SMITH OFFROAD >> 2010 Dual Duel in the Desert Enduro Race Report (2010 RMEC 1-2) [2010-02-06-07 ]
2010 Dual Duel in the Desert Enduro Race Report
The first two races of the RMEC season were the "Dual Duel in the Desert," two races on back to back days, February 6-7 2010 near Wickenburg AZ.

The Dual Duel is held near Wickenburg, AZ, which is north-west of Phoenix. The drive from Fort Collins takes about 14:30 hours if weather and traffic is favorable. RJ aka ConcreteCowboy and I decided to carpool on this trip, since it was long haul for a lone driver and fuel costs would be considerable (about $330 minimum).

Last year, I had used my 2005 Nissan XTerra to go to all the races, pulling a 4x8' flat-bed trailer. Although the trailer can fit two bikes easily, the XTerra was too small to fit two racer's enduro and camping gear comfortably. Last month I picked up a new truck: a 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 HD. With a long bed and a 4-door crew cab, the truck as a huge amount of room for hauling gear without a trailer. I got the 6.7L Cummins diesel so I can haul a big trailer if it ever comes to that. The new truck easily fits two bikes in the bed with two racer's enduro gear with room to spare.

Anyway, I picked up RJ in south Denver at about 3:30PM, and we drove down I25, then stopped overnight in Santa Fe. We continued the 900-mile drive the next morning and rolled off the highway mid-afternoon. The outside temperature had been under 25F the whole trip, and there had even been more snow in Raton NM than there was in Fort Collins when I left. As we stepped out of the truck to get fuel before we headed to the enduro site, we met another local racer (his first race!) and he was practicallyu apologizing for the "poor weather"-- well, it was 65F and partly sunny: perfect enduro weather! At this point the local altitude was the same as the race site, about 2000'.

The race site itself was about 27 miles west of the interstate turnoff, in a flat wash area just north of Hwy 74. We found a nice flat camping spot close to the porta-potties with few rocks and cactus under the tent sites, and unloaded our gear. Check-in was organized. There was to be no riders' meeting on Saturday morning, but we did have to pass a tech inspection before we were approved to race. This ended up being just a spark-arrestor check and a dB check. My 250 XCW metered at 91 dB.

Bike Setup

I rode my KTM 250 XCW with Rekluse
I raced my 2009 KTM 250 XCW (2-stroke). I ride this bike in enduros because it is less tiring for me than a 4-stroke; it's lighter when I have to man-handle it or pick it up. It allows me to add speed easily and then coast without much engine braking. I hadn't been on the 2-stroke since trail riding at the very end of the 2009 season, the Sno-Shoe enduro. I had broken my left wrist in September and the 2-stroke had been sitting since then. Here's its basic setup: Rekluse z-start Pro (med/hard), Fastway handguards, e-Line carbon fiber skid plate, SX head, FMF spark arrestor, and FMF Gnarly pipe (the stock pipe was destroyed at Cucharas). Having heard horror stories about getting flats at this race, and knowing I would have a considerable amount of time and money invested in getting there, not to mention the separate race Sunday, I really didn't want to get a flat tire. Scott Bannick at Elite KTM had been extolling the virtues of the Neutech Tube-less wheel setup for some time, so I sprung for those on my front and rear. The Tubeless setup gets rid of the innertube and makes pinch-flats impossible. I also added Slime to my tires as second insurance. As third insurance, I brought the wheelset from my 450-- yeah, I always have back-up plans.

This would be the race at the lowest altitude so far: 2000'. The lowest I raced last year was around 2500-3000'. To jet for this race, I set the KTM to a 35 pilot, N8RW-4, 162M, and about 3/4 air screw.

I normally wear glasses, but I have contacts that I wear for riding. In combination with the Scott XiNoSweat goggles, I don't get very much dust in my eyes, although I do get some. I use the Works Rolloff system during races which has worked well for me so far.

Facility and Camping
The camping area was pretty spacious with ample porta-potties. No complaints, it was well set up. Note: always bring your own toilet paper!

Guys with RV's/trailers and generators: Please turn off your generators around dusk! With nothing to do, a lot of us like to get rest early when it gets dark, especially if we're getting up for an early riders' meeting.

Race Prep and the Start Queue
RJ's and my row number was 10, and I was 10C. We had three C riders and one A rider on our row. This meant that the AA guys on rows 11-2x would be passing us after every restart. I wore all my normal gear: Sidi Crossfires, Asterisk knee braces, Thor chest protector, my Leatt neck brace, Arai, and then Klim pants and riding jersey. I had about 70oz of water in my camelback and a couple Cliff "goo" packets in my pants pockets, just in case I started to run out of energy. I always race with a minimal tool kit (including spare plug) in my pack, and I always keep a little screwdriver in my pocket in case I need to adjust the air screw when riding the 2-stroke. This race I also put a puncture repair kit in my pack just in case I got a puncture on the Tubeless tires that the Slime didn't automatically seal.

We had two races: one Saturday and one Sunday. Both races had much in common and some shared sections. The terrain was the same. Both days, the C route was three tests separated by 1-3 mile transit sections, mostly on those sand/gravel washes. The trails were excellent. Saturday was in the mid 60's, with some sun, some overcast. The dirt was dry and the trails were pretty fast. The terrain was open, with few trees, but many cactus. I had heard a lot of horror stories about running into huge cactus and getting tons of needles from this race, and last year in Texas I hit a cactus myself. I really didn't want to repeat that so I was careful around the cactus.

The first test had a very fast section right in the begining. These fast sections were open with generally very good visibility. The only catch was that there were some big rocks and some G-outs in the gullies between hills. You've got to pay attention, otherwise things could go bad fast!

I hadn't really been on the bike, or at least not riding at full speed, since last August before I broke my wrist. I was definitely off my pace for these races, and on Saturday I didn't get a little up to speed until the third test, where things started to feel good again. Being off the bike for months did not help my stamina. The solution: ride as much as I can now!

After finishing the three tests on Saturday, it was time for some bike maintenance, some food, and rest for Sunday's race. RJ had run into a cactus during the first race, so he nursed that for a while. The bikes were in good shape and just needed more fuel. We cleaned up and headed into town for dinner at Chili's. When we came back, the weather had gotten worse and rain was imminent. I wasn't too worried since my camping gear had kept my dry last season. The dirt certainly could have used some moisture, but I wasn't too excited about racing in the rain for visibility reasons. As it turned out, my 20-year-old North Face tent is not 100% waterproof, but I stayed more or less dry. The rain had stopped the next morning and things were looking good!


Race (cont)
Sunday's race had 3 test for C class. The terain was very similar, with some sections that were tighter in the scrub trees and some fun extended hill climbs. I was having fun, but I was definitely feeling it in my legs and arms on Sunday's race. I picked up my pace the last test, and finished the race without any major mishaps, and no cactus collisions!

There is some great riding terrain near Wickenburg, and I'd go back for this pair of races next year. My KTM worked perfectly- at the lower altitude it had a lot more power and felt like a different bike. It could pull one or two gears higher than norming. The race routes had a good mix of tight, technical (rocky), fast, and wash terrain. The sand/gravel washes were totally new to me, but I bet good preparation for the Laughlin US Hare Scramble (BITD) coming up next month.

2010 Dual Duel in the Deset Enduro Helmet-Cam Video
A 30-minute compilation of helmet-cam video from the 2010 Dual Duel in the Desert Enduro Race held near Wickenburg, AZ. The trails included both tight terrain in scrub trees, fast open trails, some rocky technical sections, and sand washes. Filmed on a VIO POV.1 helmet camera on Zak Smith, row 41D on a KTM 250 XCW, Vet-C class.
Contents- TBD
High Quality. Taking too long? Switch to Low Quality

Day 1: 12th Vet-C, 55th C overall.
Day 2: 7th Vet-C, 36th C overall.

Thanks To
The AZ enduro guys - Great Job!

Elite KTM for support!