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2017 GS Trophy USA Qualifier West

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Not really a "Race", but definitely a competition.

I just registered.

I took a day ride yesterday with some GS guys from the local BMW club.  My first time meeting and venturing out with them since I moved back to the area.  I needed to get out and try out the new rear TFX shock and didn't want to ride alone.  It was a great weather day and a pleasant ride but I was thoroughly bored with the pace and terrain covered and just settled into enjoying the scenery for the day and a beer with some great guys at the end.

My next group ride will NOT be boring!!!!!

For the GS Trophy Qualifier I could pay $100 to go spectate for 1 day, pay $299 to spectate for the full weekend and get a few meals or pay $299 to compete and be fed.  I figured WTH...I've got a bike that qualifies and mid-pack skill potential! I've always learned a helluva lot more by participating in something versus watching.

I've spent enough money on shock replacement and headlight replacement and now a new set of MotoZ Tractionator Adventures...there is no way I will be buying any fancy trials helmet to improve my visibility during the skills comps nor will I be buying any light weight body armor to wear under a light weight jersey I don't yet own.  I'll have to settle for my BMW whale foreskin rally suit and well worn off-road boots.  For me this may very well be a true XLADV experience as I might just ride in on my dirty '08 pig loaded with my camping and riding gear and have a rugged weekend experience...well...with the food catered of course.  At least it's only a 1-1/2 hour ride for me to get there.

Wish me luck!

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That's great!  I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time.

I did the 2012 GS Trophy qualifier in Moab and had a blast.  They did this "adventure rider challenge" the day before to sort of qualify each rider for the order they'd to the GS Trophy course the next day and after riding just a year and a half I was pleased to see I placed 17th of about 55 riders.

But the next day we went out to the GS Trophy course and waited two hours just to get the first two riders through!  I did the math and realized I'd be standing in the hot sun for another 5 hours before I got my turn.  Plus, you had to do the course on an F800GS, a bike I'd never ridden before and of course it wasn't set up ergonomically for me.  I figured it wasn't likely I'd score any higher than 17th on a bike I'd never ridden so given that I just took off and rode trails with some other guys.

I was going to volunteer to help out but I have the Baja Rally I'm racing.  Good luck!




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Thanks David and Congratulations on the win in SC and your first XLADV post :thumbsup:

I followed the first two rounds from the comfort of my couch. It was really a last minute decision for me.  My goal this year is to experience the event and hopefully get to ride in the final.  I'll be on my '08 GSA for the elimination day which has a very tall 1st gear making it challenging for many of the slow, tight challenges.  I am a bit disappointed that Rawhyde only has 2 days instead of the 3 that the East and Central had, but I will just have to make the best of it.  If I have enough fun and feel competitive this year then I will plan for more training in 2 years and maybe plan to take on more than one qualifier if my fitness is adequate to compete for a podium finish.

Cheers, Eric W.

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Very neat to see an inside view.  Spring Canyon was one hell of a drop!!!!  I realize the video doesn't do it justice so I can only imagine just how insane that really was

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I just watched the FB live video Lori posted and Jim Hyde said there were two tied for first and three tied for second.  Then they somehow listed them 10th to first with Matt Kelley winning first.

The thing is, Jeremy beat Matt by 35 points yesterday, which is how ties are usually decided.  I guess it's not clear how it was decided.

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Lori straightened me out...  so they used today's bonus points to make the call.  One was from how far down a log or board they could get and another was from how many trail stops they wanted to do coming down a hill.  I guess Matt got more bonus points.

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I'm not really a "post during a competition/event" kind of guy.  It's just not in my DNA and my FB and Forum activity is minimal as it is.  It's nice to see that ther are a few out there like you, Eric, that do keep people up to date during events.

1st of 2 posts for the Friday elimination round.

Dimitri was right behind me in the morning riding order so I doubt he ever got a chance to run video on me.  While I would have like to see my mud pit FAIL I'm happy not to see my ball/cone and barrel circling lack-of-skills exposed more than in text :)

The elements of the morning from memory. They were split on 3 pages on the scoring sheets which is how you see the scoring on 3 columns on the right of the results page in a previous post.  They kept our score sheets after the last element and I didn't think to take pics of it before then so I have to go from memory.

Typical general scoring tidbits for most if not all elements from memory:

  • -5 Dab (foot move after dab counts as additional dab)
  • -10 Drop/fall
  • - 1/2 element points for out-of-bounds (OB)
    • Hitting a cone
    • Off course
  • Assistance from course workers obviously a big deduction but I don't recall what it was
  • I recall a few of the possible points but not all...and some changed from what the score sheet said and what we actually rode.

The elements as I recall them from Day 1 - Elimination - The exact names probably differ from mine as I didn't take much note of the name

  1. Cones & Balls - 70 points - 14 cones with tennis balls on top of alternating cones.  Ride the line and pick up the tennis ball with throttle hand and place on the next cone. They had a nice little in-line rut half way through a some slight curving both left and right. I don't recall the cone distance but it was maybe 10 feet apart. 10 points per ball placed safely
    1. I had a bad morning...I think I got 3 balls placed +30 with at least 6 dabs -30 to result in ZERO for that element.
  2. Mud Pit - 50 points - self explanatory - significant S shape
    1. The mud pit was as expected after 33 riders had been through it before me and they continued dumping water into it throughout the comp.  I had 5 dabs about 1/2 way through as the cross ruts had gotten infinite and completely hidden. I figured if I went for it from my last dab I might salvage some points. I stood up feet on the pegs and gave her hell but dumped it in the mud 3/4 through in with the bike pointing perpendicular to the finish gate that and another couple dabs to get spinning again gave me a ZERO.
  3. Barrel & Rope - 50 points (I think) - From a dead stop ride a spiraling circle 5 times around a weighted barrel with a ~1" diameter rope in your right hand attached to the barrel in the center.  The rope had to wrap around the barrel 5 times. Rope touching the ground = -1/2 element total points, so 2 rope touches resulted in a ZERO, Tipping the barrel = -1/2 element points, Rope dropped from hand = ZERO. There were some low hanging tree branches with an exposed pipe and railroad tie in one area of the first two trips around the barrel.
    1. With my tall first gear and the bike idling a little up and down I tried to set the Kaoko throttle lock to a steady 1500-2000 rpms but it kept racing up and down so I left it unlocked.  Trying to grab the throttle in case it lugged usually ended up in dropping the rope or yanking on the barrel or touching the rope to the ground.  Again, my balance and clutch control were not good this morning so I got off to a bad start and did not get a good consistent decreasing radius line so I ended up with some front wheel wobble and weaving and ended up yanking the rope out of my hand on my 1st or second trip around. ZERO
      Like I said...it was not a good morning for me so far.
  4. Rope Course - 50 points - Typical slow trials-like single track with ruts, rocks, low tree branches, tight trees, tight u-turns, off camber, 360 around a large rock, some with narrow ribbon walls and some without. I think the tolerance for out of bounds was 3 feet from the white center line of the trail.
    1. This was totally comfortable for me as it is typical of just going out riding somewhere on a big bike.  The guy before me was the oldest rider there and was not fit enough in many ways for most of the elements.  He dumped the bike hard on the first tight turn with embedded and loose rocks only 20 feet into the course right in front of me waiting at the starting gate.  He got assistance getting going again and apparently dumped it again on the off camber left u-turn out of site from my vantage.  He eventually appeared riding off the element backwards and I was allowed to proceed.  I was really disappointed when I took a dab on a tight off camber uphill right turn when my front wheel hit a 3" square rock that had broken loose on the trail. I got my first points of the day 45 points.
  5.  Sand pit - 50 points - 2 very tight sets of cones in-line about 15 feet apart as a starting gate with a couple inches sand on top of hard pack then 3 sets of gates in the sand pit in a typical slalom config right out of the starting gates to gate #1 then left to gate #2 then right to gate#3 then left to very tight exit gate cones all in the pit.  -1/2 the element points for any cone touched or gate missed.
    I've got some cell phone video from my buddy who did remember to video me in the sand.  I'll try to get a copy of it to post up here since it was probably one of my better scores relative to the whole group.
    So...I watched some of the early riders hit the sand pit while I waited my turn on the rope course.  The short section with the tight starting gates was 100% hard pack with barely a little surface sand.  Remember, hitting one of those cones is 1/2 the points for the sand element GONE!  When I get there and am waiting in the queue after the rope course I see there is an in-line column of sand piled between the two sets of starting gate cones...maybe 5-6" deep.  The course workers were re-piling the sand there after each competitor. WHAAAAAAT? They changed the course in the middle of the competition! UNCOOL and opening them up to legitimate protests from anyone serious enough in contention for the top. NOT the way your manage a competition!
    ~END RANT~
    1. Almost every rider dropped the bike in the sand pit or completely missed gates one or more times.  I'm not 100% sure but I don't think anyone cleared this element but there might have been 1 or two.  I cleared the starting gates...cleared gate #1...the right turn through gate #2 was the tightest and cost me 3-4 dabs to clear without stopping...the left turn at gate #3 was almost as tough a turn radius but the lack of momentum from the tight turn and my dabs at #2 increased the difficulty...I took 1 or 2 dabs at gate #3 where I hit a full stop cuz my bike direction was away from the exit gate...again, not sure if there were 3 dabs at #2 and 2 at #3 or if it was 4 and 1...I took a strategic power dab at #3 due to my bike direction and short distance to the exit gates...at a full stop I settled me left foot and took a short break and got the front wheel pointed and cranked up the throttle...got up on the pegs and made a nice dust plume on my way to the exit gate with NO more dabs...I powered through the exit looking down to keep my line between the two cones and felt the left cone brush the bottom of the sole on my left foot...GHAAKKK!  If I had managed to pull in my duck foot left an inch I would have cleared the exit gate. 5 dabs, 1 cone. ZERO.
      As the scoring girl handed me my sheet back she said "GREAT JOB. You're one of the few to NOT be in the negative!" - Whaaaaaaaaat? I wandered around chatting with a few other competitors to find out that this element had NEGATIVE score potential..I was seeing -40 and -120 scores for some. SHIT...my best ZERO score ever!!! :lol:
  • There a few BONUS point elements and one "tie breaker" element in the morning.
    • BONUS - Knife throwing - throw 3 knives at a target - no clue how many points, but I never saw anyone stick a knife but I heard there were a few
    • BONUS - Bow and Arrow - 3 arrows at a target - no clue how many points - I haven't held a bow since I was about 8 years old - I did manage to avoid hitting any of the cows or horses wandering around behind the target area (open range) - I hit parts of the target with all 3 arrows but no bulls eye - no clue how many points I got if any
    • TIE BREAKER - Walk your bike around a barrel either direction with 1 hand held behind your back
      • Start with kick stand down, bike off, bike in neutral, either hand behind your back
      • When you touch your bike with your free hand the clock starts
      • Start the bike, put it in gear, walk/escort it around the barrel without use of your other hand behind your back the whole time
      • 360 degrees around the barrel back to your starting spot
      • Bike off, kickstand down, in neutral free hand off the bike CLOCK STOP
      • No clue my time or the relative times of others...i didn't expect to be in a tie breaker fight


Scoring sheet #1 looks to have included Elements 1-4.  I show 50 points which means I must have gotten 5 bonus points for my stellar bow and arrow mad skilzzzz (I saw plenty of bullseye shots so I certainly was below par on bonus) to add to my meager 45 for the rope course and all those other ZEROS.

I'd never really done any of the GS rodeo stuff that is typical in the elimination rounds of these events so I pretty much tanked most of those types of elements with my tall first gear and lack of training on super slow bike control balance exercises.  They kept our score sheets after the last element of the, Damnation Alley...later.

As expected I did better on the elements more representative of typical big bike riding off the tarmac.

I suppose I should have demanded a copy of my score sheet in case I needed to put in a massive protest:lol: although it would be helpful in the lessons learned review beyond just what I remember.

...more to come...

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My brother-in-law was one tied for 2nd and featured in a slow-mo video riding across 1/2 tires or something.  I'm confident I would have been first!!!!  Oh first to be told to leave as I suck :lol:

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