So, I've been debating about whether or not to start this thread for the last 48 hours. I decided it would be a good way to collect criticism and to learn something about how best to move forward. First a little about me…I have a competitive streak a Mile wide. I'll race you at anything and I'm a shitty loser. I’m don’t mean that to say I am unrealistic or a poor sport about it, just that I expect to do well when I am capable of it. I used to shoot competitively (USPSA and IDPA) and did well. Well enough to win at a national level and have sponsors paying for some of my expenses. I won when I put in the work, simple as that. Work, family, etc have changed my focus and while I still shoot a fair amount, I don't shoot competitively anymore. I ride street bikes and have recently taken an interest in riding dirt. I bought a well used 2003 WR450f because I don’t have any better sense than to start with a big bike and have been practicing on 90 acres I have at home and a local riding spot. I have more or less rebuilt this bike from the ground up, bearings, top end, controls, carb,suspension, everything. It runs like a raped ape just look at it hard and it starts, no bog, lots of power. Scary as &%$#@! for a new dirt rider but it has been a good –if unforgiving- teacher. . I have a 2 mile course laid out at home with Woods and flat grass track. I have gotten to feeling pretty good riding it at a good clip ( 20 mph) average. On the strength of the above foolishness, I entered my first hair scramble race last weekend. It was a VXCS race in North Carolina. The short version is it did not go all that well. I had practiced starts, but managed a nice wheelie at the start followed by stalling the bike. That led to a rush to the first turn, which led to overshooting the first turn and a pretty nasty crash in front of God and everybody else in attendance. I banged up an already bad right knee in the process but I wasn't about to say uncle on the first turn of my first race. From there the race gradually improved, I had some falls but nothing major and I was getting much more comfortable with the terrain. It was not at all what I had hoped for in my first race though. I had no expectations of finishing well, really all I hoped for was finishing the race. It turns out that “tweaking” my knee on the first turn crash was a little more than I thought and I could not stand on the pegs and stay stable on the bike. The knee quit hurting after a mile or so but I just could not shift weight back and forth like I needed to in tight turns in the woods. By 6 or so miles I couldn't really stand on the pegs effectively at all so I was getting beat up pretty good sitting and crawling my way through. By 8 miles in I was beat, and the bike Was 250*+ due to me moving slow. I hated to do it but at the end of lap 1 I called it quits. Damn that hurt to do! So Monday I spent watching the GoPro video and nursing a well swollen knee. I'm pretty convinced that I could have run a few more laps if I could have just stood normally on the pegs and supported my weight. So what's next? Heal up a bit and practice practice practice. I have a nice course laid out at home But I need to make some changes and make more of it tight woods as opposed to ATV trails. I also am joining a local motorcycle only club with a good number of trail miles to ride. One thing I could use some help on, I was having trouble with my front wheel washing out in all kinds of conditions. Soft dirt and rough ground. I'm thinking a little more preload on the rear and maybe setting the forks down 5mm or so in the clamps would be a start at shifting weight forward? All in all, I had a fun if somewhat disappointing first race. I've got a Lot to work on and I'm planning to try another one next month. The only way to learn is to do right? FWIW- the bike: 2003 WR450 Fresh top end Hot cams Renthal sprockets (13/50) and chain CR style front brake cable Trail tech vapor Racetech springs for my weight & rebuild front and rear suspension Fluidyne radiators Clarke fuel tank Cycra hand guards JD jet kit in a refurbished carb FMF power bomb head pipe FMF power core pipe Perrelli scorpion XC tires Tusk handlebar risers (I'm 6’2”) Ricochet skid plate Pictures to come. The video has a bit too much colorful language with the way I was hurting and mad at myself for me to post it.