Monthly Archives: May 2012

It’s A Big Country

Proof that we are not the same person.

If it was 1988, I would have to have really big hair and slit jeans with a title like that. After all, Wikipedia says that Big Country was an internationally famous Scottish rock band. Duh, they had that hit “In a Big Country”. And all those other ones also…

Curiously, Wikipedia has very little to say about any of my bike rides last weekend.

We are actually listening to Stone Temple Pilots doing an acoustic version of Led Zeppelin’s Dancin Days, so it is definitely not 1988. But, I might have high pants on, so who knows.

Exactly what was the 1980’s anyway? Just think about it, the Chrysler K car was a big deal. Have you seen one of those? What the hell was Lee Iacocca thinking of? Makes a Chrysler P car look dynamite.

No Parking vehicles with trailers. Ok.

I think Illilni is just so that people from Illinois do not have to say Illinoisan when they want o make it plural. Plus the fighting Illinoisan just does cut it. Nice school though.

I am always a bit freaked out by just how long it takes to get out of Illinois. Good grief it is a pretty much plain state, but it just goes on and on forever. This drive is just about 15 hours long (to all you Europeans reading, yep I just said 15 hours and barely hallway across the country. It’s big.), the sad part is that about 19 of those hours are done inside Illinois. It’s like you are a rat in a cage running on a wheel with a frayed space time continuum.

It’s a big country. I can’t get me no, satisfaction. (gotta love Devo).

Alabama, here we come. With any luck it will not be Alabama Hot like last year. Also with any luck it will not still be 1988. I love the lore of the Perry Mountain Challenge. Mountains in Alabama, who knew?

Looking forward to reuniting with our crew :
Noah Mitchell – Mechanic beyond what we deserve.
Chris Garrison – crew chief extraordinaire.
Liz Vadeboncoeur – master of the camp and fabulous cook.
No Matt this year, but we have Russell Schneider in his place who has big shoes to fill, but will be great.

This year we will be there a whole day in advance to set up and just relax.

20120530-211606.jpgAt least we didn’t have to take everything out for this flat tire…Not! Me and trailers.

Out,

Joe

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One Week To Go!

1 week to go!
If you have been living under a rock, then you may not know that in 1 week, Scott and I will take on the biggest race around – again.  Yowza.  Yep, we will be loading it all up and heading down to Alabama.

You will remember that last year, we coined it up as a new phrase describing the worlds worst weather conditions.  It was so hot, that even the heat didn’t like it.  It was roasting.  It was 106 with 90% humidity.  It was beyond hot, it was Alabama hot!  This year it looks to be much more pleasant there.  A week out, the weather is showing just a high in the mid 80’s.  That will make the whole thing about 1462 times more manageable.

We hope to make better on our 5th place showing there last year.  There are a lot of variables in a 24hour race, but we have done our best to prepare for that.  We have done all the training hours, we have built pristine race bikes, we have sorted all the gear, we have a complete support crew, etc…  Not much left now, other than to load it all up and drive to Alabama and get after it.

Will we be able to handle the heat, will we truly have our nightime issues sorted out, can we turn out consistent laps for 24 hours?  All of that will come clear just 7 days from now.
From the start of the drive, you can follow along with us:

–       Minute by minute with our Twitter feeds.  We will post up pictures, and notes and whacky things that we see along the way.
@vesrahoffroad
@joev3

– We will update our blog site more than once, and may have a couple of guest bloggers with us who will be helping crew for us.  You can see it all here.
It is going to be a huge adventure again, and we plan to have more fun than anyone could possibly imagine.

Thanks for following along,
Joe

Now this is an edit!

I love offroad Moto videos.  Here is my current favorite.  It is really cool how the GNCC series is getting so much play these days.  Enjoy.

This is from the last National Enduro.

#PM24 – Just 19 days away now! – Yikes

I get kinda nervous and freaked out just about every time I think about it.

24HourChallenge

I am down to the final real week of training and into the last weeks of prep.  Real effort will have to happen over the next “less than 3 weeks”.   Confirm the RV, Get plane ticket for Liz, confirm arrangements with Noah and Russ, prep the motorcycle, catalog and organize all the supplies, take inventory of extra parts, redo all of that again…  Yikes.  Seems like it is really upon us.

I do not really like the way it handles with the big light on the front, but I cannot argue with the amount of light.

Yesterday, I went up to Dyracuse and rode for like 5 hours, then drove (in my boots) to Bob Kau’s place where I met Scott and did a couple of hours of night riding.  Sounds simple enough, but it never is.

I arrived at Dyracuse and realized that I had committed the most bonehead move of all time.  I drove up to Dyracuse and got completely dressed fueled and ready to ride.  Started up the bike with helmet and Go Pro on, pulled in the clutch and smashed my foot down on the imaginary shifter there.  Unbelievable.  No shifter.  I had forgotten that small reassembly point.

I assumed that my day was done.  But, just on chance I went down the row and asked people if they happened to have a KTM shifter.  Ken Deiss was there and  guess what – he had an extra shifter.  I happily paid him whatever he was asking for it so that I could still go riding.  Unbelievable.  What are the odds of that?  Crazy.

Scott putting lights on his bike.

Not the complete Perry Mountain set up, but you get the picture.

After riding there, we met over at Bob’s and rode in the dark for 2 hours.  I put in about 7 hours of riding time yesterday.  I am pretty sure that physically I am as ready as I will ever be for Perry Mountain.

I have to thank Cyclops lights for the sweet setup on the bikes.  I do not think we will have a problem with not enough light this year.  Now, if we could just get someone to do something about the 100 degrees thing.

Sign up now if you want in on the fun.  24hours, heat, dust…

Joe

If that was a REAL harescrambles – Holy Crap!

Took us a while to find this parking space. Isn’t it perfect?  Look, the van matches the bike graphics!

This past Sunday was the 1st D16 harescrambles race here in Wisconsin.  It was a doozy…  Pete Laubmeier said “This is the way REAL harescrambles used to be.”  I do not know about that, but he was right that after about 35 log crossings, I was definitely cussing Pete and Bob Kau.  (I suspect that this is what I deserve for calling Bob a crusty old guy with a beer in his hand.)

Scott and I arrived early as we normally do.  We parked up the van, registered, then headed out for a course walk.  All we could do was gush about the course.  A bunch of fresh trail, what looked like good dirt, but – a ton of logs down and buried in the grass.  Hidden, lying in wait and just ready to grab your front wheel and slam you to the ground, where you will lie there wondering what in the hell just happened to me?

Lots of virgin trail cut through the woods.

The course was about 8 miles around.  It had some great dirt in the trees, used a couple of old cranberry bogs which were totally beach sand, then had about 4 miles of virgin trail in the sort of open woods that were part of where a tornado had a few years prior ripped through the woods.  Lots of logs down at a pile of toothpicks crazy angles.  It must have been a hell of a tornado.  Pete and Bob had chopped their way through a bunch of the trees that were down, but left a bunch strategically as well.  A LOT of bunch.

I am on a new plan for this year.  Even though I am 51 years old, I have decided that I am going to try for this year to race with the kids.  I signed up for the Open A class, which pretty much commits me for the season.  I am generally more than twice the age of the rest of the field.  It will be fun.  I probably will not win much, but I hopefully will get faster and faster and closer to the front during the course of the season.

This is going to be a mess once the race starts.

The course was crazy tough.  I did not expect it was going to be that tough.  The log crossings were pretty rough.  On top of that, there were more than 3 really bad muddy spots on the course.  It was pretty dry most places, but I of course managed to get completely stuck in the mud on 3 occasions.

How does that happen?  Stuck in the mud at a dust race.

So I consider myself pretty experienced at this harescrambles racing thing.  I learned a long time ago that you do not get into a rut.  Shit happens though.  You make mistakes as a rider.  I can understand getting stuck once, there is bad luck,  but stuck 3 times is just stupid.  I am not talking just a bit stuck also.  I am talking stuck above the back tire depth.  Stuck so that you have to put the motorcycle up on its back wheel, then push it over sideways – just to get it out of the rut.  3times!!!

So, this was not my best effort.  I have ridden better than that.  It only get’s better from here.

I can hear Pete yelling at me already!  “Get your skirt out of the chain and learn to ride, you pussy”.

Out,

Joe