Round 2 of the AMA western Hare scrambles was held near Coalinga, CA. It is up in the mountains above Coalinga. The rain was relentless leading up to this race. From being there in years past I knew it was going to be a muddy mess and even getting into the race would be a challenge as there is a River crossing in front of facility where the race is held. My wife and I arrive late Friday around 8:00pm. The rain was coming down the whole trip out there and I figured the river would be impassible when we showed up. Well I was right unless you asked a club member. I was told stay to the left and you will be fine as the river was nearly 4ft deep in sections. Maybe they didn’t see what I was driving but I wasn’t about to drive my van across when the water looked like this. I got a ride across to make sure our team was in there and they were. I went back across and we grabbed our bags and hoped in the truck. At this point the River had even come up more and in a lifted truck the headlights went underwater. To say the least it wasn’t an ideal situation and I would like to know if anyone got some permanent damage from getting across the river.
Saturday actually brought some sunshine so most of the day we checked out the course and cooked some burgers and hotdogs outside. We got to relax and just enjoy the day. It rained off and on and as we saw the racers coming in their bikes would tell the story of the entire course. They were covered in mud from head to toe. So we knew what we were in for on Sunday. Finally in the afternoon the river had slowed down and was around maybe 1ft deep. I got a ride across from a really nice family that just finished the kid’s race and were headed home. I grabbed the van and made it across the river.
Sunday came and it was race time. I got geared up and had 5th pick on the starting line. When the flag dropped I got a good jump but being on an YZ250fx for the tight trees I got pulled up the start straight. I was probably around 10th place. I made some passes in the beginning and actually felt really good in the mud and trees. I got some arm pump which is very unusual for me but being on a different bike and having to ride more aggressive on the smaller bike made for some different techniques. I lost a couple spots but once my arm pump went away I charged back past some guys and was I believe around 5th place. I stopped for goggles and gas after lap two and got passed by my teammate Axel Pearson. I set out to catch back up to him so we could move through the pack together. I got to where I could see him again and just about then in a tight twisty tree section I hit something and went left. This sent me off the side of the course and down into the bushes. Now I was not quite sure how I would get my bike back on to the trail and it didn’t look like I could go down into the trees. Finally I got a guy to stop and help me drag my bike back up onto the trail. I had lost around 2-3 minutes or so and a lot of positions. I tried to get back in my groove after that and things only got worse. I just kept struggling in the terrain that I felt good in before. It was really frustrating and no matter what I tried it wouldn’t work. I finally made it to the finish line a disappointing 11th overall. Definitely was a very humbling day. My wife, my team and I put in way too much hard work to finish where I did. It’s just one race and I got some points toward the ultimate goal which is the championship but I didn’t do myself any favors. I have a big gap to make up but I will keep working hard and keep taking it race by race. A big thank you to my wife who is in this with me on the good days and bad!