By Tom Niemela
You can view all my photos by CLICKING HERE!
This year’s Black Dog started off decent, then things
dropped like a ’57 Chevy over the
That’s when all Hell broke loose. Mr. Jones replied back with basically “take it or leave it” and “I don’t have time for this” type attitude. Well, you read it for yourself and my response by going to this link: http://www.blackdogdualsport.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=145
Lucky for me I know a few heavy hitters in the industry and was able to motivate many people to send letters and email to the Mt. Hood Supervisor, Mr. Gary Larson that their obvious biased attitude was unacceptable and that we are a legitimate public user and should not be discriminated against. Blue Ribbon Coalition also got involved and before long word got to the USFS National Chief in Washington D.C. Bosworth. Suddenly I had people calling and emailing me apologizing for Mr. Jone’s response and how could things be patched up. More on that later.
On to the event. As
On about Wednesday prior to the ride, Mr. Jones’ manager,
Malcolm Hamilton, came down and spent an hour discussing the situation that had
developed between us and the USFS. I
had heard good things about Mr. Hamilton from a friend of mine in
Come the end of the week, the usual suspects started
showing up and staking their claims in the Mt. Hood Village Campground.
Was great to see my reliable and trusted friend, Randy Beadle, back again
after a hiatus last year that left him unable to help much.
Again other trusted friends also showed like the Barrells,
Friday night came and so did the rains.
Days prior the skies had been typical Spring-like weather, but the
forecast looked dark for the weekend. On
a positive note, there wouldn’t be much, if any, dust!
Part of the USFS’s limits on our event was that we could only use
Rollcharts: this was the beta test of a new process for us making rollcharts. For the past few years I have tried to find a solution to making rollcharts, so the riders wouldn’t have to cut-and-tape them together. Every other club in the universe is basically in the same scenario and the only solution thus far was to make huge copies, then take them down to Kinkos in huge, full-length, eight-wide originals, then run it through their massive, roll copy machine. Needless to say, Kinkos was proud of this copy machine and the costs were over the top, so we’ve only tried it once in the past. This year though, I had discovered a custom printer and software (expensive!) that would print out on thermal paper and actually worked with my pc’s operating system. I was apprehensive as to whether it would work for the event and made backup plans if it didn’t. Once I got to my cabin that night, I started printing out rollcharts. They started spewing out of this new printer quickly and I soon discovered that I could print 16 charts per roll, so the rollcharts were piling on the floor like an elephant on Ex-Lax!
5AM came rather early, needless to say and poor Ariel
really had a tough time waking up. We
finally made it though and Gunny Claypoole was as usual already up and moving
about in the dawn light. Thank God
he had coffee brewing and his wife Laura was getting her usual organized process
for signup started. Laura does an
incredible job of setting up and operating the signup tent, especially since,
when it comes to signup, I’d make a good plumber.
I really appreciate her help, plus her friends like Judy also showed to
help. Plus out of the blue, the
After signup, it was time for the rider’s meeting and I
informed everyone about the course, the challenges presented by USFS, the safety
concerns, lunches, etc. Then it was
time for the start checkpoint and the riders trickled out one by one.
For the start,
Since the USFS would only allow us to use
Then the course did a short gravel-road stint over to McCubbin’s Gulch OHV Area, where there were separate options for A, B and C courses. The C course stayed on gravel road for a nice, easy cruise, while the B course led the riders on an easy powerline trail section with a few surprises. The A option had over 15 miles of single track that was peppered with rocks that either moved as you rolled over them, or they were attached to the center of the earth, i.e. inanimate. The last trail was the best as the riders had to slither through thick sections of brush, go around and over windfalls – basically first and second-gear format. Good times.
After McCubbin’s Gulch, it was a short stint down the tarmac to the lunch and gas stop at Pinegrove Store. Ron Rice had another challenge for the riders for points and everyone topped off their stomachs and tanks. The course then wound its way back to the old, historic Barlow Road, where the course first went East from Bonnie Crossing, came back over the top on a scenic single-lane road with a stunning vista of Mt. Hood, and returned to Bonnie Crossing again, where the riders then went West on Old Barlow Road to the summit by Pioneer Woman’s Grave. After that it was all pavement back, due to the USFS saying we could only use Still Creek (dirt) Road once for the entire weekend – bogus indeed.
At the finish, we had a couple challenges again for the riders as they had to play a poker machine for points, plus ride a slow test, but with a flair: the beginning of the test had some cones that the riders had to zig zag around, meanwhile going as slow as they could without touching their feet on the ground. We figured out that with the sidecars [to be fair], we would make them go through it ‘backwards’ and they could not stop. Plenty of entertainment and one, self-proclaimed expert rider on a green KLR650 (with initials of DB) even did a bail much to everyone’s astonishment – okay, enjoyment too. J
After the sweep crew all got in, it was time for the
Barrells to start their dinners of hamburgers and hot dogs, complete with potato
and regular salad and sodas for the riders.
The weather that day had been awesome for the riders as most of the
course had enough moisture to keep the dust down and not get drenched.
That night I again started the big pile of rollchart printing inside
Randy’s trailer as everyone partied around the large, group campfire.
Day two again started out very early at around 5:30AM with
me showing up with armloads of rollcharts to greet Gunny, Laura, Julie and
Cherie. Signup ensued, followed by
the rider’s meeting and the first riders out after about 7:30AM.
At the start
Sunday’s course was completely new.
You see, there are only three ways out of the Zig Zag area, due to land
locked sections of wilderness. In
all past years we had gone out and back either via
Going up #45 Road the riders slowly were presented with
narrowing roads and eventually split options for A, B and C routes.
The C route went it’s typical road-only for the big bikes and hacks.
The B option had the riders slithering through a windy old quad trail to
keep people awake. The A option suddenly became more of an AA option due to the
sprinkling of rain. One particular uphill became slicker than Crisco on a
kitchen floor, so had riders scattered throughout it.
A few riders made it up over the top onto a panoramic vista on
Everyone’s route came back together after this and continued on #45. One other split ensued for the B and C routes and then it descended on back down a killer, windy road to Highway 224, then to lunch/gas at Promontory Point. The Barrells had another checkpoint here too for everyone’s entertainment. From lunch everyone made their way back on more great two track and gravel to the finish for the final games for points.
At the end of the day, many people said it was one of the best Black Dogs ever due to the lack of dust! This was good to hear, since we had our water trucks out in full force soaking up the dust. The rollcharts were spot on (our goal!) and nobody got lost or hurt (very much!). We plan on changing the format and having a different type of event for ’06. We’re considering an overnighter somewhere, possibly staging from a different location and/or running in a different location, so stay tuned. Again, we cannot thank our excellent sponsors enough and we urge you to always support them, as they support us! These sponsors include Beaverton Honda/Yamaha, Clarke, Moose, IMS, Baja Designs, Rooster Performance, Trailtech, and Guts Racing, Hope to see you all again at next year’s Black Dog National!