Monthly Archives: October 2010

Kick butt weekend

Sunday evening.  Wow, what a weekend.

1.  Big MTB trail event at work on Friday, dedicated a trail to the memory of Chris Funk, huge bonfire and night time MTB ride.

2.  Saturday, was all about trying to get my bike working after my FAIL at the GNCC race.

3.  Sunday morning, I put together about 15 sponsor packets for the Vesrah Suzuki Offroad team.

4.  Sunday, rode the RMZ 250 at some killer trails, that are just 30 miles from my house.  Yippeee!!!

5.  Sunday evening, washed motorcycles and bicycles.  Yep.

So that pretty much sums up the weekend.  Yes, it is pretty lame that in my book that constitutes a good weekend.  But, alas it does.

On Friday we dedicated a trail at work to Chris Funk.  Chris died last year, after battling brain cancer for years.  We all still miss him.  So, we took the most popular trail at the Trek Trails (Trad) and put up a monument on a rock to Chris and renamed the trail Funk.  We installed the monument and had Chris’s wife Brandi out to show it to her.  Chris’s parents were in town and they came out as well.

It is really apropos as he was one of the most popular people at Trek and that is the most popular trail out there.  Now, every time I blitz down that trail – I can say hello to Chris as I terrorize his trail.

Glad I knew you Chris, we all still miss you.

After that memorial event, we did a fun TT, drank a bunch of beer, burned a bunch of things in a huge bonfire and then did some night riding and then drank some more beer.  It was huge fun.

We even burned a crappy old Schwinn bike after we ghost rode it and tossed it as far as we could.

Burning Bike!

Liz and I were going to camp out at the trails, but we failed that.  No real excuse, other than it was cold.  Oh well, next year.

On Saturday, I worked on my motorcycle and found out that the slide was bad and all gonked up.  I did figure it out, but I am embarrassed that it was so nasty inside that carb.  That will not happen again.

On Sunday, I went riding at some trails on Bob Kau’s land.  In a nutshell.  HOLY SHIT THOSE TRAILS KICK ASS!!!  Me, Brian Terry, John Buechner.  Brian got a new Bike!  He bought a LARGE full size bike.  He says 250’s are for pussys, so he got a 450.  Dang, he is fast on it.

Brian and the new bike! Big, but fun to ride. I think he will be fast on that.

Stack of team updates going to sponsors. Thanks guys.

So, a few more rides, maybe another race or 2 and then old man winter will be here.  It will be just training in the gym and counting the days till the first race.  Ugh…

Oh well, here goes

Out,

Joe

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Friday video time!

Friday videos are back!

I only did 2 (well really just 1) GNCC race this year. But, if I had done them all, this would be my video. This came from the great guys over at Offroad Junkies.

Cool little MTB bike video I found. Classic song. Don’t you wish we had this trail nearby?

I’ve had a lot of good races lately, this wasn’t one

As usual, Scott and I headed down to do the Ironman GNCC race. There have been years when we have done all the GNCC races and years when we have done very few. Even in the years with very few, we never miss the Ironman. It is THE classic GNCC race.

My bike looked sweet, ready for the race.

If you would just like the summary, it was dry. Super dry. Mike bike failed and I DNF’d. Scott won his class. It was a tough way to end my season, but it was not a complete fail, as at least Scott did well.

Josh Strang's bike was dialed and ready to go.

Josh had the coolest gripper seat I have ever seen

Josh loves his Trek

I have been riding super three last months. All of my races lately have just gotten better and better. I guess was due for a crummy one.

It had not rained in Indiana since august. I am serious. It was dust bowl dry. I have never seen s place so dry. The dust was insane.

On Saturday, I left at the butt crack of dawn to pick up Scott at the Chicago airport. He had arrived there early, and I had loaded up the van to collect him there and go straight to the race. We arrived at noon and unpacked the mountain bikes and rode a complete lap on the course. The uphills seer so powdery, we could not even ride up them. It was like riding through soft powder, sometimes up to your calf.

Imagine following that dust cloud into the woods.

The trail

We set up early on Sunday, then did a course walk with the Suzuki guys. It was cool to see the track with Josh Strang. He does not look at the course the same way that us mortals do. The things I was worried about in the trail, he did not even notice.

When my wave started, I got a medium start. Somewhere in the middle. But, as soon as we got into the woods, I begins picking off riders. I got myself to where I could see the front, but then my bike bogged and came to a stop. I kicked and kicked, and it finally started. I took off, and just 50 meters it did it again.

When I got it started for the 2nd time, I made my way to the pits. I thought the throttle was sticking. It was. I lubed up the cable thinking that was the problem, and headed back out. On the very next hill, I gunned it hard and the throttle stuck wide open. The bike launched into a tree, and tweaked the front end. My day was done.

Scott had a great day. He won his class. He is the first of the 2 of us to do that. Yet.

Proud Boy. He should be.

On to next year. I hope to have a new injected bike then. I will not quit going to the Ironman, until I score a top 5 effort there.

Out

Of course there were monster truck rides - why wouldn't there be?

If you do not have a monster truck, you build a monster golf cart I guess. Oh, and equip it with a rocking stereo that you can blast Hair Band music from the 80's.

Argh…. No Steele Creek for me

I was meant to be leaving early tomorrow morning for the Steele Creek GNCC race tomorrow. But, I have had some work things get in the way, and have had to bail. I am more disappointed than when Liz ate all the cookies or even more disappointed than when I spent a whole month in a ski area in France this year and it never snowed (love Chatel any way though).

Steele Creek was one of the races that I have wanted to go back to ever since we were there in 2008. The story of that race is here. It is one of the most spectacular races on the circuit. It doesn’t have any big creek jump or anything like that, it does have a cool low bridge that you have to go under and huge huge hills that you have to go up and down. If it is muddy, dang it is tough. It has been super dry there this year, and supposed to rain the day before, so it could be perfect.

I have done a ton of bike prep work to get ready. Not that was all a waste, it all needed to be done. But, I did not need to stay up late for the past three nights to do it all. New bearings throughout, new grips, new brake pads, new drive parts, top end adjusted etc… The bike is dialed.

Mat is still going, and he is going to rock it. I will be following along on the live scoring. Go Mat!

I will probably go down to Bill Gusse’s race on Sunday at Prophetstown. It is sandy there, and should be able to run no matter what. Not the same as a GNCC, but it is still racing.

Later.

Levi’s Granfondo

Liz and I took a trip this weekend to California, Santa Rosa. Once there, we met up with a few people to do @levisgranfondo (www.levisgranfondo.com). The summary if you do not want to read further is that it was quite fun. Done.

Thats Alcatraz in the background.

If you do want to read further, here goes. Liz has not done a lot of domestic travel. As silly as that seems, she has done more international travel in the last 10 years than domestic travel. In fact, the last time she was in San Francisco was about 27 years ago. So, when we got into the rental car, the first thing we did was head across the city. There are ways that you can get to Sonoma county without going through the city, but that would have meant skipping the bridge etc…

We drove around the city, got lost and then ended up at Fisherman’s Warf for a fish sandwich and some clam chowder (heart attack in a bowl). We looked at the spot where the Coors Classic time trial started (dating myself, as that was about 20 years ago), then headed across the bridge. The drive up through Marin is always one of my favorites, and brings back memories of riding my mountain bike there and hanging out with Gary Fisher – many moons ago. (We were old then, what does that make us now?)

Made it up to Santa Rosa, checked into the hotel and headed out for a quick ride. Ben had set up bikes for us through Trek Travel and the local Trek dealer in Santa Rosa (Trek Bicycle of Santa Rosa). We went for just a short little spin, check out the bikes and to make sure everything was ready to go for the next day. Then we went over to the ride site and picked up our packets, signed waivers etc…

The ride crew for the weekend.

We had a great dinner at Riveira Ristorante. In fact, it was so good we would go back the next night as well. We decided it was close to our favorite place in Madison, Lombardinos. We were hoping for Mexican food one of the nights. As you know, I normally gauge my enjoyment of a trip or a place by the Mexican food. And, I normally do not ride my bicycle without having Mexican food within 24hours of that event. (If you are playing along at home, you just asked yourself if I must have Mexican food almost every day. That would be a yep.) but, it is pretty hard to pass up something that rivals Lombardinos, so there you have it.

Superman, Superhero kind of picture. I have lazer eyes.

On ride day, we were running a bit late so arrived at the start at the same time as the ride started. Pretty much rockstar status.

I hope we are not late.

The ride went through vineyards, through the redwood forest, along the Northern California coast, up and over a super steep grade (might be called Coleman Grade), back through the vineyard and then along the bike path home. We just did the 60 mile ride, there was a 100, but we decided that was plenty. Could have done more, but we might not have all finished with a smile on our faces. That of course is way over simplifying. Coleman is 18% in places. That is damn steep.

The ride didn't suck.

Weird!

Ya, the Northern California coast line is beautiful.

Liz cresting the big climb.

Liz said it was the best ride she has ever done. Could have been because she had her picture taken with Patrick Dempsey at the VIP tent afterward. The food was spectacular afterward.

We saw Bill and Liam, from www.fathersontour.com. Liam did his 1st 100 mile ride, and finished it with style I guess. I know he dug it, as he always does seem to like riding his bike. Good deal.

We drank too much beer in the beer tent afterward, rode home on the bike path a bit crooked. Dropped by the Trek store one last time and then back for more Italian. Woohoo.

Liz with some dude named Patrick Dempsey

Ben and Megan, clearly have had too much to drink.

On the plane home we got to hear the big guy behind us clear his throat every few minutes. That was special, and no wifi on the plane. WTF?

A great time was had by all.

Those Panda's had a good time also.

Airlines are Stupid!

Why do they charge me to check a bag, when everyone around me is bringing half of their wardrobe on the plane for free?

It has gotten so bad, that it takes forever to load the plane. People bring so much stuff on, that there is no way that many of those bags will fit in the bins above.  So, they are taking things out, rearranging, shoving things back in, the flight attendant is frustrated and helping – nothing is working.

I understand why they are charging for baggage that is checked, I get it, they are revenue challenged and are scraping for money.  But, their own policies are making travel not just a little bit more cumbersome and difficult – they are dramatically making it worse.  There should be a charge for bags that you carry on, which would gain them some revenue (probably just as much) and would speed the loading and unloading of the plane.  I do not know everything about running an airline, but from a frequent fliers perspective – this is stupid.

Airlines are Stupid!

And to top it off, if revenue is what they are after, then their own employees are doing them a disservice.  When I checked in at the counter today, the counter person tried to talk us out of checking our bags because it would save us $50 (2 bags).  That while looking straight at Liz’s bag, which I can tell you there was no way in hell that thing was going to fit in an overhead bin.  What stupidity is that?

While we are at it, let me give you my nomination for the first people that should be up against the wall when the revolution comes.  People that are sitting at the back of the plane who load in first and put their bags in the overhead bins at the front of the plane!   They all think they are saving themselves time.  In fact, what it does is make the loading of the plane take even longer.  With the front bins full, the front seated passengers do not have anywhere to put their bags.  That means they are trying to put their bags anywhere they can, sometimes 10 rows behind them.  Then they have to stop traffic in the aisle and try to get all the way back up to their seats.  Of course there is a domino effect to this, because they have now taken someone else space above their seat and they are now looking for other space around the plane.  And, and, and, and, and…

Meanwhile, the person who put their bag at the front is sitting in the back wondering why these people have to take such big bags and why can’t this plane get going on time.  Then, to add insult to injury their stupid bag placement choice creates a similar chaos and delay on the unloading as all those people hold up the line trying to get to their bag.  All the while the offending bag placer is at the back being the last people off the plane and wondering why this sucks so bad.

Travel Idiots.

 

My tires are the heroes!

Just looked at my tires after the race on Sunday. My front is shot. It was a Pirelli sand tire.  It lived a good life, but it has had a few races and rides at Dyracuse.  It is done, and it is time for the recycling heap.  Time for a new sand front.

My rear sand tire is still in great shape. It is a Pirelli sand rear.  It has amazing grip in the sand.  It is like I am riding a much bigger bike.  It has a couple of races on it, but since it only gets ridden in the sand, it will live to fight another day.

God I love this stuff.

out.

World Championship of Wisconsin HS racing!

Two Suzuki’s on the top step of the podium today at Dyracuse, the last D16 race of the season.  Scott (@vesrahoffroad on Twitter) won the AA class, I won the +40 class.  This is the first time in 5 years of going to races together that we have both won on the same day.  And, we did it at Dyracuse.  It feels good to win here.  Neither one of us have ever won this race before.

Dyracuse is a great sandy old school MX track, surrounded by about 2000 acres of woods.  The lap did part of the MX track and then into a section of pines that has been replanted in rows.  It is 5 minutes of completely whooped out sandy singletrack through the woods.  Up and down hills, zig zaging around the trees.  It is hard and got really bad by the end of the race.  Really really rough and the whoops got really deep and very squared out.  After that section we went back out onto the MX track to finish the lap, then back into the woods.  This section of woods started out with fantastic black perfect moisture dirt.  Then into a super tough off camber long stretch that was filled with really tough rocks.  Hard.  Then onto a little Supercross track and then finish the loop and back onto the MX track.

Scott got a great start and then holeshot into the woods first, then I got the holeshot and got to the woods first on my line as well.  2 Suzuki RMZ250’s, with both of us in orange Moose Racing gear.  It was beautiful.

I struggled on the first lap in my race in the rocky section.  I got caught behind a slower rider from a wave ahead of me on a steep uphill section.  The guys behind me went immediately around me and the other stuck riders and at least 3 people from my wave went through.  I rode really hard and caught up to Roger Bird who was in 2nd.  I was behind him for about half a lap.  He was going pretty well, but was definitely going slower than i wanted to.  He was pushing hard, too hard, and he bounced off a tree and went down.  I slowed to a stop to see how he was doing, but he was fine, so I took off in pursuit of the leader.

I found him about a lap later and worked to get by him.  Once I did, I tried to put my head down and check out, but he was glued to me.  That is where he stayed for 3 laps.  Then on the 6th lap, he took a smarter line around a rocky section and got by me and he tried to check out.  He was going well, but then on the last lap I came around a turn and there he was stuck off the side of the trail.  I assume that he had crashed there.

I finished out the lap and came across the line in 1st.  Finally.  It has been a long season with a lot of 2nd place finishes.  I started the season by winning and now I have ended the season winning. I ended up 2nd overall again to John Buechner.  He is very strong, and really fun to ride against.  We are about the same speed, but he seems to make better luck for himself at the end of the race more than I.

My Suzuki RMZ worked great, Mark at Vesrah makes sure that the brakes are great on it, my Moose gear worked flawlessly, my Bell helmets are the best fitting ever, AJ at Victory Circle Graphix keeps the bike looking great, my Rekluse Core EXP clutch makes it almost impossible to stall…  Everything worked like a champ.

I cannot say enough about my fitness help.  Mary Daubert gives advice, Kathy Mock has written training programs for me, and Mary Grinaker works out with me once a week to check my progress and keep me on the right track.  For a guy that is going to turn 50 in a few months, I am doing pretty well with all of this.  Thanks everyone.

Now onto one more race for the year.  The Ironman GNCC at the end of the month.  I hate to say it out loud, but this is going to be the year that I crack the top 5 in my class there.  I am fit, my bike is great, I am riding well…  Yep, this is going to be the year.

Out for now.

Joe

10/1/2010 update

Vesrah Suzuki Offroad team update

2010 is almost done.  It has been quite a season.  A few GNCC races, a complete D16 Harescrambles season, a couple of National Enduro’s… Not all the results were as good as we were hoping, but in the end Joe will finish in 2nd in the +40A class locally and Scott will finish 2nd in the AA class.  Not bad for 2 guys that have to travel a lot for work and missed 2 or more races on the season.  There were plenty of great results along the way and many epic battles.

The team did its absolute best to represent along the way.  We always put up sponsor banners at the race site and we always keep our blog site up to date.. Our blog site has received almost 60,000 visits this year!  We are pretty proud of the little site and the traffic that it gets.  We both try to put up blog entries and anything offroad oriented of interest.  Our bike set up pages get a ton of traffic as do our twitter accounts and weekly blog entries One of our goals with our site is to link to your site and hopefully from there you see traffic.  Check it out, it is a fun site.

As usual, we are already planning for next season, and have some big plans to make it maybe our most ambitious ever.  (More on those plans later.)

www.vesrahsuzukioffroad.com,

Twitter – @joev3, @vesrahoffroad

We owe a huge amount of thanks to Mark and Nancy at Vesrah/Suzuki. They have been unbelievably supportive of our efforts to race locally and nationally. All of our sponsors have been super and we just cannot say enough good things about them and the products they have offered us. They are all great people and we truly love their stuff.

VESRAH SUZUKI OFFROAD TEAM SPONSORS

Vesrah brake pads

Suzuki

Victory Graphics

Pirelli Tire

Cycra plastics

Factory Connection

Magura

Rekluse (Joe)

GPR

Bell Helmets

Moose Racing

Honey Stinger

Alpinestars

Leatt braces

EVS braces

Zipty racing

Oakley Goggles (Scott)

Thanks for following along!

Joe and Scott

Friday Video

Today’s videos are all about HS racing.

First one is a teaser of a great film called “Piecing It Together”.  This is offroad racing in 5 easy minutes.

Scott and I are planning to ride the Perry Mountain 24 Hour race next year.  We are going to do it as a 2 man team.  Here is a video of the course in the day time.

This one includes night time laps.  This is really going to be fun.

We can use 2 motorcycles.  We will probably use 4.  2 set up for day time use, and 2 set up for night time use.  We will need a camper (maybe 2), a few easy ups, a cook and a couple of mechanics.  The first weekend in June is the date.

Joe