During the recent podcast with Cole Kirkpatrick, he said something that made me realize I was thinking about race weekends all wrong. I have been treating them as an entire weekend away and if I couldn't get out by 9am on Saturday morning, then it wasn't worth going. He mentioned that he doesn't care if he gets to the venue at midnight because he needed to help out around the house. He still gets to ride his dirt bike and take part in an event that he truly enjoys. I took a lot away from that statement and I know that's what helped me get to Oklahoma City for the 2022 Crosstimbers Enduro.
I spent the entire week getting ready for this Sunday's escapade in the woods around Lake Stanley Draper. Not because I needed to be at the top of my game and have a perfectly prepped bike, it was just the opposite. I spent the entire week working on my 2018 Sherco 300 because it has been neglected. Those nights in the garage getting ready were some of the most relaxing, but also most stressful, I've had in awhile. It was because some things, like changing my wheel bearings, went exactly as expected. Servicing my WP Open Chamber forks though, that was a comedy of errors!
A resurrected seal driver next to a borrowed top cap tool.
The few times my forks have been serviced, I paid the fine folks at Adventure Moto. This meant that when I went to work on them for myself the first time, I learned a lot about these older Open Chamber forks. It started with the realization that I didn't have the correct WP Fork Cap Tool needed. I ordered one from Adventure Moto, but because I wanted to get these bad boys done, they let me borrow one for the evening. When dumping out the oil, the quick realization came that it had been waaaaay too long since servicing them. It was when I grabbed the SKF Fork Seal Kit that I had in my Sherco Parts drawer that I had a real come to Jesus meeting with myself. This kit was for one fork, so the kit SKF was referring to was an Oil Seal and a Dust Seal. It was not a fork kit that would have enough for two forks 🤦🏻♂️.
Tucking my tail between my legs, I went back up to Adventure Moto the next day to fill them in on the fun-filled evening I had finishing up one of two forks. They laughed, I cried, and then they got me the parts I needed to finish out the task at hand. Now that it's all said and done, the forks held up and the 110mm from the top that I measured my 5 weight fork oil to seemed to work really well.
I could tell you more about the traffic due to construction, freezing my butt off in the Moto Van because I didn't bring a heater, or the fact that I forgot to bring any extra water to make coffee in the morning. The real reason we're here though is to talk about the Crosstimbers Enduro.
The Crosstimbers Enduro and I have a fairly long history. I first raced it back in 2008 in the 250 A Class onboard my WR 250, where I somehow won the 250 A Class, took the Overall A award and finished 5th Overall. Let's just say results like that don't happen as often anymore. Since then though, I've made the journey north from Texas in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2021 and 2022. I say that to let you know I really enjoy this race.
This Sunday morning started cold, with a wind that found a way to pierce through the toughest riding jacket. As the sun peaked its way above the horizon, you could instantly feel the warmth radiate off of your skin. That moment, mixed with the coffee I purchased from the food vendor, alerted me to the fact that it was going to be a primo day for riding dirt bikes in the woods.
Two days earlier, when the camping area was covered in snow, and it was actually sticking, we didn't know if the race was even going to happen. Snow in general shouldn't cancel a race, but being that this was on city property, there was no telling how they would respond.
Registering late for any enduro has the potential to put you back on a late row. I was blessed with Row 47 and a great group of dudes. Though the first transfer and test for us was slick in spots, it was already tacking up from the warmth and the plethora of racers before us. I stayed upright for the first two tests, finishing 3rd and 6th respectively. They were fun, fast, and a great warm up to the day.
Test three and four took us out on the Black Trail. This is one of the coolest trails out there. It weaves, ducks, dips, and dives its way through creek beds and tight trees. Those that enjoy the flow created when you're tucking your body and bike through tight singletrack had a smile on their face you could feel through their helmets. The riders who sit on the rear fender, find flow in a deep berm, and generally hate tight spaces, probably despised life for these few miles.
Test three went well for me (2nd 40+A & 15th Overall), which isn't too surprising considering I grew up riding in Southern Louisiana. The Great Piney Woods of the Southern Enduro Association have trained me well to slither my way through trees that seem to grow together. Test four was a cluster f^ck from the first 100 yards; I just couldn't keep the bike upright. It should have been another decent test for me, as it weaved through some of the tight trees, but my time communing in the dirt ultimately held me back.
Test five was fast, REALLY fast! It was an extremely open grass track type section that allowed the racers who hated test three to have their time to shine. I started the test riding at about 90%. Having just come off a section where I couldn't figure out why I was playing in the dirt so much, I didn't want to wad up in a high speed situation. It was a fun section, so don't think I didn't enjoy it. I just knew I needed to build up speed, and confidence, as the test wore on.
Test six was the A only section of the day. It was about the added miles more so than it being about more technical terrain. We raced the start transfer section and first test as one longer section, equalling around 9.5 miles. It was tacky, fast, and hella fun. The trail did veer off at the final bit to put us through a cool little Endurocross section. Most EX sections added in are a few tires, logs and rocks, where this was a proper technical addition to the final stretch of the test. Your forearms were feeling it, you were out of breath, and then you had to slow it all down to balance your way through a fun technical challenge.
Ready for More
Overall I got what I wanted from the weekend. I got to ride my dirt bike, I got to bench race with riding buddies, and I had a smile on my face that even a week of work can't wipe off. I love enduros like Crosstimbers because the setup doesn't take itself too seriously. They lay out a fun race that offers a little bit of everything, but also doesn't try to kill you. Though I do love a good tough enduro, and I think we should have more of them, weekends like this past one are needed for balance.
Thank you to everyone who said hi, all of the workers, and the food vendor for having coffee. You would think I'll be a bit more prepared for the next race weekend, but for those that follow Seat Time's adventures, you know I'll have many more learning experiences in my future! I'm already looking forward to them and the next time I get to enjoy #GettingSeattime.