SMITH OFFROAD >> 2009 Caprock Canyon Enduro Race Report (09 RMEC 1) [2009-03-20]
2009 Caprock Canyon Enduro Race Report

Snow? It's not supposed to snow in Texas!
I finished the Caprock Canyon Enduro! This was my first enduro race and, to get my full "money's worth," I raced the A/B loop in the Vet-B class. Although I knew I wouldn't be competitive in this class as a novice rider, I wanted to get the most from the experience and my primary goal was to finish the race and not get stuck and time or crash out.

A- and I left on Friday about two o'clock from Boulder, Colorado. We loaded A-'s Toyota pickup (with capper) with all our gear and put the two bikes (a KTM 200 EXC and my 250 XCW) on my 4x8' flatbed trailer. We drove straight to Dumas, Texas, where we camped overnight. Rolling into Dumas, we were met by falling snow. This was somewhat distressing since neither of us brought out winter camping gear. Hey, it's March and it's Texas, it should be warm, right? We each set our tents with cold fingers and got the hatches battened down as quickly as possible. I ended up wearing a fleece hoody inside my summer sleeping bag, cinched up mummy-style, trying to stay very still to retain what warmth I could. It didn't help that we were right next to a railroad, though weaing earplugs did help somewhat.

The next morning, we got up at dawn, got breakfast at a local joint, and headed down to Quitaque, Texas, the location of the race. Quitaque has a population of about 430, and there were over 400 racers present. With the extra people who came along but didn't race, the event more than doubled the size of the town. RV's, trailers, and tents were spread almost everywhere. On Saturday, we set up a nice camp bordering some small woods (to try to stay away from the noisy RV generators), watched some of the Grand Prix race, and jetting our 2-strokes. I ended up with a 38 pilot, 1/2 turn air screw, and kept the M8RW/3 and 165 main that I had been using in cooler weather in Colorado. The local elevation of Quitaque is about 2500'.

My KTM 250 XCW before the race, clean and ready to go!
Sunday morning was cold, but it warmed up quickly. This threw some question on our jetting, but in the end we just left the bikes as-is and fiddled with the air screws a bit. We were both on row 27, so we headed to the start with about 10 minutes to spare. The first test was the G-P course, and it alternated between fast, open terrain and tight trees. I tried to make sure to make way for later-minute riders who wanted to pass. After this first test section, we had a 10-mile transfer to the locale of the rest of the enduro. Here, we had another restart and then the second of the A/B/C tests. The next restart after this marked the A/B vs. C route split. We had three A/B loop tests, which were tighter, had more hills, many without warning, and was generally relentless. Through these tests, the temperature rose 10-20 degrees, and the under-layers I had on to keep warm in the morning cause overheating. I didn't get a chance to cool down until after the second of the three A/B tests. Joining the C loop, there was one more long test and then the 10-mile transit back to the start, where we ran the G-P loop in reverse as the final test.

Here's a photo at the last restart.
Overall, the terrain was not very technical and the traction of the dirt was phenomenal. What made this enduro hard for me was the relentless, super-tight turns through trees. Smacking trees became a regular occurance and my hand-guards paid their way at this enduro. The 250 XCW worked great, and I had no mechanical issues. A- wasn't so lucky. His 200 EXC cracked a radiator and he ran dry through the A/B tests. I stopped and gave him the rest of the water in my camelback, and he was able to limp to the next check and get more water, and then cruise back to town.

This enduro was the restart format and thus didn't really have a timekeeping requirement. The next enduro (Pine Ridge) will be more difficult in this regard. In any case, my goal will again be to finish the enduro, gain experience, and maybe get a little faster. The 250 2-stroke requires more effort to go fast, but is much easier than the 450 4-stroke to wrestle around, or pick up.

I took a few photos of Saturday's G-P race and two of the enduro restarts. Link here. I also ran the VIO POV.1 helmet-cam almost the entire race. race montage, Zak hits cactus

Caprock Canyon Enduro Race - 2009
Montage of some of the footage from the 2009 Caprock Canyon enduro race, A/B route. Filmed on a VIO POV.1 helmet camera on Zak Smith, 27C on a KTM 250 XCW.
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