SMITH OFFROAD >> 2010 Sidney Enduro Race Report (2010 RMEC 9) [2010-08-19 ]
2010 Sidney Desert Enduro Race Report
It's been a while since I've written up an RMEC race, so I thought it would be a good idea to write up the Sidney rance and catch up with the series. The 2010 RMEC series has 11 races on the calendar: Arizona (2x), Caprock, Lone Star, Kimbal, Inyan Kara, Espanola, Sidney, Spanish Peaks, Boondockers, and Milliken. With 8 races down so far, I've raced five of them. Travelling twice to Texas in a few weeks'-time was too much, so I raced only the Lone Star national. With three enduros left, I hope to make one or two of them.

The Sidney enduro took place on about 160 acres of rolling hills on private land located about 10 miles east of Sidney Nebraska. It has a motocross track, singletrack covering most of the hills, some sand washes, access to a tight tree area, and grass tracks, and some endurocross obstacles. The Sidney enduro was originally scheduled for mid July but due to high water it was rescheduled to September.

Sidney is about 2.5 hours from Fort Collins and the race flyer said camping was available, so getting sort of a late start on Saturday, I just threw my trail riding gear into the truck and decided to sleep in my truck to avoid having to set up and tear down a "tent" campsite. Also, camper trailers running generators is a recurring problem at races, and sleeping inside the truck's cab might help to reduce the annoyance - I sleep with earplugs also.

I showed up at the race site at about 5:30 pm Saturday, found a fairly level place to park, and unloaded my bike. By the time I had the bed unloaded, it was starting to get a little overcast and dark, but I decided to get at least one lap on the MX track in before the day was out. Normally there is no "pre riding" at enduros, but the motocross track was open and some extra familiarization is helpful so a rhythm section or double doesn't take you by surprise.

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've been riding my 2-stroke a lot this year - more than my 450 XCW 4-stroke. I ride often in the Masonville area (Moody Hill and Donner pass), which is very rocky. This year I made it up to Taylor Park again in August. The weekend before the enduro, I rode up at Albany WY with the crew from Elite KTM. That trail ride actually was the cause for some expensive and very last-minute repairs before the enduro: I hit a rock hard enough with my pipe to tear the rear frame mount off the frame and crush a coolant hose. The Elite guys got me back and running in a day turnaround and the bike was running as well as ever on Saturday, although I was back to the stock KTM pipe instead of the now-destroyed Gnarly.

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 stock KTM pipe with carbon-fiber guard. Neutech Tube-less tire setup.

This race is at about 4300' altitude so I figured my "Denver" jetting would work fine. I set the KTM to a 35 pilot, N8RW-3, 162M, and about 3/4 air screw.

The race consisted of of mutliple loops of the 13.8 mile course, with a mandatory "parade" or "sighter" lap prior to the actual race. This parade lap was mandatory because there was an observation check in the middle. Ostensibly, the purpose of the parade lap was to watch for safety concerns like barbed wire and other fencing; however, it also increased the mileage of the overall race event and made sure nobody going into the first test was totally fresh.

As I rose from my fitful slumber - in the back of my 2010 Dodge Ram 2500, tucked inside a down sleeping bag to ward off the chill - the morning was dark, overcast, and foggy! What a switch from the clear blue skies I left in Colorado. The temperature was probably in the mid 40's. This could be a welcome break from super high temperatures at races, but it also meant that during the parade lap the "misting" precipitation wreaked havoc with everyone's goggles. The tiny water droplets would collect until a mist covered my goggles, and although the air was moist, the trails were dry and the airborne dust stuck to the moisture creating a sort of dirty water shield. During the parade lap, I stopped about a half-dozen times to clean my goggles off. It was also chilly enough that most people were wearing some sort of jacket or sweatshirt. The chill air would cut right through on the high speed sections of the course. However, when we ducked into the tight tree sections, chill gave way to overheating and fogged goggles as we had to work harder and go slower to get through.

Luckily, as the race started just after 9 AM, the mist in the air had dissipated and although it was a little foggy still, nothing was sticking to goggles so visibility wasn't a problem. It had also warmed up a few degrees so enduro jackets gave way to jerseys.

The track was very dry, with lots of loose fine dirt. This was the most disconcerning part for me because the traction could vary a lot from spot to spot. The track itself was pretty varied, but obviously less of an "organic" enduro route than Inyan Kara or any of the trail enduros. The route started on the motocross track, which didn't really have any scary features, just a series of doubles that most people did not clear (that I saw). Then it transitioned to usually-unused singletrack through the same type of terrain, a route that circumscribed as much mileage as it coule in a small acreage. There were some endurocross-style log and tire sections, that most people did not have problems with, unless someone was already stuck on the obstacle. The first check was about 6 miles in, with a transit for another about 3, and then the second test of the loop started at about 9. This was the tight tree section, with alternating grass tracks cut into fields as we ducked in and out of the tight trees. These sections were not really hard, but provided more of a contrast from the fast sections to the tight sections. There were a bunch of very low overhead trees that many people got past by jumping off their bikes and walking under.

With one lap down, I had about 15 minutes to get gas at my truck before the next lap restarted. C riders did 3 (after the parade lap), B 4, and A 5. Overall, I had one crash due to my front end washing out and a few tip overs in the tree section for whatever reason, but I had a decent race.

2010 Sidney Enduro
Entire first lap of the 2010 Sidney enduro (RMEC). Each lap consisted of 13.8 miles of the motocross track, singletrack in open fields, some endurocross obstacles, and grass track, and some trees. Filmed on a VIO POV.1 helmet camera on Zak Smith, Vet-C class.
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Although limited in terrain and area to ride, the Sidney enduro made great use of the available land area, putting together a race that had some good variety. The trail and format was more similar to a hare scramble than an enduro. My KTM worked great and I didn't have any equipment related problems during the race. The two biggest challenges for me during the race were limited visibility due to dust and the dry loose dirt.

Thanks To
Elite KTM for support!