Author Archives: Joe V

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A hammer is a heavy sharp, blunt tool.  It has a big flat end, and a claw end (or some combination there of).  You can swing it, you can throw it, you can do a lot of damage or a … Continue reading

Vavavavroom! It is almost a season!

Nothing better than this.

Nothing better than this.

It seems like just yesterday.  Just yesterday, Liz and I were coming out of a long winters nap and loading up the truck/trailer to head to North Carolina.  Trying to find some mountain biking, some road bike riding and to hit the Steele Creek GNCC.  Wow, time flies.  I suppose it is because I am getting old or something along those lines.  But, wow.

(My friend Noah at this point is saying, of course you are old Joe.  Have you looked in the mirror? Quiet!)

I am not going to do a full season retrospective just yet.  There is one more local race and about 6-8 Cyclocross races yet to do before we can call it a season.  But, things have turned out pretty well this year.

- I have won lots of races.

- Come 2nd in a few races.

- Had my best Moto Enduro finish ever.

- Done my first MTB Enduro.

- Kicked off my Cyclocross season…

All in all it has been pretty good.  The last month has been really good.

Goofy little EnduroX section at Cecil race!

Goofy little EnduroX section at Cecil race!

Just after the big Trekworld show in early August, I got myself cranked up to hit the 2nd half of the season.  The 2nd half is always a question for me, as I usually have to miss a couple of races in July, work a ton during that time, travel around the world a bunch, and basically do a lot of things that do not add up to holding onto fitness very well.  This year was no different, but I did manage to stay sharp by riding my bicycle a bunch and getting some big Alpine MTB time in and ride my motorcycle a few times at Dyracuse or at Aztalan.  Not a lot, but enough.

In July, I had one gap and with no riding or training or anything bumped over to Cecil and got that WIXC race in.  Didn’t get the greatest start, but worked my way up to Pete by the end of the first lap and sat on him for a couple of laps.  He made a bobble and fell over in the sand and I took off from there.  I wouldn’t say I got a huge gap on him, but got enough that I did not have to stay at the ragged edge.  He had some additional trouble and that one ended up being not too bad.  That was good, because if he would have had a good race, it would have been tough to stay with him the whole time.

This is how close Pete and I have been for much of the season.  That is me chasing him early at Cecil.

This is how close Pete and I have been for much of the season. That is me chasing him early at Cecil.

Next race for me was all the way at the end of August, at Sugar Camp.  Sugar Camp is the best race of the year.  I really wanted to do well, but did not trust my fitness.  I took in my beet juice at the start and a Honey Stinger Gel and found myself completely amped up and ready to go when the gate went down.  Pete always gets a good start and I seldom do, and of course this was one more time that it turned out to be true.  It took me to about halfway into the lap to catch him.  He followed me for some of the 2nd lap, but then I put my head down with a 2nd wind and took off.  I felt really good, and I think Pete did not.  He posted afterward that I was on it and he was not.  But, I have to say there really isn’t that much difference between us this year.

I went to Cecil and won a complete mudder there (completely trashed my bike) and put the WIXC season away at that point.  To be fair, Pete was not there so it was not really a dual for us there.

Sugar Camp race 2014

Sugar Camp race 2014

The next weekend I did the Adams County D16 Enduro and came away with a 2nd place in my class.  That is the best I have ever done in an Enduro.  I rode well, but I never really do that well with the stop and start sprint thing that is an enduro.  Oh well, maybe I do have a future there.  We all get old at some point, so I figure eventually I better figure out Enduro’s.

Yep, that is me doing an Enduro.  My friend Noah says there is a National Enduro row with our names on it for next year.  I do not know about that.

Yep, that is me doing an Enduro. My friend Noah says there is a National Enduro row with our names on it for next year. I do not know about that.

This past weekend was the D16 Harescrambles at Dyracuse.  I won that race, after following Pete for the 1st lap.  I was disappointed that we got caught so quickly by the sandbagger Joe Barr behind (he has raced XC2 pro class at GNCC races and lined up on the B row) on that first lap.  I pushed my way past Pete and chased after Joe on that 2nd lap.  I put about 1 minute per lap on my group for the rest of the race and stayed relatively close to Joe for a while, but fell over and lost the plot somewhere in the middle there.  I picked it back up then, but after that Joe was gone.  (Nice work – sand man)

There is one more race in the local series this sunday.  After that, I will be going to Dyracuse each weekend for the month of October to bang out laps in the sand whoops – prepping for the Ironman GNCC at the end of the month.  There are still a bunch of Cyclocross races to be done yet this year, so the year of 2 wheel competition is not yet over.  But, it is winding down.  I am going to race the A class this weekend and then contemplate lining up on the A class line for next year.  I will see just how far off the pace I am this weekend.  I find it a pretty interesting proposition to be on the A class line at 54 years old next year.  We will see.

Lotsa thanks to all my sponsors for all the help this year.

Stay tuned.

Sometimes my bike looks pretty good.  After the Cecil mudder, it did not look at all good.

Sometimes my bike looks pretty good. After the Cecil mudder, it did not look at all good.

It is just the start of Cyclocross season.  It will get a lot muddier and colder from here.

It is just the start of Cyclocross season. It will get a lot muddier and colder from here.

Joe

 

A new kind of Enduro for me.

We all know what a motorcycle enduro is.  You know, timed sections and transfer sections, you have to arrive before your start time etc…  That same format has been brought over to MTB.  There are transfer sections, which are mostly uphill, and then timed sections which are mostly downhill.  The transfer sections are a chore and the ripping fun DH sections are what the payout is.  Just like the moto format, they are really relaxed.  Not chill-axing easy, because you do have to get up the hill before your start time, but not like an XC puke your guts out up the hill intense either.

To start with, you are probably riding a bike that has more travel and is more laid back than your average XC rig.  I like that, because I am not really an XC head.  I like the more relaxed angle and fun focus of a full suspension bike that is made for going faster.  Gives me big grins per mile.

Enduro time.

Enduro time.

My friend Hansi has been trying to get me to come up to Duluth to ride for some time.  He has been telling me that it is really great.  I knew he wasn’t lying, it was just that there are so many options for riding.  Duluth seemed like it was probably good riding, but I really didn’t see how it could be worth 6 hours of drive time and past so many other riding areas.  How wrong I was.

So I signed up for the enduro at Spirit Mountain.  Spirit Mountain is a ski area just outside of Duluth.  Like a lot of ski areas, they have made their mountain into a summer attraction for MTB riders.  If you want to check it out, you can find a bunch of info about the riding at the area here and here.

I hopped in my truck early from Hayward and headed up for a 8am arrival and a 9am start.  Now, understand I was driving away from about 100 miles of single track riding right out the back door of the cabin.  This had better be good.

Duluth is a former sleepy little town on the edge of the biggest freshwater lake in the world (Lake Superior).  Duluth was a bustling city in the early 19th century that had a huge mining and forestry, shipping and ship building industry.  In the early 19th century it boasted more millionaires per capita than any city in America.  But, that was a long time ago.  It has always felt just a bit rundown to me now.  Boy was that POV outdated.

It is still run down feeling on the west side, and even worse across the border in Wisconsin.  But, the city has recently been voted the best outdoor city in America and there is a ton of money pouring in to the city revitalizing it.  It is boasting 100 miles of single track being built inside the city limits.  It has the lake, ice climbing, kayaking, snow biking in the winter, running the biggest ski areas in the upper midwest, XC ski trails in town.  It is a great place.

But, the enduro is what I was here to experience.  Let me just tell you now, Tracy Mosely is completely right.  Enduro is the most fun you can possibly have on a MTB.  period.

some of the trails had man made feature like this.

some of the trails had man made feature like this.

Hard to describe how steep rocky and multi-lined this was.  It was huge fun.

Hard to describe how steep rocky and multi-lined this was. It was huge fun.

My steed after the race.  I cannot grin enough about my new Slash.

My steed after the race. I cannot grin enough about my new Slash.

lines lines everywhere.

lines lines everywhere.

The little enduro at the Duluth MTB festival was just 3 transfer sections and 3 timed sections.  The first was a flowing trail called Candyland.  Great fun, with small berms and jumps.  The second was called Knowelton Creek and had a lot of rake and ride virgin trail.  The 3rd was something called Smorgasboard, and completely rocked.  It was pouring down rain from the middle of my 2nd run, but the event was the most fun I have ever had on a MTB.

Wow.

Joe – Out.

I just could not stop talking about how much fun I had afterward.  "And then I went rawrrrr."  Hansi Johnson photo.

I just could not stop talking about how much fun I had afterward. “And then I went rawrrrr.” Hansi Johnson photo.

 

 

Wow, there are leaves on those trees!

This past weekend, was round 9 of 13 race local season.  It was my 8th race of the local season, and it was a pretty good one.  All in, I am a record of 8 wins and 1 second place.  But, the numbers do not tell the whole story.  I will get back to that later, but first…

As you know I have been struggling with my eyesight this year.  I chronicled the beginning of my season and my eyesight struggles earlier here in this early season blog entry.  I solved it thus, or at least made it much better with the old goggle inserts.  What I did not tell in that early entry has been my struggles to get my goggle inserts updated to my new prescription, bear with me through this as it is a story all right.

New goggle inserts are here!

New goggle inserts are here!

So, I was doing really well with my old prescription goggle inserts, but felt that there was still something left on the table.  With my regular glasses, the old prescription was not cutting it anymore – at least in the face of the new prescription.  Wow, I could just see so much better.  So, I ordered up some additional inserts for my new Oakley favorite schweet goggles – they are different don’t you know, at least from my old inserts and the old will not work in the Oakley.  So hey  – I forked over my prescription to Drew @rxgoggles and he pounded out some new lenses for me.  Woot.

When they arrived, I plopped them into my Oakley’s, went out to the MX track to lay down some sweet laps at a pace that I just knew would be better than I have ever done before – I mean I can see you know.  But something went completely wrong.  I could not see a thing.  I was getting a case of vertigo and was having a horrible time seeing.  Things were screaming up on me from the sides and I could not see a thing.  It was way way worse than without any inserts.  I went into a complete funk.  That is it, my offroad racing passion is completely shot – I am a trail rider in the future at best.

This is me chasing Pete early in the race.

Chasing Pete early in the race.

There was a funny little EnduroX section that was trying to slow us all down.  By the end of the race it was just a jump over section.

There was a funny little EnduroX section that was trying to slow us all down. By the end of the race it was just a jump over section.

After I moped around for a while all grumpy, I decided to go and talk to the eye dr.  She measured all my glasses and declared that my base curve on the new inserts were all wrong.  I called up Drew @rxgoggles and relayed the story and he said send them back and we will rework.  (both pair – it is a long story)

So, many hundreds of dollars later I have the coolest most valuable 6.5 base curve corrective goggle inserts ever.  Ever.  You cannot imagine how much I have paid for these.

This past weekend at Cecil, I decided that I was using them and forcing myself to  adapt even if they were not right.  I wore them on my MTB while I did a loop on the course before the race and, wow – they seemed really good.

So, I set them up on the goggles and went to the line.  The gun went off and I dropped the clutch.  Nothing.  I was not running.  I hit the button again and it still did not start.  Finally on the 3rd try it started.  I went into the woods in about 15th place.  On a fast course it was hard to make up time and tough to find lines.  It took me till the 3rd lap to catch Pete (who of course got the holeshot – again.  What is it with his starts vs. mine?  I have not gotten a start ahead of him all year.)

Eventually I figured out how to go fast, but not for the whole race.

Eventually I figured out how to go fast, but not for the whole race.

In general these days, I have a bad case of office hands.

In general these days, I have a bad case of office hands.

Pete stayed in front of me for about 3 more intense laps, then made a mistake and I got around him while he was on the ground.  I think I taunted him went I went by, not nice but we have a fun rivalry going between us.  At that point I put my head down and did a couple of hard laps and got a gap on him.  Unfortunately, at that point I kinda ran out of gas (3 weeks in europe eating crap food, not sleeping well and drinking too much beer, had left me without enough energy).  I cruised from there and managed to finish about 2 minutes ahead of Pete in second.  Pete had banged his knee, as he said trying too hard to go fast.  Felt bad for him.

OMG!  I could see so much during the race!  I could see leaves on the trees even.  I found myself riding along saying to myself “Look at that, a hole.  Oh look, there is a line over there I could take.”  It is really amazing how much more you enjoy the race when you can see the trail.  Cecil was actually way more fun that I thought it was going to be.  It was fast, but felt a lot like a short GNCC course.

So with 4 races left I have a handy 35 point lead over 2nd.  That will get gobbled up a bit as I have to miss one of those races yet this year.  But, I am feeling good about the way I have been riding I hope I will be fine and will finally achieve my goal of winning the overall for a season.

Joe

The video below was taken by Monty Griffin.  He races my class, is a class racer with a big heart that always takes a nice little video of the course.

 

Gravity is a really cool thing.

At the risk of getting all Tom Jones on you, I know that you know that what goes up must come down. That is a gravity thing, and it is pretty cool. It means when you go up a trail you get to come down. It is what MTB Enduro is based on. Ride up some road or trail and then time yourself coming down a section via gravity. I am sure there is some pedaling involved, but it is basically a gravity kinda thing.

Downhill is a gravity dominated activity. Unlike MTB Enduro, in DH there normally isn’t any hiding behind your ability to pedal up something. It is not like there isn’t any fitness necessary – oh there is. It is a bit like people’s perception of Motocross. The perception is that the bikes are so technical, that all you do is clamp yourself on to the things and they do the work for you. If you have not ridden a Motocross bike or a DH bike, you have no idea what you are talking about. They might not require the waif thin thing that XC racers or road racers are, they might not require the pure aerobic ability that those disciplines do. But, they require the ability to operate at a high heart rate and a ton more core strength and upper body involvement.

But, the biggest difference is that those sports (DH and Motocross) while dealing with the upper body strength and the core strength issues, while your heart rate is pegged at a near anaerobic level, they also require that you have handling skills that are never required on an XC bike or a road bike.

That handling skill and resulting amazingness is what makes watching those sports so much fun. I mean it is exciting to watch the pure athletic aerobic ability of an XC racer or a road racer. But, it is the death defying handling ability of DH racers or Offroad motorcycle racers or Motocross racers that is so fun to watch.

Take a look at these video’s and you will identify with what I am talking about.  In the end, it is all 2 wheelers so it is all good.

The above video shows the skills required to be a DH racer.  This is a practice run, so there is a lot of effort to be stylish.  In a real race run, there is not really any coasting and certainly another 20% of pace effort.

That video is from the Ironman GNCC from 2013.  A crazy hard 3 hour race up and down the mountain, over and over and over.

There is a bunch of really good slow motion in this video, showing how much body language it takes to make a mountain bike work in that terrain.

Pro Motocrosser’s workout on youtube.

 

 

 

 

 

By the numbers

Two Feet, Ten toes, contemplation.

Two Feet, Ten toes, contemplation.

We are 6 races in to the WIXC series this year.  Not quite halfway on the season as there are 13 races this year.  (How time flies)  The races have been epic so far.  Rain, mud, dust etc…  all the usual suspects.  Basically, all the stuff that I love so much about the sport, and at the same time the things that make it so difficult.

On the season so far, if you glance at the results, I have 5 first place finishes and 1  second place.  Woohoo, you might say.  On the surface, it looks like a dominating performance.  But, in reality most of those are really hard fought.  Basically, Pete is pretty much riding the same pace that I am.  I have been able to best him at times and pull away, but never very far.

Hillpoint – Pete beat me fair and square.  In fact, he put a whole bunch of time into me.  I like to think that my eyesight was really bad without any goggle inserts and correction, and it was, but regardless it was pissing down rain and he put it to me.

Mountain – He holeshot the race and led for the 1st half.  It took a huge effort for me to get past him and then to go hard enough to put time into him.

Sugar Camp – Pete holeshot again and led for almost half the race.  I finally got my act together in the middle and tracked him down for the pass and the win.

Kewaunee – My least favorite course, and the same course that Pete seems to like and beat me on last year.  He led me for half the laps, then I got tired of eating dust and decided to back it down and let him go.  In reality, he should have won. Unfortunately for him, he flatted and I went on for the win.

Lakewood – It was a good straight up race and I beat him by just 20seconds though.  This was a new course for me, and I felt like once I got in the groove I was pretty fast, but obviously not as fast as I thought.

Navarino – this past weekends race is where the tale really comes to a head.  Pete and I battled from the start – I holeshot and led him into the woods, and then we proceeded to trade the lead and bang into each other in turns for 2 solid hours.  We literally were never more than a handful of seconds apart and entered the timing tent together almost ever single lap.  During the race, I figured out where he was fast, and I suspect he figured out where I was fast.  I passed him in one of the spots that I felt I was fast and then worked the rest of the lap to hold him behind me.  We finished just 2 seconds apart at the line.  I had just one drink from my Camelbak the entire race, Pete said he had zero.  I was/am still completely destroyed from the effort.

Last year at Navarino, I was at 91.1% of the pace of Zach Herfindahl – winner of the race.  I was at an average of 29.79mph.  This year, Zach was 2nd to Brandon Houts (who was not there last year), I was an average of 31.33mph or 90.99 of Zach’s pace.  In effect, I was the same ratio as last year to Zach.  But last year Pete was just at an average of 27.58mph last year.

Do I think I could have been faster without the breathing problem I was suffering? Maybe!  But that is not the point.  Pete is way way faster this year than last, and the rest of the season is going to be a battle each race.  Our pace is pretty much the same and we are always right on top of each other.

I cannot wait for the next race together.

The picture does not tell the story.

The picture does not tell the story.

Out.

Video taken by Monty Griffin of the 1st lap at Navarino

 

 

Tinnnn Roof….Rusted!

This is not a story about Lions or Totem Poles, after all – I like a good fist fight as well as the next Fella. This is racin! It is normally the heat that makes you hot, not the lack of cold. Leave me alone, I’m pedaling as fast as I can… What exactly does any of this have to do with the air speed velocity of a unladen swallow?  I do not know, but I know if the last few races I have felt a bit large.

Can I have exactly nothing for $1000?

Meanwhile our hero does not believe that any of this should stop the continued pursuit of the two wheeled nirvana known as riding. A simple word with many meanings all of which actually say the same thing in 37.2 languages. Surrender Dorothy!

First, there was the 6 hour MTB race.  Upon canceling our plan to go to Copper Harbor for 2 days of bigger mountain riding and a MTB Enduro event, we decided (at the last minute I might add) to participate and clip on a number at the local 6 hour MTB race.  I could have done 12, but it was hard to get motivated for a 7am start when knowledge of the event was happening at only 9pm previous.  Oh well, 6 it is, a noon start sounds far more achievable.

The steeds all loaded.  303 Offroad goes MTB XC racing.  Woot!

The steeds all loaded. 303 Offroad goes MTB XC racing. Woot!  A Fuel EX 29 trail bike will do just nicely, thank you.

The Southern Kettle Moraine have some really nice singletrack (I am told not to refer to it any longer as just single).  It is tight and twisty, and quite a blast – but when you stuff a bunch of riders down the trail, it gets really hard to pass.

The race started out with a little jog to spread us out, and not send us all into the singletrack all at once.  As you will see from the video, it really didn’t work.  We bunched all up and you really could not pass but about 4 places the entire lap.  It was frustrating, but it is a 6 hour long race so it really did not matter.  Oh well, it was really fun to see all the different riders and abilities.

We ended up having a really good time and a pretty good race.  Liz was a hero and really enjoyed her loops.  She is always faster and tougher than she lets on.  I think we will go back and do another this fall.

It did not hurt that it was a great spring Wisconsin day.

Kewaunee WIXC race

Any day racing your motorcycle is better than a day not.  I have said that before, and I will always feel that way.  In fact, I spent some time trying to explain that here.  But, some days are definitely better than others.  Last weekend was not my day.  I’ll say right up front, that I ended up winning – but I really did not deserve to win.  My friend Pete was way better than me on the day, but he ended up not able to finish and therefore, I inherited the win.  Sometimes that is the way it goes in racing, I am always happy to win – but I am way happier if I feel like I rode at the level it takes to win.  Let me explain.

Dust.  I used to really dislike mud.  But after a lot of years of racing I have come around to realizing that dust is what I really dislike.  It is scary stuff.  I really do not like going along in 6th gear with 50ft of visibility.  I just have to much of a self preservation gene for that to be something I enjoy.

The start was the typical affaire.  I got a good start, but Pete and his 350 can usually pull me on the line.  Especially on a long start without any twists and turns.  Kewaunee was a crazy long top gear straightaway to the first turn.  Pete came around me in the first little kink and I was forced to eat his dust for next few laps.   For about 45 minutes I toyed with trying to pass him, I was clearly faster in a couple of sections and I kept trying to line myself up to be able to get by him in those sections.  But, I found that I had to try so hard in the really dusty sections to be close enough that I was just scaring myself.  After a while, I decided I was taking too many chances and I backed it down to 9/10 pace.  Pete kept the gas on and a couple of laps later I was told that he had about 20 secs on me.

Normally someone telling me that is enough to make me chase, but today with all the dust, I just said nope not going to do it.  Somewhere along in there, Pete flatted and I must have gone right by him on the track.  I did not see it, so just kept on cruising at about 90% pace.  It wasn’t until I was back at the trailer and Pete came and told me that he had had to pull off.  I am really bummed for him, as he deserved to win – but I guess that is why it is called racing and they run the race all the way to the finish.  I cannot wait until this weekends race.  It is an all singletrack affaire and I am sure I will like that much better.

I am the egg man.

Watch the first minute or 2 of this video and you will see how I had a great off the line start, but Pete pulled past me going down the long straight.  You can watch the rest of the lap, but I think you will find it pretty boring.  I love WIXC races, but Kewaunee is not my favorite course.

No l-o-i-t-e-r-i-n-g allowed.
Rusted.

Joe

My Racing and a Thermos!!!

An early start, and a lot of driving.  But in the end, it is worth it.  Oh, and of course there is Pearl Jam.

An early start, and a lot of driving. But in the end, it is worth it. Oh, and of course there is Pearl Jam.

Have you ever contemplated how a thermos works? I mean seriously, it keeps things both hot and cold.   I do not know about you, but I have been both hot and cold. They are not the same. One is painful immediately, and one is painful over time. One works very well for some things (hot chocolate) and not well for others (hot orange juice). One works very well for many things in the other way – Ice cream comes to mind. But, really only Pizza can go both ways and it works out. (This brings up a serious challenge to my Burrito is a better food than Pizza stance. One worth rehashing and reconsidering… Some serious research will be needed.)

That is me chasing Pete in the middle of the race.  As Noah says "I shouldn't follow so closely - gets my number plate dirty."

That is me chasing Pete in the middle of the race. As Noah says “I shouldn’t follow so closely – gets my number plate dirty.”

This gets me back to the Thermos noted in the title (sometimes you may need to do one of those walls that you put pictures up and connect strings from one topic to the other just to follow along, but hey you are the one that chose to read this). Just how does the Thermos know? Are all Thermos’s connected like the dinosaurs were back in that Jurassic Park movie or something? Pour in hot stuff, and it is still hot later. Pour in cold stuff and it is still cold later. That pretty much qualifies as awesome if you are following along at home.

As for how this might relate to my race stories that I post here, you will just have to bear with me, I hope to bring it around at the end.

So, I am 4 races into my season. (3 WIXC races and 1 D16 race). My results don’t really tell the story though. If you look at the results it will show 2 second placings and 2 first placings. Not bad if you just stop there. But, if you dig deeper and reread the previous blog entry you will recognize the thermos that is my racing. It seems to have a mind of it’s own. Hot and cold and I did not seem to have much control over it. It is as if someone had decided what liquid to pour into me before the race has started and it is just my job to maintain that. Oh and maintain I had done for the first 3 races, I started out hot or cold and I just stayed there. But, on the 4th race I decided to do something different (very non thermos like).

 

So Far...

So Far…

This past weekend, I felt like I got past that issue. I got a crap start. Got pushed a few places back in the 1st turn and then even washed my front end out and came to a complete stop with my foot on the ground in the first few hundred meters of the race. Later in the 2nd lap, I smashed my shifter into a stump and it got jammed folded back. That meant I finished that lap stuck in 3rd gear and had to ask someone to help me at the timing tent to pull my shifter out so that I could ride. Meanwhile, Pete had checked out of the front of the bunch and I was about 30 seconds behind him. In the past, I would have resigned myself at that point to 2nd place, reinforcing the point that if I did not get a decent start I was cooked. (or in other words, someone had loaded cold liquid in and I was not capable of changing that.) But this time, I decided that I was not a thermos. I was going to go from cold to hot in the same race. (maybe I should have drawn the comparison to myth of cold fusion instead of a thermos.)

I put my head down and caught Pete after another lap and went to work to try to figure out how to get around him and then to put some space in between us. I am really pleased with my efforts, although that summary is certainly oversimplified. Pete got a great start, but was riding without anyone to chase. It will be good to get a similar start to him at one of these races and then see how we can race together.

Regardless, I think I have kicked the thermos challenge and I can make heat when I need to. I have a special place in my head for the Thermos (much like Steve Martin in The Jerk), but I am not bound by the same physics any more.

IMG_8812

Bring on the races, I got the new thermos.

Out,

Joe

thermos1

 

Some times it is a small thing!

Eyesight. We all take it for granted.

Morning comes… If you are like me, your alarm goes off and you open your eyes. The first thing I usually see is a dog looking at me, wondering if I am going to get him up and take him outside. All of that while the little one sleeps away dreaming of chasing rabbits down holes or something like that. Hunter that she is…  Anyway, we all kinda take for granted whatever it is we see when we first wake up.  It is just the sort of thing that is there, you know it just is.  (Although in my case, I do not really know why that dog is always staring at me when I wake up… kinda creepy.)

I am old. That will surprise you, I know. But in my case I like to think of it as really well “traveled”. Regardless, my eyesight is not as good as it has been in the past.  I know that surprises you,  but basically I can see everything closely around me just fine. I just cannot see very well at a distance anymore – at all. Seriously, do not ask me to read a sign on the road or anything like that when I do not have my glasses on.  You will be surprised at the results if you try.

Of course impaired eyesight is not anything new, and I am not the only person that has suffered from it. But, mine has come on slowly overtime, and has snuck up on me. So here is my story.

Eyesight certainly deteriorates over time for most people. Mine is no different. But that deterioration happens slowly, you don’t really notice it too much for a long time.  I suppose you squint and force yourself to decipher what your brain is only getting partially from your eyes.  It works, for a while. The last time I had to go and get a drivers license, probably 10 years ago, I did not need glasses to see “line 3″. I had glasses, but that was mostly because I was having some trouble seeing road signs at night – night vision I called it. My prescription was really light. I was always able to read “line 3″ without the glasses. Then I showed up this past year to get my drivers license renewed, and could not read line 3. “You must be kidding me, no one can read line 3 – that is Chinese characters on line 3.”  She was not kidding, and was not amused. I failed.  (A friend said, you should always/never be sassy with the person working at the DMV.)

So, I got my prescription updated and went back to take the test (passed) but WOW! I could see. I did not realize that there was so much detail off in the distance. It was like I had all of a sudden gained eyesight. I was so excited I ordered new glasses – new glasses for driving, new sunglasses for driving, new glasses for every day, new sunglasses for bike riding. I was completely taken with my new found eyesight. I loved being able to see so much that I am never without them now.  I almost always wear my corrective glasses.

The problem is that, I think you start to rely on having fantastic sight. So much so that when you are without them, you REALLY cannot see. On the motorcycle, I did not have any vision assistance. And, at speed on the motorcycle is when you really want to have sight. Not having good eyesight made it so that everything came upon me really really fast. I could not anticipate, could not pick lines and could not flow through the woods like normal and … It was bad.

Of course, it meant that I tried even harder. I pressed harder on the bike, then would find myself overshooting turns and bouncing off trees. I started fiddling with my bike set up and that started making things worse. As not only could I not see anything, but my bike was not the bike that I was comfortable with and confident in. That made things even worse. I was spiraling down and down. Getting slower and getting worse. Struggling I was.

Then while in the funk of trying to figure out what was going on, I went for a mountain bike ride and sweated out my corrective glasses, so I took them off and finished the ride without glasses. All of a sudden there I was, mid MTB ride and could not ride anymore. Ding Ding Ding! That is when it dawned on me. It is my eyesight, stupid!

So I had had an old goggle insert made to the old prescription years before. I had not used them much, because back in the day when I really did not need the assistance I did not really notice any real difference while using them.  They were just another look through surface that collected dirt and dust and was prone to fogging up.  So they are virtually new and unused in my goggle box.  I cleaned them up, anti-fogged the lenses and I gave them a try this past Sunday.

!HOLY CRAP!  Unbelievable.  All of a sudden I could see.  What I found, looking back is that without the inserts I could not see anything out in the distance so I probably was looking right down in front of the fender.  You cannot ride fast when you cannot look out in front.

With the inserts I could see the holes, I could see the ruts, I could see the turns and lines in and out way in advance.  Fortunately I had documented my original settings that worked so well last year.  I took the motorcycle back to the original set up and BANG – speed.

1st in +40 class, 8th overall. I’ll now be ringing up Drew @RXGoggles to debate him on who is tougher, MX’ers or off-roaders (he is wrong btw), and order up some new anti fog coated inserts with my new prescription.

Feels good to have speed again.  Pete has gained a ton of speed, but I knew deep down inside, there was something basic that I was missing.

Feels good to have speed again. Pete has gained a ton of speed, but I knew deep down inside, there was something basic that I was missing.

I am back.  Whew.  It was close.

Joe

IMG_0069

Good to put the #303 back up on top again.

 

Another try!

20140502-062213.jpg

Really hoping that the WIXC race this weekend is not like this. Ready for the real season to get underway.

Maybe I cannot go fast – but at least I will look good!

As you know, I am not having the best start to my season.  I am not really upset by that, as any day racing is better than not racing.  But, after a couple of bad races and 2 big mudders – I am really searching around.  Time to get after this.

How I am feeling about my riding lately.  Not sure what it is, but I will get it figured out.

How I am feeling about my riding lately. Not sure what it is, but I will get it figured out.

Last weekend was another muddy muddy race.  It was pouring down rain for most of the race and it was an absolute mud pit.  Ugh…  I hate mud, and I think when you are not riding well it is even worse for you.  Not complaining mind you, everyone out there had to ride the same conditions.  I think that maybe I just suck at it extra hard.

So I am going to try to get myself somewhere to ride in the next days.  I just need to set up a small 1:30 loop and go round and round.  Get comfortable, change settings get comfortable again, reverse the direction, change settings, get comfortable – rinse and repeat.  I will get it figured out.

In the mean time, I have all new graphics coming for my bike.  They are the sweetest thing that AJ at Victory Circle did up for me.  They will showcase my sponsors, point people to my website and try to put some thoughts around my love of everything 2 wheels.  As I said, even if I cannot go fast I am going to look good trying to.

My new graphics.  Look for me at the races.

My new graphics. Look for me at the races.

See you at the races.

Joe

 

There is really only one way to get faster.

I have been hoping for some magic.  You know, one day you wake up and I Dream of Genie has made you into a great rider.  All of a sudden you can ride yourself right out of ruts and you can clear a triple and tractor right up a muddy hill – hey, it could happen!

Damn it feels good to be riding and practicing!

Damn it feels good to be riding and practicing!

I have a membership now to the local little private MX track at Aztalan.  There is a nice outdoor style track with reasonable jumps and some hills.  There is a small bit of woods and a small bike track.  If I link all that together, I can get about a 6-7 minute lap.  It is not the best, but it is literally 10 minutes from my house.

I have been saying that if I could just ride every week, then I could get better.  So, I finally took the plunge and joined.  I do not know what took me so long to do it.  Sure, I am not really a motocrosser, but who cares.  I can get over a reasonable double and I love turns.  This track has that in abundance.  And since it is really mostly a motocrossers place, they do not go into the woods.  So, I have that all to myself.

Today I rode for 1 hour, then 20 minutes, then another 20 minutes, then 30 minutes.  Small breaks in between and then sprint hard for the riding time.   By the end of the day, I could get over the doubles and felt much more comfortable. I plan to ride there every week from now through the summer.

I have been working with AJ on my graphics to make them reflect my new site more and represent my sponsors as well.  We have some great things coming.  The trailer graphics and the new bike graphics will be more simple and clean (I am into that lately).  Here is how the trailer will look, working on the bike graphics and will post those soon as well.

Here are the new graphics for the trailer.  It is a work in progress, and has a bit more to go.

Here are the new graphics for the trailer. It is a work in progress, and has a bit more to go.  You can see the old graphics below for reference.  

Out to the races.

Joe

We are finally racing! – Finally.

After the longest winter known in the history of the universe, we are finally racing.  Seriously, the winter was at least 710 and 1/2 days long.  It is still not exactly warm out, but at least there is no snow on the ground.  Bonus though, no mozzies.  (So we have that going for us.)

100% Nouget

100% Nougat

I have tried to get after some racing by getting in the truck and driving somewhere, but it just was not working.  I went down to NC to maybe do the GNCC race, but decided against it because of the mud.  A long time ago, after many a horrible GNCC mud race, I had said that if I got to the parking lot of a GNCC and it was a gong show – I was going to turn around and go home.  So, I did. I know, what a wuss.  Yep.  I am.  Tired of trashing my gear, so you know.

It was a gong show, so I did not.

It was a gong show, so I did not.

WIXC race – Hillpoint. Ugh.  I have been fighting off a bad head/chest cold.  I kinda felt like I had kicked  it, but when race time came I could not breathe.  Physically I felt ok, trained and prepared, but breathing is pretty necessary.  I was ok for the first lap, but when I tumbled and had to get myself going again I just could not calm my heart rate down and make myself go.  Took me a long long time to be able to focus and breathe and ride hard. On top of that, I was kinda not able to focus on the trail.  I would not say my vision was blurred, but I would say my balance was awkward.  So, Pete got away from me right away in the race and I never really was able to put much of a charge together to try to track him down.  He deserved to win.  He rode well and has battled to come back this fast from some pretty serious health problems.  I am glad he did well.

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I think this was probably in the first lap or 2, before it rained in earnest and when I was still riding decently. (That will end – ha.)

After the race, there was a lot of cleanup.  Although the video doesn’t really do the muck justice.  Trust me, it was pretty bad. Chain is gone.  Tires are gone. Grips are gone.  Graphics are gone.  Brake pads are gone.  Clutch is gone.  Ugh…

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/91879541″>Cleanup after Hillpoint</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user2916719″>joe vadeboncoeur</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p> At least we are racing! Joe Out

What does it all mean?

Nothing like an early morning drive to ride your motorbike.!

Nothing like an early morning drive to ride your motorbike.!

You get up early.  Pack up the trailer or van or pickup.  Drive between 2 and 24 hours.  Pay your money to get in.  Register for the race.  Walk part of the course.  Get nervous talking about how tight that one section is, or how tough that uphill is going to be during the race with traffic, or how bad the mud is going to be in that one section, or how dusty it is going to be…  There will be nervous trips to the porta john.  Then it will be time to go to the line.  Guys from the morning race will be there telling you how bad the dust was.

Then the gun goes off, and it all melts away.  The stress of before now becomes the adrenaline of getting through the mud hole and up the big hill.  There is the guy in front of you to chase.  You know he is there, you can see his dust and catch a glimpse of him entering the trees as you enter the open section.  Sometimes during the race you are the hunter, other times the hunted.  Some races the end cannot come soon enough, others you cannot believe it’s over when you reach the end.

When the end does come, it seems that the duration of the race did not matter.  Exhaustion is always the result.  Sometimes there is pain.  Sometimes there is blood.  There is always sweat and always dirt.  That is good.

Sometimes when the end of the race comes you are not sure about the result.  Other times there is victory or satisfaction.  Sometimes there is disappointment.  Always there is awe and pride.

So you load up afterward.  Dreading the cleanup and the possible damage.  You pile it all in and shove the tailgate closed, much like a suitcase at the end of a long trip.  How did it all get so much larger and so much messier?

On the drive home, there is bench racing with your friends.  The race plays out in little bits in your head and in the air between the 2 of you.  There is shared difficulties and individual struggles.  You start to plan and think of the next race, all the while dreading getting home with the pile of dirty gear and shattered motorcycle in the back.  There will be hours of cleanup and gear washing and repair and prep for the next time on the bike.

When you do get home, your body is cramped and feels broken.  Sometimes you can barely move from the 3 crashes during the race.  If it is 2-10 hours to get home the difference to your cramped body can be a lot.  You drink and drink and never have to pee.  Your whole body can begin to set up like concrete.  Finally you do get out of the truck in the driveway and move toward the house, it sometimes hurts to walk that far.  Sometimes there is hardware, and other times just a bit of a twinge.

Imagine how tired Chris Bach probably looks.  I hope alot worse than I do there, but probably not.

Sometimes it is all you can do to get your gear off after the race.

In the end, it is always worth it.

What does it all mean?…. Who Cares!  It is the most fun thing you can ever do with a Sunday.  (Well, except that other thing.)  Any day racing a motorcycle is better than any day not.

Spring is here.  Racing starts soon.  I cannot wait.

Joe

Just One Day Off.

Fat Elvis!

Fat Elvis!

Just one day off.  One day.  I was told recently that my birthday is just one day different than Elvis.  Think of that.  One day!  Holy cow, what a brush with greatness.  I feel that there may never be a more poignant Andy Worhall moment for me – ever again.  One day.

How could I change that.  Couldn’t that one day have been found somewhere along the way?  One day.  What can happen in one day?  After all, Scott and I won the Perry Mountain 24hour race in just one day.  I can drive to the location of a GNCC race in the southeast in just one day.  I have done a 24hour mountain bike race, and that only took one day.  Doesn’t seem like much of an effort that could have made up that one day.

For real, Elvis died on the toilet you know.  Does that really seem the action of someone that could have stayed a full day ahead of me for so long?  I mean, I actually can ride a 2 wheeler at a reasonable pace. I am not fast, but reasonable.  I can stay upright more than my brother can, good god, cannot I catch up to a fat guy that died on his toilet?

When you really think about the number of days you are alive, 1 day is a really small percentage.  The SKY cycling team talks in terms of marginal gains, well surely there are some marginal gains that I could find to make up that time.  Oh well, deal with what you can.

The 1st GNCC race for me is just 30 days away.  The first local WIXC race is just 37 days away, but I will not make that one as I will be out of town.  (I do not plan to miss any others though…)  The citizen Flanders race in Belgium is just 37 days away – I will be there for that one.  We are so gloriously close to 2wheel season, I just cannot wait.

Tick tock.

Joe

The glory of Flanders.

The glory of Flanders.

Under Mountains of Snow!

Snow! What the hell can you do with all this snow? It has just continued to pile up all winter.   Here in Wisconsin, we do not have the vertical to do much with gravity and snow combined. If I lived in the mountains, or even in the UP, maybe there would be gravity. But, we have plenty of gravity here just no vertical and it is not doing it. Hmmmm….

Ok, gravity skiing isn’t an option. What about XC skiing you ask? Well, I like it plenty when I am doing it, but somehow it just isn’t lighting a fire for me. I used to spend a lot of time doing it. Driving every weekend to find a good spot, chasing snowfall and looking for grooming etc… But that sport is just more gear and wax technology that baffles, standing around in the cold waiting for the start, trying to find warm clothes after, and you cannot do it most times with your dog. Nah, I’m kinda over it. As I said, I’ll do it but I just cannot get up the ambition to chase it.

I could build a motorbike set up for ice racing, but again some how that has not bitten me either. Tires with big spikey things sticking out, you need fenders with coverage so that you do not shred into your own or someone else leg, wacky methods of trying to keep your hands warm etc… Hmmm again more gear and limited usage.

Ok joe, but you have to do something with all this snow you say. You would be right. Enter, the Farley.

IMG_8255

That’s my Trek Farley. Digging that thing.

I know what you are thinking, “snow bikes are a freak show”. You would be right, btw. But wow, what a fun freak show. I mean they go slow, they bounce way to much, the handling is a bit unpredictable, they are heavy feeling… Yep, all of that. But somehow they transcend that. They end up being really fun. In a goofy back to basics kinda way, they really do deliver. It is winter, and you are riding an Offroad 2wheeler after all. That IS what it is all about after all.

One of the misconceptions people have is that those big fat tires can just ride over anything. They cannot. The snow has to be packed down reasonably firm. If the snow is soft, you just sink in way to much to pedal through it. Snowshoeing a trail down works, but you will need about 6 or so people to pass on snowshoes to make it work. A snowmobile trail is rideable, but not very exciting because they are pretty wide. Additionally, one of the great things about being Offroad on a bicycle is dogs. Dogs and snowmobiles do not really mix well.

Mountain bikes and dogs are always a good combination - even in winter!

Mountain bikes and dogs are always a good combination – even in winter!

But, get yourself to a purpose designed and maintained singletrack for snowbikes and, wow. Fun fun fun. It is still not fast like summer mountain biking, and the handling is quirky, but it is fun for sure. Because you are on a singletrack, it is a reasonable substitute for summer riding.

There are a ton of snow bike trails popping up all over Wisconsin. I have not found a definitive source for them all, but look around on Facebook etc… You will find them.

Time to go ride! Spring will come!

Out

Joe

Welcome to the show!

Welcome back my friends
to the show that never ends
We’re so glad could attend, 
come inside, come inside
There behind a glass 
stands a real blade of grass
Be careful as you pass, 
move along, move along

There she is.  The 2014 race season machine!  KTM 250 XCF from Fun Mart.  Fox suspension, Kenda tires,

There she is. The 2014 race season machine! KTM 250 XCF from Fun Mart. Fox suspension, Kenda tires, VC graphix, Full Spectrum battery, Maxima oils, Rekluse equipped 303Offroad machine!

Welcome to the new 303Offroad site.  Here at this site, I will chronicle my adventures on 2 wheels.  They are guaranteed to delight and to entertain.  Hopefully they will not give you indigestion.  If you stick with me though, I will one day reveal the secrets of the universe (the actual secret is not related to the Douglas Adams 42 answer either), and if I cannot figure that out sooner or later, I will just give up the recipe for #Joetmeal.  After all, that is an international phenomenon that was invented right here in Cheese Land.  I know for a fact that people in North Carolina (that is the eastern part of Merica) and in Chatel France and in the UK all eat and cherish #Joetmeal.  See, that makes it an international phenom.

But seriously, I am going to do a lot of talking and it would not be beyond your rights to just ignore me.  I have been known to drone on and on about things that you may not find important at that moment.  (Rest assured you will find my ranting important at some point in your life, even if it is just to drown out the drivel of figure skating that passes as Olympic coverage.)  But, somewhere along the way you might find it entertaining, although my advice is never to admit that in particular to your spouse.  I will be unabashedly talking about my absolute fascination with everything that is 2 wheels.  I will ride a motorcycle, a road bicycle, a mountain bicycle, a city bicycle – hell, I would even ride a BMX bike in a pinch.  Pretty much, if it has 2 wheels I plan to ride it.  I would also say, that there really aren’t many 2 wheelers that I do not own, have owned or intend to own at some point in my life.  You see, it may not have become obvious for you yet, but a 2wheeler has just 2 wheels.  That is exactly 1/2 as many as a car has.  By my math that makes them exactly 19.6 times better than cars.  My very precise math goes like this – multiply the number of wheels a car has by the number of wheels a motorcycle/bicycle has times the difference in the number of wheels add the number of wheels on a BMX bike add the number of wheels on training wheels (but they are small so whack that number in half) add .6 for good measure to break any ties and there you have it.  motorcycles/bicycles are exactly 19.6 times better than cars.

The Trek Farley snow bike getting ready to be shredded.

The Trek Farley snow bike getting ready to be shredded.

I kinda dig things with 2 wheels.  I have raced many a 2wheel thing, but sometimes it does not even take a race.  Just a spirited ride.

A football is not a very good gift by the way.  And thank god it is not raining today.

So, I never really knew where all this was leading when I first started with my 2wheel frenzy.  Sure, I rode a bicycle when I was a kid, didn’t we all?  A bicycle is that thing that gave us all the freedom.  You know, you made a right and a left and another left and all of a sudden you were gone.  Mom could not direct, no one knew where you were…  It was that freedom that hooked me.  I still every time I get on a bicycle or a motorcycle I find that freedom spot.  Maybe I should have called this blogsite the freedom site, but I did not want anyone confusing this with a site dedicated to frites.  (There are those you know, and frites are Belgian which means I could have a significant affaire with them as well – it is Belgium for gods sake.)   But, in the end – is this the end? – it is the 2 wheeler that really turns me on.  Specifically, a 2wheeler offroad is what gets to me.  When the  gun goes off at the start line of a harescrambles race, or I successfully get over a double jump on my mountain bike, or shred a sweet berm turn on my EX trail bike, or I bunny hop over a cyclocross obstacle – those are the things that really get me excited.

Racing the CX bike!  I am not very good at it, but I really like it.

Racing the CX bike! I am not very good at it, but I really like it.

So there you have it.  My new blog site that will attempt to mash together my love for motorcycle racing offroad, for mountain biking for cyclocross is what you have found.  Of course there will be plenty of beer burritos and coffee along the way.  (Don’t even tell me that you do not understand the hierarchy of food types.)

Performing on a stool 
we’ve a sight to make you drool
Seven virgins and a mule, 
keep it cool, keep it cool
We would like it to be known 
the exhibits that were shown
Were exclusively our own, 
all our own, all our own

Come and see the show, 
come and see the show
Come and see the show
See the show

Cheers, Out

Joe

there have been times that I have felt fast on a 2wheeler.  But, they are just occasionally.

There have been times that I have felt fast on a 2wheeler. But, they are just occasionally.

I have gotten to ride some amazing places!

I have been fortunate enough to ride some amazing places!

Best and Worst of 2013 – Yipper!

January 1, in Wisconsin, it’s snowing.  Who’da thunk it?  Snowing means I am not riding a bicycle or a motorcycle right now. I know that probably surprises you as well.  Someday I am going to live somewhere that I can go out for a ride on January 1.  (All you people on facebook, stop taunting me.)  Most people would say that I probably have to live somewhere other than Wisconsin to make that happen – I am not convinced yet.

(I just had to go outside and move cars and shovel, as we were starting to get to the point of no return on the driveway.)

Regardless of all of that, I am here to tell you that 2013 was a barnstormer of a year.  It came, it went, it partied, now good riddance. Who wants to live in a year where 13 is the number?  Doesn’t that feel that it will just have to be unlucky?  It feels good to have it in the rear view mirror.  But, before we leave it behind, it is always good to look back (If for no other reason, than to know what I jacked up last year and try not to do it again…).  It is also good to get an espresso while you are doing that.  I really do hope there is pudding.

I had some goals, and I gotta admit that I did not do very well at hitting them. If you do not remember, here they are again.  I hit about 50%, but that is not a great score in life – unless of course you are a weatherman.  Geez, what is up with that?  They do not seem to have to do much better than 25%, and they are stars on TV.  I know I have ranted about that in the past, but I do really think that is the case. When I come back as a full time Cyclcocross racer or GNCC pro, after I retire I am going to be a Weatherman.

Best of 2013

I have decided again that I am going to change the rules to this game.  I do own the game, so why can’t I change them?  Who makes that decision anyway?  So, instead of just one thing being the best, I am allowing that multiple things can be the best.  I know that breaks all the rules of logic, but there it is.

January – The first serious team conversations between Luca and I happened in January.  Sure, we had talked about the team for a good 2 years before, but this is when it became reality.  I am not going to rehash all of that, but you can refresh your memory on how it all came about here.  We have definitely counted down those 41 days now, and a lot of great stuff has happened.  But, it all comes back to January.

February – St. Joe ride camp.  I really had a good time kicking off my motorcycle season with a training camp.  The race teams all do it, why can’t I?  This was kinda my first effort at it.  It really works.  I am going to do a bigger one this year.  I would encourage you to do a training camp for whatever your sport is.  They are really great fun.  Check a couple of notes on mine from last year, here and here.

March – Georgia GNCC.  I surprised myself, and even after it being winter where I live, and the guys down south having racing under their belt already, I did ok.  It was a good indicator of how my season was going to shape up.

March/April – Fabian’s romp through the spring classics.   Unless you were away on another planet, you certainly know about Fabian’s romp through the spring.  It was finally the spring that wasn’t just maybe but it was.  It started way back in Strada Bianchi when he was so on top and went all the way through to Roubaix.  I was lucky enough to be at Roubaix, and I am so glad that I did not miss that.  Wait, if you were off planet, I might want your job.

April – Brown County Indiana MTB trip.

IMG_6137

A Trail, a bike and a Dog. Give it a read here.

After some time in Wisco winter, you just cannot wait to get out and ride.

June – Ft. William World Cup race trip/seeing my Dad in London.  Liz and I were going to our first WC DH race and we got a chance to meet my father while he was in London.  We detoured there on our way, had dinner together and spent a fun day just knocking around maybe my favorite city in the world together.

Then we went on to Ft. William and chased Nessie around.  It was super fun, check it here, I cannot wait to get to another one this year.

July – MTB riding in Hayward.

IMG_7239

They never look that tough in a photo, but Liz giving it over a bit of a rock garden. Great fun.

I posted up about 3 different stories about this trip, so it must have been really good.  It was.

Sept – MTB riding in Switzerland/Italy with Lloyd

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 1.49.49 AM

This was an amazing trip. It had a negative to it, with Liz’s knee problem, but overall it was just incredible. I am such a super huge fan of riding big mountains now, I cannot believe it. I actually am looking forward to doing a big trip next year with Lloyd, and a couple of Enduro’s. Check the story here.

Oct – Getting hooked on CX.  I have to admit it, I am a CX knob now.  I thought it was a stupid sport just a couple of years ago.  I mean, who would ride such the wrong bicycle on that terrain?  I still think it is not the right bicycle for what we all love to follow, but that is exactly what makes it cool.  It is the “IPA in a can” of cycling.  It is just the best and the most honest and hardworking of all of cycling.

Also in Oct, was the Pearl Jam concert in Charlottesville.  This will probably be right up there on the top, in the end.  It was Liz’s first time at a PJ concert and she came away a fan.  Didn’t hurt that we did a killer MTB ride in Virginia as well.  Check the story here to refresh.  Lightning Bolt actually does rock.

Nov – New Trek Factory Racing World Tour Team coming together the first time in Belgium.

December – Going to Singapore for the 1st time in my life.  Singapore was cool, but what about the dancing?

Worst of 2013

Hanna surgery.  If you are a parent, you know how it feels when one of your kids gets sick.  I can tell you that it does not change when they become adults.  Hanna is fine, but for a while we were all pretty worried.

Not doing enough races in WIXC or D16 to win the overall series.  I won a lot of races this past year, and I had way more good races than bad.  But, I did not do enough races in either series to win the overall.  Too bad, right?  I do not expect much sympathy there.

Liz busting up her knee on the way to France, so she could not ride.  I am not sure that she was going to ride much anyway, but we were heading to one of our favorite places in the world to be with some of our very best friends.  Chatel is a beautiful place, but not much fun to be there with a bum knee.  Louise helped nurse her back and now she is fine.  Next year will be better for her there.

That is it really for bad.  None of that really is bad either.  I mean so what, Liz is fine, Hanna is fine.  That is my point really, I live a really charmed life.  I am super grateful for that.  I hope to be safe and healthy in 2014.  I hope that all of you are as well.

2014 is going to be great fun.  It all starts here.

Joe

2014 is almost here!

Well at least for the calendar part…,10 or so days and it will be here.  But, it is still a long way to go before the season gets started.  This time of the year always feels like it is going to be FOREVER before it is here.  Living in the great white north makes you appreciate the motorcycle season when it is here.  But, geez it can be a long time coming.

I am figuring that it is about 50 days till I can get on a motorcycle somewhere.  And that will require driving somewhere much farther south than here in Wisconsin.  The driveway will still be snow covered, but Scott and I will load up and drive south to Missouri – about 8 hours away.

This year I am going to focus and fix what I am not good at and what I think is holding me back.

1.     First of all, my eyesight.  I cannot see so well at a distance anymore, and I struggle going in and out of shadows.  I have some contacts, but I have struggled with getting them in and out.  I suspect I can fix that, I just need to make it happen.

2.     I have always had pretty good fitness at the beginning of the year, but then I struggle to hold onto that once the season gets started.  The constant racing every weekend, and then trying to recover and work in between there has been tough.  This is the first thing I have admitted to with age – recovery is harder.  I have already started the fitness base, and it is going well.  I have a new plan for in season to help there.

3.     Finally, I have certain skill things I need to work on.  Getting across a double jump better, flat turns, choosing lines faster in the woods etc…  I am going to join the little MX club by my house this year, so I can do skills drills during the week.    

It is time to start working on new graphics, fixing the little things in the trailer, getting my frame painted on the bike etc…

New Moose Gear on the way!

New Moose gear on the way!  (Be sure to add a size to what you normally wear if you are ordering, they run small.)

The 1st thing is our new Moose gear.  We have been on Moose gear for a while now, and it is just the best.  Even though it is all snow covered outside right now, and hard to think about summer, the Sahara gear from Moose handles heat and dust and dirt like a champ.  Pretty psyched for that stuff.  This year we will stay with a traditional KTM color of orange and white.

Lots of other gear to profile here in the coming months.  Helmets, boots, goggles, new sponsors with our bike program etc…  Stay tuned and it will all come around in the next 2 months.

Until then, get out in the snow…  Enjoy it while it is here.  It is only for a couple of months.

Joe

I might be old, but I am not left handed!

For the last few periods of hours, I have considered myself to be a descendant of kings. So tall I have been, that I have actually consumed an inordinate amount of #joetmeal. While that probably seems unlikely and surprising to you, I find it curious at best, concerning at worst. After all, what would a man with a yellow shirt say?

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There I am. Old, beard and all. I am looking kinda tired there, but in reality I feel great it is just a crummy photo. But, I did make it all the way through November with the beard thing. Ha.

No, I have always been known to favor the oatmeal (when is that national oatmeal day anyway?), but of late my age has been catching me out, I do not feel old but I mean I have a completely grey beard after all. So fettered with oatmeal dreams have been I that I have engaged the services of not one, but 2 trainers to help me beef up (although, I am not sure how beef would taste in my oatmeal). You see, I a have a goal of being the fastest old guy alive – not dead, but alive. (And yes, dead or alive would be something completely different, do not call me Rosanna) .

I have worked with Mary Grinacker with Up and Over fitness for some time. She helped Scott and I win/dominate/rule the world at the 24hours of Perry Mountain-ness. Back then, we needed to make sure we could go at it for 24hours. And yes I do mean IT. Nod nod, wink wink. It worked, as we surprised the factory teams and won the duo team race outright.

Our season goals are a bit different now, win the local series and get on the podium at the Ironman GNCC. Those local races are about speed. They are just 2hours long and you have to lay it down hard and fast at the beginning of the race. A GNCC race is no different in that respect, just 3 hours of laying it down hard. Either way, speed and strength are what these races are all about.

So with that, Mary said, and I quote.

PREPARATION PHASE – PRE SEASON
November / December /January
Approximately 10 weeks

Emphasis: Get STRONG. Hypertrophy. 3-4 sets of up to 15 reps.
(45-50 seconds)
Actually build some Bulk! Feel PUMPED up!
Dumb bells, Kettle Bells, Free Weights. Or Mary Circuit.
3 days a week.

Build ENORMOUS Aerobic Base. Need to do long rides and
long rows at BELOW anaerobic threshold. If AT = 165,
Need to keep Heart Rate at or below 155. Talking pace!

(Seriously, that is what the plan said that she gave to me)

At the same time, I have been going to Pats Gym once per week for the past year or 2. Pat, is amazing. He has muscles on his muscles. He can do a Turkish Get Up with a person above his head, don’t believe me check it below.

Pat, out of the goodness of his heart (that and that I basically funded the expansion of his gym based on my whole family frequenting his place), detailed the first period even further for me.

Strength Phase Month 1

Monday 12/2
Warm Up
2×5 wall squat 
2×10 squat 
2×5 goblet squat 
5×5 single leg squat @ 18-20” box
Work
Six way bb complex: 
6x deadlift + 6x bent-over row (back parallel to floor) + 6x hang clean + 
6x front squat + 6x push press + 6x back squat + 6x push-up
Do these all in a row without letting go of the bar. Rest 1-2 minutes. Do 3-4 sets. Increase weight on bar with each series, i.e. 75#-85#-95#-105#. Adjust weight accordingly
5×3 deadlift @ 80% 1rm 
Rest 3-4 minutes between sets  
1000m row for time

Tuesday 12/3
Pat’s gym workout

Wednesday 12/4
Mary’s class
Plus 60-90 minute row or bike @ easy pace

Thursday 12/5
Recovery
100x tgu @ 15# db (Yes as absurd as that sounds, 100 turkish get ups is considered a recovery workout)

Friday 12/6
Warm up
2×5 wall squat 
2×10 squat 
2×5 goblet squat @ 25# 

Work
Clean + front squat + hang clean: 
One triplet every 30 seconds for 10 minutes IE. 20 total triplets, use 75# – 135#  
10x pull-up + 20x kb swing @ 53# + 30x box jump @ 24″ box + 40x push-up + 50x sit-up + 60x burpee + 10x pull-ups
4x (30sec work/30sec “rest”) push press @ 2 x 15# db.
“rest” is in oh position. Aim for 25 reps per round. 
3×10 straight leg deadlift @ 95-135# 
5×2 single leg deadlifts @ 95-135# (2 each side)

Saturday
Warm up
2×5 wall squat 
2×10 squat 
2×5 goblet squat @ 25# 
Work – Dumbbell complex (standard): 
6x hi-pull + 
6x bent-over row + 
6x hang clean + 
6x front squat push press + 
6x ohs & sots press combo + 
6x push-up & one-arm row
Three sets, completed with 20-25# dumbbells  
Ball slam @ 25# + kb step-up @ 2x 25# kb (in rack position) onto 20” box
30-20-10 reps of each
4x (20sec work/10sec rest) row @ >100m per interval pace
2-3 total blocks, rest 2-3 minutes between each

Sunday
90-120 minute hike (preferably with elevation gain) @ 20-30# pack, or bike for 2 hours

And it goes on…you get the picture. If this does not cure my possible left handed tendencies, I do not know if anything can. Maybe a good strong IPA…hmmm. If nothing else, it should cure the old age piece.  I mean holy shit, that is some hard stuff.

Those youngsters will not even see me coming. Fastest old man alive!

Surrender Dorothy.

Joe

Damn this #Joetmeal stuff is really good!

Ha! Made you look!

What is it about a pile of oats, some blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, almonds, plain yogurt that gives such 1000 calorie all around goodness? I mean, wow…

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It’s snowing here. Not good, not pleasant. And mom and dad hunkered down for a long winters hibernate.

My motorcycle is having the motor rebuilt for next season startup. I cannot wait.

82 days till Vesrah off-road team trading camp.

But that #Joetmeal stuff really is good.

How rough can it be?

The aftermath.  As usual, after a GNCC.  Bike is pretty roached.  But, I have seen them alot worse than this before.

The aftermath. As usual, after a GNCC. Bike is pretty roached. But, I have seen them alot worse than this before.

It is rough.  How rough you ask?  Check this photo, that is Scott’s rear sprocket which is supposed to be attached to the rear hub.  It is not.  That is how rough it is.  Check here for Scott’s complete story.

Arriving.  Look into the distance, and you can see the hoopla building.

Arriving. Look into the distance, and you can see the hoopla building.

Well, it is a little bit like running a jack hammer for 3 hours, but stopping and throwing yourself on the ground onto your kidneys 8-10 times during that 3 hours.  Oh, do not forget to smash parts of your body while doing the jack hammering also.  And for grins peg your heart rate at about 130 for the 3 hours.  Lots of people say to me “aren’t you just sitting there and turning the throttle?”

So, how did my race come down?  Well… not great.  In fact, I rode like shit. This year, my schedule conspired against me, and I was crazy busy for the month before the race.  2 weeks in Europe, a couple of USA trips, bad weather on the weekends that I was home, trying Cyclcoross racing had me focused on other things… blah, blah, blah.  Not much of an excuse, I admit.  But, somehow it all conspired against my fitness.  Lack of preparation for Ironman does not really work.  You cannot hide from Ironman GNCC.

Check the crowd at the morning race.  It is big.

Check the crowd at the morning race. It is big.

Before the race, I told my friends from Wisconsin, who were doing their first 3 hour GNCC race.   “Have a safe calm 1st lap. Ride within yourself. Choose your lines carefully on the big hills and mud holes. Then race once you understand the flow. You cannot win the race in the first lap, but you can kill your race…” Then I promptly went out and rode like an idiot for the first lap.

That is deep cold water that we have to go through about 5 times during the race.

That is deep cold water that we have to go through about 5 times during the race.

I got a mediocre start, but then did not ride aggressively enough in the first part of the lap and lost a couple of places. I realized quickly that I was being a pud and started to push really hard.  That led me to 5 crashes on 1st lap. Including tumbling back down steep hill before Moto track, flying over a log and landing right on another bike, getting stuck trying to get through 1 of the 3 river crossings… I was trying way too hard and was completely out of sync with bike due to no time on it the prior month.  Meanwhile, of course the front of the race is going away from me.

I settled down in middle of the race, then made my way to 4th on track and was pretty comfortable there. But, in the last lap I made more errors.  I love my bike, and one of the things that I love about it is that it doesn’t consume alot of fuel.  But, the fuel light came on early in last lap before Ironman hill (which is less than halfway around the lap). I babied it for that lap and tried not to rev the bike too high, that resulted in loosing 4th and battling with the 5th place guy.

The kids always have to race in the cold early in the morning.  Check the long shadows and jackets on the kids.

The kids always have to race in the cold early in the morning. Check the long shadows and jackets on the kids.

We were pitted in the XC2 pits, which were quite a ways before the XC1 pits.  In my head, I thought we had to do a bunch of the lap after the XC2 pits and then go through the XC1 pits before the finish.  Stopped at my pits to get splash of fuel, fell back to 6th.  I made that decision because I thought I could get them both back with 1/2 lap, but stupidly only had 2 turns to finish.

So summary is.
– out of shape
– out of sync with my bike after no riding for a month
– no pit crew to help advise me during race
– boneheaded decisions early in the race and at the end of the race.

When I won Loretta, I raced all the way up to it, had a pit crew to help me, and didn’t make boneheaded mistakes.

One of the many steep hills that I struggled to get up during the race.  What is up with that?

One of the many steep hills that I struggled to get up during the race. What is up with that?

Congratulations to Pete Emme, James Voeks, Karl Lueschow.  They all had great races.  Pete finished 4th overall, Karl in 8th, James in 10th.  Proud of all of those guys, love racing with them all year long.

I’m a dumbass. I hate ending the season that way. I wish there was more racing. I have the speed to do well in that race, but I got way ahead of myself. That will not happen again. Next year I will show up prepared and with help in pits.

After the race, even things like your hands just hurt.

After the race, even things like your hands just hurt.

Once again the podium eludes me at the Ironman.  I LOVE to race my motorcycle, and I just cannot wait until next year.  I am making the Ironman a major goal for me for next year.  Once our local season is over, I will go on the road and race every weekend before Ironman.

Probably the last race in these colors.  Stay tuned for a future look.

Probably the last race in these colors. Stay tuned for a future look.

A clue to the future look in this.

A clue to the future look in this.

If Only I Had A Bat!

Wait... Off in the distance...  I think it is coming.  It is really huge... It is IRONMAN!!!!

Wait… Off in the distance… I think it is coming. I think it is really really huge!  Really huge… It is IRONMAN!!!!

Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all,
Or if he moves will he fall?
Is he alive or dead?
Has he thoughts within his head?
We’ll just pass him there
why should we even care?

He was turned to steel
in the great magnetic field
When he travelled time
for the future of mankind

Nobody wants him
He just stares at the world
Planning his vengeance
that he will soon unfurl

It is a madhouse out there.  Madhouse.

It is a madhouse out there. Madhouse.

Now the time is here
for Iron Man to spread fear
Vengeance from the grave
Kills the people he once saved

Nobody wants him
They just turn their heads
Nobody helps him
Now he has his revenge

Heavy boots of lead
fills his victims full of dread
Running as fast as they can
Iron Man lives again!

Kinda makes you want to bite a bats head off.  Actually, it really just pisses you off.  To the point that you need to shred a dirt bike.  I know that I have felt like I have boots of lead after the race.  I trust I will again tomorrow.  God this is great stuff.

In the end, it comes around every year.  Just cannot get enough of it.

Let’s do Ironman!

Drowning Quads... Our fate tomorrow!

Drowning Quads… Our fate tomorrow!

Here We Go!

Here We Go!

What is it about Indiana and Confederate flags?

End of the year rev up!

Today I started my end of the year push. It’s not like a push of a car to get it started, and it is certainly not a bathroom push. But, it is an all out effort to pile on one last bit of fitness to try to do well at the iIronman GNCC.

You see, that is the race that started all of this. Scott and I were just casually enjoying off road riding and a few races here and there. Almost on a whim, we headed down to Indiana to do a GNCC race at the end of the season. I didn’t even finish the race. But, shortly after that the next spring, we were driving along and I said, “we should do the whole GNCC series next year.”.

One thing led to another and we organized a van, a camper trailer, some sponsors, a couple of motorcycles each and BAM – we were going GNCC racing. From there, this strange odyssey has played out.

Now, I am finishing my gazillionth racing season here in the Midwest and targeting doing well at the ironman. Someday I’m going to win my class there and then I can be done with it. Not really. It is the best race anywhere.

The hills, the dirt, the field GP sections, the river, ironman hill all of it. I cannot wait.

So I rode today for 3 hours in the rain at Dyracuse. I was not really on it, as I have not ridden in a month. Timing was all off and I could not really go fast. But it felt good to be riding. I will get a few more rides in before THE race. I’ll be ready.

Tomorrow, the first CX race of the year. New cross bike, ready to go.

20131005-214125.jpg It is blue, it has knobbies, but no throttle and it hurts to go that hard. But, it will make you fit.

I WILL get back to being the fastest old dude alive.

Out.
Joe

The last local races of the year!

It has been a great year for me.  All too short, but great at the same time.  Unfortunately for me though, the local races are all done.  My schedule has me gone for the rest of Sept, and therefore I will miss the last couple of local races.

This past weekend, I did both of the WIXC races.  I won my class both days, and on the 2nd day I was just outside of 5th overall.  I am pretty happy with that.  I spent the first 3ish laps not really focused and playing around.  After that I decided to go and put my head down – focusing on turning some lap times down.  I think if I had focused from the start of the race I could have gotten there.  Oh well, it has been a great season.

I have done 16 local races this season.  That is split between the 2 different series.  Unfortunately, that means I will not win the overall in either series – too many races missed.  My record is pretty good, not perfect but I am proud of it:

12 – 1st place,  3 – 2nd place, 1 – 4th place

I had lots of times that I felt like I went well, I really only had 1 race that I was dismal at – turned out that I was getting pretty sick.  On my three 2nd place races – Rob beat me straight up once and Pete Emme beat me straight up once, the other 2nd I was knocked down on the start straight and then struggled to get up to speed and through the field.  All in all, a decent season.

My luck in National races has not been great, but I am going to try to change that in the month of Oct.  I was 6th in my class at the Georgia GNCC, and inside the top ten at another.  But, I need to get on the podium of either Ohio or Indiana GNCC at the end of the season.  We will see.  I am going to train and ride my moto a bunch when I get back at the end of the month, to try to make that happen.

God I love racing my motorcycle.

Me looking like a dork while I was not really focusing on the race!

Me looking like a dork while I was not really focusing on the race on Sunday!  At least I know there was a big divot there and I was being bucked every lap through there.

I am really lucky this year.  I have a GREAT motorcycle.  The XC250F is absolutely the perfect bike for me.  I have some great sponsors helping me out all year.

Fun Mart Cycles is my KTM dealer.  They are great there, give them a chance if you are looking for a KTM.  (You should be.)

Mark Junge at Vesrah Brake pads.

Fox suspension has outfitted Scott and I with their rear shock (It is incredible), and does the tuning on my fork for me.

Kenda tires always keeps Scott and I in the best rubber.

Bell helmets has provided Scott and I with a few of their deluxe Moto 9 helmets.

Moose Clothing has helped us out with their great gear.

Thanks Jake Galstad for the great photo's.

Thanks Jake Galstad for the great photo’s.

See you at the last couple of GNCC races this year.

Out, Joe.

Is it Jekyll or Hyde that shows up on race day?

bothb

Mild mannered (slow and dorky) Dr. Jekyll – Aggressive (sorta fast) Mr. Hyde!

Of late, I really do not know who is going to show up in my truck on race day. The variances in my race day performance are swinging so wildly, it is anyone’s guess. I am a real Hyde rider some days. There are days where I feel like I can do no wrong. I ride with aggression the whole race. I am racing forward the whole race. On those days, I can be top 10 overall, and even sometimes top 5 overall.

Alternatively, I can show up and barely be able to manage top 5 in my class.  I do not really know what the difference is.  There are days when I cannot find the front wheel in a turn, or the throttle just will not turn that hard.  I am not sure what it is.  I know I do not like dust.  I know that I need more woods in the course to be able to really get going.  I call these my Dr. Jekyll days.

Kewaunee WIXC race – This was a Jekyll day.  The course was fast, lotsa dust (actually a scary amount of dust), not much woods.  For whatever reason, I just could not ride that day.  Not to take anything away from anyone that beat me, as they all rode great races.  But, I just could not ride to save my life that day.

Rhinelander WIXC double race – These were Mr. Hyde days.  I was on fire.  Not sure what the difference was between this weekend and the Kewaunee weekend.  Certainly more woods, but nothing very tight at all.  Still lotsa dust as it was bone dry.  But on Sunday, I was even 5th overall.

Byron D16 race – Woods, not much dust and should have been a Mr. Hyde day.  But it was all Jekyll.  I was horrible in the woods.  I did so poorly the first time through the Endurocross section, that I skipped it every other lap.  Geez I was slow that day.  Again, all the guys that beat me rode great races.  I just did not have any game for them.

So, just a couple of local races left for the year.  I sure hope the right rider shows up.

Out.

OMG – Hodag’s everywhere! WIXC racing also.

I am in Rhinelander Wi.  There are Hodag’s everywhere here.  They are on the street, in parking lots, in the woods, at the school…  Everywhere.

Yep.  Rhinelander is Hodag country.

Yep. Rhinelander is Hodag country.

When you come to Rhinelander, you have to be ready for everything.  There are Hodags in the woods, they tell us. At any moment, they could drop down from a tree and rip your liver out.  It is a little bit like Drop Bears.  (Dig through this, and you will see what I mean.)

The first Hodag was apparently sighted in 1895.  They have been rampaging through neighborhoods and school populations, for example.  Sometimes, they will rip your heart out Jim, right there in London.

Rhinelander is really up in the northwoods.  It has alot of lakes and trees and well, lakes and trees.  Don’t go looking for a Starbucks.  But, it is pretty cool in a northwoods kinda way.  Even the name just says it all.

This is a statue of the biggest Hodag ever found inside city limits.

This is a statue of the biggest Hodag ever found inside city limits.  Sometimes late a night, when the ghost-busters are out, the get down and play Frisbee.

You really have to watch out while in your car.  That is when the little ones will run right out in front of you.  They are really cute (in a mini man-eater kinda way).

Rhinelander WIXC double header. – Day 1.

I was kinda nervous getting here for the 1st event.

- I have only done one other race since the beginning of July, and that one did not go well at all.  I was really slow that day.  Out of sorts.  Just could not ride my bike. (Although Pete Emme rode a great race that day)

- I was not sure about the suspension on my bike, as it had just been reworked, and I was really apprehensive about it.

- I only was able to get 3 hours of sleep the night before, so I was not the sharpest tack in the drawer.

- I have office hands after 6 weeks of not doing anything other than working, traveling and riding my road bike.

Plus, I was really worried about Hodags in the woods.

Plus, I was really worried about Hodags in the woods.

All for naught though, I holeshoted and stayed out front all day.  whew!  Good to have that monkey off my back.  Now we can get down to the next day and see if I can ride like that again.  “Office hands”.

We ride again!  Thank god.

We ride again! Thank god.

Apparently, you can see these things all over the place here.  This one was first seen in 1895.

Apparently, you can see these things all over the place here. This one was first seen in 1896.

I’ve seen a Hodag in the wild, btw.  It startled me on a bike ride one time.  (I was on the ride, not the Hodag – silly).  Check the photo in this entry.

Day2 was a debate between staying at Rhinelander and doing that race again, or going to Stone Lake to do the D16 race.  A check of the math and a 1pm start (if it actually started on time – they seldom do) equals a 9 or 10pm arrival back home.  Both of us decided that was not exactly what we wanted to do.  So stay at Rhinelander and do that same race again was the docket.

I did not get the perfect start, but went to the front before the halfway point in the lap.  My goal on the day was to get into the top 10.  So, I put my head down and concentrated on carrying good speed at all times.  Rounding out turns and getting back on the gas as soon as I could.

In the end, I was 2 minutes faster than the day before and 5th place overall.  A good day.

Fresh trail!

Fresh trail!

Racing and a burrito.  Duh.

Racing and a burrito. Duh.

 

Chris Bach has raced 28 times this year! – mmmhh, me – not as much!

I saw this post on my friend Chris Bach’s facebook page

Screen Shot 2013-08-10 at 4.40.51 PM
Wow.  Don’t I wish.  My season has not been so bad, but it pales in comparison to that.  If I could race and ride like a pro, I do not have any misconceptions that I could be a pro.  I am old, I do not have the eye hand or eye foot coordination, I am old, and I just was not wired that way.  People who are really fast, are just wired differently.  They see the trail and the woods differently.  They see lines that I do not see.  When I think I need to be off the gas, they are gassing it even harder.  I have seen pro’s in an enduro ride like they are indestructible.  The pro’s in a GNCC ride like they are Pro Motocrossers.
I do not think that I could be that.  In fact, I know I could not.  But, I do know that if I could race 28 times by the summer break of the season, and ride a day or 2 in between each of those, I would be way better than the slow pud that I am.
I think it is time for a retrospective of my season so far.
This thing is the bomb!

This thing is the bomb!

1.  New bike.  I LOVE my KTM 250XC-F.  I do not intend to have any other motorcycle, maybe ever.  It is that good.
Imagine how tired Chris Bach probably looks.  I hope alot worse than I do there, but probably not.

Imagine how tired Chris Bach probably looks. I hope alot worse than I do there, but probably not.

2.  I have done 6 WIXC races, 4 District 16 races, 1 GNCC.  Total of 11 races.  Not the end of the world, but I wish it would have been more.  I have actually had alot of good results.  seven 1st place finishes, three 2nd place finishes, and a 5th at the GNCC race.  But, I am not leading any of those series as I have missed too many races.  I can finish 2nd in the District 16 series, but probably only 3rd or 4th in the WIXC series.  That is ok, but I would like to be able to focus and adjust my schedule enough to actually win one of them overall.
That is my calendar of races left this year.

That is my calendar of races left this year.

Oh well.  I do love racing my motorcycle regardless.  I will be doing that more this year, but as you can see, I will not get up over 20 races. Close, but not there.
Chris will probably be up over 40 races when the season is over.  Holy cow.
See you at the races.
Joe

Summer Break – why?

I had to take a forced break the past few weeks.  Lotsa work and lotsa travel.  I was in July for the Tour de France, and that is always a black hole of time.  The month just sort of slips away, while you are in the grips of the time capsule of the TDF.

But, before the month got really going, I did do a couple of races at the end of June/begining of July that were pretty good.

Hixton – D16 race

CMJ has been holding races forever.  It has a storied past, not always great.  Over the years, there have been so many races there that it has trails just crisscrossing all over.  There have been years where the course was not marked well and the lines were really hard to find.  But this time it was superbly marked and it was the best Hixton race we have ever had.

As it has been all summer, the week leading up to the race was filled with moisture, but it left the dirt just perfect.  Again, the best we have ever had there.  The course was soft, so it ended up rutted and full of holes by the end.  Perfect, just the way I like it.

On my line there were about 15 bikes, a really good field.  I took the holeshot, but gave up the lead to Paul somewhere during the 1st lap.  In the 2nd lap, I passed him back and did not see him again.  I ended up having just a spectacular race.  I have had a few of those this year.

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Tearing through a section at Hixton. Sometimes I look like all right.

This is a video from someone in the last row.  He gets a horrible start, tears through the group, then crashes and cannot get his bike started, then tears through the group again.  Kinda humorous.  Gives you an idea of the course though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClWtqj-NY9c

Stone Lake – D16 race

This has never been my favorite course, and also because it is normally a shared race with D23 Minnesota.  This one was no different.  Bone dry, dusty, lotsa huge rocks (It is called Stone Lake after all), combined with D23…  But, the field was huge.  20+ riders on my line.

The race is a really long lap.  It includes a fun outdoor style MX track, some rocky stuff in the woods and a bunch of field sections.  The lap was really long, probably 20 minutes.

I got a decent start, maybe 5th at the 1st turn.  But, I moved to 2nd by the time we entered the woods.  I followed the leader for the 1st lap, at a super comfortable pace.  On the 2nd lap, I squeezed by on the inside of a turn in a field and put my head down to push for a bit.  After a half a lap, I had put quite a gap and was able to ride my own race from there.

My suspension completely was absolute magic for the 1st part of the race, and then went away completely by the end of the race.  Ouch.  It was hard to ride by the end and I was getting ping ponged all over the course towards the end.  I found myself on my head a bunch on the last lap.

In the end, I had a great race and notched another win.  I probably cannot win the overall in either the WIXC or the D16 series, as there are just too many races I will miss.  But, it is fun to race for wins this year and not worry about the overall.  So far I have notched 6 or 7 wins – more than I have in any other year.

Here is a video someone posted from a row or so ahead of me.  Shows the course really well.

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I was going fast at Stone Lake, but sometimes I look like such a dweeb.

I spent the day today in the garage.  Got my bike ready to go for next weekend, cleaned, polished, got all the bikes working well, sorted gear, washed air filters etc…  I know you have to do these days, but geez I want to race now.  Thank god there is a WIXC race next weekend.

Summer break is dumb.

Joe

Pretty Cool video on the making of a new KTM.

This is not meant to be a post to hold over through July.  I have been away and not able to post, but will get back to that soon.  But, I did find this cool video no the making of a new KTM.

Interesting.  Enjoy.

 

It’s not a mash up weekend, it’s 4th of July

But, it is kinda feeling that way. I am riding my bike, and singing mostly. Ghastly I know.

I have been into mash ups for a while now. I cannot get this one out of my head. I don’t even really like the Beatles, but I do like Sublime!

Enjoy.

A tale of 2 races…

It was the best of races, it was the worst of races, I thought I had lotsa wisdom about what races to do and what not to do – yet I did it anyway, although I knew I believed in epoxy for all the seasons of light instead of darkness, I was thinking that that I do not want to live through another winter of despair as that would not be heaven it would be the other direction…

This is the tale of 2 races, one with a head and one with a tail.

There is something about racing in Illinois. I never have a medium race there. It is either checkers or wreckers – sort of.

I have not done many district races this year, they started late due to the late winter and they have not worked too well into my schedule. The WIXC race that weekend was way way up in the U.P. and I just could not get up there. So,,, there was a D16 race just in northern Il. I should have known better.

Wedron is an interesting place. It is entirely flat as far as the eye can see, except where the race is. A ravine area with a bunch of trails running through it. Tight twisty trails with one line. There was a little MX track in the valley and they had built a little enduro X section.

The enduro X section.

The enduro X section.

I lined up on the +40A class row. There were about 15 bikes, and I thought it would be good. I was wrong. The course was super tight and I got a horrible start. I got pushed off my line in the first turn and punted back to about 10th place in the turn. I had my work cut out for me. It took me a while to get going, and then when I did there was no place to pass. I am not sure where I ended up, but not much about 5th I would suggest. I do not plan to go back there again.

Mud.

Mud.

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My name is mud, not to be confused with Pete or Jack or Chris or Dennis. I make em shine, well most of the time.

On top of the tight trail it was muddy. I hate mud. I do not ride it well, and I struggle for some reason in the mud. If it is dry, I am always aggressive these days. Mud = me riding like a wuss.

Then last weekend I went to a new WIXC race that I had not ever done. Navarino. A town up by Green Bay. I had not done the race before, but I guess the WIXC gang had been there once before. Short course, but spectacular dirt. When I rode the course on my mountain bike before the race, I was getting pretty psyched by the fantastic looking dirt. A few mud patches, but overall the dirt was just epic.

Epic dirt!

Epic dirt!

This time I was not going to ride like a wuss. The flag went up, and I buttoned it to running and snagged it into 1st and rocketed away. Straight to the front up a super long long uphill arcing straight to the woods . Bam – 1st to the woods. I decided I was going to go hard. I knew the course, afterall I had ridden it on my bike. I went full gas for the first 15 mins, then sat up to see what damage I had done. I did not know it then, but I was already almost a minute ahead of Rob who was struggling in 2nd. (Afterward, I was pretty psyched by that I beat him as he was saying he was going to beat me, but not psyched that he crashed out of the race. I hope he is ok.)

The only problem with the race is that it is a short course. Short is ok, but when you stuff 100+ bikes down the trail it makes for non stop lapped traffic. That part was pretty hard.

Again, sometimes I look fast.

Again, sometimes I look fast.

I ended up 1st in my class and 8th overall.

Lotsa great hills on a small midwest ski hill.

Lotsa great hills on a small midwest ski hill.

Super course.  Epic dirt.  Lotsa fun.  Thank you WIXC.

Super course. Epic dirt. Lotsa fun. Thank you WIXC.

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.

Thank you Thomas Sauder for the photo’s.

Out till next week. So long and thanks for all the fish, we apologize for the inconvenience.

Joe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc6aufHz-i0&sns=em

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Sometimes I look fast, but not always

Sometimes I look fast, but not always

Adams county race. I had just a decent race, not great. But, someone actually caught a picture of me at one of the rare moments when I actually look fast!

Prince can rip a guitar

I have to post this.  I just cannot help it.  I heard this song on my mp3 player while riding my bike to work this morning.  I had not heard it in a long long time and it made me go and find it on Youtube.

This is a tribute song to George Harrison from when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.  It features Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, George Harrison’s son and Prince.  It is a really credible version of the song.  Nice playing, nice respect for George etc…  But, the real crowning moment is at 3:29 minutes into the song when Prince just goes off.  He rips into a guitar solo that still makes my jaw drop every I see the video.  Even the other artists on stage are amazed.  Watch George Harrison’s son, as he is completely amazed at Prince at one point.

Enjoy.  I promise it will not be a waste of your time.

Summer is Here!!!!

So it has been a while and I have not done much posting.  That is because it is summer and we are racing!!!  It is the end of May, we have finally gotten to summer and we are definitely racing.  As a result, this is all about racing.

Adams County

Last weekend was the annual race at Bob Kau’s place in Adams County.  It might be the best piece of property in the state.  Great trees, sand ground so that it does well with rain.  I have to do that race.  Bob is the nicest grumpy guy in the world.  Seriously, when you meet him you think he is a grouch.  Turns out he is just loud and the nicest guy you have ever met.

Unfortunately, the field was pretty small there – just 4 riders on my line.  Yuck.  I soft pedaled it off the line and was last on purpose into the first turn.  I just wanted to see how fast the other guys were and was hoping that I would have to chase.  I passed to 2nd early in the lap, and sat on the leader.  He was doing really well, but for some reason he did not want me behind him.  He pulled over and allowed me to lead jumping onto my wheel.  That was kinda fun, but eventually we got separated.

I decided to see how far I could get up into the A class.  Not that far, but it was fun to chase.  I ended up 1st place.

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This is what my side looked like after smacking myself the weekend before. Made it pretty tough to get through the next race. Trust me, it actually felt even worse than it looked.

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That is Dave Peters sticking it to the morning race. Sandbagger, he totally should be racing with me in the afternoon.

Rhinelander – WIXC, Day 1.

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Have I mentioned that I really like my trailer?

Summer really is better than spring or fall.  And of course a burrito is way way better than Pizza.  Either of them are better in the summer though.  Ah, summer.  So glad it is here.

Consider this for your imagination.  It is summer (there it is again) and our heroes are here in Rhinelander for a WIXC race.  There is no frost on the ground.  I know that surprises you.  It does me as well.

God I love these races.  (Not sure why god would care about that, but I noted it for him anyway.)

The race started pretty well, I was about mid-pack but moved up towards the front quickly.  About halfway through the first lap, I found myself in 3rd and pushing the guys in front.  One of them left the door open and I squirted through. The other one went wide in a turn, so I cut through to the inside.  It almost worked, but we ended up trying to occupy the same spot in the turn.  I did not want to knock anyone down, so I let off.  We touched, but just barely.  Unfortunately for the Honda guy, he gassed it really hard trying to stay ahead of me on the straightaway – blowing right through the next turn.  Oh well, easy into the lead.

Bang, I put my head down and never saw anyone after that.  Course was good, dirt was good, small amount of dust good black dirt in the woods.  Yowza.

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Scott and I checking out the woods before the morning race.

We will see how tomorrow goes.  Hopefully as well as today.

Day 2.

I figured out how to start!  As you know, the new 2013 KTM 250XCF that Nicholas at Fun Mart outfitted me with is the bomb.  It is so so much better than my old bike, I cannot explain why really – but wow!  The only problem is that it does not have a kickstarter and for a dead engine start that can be a challenge.

Chris Bach had told me that you start in neutral and snick it to 2nd right away and off you go.  I was getting reasonable starts, but pulling 2nd sometimes in that chaos was just not getting it done.  I was ending up midpack all the time at the start.  Then, I would have to work my way through the field and sometimes that is just tough for me to do.

But, instead of snicking into 2nd, I tried smashing it into 1st this time.  BANG – holeshot.  1st gives you such a jump that you then can snag 2nd/3rd right away and you are off.  Now the button is a bonus.  SCHWING!!!

I holeshoted and checked out immediately.  Never looked back.  Turned out that Rob broke a chain shortly into the race (he has done that before – hmmm), so we really did not get to race straight up again.  I miss that.  But, I went ahead and won anyway.

Love that Rhinelander course.  It is 6+ miles long and has a little bit of everything.  Rocky tough, reasonably tight trees (although I disagree with Rick – you do not need handguards), some fast sections, great dirt, mud, dust, easy jumps on the MX track.  Love it.

Ok.   a could of weeks of good racing.  Unfortunately, I am out for a couple of weeks of busy work.  But, I will be back racing in a few weeks.

cheers.

If only Honeystinger made drink mix!

If only Honeystinger made drink mix!

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

That's Rick's wife Paula, manning the timing tent.  She is a saint.  Stands there and gets roosted by all of us and smiles through it all.  On top of that, she puts up with Rick full time.

That’s Rick’s wife Paula, manning the timing tent. She is a saint. Stands there and gets roosted by all of us and smiles through it all. On top of that, she puts up with Rick full time.

 

Crash – Redux

It doesn't look like nearly as much as it did.  But, my whole side was swollen and now turned purple.

It doesn’t look like nearly as much as it did. But, my whole side was swollen and now turned purple.

As you may recall, I crashed pretty hard on Saturday.  A stupid crash really, that did not need to happen.  But it did, and that is racing.  If you are going to sign up to race, then you should be prepared to crash occasionally.  I am ok with it.

Here is a little video from the crash that someone took and gave to me.

I did race the next day on Sunday.  I was not so good, but I got through it.  I ended up 2nd, but never really had anything for Rob who won.  Must have been boring for him.

I still look like I was going fast.  Don't let that fool you though.  I was just getting around the course on Sunday.

I still look like I was going fast. Don’t let that fool you though. I was just getting around the course on Sunday.

The course at Mounatin was dynamite.  Thanks a ton Rick and WIXC and MotoXsplat.

The course at Mounatin was dynamite. Thanks a ton Rick and WIXC and MotoXsplat.

Out till the next weekend.

Joe

Crash

Just before the start.  Looks good, feeling good.

Just before the start. Looks good, feeling good.

The start straight was only about 30 meters long and into a right hand 180 degree turn.  I lined up on the 2nd to the right side, taking the straightest line to the inside of the turn.  Pete Emme was to my right on a 350 also with just a button.

You may recall that having only a button start has been my only reservation with the new bike.  So far, it is not really failing me.  I am figuring it out and starting in neutral then jamming the bike into 2nd as soon as I feel that it is running.  It is not as fast as someone that can get a 2stroke fired up on the kicker really fast, but in the amateur classes I think it is fast enough to not be last to the first turn.

Rick has a small movement of his elbow just before he raises the flag.  I noticed that on the starts before my wave.  There were 15 bikes on my line (one of the best things about the WIXC is that in the +40 class there is a real race).

Ricks elbow moved and I hit the button.  My bike started right up (Thank you Jason and Full Spectrum battery), I jammed for 2nd and launched toward the 1st turn.  Have you ever watched one of those SX starts that goes bad in slow motion and noticed someone comes across another riders front wheel, they bounce off each other and then someone ends up launching sideways and being tossed about like a ragdoll?  Someone came all the way from the left side of the start grid and went all the way right.  Because I was set up to be 2nd into the turn, my front wheel was the only one taken out.

There I was, in front of a pile of bikes hard on the gas towards the 1st turn, being flung over the bars and bouncing off my bike an other people’s bikes.  It hurt.  Magically, I was not run over by another bike.  I stood up and could not believe what had just happened.  There was dirt jammed into my helmet and both controls on the bike.

My new Nytro handguards were broken off, my bars were twisted and knocked down.  Other than that, the bike was fine.  But, my side just below my Leatt suit I had taken a hard hit.  I could tell that it was already swelling up into a huge bruise, and damn did it hurt.

Feeling kinda aggressive.  Chasing later in the race.

Feeling kinda aggressive. Chasing later in the race.

Red mist was already forming in my head then.  I hoped on the bike, not sure if I could ride or not, red mist in my eyes and shot ahead of the C class that was just starting.  I was a minute behind my wave, they were already leaving the moto track.  I rolled along softly for a few seconds as I took a mental inventory of myself and my scoot, then went completely into pursuit mode.  I caught the back markers of my wave right away in the woods, and made it my crusade to catch at least one rider per lap – not too hard at the beginning of the race, but got alot harder as it went on.

In the end I made my way up to 2nd, and within just 10 seconds of the lead.  I rode possessed and chased through the whole race.  Rick cheered me as did everyone else who knew how my race went.  It felt good.

By the time I got back to the trailer, my whole body was hardening up.  Any movement that required engaging my core muscles was nearly impossible due to the huge swelling and bruise on my side just above my hip.  Walking around the trailer was hard, getting my boots off, getting in the truck were all near impossibilities.

Notice anything missing?

Notice anything missing?  Just one handguard, felt like I was trying to stay away from anything on the left side.

I spent alot of time in the evening with ice on my side.  Sleeping was tough.  My whole body is still really beat up feeling.  But, race #2 for the weekend is today.  we will see how that goes.  If I am not too much of a Nancy and can ride, there is no mercy today.

Joe

Mashup Weekend!

Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 8.23.16 PM

It is Saturday night when I am starting this post.  That is exactly how I feel about things today.  It is nice for crying out loud.  Makes me want to quote Pearl Jam or something or other.  Afterall, when was the last time you drove with your windows down?  Ok, if you do not live in Wisco, you probably have done it a bunch.  I haven’t, so f’off if you have.  But, it is all good now.  Although it is a weird weekend, with no Liz, no kids around the house, not even Stella. (As she is wrestling with the cat at the pet store for the weekend – that is a weird dog…)

I think that both Ali and Hanna are riding their road bikes somewhere.  I am riding dirt bikes, man.  Dirt bikes.  How long has it been since that was all I did for the weekend?  A long time, I can tell you.

So to celebrate, I am listening to mashups.  Give this one a listen while you are reading the rest of the post.  It is good.

Dead Flowers

When you’re sitting there, in your silk upholstered chair.

Talking to some rich folks that you know.

Well I hope you won’t see me in my ragged company.

You know I could never be alone.

I did not write that, nor did the kid on the corner.  It makes me think that maybe the end is near.

Bob Kau told me that this bike is so Italian.  Over engineered, pretty but will take alot of maintenance.  "Just like Italian cars and woman".   Haha.  Love that guy.

Bob Kau told me that this bike is so Italian. Over engineered, pretty but will take alot of maintenance. “Just like Italian cars and woman”. Haha. Love that guy.

I can tell you this, the race on the 13th at Adams County is going to be incredible.  I saw a bunch of the trail today, wow.  It will be big fun. Lotsa new trail, some great fun in the cranberry bogs and a bunch of tight trees with about 872 logs to cross.  yop.

IMG_6201

Might not mean much to you, but if you are in Wisco this was heaven.

I am so much in love with my new bike.  The boingers are incredible, the motor is special, the seat is good, it goes it turns it stops it is incredible.  Makes me feel like the fastest old guy alive.  (I put that in for Chris Bach)

Ok.  So tomorrow off to do a silly little race down in Illinois.  Gotta do it.

Have you checked out the new Oakley Airbrake?  Scott had a pair, and they looked so sweet...  I had to go out and get some myself.

Have you checked out the new Oakley Airbrake? Scott had a pair, and they looked so sweet… I had to go out and get some myself.

Holy cow.  That is an open window while driving.

Holy cow. That is an open window while driving.

Number 303, again...

Number 303, again…

Artsy

Artsy

We will see how that whole racing in Illinois thing will go.

Joe

One last thing.  If you are not a Prince fan, you’re wrong.  Watch this video, and pay attention to the last 3 minutes.  Damn.  What a badass.

Knobbies in dirt!

Wohoo!  We finally got weather to get knobbies in dirt locally.  Yowza, it has been a long winter.  This past Saturday was supposed to be nice, but of course it never got above 50 degrees, and it was windy and raining.

Yuck.  Again.

I spent the day, angry in the garage.  Working on bicycles, working on cars, cleaning the floor, working on motorcycles etc…  Not a bad day, but I have only spent like 772 Saturdays doing that this past winter, waiting for nicer weather.

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On Sunday morning, this is what it looked like outside my house. Are you kidding me? April 14?

It was almost enough to push me over the edge.  I got a text message from Pete that said, “Supposed to be a chance of rain/snow today and for next month.  So I am planning on saying fuck it and ride.  All sand at my place so come on over…”

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Pete has a great woods section by his house, and this little field section that he has a little kinda GP/MX section set up.

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The dirt was primo at Pete’s. Kinda like you could grab a handful of sand and it would hold together like a snowball in your hand. So much fun.

It is always good to get the season started.  This coming weekend is a MXC race in Illinois.  Our first local races were either postponed or cancelled due to weather.  But, the MXC series always runs down in Illinois.  See you there.

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The new bike!

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Pete has a blue bike!

Let’s get this party started!

Joe

On sunday

Damn! 13 IS a fantastic number!

I broke down.  I NEEDED a 2013 motorcycle.  New motorcycles are just so shinny and well…new.  It is really not much different than needing a new pair of shoes.  They fit so well and look so good and the laces have not been caught in your bicycle chain yet…mmm.  I ounce bought 5 pair of Converse I was so intoxicated with the new feel of them.  I think I still have 1 pair in the box…

Chris Bach told me that the new 2013 250XC-F was phenomenal.  I did not believe him.  I loved my 2012, how much better could it be?  I am now here to tell you that it is WAY better than the 2012.  Not exactly sure how.  The power is incredible, the handling is even better.  I am pretty excited about mine.  Chris was right.

Enjoy the photos of the first ride on it.  I have not finished it entirely.  The fork is not massaged yet by Neezer at Fox, no radiator braces yet, MX handguards on it just now – but that will not cut it for the woods.

Precious!

Precious!

#Superstar!

It is time!  Racing time!  Every year, Georgia GNCC comes around and I get to kick my season off with a trip there and jump right into racing.  No need to do any riding before racing, just get after it.  I have this conversation alot with Liz.  She thinks that I should be more slow to my start of the season.  Get a few more riding weekends in, then get myself up to race speed later.  Nah…Just get after it and race.  No better way to know what you need to work on.

I mean seriously, don’t you just go get a burrito when you want one?  Do you have to build up to it?  BTW, a burrito is way better than a pizza.  No one really wants a pizza more than a burrito.  I mean pizza is good, but it is not a burrito.  There really isn’t another way to improve on just about any food.  Wrap it in a tortilla.  Corn or flour, nothing wrong with that.

So this year I booked a flight down to Atlanta and sent my bike down with Mat.  Yep, pretty much a superstar.  I am full pro you know.  Fly down, get on a pristine bike, fly back home.  Yep, it is pretty much always that way for me… Ha, lol.

Your basic $12 rental car.  "I've got a killer deal for you..."  Sweet.

Your basic $12 rental car. “I’ve got a killer deal for you…” Sweet.

Ok, you know that I have been about to jump off a bridge because of the cold at home.  Winter that just will not start.  Not that jumping off a bridge would do anything other than break my leg at home, as the water is solid still everywhere.  I mean, will this winter never end?

Don’t know, but I am here in Georgia where it is clearly not winter.  In fact, it was downright hot today.  It is amazing how the 1st time you are in 75 it seems like it is Africa hot (Africa hot is not as hot as Alabama hot is though).

71 on the way to the track, 75 for the high.  Damn, that is hot at this time of the year.

71 on the way to the track, 75 for the high. Damn, that is hot at this time of the year.

This freak across the aisle, pulled out a Native American wind instrument on the plane, played it, then covered up his head with the blanket and slept.  Superstars should not have to put up with that.

This freak across the aisle, pulled out a Native American wind instrument on the plane, played it, then covered up his head with the blanket and slept. Superstars should not have to put up with that.

So I am sitting here now watching Supercross in the hotel.  Just had a killer mexi meal and now I am just living the life.

I probably should still have my sunglasses on.

Sunday evening, after the Georgia GNCC.

The Georgia GNCC never disappoints.  It is a proper GNCC.  Hard.  Clay that gets super rough, creek crossings that get really snotty, crazy rough everywhere, spaghetti roots everywhere, long loop etc…  Every time I do it I am not disappointed.  In 2008 when we did the whole series, it poured down rain the day before and we got the van stuck and it was amazingly muddy and clay that stuck to everything.  Last year when I came down it was sort of muddy, not like it was in 2008 but mud.  This year it was hot (75 – that is crazy hot for someone who is living in a winter hell), and dry.  Dry = holes EVERYWHERE and rough and roots that come out of the ground everywhere.  My hands are completely roached.

When Georgia is like this, it is like velcro.  Beautiful, tacking and tough.

When Georgia is like this, it is like velcro. Beautiful, tacking and tough.

Clearly I already knew what was coming in this photo.  Good to get the 1st race in though.

Clearly I already knew what was coming in this photo. Good to get the 1st race in though.

I ran pretty comfortably in 5th place for most of the race.  But, I stopped to change my gloves (my hands were torched) and get something to drink.  I should not have stopped.  I just could not get back up to speed after that.  I ended up falling back a couple of spots, and just could not make it up.  At the end of the race, all I could do was lay there on the ground.  My whole body hurt.  But damn was it good.  Racing and spring all at once.

All in all, I am pretty satisfied with the result.  The 1st race is always tough.  I went better than last year at this race, but still need to work on getting up to speed this spring.  Hopefully I can go down and ride with Adam in Illinois next weekend.

It is good being a superstar though.  Maybe I will do it again.  Now, where are my sunglasses?

Joe

Superstar! Full Pro weekend!

Superstar! Full Pro weekend!

New stuff!

We have been pretty busy putting together our program and bikes with our current sponsors and a list of some new sponsors.  Sitting here looking at a super wet and not summery feeling Sunday, seems like racing will never get here.  But, we are really getting close.  This week I will head down to Georgia to do the 2nd round of the GNCC series, and it is just weeks till we are racing in the upper midwest.

Bikes have come together really well, and we have a bunch of new sponsors along with a bunch of the same.  Our program has just gotten larger every year.  Tons of thanks to everyone involved.  Here is a run down of what we have going on this year.

vesrah_logoVesrah has been our title sponsor for a long time.  Mark Junge has been a longtime supporter and a great friend.  He is an amazing road racer, a great cyclist, an ace motor expert… among a bunch of other things.  Vesrah has always provided our brakes and we rely on Mark for alot of advice on how to run our season.

64502_KTM_250_SX-F_2013

Don’t have it yet, but one of these is on it’s way for Joe. “I am going to tear up things this year on this!”

557735_10151202310118895_109915792_nWe are back with Fun Mart for the 2nd year.  They have proven to be a great resource for us.  Nicholas there will get parts out to us fast, they are always there for technical advice and they are just really nice guys.

VCG_Logofull

What can I say.  The best made graphics, period.  AJ is the man!

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That bike is the bomb, eh?

Kenda with outline and shadow

After using Pirelli for years, Scott and I were a bit nervous to switch brands.  I know that alot of people feel that way, you get used to something and it is tough to switch.  The guys at Kenda helped us to figure it all out and now we both could not imagine riding on anything else.  Try the Millville 2, you will not be sorry.

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Brand new sharp knobbed Kenda tire there on Scott’s rig. Yum.

fox_logoThe first new sponsor for the year is the Fox rear shock.  I guess I never really new how great a rear shock could feel.  I never knew just how much difference those kind of things could make.  I always figured that I am really the weak link in the bike

That little baby is the bomb!  Wow.

That little baby is the bomb! Wow.

going faster (I am still not changing that pov), but do not discount what a difference that a super high end part can make.

This Fox baby is the bomb.  Wow!

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The guys at Full Spectrum called up and asked if we really wanted a cool little thing for our bikes. Sure!

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This tiny baby does it’s thing and saves 2+ LBS on the bike. 2 pounds! On top of that Full Spectrum provides a wiring system that delivers the full voltage to the starter without loosing anything along the way. Zing!

Pretty psyched about the battery thing.  It is a small thing, but 2lbs is a big deal, especially if it really starts the thing reliably.

Factory Connection has always equaled great suspension for us.  They have been logo_factory_connectionsupportive and loyal to our program since 2008.  I do not think we would have anyone else tuning our forks.  If you need suspension work, give them a shout.  They will hook you up properly.  Period.

Moto9HurricaneRedWhtBlueP_6

Have you checked these out yet?  That is the Bell Moto 9.  Reminds us all of Bob Hannah.  (Only wish I had that kinda speed – ha!)

This is a bunch of years for us in Bell helmets.  They were one of our original sponsors.  Love their moto helmets.

Yep.  Orange gear this year.  You will definitely be able to pick us out of the crowd - I hope.  Been in Moose gear since 2009.  Thanks for the support guys.Yep. Orange gear this year. You will definitely be able to pick us out of the crowd – I hope. Been in Moose gear since 2009. Thanks for the support guys.

maxima-oil-logoAnother of our long term sponsors has been Maxima oils.  You know that Ronnie Lechien works there?  He is actually our contact there.  How cool is that?  So not only is the oil the best, we get to talk to an absolute motocross legend every time we need something.  (I tend to order things one bottle at a time so that I can talk to Ron every time I need something.)

images Rekluse.  Auto or standard, they are damn fine clutches.

honey-stinger-w-wordsNot only is there logo just about the coolest thing out there, the bars and gels are perfect for before during and after a race.  Use them during training and during a race and you will see a difference.  Plus, all organic.

You will for sure see us at a few GNCC races, a few MAXC races in Indiana, most of the WIXC races in Wisconsin and a few of the D16 races in Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan.

You will for sure see us at a few GNCC races, a few MAXC races in Indiana, most of the WIXC races in Wisconsin and a few of the D16 races in Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan.

Ok, it is about time to get this season started.

Out,

Joe

Welcome to the Show Me State!

So we went to Missouri, again.  In the end, all roads in the early season around here lead somewhere like this.  After all, we do live in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin.  Ugh.  Someday the planet will turn on it’s axis and Wisconsin will end up the perfect template.  Until then, all roads at this time of the year lead to the show me state.  Welcome says the brochure.  See the worlds largest ball of twine!

l

Where in the world is Waldo?  Well young people, we is in St. Joe.  Every year we go there, and every year we wish that we could be near here all the time.

This year we had new suspension to test and get right.  We set up a short little loop that was like 2-3 minutes around.  It had uphill, downhill, flat turns, rocks bermed turns etc…  No jumps, but we can figure that out later.  We both set out to learn about our suspension.  You start out by going around and then making a small adjustment, then you go around again and then you make another small adjustment, then around again, you keep doing it until you find something that you like.

Usually you would do that by bracketing.  Go all the way one direction until it sucks, then all the way in the other direction till it sucks.  In theory, you will like something roughly in the middle of that.  But, it takes a long time to really get there.  Cool stuff though.

In the end, we hit something really good.  At least I did.

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My motorcycle is so cool, I do not even know how you are going to cope.

See you at the races!

Joe

Dirt Without Snow!

I almost cannot handle the anticipation. The smell of dirt. Real live dirt that is not frozen. The kind that actually moves when you kick it, that your tires leave an impression in when you cross it. OMG!

20130215-125236.jpg Good god! Look at that, that is dirt, that is not snow.

As is usually the case, we reach a time when Scott and I just cannot handle it any long, and we load up and head south. Need to get some knobbies on some dirt that is not frozen. It is a beautiful February day now, that can almost convince you that winter does not suck. Rest assured though, it does.

We are driving along, changing the radio station between Pearl Jam and whatever that other stuff is, talking about bike racing motorcycles and things that have nothing to do with winter. There is hope. (btw, Mumford and Sons actually is not dry good)

20130215-125935.jpg Look closely, you might have to squint. No your mind is not playing tricks on you, that is actually water in its natural state. You do not have to drill through the top layer and you cannot drive your truck on it.

There will be dirt biking. There will be smiles. There will be blisters. Like I said, I almost cannot handle the anticipation.

Lots to do in the next 2 days, with suspension testing and eval, learning how to ride a dirt bike again, photos for web use and PR stuff for team etc… But for now, I am just going to dream about summer getting my bike dirty a pressure washer in the yard and no white stuff anywhere in sight. Hey, it can happen folks, I’ve seen it.

Out,
Joe

Getting ready to ride.

Getting ready to ride.

Why in the world is it so hard to make good coffee?

Now that is a good looking cup.

Now that is a good looking cup.

Coffee.  We all drink it.  It is not that hard to make, but it seldom is that good.

Let me start with this.  Europe is the land of inconvenience.  Cars do not come with cup holders (My German friends say its because you shouldn’t be drinking coffee when you drive anyway…harumph – they are sometimes not very happy people) Grocery stores are not complete.  You cannot get your laundry done on the way home from work, retail stores close at 5pm (I mean, aren’t their customers at work till 5pm?  How do they do any business), there is no such thing as a walk in haircut (I know you are thinking, what do I care?).  The list goes on and on.

For the most part, Europeans are good with that.  (But, the lines at Mcdonalds are pretty long there, a business that is built on convenience.  Well, convenience and a creepy clown guy.)  It might just be their European-ness getting the best of them.  You know, it is ok if I complain about my place but you cannot do that.  Pride.

In fact, if you think about the differences between France and the USA, they are plenty.  We like crap beer, they like wine.  We do not smoke like they do.  We are fat, they are skinny.  The north of the USA has way worse weather.  The south of the USA has way better weather, although the south of France is pretty damn nice.  The food in France is generally not very good.  They have a better bike race than we do (2 of them).  We have better offroad racing than they do – World Enduro, what the hell is that anyway?  Can you name a really good French car?

But, in spite of that they have way better coffee in France than you can generally get in the USA.  And do not go all Starbucks on me.  Starbucks is the Mcdonalds of coffee.  Safe, the same, boring, not great.  If you have a local coffee shop that you like, then you know what I am talking about.  But, it is just damn hard to get good coffee in the USA.  Good beer – easy.  I mean an IPA is pretty readily available at your local grocery store.  In France, the coffee you can get at a crappy convenience store will be great.

There are a few good videos that I need to post here.

I like to watch that one once a week or so.  Like the song, like how it makes me wish I was riding every time I see it.

So the 2013 season is making it’s way here.  I am just 20 days from our first testing trip to St. Joe, 28 days from a possible 1st race in Indiana and 48 days from the first GNCC that I will go to (I vowed a few years ago that I did not need to drive to Florida to do early season races – hours of sand whoops and Palmeto roots is not my idea of a good time in early March).  Lots to do.

Tires, suspension, testing, building and decaling, new gear, sorting, polishing, finish the trailer etc…  Love this time of the year.

Built a new seat yesterday.  Damn, check out the grip that thing will have!  Yowza.

Built a new seat yesterday. Damn, check out the grip that thing will have! Yowza.

Stack-O-Kenda tires.  Ready for shredding.

Stack-O-Kenda tires. Ready for shredding.

New graphics for the team.

New graphics for the team.

Similar graphics to last year, but with a bit of black added in now.  We are more bad this year than last year – Ha.  Yellow is my background color for GNCC, blue for local, Scott runs red etc…  You get the picture.

The gear.  Super sweet Orange tone Moose Gear.  Matchy, matchy.

The gear. Super sweet Orange tone Moose Gear. We will have helmets to match also.  Matchy, matchy.

The season cannot get here soon enough.

Remember, Fear minus Death = Fun!

Still damn funny.

Vesrah Offroad replica graphics now available at VCGraphix

Sweet looking, will make your ride look retro and cool all at once!

Sweet looking, will make your ride look retro and cool all at once!

Pretty dang excited that our successful graphics are now available at VCGraphix.  Check it out at their website!

WWW.VCGraphix.com

You can customize with your sponsors, your colored backgrounds, your numbers etc…  You really will not believe the quality of the decals.

Thanks AJ!

Out,

Joe

This is how sweet you can go if you go all the way to an orange frame.

This is how sweet you can go if you go all the way to an orange frame.

 

I so wish i was here

2013 season cannot get here soon enough!

2013 moto goals

I have thought that what I need is some resolution. Some goals. Since it is 2013, here goes. 50 goals. (Just seemed like a good number).

The 1st 13 are work specific, so I left those out. You know, top secret stuff. If I told you, well you know – you just cannot know that stuff. It could split the space time continuum and create a vortex. The future would see itself, and the alternate reality is created leaving us all with too many thumbs or something like that in the future.

Since this is my moto blog, I got rid of the non Moto stuff for here. Gives me a chance to talk deeper about the goals with my moto.

Without any varnish, here they are. Just the moto related goals. Some are big, some are small.

Moto
14. Win a GNCC in my class. In 2011, I was 4th at Ironman GNCC, then 5th at the first Loretta’s and won the 2nd Loretta’s race. This past year I got a 6th at Ironman and then 5th at Loretta’s. Close, but not quite there.

1st place 2011 Loretta Lynn's GNCC

1st place 2011 Loretta Lynn’s GNCC

15. Win WIXC old guy class. I have become a huge fan of the WIXC series. They are the best races in Wisconsin. I plan to do most if not all, and hope to win my class.

19. Replace my truck with something that get’s much better mileage. I love trucks. Who wouldn’t want a truck. But, I do not like the gas mileage.
20. Buy a property near Camrock Mountain Bike trails. I plan to be one of 8 people in the whole state who can ride mountain bikes from their garage and their offroad motorcycle from their garage.

23. Clean out my closet and drawers and cycling cabinet and moto gear. I have enough clothing and sports gear for like 3 people. I am going to cut that down to enough for 1 person.

25. Go to a SX race. I like to do that once a year. They are really fun.
26. Sell my street bike.

34. Learn to use the rear brake while using the throttle on my 250F. I am still struggling with this skill. I think it is imperative for me to get this skill if I have any hope of winning a GNCC race.

36. Buy Aztalan membership and get better at jumping my 250F.

38. Learn to wheelie on both my favorite mountain bike and my motorcycle. I have said before that this is a genetic skill. I am going to take the year and learn to wheelie, or at least just about kill my self trying. By the end of the year, I will either wheelie or it will be a lost cause.
39. Set up my 250f with ice tires and do some ice riding. I live in this godforsaken environment, it is time that I do something to enjoy it.
40. Finish my trailer. I really only need a few things.
a. Wheel rack
b. Surface on the shelves.
c. Netting to hold things on the shelves

46. Ride a race with Noah
47. Ride a race with Russel

49. Drink more beer.
50. Get more involved with my community. Give time, get involved with a local cause directly.

Best and Worst of 2012 – Old guys offroad!

Best and Worst of 2012 – Moto season

“Best and Worst!” Yes I am seated, so I can call that game.

I started this game at my family dinner table when my kids were young. It started as just a way to get everyone talking and for me to stay in touch with my kids when they were growing up. The game was that you had to say out loud what the best part of your day was and worst part. The rules were pretty simple at first, you had to have answers and could not pass.

It worked. We all talked, we all knew something about each other and we got a sense of who we were as a family and who we were becoming as individuals. And, we learned that we really liked each other.

But, the really great part is that the game has taken on a level of mythology that is truly impressive. The rules evolved along the way. The first evolution of the rules was that you could not say the same thing as someone else. That meant that if you had spent the whole day with someone, you really wanted to be able to go before them, as it was hard sometimes to not have the same answers as the person before you. That pushed the next evolution of the game and that was, the person that called the game got to decide the order. Calling the game could only be done when everyone was seated. That led to a mad dash to call the game the moment the last bum touched a seat. This would set off a bout of competitiveness, and anything you can compete at in our family is a good thing.

Of course calling the game meant you got to penalize someone into going last, making it difficult for them to come up with an acceptable offer on the game that had not already been spoken by someone else.

The next evolution on the rules was a complete ban on anything cheesy. One could not ever ever ever say something like “My best is that we are all here together for dinner.” – Cheesy. This rule has been particularly difficult for guests to understand. Grandparents in particular have difficulty with this rule.

The next evolution was that the person who called the game could decide to change the rules at any point in the game. Most people do this as they really just want to penalize Ali (at least that is what she assumes, “No one in this family ever listens”) I like to be able to change the rules midstride, just to exert my authority over the game. Somewhere along the way Liz is going to say “Your not the boss of me…” Given that, I need to find ways to be in charge.

The last evolution of the rules is that I can change the game rules anytime I want, even if I did not call the game. I am sort of a dictator. Most people are fine with this, Hanna has just resigned herself to it, but it mostly just irks Chris – which is the real reason that I created the rule in the first place.

The funny part is the lore of the game. It was fun even when the kids were in college, as their friends would come to the table and say “Ooo, I have heard about this game.”

It is pretty much the best family game ever.

Which brings me to the point of this blog entry. I am going to give you my version in relation to the moto season this past year. I know the rules are that there has to be just one best and one worst, but since I make the rules, here goes…

Worst of this past season.

d161. Our D16 series has pretty much fallen apart. It is not really worth racing any longer. The races have only 40 or so riders on the line, they never start on time, the electronic scoring never works, the results are not up forever after the race, the website for the series is pathetic, the results are never up on line with an regularity, the courses are so poorly marked that cheating (either purposeful or mistakenly) is rampant…

When Rick Anschutz was managing the series, it grew into a 13/14/15 race series. After he left, it has slowly devolved into what I have described above. Fortunately, Rick has his own series now (see Best point below). This is all too bad, as it would be great to have seen the series continue to grow.

2. It took me 2 motorcycles to get going this year.  I learned I am a pussy.  I cannot use the throttle on a bike with big power.  The KTM 300 is impossible for me to ride fast.  Scares the crap out of me.  I had to get another 250F, as that is about all the power I can handle.3. I did not do a whole series this past year, so the fun of chasing an overall season result was not there. I hit a few D16 races, a few WIXC races a few GNCC races etc… They are all fun, but a couple of years ago when I was chasing the D16 series, it was always fun to race the same group every weekend.

Best of this moto season (I like to save good stuff till last)

20120604-124222.jpg1. Vesrah Offroad is the 2012 Perry Mountain 24hr champion. The Perry Mountain 24hr race has been a couple of year focus for Scott and I. Last year we crumbled while leading during the night and finished 5th place duo team. This year we felt we understood the race better and built what we hoped was a bullet proof plan to success there. Our plan worked flawlessly. We had 2 full time people at the pits, one full time person to give us status during the race, an air conditioned RV and a full time RV camp manager and cook. The only thing Scott and I had to do once we were there was ride. We managed to finish 1st place Duo team and 7th overall team. We were the very first duo team to break the top 10 overall at the race in the history of the race. You can read all about it on the link above at Perry Mountain.

My bike did not look this good after the race.2. My new Vesrah Offroad KTM 250F from Fun Mart. Wow is all I can say. For my riding and skill level, it is by far the best bike I have ever ridden. I am sure that there are plenty of riders out there that would feel it needs more power, but damn can I ride the thing. Love it.

It is better with graphics on it.3. Our new team trailer. I have always wanted to have a great trailer. This thing is aluminum and 7’X14”. The really great part is that everything just goes with you to the races. Spare wheels, extra gear etc… And, no matter how hard the race is it is not so hard to load up afterward (not like loading a 50 additional mud lb’s heavy motorcycle up the ramp and into the back of a 4X4 pick up).
finalhelmetsticker24. The WIXC series. Rick Anschutz has put together a really nice 14 race series for next year. It covers most of the state of Wisconsin. We are missing another race or 2 in southern Wisconsin, but it has been growing really nicely and those will come over time. The races are great, they are fast and feel very much like GNCC races, they use electronic scoring, they start on time, the results are posted by the time you are loaded to go. Great stuff. Good on you Rick.

5. Our sponsors. Scott and I have worked really hard to build a responsible and visible offroad team effort. We try hard to look professional, to put up a nice little website that we are proud of, and to have great looking motorcycles and gear at every race. That effort has resonated with our sponsor list, and we are proud that we have a solid list of sponsors that have stayed with us over the years.

Vesrah, Fun Mart, VCGraphix, Factory Connection, Moose Racing, Kenda, Maxima, Bell Helmets, Honey Stinger, Rekluse, Oakley, EVS, GPR

Really looking forward to this season. I am ready for the calendar to turn over a bit quicker, but before that happens I have a couple of months of serious fitness work to put in. I plan to race most of the WIXC races and chase the overall, about half of the MAXC races in Indiana and a few GNCC races this year.

I am pretty psyched for my new 2013 KTM 250XC-F. Nicholas from Fun Mart says he will have it for me at end of January.

woot.

Hi, my name is joe… I am an offroad junkie.

Is 13 a lucky number?

It’s like Sirens or something.  They keep taunting me.  Trying to lure me in.

Joe…Joe…come take me home with you! (Siren voice)

This is not like that girl in college… Oh sorry.   It is like an obsession though.  They are shiny, they are new, they are not here yet.  OMG.  Just how much faster would I be on a 2013 model?  If you are like me, the progression goes something like this.

1. Whatever.  I am perfectly fine on my bike that I have now.  I will rebuild it from the ground up, and it will suit me just fine for another season.

2. Ok.  Maybe I will start the season on my current bike, then get a new one half way through the season.  I can keep the current bike as a back up, and break in the new one slowly, racing it as I get comfortable on it.

3. I really think I would be faster on the new one.  New features, that I have to have.  New suspension that will be dramatically better.  It has more HP.  It is shiny.  The frame and everything just feels so much better on a new bike.

4. I am not getting a new one.  That is dumb.  I promise you I am not going to go any faster on a new one.
5. Maybe.  Hmmm…

6. “Nick, can you order a new one for me?”

I think I am at stage 5 now.

In the garage, there is a 2012 KTM 250XC-F. But, I rode a season on it. It has memories, but it just doesn’t have that new bike smell. It is an old friend that has served me well, but the sirens of the 13 models are calling to me.

Joe…joe…come take me home…we are ready to be yours…we want to be set up to be the ultimate old guy bike for GNCC and Harescrambles. They will not stop calling to me.

- 5 more horsepower
– new fuel injection
– no kick starter
– new engine cases

OMG. I think I NEED one.  2013 is going to be a very good year.

Joe

I am such a dork.