Dirt First Washington – PST #2

I participated in my second trial this last Saturday. There were 56 riders total. I rode the novice sections for this event, held in Marysville, WA.

The weather was not cooperating with the meteorologist’s forecast. It was supposed to be lightly raining at times. Instead, it was raining when I arrived, raining when I was leaving, and raining much of the time in between. It didn’t seem light at all. Temperatures were in the low to mid 40s.

On the bright side, the parking area was relatively easy to find. Getting signed in was first. Tents were set up wisely ahead of the rain.

There are typically two forms, a waiver from the property owner and a form from the Puget Sound Trialers group for tracking fees, which class you’re intending to ride, etc. Finally, you get a scorecard to carry and use to record results in each section.

I saw both Michael and Jeff on my way in. Greeting them, with elbow bumps, we made plans to ride together during the event. We all three would ride the novice sections and ride together as a group.

Readers may remember that in the last event, I rode through five sections total – and each one four times. That’s twenty sections total. This time, I would ride ten sections total – each one three times, for a total of thirty sections.

Sections are organized in a loop that ends up back in the pit area where we’re parked. So the end of every round you can stop and fuel up with gas or snacks.

I brought water, bananas, apples, cookies, trail mix, and leftover BBQ chicken. Having whatever I needed / wanted between rounds was the idea.

Beginner vs Novice

As mentioned, I rode in the novice class this time. In the first trial, I rode in a special for-that-event beginner class.

As was the case before, sections will vary from pretty easy to intimidating for the newbie. It did seem that the more challenging sections this time were incrementally more challenging. This was accomplished through tighter turns, more frequent compound corners (think s- shaped course), and obstacles added in the corners making the turn more difficult.

In walking many of the sections, there were clear options and deciding which path to take added to the incremental challenge of the novice class.


There were 8 riders total in novice. I finished with a total of 33 points and 12 cleans. That score put me in 6th place. Compare that to the top three scores: 3rd place had 20 points with19 cleans; 2nd place had 14 points with 22 cleans; and 1st place had 8 points and 24 cleans.

It was about 2:00 when I finished the course. I was packed and heading back home by 3:00.

I’m glad the parking lot was sand and not mud. 🙂

Photos and video

I feel like I’m still learning how to capture interesting trials photos and video.

The challenge is always to make what I’m there to do (the trial) a priority, but capture some interesting photos and the occasional video to give readers a sense of what the environment and event was like.

A friend and long-time blog follower Mark sent me a chest mount for the GoPro (Thx again!). That worked well during the training ride last month to capture an on-bike POV.

For this event, I waited until the third loop to strap on the video camera. We would be last on the course and not too rushed in any particular section. Though I charged all of the GoPro batteries two days prior to this event, when I went to turn the camera on to record a section, I found the battery already dead.

My action camera is seven years old and needs replacing. I will be looking at the new generation of action cameras in the coming weeks. Metering, image stabilization, and feature sets are all much improved these days.

Having either a compact camera for photos or getting another waterproof cover for my phone is another decision to be made. It is kind of the same story, though. My iPhone 5S is even older than the GoPro. It is probably wise to price out waterproof compact camera I could carry in a pocket for photos taken while on the course.


Gear Performance

The LD comfort long base layer under my trials pants and shirt with a light, synthetic jacket kept me warm even under the wet and cool conditions. The jacket has a full length zipper, making it easier to regulate temperatures.

The bill on my helmet did a remarkable job at keeping my glasses dry. That was a good thing since I forgot to bring a cleaning cloth for my glasses.

My gloves were soaked but thankfully the stretchy fabric prevented any irritation.

In summary, the rain was less of a difficulty, in terms of staying warm and being able to see through glasses, than expected. In terms of mud, I say that just adds to the fun!

It is still to be determined if my riding pants and gloves will ever look as clean as they were before the event – lol.

Scorecard Insights

I cleaned six of the ten sections at least once and two sections every time. A goal here would be to clean every section at least once.

My second round was my best – almost half the prior round. I learned how to better ride the sections the second time through. 🙂

My third round score suffered because I wasn’t looking ahead as much and I wasn’t bending my legs quite as much as necessary for the bike to move freely under me. I was getting tired.

Alas, those extra third round points were often single point “dabs” – a result of not looking ahead and being stiff – putting a foot down as a result. I dabbed once in each of three sections that I had cleaned in the second round.

In the end, I accumulated 33 points for the 30 sections. Last time, I accumulated 21 points for those 20 sections. Each time I scored a bit over one point per section, despite the increasing difficulty and length of this trial in comparison. I will look forward to watching that ratio go down.

More Cardio Needed

I think as the weather gets warmer, I’ll add to my twice-weekly workout schedule some additional cardio work to try to improve my stamina.

Packing the Night Before Works

Packing up for this event went more smoothly. I knew more what I would need and I packed up the car the night before.

All that was left to do in the morning was stick food for lunch in the car and strap the motorcycle onto its carrier.


Finding additional places and times to practice and have fun is going to be a priority as the weather improves.

Jeff, Michael and I are loosely planning to practice at Tahuya, perhaps monthly. I hope to practice at my neighbor’s property once the rain abates a little. That could be more frequently since it’s only a block away. And I will likely reach out to another PST member who lives nearby and has property he rides on.

Look at New Camera Gear

Yeah, old electronics just doesn’t compare to the new stuff. And the requirements are a little different than what I might want for my road trips. So I’ll likely loosen up the wallet for a bit of new camera gear this spring.

60,000 miles on the CR-V

The odometer on the car was flipping over to 60,000 miles as I left the house.

It took 21 years to the month to reach 60K miles. Obviously, I don’t drive it much – an advantage of in-city living. Now that I use it for trials, I expect future miles will accumulate a little faster. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.