The John Muir trials at South Kettle Moraine have always been a favorite, and knowing they cut-in some stuff, I was anxious to get away from the swamp they call Palos. Got there just before the kids race and got my son prepped. (Jacob won the kids race!) I suited up for a good warmup, but I ended taking my other son Evan for a slow loop of the red trail instead. The rest of the HAC crew, Julie, Jason, Erica, Adrian and Ronit all got there with no time for warmup either, but we found the HAC tent (Soupy and Bob were well underway for the 6hr) and dropped our stuff. My sons were prepped on the handup drill, and off we go.

No Le Mans start this time, they simply said “if you know you’re fast, line up here, if not, spread out. I went to the front, as I knew I wanted a clean break in the first super-fast, super-fun section. Slotted-in in the top ten and kept the burn on as long as I could to get a gap on guys, then made a wrong turn 3/4’s of the way through lap one, had to turn around, then lost two spots – damn!

Lap two starts, good handup from the boys, and seeing nobody close behind, I go into recovery mode. I miss another turn after the fast-and-fun section and lose two more slots – damn! Another guy miscued as well, and he and I start fighting back, while chatting a bit. He knows the course better, but I have him covered on the climbs, so we trade pulls till we catch the two guys ahead. I pulled a nice late-breaking pass on both guys into the 90 left after the sandy fire road.

So the pace is back up, and as we go through the damp and rocky “ledge” section, I miscue again, lose balance, unclip, and as I point my toe down to catch myself my right calf knots up! I stop and try to massage it, and the three guys pass me back. Arrgh! I get going again, hook up with the dude that I traded pulls with and put our heads down for lap three.

Another pro handup from Jacob and Evan and I start pushing. I pass my helper early on, and he is out of gas. Halfway round I catch the first, then the second guys, and keep pushing. I don’t know if I can get anymore, but I am feeling good so I keep pushing all the while jonesing on what a great trail system these guys have built. I make a hard dash to the line hearing the cheers of the HAC camp and I am greeted at the tent with a cold one from Soupy Mike. Does it get any better?

It is great to be part of such a diverse and supportive team! Also, getting kinda hooked on these WEMS enduros. Fun! Ended up 15th out of 60. Considering the number of Cat1 ass kickers in the field, I am happy.


-Al Thom