Koshiol races through woods, mud and water

This article submitted by Molly H. Connors on 9/24/96.

Around Paynesville, everyone's got a different warm-weather hobby.

Some run for the golf course after work. Some just run. Some head to the lake, fishing rod in hand. Some dig around in their garden. Some pick up their needles and thread.

And then, there are the ones who

"are running over logs, between trees that are handlebar widths apart, across the rivers and over downed trees." Chuck Koshiol, Paynesville, is one of the above. He spends some of his weekends enduro racing. "Whatever's out there, you are going as fast as you can over it."

Koshiol rides in enduro races from March through October. These races are a distant relative of motocross racing. Koshiol describes enduros as "a little more seat-of-the-pants" than motocross racing.

The races last around four hours. The race trail runs through woods trails, doubletrack and singletrack.

There are checkpoints throughout every race. Throughout the whole race, each racer is expected to maintain an average speed, for instance 24 miles per hour.

"No one can go 24 miles per hour in the woods," Koshiol said. So, the racer ends up behind time when he or she comes to a checkpoint after a woods section. So, when the rider enters a road section, he or she can catch up on that time. The rider cannot, however, ever be ahead of time.

Riders lose points for being behind time, but they lose more points for being ahead of their times, Koshiol said.

The races are usually about 80 miles long. There are checkpoints throughout the race where timers keep track of rider times.

There are around 250 enduro riders in Minnesota, Koshiol said.

Koshiol raced motocross for a few years. he enjoyed riding dirt bike and offroading, so he tried enduro racing. He's been racing for 20 years.

Koshiol's love for the outdoors is part of what keeps him with the sport. He takes in the scenery wherever he goes, and wherever enduro races are held, the terrain is "beautiful." Becasue of the speeds that racers travel, Koshiol said that people don't think racers see any of their surroundings.

"Not so," he said. "You take it in quickly and digest it. You saw it for a second and remember it because it was so beautiful."

His experience serves him well. He was the natioanl champion in the masters class in Stone Mountain, Georgia, this year. He also beat many riders who are younger than he is.

"This is a four hour race. It's a long race and it's grueling," he said. "I learned long ago to ride smooth. If you ride smooth, you won't crash, you won't get hurt. You'll be fast."

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