I am entering my 2nd season of off road riding (long time street rider) and trying to learn the desired suspension settings on a stock 2003 XR250R. I have decided to leave the bikes suspension stock for financial reasons and realize it is undersprung for my size. I walk around at 180 pounds and am 5'10. I rode in my first poker run yesterday which was a desert setting (Dirty Poker Run, Vantage Wa.) with various types of sand and lots (I mean lots) of whoops. My previous year was primarily trail riding in the PNW which has alot of rocks of roots. I had my compression and dampening set to their softest settings and had some real issues yesterday in the sand and the whoops. I found my back wheel sliding alot (like I was on ice) and my front plowing frequently. I think the plowing was coming from my front compression being too soft and know that my struggles in the whoops was alot of technique issues and most likely dampening too soft as well. Watching the other riders fly by me only confirmed this. Am I correct that my suspension should have been firmer for the sand and whoops? Would I be better served just to leave the suspension in their factory settings (manual calls for 8 out I believe). I realize riding an older, stock trail bike can't compare to the KTM's and Husky's that flew by me all day but I am hoping to at least maximize what I am working with. Thanks for your help and advice.