1994 Quicksilver National Enduro
The 1994 the weather presented the Salinas Ramblers with one of their biggest challenges and worst conditions we ever faced in putting on the Quicksilver National Enduro and the club rose to the occasion and pulled off another successful event. I don't know what it is about the Quicksilver but we seem to attract bad weather. OK, yes I do! We run the event in February which is statistically one of the wettest months of the year in Clear Creek. And we are just unlucky more often than not.
It became very evident early Sunday morning that we were not going to be able to run the first and third loops because of heavy snow and the risk of stranding a rider or having a rider injured in an inaccessible, remote area. The first loop circled out to Spanish Lake and back, getting up to elevations between 4,500 and 5,000 ft. The third loop followed the same flow as the first loop but was shorter and used AA trail deviations. The only hope to pull the event was to use the second loop that used lower elevation trails in and around Clear Creek canyon that would be more easily reached by our check crews, sweepers and recovery crew.
Around 7:30 I held a riders meeting with the AA riders to discuss the circumstances and get their buy-in on running a modified course wherein the same loop would be used twice and start at 10:30 AM, 2.5 hours later than the original keytime of 8 AM. I needed the additional time to get check crews out to their checks and for sweepers to check the course. The idea I presented was to run the second loop twice, first time at 18 MPH and the second time at 24 MPH. C-riders, Vet, Seniors, Super Seniors and Women would only ride the loop once and finish.
A little background: Historically, the second loop of the Quicksilver was designed to be relatively easy for the A class since there is not a lot of challenging terrain through which to run special tests in this area of Clear Creek. It was not uncommon for most A riders to zero the entire loop unless they had a mechanical problem or crashed. The second loop could be a challenge for some B riders and most C riders but not so bad that they would vow never to return to the Quicksilver again. We wanted to give the folks who contributed the most entries a challenging ride but one that most people could finish. Also, the area around Clear Creek Canyon sits at a lower elevation (2,500 - 4,000 ft) and does not seem to get as much precipitation as other areas of Clear Creek get.
The thing that allowed me to redesign the event so quickly on Sunday morning was the detailed turn mileage information I collected during layout. Also, by using 18 and 24 MPH speed averages I had more flexibility as to where I could put checks that would work at both speed averages. A couple of checks had to be moved to accommodate the speed averages but fortunately my loop leaders were able to get their check crews to the correct spot, except for check three as you can read about in the Cycle News article. There was no time to print new route sheets so we posted one route sheet that all of the riders had to program their computers from. Some riders did a better last minute job of programming than others.
All in all, everyone in the club did what had to be done to pull off the event. I wasn't so much surprised as impressed. The club takes great pride at putting on a quality event and, like a quality NFL team that makes the playoffs every year, the club has a tradition of excellence to uphold and they certainly did so in 1994.
As a result of our situation in 1994, in following years we laid out a 'wet weather' course after we got the regular course completed... except in 2001.
Unbeknownst to me, Mark Kariya was taking pictures at the rider meeting and when I got my May edition of Dirt Rider in the mail, I discovered a picture of me conducting the meeting. I certainly did not dress for the ocassion, I dressed for warmth and comfort. Also, I could see the start of a bald spot on the back of my head which is much larger today! Ed Tobin