afterwards, Kobus, or somebody linked to Kobus, can't remember exactly who, posted a picture of him racing at Dakar, with the quote "I'd rather be racing for one minute than spectating for a lifetime"
So I am the eternal spectator, nuts about bikes but not exactly blessed with natural ability. Actually, not much ability at all. But that Mini-Enduro thing mos said they catered for basic skills, novices, short track etc etc, and just one minute, it's not that long, you know.....

And so it began.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2016, 12:52:27 am »
There were a few hurdles to overcome. Bike, gear, necessary kit, medical cover, permission from SWAMBO.

The bike
I have a few bikes, but only one real candidate. Some know her at the QuarryMobile, an old circa 1995 XLR250 dual-pupose kannie-breek-nie.

Genuine, this thing can't break. Kick start only, no happy button. How I would regret that later.....
First hurdle passed, I have a bike. I had to remove the mirrors and "tape the lights", which I guessed (I think correctly?) was something like insulation tape over breakable lenses which could leave sharp bits on the track.

The gear
The second hurdle was gear. I am not exactly a late model specimen, I am more of a classic, leaning towards vintage. As one of my ex-friends put it - "You need to stop injuring yourself. They don't carry spares for old models like you anymore." Nice. But true..
Fortunately this has been evident for a while, so I am a strong believer in ATTGAT. All the Gear But No Idea describes me fairly well.
I was with Teapot when he moered over in a sandpit and broke his ankle quite spectacularly wearing Adventure-style boots. No Adventure boots, MX-style boots it will be. Check.
I ride off road with knee braces. Knee ops suck, one is enough, so knee braces it will be. Check.
The only candidate pants I have are Klim Dakars. Very lekker for dirt road touring, not so sure about mini-enduros, but its what I have.
I ride off roads with an Alpinestars armoured jacket. Referring back to the bit about no spare parts for old folk like me, I decided that the armour goes in.
I was a bit undecided about what to wear over the armour. Generally I wear an adventure-style jacket over it, but that is a bit hot. I was unsure, so I took along that jacket plus a MX-style jersey. I ended up wearing the MX jersey.
Klim Dakar gloves, because I like them, my Desert Fox helmet - lekker helmet, for a reasonable price - and I was good to go.
Gear sorted.

The kit
The helpful people at Enduro World provided me with a list of requirements. The First Aid kit, Medical Board, a 2.5kg fire extinguisher and an Enviro mat were all that was missing.
The First Aid kit required was the MSA default, which is the same as what is required at Amageza. Other than the "Neat Seal type" plaster, nobody knows what that is, it is pretty simple, and I had most of it in the kit that I have in my Camelbak already. A quick trip to the chemist to get a triangular bandage and burn ointment, and I was good to go.
I made a medical board by printing a green OK and a red cross on an A4 piece of paper. Maybe not ideal, next time I am in Flying Brick I will get a decent one.
I have only a 1kg fire extinguisher, but no refuelling would be required, so I took only that one.
An Enviro Mat was sourced quickly from Full Throttle.
Kit sorted.

The medical aid
Medical cover was interesting. My medical aid were not exactly forthcoming with whether or not they covered me entering an actual race. And I wanted it in writing, please. It took the best part of a week, but they came through.
Medical cover sorted.

The Ice Age cometh
Getting permission from SWAMBO made the last ice age look like a mild autumn afternoon.
But she relented. Special lady that, don't know what she sees in me.

And so I found myself loading up my bike early on Saturday morning, heading off towards Wild West, and an uncertain future.....
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2016, 12:59:40 am »
I felt a bit out of place. There were kids all over the show, tiny kids on little bikes, with parents looking on admiringly. And me. Not exactly a kid.
I went and introduced myself to the people at the entry table. Incredibly friendly, all of them. I have met Gary Franks and his wife Lynne before, as I am sure many people have, and nicer people you'll battle to find. And Denise, who was so patient answering all my queries. Gary promised not to break me, Denise assured me that he wouldn't, and I was entered in the green Novice class. No going back now.

The day started with Gary gathering all of the riders together and doing a bit of an info/training session. I think it's a great idea. He chatted a bit, then we did some exercises loading the outside peg doing figure eights, then some more chatting, then a rather intimidating session watching other people do pivot turns while I yanked on handelbars and stalled my bike repeatedly. I need to learn how to do that. I wasn't the only one battling, and Gary and his crew were very helpful and supportive.



After about an hour, we were lined up per class. There were to be two "races", each with a couple of classes departing at around 30 second intervals. I was in the second race, with the first race being the younger of the young kids. The ones with around the same number of years than I have decades, those ones.



Gary lined them up, which took a while, then set them off. The course was just a few kilometres long, around three, I think they said?, and they expected the riders to do the two laps in between 7 and 10 minutes. The first few riders came around after about the expected time, and I was pleased to see that the speed didn't look massive. I am snot stadig, and was fairly sure of embarrassing myself by being slower than most if not all of the other riders. Maybe the embarrassment wasn't going to be quite that bad...

The last kiddies took a while to finish, some of them sukkled a bit. Parents and sweepers went off to fetch them, with all cheering wildly as the little ones came in one by one. Really cute, they are pretty much just helmet and boots.

The last one was guided in, and it was our turn. Our green novice group was to be the second group. That's me lining up at the back, feeling just a touch apprehensive.


The first lot were set off, and we lined up. Here goes nothing, but I was about to get my one minute of racing.
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2016, 01:16:54 am »
The start was with engines running, appreciated for those of us with kick-start only. Hands on helmet, Reach-for-the-sky, rather like the baddies in Western movies. My future felt as uncertain as the baddies.

The flag went up, the hands went up.
The flag dropped, and I went from spectator to racer.


The start was slower than I expected. One or two riders were off quickly, the rest not so much. I was fairly convinced I was going to be the slowest rider, so I hang back a bit. Not that auspicious a start to my racing career, but Iannone I am not.

The track started on grass, then dropped into a single track through some trees. One of the riders ahead of me clipped a tree with his handlebars and went down, blocking the path. Not much choice other than to wait, but he was up quickly. Once he was up, three of us rode along single-file through the trees, through some quite deep ruts and over roots. I had no idea how technical the route was going to be, all I knew was that my technical ability is, well, limited. I was rather relieved to find the terrain within my ability, a bit challenging but mainly just lekker.

The oke in front was riding quite slowly, so to my surprise I found myself looking for a way to get past him. That was almost impossible until we were out of the trees, so I just enjoyed not making a fool of myself.
I should have known overconfidence precedes a fall....

Coming out of the trees, the track opened up a bit. Quite eroded, some loose-ish gravel in places, no sand to speak of but it was dry so loose dirt in places. The oke in front was nice enough to make space for us, and myself and the guy that fell in the trees rode past. I thought GREAT! I can open up a bit. I twisted the throttle, the XLR jumped forward, life was good.

Pretty quickly I came across a kid who has lost it around a corner. He looked OK, so I rode past. Lekker, gooi nog throttle. At the next corner the track went left, the lekker dry, loose sand was there waiting, my front wheel went right, and I went down. Cardboard box, in Afrikaans.
Jump up, clutch in, pick bike up, swing leg over, klap it. Stupid.

I was alone, everybody had passed me, so I could just enjoy the ride. It was a fun little track, nothing I couldn't handle. That overconfidence thing, I just don't learn....
I was actually catching some riders, rather surprising but gratifying. I was also surprised to be puffing a bit. I am moerse unfit, but this was harder work than I expected, and that after just a few minutes.

Coming to the end of the first lap, there was a detour to a section over some pipes. I had asked Gary how wise it was sending green novices over pipes, but he seemed unfazed, so up I went, around the corner with some rather slick cut grass, and my donder daar in die pad is a MOERSE concrete pipe lying across the road. No friendly big take-off ramp leading up to it, no way around it, and I had just demonstrated quite unambiguously that preloading the front and dropping the clutch to get the front up was, well, a bit challenging for me. Nothing to do other than gooi mieleies and hope for the best. The faithful XLR lurched forward, I tried to do the preload and lift thing, cocked it up completely and basically just moered into the pipe.

Momentum is a wonderful thing, it does its best to keep you going the way you were going. So I ended up flying up, but also forwards. My sphincter did its best to ingest my jocks, I landed with my weight too far forward but held it and kept upright. Bliksem, I'm alive!

Around the next corner, and I come across my WR250 friend. We waved me down, because a guy is stuck trying to cross four pipes lined up across our path, FOUR of them! Gary is not going to crack an invite to my funeral. A marshal helps the stuck rider off the pipe while we wait, then guides him under the tape around the pipes. The WR250 guns it and bounces over the pipes. Jeez, that's impressive, I could never do that. I tell the marshall that he can maar keep the tape lifted up, I'm coming around too, but he says "Stand up, go for it, you'll be fine." He has an honest face, like most serial killers, and I figure WTF not.

Up on the pegs, hard on the throttle, look where I want to land, pre-load, cock that up again, impact, flight, where did that tree come from, bliksem now it's ground, I'm going to crash, BEEG, look up, land on the front wheel, the tree thankfully jumps out of the way, I'm off the track but I'm upright, back on the track, good heavens I made it!

The start of the second lap, and I'm starting to feel really tired. Adrenalin rushes exhaust me, and I just had a few. I need to get over that, don't know how yet.
Through the trees, over the roots, onto the single track, lekker, man, lekker. I catch another kid and just before I pass him he falls, hard. I stop and wait, that didn't look too good. I ask if he's OK, he says he hurt his arm so I wait for a few seconds. He's up and his arm looks fine, no white bits sticking out or red oil leaks, and the pointy bits are all pointing in the right directions. I wait until he's back on the bike, then I set off. That cost me some time, but he's a kid, and that fall was hard.
And I'm still puffing.

Somehow I passed my WR250 mate, because around the next corner he stops behind me when we come across a kif stuck in a donga with a bike that won't start. He's kicking, and kicking, and nothing is happening, except he is getting tired. He puts his bike down and asks if I can get past. I make it half way but then stall!  :angry5:. WR250 jumps off and the two of us drag the kids bike out of the donga. Blerry heavy, that bike. Now I'm not puffing, I'm blowing good and proper. WR250 helps the kid kick his bike back to life, asks if I'll be OK, which I assure him I will, and off they go. By now a few riders are waiting for me to get out of the way, so I lay my bike down to make space for them to pass. I can do with the rest, I'm pooped.

Bike upright, kick, kick, kick. Fork. Kick, kick, kick, kick, kick. Fork. Check whats wrong. Fuel is on, switches are where they should be, nothing has knocked to the wrong setting. Kick, kick, kick, swear, kick, kick, swear, kick, swear, kick, swear, swear, kick, swear, swear, kick. Fork. What I would give for a happy button.
The XLR is typically easy to start. Dammit. Kick, kick, check, swear, kick, kick. This is tiring, and I'm getting nowhere. I'm going to be in the way, so I try to pull the bike out the donga. I almost get it out, but succeed in just wasting a whole lot of energy, energy that is getting in rather short supply.
Kick, kick, swear.

Time to think. Helmet off, gloves off, take a breath. What would cause this? Fuel, OK, kill switch OK, ignition switch OK, choke not pulled out, that should be it. Swear. I think this is the end of my race. Try to drag the bike out of the donga, but I'm forked. Bliksem.

After a while one of the sweepers catch up to me. Young kid, rides like a pro. He suggests I push the bike backwards to get out of the donga (why didn't I think of that?) while he fetches a tow-rope. I get the bike out of the donga and turn it around, but now I am properly buggered. Properly.
Two more sweepers arrive, nice okes that offer to help getting the bike going. Even they can't kick it to life, so they suggest a push start. I waft a tired hand at them and suggest they do whatever they think. Pitiful, embarrassing.

It takes a bit of pushing, but the bike starts! They suggest I ride back down the track to the start, no riders left on track. I'm so buggered I sukkel to swing my leg over the saddle and end up stalling the bike. Swear. Hard. Kick, kick, nothing. Off bike, poor marshalls push start again, bless their souls, I get on the bike and I'm off. I never even thanked them.

Not long and I get back to the start, feeling a bit stupid, and very tired.
And so ended my day of racing. There was another race, same groups but in the opposite direction, but I was too tired and I didn't want to waste more of the marshals time.

So was it worth it?
Hell yeah. I thought I would be too slow, the course would be too difficult, and I would make a fool of myself. Turns out my speed was not great, but not that terrible either, the course was within my ability, but I underestimated my fitness levels by a few orders of magnitude. I did make a bit of a fool of myself, and I did waste the time of a few really kind marshals, none of whom I ever thanked. But I got off my arse, I got to the start line, albeit of a novice green mini-enduro.

It didn't last much longer than a few minutes, but I am no longer a lifetime spectator. I rode a race. And I survived.
 

Offline White Rhino

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Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2016, 03:11:22 am »
Well done Steve. The first time out is a big moment.  :hello2:

My first rides - I remember my mates always waiting for me - just when I arrive panting they'd go - no time to rest just keep going. Going squint with exhaustion. Also had a bike with no happy button - was a challenge to kick start on an uneven gradient surface - especially with short legs :o

A bit more time in the saddle and you'll be doing the same loops like a champ.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 09:23:30 am by White Rhino »
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Offline Kamanya

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Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2016, 04:10:13 am »
What a lekker story! You have a great way with words. I look forward to more of your racing.

How well did you sleep that evening?😀
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Offline Rynet

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Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2016, 05:41:33 am »


Around the next corner, and I come across my WR250 friend. We waved me down, because a guy is stuck trying to cross four pipes lined up across our path, FOUR of them! Gary is not going to crack an invite to my funeral. A marshal helps the stuck rider off the pipe while we wait, then guides him under the tape around the pipes. The WR250 guns it and bounces over the pipes. Jeez, that's impressive, I could never do that. I tell the marshall that he can maar keep the tape lifted up, I'm coming around too, but he says "Stand up, go for it, you'll be fine." He has an honest face, like most serial killers, and I figure WTF not.

Up on the pegs, hard on the throttle, look where I want to land, pre-load, cock that up again, impact, flight, where did that tree come from, bliksem now it's ground, I'm going to crash, BEEG, look up, land on the front wheel, the tree thankfully jumps out of the way, I'm off the track but I'm upright, back on the track, good heavens I made it!
...
It didn't last much longer than a few minutes, but I am no longer a lifetime spectator. I rode a race. And I survived.

 :laughing4: :laughing4: Steve , the bit about the serial killer  :imaposer:

And well done for making thefour pipes ~ and the rest of the race .  :thumleft: :thumleft:
Awesome  O0

And you write well too , we need more of this .  :ricky:
 

Offline Oubones

Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2016, 05:45:12 am »
 
What a lekker story! You have a great way with words. I look forward to more of your racing.

How well did you sleep that evening?😀
:thumleft:
Good on you!
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Offline Crossed-up

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Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2016, 06:31:34 am »
Respect!

Great stuff, Steve. Well done and thanks for the excellent RR.

Now the Amageza riders will stand to attention when they come to your table.
 

Offline Kobus Myburgh

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Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2016, 07:57:47 am »
Thanks Steve!

Just what I need on a Monday morning.  Great story, great writing and great motivation for us keyboard riders to get off our backside.

Question: Is it suitable for my 6 & 8 year old laaities as well?
"If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them.  I want men who will come if there is no road at all."

-David Livingstone-
 

Offline Scrat

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Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2016, 08:59:23 am »
Respect Steve!!!  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :ricky: :ricky:

Dit was nou Awesome om te lees!

Never give up!! .. :pot:
SO... how about the Baja next year  :pot: :pot:

Call us Crazy!! But what an ADVENTURE!!
 

Offline SteveD

Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2016, 09:30:41 am »
Question: Is it suitable for my 6 & 8 year old laaities as well?

They catered for pretty much all skill levels. If your kids can keep a bike upright in a bit of a washed out single spoor, they should be be fine.
 

Offline Kobus Myburgh

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Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2016, 09:32:06 am »
Question: Is it suitable for my 6 & 8 year old laaities as well?

They catered for pretty much all skill levels. If your kids can keep a bike upright in a bit of a washed out single spoor, they should be be fine.

 :thumleft:
"If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them.  I want men who will come if there is no road at all."

-David Livingstone-
 

Offline COLES

Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2016, 10:10:40 am »
awesome great photo,s
 

Offline Klein Torkar

Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2016, 07:48:27 pm »
Made my day, way to go Steve :thumleft:
 

Offline Ama ride ride

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Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2016, 08:03:12 pm »
Lekker read :laughing4: :thumleft:
Gewoontlik n@@i ek reguit aan op fyndraai.

 

Offline skydiver

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Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2016, 08:45:17 pm »
Good one Steve
Good luck with the next race.  :thumleft:
 

Offline Geel Kat

Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2016, 08:52:02 pm »
What a nice thread!!!!  :thumleft:
 

Online Buff

Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2016, 09:03:42 pm »
Awesome stuff, well done Steve, welcome to the league of Racing Snakes  ;)

Thanks for the great RR, you had me laughing out loud because I could identify with so many things you experienced. For the record, it doesn't get any easier, you just get faster but your sphincter still tries to eat your jocks on a regular basis  ;) :imaposer:
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Offline Rokie

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Re: Joey and Kobus made me do it
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2016, 09:23:51 am »
Great story, great writing and great motivation for us keyboard riders to get off our backside.

One day when I grow up . . . I'll start my first race report by blaming you!
Well written! Thanks.
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