Holy heat index, Batman! The TTC was insanely hot this year. Tennessee had an all-time record high temperature of 110 degrees just a week before this year’s event. The temp on Friday, when I set the sections, was “only” 97 so it felt relatively better but it was still pretty bad. Luckily, the shade in the woods and light breeze brought the temp down a bit more.
I decided to return to “moon rocks” this year. I’ve set sections there twice before but it has been a while. The last time, a sudden rain storm turned the rocks into slippery objects of pain and frustration. Since there was very little chance of rain this year, I figured we would be fine. In the end, the rocks held their grip but the heat was the biggest obstacle.
We had another great turnout of riders this year with nineteen competitors, eleven of which are also motorcycle trials riders. There were so many outstanding rides that it’s difficult to pick out which ones to write about. The first one that jumps to mind is the amazing Malcolm Lee Smith. The kid just turned five years old and rides both motorcycle and bicycle trials, races motocross, kayaks and much more. He seems to be good at everything he tries. He struggled a bit with our Beginner sections because a couple had hills too steep for his small size. That said, all of the riders in Beginner were kids. I love seeing the next generation coming up!
The Sport class was the biggest class this year with eight. The age range was amazing with the youngest winning and the oldest in second. Their scores were really close all day with Aaron only edging Tim out on cleans. This event was several rider’s first time in Sport and, amazingly, it was Chris Studi’s first comp. I look forward to seeing them all progress. I even saw some decent rear-wheel action from the Sport class. It wasn’t so long ago that rear-wheel moves were Expert or Pro only.
Lance and Tom in Expert are two of my longest trials comrades. You’d think they would be used to my long and challenging sections. Regardless of what they think, I say they both rode well and pulled some awesome stuff. If I hadn’t blown out my rear brake line, I might have tried riding with you two. Another time, my friends.
As for the Pro class, I expected more to show up but the three we got were excellent to watch. I really enjoyed meeting Robbie in the real world. All three struggled with my sections for the first half of the first loop but then they found their stride in the last couple sections. Section 3 was a Pro-only so I really pushed them on that one. The big up to front and the tight, sketchy ledge really made them think. Nathan beat Nigel last year so Nigel was seriously focused to beat him this year. They both rode really well.
Thanks to Northwest Trials, the winners of Beginner, Sport and Expert took home some great prizes, including a brand new Born frame for Aaron Thistle! He says he’ll definitely give Expert a try next year.
Thanks to Lance for the support and food and thanks to the Trials Training Center for the venue and assistance.
|Malcolm Lee Smith