Monthly Archives: February 2011

The whole post – #Sandlapper #Nationalenduro

This blog post is just going to be a cheap ploy to show off my photos from the race.

If you read my previous 2 blog entries, you know that I just returned from the 1st National Enduro – down in South Carolina.  But, I also went down for a day of riding before hand.  I was lucky enough to be invited to Randy Hawkins place to do that day of riding.  Take a look at the previous blog entry here to see that.  You can find each of our race courses and type of terrain somewhere on Randy’s property.  It was amazing.  Sand track, outdoor MX track, woods, hills, creek jumps…everything.

Randy wishing us best of luck after being at his place

It appears to me that South Carolina is mostly sand. At least from the halfway point to the ocean, it is 99% sand. Now I actually really like South Carolina. The weather is great, the people are friendly, and they RACE motorcycles there. All the time. If you lived in South Carolina, you could race the GNCC circuit, the National Enduros, The National Harescrambles series and all the local stuff. There would be racing all the time. On top of that, there is also fantastic road cycling, and in the northern part of the state there would be great mountain biking. Why don’t I live there? That is another topic altogether. (Or is it because I love the view of snow as far as the eye can see into April?)

Enduro’s are very different from harescrambles racing, and for me they are really hard.  I am much better with the Harescrambles methodology of go fast for the whole period of time.  I can deal with a straight 2-3 hours of that better than I can the start stop of enduro’s.  Somehow, I just really struggle to get into the groove in an enduro.

For me there were 5 sections in this enduro.

before the start.

Me and my minute mates for the day

Section 1 was short. Just 8 miles. But, it was completely whooped out and holed out also. Tree roots, sand etc. My arms pumped up like Popeye. I rode like a complete squid. I bet I lost any possibility of a top 10 result in this section. Living in Wisconsin, and not riding since October is not good for your race fitness.

Section 2 was longer, but still only about 8 miles. But, it was rutted and whooped and sand and holes. My arms were still bad, but got better towards the end.

Section 3 was longer at about 15 miles. It was whooped and rutted and super tight trees and holes. Are you sensing a pattern here? I liked this section the least. This is the section that was filled with trees that you had to stop and wiggle your bars through as it was so tight. There were sections that were just a wall of trees that you had to just bash your way through. Tough.

Section 4 was the best section. Long also, but fun slowing trail with some tight stuff thrown in. This was my favorite section. But it still was a lot of sand whoops and standing.

Section 5, laying it down.

Section 5 was good also, but over too soon as it was only about 9 miles. It was only half jammed with and tight trees.  I busted this out, and went like I knew that I could.  If only I could have ridden the first 2 sections the same way I did this one and #4.

Section 6 was just for the pros and A riders. Of course, Mat and JD told me that was the best section. Dang.  Check the video below, it is short but it shows what the conditions were like.

Other stuff

Met the folks from The Atlanta Race shop. They are super. They have posted a bunch of pictures that I will grab and give them credit for in the bigger post. They also sported me a tshirt in a drawing.

They have a killer race van, and they put up a nice little story about the race here.

Mat cracked the top 20 in the pro class. Good on him.

– JD was 9th in 250A
– I came 13th in +50. I am ok with that, as I rode section 1 in 22nd place, section 2 17th, section 3 15th, section 4 12th, section 5 10th. I knew that I was bad in those first 2 sections, and that I got better. For sure I did.  Next time…

– The Wisconsin crew represented well.

– We drove straight home through the night.  I am crushed.

My hands are shredded.  Thats a dime size blister on the palm.

My hands are shredded. Thats a dime size blister on the palm.

Good morning race fans

My bike was great. It ran superb. The new bars were great (thanks Easton). The Washougal tires worked like a champ (thanks a ton Kenda), as always Moose gear is impossible to beat. Me new EVS braces are the bomb.

Before we left, we stopped in Columbia and had a burger. Ate it outside. We're not stupid.

Back to the great white north, and start the countdown to Steele Creek GNCC.  Many thanks to our friends @TheRaceShop for the hospitality and the recognition and for being really cool.  (Thanks for the shirt, btw.)  Most of the “good” pictures here are from them.  Thanks gang.

I believe there are new bikes coming soon!  That is going to be a bonanza of tweets and blog posts. Brace yourself.

Out.
Joe

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After the Sandlapper National Enduro

This is a quick entry, on the iPad on the way home. I will do a bigger, better entry with pictures etc… Tomorrow.

It appears to me that South Carolina is mostly sand. At least from the halfway point to the ocean, it is 99% sand. Now I actually really like South Carolina. The weather is great, the people are friendly, and they RACE motorcycles there. All the time. If you lived in South Carolina, you could race the GNCC circuit, the National Enduros, The National Harescrambles series and all the local stuff. There would be racing all the time. On top of that, there is also fantastic road cycling, and in the northern part of the state there would be great mountain biking. Why don’t I live there? That is another topic altogether.

So the National Enduro. Do I need to remind everyone how those work? Ok, in the new format, there are timed sections and transfer sections. Your times from the timed sections are added up to give you your overall time. The person with the lowest time at the end wins. Simple, right? But, the trail is not like a GNCC or a hare scrambles. It is TIGHT. Tighter and narrower than your bars sometimes.

Section 1 was short. Just 8 miles. But, it was completely whooped out and holed out also. Tree roots, sand etc. My arms pumped up like Popeye. I rode like a complete squid. I bet I lost any possibility of a top 10 result in this section. Living in Wisconsin, and not riding since October is not good for your race fitness.

Section 2 was longer, but still only about 8 miles. But, it was rutted and whooped and sand and holes. My arms were still bad, but got better towards the end.

Section 3 was longer at about 15 miles. It was whooped and rutted and super tight trees and holes. Are you sensing a pattern here? I liked this section the least. This is the section that was filled with trees that you had to stop and wiggle your bars through as it was so tight. There were sections that were just a stand of trees that you had to just bash your way through. Tough.

Section 4 was the best section. Long also, but fun slowing trail with some tight stuff thrown in. This was my favorite section. But it still was a lot of sand whoops and standing.

Section 5 was good also, but over too soon as it was only about 9 miles. It was only half Annika and tight trees.

Section 6 was just for the pros and A riders. Of course, Mat and JD told me that was the best section. Dang.

Other stuff
– Met the folks from The Atlanta Race shop. They are super. They have posted a bunch of pictures that I will grab and give them credit for in the bigger post. They also sported me a tshirt in a drawing.
– Mat cracked the top 20 in the pro class. Good on him.
– JD was 9th in 250A
– I came 13th in +50. I am ok with that, as after section 2 I was in 22nd place. I knew that I was bad in those first 2 sections, and that I got better. For sure I did.
– Enduros are hard for me. I do not do the start and stop thing very well. I am much better with an HS race that just goes from the gun for 2-3 hours.
– just talked to JD. Unfortunately, they are on the side of the road with a flat.
– had a great product development talk with Patrick Koether from Rekluse. Love those guys stuff.

My bike was great. It ran like a champ. The new bars were great (thanks Easton). The Washougal tires worked like a champ (thanks a ton Kenda), as always Moose gear is impossible to beat. Me new EVS braces are the bomb.

I will put up additional thoughts and pictures soon. There are a ton.

Back to the great white north, and start the countdown to Steele Creek GNCC.

Out.
Joe

Go to South Carolina, and ride yourself crazy boy!

The Mat is hearing that he is needing to be arriving on the driveway .  And so he does.

On Wednesday night, Mat came to my house.  He was packed up and ready to go to Sourth Carolina.  Yes, you heard me right, go to South Carolina and ride ourselves crazy and then do the 1st national enduro!  Heck yes, I said, I am will be wanting to do just that.  woo hoo!

If you just want the summary of the 1st 2 days of the trip, we drove a long way, it rained on the way, we arrived and then slept, we got up to nice temps and no more rain, we rode ourselves silly.

We had decided to stay overnight at my house, then leave at like the 3ish of AM.  I explained it away that I was old and needed my beauty sleep.  Yes, JD thinks I am a wuus now.

The drive was, well long.  As usual, we made jokes along the way about the quad class at a GNCC.  Seems like that is what motorcycle guys do, invent new quad classes that they could compete in.  Ours is sponsored by Keystone beer.  It would involve drinking a beer each time through scoring and then doing another lap.  The winner would be the rider who’s last lap time was the closest to their first lap time.  Cannot decide if you need to wear a sleeveless tshirt for this class though.

On Friday, we rode at Randy Hawkins property.  It is an incredible thousands of acres piece of property.  Tons of people out there riding.  All the pros getting ready for the GNCC races and National Enduros etc…  Paul Whibley was there, Jordan Ashburn etc…  They were going fast.

I set up a small loop that was part sand track and part woods loop.  I had arranged to test 2 different tire combination’s.  I tri

ed my base tire just to get a feel for the trail in the morning.  Then went to the Kenda Washougal front and Millville rear.  I did 3 laps with different tire pressures.  Then I changed to the Washougal rear and did that at 3 different tire pressures.  I ran out of time and did not get to try the new Millville front, so that will have to wait for the next testing session.

I can say that I am pretty pleased with the Washougal front and rear combo, at 9.5psi.  I am planning to run that on Sunday.  Hope I do not flat.

At the end of the day, I saw Randy talking to the Factory Connection guys.  I got a few minutes to tell him thanks for allowing us to ride here.  I am sure he hears that all the time, but it was really cool for guys from Wisconsin to be riding their bikes on trails in February.

Today, on to Salley SC for the National Enduro.

Vesrah Suzuki Offroad team new graphix!

Check it out!  AJ at Victory Circle Graphix  worked his magic and put together a kick butt graphic package for us for this year.  What can I say, AJ does absolutely the best graphics.

new Graphics for all the new RMZ 250's

All the numbers. Scott takes number 3, Mark will take #57 for a few races. I will use 303 for both local and national races.

If you need graphics, you have to call AJ.

click the image and go straight to Victory Circle Graphix

Thanks AJ!

Vesrah Suzuki Offroad team has a new tire sponsor!

Did you notice that Scott and I have a new tire sponsor?  We are pretty excited about this.  Kenda has made great tires for a long time for both Bicycles and Motorcycles.  When Scott and I were first starting out, we both used Kenda tires. We had good experiences with them then, and are both excited about getting back on them now.   There is a big stack of them here now, and it is time for us to get after doing some testing and evaluating.

For me, the first time I will be on them is at the National Enduro trip in just 2 weeks.  I will get a chance to do some riding before the event, and have a bunch of wheels mounted up with tires for trying different setups.

Really looking forward to it.  Thanks a ton Frank Stacy and Kenda tires.

Joe

March 13 is coming!

We do a weird thing. “We” would be referring to us humanoids. We futz with our clocks and move them around based on how it makes us feel. We want daylight later in the day, after we are done with work, so we created daylight savings time. I once had a dog, which is no longer with us, but he did not care if it was summer or winter. He was active in the daylight, and sleeping if it was dark out. In the summer he just got less sleep than in the winter, that was how he dealt with it.

You are probably thinking about now, so what. That is a dog, he doesn’t even have opposing thumbs, we change the time because we can. Have you ever seen a dog trying to adjust a clock? I did not think so.

I have looked into this. There are a lot of theories about why we have daylight savings time, most of which are not valid. There have been theories that it saves electricity, or that it made people healthier or a bunch of other theories. Almost all of them have been proven to not be true. (If you do not believe me check Wikipedia, after all we all know that is the source of all wisdom.)

I pulled this right from the Wikipedia entry on Daylight Savings Time “DST was first proposed by the New Zealand entemologist George Vernon Hudson, whose shift working job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and made him aware of the value of after-hours daylight.” Mr. Hudson was from New Zealand, and he proposed this to the New Zealand government in 1898. And go back and reread that quote, he proposed this to allow himself more time to collect and study bugs.

Now I do not really care much about bugs. In fact, my favorite times of the year are those times when the bugs are dead and the weather is warm in the middle of the day. But, I can identify with Mr. Hudson and his desire to have daylight to pursue his passions after work. I have also never been to New Zealand, but the fact that Mr. Hudson was from New Zealand reaffirms for me that it must be a great place.

If you haven’t figured out why I living for March 13 these days, that is the day that the clocks will turn over to DST. That means that on March 13, at my home latitude, the sunset will be at approximately 18:56. For all of us that are challenged by clocks counting beyond 12, that is almost 7PM. 7PM! Just think about that. That is 3 hour more daylight than when we were at the very bottom of that pendulum swing! On December 21, the sun was setting here at about 4pm.

That will allow an afterwork two wheeler ride. A road bike ride, or a ride in the woods on a mountain bike or, on my RMZ if the snow is gone.

Hang on everyone, we are just a bit away from paradise. That thought just gives me a glow today. (It’s the little things)

Joe V.

At least I am not left handed!

Some people will believe anything.

http://www.accreditedonlinecolleges.com/blog/2010/10-proven-benefits-of-being-left-handed/

 

I mean… how would you turn the throttle?  I guess I do have an auto clutch.

out,

Joe

13 days until 1st National Enduro!

Are you excited? I know that I am.

Local HS rep and Enduro hot shoe, Brian Terry and I are heading down to do the 1st national Enduro. It is called the Sandlapper, in South Carolina. I wonder if there will be any sand?  We are heading down a couple of days early, so that we can try and ride a little before the event.  We will be meeting JD Freibel, and probably Mat Herrington down there.  They are going down to ride for more than just a bit.  I have not even started a motorcycle since last November, as there has been 2 feet of snow on the ground here since then.  Mat says that makes me much more rested than all the guys down south.  We will see.

The forecast for Salley SC. over the next 10 days on Weather.com is for highs between 64 and 71 degrees. OMG, that is going to be like going to the Sahara.  We are talking heat exhaustion, mangled hands and sore back from 5 hours of battling sand whoops.

Oh Well, I guess it is time to kickstart this season into motion.

Time to kickstart the season and get going. Woohoo!

Perry Mountain 24hour race – need a Mechanic!

Scott and I are planning to do the 24hour race in Alabama, June 4-5.  It is a big deal.  We are planning to head down on Wed/Thur, we have everything all set up.  We have a camper, we have a pit space on pit row, we have our bikes all set up, we are prepping our bodies. etc…

We are planning to do a duo team.  Both of us on 2011 RMZ 250 (hopefully), or our current 2009 RMZ 250’s.  We have 2 people coming to do logistics and food.  Prepping food, prepping gear and other things around the camp.  We have 2 people coming to take video, and photos, manage helmet cam footage etc…  Our plan is to turn it all into a few short video to put on YouTube etc.., and a longer video to put up on our site and use in other places.  Should be fun.

We are not necessarily going there to try to win.  But, we are training hard and plan to have everything else lined up to have a good race.  But, we do not have a mechanic.

WE NEED A MECHANIC!

If you are interested, let us know.

Below is the flyer from the 2010 race.

 

Flyer from the 2010 race.

 

 

Endless Summer

This little video comes along at a time when we really need it.  It is winter, and we are all DYING to get out and ride in the dirt.  I will be doing that with Brian Terry, JD and Mat at the National Enduro in South Carolina in just 19 days.  Yikes!

I have not even started a motorcycle since November 1.  Oh well, there is no better way to get started!

Regardless, watch this and you will see why Scott and I (along with everyone else) do this sport.

check back in 19 days for the first race results and stories of the year.

The New Phone Book Is Here!

Got your attention at least!

You know how it is, you wait and wait for something to happen, and then when it does it seems like it blows right by.  It was that way when you were a kid with Christmas and your Birthday.  It is that way now with vacation plans and the cycling trip that you just cannot wait for.

Unfortunately, it is never that way with winter.  Winter kinda blows in somewhere in November, settles into something that is not so bad for the month of December.  That makes you say something like, “this is not so bad.  I can handle this winter thing.”  But, if you live here in the upper Midwest, it just is toying with you.  Somewhere along the way, winter slams you down to the ground and then drives right over you with the snowplow blade lowered.  It is just not fun.

You spend lots of time in the garage, cleaning your bicycles and motorcycles, marking the days off your calendar that you are still not riding.  You ride the stupid trainer, you go to the gym and do your workouts, you go back out to the garage and clean your bikes and motorcycles again.  You mark more days off the calendar.  You watch mountain bike videos, you analyze your training log from last year to find out where you went wrong, you go back out to the garage and clean your bike and motorcycles.  You put new cleats on your shoes, you go to the bike swap and sell your old clothing (that is another story in itself, people will actually buy old cycling clothing), you go back out to the garage again and clean your bikes and motorcycles.  It gets really long.

But, then Rays MTB park announces that it is opening in Milwaukee.  Winter mountain bike goodness is coming to your back yard.  Finally, you will not have to drive all the way to Cleveland.  Woohoo!  Then you start the long wait and marking the days off the calendar until it opens.  It is a bit like the Christmas and Birthday calendar from your childhood.

In my case, I started counting towards the opening of Rays all the way back in the summer.  Ray was over there in the old Menards building, throwing up ramps and skinnies and jumps and, ya.  You know, just making us all salivate.  Then, the wheels came off and we hit the skids and ran into problems getting all of our permits etc…, and we did not open.  Ugh…

But, I am proud to say, finally we did.  And wow, what a grand opening it was.  The place is incredible.

This past weekend was the grand opening.  I was over there on Saturday.  I am super excited to say that there were about 375 other cyclists there.  375!  375 cyclists that normally have been sitting in their living room in January, waiting for spring.  Marking the days off their calendar, riding the trainer, sorting their old clothing and complaining about living in Wisconsin.

Not any more though.  From now on, they are riding skinnies, jumping their bikes, ripping around on the XC loop and just enjoying being on their bicycle.  Eventually, we will have to build more new things to ride on, eventually there will be an expectation that things will change between your visits there.  But for now, it is just great to see that if we build it, they will ride it.

We had a bunch of cycling media there.  We had pro atheletes there.  Ray was there.  It was crazy amounts of fun.  I cannot wait to be back there this weekend.

The new phone book is here!

That is the preview video that we posted before the park opened!

That is the park on opening weekend, but before the grand opening party!

IMG_1873

That is my daughter Hanna with Heather Irmiger from the Trek Subaru team. (Yeah, they are not quite the same mountain biker)

IMG_1880

That is Jimmy Mac from Mountain Bike Action enjoying enjoying the G's in the middle of the turn on the sweet pump track

Lest we forget… There is Cleveland, and it really is a fantastic place to ride.

It had to be built