Saturday, March 25, 2017

DHSE #2, Trials Training Center (Sequatchie, TN)

My participation in the Downhill Southeast Series began last season with my first trip to the Trials Training Center (TTC). It was a great introduction to the venue and I've been looking forward to returning ever since.

The drive to Sequatchie takes about eight and a half hours, so I decided to break it up with a visit to Starlight Bicycles in Roanoke, VA to see an old friend. I surprised Scott with an unannounced stop and we quickly began discussing our upcoming motorcycle ride to VIR for the MotoAmerica Superbike Challenge in May. The trip is especially exciting since his son, Alec, just purchased a moto and will be joining us on our ride.

After the stop in Roanoke, I was back on the road, heading southwest. Around midnight I decided to call it quits, camping in the car with Ruprecht about an hour shy of the final destination. In the morning I finished the drive and was ready to ride an hour before shuttles began - perhaps a result of the time zone change after driving so far west ;-)

Conditions during the practice day were phenomenal. The course had plenty of traction and we continually improved upon our times each time down the mountain.

That afternoon, however, the rain rolled in and continued throughout the night and next day. That night, I slept in my hammock while I let Ruprecht enjoy the warm, dry interior of the Fiesta. In the morning I cleaned & repacked my front hub before swapping my worn Kenda Excavator tires for new Maxxis Minion DHF's in the hope of finding some traction in the wet.

After two practice runs, I felt relatively confident that I'd stay on the bike as long as my pace was tempered. As for the run itself, well, it didn't go exactly as planned. I felt relatively loose right out of the gate, then a flat in the rear exasperated that feeling until I slowed to a crawl, just hoping to make it to the finish line with my rear wheel intact.

These things happen, but the final race is NEXT WEEKEND - perhaps I'll have better luck then. Either way, it was tons of fun and I walked away unscathed!

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