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Old 11-06-2012, 03:28 PM   #1
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GNCC Loretta Lynns race/trip report

From the start, I threw out the idea to Lee just in a joking manner, then, it turned into serious thought and consideration. We did some research and decided this is something weíre doing for sure. Loretta Lynnís apparently has a lot of meaning to most folks, to me, it meant nothing more than just another race event, I had no idea the history behind the name L.L. and the motorcycling industry.

We had some help in getting there this year (thank you very much to all who helped), I was lucky enough to find a few gracious people to help fund a portion of our trip, 1 plane ticket, 2 hotel rooms for 2 nights, $100 for fuel and we were out of pocket for the balance of the trip. At Enterprise, I use my ďcorporate company account info for a rental car, they try to put us in a Fiat 500, LOL yeah right, for 4 people and our gear? Lee decided to drive our bikes and gear as we only need minimal items, after all, they offered no practice so no extra fuel was needed, we only used a few tools, our bikes were prepped and should need nothing once we arrive to race. Lee was driving, myself, my g/f and Leeís son were all flying, Forrest (Leeís son) who is attending Baylor University could not be home until Thursday evening so our plane left IAH at 7:05 am Friday, we rented a car in Nashville and drove to Hurricane Mills, TN to meet Lee at L.L.ís ranch.

As we arrive, we park/pit directly behind the Factory KTM big rig, a really impressive set up they have, a huge truck and trailer (as one would expect) a huge canopy covering there working area, rubber ground covering, tool boxes set up for each mechanic and bike, a full service rig, with a fueling station and pressure washer for the bikes when they get dusty. As we walk down the ďPro pitĒ area, we see most of the manufactures rigs set up in line, KTM had by far the nicest pit area on the row. Most of these bikes were just amazing to look at, everything one would expect to see on a Factory race bike, Titanium exhaust on almost every bike, all nice bells and whistles one could dream of having on there race bike.

We pretty much walked the entire site, from the vendors stations, to the FOOD stations (mmmm, pizza, burgers, CORN DOGS  funnel cakes, you know, all the crappy greasy fatty foods a TN red neck could dream of). Friday morning left us guessing what the heck was going on, we couldnít find any information out about the event, we didnít know where the starting line was, we of course new where the finish and scoring was (later we found out the start line was about ľ mile or so away from where we were pitting) we had to wait until 4 PM to sign in and receive our transponders, helmet ID numbers and colored class stickers.

At 3:30 the registration line started stacking up, it was basically a mass confused headache for everyone in line, there was a tent with tables, then next to that was a trailer/booth set up, at 10 till 4, the registration ladies started yelling out instructions on what to do, which line did what and where to go if you were or were not pre registered, luckily we were smart enough to pre register online. We filled out our registration card, stood in line and in all of my genius I was lucky enough to be able to turn in my card, grab my sticker, and get our 3 transponders in the same line (as far as I know, all others had to go to a separate line to get the transponders) this had to have saved us another 20-30 minutes, we were done with that.

Met a few new nice people, spoke with a few familiar TX race faces, I think that brought us all 3 onto another level of comfort as we chatted and received a little more solid info, Iím quite disappointed in the way that the GNCC officiates the registration process (C- to say the least) we were told itís always a horrible process at each and every event.

Once we got settled in with all of the registration , we settled up the bikes with last minute odds and ends and left for the evening, 1 Ĺ hours later, registration line is still banging pretty good, there were hundreds of people in line. We head to the hotel, relax for a bit and then decide to head out to find some Mexican food and drinks, what was supposed to be .5 mile away turned out to be one fun adventurous night as we drove on for ever (with the sketchiest cell/internet service) we had trouble finding a place to eat.

As we pass the biker bar, Lee gets excited and I get nervous, a few drinks in me and I get a little too playful and loud, after all, weíre in TN, the redneck scene is quite different there. We google up a place to eat about 30 minutes up the highway and head that direction, I donít know what we were doing but we missed out exit, there were no turn around points on the highway so we had to keep moving on till we hit the next rerouted exit. Keep in mind, weíre not in Texas, the speed limit is 55 everywhere, I decide to pass a slower moving vehicle, getting up to 80 mph as I make the pass, I let off the gas, slowing down but not enough as we pass a vehicle that immediately hits the brakes (Oh , itís a cop, I keep an eye on the car as it spins around, the blue overhead lights come on and just hit the brakes, slowing to a stop and pulling over right away (hopefully, less a chase will help me out) great, itís a young state trooper who turned out to be a really nice guy, as he asked me what weíre here for from TX, I state that ďwe here to raceĒ LOL, he laughs and says ďI hope youíre not racing this thingĒ? In the end, the state trooper had no idea what restaurant we were headed too, didnít even know of the town we were headed to but, he did only right me up for 61 in a 55. I inspect my citation at the hotel to find out that my name is written backwards, so Iíll look into that and see if I can by some chance escape that due to technicality.

Saturday morning we get up and head to the track, the race starts at 10 am but it is race day so there are always last minute things that come up.. I get to the track, we all gather our gear up, and guess what, I donít have my padding in my helmet, now, is Lee fkn with me and removed it or did I leave it at home or in my bag (we left all of our luggage and gear bags at the hotel) I head back to the hotel and find it in my bag, grab it and head back to LLís. Now Iím missing the go proís (damnit) so I head back to the hotel again, running out of time, I locate the go pros in my bag, so just in case Iím forgetting something else, I throw all of our bags in the car just in case and head back to the track.

Now itís time for everyone to get to the starting line, of course weíre just standing there halfway geared up as a ton of people are riding past us headed down to the start, as we ďfinishĒ gearing up, and get on the bikes, I start my new shiny KTM and put it in gear, and give it some gas only to realize that I have shoes on, I forgot to put my boots on.
As we get to the starting line, there appears to be a thousand people lined up in there rows (as it turned out, there were 403 entrants in the am race) a little bit intimidating I have to admit. As I look down my starting row (30+C class) there are only 11 bikes, by the time we started there were 15 people on my row, how is this going to go??? As all of the rows in front of me start to take off at 1 minute intervals, my heart rate climbs and my nerves start to work overtime, can I get a whole shot and hold off some people? As Iím watching the front rows start, they are all lead onto the motocross track (I hate jumps, and they have some serious whoops sections on this track) I get even more nervous, there have to be hundreds of spectators around the track thinking ďlook at all of the bad wimps that canít jumpĒ. Our row is up next, Iím really nervous at this point, Iím shaking Iím so nervous, our flag is raised, my engine starts on cue and Iím in 2nd gear with a recluse clutch so I hit the gas and hope to make the hole shot, Iím barely beat out at the first turn and he quickly takes the lead, I follow onto the motocross track and someone comes up and shows me a wheel (fkn buuullsh*t) that ainít happening so I gas it to stay ahead, we navigate the jumps and whoops, rolling each of them and then into the woods we go.
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:28 PM   #2
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Wow, this course is pretty fast, wide open in most sections and the elevation is just everywhere. The hill climbs were just awesome, I loved each and everyone of them, the descents were something totally different, as I’m following other riders doing my best to keep up on the down hills, I learn a few things about going down hill, never let your back tire lock up, this is a big no-no as I narrowly missed a few guys throughout the race as they ate it, I get adjusted to lightly dragging my front brake, downshifting into 2nd and coasting as fast as I felt comfortable with. The woods sections didn’t really compare to some of the races we have here in TX, our stuff can get really tight for a long way here.

Coming up to the hill climbs I would get excited, I knew I could get set up and pin the throttle to the top (what fun that was) flat out in 3rd gear, spinning the rear tire up what seemed to me to be mountains in some cases spectators everywhere cheering, clapping and woohooing you as you go by (this makes you want to do your best to give some good action), sometimes people were right in front of me, roosting me with nice sized rocks, I just put my head down in case I get hit in the face, I took a couple nice ones to the chest but brushed it off pushed on with my race, about halfway through my first lap I realize this is a 2 hour race, uh oh, I better slow my pace a bit and just stay consistent. I find myself a nice comfortable pace and settle in but of course as soon as someone passed me or I would run up on a slower rider I would forget all about the consistent pace and speed it up. Great, another steep down hill, guys are piling up, guys are finding and making new lines around everyone, in some spots there must have been 5 different line to choose from, you have a split second to make a decision b/c the guy in front of you just ate .

As I finish my first lap and go through scoring, the clock reads 45 minutes (what the does that mean to me?? Nothing as I’m confused, focused on my race, trying to navigate the course and figure out how much time I have left and what my first lap time was, who knows, just keep focused and race. Half way through my 2nd lap coming down a valley I see a blue bike and some pink on the right side, the rider is getting up off the ground, (thinking to myself, is that Olivia (my g/f) should I stop and help her??? Nope, we discussed this already, she doesn’t want my help) sure enough, it’s her, Olivia has crashed and I keep on racing, focused again on my race hoping that she didn’t notice it was me, there were 402 other riders on the course, I keep pushing on, still thinking about her crash, I enter a tight Pine tree wooded section and fall down after hitting two trees at the same time with my bars. I get up and going again, only to see a white-ish KTM with some familiar gear, “is that Lee, did I catch up to him, he started 6 minutes ahead of me, he usually catches up to me”, yeppers, it’s Lee, now my race mode steps up a notch wanting to finally catch him and make a pass, I settle in behind him on the single track for maybe a quarter mile or so ( I like making safe passes only) as we approach a hill climb that is more than wide enough for 4 bikes side by side, he makes the turn but knows someone is behind him, he slows a bit to let me pass but I had my mind on a different line than he did, I get around him and took the wrong path only to fall down and crash (damnit, I finally pass him and then I crash, I’m at myself) Lee is gone, out of sight. I work hard to get going again, stepping up my pace to catch him again but it did take a while, almost at the end of our 2nd lap exiting the woods and onto the start area headed toward the mx course I catch up again, in passing him I turn around and throw the thumbs up waiting for the acknowledgement (not that I had passed him, but as a sign to make sure all was well) he gives a nod and I take off, hoping to leave him behind and stay ahead of him. We are about to be hitting the mx course, Lee likes to ride mx, I don’t, I knew I had to stay in front or he would fly past me in the air but I was lucky in keeping him behind me.

Now beginning my 3rd lap, I’m riding well, pretty flawlessly, used to the down hill sections and the trails are getting burned in pretty good, with each passing lap, I notice more and more new lines off the designated line (there is a 25’ rule, you are allowed ride off course up to 25’ should you come to a bottle neck) there must have been bottle necks everywhere. There were some ruthless riders on the course, a faster rider would get behind a slower rider and start yelling his head off, you have to make a safe, smart and quick decision as to what you want to do. They are raring to get around you, you are raring to let them but at the same time, we’re on single track trails with little “safe passing zones” to choose so I would just ignore them until I get to safe area then I would kick out a leg signaling them to take a direction around me as I slow down and let them have the faster straight line to pass me, some guys wouldn’t wait, they would pass you and then ruthlessly hit your front wheel with there back wheel (if you ask me but it is what it is). I was more considerate on my passes, (probably another reason if finished in 5th place rather than higher) I would wait till I had a safe place to go around or they would let me around like I would let a faster rider around me. I witnessed on 2 occasions faster riders go into the same berm up against trees with a slower rider at the same time forcing his way through and around, all the while causing the slower rider to fall in front of everyone behind him (maybe this was the fast guys plan of attack, who knows) again, inconsiderate move (we’re not getting paid to win the race) I understand the points deal and it is a “race” but come on.

Lee ended up with an 11th place finish, he was hung up a couple of times with downed riders, I’ll let him explain.
Olivia ended up with an 11th place finish as well, the course was tough for a beginner, and it did take her over 2 hours to complete 1 lap after falling continuously and taking a good long break, but she is a real trooper, determined to finish, she completed her lap…

I have been training (a little) and eating right lately in preparation for this race, my cardio conditioning is pretty fair, it’s cool and not 100+* out so I’m feeling good concentrating on my breathing, sipping my water when needed and riding in the standing position for most of the race. All of the above has paid off pretty good dividends as I am mentally and physically ready and prepared for my 4th lap. I never did see Lee again, he never caught back up to me, I made a lot of passes and on the same token, I was passed a lot too, there were some seriously fast guys on the course. I came into the end of my 3rd lap and onto the mx course, I look over to see the checkered being waved and I did let out a sigh, I wanted that 4th lap but I just wasn’t fast enough to get it in, I believe I missed out on it by less than 4 minutes, which equates to about 3 crashes.

I don’t know how many times I crashed and or fell down, and I really only had two real crashes but I did fall over a few times, lets figure a “crash” takes approx 1 minute to recover from, and a fall over, 30-45 seconds, so had I not crashed once or not fell over 2-3 times, I could have very well had my stand on the podium.

A lot has changed in my racing program throughout this year, I’m on my 3rd bike (by choice b/c I started out riding a Honda CRF150R, then moved onto a Yamaha YZF250, and now a KTM 200 2 stroke, I’ve had all year to ride and have made many of the races that each of the series organizers put together. I have progressively gotten faster over the last 10 months, I’d really like to thank Lee Ostner for pushing me to go faster, stroking my ego, and shooting me down by getting into my head every now and then, and quite a few others, being fortunate enough to be able to get a lot of seat time at Colin Edwards Texas Tornado Boot Camp for some dirt training with the whole crew there, my g/f Olivia for joining me at each event and participating in quite a few races, in the last 5 months, she has gone from not knowing a thing about a motorcycle to racing all the races I attend as well as participating in a GNCC race, on top of all of that, she really takes care of me and the others in our pit area after we come in from racing a long 1 hour hot race, we’re out of breath, injured, sore, thirsty, hungry and sometimes we can’t even undress ourselves, she’s always there. I’ve met some really cool dudes at the races, and have made some awesome friends this year.

Here is a picture gallery link to our GNCC trip, you’re welcome to run through and take a look at them, we didn’t get too many pictures and Forrest is not a very good photographer so if you seen some pics of the dirt, or the sky or a dog, those are pics that he took.

Lee’s class results, 11th of 17 with an overall finish of 225/403

Lee’s lap times

My class results, 5th of 15 I had an overall finish of 147/403

My class lap times

Olivia’s class results, 11 of 11, an overall of 297/403
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:53 PM   #3
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nice recap james! thanks.

Congrats on your race weekend.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:31 PM   #4
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Congrats !!!! sounds like you had a Blast!!!
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:25 PM   #5
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Good stuff James!
- Jason

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Old 11-06-2012, 09:27 PM   #6
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Cliff notes please???? My fingers hurt just looking at your posts haha

-Harley Davidson is The Original Gangster
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:37 PM   #7
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Congrats to you both, glad you guys had a great time.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:45 AM   #8
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Good ride report James. Congrats to all 3 of you and good stuff for Olivia for going and doing this race. I think with her limited experience it shows a lot about her character for doing this race.
"Life is tough .... It's even tougher if you're stupid."
- John Wayne

"When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True Story" - Barney Stinson
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Old 11-07-2012, 11:06 AM   #9
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It would have taken me longer to write the story than it would have to run the race.
For me, the biggest thing about the race was the magnitude of it. And the talent. There were some guys in C classes that would be considered sandbaggers in B around here.
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