In the past week, I’ve practiced at Croom twice, which is some kind of record. On Thursday after Christmas, I met up with a few CFTR riders for a few hours of light trail riding. We found as many logs as possible to motor over and blazed some new trails between the old ones.
Then, yesterday, I tagged along with a few of the fast guys and spent most of the morning eating a lot of dust. We found trails at Croom that I haven’t seen or forgot about, including the infamous FTR trail that I thought no longer existed. I rode sweep, or that’s what I told myself, because I was left behind from the start and had to rely on my heightened sense of awareness and navigational prowess to keep up. It reminded me of my childhood as I was often the slow poke among my dad’s friends and crashed a lot so I was always scouring for their fresh tracks and looking through the forest for movement, all while trying to ride a vigorous pace. Yesterday was just like the old days except, instead of chasing my dad and his buddies, I was trying to keep up with the likes of Clay Lyons, Matt Boni, Jeff Smith, Seth Robbins, TJ Ridgeway, Clay Wilder and Barrett “Beardog” Smith, among others. Yeah, right!
The first time out, we rode almost 10 miles, most of which through whooped out, tight trails at near race speeds. I could barely keep up to their dust, which was good practice for me. After a while, we ended up at the front pit where Clay and Matt completely blasted each other around two sand turns, their motoring drawing a crowd. After lunch, we headed out for another session, this time accompanied by Derek Winship and his friend Travis. I was almost the only non-KTM machine, besides TJ and Barrett who were also riding Yamahas. I was definitely the only 125…After less than a mile, Barrett stalled it in a corner and I passed him, but the group ahead was gone, and I could not decipher any details from the trails. Alas, Barrett and I turned around and headed back to camp more bummed that we were slow than that they didn’t wait for us. No hard feelings, guys!
Clay #416AA and Matt #109AA rode together for the first time other than at a race. I was just happy to watch!