Monthly Archives: November 2008

Thanksgiving – Arkansas – Update

As usual, my brother and his family, my sister and her family and my family all descended upon my mother’s house for Thanksgiving. She lives in Hot Springs Arkansas. My brother and sister live in Texas, so it is sort of a central meeting spot for all of us. We have been doing this since my mother moved there about 13 years ago. We ride mountain bikes, burn things in the back yard (she lives in the woods) and drink our share of beer (not the kids, although some of them are getting old enough). Basically, it is mayhem for 5 days. Kids running everywhere, we have built a little piece of singletrack in the woods by her house, we have built a whole bunch of freeride features there also. We all refer to it as our redneck Thanksgiving.

We rode ourselves silly for the week. Every day we did some riding at either the XC race course in town, or at 2 different trail networks. We also found a freeride area at Burns park in Little Rock and a dirt jump park. We only had XC bikes, but we made due.

All I had was my 69'er SS.  Not the best jump park bike, but we made due!

All I had was my 69'er. Not the best jump park bike, bu we made due!

Hanna reaching for the back side.  Her bike is better, but not really the right gear.

Hanna reaching for the back side. Her bike is better, but not really the right gear.

Ali putting it together with the right bike, and pretty much the right gear.

Ali putting it together with the right bike, and pretty much the right gear.

So, the week before we left for Arkansas, Scott and I met with Mark Junge from Vesrah and discussed our season for next year. Scott and I both need a year of focusing on local races after our adventure this past year. Mark is completely into that. Mark is still working out his overall deal for the Vesrah Suzuki endurance road racing team, so how we fit into that is up in the air a bit. But regardless, Scott and I will still be on Suzuki’s for next year and running our little offroad wing of Vesrah Suzuki.

There is a huge season available to us for next year. 12 or so D16 Harescrambles races, 12 or so races in the new Wisconsin XC series, there are 3-4 OMA races that are close to Wisconsin, 2 National Enduro’s that are in the Upper midwest, 1 National Harescrambles in the upper midwest, 6-8 D16 Enduro races and of course Crawfordsville GNCC. Before I even add mountain bike racees, I could cover my schedule with more than 20 motorcycle races next year.

I hope you like the new look of our website. There are a few more new things that will be coming in the next month or so as well. We have combined the 2 websites from last year into 1 site. For the time being, you can still get here from the old sites, but you should update your saved URL to http://www.vesrahsuzukioffroad.com. We wanted to have one site where all of our sponsors would be represented, our individual blogs could be found, our schedule and results can be found and profiles of our bikes. This year we will be campaigning a few different bikes. Scott is going to be running a 144 project bike, an RM 250 and hopefully and RMZ250. I will be running an RM250 dedicated to Harescrambles and and RM250 set up for Enduro racing. It is going to be a fun year.

We have a new sponsor for both Scott and I for next year. Moose clothing has stepped in to provide us with the best gear for our pursuits. I have always loved their stuff. I am pretty excited to be riding in the best gear for next year.

It is time for buckling down on a training program. Scott’s wife Mary, runs a business called Up and Over Fitness. She was a Olympic level mountain bike racer in a previous life, and knows more about fitness than most anyone. I have stacks of programs here from my prep last season that I need to organize into a program for this season. I don’t really look forward to all the time in the gym, but I know it pays off when hour 2 of a Harescrambles race comes along or that last timed section of an Enduro.

Joe

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end of the season

The true end of the season is now here. As I look around the garage, the evidence of that is all around. My practice bike is on the stand completely in pieces. The motor is out and still with Mark being rebuilt. Remember that I did major damage to it at the race in Rhinelander. The parts are strewn about the garage waiting to be put back together. That is ok, because the bearings and everything need to be greased and reassembled anyway. My race bike is still weighed down with 15 pounds of mud from this past weekends Enduro in Illinois. That bike needs the same breakdown and rebuild as the practice bike does.

This past years season started out as a hope on my part. We put together the plan to do the GNCC series. We collected gear and sponsors, we built bikes, we planned and organized and then I roached my knee. The fall and winter became a recovery and rebuilding effort on my part. First the ACL replacement surgery and then hours and hours of rehab and rebuilding to get healthy. I did manage to get it rebuilt, but as much as I wanted it to be the same as before – it was not. I have learned that to truly come back from something like that, it is a full 12 months. I am just now to the point that I do not think about my knee and feel that it is just as versatile as it was last year.

As a result of the knee, I never really felt as fast as in past years. I had some good moments, mostly in local races where I knew more what to expect than in a GNCC race. I did have a couple of good GNCC races – St. Clairesville and Crawfordsville come to mind. And, all in all it was a super fun season.

Our sponsors were super supportive and a joy to be associated with. Our friends and family were super supportive as well. They tolerated all the travel and time away to do the dream season.

As I look at next year, I am really looking forward to a few things.

– Racing locally. I always enjoy racing with my friends, at lower key events and at venues that I know. I will go and do a few big races next year, but mostly I want to race close to home.

– We have a new series in Wisconsin. It is in it’s infancy. It is going to need all of our support. It has been organized by the former D16 representative – Rick Anschutz. (You can find a link to his site on the right side of the page – RPAoffroad). I will be doing as many of these as I can, to make sure I do my part to see it make it past the first year and into the future.

– Enduro’s. The last event of the year that I did, the Enduro down in Illinois, has completely captivated me. I had so much fun, that I cannot wait to do more. Although there are a few enduro’s near by, unfortunately most are in neighboring states.

I am so excited about enduro’s, that I have made a decision to keep my second RM250 and turn it into an Enduro bike. Here is my plan.

My enduro bike (the 07 that I raced in the GNCC series this year)

stator that will run a head light, from Moose. The Baja Design guys said that will allow my bike to power a headlight. It may also effectively add flywheel weight. If that means I have too much fly wheel weight, I will adjust.

Baja designs enduro headlight and number plate. Sort of a generic design that comes in the colors that match all brands.

Bars cut down 1” on each side. I don’t know this firsthand, but I am told that most enduro’s (like the one last week) have way tighter trees than HS racing.

G2 throttle tube. I need all the help I can get in controlling all the power of my RM250.

Magura Hydro clutch.

Skid plate

Pipe guard

Factory Connection suspension that is set up softer than my HS bike. I need it set up softer to help with all the logs and rocks and roots etc…

110 rear tire. We ran 120’s this year, and I think I want to go back to a 110 as it feels just a bit lighter, and courses here are not rocky.

Q muffler. Some enduro’s require sound check and spark arrestor

Gnarly pipe. More durable and hopefully less power, which will make it easier to ride in really technical stuff.

I might try running a 14T counter to get a higher top speed

Large tank

My HS bike (the 06 when I get the motor back, as this is the bike that has been my favorite for HS racing)

Same motor set up as this past year on the 06. Blue JD needle, heavy steahly FWW, G2 throttle tube

Fatty pipe, stock silencer

No pipe guard

No skid plate

Same suspension set up as this past year, but I will send both ends to Factory Connection to have them refreshed

Small tank. I do have a 2nd big tank, but I want to experiment with the small tank. I might be able to squeak by with the small tank for 2 hours, or may need to stop and take a quick splash of gas. But, either way I think I ride better at speed with the smaller tank.

Hydro clutch

110 rear tire. Again, I want to go back to a 110 for weight, and counting on less rocky courses.

13X48 gearing

Standard bar width. leverage is what this is all about.

Of course both bikes will have Vortex drive parts and bars, both bikes will have a GPR steering damper and both bikes will have Cycra plastics all the way round.

I had planned to just campaign 1 bike next year, as I thought it would make life easier from a maintenance standpoint. That is probably true. But, I learned this weekend that the bike set up is completely different for enduro’s than HS racing.

Now it is time to get a training program going and to enjoy the winter with my family.

Out.

Joe

Leaf River Enduro – wow!

Today I finished my first Enduro.  I have tried to do other Enduro races, but it has never worked out.  I even did the first 5 miles or so of the National Enduro up in Marquette this summer, hurt my knee and had to stop.

But, today was the Leaf River Enduro in northern Illinois.  It was fantastic.  The race was a restart format, meaning that time keeping is not necessary.  You just check into a section and go like hell.  Then check out of the section and transfer to the next section where you wait for your minute and then check into that section.  It is a superb format.

I went down to the race with Enduro hot shot Brian Terry, and John Buechner.  Brian knows everyone that is involved with Enduro’s.  He cannot walk into the room without talking to 4 people.  He is a super friendly guy.  John has been doing a bunch of Enduro’s this year.  He has really taken to them.

The race was 2 great big long 35+ mile long loops.  Each loop had 3 timed sections.  There was one timed section that was fast, one that was mixed and one that was incredibly technical.  In Illinois, they love log crossings.  Each of the timed sections must have had at least a hundred log crossings.  The technical section had to have 200-300 log crossings.  I suck at slippery logs at angles.  It is ok when they are just 6 or so inches.  But, when they are 24+ inches in daimeter, they get pretty tough.

There were also at least 6 stream crossings per lap.  Some of the stream crossings were up to your knees.  You could hear water sloshing into the airbox – ugh…  The high temperature today was 39 degrees, so the creek crossings were pretty cold.

When it was all said and done, I had an incredible time.  The ride took about 5 hours.  5 hours of riding.  Yeeha!  Rocks, roots, logs, more than 70% singletrack, creek crossings, mud, fields etc..

I had a good race.  My bike is set up completely wrong.  Wide bars, suspension set up for high speed GNCC racing, no lighting coil etc…  I still did ok.  I was 5th in the +40B class, out of 20 riders.  My friend John Buechner won the +40B class overall.  His woods skills have improved dramatically.  Brian Terry was 3rd in the +30A class.  Congratulations guys!

I liked it so much, that I am going to keep my second RM250 and set it up as an enduro bike.  I am going to cut my bars down a bit.  Not a lot, but just a little to help them go through tight trees.  I will send the suspension on the Enduro bike off to Factory Connection to have it made much softer.  It needs to be softer to absorb the logs and rocks better.  I will add a light kit from the coil to power a headlight and a tailight.  I will put my Q silencer on as well, and probably a Gnarly pipe to get rid of the hit even more.

I cannot wait for next year now.

Joe

Crawfordsville photos!

Got my computer glitch fixed, so here goes.  Photo’s from the last GNCC weekend.

Enjoy!

I love my quads so much, that I have tatooed my truck to show that!

I love my quads so much, that I have tatooed my truck to show that!

It was so muddy, that this guy was having a hard time getting to the start!

It was so muddy, that this guy was having a hard time getting to the start!

The tractor that was pulling RV's out of the mud!  BIG!

The tractor that was pulling RV

The poor kids always get the mud!

The poor kids always get the mud!

Our camping neighbors had a huge horseshoe area set up deep into the night.  Yow!

Our camping neighbors had a huge horseshoe area set up deep into the night. Yow!

For $5 you could take a ride on a monster truck.  Cool!

For $5 you could take a ride on a monster truck. Cool!

Liz and Scott next to their favorite.

Liz and Scott next to their favorite.

That would be the stone crusher.

That would be the stone crusher.

David Knight on a quad.

David Knight on a quad.

Bill Balance at speed.

Bill Balance at speed.

Yes we do get mistaken for brothers.

Yes we do get mistaken for brothers.

GNCC races never start on time.

GNCC races never start on time.

The gang.  Me, Scott, Mat, Carley.

The gang. Me, Scott, Mat, Carley.

Scott getting fancy for the camera during the race.

Scott getting fancy for the camera during the race.

Gratuitus picture of my butt while riding.

Gratuitus picture of my butt while riding.

Pretty happy after the race.

Pretty happy after the race.

Yes we had to be pulled out as well.

Yes we had to be pulled out as well.

In case we thought we were not in the south.  I never thought of Indiana this way.  Jeeze.

In case we thought we were not in the south. I never thought of Indiana this way. Jeeze.