As always, Dion set up some sections for the youngsters. Elle was not there, but a new youngster named Ethan entered for the first time.
Poor Ethan did not know what to expect, and when he saw the tight sections with rocks and trees he was rather overwhelmed. Having practised only on a big, flat, grass field, he did not yet have the brake control and finesse required. He lost control in the first section and was so spooked he withdrew.
Ethan starting his first trial.
Dad adjusting the power setting on the bike.
A bit too tricky, needs some work. Maybe next time?
Timmy's done this before...
Fun Trial (adults)
This was my first trial since my injury in the Ides of March last year (at this same venue). I convinced myself I would ride clubman as a "recovery year" - and hopefully it would not only fix my confidence, but also refine my basic skills.
Peer pressure got the better of me and I ended up riding Intermediate, though I took the clubman line on some sections and scored fives. It is quite disheartening to clean a section, but still score a five because you missed the intermediate obstacles.
The experts line was very tricky, with some rock steps that left little room for error. Intermediates took the clubman line, then added a little detour at the end, that took some points off some of us.
Another rocky section that extracted 3s from most Intermediates. I tried various options, including the clubman line for a five. Others had more success.
No photos. A descent that had a tricky rock and turn along the way. Intermediates invariably lost a point here.
A pleasant spot in the river bed - the initial descent gave me the heebie-jeebies, so I took the clubman line and fives.
No photos. This is the section where I broke my collarbone last year. The incident has left a scar on my shoulder, and some scars in the minds of my fellow riders. The intermediates skipped the initial obstacle where I fell - we added some small detours along the gulley. I cleaned this one a few times and it did wonders for my mood ;-)
Otherside the dam, this is a lovely and interesting section. One part of it involved riding along a narrow strip between a fence and a gulley. I fived it in favour of avoiding the risk of a fall.
We were really lucky with the weather. It's no secret I wasn't going to ride if it was going to be another scorcher of a day, but having said that I was a bit surprised there weren't more riders, especially as there has been a good turnout at Zonnebloem in the afternoons.
Anyway the short format of six sections and three laps worked well as many riders hadn't been practising. The standard set for experts was good, with the only exception being the first section which Lee and I felt a little ambitious as a starter, so we eased it.
The next section was very rocky and difficult to keep to a line and was my worst section.
I thought section four was the best of them. The combination of steep banks and turns was not too difficult, but the off camber bank in the middle preceded by a log crossing was the tricky bit. If you got it right it all seemed easy, but if you didn't you would be scrambling on the bank to save a five.
The next best section I thought was the last one. Although we've used it before in different guises, it remains a good one.
Lee and I were matching each other quite closely. We had both had a five on the first lap but on different sections, then I squandered a three on the last section, handing him a three point win.
It was a good trial, and thanks must go to Michael, GVK, and all those that helped set the course.
I also found the sections to be marked well, avoiding having to ask anyone where it went.