Las Vegas Endurocross Road Trip

As it usually does, the Endurocross season crept up faster than expected.  The bikes were in need of some love, Phil’s wrist was still busted up too much to ride, there was no vehicle capable of getting to vegas, and the season opener was less than a week away.  Things looked grim.  

    As they usually do, things worked out.  They managed to get the bikes in working order, Phil called up Travis at EVS sports and got a brace shipped out that would help hold his wrist in place, and Norman and Pauly from Al’s Auto hooked the gang up with a E-350 Cube van for the journey.

Behind the wheel with Mantis Eyewear

Behind the wheel with Mantis Eyewear

With a late start to the trip due to the scramble for a vehicle, the usual detours were kept to a minimum.  A quick stop at the worlds largest truck stop on I-80 for a jump rope sesh and a quick glance at Copper Mountains snow-less slopes were the only non-gas-related stops in the 31 hour drive.

Copper MTN without snow, odd.

Copper MTN without snow, odd.

Unfortunately there wasn’t time to run up the mountain side, as they crew was on an extra tight schedule.  After several driver changes, sleep shifts, and Go Fast! Energy drinks, the big white cube rolled into Vegas.

551 Films arrives in vegas

551 Films arrives in vegas

Unfortunately for Phil, his wrist didn’t let him get practice time in before the event.  He simply rode both bikes to make sure he would be able to hold on at least a little bit.  After riding both the trials bike and the KTM, it was clear that the emphasis would be put on the trials bike, as they added weight of the KTM was simply too jarring on his not-yet-healed wrist. He would simply have to rely on his off the bike training in order to carry him through the evening.

Water, check. New One Gear, Check. Wrist Brace, Check. Hang Loose.

Water, check. New One Gear, Check. Wrist Brace, Check. Hang Loose.

Qualifying didn’t go so well, as it took Phil a few laps to find his flow and ride his arms into shape.  However, after qualifying nearly last, he holeshot the TrialX main and preceded to pull away.  In the later laps of the Main last years winner, Ryan Sandoval, inched up to Phil’s back tire as lappers came into play.  Phil help onto the win with Sandoval charging in for second.

Phil with a clear track out front in TrialX

Phil with a clear track out front in TrialX

Due to some confusion and mis-timing, Phil’s bike wasn’t on the line for Pro Heat Race 1.  At first the crew was quite upset.  After more thought, however, they realized that this may be a blessing in disguise, as the break would allow resting time for Phil’s aching wrist.  After the heat, Phil swapped his Trials boots for Moto attire and headed to the line for the Semi qualifier.  Oddly, he was denied entry to the race.  The officials claimed that since he missed the heat, he was unable to compete in the remaining qualifiers.  Although this was once again upsetting, and the rules on this are still unclear, they took it in the best light possible, and kept positive with less abuse on the wrist. This turned the Dash For Cash into a do-or-die race.  Win, or pack up early and head home without points.

The Dash starting line from the big screen

The Dash starting line from the big screen

The Dash pits Trials bikes against full size moto bikes in an all out battle for $500 and spot in the nights final Pro Main Event.  Phil was very underpowered off the start but played it smart and crept around the outside of the first corner, which set him up for the inside of the second corner.

Phil tries to outpower the motobikes...

Phil tries to outpower the motobikes...

It was there that he took the lead.  Sandoval, on his Kawaski this time, wasn’t going to give it up that easily.  He straight-lined his KX to the inside of the rock corner, nearly launching Phil off his Sherco.  Phil managed to hold onto the bike and continued to put the hammer down.  After pulling a decent lead he put it on cruise control.  With just over a lap to go his right fork guard came loose and was dangling dangerously close to his front wheel.  It wasn’t until the last straight-a-way that it wedged itself in his front spokes.  This sent Phil flying over the bars in spectacular fashion that had the crowd on it’s feet.  After scrambling to his feet and racing back to the still-running machine, he took a quick glance to find second place rider Harry Oswald, and cruised it to the checkers.

Phil gets some podium time, and $500 cash

Phil gets some podium time, and $500 cash

Phil took a minute on the podium to thank his sponsors and rep the Smagical.com website, then it was off to the pits to switch boots and bikes.  Moments later he was on the line for the Pro Main Event.  It would be the first time of the night that Phil swung his leg over the big bike.  

The Main Event Starting Gate

The Main Event Starting Gate

After a mediocre start, Phil got stuck behind Factory KTM’s Mike Brown on the first log where a chain reaction caused a small pile-up.  He wheelied his way out of the mess, only to get stuck in the rock corner two turns later.  With nowhere to go but cutting the course, he decided to sit and wait for the mess to sort itself out rather than cheat.  

Phil puts the power to the ground

Phil puts the power to the ground

Just over a lap later Phil was forced to take a break to let the wrist loosen up and to tighten his brace.  During this time one of the officials came over and signaled him off the track, telling him he wasn’t in the main.  This was a shock, as they called him to the line and announced his name over the loudspeaker on the starting line.  The official claimed that they changed the Dash-for-Cash rule the day of the event.  The only positive on this ruling was that Phil had a front row seat to watch Taddy take the win over Geoff Aaron and Cory Graffunder.  A bit shout-out to Smagical rider Cody Webb, who held third until his arms gave out, eventually finishing tenth.

Forget the Strip...we found WILBUR Road. RIP Wilby.

Forget the Strip...we found WILBUR Road. RIP Wilby.

After a long night of trying to forget the arguable ruling of the EX Officials, the gang headed out of town to Red Rock Canyon State Park for some training.  Phil and Hochmuth climbed their way to the top of the mountain in just over 2 hours.  

Hock climbs the crevasse

Hock climbs the crevasse

It was heaven on earth for the rock climber Hochmuth.  Tons of bolted climbing lines and uncountable bouldering lines left the two physically spent after reaching the top and climbing back down.

Phil at the top of the Red Rock Canyons

Phil at the top of the Red Rock Canyons

After the canyons it was back to the Highway.  With eyes barely open wide enough to see the road, it was amazing the the gang was able to spot some quads ripping around the side of I-15.  After a quick U-Turn, the crew pulled up to a few locals and got the low-down on the riding spot.  Turns out it was a free riding freeriding spot.  Super excited to explore, the bikes were unloaded and the camera was grabbed.  

Welcome to interstate 15

Welcome to interstate 15

Hock sped off on his lonesome to find some track-like features while Phil looked for more natural terrain elements to play on.  He found a few cool elements that ate up the rest of the daylight.  They met up just before dark to shred a small track that Hochmuth found.

Phil finds a channel gap in the desert

Phil finds a channel gap in the desert

Just as they were finishing the load up process a helicopter stormed the grounds.  Within moments there were at least 10 cop cars on the site, sirens blasting.  It turns out that someone was shot in the area, and the shooter had fled off into the same desert that Phil and Hock were just shredding.  With that, the gang sped off into the night, and the awaiting monsoon of rain.

Once the rain stopped..

Once the rain stopped..

Luckily for the weary travelers, Phil’s glove sponsor Novik Gloves, is stationed in Colorado, halfway home.  They arrived around 4 AM to grab a few hours of sleep before hitting the trails with Erik from Novik the next day.

MC Hammer lives in CO?

MC Hammer lives in CO?

The trails of choice were located at Montezuma.  Just miles from Keystone Resort, the terrain offered amazing hillclimbs, single track, creek, and trials riding.  Once again, with cameras in hand, the group headed up into the mountains.  

Fallen trees equal great log rides

Fallen trees equal great log rides

Phil started off with some technical trials-esque riding while Hochmuth messed with the jetting on his RMZ-250.  He found some rad fallen trees, rocks, and suspended logs to keep entertained on before heading farther up the mountain.

Phil always seems to forget the KTM isnt a trials bike

Phil always seems to forget the KTM isnt a trials bike

Phil with a snow-less tailpress on the KTM

Phil with a snow-less tailpress on the KTM

New EX obstacle, rock berms?

New EX obstacle, rock berms?

After stacking some shots around the base of the mountain, the crew found each other and headed to the top.  Upon arrival they were greeted with a crazy electric storm.  Lightning crashed down around the surrounding mountain tops, causing everyones hair to stand on end.  

The top of the Mountain

The top of the Mountain

From the zenith point of the MTN, the gang spotted a snow patch on a nearby hilltop.  Even though Phil left his Ambition Snowskates at home, they decided they had to find a way over to it.  After a few wrong turns they had firmly planted their wheels atop the snow covered hill.

Lookin down the MTN

Lookin down the MTN

Phil and Hochmuth railed some snow-rutted corners, while Erik threw some snow with his back tire.  After skimming across the snow wide open side by side, Phil got the bright idea to try and cross the biggest stretch of snow.  

Phil carves a turn in the snow

Phil carves a turn in the snow

He hit it pinned, but instantly threw a chain.  His masterlink bent nearly in half, bringing him to a halt half-way through.  With this, he wrapped the chain around his leg and attempted to coast back down the mountain, and to the vehicle.  

 

Anyone see a masterlink?

Anyone see a masterlink?

The crew loaded up and headed back into town.  After a quick bite to eat with Bryan from Novik Gloves it was back to the freeway with the sights set on wisconsin.  A mere 10 hours into the journey back ,the sight of flashing police lights instantly awoke hochmuth out of his highway-induced trance.  A few quick hours later and the crew rolled back into Al’s Auto to return the van.  A big thanks to Norman and Paulie from Als Auto, and Erik and Bryan from Novik Gloves for their help over the trip.

Ahhh the cherries in the mirror

Ahhh the cherries in the mirror

One Response to “Las Vegas Endurocross Road Trip”

  1. Will Dick says:

    Dude that was an awesome read!!! It sounds like it was another blast was had by all in the Smagical. Keep it going!

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