Monthly Archives: February 2009

Roached

Thank goodness the weather dweebs got it wrong today.  We are in Farmington Missouri to ride our brains out at St. Joe OHV area.  The weather forecasts had been bouncing around between 50% chance of snow and 90% chance of snow.  They were wrong.  Not that it was really comfortable or anything like that, the high temperature was 29 today and the wind was blowing all day.  It spit snow on us for much of the day as well.  But, we rode.  And I mean it, we rode.

I put in 5+ hours today of testing and riding.  First we put together a little loop.  Probably 5-6 minutes around, but it was really good.  It had a fast 6 foot wide section, it had horribly rutted out and braking holed out down hills.  It had difficult uphills it had everything that we wanted in a test loop.  Perfect.

I was glad we were here just 5 minutes into our ride.  I was cold, but I was riding.

Getting ready to ride.  Looks cold, doesn't it?

Getting ready to ride. Looks cold, doesn't it?

That is my HS bike in the picture, with the #3 on it.  That is Scott’s 144 little bike in the background.

I was trying a few things.

1.  First of all, I do not want to use a large gas tank, if I can help it.  I ran through 2.5 tanks of gas today, but still really do not know if I can make it through a 2 hour race with the small tank.  More testing necessary.

2.  The bump seat.  Homerun.  I started with an all gripper seat cover.  Then I put a piece of foam under the cover in the spot that I thought I would want it there to hold me forward up a steep hill or in the mud etc…  It kicks butt.

3.  I tried the thicker carb spacer along with 2 different exhaust pipes.  An FMF Gnarly and an FMF Fatty.  We used a Fatty all of last year.  It felt like home.  But, the Gnarly was magic.  It gives the bike a strong low end, with almost no mid rpm hit.  Easy to ride, easy to lug down and yet always has enough power if you need it.  This is the combination I was looking for.  Done.

4.  I ran my Factory Connection suspension just as they sent it and it was perfect.  Done.

5.  The new GP4 damper is way better than it was last year.  GPR revalved them for us, and now on 3 it is perfect.  Done.

6.  110 rear tire.  We ran 120 rear tires all of last year.  To be honest, I could not tell any difference.  It is lighter, so this is what I will be running this year.

7.  My new Moose chest protector with the Leatt brace is a little bit tighter than I had hoped.  Hard to get on and off, but once it is on it stays in place really nicely.

So that is what I learned riding my butt off today.  I know my fitness is good, but the first time riding is always so hard.  Wow.

Our friends Mat and Carley and Ben are on their way to Florida.  They are there now and camping in the warmth.  Tomorrow is the practice day for them.  Then the first GNCC is on Tuesday.  Seems like just yesterday when we were doing the same plan.

Good luck guys.  Another half day of riding tomorrow for us, then the drive home.

Completely torched.

Out.

JV3

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Strangely right + wrong all at once

Right
–    Scott and I are loaded up in the van, and heading south.  3 motorcycles, a bunch of gear, coolers, stuff to test etc…
–    We have left the snow.
–    There is dirt showing on the road south through Illinois and then into Missouri.
–    We have been training hard.
–    We are getting text messages from our motorcycle friends around the country.  Shane Nalley today, Mat Herrington, Ty Davis.  The motorcycle world is moving.
–    JD Friebel is loaded up and heading south to the National Enduro  in Florida.

Wrong
–    We are only heading to Missouri.  Not to Florida for the first GNCC race.
–    We will be riding and testing a ton, but we will not be racing.
–    Mat is heading to the Florida GNCC, Shane Nalley is there already and claiming that Charlie Mullins is going to win.  Nothing wrong with Shane’s opinion that Charlie will win, in fact that is good.

Mat Herrington's bike ready for the GNCC race.  Notice the plate color.  XC2.  Go Mat!

Mat Herrington's bike ready for the GNCC race. Notice the plate color. XC2. Go Mat!

Good Luck Mat!

So things begin.  The crazy part is that when Scott and I first started all of this we both felt it was fine to start riding in April.  April is when the snow would go away, April is when Dyracuse will open.  April is when the sandy MX track near Janesville would be open.  Etc…

But, April is not early enough now.  You just cannot start riding in April and then plow right into racing in May.  It will all be here soon enough, but just not yet.

So, Scott has a 144 to try to come to terms with while we are there.  Me, I am just familiarizing myself with my bike again.  I do have 2 different pipes to try, and 2 different spacers between the carb and the cylinder etc…  But, mostly I am just excited about riding my bike for 7 or 8 hours this weekend.

For dinner on the way down, we stoped at… you guessed it – Quizno’s.  Because as everyone knows, Quizno’s is way better than Subway.  Why would you stop at Subway, when google maps on your trusty cell phone will find a Quizno’s for you.  I mean, they are not just sandwich makers there, they are sandwich artists.  I mean they have that oven thing right there on the counter!  Dang.

Oh Yeah!  Now that is a sandwich you can respect, from a real artist!

Oh Yeah! Now that is a sandwich you can respect, from a real artist!

Yip Yip.

JV3

Soon it begins!

It is just 6 days till Scott and I head south to start testing and getting our set ups right for this season.

It is just 10 days till the first GNCC race in Florida.  I will not be there this year, but in spirit it is sort of a begining of the season for me still.

It is just 15 days till the first MXC race in Illinois.  I will not be able to make that one, because it is when we are on vacation.  That race is usually in the snow anyway.

It is just 36 days till the first race that I can do.  An MXC race in Illinois again, which may also still be covered in snow.

Somewhere inbetween all of that we should be able to start riding a bit locally at our private little riding area.

A few weeks ago, I paid for my bar code for the WIXC race series.  The confirmation of that bar code showed up at the house this week.  Here is the link for where you should do that. Look on the left side of the page for the barcode form.  I took #3 as I have become known for.

Today I sent off my transponder order form for the District 16 series.  Here is the link for where you should do that. You have to look a little down the page for the link. I took #3 as I always have been in D16.

My last few notes told teh story of getting my bikes and gear ready.  I am pretty much ready to go.

My new Moose Racing gear is hear and ready to go.

Bring on the season is what I say.  I want to spend Sunday evening cleaning my bikes and gear.  I want to feel completely beat up on Monday after racing.  I want to get out and practice on Wed.  I want to get up early on Saturday morning to drive 3 hours to race against my 5 season nemesis Rob Houts.  I want to see if I can hold off JD from lapping me until as late as possible into the race.  I want to work hard to win my class or fight for a top 3 place and hope for a top 10 overall.  I want to stay up late on the night before a race working on my bike to get it just right.  I just cannot wait.

Even though we are having a huge snow storm today, I can feel the season coming.  The days are getting longer, it is light past 5:30 now.  I have been seeing motorcycles in the back of trucks, even if they are imaginary.  I have been imagining hoping in the truck and heading south to find a race.

Our friend Mat Harrington is heading south to do the first 2 GNCC races.  He has a new 250F and will be racing the XC2 pro class.  That takes some balls.  Mat is fast, but that bunch in that field is crazy fast.  I spent a year trying to stay ahead of them before they lapped me, so I know they are fast.  I know that by the end of the year, Mat is going to be crazy fast also.  Mat, make us all proud.  We will be watching online to see your progress.

I hope that Mat has been putting up the training time.  I know that I found that a 3 hour race was crazy.  It was so incredibly physical, that I just could not believe it.  For me, things will be a bit easier this year.  Although all the local races are only 2 hours long, that is still plenty hard.  I have been training really hard.  This week was a hard week of training.  I am following all the training that Mary Daubert has written up for me.  She is the best.  I have 45 days to make it all stick.

The season cannot get here soon enough.

Out

JV3

Just 12 more days!

Wisconsin winter. It goes on and on and on and on. Occasionally we get a break, and it gets warm for a few days. Then, just when you think things are going to stay much nicer, winter comes storming back into play. That happened to us this week.

On Tuesday this past week the high temperature was almost 70 degrees! Almost all the snow went away. I was able to ride my bicycle, outside. I commuted to work on my bike every day. It was only getting into the 30’s for night time lows. There was grass showing, and we were all allowing ourselves to think that it was almost over. Hell, Scott and I were thinking about what time of day would work best to try to get out and ride for real in the woods. But, it was not to be.

Last night, at about 7pm, it started to snow. There was only a 40% chance of precipitation last night. In my mind, that is a 60% chance that it will not snow. But, the odds decided to proove me wrong. It started to snow at about 7, and it was still snowing when I went to bed. We woke up to about 3 inches of new snow everywhere. We went form spring right back into winter. I should have known better.

So what does my 12 days title have to do with anything? Unfortunately it is more than 12 days of winter left. 12 days gets us to the 1st of March, but here in the great white north that is not the end of winter. But, just a half a days drive south and 12 days from now is pretty much the end of winter.

12 days and we head south to shred. Scott and I have spent the winter getting the bikes ready for a season. Our team calendar, which can be found by clicking the link on the right of this page, is pretty up to date. It goes from here all the way out through early November. There are a bunch of races listed in there. I cannot wait.

But, 12 days from now and we are back on our bikes. 12 days from now and we start the real effort of familiarizing ourselves with riding offroad again.

Today I finished up both bikes. Both bikes started right up on the 2nd kick. Peter at Magura reworked our clutches for us and they are working great. There is pretty much a completely new motor on the harescrambles bike (thank you Mark). The crank is new, the cases are new, the top end is new etc…  That bike will be my faster terrain harescrambles bike.  It will get used for the races that have an MX track included, and for GNCC races.  The 07 has a new top end and clutch.  That bike will get used for tighter courses without an MX track and enduro races.   Both bikes have fresh suspension from Factory Connection. Both bikes have brand new fresh GPRv4 dampers . All fluids are fresh in both bikes (yes, even oil). Fresh Vesrah brake pads in both bikes.

Our main sponsor Mark at Vesrah Suzuki Racing is going with us to St. Joe Missouri to ride in 12 days.  Mark will be riding my 08 GNCC set up. The suspension might be a bit soft for him, but we have clickers for that.  Mark has a huge amount of talent on anything with 2 wheels.  Mark Junge and his Vesrah Suzuki Endurance team is 6 time WERA national endurance racing champion.  I am sure a dirt bike is not going to be something that gives Mark some trouble.

Our friend and local enduro hot shot Brian Terry is going with us as well.  The whole thing is going to be more fun than 4 guys should be allowed to have.

I am planning to ride the bike that is set up for faster Harescrambles races, as I figure that is the bike that I will spend the most time on this year.  I am riding it still with a small tank as I really want to make that work for 2 hour races. I will be trying the thicker carb spacer from Moose racing, in combination with a Fatty pipe and a Gnarly pipe along with a Q silencer.  Some testing to figure out what set up I think I will like the best.  I will also be sporting my brand new Moose Racing gear and a spanky new Bell Moto 8 lid.

12 days will not pass quickly enough.

more to come.

Joe

Taiwan Road Ride

As I suggested I was going to from now on, I made time to go for a ride while I was here in Taiwan for work.

There is a group of people from the office that ride every Saturday morning.  I joined them this morning and here is how it went.

I brought a helmet and pedals and clothing along with me on the trip.  They have extra bikes in the office, so I rode a 56cm 1.5 Trek aluminum bike.  A nice bike, that fits me reasonably well.

We were to meet at 8am this morning in front of the hotel for a 2 hour loop up in the mountains.  I started off by not being able to find my helmet.  I must have put it down somewhere in the hotel lobby and it never made it up to my room.  Damn.  It was not a completely new helmet, but it was new last summer.  So, after rooting around in their apartments, someone finally found an old helmet at their house for me to use.  Undeterred, we headed off about 30 minutes late this morning.

Heading out from the hotel in the morning.  Notice the shorts on February 7.

Heading out from the hotel in the morning. Notice the shorts on February 7.

The first part of the ride is really urban.  It is Saturday morning, so the traffic is light, compared to a weekday morning.  But, we are starting out right in the middle of Taichung city.  There are scooters , and cars and buses and trucks and people everywhere.  Dogs are roaming around the street, and because the traffic is low you might have old people just strolling down the street.  It is kind of fun, to fight your way through all of that to the outskirts of town.

Eventually, you do make it to the outskirts of town though.  Once you do, you are rewarded with really quite riding.  The roads go up pretty steeply though.  Taiwan is an island, so you pretty much start the ride at Sea level.  When the road pitches upward, it can be pretty abrupt.  The first climb that we did wound its way along the side of a mountain.  Many times at the edge of the road the ground will slope away quickly and you don’t want to be too close to that.  Of course, there is no guard rail to give you a boundary.

Where am I supposed to go?

Where am I supposed to go?

The pavement is narrow, and the road switches back and forth at times, impossibly steep.  It is warm today.  Probably about 65 degrees.  It has been a long time since I rode in the mountains at 65 degrees.  It will be a long time till we are riding in that weather at home.

Kevin and I at the top of the first big climb today!

Kevin and I at the top of the first big climb today!

On the second climb we see a lot of cyclists.  Foreigners are not the most common cyclists we see these days.  In fact today, we did not see any others.  There are a lot of Taiwanese that have taken to cycling.  They ride all manor of bicycle though.  Everything from Carbon road bikes to full suspension mountain bikes to folding bikes.  It is great to see them all out riding.  I do not think that would have been true 10 years ago.

At the top of the 2nd climb, there is a gathering spot.  There are hiking trails going into the mountains and when we get there, a large bus of kids is unloading and they are heading into the hills.  It was pretty cool.

The group at the top of the 2nd climb today.

The group at the top of the 2nd climb today.

We bombed down off that climb and back into Taichung.  By now, the city is awake and the famous Taiwan city traffic is flowing.  Scooters by the thousands, jetting around everywhere.  People on bikes, cars buses just chaos.

We end back up in town at a Starbucks (the modern symbol of american fast food decadence), and a cup of coffee.  As everywhere in the world, after a ride people gather and talk about riding.  Wow, this is great.

I have decided that seeing a place is best done on a bicycle.  You see things that you would never see from a vehicle, and your circle of travel is much larger than can be by foot.

Back home tomorrow.  I love riding my bike, but it is always good to go home.

Out.

Joe

Watching the world go by

In Taiwan this week. That always is an interesting week. Taiwan is very very different than any other place that I go for my job or my passions.

Last week I was occupying a corner at a Peets Coffee in San Francisco every morning, watching the city come alive.

This week, I am watching another city come alive each morning. But, the difference is that I am doing it now from a rowing machine in an upstairs corner of the Mandarin Life health club in Taichung Taiwan. I get here at 6:15 each morning while I am here. It is still dark at that point. As I am about 15 minutes into my workout, the sky starts to lighten up and the city comes alive.

From my little corner in the health club I see some really interesting things.
– 3 dogs trying to cross the main drag in Taichung. Dogs in the city get traffic savvy.
– A guy on a bicycle delivering propane tanks. He had at least 5 of them strapped to the back.
– groups of kids on bicycles in their school uniforms going to school.
– swarms of scooters at the traffic light every time it turns red. The scooters are like mortar in a brick wall. They fill in the gaps between all the cars at the stoplight.
– In the morning there is usually more than 1 person on a scooter, as people are scooterpooling.
– The huge trucks full of Chickens and Pigs go right through the city.

Tomorrow I will get out for a road bicycle ride up in the mountains. Although the traffic is bad down in the city, once you get out of town there really isn’t any traffic.

I heard from Scott today, that our new Bell helmets showed up at home. I cannot wait to get home to see them and start putting numbers etc… on them.

Only 22 days till we go south to ride in Missouri. Damn, I cannot wait.

out.
Joe