Not Really Racing To The Finish – Mountain Madness 2017

I checked the bike over in the faint light of the morning, and it seemed to be in good shape. I hadn’t dropped it the day before, so I wasn’t expecting damage, but it just seemed prudent. When I’d gotten back to camp the night before it’d been dark – that really deep dark you get when there are no lights anywhere and the sky is covered in clouds. Honestly, I felt a little bad riding back in, even though Rabbit isn’t a loud motorcycle (as motorcycles go).

With the bike checked I headed to the casino. Since we’d worked out our ride plan the night before, we hoped to get a lot more miles in today, and Jeff (one of my team) was going to be bringing some subs for our lunch (Thanks Jeff!).

The day was bright and sunny this time, which meant the trails were going to be drying out – which was good. While Mike and I loitered at the start, he started to get text messages that Jeff couldn’t find he keys. The allowed start time kept creeping closer, and finally we got news he’d found them and was on his way.

While we were waiting, we learned one of the riders had to withdraw the day before after hurting his back. W offered the other half of that team – a guy named Carl –

the chance to ride with us, if he wanted. One of the HUMM rules is no one can ride alone, so we thought this would let him get out on his bike. Carl agreed, but waiting until Jeff was there to get geared up (So Jeff could have a say on his coming with), and then it turned out that Carl – who hadn’t expected to be with a team – didn’t have any gas in his bike…so we did end up being a little late out of the gate. Being in first place had put some pressure on us as a team, but I wasn’t too worried about it. I hadn’t expected to win, and was just trying to have fun. Once we were riding, everyone relaxed and we started to just enjoy the day.

One of the tags we near an old graveyard, overlooking a valley. Some of the graves (which still even had markers) dated back to the 1800s.

When we were getting ready to leave this tag a group of riders, two-up on harleys, appeared. They stayed up the road for a few minutes, watching us, and I wondered if they were okay. Eventually they left their motorcycles and went into the bushes for a bit, all in a bunch.

Now, the road to get up here wasn’t what you would expect the average “biker” to be excited about.

Carl, who was kinda from the area, mentioned to the rest of us that he’d seem some mushrooms growing other there which sold for crazy money in local markets. The other riders were probably worried we would raid their patch, and maybe they relaxed when they saw none of us had local plates.

We found s nice spot for lunch and sat talking for a while – I guess we forgot about that whole “need to get points thing,” and were just four riders out on a day ride. I don’t ride with groups, I mentioned that in the previous post, but this was actually okay.

One thing that was on Jeff and Mike’s todo list was a water crossing. There were bonus points at a few of the tags for a picture of one of the team riding across a nearby river, but when we’d looked at one the day before it was moving pretty fast and deep (since it had been raining like crazy). Now the streams looked a little safer, and they decided to have a go.

Mike First

Then Jeff

No, I didn’t ride across. I was a long way from home, and have done enough water crossings they’ve lost some of their luster – especially when there is a perfectly good bridge right there.

We arrived with some time to spare at the casino for scoring. A few other teams were also already back, cleaning up their information before taking it to the scoring table.

Steve photobombing

We’d maxed out the bonus points again, so it was going to be a matter of waiting to see what the other teams had done during the day. The scores were going to be announced at the closing dinner, so I had time to kill after the last of the teams came in. The people staying at the hotel showered and changed, which I could really do since I was camping, so I watched some of the teams who’d trailered their motorcycles load up – I might have been hoping for excitement but I was out of luck.

It's a good thing smells don't go through the internet

With our entry, the casino gave us all a coupon for $10 to gamble. To get it, you had to sign up for their player’s club, which gave a bonus of money money (I think I got $7). I had to kick in a dollar of my own, but then I played some slots. When I was just short of $50 up, I ran out of time and had to head back for the dinner. I’d like to claim some sort of skill, but all I did was sit there and hit a button – if there was more a situation of beginners luck I don’t know what it is. Maybe the machines are nicer to you when just start, just to get you hooked?

Back in the room we’d been using for planning and scoring, there was now food.

And soon it was time for everyone to load up and eat.

The winners were announced, and we were in second place. It had been close, but the second place team had gone for higher value tags on day two, and had learned from day one and maxed out their bonus points (which had been the difference on day one). By strange coincidence, they were also at our table, so we could threaten them with violence and other fun. In truth, it meant we didn’t have to carry the cool-but-not-small trophies home with us. And we had a good time, so I am going to say it all worked out.

Also, cake. Well, Tiramisu

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