Wow. Another racing year gone by. (I’m not actually getting older though. I am a bit like Merlin, getting younger all the time.)
We have always played a game with the family at dinner time. It was called Best and Worst. Continue reading
Wow. Another racing year gone by. (I’m not actually getting older though. I am a bit like Merlin, getting younger all the time.)
We have always played a game with the family at dinner time. It was called Best and Worst. Continue reading
In no real order of importance, these are the top 10 reasons that I cannot wait for the season to start.
1. The smell of race gas. There is nothing like it. My wife hates it, and that is ok. Man up, this is motorcycle racing.
2. Blisters that tear open and bleed. This typically happens on a double race weekend. You race on Saturday, create huge blisters. Then race again on Sunday. The result is a blister that gets torn open and becomes a bloody mess. Hurts, and is not really good for you, but it means you raced your motorcycle 2 days in a row, and that well…
3. The chaos of the first turn. Imagine that you have 20 or more motorcycles tearing forward around a first turn. Usually, that turn is in the open so there are lots of lines through it. You might wonder why a first turn matters in a 2-3 hour race. The first turn itself is not so important, but usually the second turn is where the track would funnel down to a singletrack in the woods. Getting there first does matter. But, it means that everyone hits that first turn hard to set up for the woods. It makes the first turn just chaos. I used to get nervous on the start line thinking about it. Now I just cannot wait. I love the chaos.
4. Flip flops. Flip flops equal summer. I usually wear regular shoes on the way to the race. You need the regular shoes for unloading the van and for walking the trail etc… But, after the race there is nothing better than freeing your feet. Scott thinks I am stupid, but it is worth the risk of toe damage to get that “I am not wearing anything on my feet” feeling after the race.
5. The passenger seat in the van. The van is not anything great to look at it, but it is the greatest race vehicle to dirt bag motorcycle racers could hope for. At this point I have spent a lot of time in that seat heading to races all over the country. That seat equals going to races for me. There is no one that has spent as much time as I have in that seat. Scott would be a close 2nd, but it is my place for viewing the world as it leads up to a motorcycle race. That passenger seat in my mind equals racing.
6. No snow shoveling. Snow shoveling is the polar opposite of motorcycle racing. It is not fun, there isn’t really much satisfaction that you get from doing it and, on the days you do it you are not racing your motorcycle. And even if you do it right, the next snow storm is going to come along and ruin what you did. I have never snow shoveled one day and then raced my motorcycle the next day – I’m just sayin. Snowshoveling equals no racing, ergo racing equals no snowshoveling.
7. My wife in a bikini. Racing happens in the summer, what else happens in the summer? – Duh.
8. Getting the whole race right. This only happens about once or twice a year. Sometimes it happens on a day when you win, other times it happens on a day when you get 5th. But, when it does happen it is really really great. It is why we all do this and what we are always chasing, and rarely achieve. I am going to have a few of them this year.
9. Brian-isms. Brian Terry is the D16 Harescrambles rep, a great guy and a friend of mine. But, he says whacky things. I don’t know if he says whacky things when it is not race season. But, I hear them during race season and therefore it makes me know it is race season. Read this earlier post and you will see how Brian-isms = race season.
10. New decals. They are so shinny. You know what I am talking about. Old decals look scuffed and smudged and dirty all the time. During the offseason, you don’t bother replacing them. “Ah, they will be fine for going down to Missouri and riding.” But, I really like to show up to a race with fresh decals. They are so shinny.
11. Putting fresh tires on my bike. I usually nick my knuckles. But, new tires are like decals. They just make the bike feel so neat. I don’t bother on a practice day, but for race day I like to show up with fresh meat on there.
12. TENNN..SECCCOONDS!!!! The starter at a GNCC race yells this out 10 seconds before the race. It means the melee of the first turn is about the happen, the fresh tires and decals are looking good, I can smell race gas, I have spent time in the passenger seat, I am not going to be shoveling snow that day, there is still the possibility of getting the whole race right, I am looking forward to flip flops after and of course there may be a bikini involved.
Absolutely perfect dirt today! Rode with Mat Herrington. Damn he is fast. We did 3+ hours. We did the first hour together, and my pace. Then switched and of course I cannot keep up with Mat. We strung up the loop from the race 2 weeks ago. But, it was really good and I had good form. Too bad that I did not ride this well at the race there.
Stopped at 2 hours and splashed gas, ate 2 gu packs and then headed out for another hour. In that hour, I really rode well. Mat did lap me near the end of that 3rd hour, but he was not going that much faster than me then. I suppose we were both on auto pilot at that point.
Mark did a superb rebuild on my motor, and OMG! Wow is it super. It has tons of power now, and is really smooth. Temperature was 40 at the start, probably 50 at the finish. I have only raised the needle one clip. Otherwise the jetting is stock. It was pretty perfect.
I cannot wait for Crawfordsville now! 7 days to go!
I have a lot to talk about. You could say that I probably always do. In fact, most people would really like me to shut up. But I always have a lot to say. Even on average weeks I have a lot to say. But, I really have a lot to say today.
Haven’t written much lately, so here goes.
Last weekend I rode for 2.5 hours at Black River Falls with John B. This week on Wed, I rode with Scott, his brother Pat, Tom Baker and Roger Bird. We had a whole posse at Dyracuse.
We rode for hours and hours and burned up a bunch of gas. We traded bikes back and forth and everyone had the opportunity to ride others bikes. Of course I like mine the best, but Scott’s primary race bike is pretty interesting. He is faster than I, so he is looking for more power where I am looking for manageable power. His bike was almost violent feeling. Mine is friendly. We both used those terms when we were done riding each others bikes.
I LOVE my bike. The RMZ250 and I are perfectly suited. I can ride it agressive all the time. Last year when the XC2 guys would pass me, I always marveled at how they were always on the gas. When I was on the 250 2stroke, I was always trying to stay away from the hit. If there was a small clearing in the trail, you were afraid to give it a bunch of gas, because it was going to go all death-murder-kill on you. I mean the power was violent on that thing. So, to avoid that hit of power, I would try to carry lots of momentum all the time. Good strategy, but not really fast. Now, I am on the gas also. And it shows. I have gone from struggling with my riding to always riding at the pointy end of the group.
Damn, it feels good.
Today was the Dresser D16 race. It was interesting.
Started out the drive at 5am, it was dark and foggy. Ugh. Tough driving. Candi pulled me through though.
I had the radio going and was putting down the miles, and the sun eventually came up and gave up a killer sunrise.
I made it to the race, and it was getting hot and there was no moisture anywhere in sight. I mean I am talking dust like you have never seen before. There was 100+ riders on the line and 8 rows. An 11 mile course, with an Enduro cross section. Telephone poles at angles, piled up rock section, and a second piled up Telephone pole section on a big downhill. It was super fun.
The gun went off and I was 5th going into the woods. 20 people on the line, and it was a dust cave. The woods had this really powdery grey dirt that just made huge clouds. The whole 11 miles ended up just one big dry rut of powdery dirt. When the guy in front of you got on the gas on an uphill, you would get a solid face full of dirt. Blasted. I am scared to look at my airfilter.
I ran a filter skin, and pulled it at an hour. The bike did run better for 15 minutes or so – but eventually must have choked and it ran really rich. bogging.
I worked my way to the front a little bit into the first lap. I was riding really really really well. That RMZ just kicks ass. Suits me like… I don’t know what.
In the end, I had a really great 2’05” race. I rode nearly perfect for that time. Unfortunately, the race was 2’20” long. Dammit. I was so close. With about 15 minutes to go, I fell over. Nothing bad, just a tip over. Unfortunately when you do something like that, it just creates a cloud of dust that is choking. Took me too long to get going, and John along with a lapper went by me. I rode like mad, trying to get around the lapper to get up to John – but in the end I just put myself over the edge and then crashed again. Got going after that, and then a guy that I had just passed screamed at me. I let him go by, and he proceeded to get stuck on the next hill, forcing me to go back down to the bottom and find another way up. It took me forever to get over that hill.
Funny how you can go from on top of your form to so retarded in so little time. I still was 2nd, but I should have won.
After the race, I had a text exchange with my daughter Hanna.
Me – Dammit. I led for most of the race, but with 15 minutes to go i fell and mangled my radiator – breaking my shroud (again).
Hanna – I’m sorry
Me. Don’t be I still had fun and was 2nd.
Hanna. What time will you be home.
Me. Candi says 9, but she lies. I usually can beat her time. Stupid stripper voice GPS unit.
Hanna. Ha sounds good.
Me. Eating Quiznos, listening to foghat.
Hanna. Chillin, listening to Celion Dion.
Hanna. I’ve lost my tea
Me. Odd that Penguin being there.
Me. No point in steering now.
Hanna. Your brothers drunk?
Hanna. My super powers are supercharged.
Me. I totally have a space pen.
Hanna. Well that is bizarre.
Me. Left handed driving is he.
Hanna. Well it’s the wrong side of the body.
Me. Are there any animals that breathe mud?
Hanna. Frogs should
Me. Radioactive mud.
Hanna. Anything’ll do
Me. What is better, Maroon 5, dehydrated breakfast cereal hour or Cleveland?
Hanna. Cleveland, Rays.
Me. Only 1 dog pooping today.
Hanna. me too.
Me. Hard to see when you are racing.
Hanna. Strange same here.
Hanna. Mall too
Me. I have never raced at the mall.
Me. She is your friend.
Me. The weather, construction and traffic conspired to slow me down. Home at 9:25. I already apologized to Candi.
Hanna. Haha. I say you ower her an apology for sure.
There you have it. Not sure what we meant by all of that. I do know that I cannot wait to race again next weekend. Pretty roached right now.
I am getting up early to work on the motorcycle. Clean it and take the broken shrouds off to look at the radiators. I need to try to get AJ at Victory Circle Graphix to send some shroud graphics to get me going before next weekend.
Scott texted me on the way home to say that he smelled a podium for me at Crawfordsville. Not sure about that. I am faster, but that is a long way faster. If I was to do that, I would probably want to go back and do them all again next year.
Oh, even though the heat and dust were bad. Moose Sahara gear is incredible.
That is is for me.
August 23, 2009
The barn cometh.
Crystal Falls has an old barn, that we ran right through. It was really cool. Kinda alarming. You would go right into it from the sun, it would go completely dark and the only thing you would see is the light of the doorway on the other side. Yow. But, it was really really fun.
It is also about the most awesome course in the entire district.
This was the 2nd time I had raced here. This time it was more than 7 miles around. We did the whole MX track of a really great old school outdoor MX track. A couple of doubles, but mostly big hills table tops and great berms. Then into the woods, then out to a great grass track, then back into the woods, then out to another grass track, then through the barn, then out to another grass track, then back into the woods, then back on the MX track to finish the lap. Very GNCC like, but much tighter in the woods sections.
It took me 2 kicks to get my bike started, so I was last into the 1st turn, but when we left the MX track Jim was in 1st, John right on him in 2nd and me right on John in 3rd. Perfect. The next 3 laps were a huge huge amount of fun. The lead changed about 12 times per lap. We were all 3 right on each other. No one could get an advantage on anyone it seemed.
Unfortunately John and Jim got into a little tussle on the 1st lap. Jim got frustrated with John passing him and Jim cut through the middle of a turn and knocked John down to the ground. I slowed enough to make sure everyone was ok, but then went off on my own. A guy on an old KDX somehow appeared out of nowhere at that time and jumped in front of me. I was ok with that, except he was riding about 11 feet wide. He was impossible to pass. I finally did get around him when he chose a crummy line through the mud hole.
Jim and John made it back to me and as I noted earlier, we traded the lead for the 1st 3 laps. On the 4th lap, John got a front flat and I moved clear of Jim by 1.5 minutes. That is how we finished.
I managed 11th overall, but had lap times of the 7th place guy, but we started 4 minutes behind. Not too shabby.
– My RMZ 250 is the perfect motorcycle. I am convinced. I know the 2010 is fuel injected, and I am looking forward to one of those somehow. But for now, I cannot imagine a better motorcycle. Wow.
– I ran shinny new Pirelli Scorpian mid hards. They were incredible. So much better than the stock Dunlops that came on the bike, which I ran for a bit as I did not have any new Pirelli’s. But OMG.
– I still have about an inch of gas in the bottom of the tank. That is the stock tank, for 2 hours and 1 minute. That thing just does not use much gas.
– The Rekluse clutch is incredible. No stalls, no arm pump (at least from the clutch operation).
– Looking forward to getting my suspension back from Factory Connection. The stock stuff is good, but the rough trail made it tough today.
– The race gas the Mark at Vesrah provided make the RMZ super clean running. No bog, no hesitation, just sewing machine like response from the right wrist.
– After the race, I was showering off with the sun shower, when this little kid asks me “what are you doing?” Washing off. “Why?”, I am dirty. “Are you leaving?”… What is up with that?
Enjoy the photo’s.
Summer break is a long time. A lot has changed, so let’s get started.
During the break, I did some bicycle racing and some decent training, but mostly I just felt like I got fat. Fat is not good. Makes you feel fat. Not like “Hey I am Phat!”, but more like oh god my pants feel tight. I always have wondered what it was like to wear really tight girl pants, now I know.
Time to get back after it all.
A few things have happened
– I sold one of my RM250’s.
– I have been riding the RMZ, and that thing kicks butt. I am going to rebuild the other RM250 as the Ricky Carmichael replica that it started life as, and sell it off. I do not think I will be riding anything but that RMZ – it is that good. Also means that I will have a bunch of RM parts to get rid of on here and on Ebay.
– I am adicted to FRS. If you haven’t tried it, do. OMG!
– I am listening right now to David Lee Roth, minus Van Halen. I know that is wonked, but I am doing it anyway.
– I finished my garage. It rocks. If it is empty later today, I will post up some photo’s.
– The coffee is good this morning.
So, yesterday… Scott and I got off our butts and rode.
We slid up to Dyracuse in the rain. The skies parted as we arrived and it turned out to be the most epic day of dirt ever. I suppose it has been super dry there all summer, and the sand became the really dense loam that added up to being the most fun you can have.
I mean, you could not have designed better dirt. That place is great and all, but sometimes when you show up it is just powdery sand. This is the time that you dream about. The dirt that keeps you coming back hoping to find it again.
That is the MX track when we were leaving even. mmm…
Suited up like the nervous dorks that we are. 15 minutes after arriving, we were taking a look at the loop. Dyracuse park has purchased another 300+ acres adjacent to the park. We added a ton of new singletrack in that new area to our loop. The loop if now over 20 minutes long. Holy Cow! 20 minutes! You still get to know it and it can become redundant. But, when you say to yourself “Ok, one more.” You better mean it.
I felt really good. I would say that I am ready to roll. The second half of the season is here.
– Crystal Falls D16 race.
– Valders WIXC race.
– Long Lake D16 race.
– Dresser D16 race.
– Rhinelander WIXC race.
– Dyracuse D16/WIXC race.
– Crawfordsville GNCC
– OMA “The Race”
Not a bad way to kick the season to the curb. Not ready for this one to be over, but ready to get back to racing.
I love the chaos of the first turn.
This was a huge weekend!
Saturday – 12 hour solo MTB race.
Sunday – District 16 Aztalan Harescrambles
Saturday’s MTB race was at Wausau, 9mile forest. I had originally planned to ride the race with Liz. But, I could not make up my mind about what I was going to do, and she got tired of waiting for me to make up my mind. She decided to ride with her friend Kathy, and left me to do it solo. I have never done a solo 12, so why not?
Liz and I went up on Friday with the trailer. We met Kathy there, and set up our camp. I needed to instruct Liz and Kathy about tearing down the trailer at the end of the race, as I would not be staying the 2nd night.
We set up camp and found our friends that were doing the race as well. We all sat around the campfire drinking beer and telling stories. Great fun.
Race morning dawned a nice day. That would stick around for quite some time, but the weather would not stay nice for the whole day.
The course was 14 miles around, with about 2/3 of it being singletrack and the rest double track. There we really just 3 really technical sections and 4 significant climbs. On your first lap, the technical sections were not too tough and the climbs were all taken out of the saddle attacking in the middle ring. Later in the race, the climbs were just something to get through. Sort of a milestone along the way “one climb down, 3 to go. Only 2 more rock sections – and so on.”
My first 2 laps were going fine. I had a good pace and felt like I could keep going at that. My first lap was a 1”19”, my second was a 1’10”. But, after my 2nd lap, my camelbak was really low so I decided to pull in and refill. I ate a cliff bar and a gu pack and went straight back out.
My 3rd lap was still pretty good, but I came across Liz late in the lap so rode with her for the rest of the lap. She was going well, but complained of falling down and hurting her knee. I ate a banana at the end of that lap and went back out. It is now about 4+ hours into the race. Right away on the 4th lap, my hamstring and quads on both legs began to cramp. The 4th lap was an effort in not pushing on the pedals. I made it around, but I was really slow.
Back at the camper, I ate the left over oatmeal from breakfast and drank a bunch and laid down to rest my legs. After about an hour I went back out and did my 5th lap, I am now in my 6th-7th hour of riding and 8-9hours into the race. After the food and drink, I felt much better. I also went back to Cytomax as my drink of choice and the difference was amazing.
That was it for me as it was getting dark at about 10 hours into the race when I finished that lap. I had hoped to get 6 laps in, but the cramping episode killed that. So, I loaded up and drove home, leaving Liz and Kathy to stay over night in the camper and then to bring it all home with them.
I am on to the next lap of the weekend.
Sunday – Aztalan Harescrambles race
Earlier in the week I had prepped my new RMZ to race. I did not truly know how well I would go on that bike, as I had not done any real back to back lap time comparison. I also had never raced Aztalan, as normally I would set up that course. It had always looked fun, and now I would finally get a chance to do it.
I loaded up my stuff, along with some really stinky race gas that Mark Junge had given us and headed over in the morning. Right away when we got there, I headed out to ride the course. I knew right away that it was going to be a tough day. My legs were hurting just walking up the first hill, and it was getting really hot.
The course used most of the Motocross track, but some of it was backwards making the jumps not really work in those backwards sections. The woods sections were mostly quite tight and had a bunch of really steep up hills and down hills. There was one hill in the track walk that I knew was going to be tough. It left from the MX track right up the side of a huge hill. It had a stump in the middle and a hump in the hillside halfway up, with a really steep face at the top.
The gun went off on our race, just a few minutes late. I got a decent start in about 5th, but when we hit that tough hill, the guy in front of me fell over and I had no where to go. I ended up sliding back down the hill and having to restart my bike…ugh. Everyone else went around the hill and headed down the trail. John and Jim (class rivals) were checking out, the rest of the group was around the hill and I was kicking my bike. Damn… It was going to be a long effort.
I got going and caught the back markers right away. There were 13 guys on my line. I finished the first lap in 6th. I finished the 2nd lap in 4th. I finished the 3rd lap in 3rd. I was now up to Jim who was in 2nd. It took me 2 laps to get around him. But I did, when he bobbled in a turn. I put my head down again and a lap later caught John in the lead. I battled with John for more than 8 laps. I could not get by him. I was faster, but he was riding really smart and covering all the shorter lines and insides of turns, leaving me the long way only. I tried tons of different lines etc… But just could not get by him. I tried a different line on the turn into the whoops, but fell over and just had to chase back up to him.
Finally, late in the race he fell over in a turn and I went by. But, by then I was done. I just could not get myself back up to the pace that I had used to catch him earlier in the race. It was like all the fluid in my internal tank had run completely out at that point. I just could not go. John got back around me on the entrance to a flat turn that I just did not have the energy to late brake into. On the next turn I got tangled up with a tree and ended up on the ground. My bike was wrapped around a tree and it took an unbelievable amount of energy to get it untangled and get going again. I was not completely cooked and rode around like a fleeb for a lap till the end of the race. 2nd. Not bad for the weekend.
– The RMZ 250 is incredible. That is it for me, the RM250 2stroke will get cleaned up now and sold. It was a great bike, but the chassis is stuck in 2001. The RMZ handles so much better.
– I can ride the RMZ so much more aggressively than the 2stroke. It just begs to be ridden hard. I think the 2stroke has way more power, and that is what makes it harder to ride. It is much easier to ride a slow bike fast, than it is to ride a fast bike slow.
– The connection of your right wrist to the ground is incredible on this bike. You just have to kind of telepathy yourself forward and you go.
– The race gas stinks and makes you kind of sick to your stomach to use it, but I think Scott is right that it makes the motor just a bit more responsive. I mixed it 50/50 with pump and it was very nice. (Does make the garage stink though.)
– There were a bunch of off camber turns with loose dirt and rocks. The RMZ will flat track right through that stuff. Fun.
– The RMZ flies much better than the RM250. Jumps that are doable for me on this bike are not necessarily doable for me on the 2stroke.
– I had really good pace in the race. I was much faster than Jim and a bit faster than John. John would gap me in around a lapper or something and I would have no problem bringing him back.
– The singletrack was very tight. The course was really fun, because it had 5th gear tapped out straightaways and 1st gear tight woods sections and the toughest uphills and downhills that I have seen since GNCC races last year.
– I am running a 13t countershaft sprocket(stock is a 12) and stock rear gearing. It was perfect for this weekend.
– I am just running the stock gas tank, but had plenty of gas left after the race. I think I could have gone another lap or maybe even 2 more. In a longer race or a race with a really long lap that I could end up much closer to 2.5 hours, I could need to refuel. At a GNCC, I will need to fuel for sure.
So you get a new bike. It is all shinny. All crisp feeling.
The fasteners do not have marks on them yet. There is no duct tape holding on a graphic yet. There are no zipties holding panels together yet. There are no dents in the rims. There are no boot rub marks on the cases or frame yet. The teeth on the footpegs are not worn. It is a fantastic time in a dirt bikes life, and in a dirt bikers life.
You get to change the oil without having to scrape dirt off the drainplug first. The air box is so shinny inside. You get to torque all the bolts for the first time, marking them painstakingly with a sharpie to show that they have been done. You get to lube up all the bearings without having to clean gunk off them first.
After you are done prepping it for the first time, but before you have really ridden it yet, you go out to the garage just to stare at it and admire it. You start it just for the heck of it. You invite your friends over to see it. Your wife comes out to look at it and says “looks just like the other one.” (But she doesn’t really count in this, and who asked her anyway?)
Then the first ride day comes and your almost sad about tarnishing that new bike smell. Almost.
You take it out and absolutely thrash it.
Scott and I took shinny new 2009 Suzuki RMZ 250F’s to Dyracuse and rode the crap out of them.
The dirt was perfect, the trails were completely empty.
2hours on a new bike. No steering damper on the bike yet, so it was hard to stay on the trail in the 2nd hour. But damn a new bike is fun.
I think that my riding has adapted to a Suzuki. I get a new Suzuki, and within a few laps on it, I am completely comfortable. I don’t really think I want to switch brands ever, as I think I would have to learn to ride all over again.
I love my RM250 2 strokes, but I have to admit that this new bike seemed really good right away. I am excited, because if it this good right away, it could be REALLY good after I live with it for a while.
You may recall that I tried to tell the story of Glaciers one other time. I think in reality, I have discovered a devious Canadian plot. You see, the glaciers did their thing a few years ago. They picked up some rocks, and slowly over time brought them south. I mean it took a while. It isn’t like they loaded up the car and brought the rocks south. The glaciers took their damn time at it.
So, now we all go to Pearson and say, “oh, how cute. Look at what the glaciers did!” But, in the mean time the Canadians have been loading up their trains and sending all the Canadian rocks to Silver Cliff. I figured it out. I was sitting at a train crossing watching a Canadian Pacific train go by. Then it dawned on me, that the Canadians are sending their rocks to the Harescrambles location of the race that I did today. All the Canadian rocks are there. I mean they are THERE. Stuck in the ground, covered in slime and just waiting to flat your tires, ding your rims and break your ribs.
Silver Cliff WIXC race story!
The WIXC race is generally a 2 race weekend. But, because of the State soccer tournament, I could not make the Saturday race. I knew I would be at a disadvantage, because everyone else was there the day before and would know the course. But, I loaded up early and headed out.
Since I got there very early, I was able to head out and look at the course. I thought I should do that, as everyone else was getting up and making breakfast and just moving around. Remember, they had the opportunity to see the course the day before, so did not need to see it today.
It had rained the night before, so I soon learned that what we were going to see in the race was slippery mud and even slipperier rocks. Ugh… It was going to be a day of slow and steady was going to win the day.
The start went straight up a big sandy and rocky hill, one line wide, only about 50 yards from the start line. There was an alternate line around the hill, that I contemplated instead of dealing with the hill. I watched someone select that alternate line in a wave ahead of mine, but he inspite of a good start and charging up that line, he was still only 2nd into the woods.
My wave went off, and I kicked, but no forward motion. Damn, I did not get it lit. It started on the 2nd try, but I was now last going into the woods. I had some weird numbing of my hands and a bit of arm pump right away. I struggled to get past a couple of people in the first lap. I did finally settle down and start to work on riding smooth, though the course was so rough and rocky that it was hard to settle down.
By the 3rd or so lap, I did catch Jim who was leading as he was getting up from a fall. I passed him right away, but he passed me right back. I was completely comfortable with the pace, so I decided to sit on him for a while to see how he was riding. We were just 45 or so minutes into the race so I had plenty of time to see it unfold. I sat on Jim for 2 or so laps and he was just bouncing off of things right and left. Finally he struggled out of the line on a big hill, and I motored past. Once past, I put my head down and went hard.
I had one bobble along the way, and aparantley Jim got sight of me as I was off my bike trying to get up a big hill. But, I never saw him after I went past him. I rode pretty well. Slow and steady was the order of the day. The rocks reward smooth standing riding style. I managed to have a few minutes on Jim at the finish and won my class. I was also 8th overall on the day.
The new WIXC races start at 11am. That is fantastic, as you can race and still be home for dinner. But, when you are trying to get to the race in the morning, it is a bit daunting. Google maps said it was a 5 hour drive to the race. So, I jumped in the truck at 5am, intending to get to the race by 9am. Candi, who knows me and my driving habits better, knew it was only really going to take 4 hours to get there. Unfortunately, she chose to keep that from me until we were already inroute to the race. Sometimes, I think she has a mind of her own. I’m just sayin!
It was kind of cool to be out driving already at 4am. No one is out, and when you go through a town it is completely quiet except the birds. Neat. It is also kind of gross though. The amount of HUGE bugs that were splattering on the windshield was pretty bad. Large splats of bug. Yuck.
On the way home, it rained big on me. Unfortunately, it was not enough rain to clean off the mud on the bike. I did see a really cool Volkswagen bus on the road. Dang they are cool.
Brian Terry took these photo’s during the Hixton race on May 31.
Eric found our website this past winter. He has become a Suzuki fan as a result and has just built up his own RM 250 and is pretty psyched.
Scott and I are both super psyched that someone else out there has discovered how good a Suzuki RM250 is. We are happy that we could help out Eric in some way as he was building his bike. If you have any questions that Scott or Joe can answer about your RM250 and using it as a woods bike, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Joe – firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a photo of Eric’s bike.
See you in the woods somewhere.
Check out Scott in 5th overall!
Once a year, we get to race on what is the best course in the state. Rhinelander – Sugar Camp. The only bad thing about Rhinelander is that it is just on the edge of being too far to drive for the day. We can do it, but just barely. It is 4ish hours away, and if it was 30 minutes farther, I would say that it is too far to drive for the day. It requires that we get out of my driveway at about 5am.
If you have read my blog before, then you know that I own the one and only navigation unit with a voice stolen from a stripper named Candi. Candi normally speaks with you in a voice that makes you think you are the best driver in the world. She speaks slowly, precisely and accurately. She can direct you to things that are close and things that are many days drive away. She just needs to know where you need to go, and a few seconds to calculate a route and presto. She also can be told up front if you want to stick to main highways, avoid main highways, avoid tollways, avoid ferries etc…
But lately, I have been noticing more and more attitude from Candi. She seems to get upset when you make detours or wrong turns. She does not like it when you stop to go to the bathroom. She does not like it if you get hungry and have to get off the route she has chosen. I have also noticed that she has decided to try different routes to the same places we have been together. I don’t always need the navigation to get somewhere, especially if I have been there before. But, I like to use her even still, because she can tell me what time I will most probably arrive. But is it possible that she is bored with our relationship and needs to spice it up a bit with different routes? Think about it.
So you are probably wanting to hear a bit about the race. The race was good. I was 4th in the +40A class and 19th overall. If that was all you wanted to know, you would stop now and go back to reading about Swine Flu, or following Lance Armstrong’s Twitter or seeing what goofy photos your friends have put up on Facebook. But of course if you decide to stay, there is much more to this story than that.
It is a weird spring. The weather patterns have been interesting this year. The spring started off with a bunch of rain. We looked to be on par with one of the wettest springs in memory. But, crazy patterns have emerged. It seems that spring has let up for a few days in advance of a race and then started up again the day after the race. In other words, races have been dry and even cool. Then it either warms up in between races or it rains for 4 days straight in between.
Rhinelander was dusty. Can you believe it? Dusty! Not just the little bit of dust that you get on a windy day. I am talking black air filter after the race, cannot see the trail dusty.
We parked along the course, just before the start finish area. Nice little stretch of straight trail that allowed us to set up our pit area and take on gas etc… without worry about wasting time that you did not have before the finish of the race.
I had what turned out to be the perfect bike set up for the race.
– 06 RM250, super soft suspension from my Enduro bike, big tank etc…
I think that is going to be my set up for the year on the race bike.
Last year I discovered some stuff called Brave Soldier. You put it on your hands before you put them into your gloves. It is magic. I used to get huge blisters on my hands, and now nothing. Even at at super rough race like this, it works wonders. Try it.
There were 13 people on my line. I got a good start in the race, 4th off the MX track. But, even that proved to be too far back – the dust was so bad. You could not see a thing going down the open straights. It was much better in the woods, but even there it was tough. Especially tough were the transitions from the open areas to the woods. It took a couple of seconds for your eyes to adjust when you made that transition. But during those seconds when your eyes were adjusting, you just hoped that it was not too rough.
Speaking of rough. We have had a race on this course for a few years now. The course is getting pretty beat. It has huge holes in it and square edge bumps and rocks and tons of roots. Good thing I had the soft suspension on the bike.
Rick Anschutz came by me right away, going much faster than I was comfortable going in that limited visibility. He was pretty fearless in the dust. There was also some AA guy from Minnesota there, racing in our class. He checked out right away, and we never saw him again. Rob and I battled for the first 2/3 of the race. He had me at the first half of that, and I caught him and passed him for the 2nd half of that. But, then he managed to get ahead of me for the last 2 laps and put 2 minutes into me. Damn.
It was fun to do a 3 hour race again. My fitness is much better than last year, as I am writing this the next morning and do not have any of the fatigue that I experienced from the GNCC races last year. This course was just as hard as those, I am just not nearly as beat up feeling.
I learned I cannot do a 2 hour race on a stock size tank. At the rate that I burned fuel at this race, I can only make 114 minutes on a small tank. That ends that debate.
Next weekend, Hixton D16 race.
Ok. Here is the dealeo. I am trying to decide which bike set up I should ride for the National HS race in Rhinelander this weekend.
I know I want to ride the 06 motor and frame. That one starts the easiest and the frame seems to feel the best. Don’t ask me why, the 2 bikes are exactly the same.
1. I am thinking that I will want to use the softer suspension from the 07. That stuff feels like magic over chop and roots and rocks. It also gives the bike amazing traction. But, at higher speeds and on an MX track the firmer HS suspension feels better. But, the race is 3 hours long, so preserving yourself is a big deal.
2. I like the feel of the power with the Qmuffler. It tones it all down and makes the bike super easy to ride. Sometimes less power is faster than more power. Plus, it is super quiet. I like that. the only problem is that it is harder to lift the bike if you get it stuck. the Q sticks out the back a bit and you loose your grab spot on the fender.
Need to mount up some new grips, and I think I will just go with the tires and wheels that I have set up already.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.
See you up there on Sunday. It is going to be great fun.
God I love the race season.
A long time ago, the earth was covered with glaciers. Huge slabs of ice, many many meters thick. They stretched from what is the North Pole today all the way down past Canada and into Wisconsin. They moved really slowly. I mean really slowly, hence the term “glacial”.
The glaciers weighed tons and tons. They pressed down on the earth, and scraped the top layer of rocks and topsoil off and carried them south as they progressed. They progressed south for centuries. They marched south without stopping, continuously. All the while, they were picking up rocks and earth. They loaded up on tons and tons of rocks and dirt.
Then, the weather patterns changed, and the glaciers began to recede. The Earth climate warmed, it was the end of the ice age, and if you have seen the movie you know that the little squirrel guy will get his prize nut. But, the glaciers didn’t really just recede. They melted. And when they did melt, they left all the rocks and dirt they had picked up for centuries right where they were. In actuality, the rocks and dirt were all left specifically in north central Wisconsin. I guess that explains why I like Canada and Northern Wisconsin so much, they are actually the same place. They probably don’t like us so much though, we have all their rocks and soil. There are so many rocks there, that there cannot be any rocks left in Canada, they are all in central Wisconsin.
So why the history of the earth lesson? Why do you need to know all of this? You need to know, because DAMN – IT IS ROCKY UP THERE!
I think I saw all the Canada rocks myself. They are all on the HS and Enduro trail at Pearson.
Sunday was the D16 Pearson Enduro. There were 3 loops for the B and C group. I rode +40 B, because I am still trying to figure out this Enduro thing. This one was a “no-timekeeping” event. That means that it was a bit like a bunch of short HS races.
I rode my soft suspension bike. It was spectacular. The trail was tough for the first section. It is hard to jump right into a technical section, from a standstill.
John Buechner is the fast man these days. I held my own, but John is the class of our group right now.
I got lost on the trail. I fell over a few times. I rode like a pud in the first section. I rode really well in the 3rd section. I ended up 4th.
If you look up in a dictionary what the definition of rocks is, it shows a picture of the woods in Pearson. Specifically, the area near the quarry is littered with rocks. There are so many rocks, that there sometimes is just a bit of dirt between the rocks. Rocks, rocks rocks. I am talking lots of rocks. I cannot believe how many rocks there are.
I used to think the definition of Rocky was Snowshoe WV. Now I know what the real definition of rocky is. Pearson, Wi. Rocks everywhere.
I drove up today in Scotts van. That felt right. I mean, I was in the van, pulling the trailer, listening to music, heading to a race at a distance. But, unfortunately Scott was not there. Feels weird. Scott and I have been racing together for so long, that it just doesn’t really feel right without him there also. We have a routine. We are an old married couple. We know who is responsible for what. We know who is going to set up the tents, we know who is going to unload the bikes. We trust that when the other one loads the bikes it will be done right. So, to go to a race without him, but being in the van is a bit odd.
Remember that last year we drove the trusty Ford Econoline all around the country to races. Florida to North Carolina to New York state, to Ohio, to Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee… The van can tell many many stories of races and being stuck in a field somewhere. There is no vehicle that can be stuck like the van can.
Through all of that Candi the stripper navigation unit was with us. She is right there on the dashboard barking out commands. She was with me on the drive north.
The Pearson D16 HS race is an epic event. The loop is more than 15 miles around. Brian Terry, D16 HS rep, billed it to us all as about a 30 minute lap. Because of all the rocks that I mentioned earlier, it turned out to be 45 minutes plus for the 1st place AA riders. Most people in later waves were struggling to be under 1 hour. It was really really technical and really really rocky.
Did I mention it was rocky?
So, the start area was just a short little stretch with a 180 degree turn and a short stretch back to the woods and in. That was it, and then the abuse started. John Buechner took the holeshot. He starts really well. I muscled my way to 2nd before we hit the woods. I followed John, and we had a good pace going. John rides tight technical stuff really well. We had our heads down, and we put a gap into everyone else pretty quickly.
But, then about 15 minutes into the lap, I ricochet of a tree and into another tree. I had my bell rung and ended up on the ground. But, more importantly, my bike was upside down on a rock and the banjo bolt that holds the hose onto the master cylinder was bent down and was letting fluid out underneath it. I jumped up, started my bike and took off. As I went into the first turn after that and grabbed the front brake the line split and I spugged out all of the fluid. That was it, my race was over. No front brake.
Now, I would rather ride a bike that doesn’t even have a rear brake lever than to ride even for one race without a front brake. I believe that I rely on the front brake for about 80% of my braking. So, I went from 80% to zero front brake. It was tough for me just to ride. With how technical things were there at Pearson, I was effectively just trail riding for the rest of the day.
I faded back from fighting for the lead. That wasn’t going to happen. I ended up 5th, which wasn’t too bad for no front brake, I am happy with that.
Tomorrow, we are doing an Enduro on many of the same trails. It should be fun. 4+ hours of riding is always a good thing.
I will let you know how that goes tomorrow.
Perfect! That is about how I would describe it. 50 degrees, moisture in the soil but no real mud to speak of. There were a ton of people there.
Joe Bauer, John Buechner and I arrived at about 9:30. The gate does not open until 10, but we got changed and all set by the time the gate was open. “Speedy Pete” Laubemeir and a couple of other arrived at 10:15. We were ready to ride by the time they were unpacking.
The 3 of us went out and found a loop. A combination of the HS race loop from 2 years ago, and some of the HS race loop from last year. It was great. We made about a 15 minute loop, that had the trademark terrain of Dyracuse. Lots of sand, lots of whoops, lots of fast sections and a bunch of log crossings etc… Damn, Speedy Pete really is speedy. Wow.
I was on a plan to see if my bike can run 2 hours with the small tank. I think I can. I am going to expand it a bit, just to give me some insurance, but I think I can get a 2 hour race in with the small tank. I am psyched by that.
My Suzuki worked flawless today. This is the 06, that I grenaded last year. But, Mark Junge completely rebuilt the motor for me, and it is sweeeeet! I love that bike. My new Moose XCR gear is really really good stuff.
On the way home, John and Joe talked me into do the Enduro down in Indiana with them instead of the GNCC race at Loretta’s. Loretta’s is 9 hours away. The Enduro down in Indiana is just 4 hours away. That did it for me.
This week I will get my enduro bike ready to ride, and I will ride that up at Dyracuse next weekend.
So I have to post up. Today, I got one of my bikes completely ready to go. The season is here, and we needed to get our act in gear. AJ, from Victory Graphix sent us our new graphics for the year, and man does it look boss!
I am going to go down to Illinois and race it on Sunday, in the snow and sandy mud. Seems a shame to shred it like that, but that is what it is for.