Tag Archives: RM-Z250

Basking in afterglow of the GNCC season

Just up this morning thinking that I wish there were more GNCC races to go to yet this year. So, since there aren’t, I’m consoling myself and reliving by watching GNCC race videos online. (it’s amazing how you can waste a lot of time doing that- I mean a lot of time, as in geez it’s like 3 hours later now). Continue reading

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My most Awesome day at Loretta Lynn’s GNCC!

I won!  If you want to stop there, you can.  You can figure where this is going from here.  I am just going to go on and on about how much fun I was having and how awesome the whole thing was.  I did win, after all.  Hard to imagine not having fun when you win.  I mean, winning tends to make that course one of the best ones you have ever ridden, and it is hard to say that you didn’t ride very well when you win etc…  It was pretty much awesome.

Like I said, if you want to stop reading now, you should.  But, if you carry on, I hope to bring around at the end and make it worth it for you. Continue reading

Ironman GNCC video

Have you ever wondered what it is like to start the afternoon race from the last wave.  Well, now you will see.

This is my start and a bit of the course for the Ironman GNCC race in Crawfordsville this year.  I got a crap start, but redeemed myself by the end.  It is hard to boil a 3 hour race down to just 15 minutes, but here goes.

out… till Loretta’s.

Joe

How do you spell – Bonehead?

“No matter where you go, there you are.” – Buckaroo Banzai

Random Buckaroo Banzai imagery!

I know that was really random, and has almost nothing to do with how to spell Bonehead, and almost nothing to do with this blog post.  But, it is one of my favorite quotes from one of the best movies of all time, and I am having taco’s tonight.

I raced my motorcycle today.  It was rough.  On my way to the race I checked Weather.com, and the heat index just said “Alabama”.  It was pretty much Alabama hot, minus about 5 degrees.  Just near 100, instead of over 100.  Ouch.  I burned.  At both ends.

You see, I have been in Europe for a month.  Europe = crappy food, too much beer, no exercise and not enough sleep.  Pretty much, I am out of shape.  And I can tell.  I pretty much started out slow, and then got a bit slower.

Seriously.  I got a decent start.  There were more than 25 on the +40A line, and I was about 6 into the woods.  But, it kinda fell apart from there.  The woods were so much just one line, that there was no passing.  I made a few wrong turns and each time I did, I lost at least a place or 2.  I was pretty much going backwards.  I figure I was spending most of my time in about 4th place, but I was working my butt off just to get back there after each time I would mess up.  Wow, that was too much work.

A few really good movies to think about:

  1. Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension.  It pretty much could be the best movie of all time.
  2. Earth Girls Are Easy.    The name pretty much says it all.  Yep, an alien comes down to earth and chases girls around.
  3. Naked Lunch.  You might need to be stoned to watch this.  Lord knows the director was.  wow.

How do you spell Bonehead ?

Answer: JOE…  I got caught late in the race by Pete Laubmaier and John Strangefeld.  They started a minute behind me on the Vintage class row.  But, both of them are AA riders, so it does not surprise me that they caught me.  But, when they did catch me just before the timing tent, they had decided to pull out and stop then.  I was so out of it when they caught me, that when they turned out of the timing tent to go back to their truck, I just followed along like a little puppy.  I got back to the truck, sat down and could not figure out why no one else was done with their race.  Are those guys on the course just warming up for the next race?  huh…

Duh, you idiot… the race was not over. It still had another 20 minutes to run.  I quit the race 20 minutes early.  Holy crap, am I missing some brain cells or what?  Jeez, I am just a knob.  I was pretty much doing my Beavis and Bonehead imitation.  I really cannot figure out which one is smarter, Beavis or Bonehead.

In the movie the Wrath Of Khan, Ricardo Montalban who played Khan, is known to have superior intellect.  (But, there was no Corinthian Leather, and Tatoo was not even there.)  For sure someone needed to laugh at my superior intellect or lack thereof today.  Damn, what a moron.  I am not sure if I was Beavis today or Bonehead.

I hope I do not have to take the Kobayashi Maru test today.

Out.

To infinity and beyond.

Summer break – :<(

I like racing.  I am not always good at it, but occasionally I am and that keeps me coming back.  Unfortunately, so far this year I have not been very good at it.

I am off for a month now though.  Sort of a forced break.  Everyone has to have a job, even me.  I am in Europe while writing this for basically the whole month of July.  On my way to Luxembourg today, for a meeting there on Thursday.  Then off to the Tour de France for a day (LeMans) to see the 2 teams that Trek sponsors.  Then to a citizen race called L’etape du Tour.  (It is a 9000 rider race/ride over one of the big mountain stages that the TDF will do later in the race.  This year it is up over the Telegraph climb, over the Galibier climb and then up to the top of L’Alpe d’Huez – ugh… I live at sea level, so it will be really tough.)  After L’etape, I will be at our European dealer event in Mayrhofen Austria from the 12th – 22nd.  From there, I will go up to Paris over the weekend of the 24-25 and see the end of the TDF.  Finally, I will go and visit my daughter Ali in Madrid, where she has been living for the past year.  A long packed in month.

As a result of all of that, I will miss the next race in the D16 series.  That will most certainly kill my chances for the overall in that series.  Although, I would tell you that I was probably in a hole that was already too deep.

This year, John Buechner has really poured it on.  He got a new bike this year, and that seems to have made him faster.  We both got a year older, but his new bike seems to have negated that year for him.  I just got older.  I am on the same bike as last year, with very little changed.  Last year, we were finishing right on top of each other.  Literally, at the end of 2 hours we would be bumping tires into each other at the finish.  This year, I cannot keep up with him.  Not sure what that is all about.

I still love racing though.  It will be a hard month without any racing, and almost not physical activity.  Last year in July, I separated my shoulder in a MTB accident.  I worked out hard at the end of July and through August and came back really strong from late August through the end of the season.  I am hoping for the same thing to happen here.

Regardless, I hope that your next month of racing and riding goes great.  See you in August.

 

Out,

Joe

Which line is the +40 class?

Hixton double double!!!

Hixton.

A storied place.  I have had a lot of good races here.  But, the trail has gotten a bit beat.  This year, Mat Herrington (@matty_racer414) and Brian Terry (@Bterry15) took it upon themselves to make a new trail on the CMJ raceway.  It rocked.

Here is a little video of most of the 1st lap of the +40 class.  This is from Saturday.  I did ok on Saturday.

The course was way more up hill and down hill than the video leads on.  But, it was super fun.  I had a good race and finished 2nd.  But, John got away right away in the first lap, while I struggled to get up to that speed.

Scott and I stayed at Black River Falls on Saturday night, and had dinner in Black River Falls at Rozario’s Italian in BRF.  I was ok.  Kinda cool to stay overnight in a small Wisco town.  I love summer here.

Sicily. really?

Here is a shot of Scott doing some bike surgery.  Seems like these things always need this.  This is just before Sunday’s race.

Time to go racing.

As always, there seems to be a hillclimb going on while we are racing there.  It is whacky stuff.  Here is a shot of what I thought the best dedicated hillclimb rig was there.

Nothing.

Out,

Joe

Perry Mountain Challenge video

If you have not seen this short video, give it a viewing.  This is the best Perry Mountain video I have found.  From this you can see the dust etc…  I wish our lights had been that good (or maybe that my eyes would have been as good as this camera showed).

 

 

There is also a second good video I found.  this is Brad Brackens chest cam video.  He was on the #1 pro team.

http://vimeo.com/24780044

 

Enjoy

Consumed at Perry Mountain Challenge

I have been thinking about how much fluid, food and calories I consumed at the race. You have already heard me talk about how hot it was (more than once, jeez Joe shut up about it already), and how much fluid it takes to stay ahead of that heat. So, I thought that I would try to add up just how much fluid that was and how many calories I consumed.

FLUIDS
– when I would come off the bike, I would first drink a large bottle of water. Then I would drink a large bottle of SDM Anytime mix while pedaling the bike to the camp. At the camp, I would drink a bottle of recovery drink and a bottle of water. After eating, and changing I would drink another bottle of water on the way to the pits. While riding, I would drink about 35 ounces of SDM exercise or GU brew. That is a total of 175 ounce per ride session. A total of 1050 ounces during the event.
(8.2 gallons of fluid
or
31 liters)

LIQUID CALORIES
– the bottles of water listed above contain zero calories.
The 28 ounces of recovery drink contain 175 calories.
The 28 ounces of SDM anytime contain 40 calories.
The 35 ounces of SDM exercise/GU brew contain 90 calories.
That is 305 calories each riding session from liquid sources,
or
1830 calories from liquid sources for the event.

GEL CALORIES
– I was generally eating a gel while riding my session. Matt would zip ty them to the inside of my chest protector. I could tear one off while racing and suck it down. Those say 90 calories on the outside of the package, but I suspect I only got 70 in as they are tough to eat while riding.

That is about 420 calories from gels.

FOOD CALORIES
– after each session of riding, I would make my way back to the camp, where Liz had food ready for us to eat. During the day, we had sandwiches and fruit and Nutella, and peanut butter, and cookies and M&M’s etc… At dinner time, Liz made a really great couscous meal and grilled chicken. Since a PB&J sandwich is about 300 calories, and the smallest amount of food that I had was a PB&J and some Nutella and fruit, a conservative estimate would be about 600 calories from food each time at camp.

That’s about 3600 calories from food at camp during the race.

I would also normally eat another Honey Stinger bar back at the pits while prepping goggles and helmet. Those are 190 calories.

That’s about 1140 calories from food at the pits.

TOTALS
8.2 gallons/31L of fluids

– 1830 liquid calories
– 420 calories from gels
– 3600 food calories at camp
– 1140 food calories at the pits
6990 calories consumed.

I am pretty sure that I lost weight during the event.

5 days to go!

Hi Everyone,

As you know, the Vesrah Suzuki Offroad team will be taking on the Perry Mountain 24hr Challenge.  We hope to make a good show of it.

At this point, we have done all the training hours, we have built pristine race bikes, we have sorted all the gear etc…  Not much left now, other than to load it all up and drive to Alabama and get after it.

From the start of the drive, you can follow along with us.
– You can follow along with us, minute by minute with our Twitter feeds.  We will post up pictures, and notes and wacky 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.
www.vesrahsuzukioffroad.com
Scott’s blog
Joe’s blog

– We will post up photos in a mobile me gallery site all weekend long.
http://gallery.me.com/joevadeboncoeur#100048

It is going to be a huge adventure, and we plan to have more fun than anyone could possibly imagine.

Thanks for the help from:
– Vesrah + Suzuki
– Victory Circle Graphix
– Factory Connection suspension
– Kenda tires
– Moose Racing
– Bell Helmets/Easton components
– GPR steering dampers
– Rekluse
– Magura
– Zipty

Thanks for following along,
Joe + Scott

Light testing – 7 days to go

Did a little light test the other night.  Here is what it looked like.  This is with

– L&M Seca 700 on my handlebar

– L&M Seca 1400 on my helmet

I will end up running 2 Seca 700’s on the handlebar and the 1400 on my helmet.  But this gives a feel of the night time laps.

enjoy.

Joe

Whistler Bike Park – I’m Not There!

Whistler Bike Park Is Open!!!!

If this doesn’t make you want yo go ride, nothing will!

Enjoy!

Bam. Just like that it is spring, and the Aztalan race is over.

That is how it goes.  One day it is snowing, and freezing cold, and the next day it feels like spring in Wisconsin.  Last week we had a snowstorm, and then Sunday it was 59, and the leaves started popping out.  Wow.  But, way more important as a sign of Spring was that Sunday was the 1st D16 HS race.

Its that time of the year again. Follow the arrows.

The 1st race is always a glorious thing.  Everyone comes out of hibernation.  People you have not heard from in 5 months are all of a sudden high on your radar again.  What never ceases to amaze me is that it all can seem so normal.  I mean, think about it, we have all been cooped up inside for months dreaming about racing our motorcycles.  We watch Supercross (which is a best a poor substitute for riding in the woods).  We go to the gym.  We ride our bicycles on the trainer.  We load up and go south to do a race (normally you do that and suffer, as it is the 1st time you have ridden a motorcycle in months).  We go out to the garage and watch last years enduro races on DVD while riding the trainer or working on our motorcycles.  All the while, ticking down the days till the 1st local race.  Sometimes it seems like it will never get here.

Bam.  Just like that it is here and we are back at it.

Ready for a new race season. That is Scott's bike with the #3, and mine with the #303 - new numbers this year.

This week we all figured the 1st race was going to be a mudder.  It has been raining forever, it seemed.  Last year, Aztalan was pouring down rain all morning of the race and the race was the most horrible mudder ever.  The dirt there is mostly clay mixed with rocks.  The combination is devastating on a motorcycle.  After last years race, it seemed that the whole motorcycle was throwaway.  Plastic, grips, tires, bearings, chain, sprockets, brake pads… ugh  it all had to be replaced.

As I said, we all figured it was going to be another mudder.  But, it turned up dry.  I am talking dusty dry.  Wow.  What a difference a year makes.

The crowd was huge on the line.   There were about 15 on our line for the +40 class.  A lot of guys who I did not know.   But, as the story unfolds, you will see that as it has seemed the past years – the race comes down to John and I.

On the line, I could not get my bike to start in gear.  I tried on the practice starts, but it would not crankup in gear.  So, I was forced to start the bike in neutral.  A neutral start normally does not mean good things.  With my Rekluse Core EXP auto clutch, I would suggest that the clutch plates need replacing.  I kinda knew that before the race, but opted not to replace them as I did not want to have the 1st ride be in a race.  I also stalled once during the race, so I am certain the plates need to be replaced.  But, in spite of my hampered starting technique, I got an excellent start.  3rd in the 1st turn and 2nd before we left the MX track.  The guy in front of me was clearly a Motocrosser as he was great on the track but not as good in the woods.  I did manage to pass him in the 1st lap and I started to put down my head.  But, he was not giving up and followed me hard for about 4 laps.

Aztalan is not a long lap, so you get to know the lap very very well.  A couple of laps in, John was suddenly with us.  I found out later, that he got a poor start and struggled to get through the rest of the field.  I also learned later, that we had completely gapped the rest of the group.  The race went on that way for about an hour.  The 3 of us together, me leading, but unable to break those guys.

good image of what the conditions were actually like on Sunday. Nearly perfect.

Aztalan is a great little race course.  Rollie always does a great job with the course.  He understands that a HS is not a 2 hour MX race.  Generally we hit the jumps backwards and join and leave the course multiple times.  Great fun.  There was only one little section that was just too tight for a few people to make it up, and had to be removed about 15 minutes into the race.

About an hour in, I made a mistake and gave up both 1st and 2nd.  John put his head down right then and then put a gap into the MX’er and I.

Eventually I got passed the MX’er and put a gap into him, but John was really going fast.  Really fast.  I did not have anything for him this weekend.  My hat is off to him.

In the end, John put about 30-40 seconds on me, and that was it.  The season is young though.  I will have my chances, and it will be a great season for John and I to race each other hard.

My fitness was super.  I have to say that Mary Grinacker has devised a fantastic program for me that has my fitness at a super level.

I did screw up my knee braces and dug bloody cuts into the back of my legs. Fortunately it was only a 2 hour race, if that was to happen in the 24 hour...ouch!

Artsy

Thanks a ton to all of our sponsors.

Vesrah

Suzuki

Bell helmets

Moose racing

Factory Connection

Kenda tires

Zipty racing

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

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 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

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!

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.

Red Bull: Gee Atherton vs. David Knight

Found this video on Red Bull.  This is really cool.

Gee Atherton, DH world cup champion

vs.

David Knight, World Enduro and GNCC champion

 

It is amazing to watch the line selections that the 2 vehicles have to choose.  The motorcycle has more pace in the fast sections, but cannot flow the turns as well as the DH bike.  The DH bike seems to be able to hit the slow technical spots with more pace than the motorcycle.  A DH bike can go better on downhills than a motorcycle.  It is purpose built, and can be pointed down easier.

Still, Gee’s lines through the rock field towards the end is impressive.

I could not get the video to embed in the post, so you will have to link out to it.  It is worth it though.

http://video.mpora.com/ep/pRUvdUU8j/

 

Joe

 

 

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

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.

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

I went to the Dresser.

For the land of the free

And the home of the brave…………vroooom, vrooom…

It was almost like being at a GNCC race.  200 people on the line, announcements that you cannot hear and that do not make much sense, an almost 12 mile loop, a significant amount of spectators.  Oh ya I forgot, this is not just a D16 race, but also a shared race with D23 (Minnesota).  There is a lot more offroad riders there, or maybe it’s because they do not have a competing series in a sparsely populated state.  Regardless, it sure is fun to have 22 people on your line.

The course at Dresser is at a small local ski area, Trollhaugen.  Not sure where it gets its name from, I did not see any Trolls on the property.  What I did see was

– 11.5 miles of sweet up and down hills singletrack

– a super cool little endurocross section at the finish area

– a semi gnarly downhill section with telephone poles down at angles and drop offs etc…

– several woods areas with spaced out trees and multiple lines that was very GNCC like

– no river crossings (so that made it not like a GNCC) – woohoo!

– incredible dirt.  Must have rained in the days prior as the moisture content in the dirt was as perfect as it can be.

John and I had another epic battle.  We trained off the front from our group right away from the start.  We pushed and shoved our way through the groups ahead of us, and finally late in the 1st lap found ourselves able to race hard.  We traded the lead back and forth, but neither one of us could get more than 50 yards away from the other one.  We truly are exactly the same speed now.  Our races are coming down to whoever makes the least costly mistake is going to win.

John fell over on the second lap, and I got by him on a downhill.  I put my head down and went like crazy.  Unfortunately, later in that same lap I fell over and gave up that lead.  I was still ahead of him, but now he could see me and that was all the incentive he needed to make up the gap.  Near the very end, in a sandy section, i pushed the front end over a berm and awkwardly came to a stop, that was all he needed to get by me.  In the end I made 1 more mistake than he did, and that pushed me back to 2nd – although right on his tail.

This makes 6 races this year that we have finished right on top of each other.  It is sure fun.

Next race is Dyracuse, and then we will be on to the Crawfordsville GNCC race.  Wow, where did this season get off to?  I know I have not gotten enough racing in this year.

out,

Joe

That was the most epic battle yet!

Sunday was race number 2 at Crystal Falls.  Some subtle modifications of the course, but basically the same layout as the day before.  Yet, Saturdays deluge was replaced with sunny bright skies and a bit of wind.  Since most of the area is sand, the dirt became fairly epic.  And with the exception of a few areas that are going to be muddy for a long time, the dirt was perfect on the course.

After spending the morning cleaning the motorcycle, and working on the damage from the day before (I am not really sure how it actually ran the day before, as the air filter was completely soaked.), I discovered that I did not have any brake pads left on the front.  I scrounged around at the race, and found a set of used fronts.  Beggars cannot be choosers.  In the end, most of the damage from the day before was superficial.  Ready to race.

When the gun went off, John and I led out and checked out.  He followed me into the woods, today I was not going to let him leave me behind.  But, unfortunately I fell over right away in the woods.  No big deal, just handed the lead right over to him.  Soon after that, he tipped over and I went back around him.  From there, it was on.  The lead changed hands multiple times on each lap.  One of us would get stuck in a slower line, and the other one would go through.  Interestingly, neither one of us could get away when we got to the front.  It seemed pretty easy to make up ground on the other one when you were behind, but once in front – getting away was just not happening.

About halfway through, either John was getting desperate or just tired.  Either way, his attempted passes were becoming more aggressive.  One time he went inside of me to a line that did not exist, and we ended up completely tangled up.  I was almost completely off my motorcycle and onto his with him.  I do not know how we did not go down together on that one.  Another time, I was ahead again, and fell over in a rut going uphill.  He slammed into me and then toppled right onto me.

We laid there in a heap, 2 bikes, 2 riders all tangled up.  If we were not so tired and both so determined to win that day, it would have been comical.

After that, John got through a lapped rider in a tough section that I was forced to follow the lapped rider through.  That put a 5 second gap between us, and that was how we finished.

Oh well.  It was super fun.

On to Dresser.

Joe

Dude! Can you come and get me? I think I need stiches… Again!

Poor Chad! The title above is the last words that I heard from him today.  He was on the phone with one of his friends here in Marquette, Mi.

Chad Landowski went to high school with my oldest daughter Ali.  He now lives in Marquette, and goes to school there.  Marquette has fantastic mountain biking.  Chad is a mountain bike freak.  Chad works at Trek in the summer, helping Dwayne build trails on our property.  His heart belongs in Marquette and on a mountain bike.  Unfortunately, for Chad he rides with more gusto than he sometimes has skill.  He has no shortage of heart…that is for sure.

We have been riding all week here, and Chad joined us today for a ride.  He fell at least 3 times – hard, during a 3 hour ride.  The first was a stiff washout in a turn.  The 2nd time was by clipping a tree with his handlebar and ending up far down the side of the hill.  The 3rd time was the charm though.  He did, who knows what, and rag dolled down the hillside in the rockiest and toughest section on the whole ride today.  Bad luck.

Chad, after the 3rd accident. Getting ready to head to the clinic for some stiches.

Dean also crashed hard today. Yep, those are tire tracks.

Doug from Vio sport rocked the Session around the XC trails

Safety store - Marquette.

Room filled with fun.

Motly crew. Looking over towards Marquette Mountain, which we would love to be riding on.

We spent 3 great riding days at Marquette.  The trails there rock.  The local crew has done an amazing job with them.  Every time I come up here they get better.

To celebrate a great work week, we went out to dinner at what turned out to be the best restaurant in Marquette.  L’attitude is great food with a great atmosphere – right down by the lake.  Then, we went to the beach and built a fire and sat around telling stories.  There was lots of laughter, too much beer drank, a football tossed, people wrestling on the beach (yep, very high school I know), Riley telling masturbation stories (another story in itself).

What was really funny with it was the police showing up at about 10:30, with a complete camera crew in tow, and kicking us out.  I think they thought they were going to be busting up a bunch of underage drinkers, and that was maybe what the film crew was for?…I do not know.  That shuffled us over to Flanigans bar for some Karaoke.

Yep, I rocked the Journey.  Don’t stop believing baby!

The girls. Ready for a night out.

Great restaurant "L'Attitude" in Marquette. Worst chairs in the world though.

Now I am off to Crystal Falls for 2 days of HS racing!  Wish me luck!

Out,

Joe

Friday Videos – some great ones here

It has been a while since I put up much on the blog site.  I have been super busy with work.  2 trips to France in July, our worldwide sales meeting etc…  Wow, time have flown by this summer.

I have not done as  many races as I had wanted to.  But, fall is coming and for the months of Sept and Oct, I will be racing almost every weekend.  Looking forward to that.

Anyway, here are a few gems that I have found on the web.

That first one is a great little video that I found of a kid who can rip on a no pedal bike.  Impressive.  You can see where the next generation of kids that ride flow courses will come from.

That is my favorite bed intruder cover.

If you were wondering where that came from, this is the original made from the  raw footage from the news story.

Whistler DH this week.  Wish I was there.

One last video to show why we all want to go to Whistler.

That is it for me today.  Racing starts again this weekend, so we are psyched to get back to writing about racing.

Joe

That wasn’t a GNCC race, but I felt as shredded as if it were

OMG, that was hard!

The Suzuki compound at the race

Still cannot get over how pro the van looks.

The Hixton D16 Harescrambles was this past weekend.  Hixton is a storied race location for Scott and I.  We have been racing there since we both got into this sport.  I have always had good results there, never outside of the top 3 in whatever class I was riding that year.  So, there was a lot of anticipation building up to the race.

Unfortunately, the weather had different ideas.  The Hixton MX track and grounds were blessed with more than 6 inches of rain in the week leading up to the race weekend.  On the night before the race, they experienced another 1.5 inches of rain.  The ground was completely saturated.  There really wasn’t any big mud holes, but the whole place rutted up and became rutted, rooty and rocky.  It beat the crap out of you.  There were ruts to get stuck in, ruts to pull you down on a sidehill etc…

Our friend Matt Herrington laid out the course.  Matt has been racing on the national level this past 2 years, but has come back to our area for a bunch more races lately.  He is currently leading the D16 AA class overall.  He, my teammate Scott and JD Friebel are having epic races these days.  Matt did a fantastic job laying out an old school tough harescrambles race.  I absolutely loved it.  I do not think that I have been on a tougher and more fun at the same time HS course in a long time.  It had fast sections, slow and tight, big uphills, downhills etc…

There was a decent sized crowd there and about 10 people on the +40 line at the start.  We made a quick turn onto the MX track at the start, and John got the holeshot into the first turn.  I was about 4th.  I pushed my way immediately to John’s back wheel, and he and I blitzed the MX track on the first lap.  As we were leaving the track, he slid out and I boosted past him for 1st going into the woods.  That was not really what I intended, as I had not had a chance to look at the course.

The first lap was tough, with a whole group of guys breathing down my exhaust pipe, and a really tough to follow course.  We made it around the first lap with a bit of drama and course finding, but by the time we came around for the 2nd lap, the course was much easier to follow.  I put my head down and checked out.

On about the 6th lap, I got stuck in one of the developing ruts, and had to get off the bike and push it off onto it’s side to get it out of the rut.  While I was doing all of that, John got by me.  Even though my Rekluse clutch kept the RMZ running through my shenanigans, I had a hard time getting back up to speed.  Eventually I did, and started to put down good laps again.

It was a hot and muddy combined day, a day for Sahara Moose gear.  I was glad I had it.

During the last lap, I began to see John in front of me – so I pushed up to him.  He could hear me coming, and although he admitted later that he was completely fragged at that point, he made himself really wide and I just could not get by him.  We pushed and shoved and fought back and forth, but I could not get him.  There was one last hill on the last part of the lap that had multiple lines and I found a good one.  I poured it on to the top and almost got past him, but I would have had to tbone him to go into the lead.  Not what us old guy racers need to be doing to each other.

We finished out the lap right on top of each other.  This time he held me off, but we are virtually the exact same pace these days.  This is really fun.

My teammate Scott had a similar ride.  An epic battle with JD, and ended up finishing just behind him.

Overall, the Vesrah Suzuki team made a good showing and had a great time.

out,

Joe

Check out the gallery of photos below.  They are courtesy of Dave Hollub at http://www.spiderwebmxpics.com

I am totally sporting the old retro Vesrah Suzuki Offroad bell moto 8 on this day.

Friday Video post

I have just a small stash today. This was meant to go up on Friday, but it did not make it.  Nonetheless, enjoy.

Here is what the Trek race department does.

Here is another one that shows just how bad it was at the Ohio GNCC.

This is a pretty good Whistler video.  It isn’t  a professional thing, but it does a pretty good job of showing what my week in Whistler next week will look like.  (I am not sure that it is the best Whistler video ever, but the guys that made it think so.)

Hope that makes your “Friday” better.

off to the races.

Joe

The Van has logos!

This past Wed, Scott and I went up to Dyracuse to ride.  It has been raining a ton here, and we knew the dirt would be fantastic!

It was!

Holy cow.  There was plenty of water sitting around, but man when that place has moist dirt it can be just phenomenal.  It is completely hero stuff.  Scott rode his new 450, with the special tune on the electronic box from our friend Shane Nalley at the Suzuki Offroad team.  I admit that the motor was fun.  But, the bike is just BIG feeling.  I think that I am not strong enough to muscle that thing around for 2 hours.

I know that when I am on my RMZ250, I feel like a hero.  I can whip it around, the power never scares me and although it does get loaded up with mud and weighs too much – it is a lot less than a 450 is when it is loaded up with mud.

Anyway, we got the van logo’ed.  And does it look sweet.  AJ at Victory Circle Graphix did it for us.  He matched our bikes and put all our sponsors on it, our website URL – damn does it look cool.  I feel almost factory.  We do have to keep the road shenanigans down because of the logos after all.

Here it is.  Enjoy.  I am sure there are more pictures over at Scott’s blog by now.  You will see us on the road somewhere.

Out,

Joe

The definitive post on my Ohio #GNCC

That ranked as the hardest and least fun that I have ever had on a motorcycle.

We knew it was going to be hard, yesterday when we watched the quad race.  It was muddy when we first got here, then it rained big while we were watching the quad race.  It rained during the night.  It rained a “gates of hell” cats and dogs kind of rain thunderstorm lightning kind of deal for over an hour before the what should have been the morning race start.  There was water standing everywhere.  There was a complete river across the motocross track.

The view out of the van window in the morning, while it rained cats and dogs at the track

The morning race almost didn’t happen.  We went to a riders meeting, where they discussed running the morning and the afternoon race together at 1pm.  They decided against that, as that would have just been too much in the way for the pro’s.  They ran the morning race for 1 hour at 11:30.  They ran our race at 1:40 for 2 hours.

That is the ground in front of our pits. Saturated.

The start area was on the MX track, and was an almost impossible hill to get up to get to the first turn.  In the morning race, there were riders that never made it to the 1st turn.  I should have put my bike back in the van at that point and gone home.

First turn on the MX track

It was crazy just getting off the MX track in our race.  When we left the MX track, there was a grassy sidehill to get to the woods.  I turned completely around backwards in that grassy sidehill.  That was the first of many times that would happen to me.  The open areas of the course were just as hard as the woods.  They were so sloppy and slippery, that you would just spin out with no advanced warning.  I tried them slow, I tried them fast, I tried clearing the tires out by going a bit fast, then slow – nada.  Nothing worked.  You just had to be prepared to be on the ground at any time.

I know I was on the ground at least 10 times in that 1st lap.  I was stuck in ruts more times than I can remember.  Sometimes you could get out on your own, other times you needed help from a spectator.  The woods were one big long super slippery rut.  My legs are toasted from paddling through the ruts.  Your legs are just outriggers.

Every rut in the woods was full of water and clay as hard as cement.  I think that Ohio is just one big pile of clay.  It sticks to everything and becomes hard.  I cannot wait to clean my bike!  It is going to be epic.

–       all the plastic is trashed.

–       The decals are all torn and coming off.

–       The brake pads are shot.

–       The tires are almost torn off.

–       The chain and sprockets are completely trashed.

–       The bearings on the wheels and the suspension linkages will be toasted.

–       The grips are worn through

This will have been an expensive endeavor.  2 hours of racing will equal 8+ hours of cleaning and working on the bike.

There is a motorccle under there somewhere

Uck...the cleanup

In spite of everything above, I was having maybe my best GNCC race.  Ya, go figure eh?  Normal GNCC laps will take me between 25 and 35 minutes, depending on the course and conditions.  (The pros are usually about 20-25 minutes).  My first lap was 1+ hour.  The fist lap for the pro’s were 29 minutes.  Cory Buttricks last lap (race winner) was nearly 50 minutes.  The whole course got really really bad as the race went on.  In spite of that, I was in 3rd at the end of the 1st lap – unfortunately I did not finish a 2nd lap.  I could not.  I am completely chuffed.

I do not think I will come back to Ohio to do another race. GNCC regulars hate the place.  I understand it is always raining there, and the whole state seems to be made of clay.  Ohio is just one big pile of clay.

Mat. Saying what we are thinking.

So this was not a fun GNCC race.  But, I was still racing my motorcycle.  That is a better day than not racing a motorcycle.  Now for the long drive home and then tomorrow starting the cleanup.

OMG.

Yep

Hard to imagine that it was that bad, but it was.

Out.

Joe

GNCC day before

It has been a while since I did a GNCC race, other than Crawfordsville.  Last year, that was the only one that I did.  Weird.  In 2008, GNCC is all that Scott and I did.  We did all the GNCC races, and not many local races.  Last year, the opposite – we did mostly local races and just the Ironman in Crawordsville.  This year, I am trying to do a few GNCC races, a few National Enduro’s and as many of the local races as I can.

So, Mat Herrington (414 Racing) and I loaded up his van and headed to Ohio for the John Penton GNCC race. Mat has been having a fantastic season.  He is on a roll of finishing 1st, 2nd or 3rd at local Harescrambles in the AA class.  So, it is time for me to shoot for my best GNCC result and for Mat to take his early season form and try it against the GNCC crew.

Mat has a Ford panel van, much like Scott’s.  But, it has a couple of things that Scott’s does not.

Scott’s

–        Diesel

–        arm rests on the seats

–        Sirrius/XM radio

–        history

Mat’s

–        Cruise Control

–         really comfortable back seat that you can lay flat on to take a nap

Me, luxuriating on "the couch" in the van.

It’s amazing how much difference something like Cruise Control can make.  I really had forgotten how much of a difference it makes to drive with Cruise control.  It is so much more relaxed.

We did not leave until 9pm on Friday, with the intention of driving all night.  It was a LONG night.  Mat drove until 1:15am, then I drove till 4:30am.  Mat slept while I drove, but I still had not slept at all until when Mat got back behind the wheel at 4:30.  I slept then till really when we arrived at the track.  Felt good, and I can tell you that the couch does sleep well.

Found a radio station in Indianapolis that really rocks.  Rock 95 (although it showed up at 94.7).

We arrived at the track at about 8am, in time to see the morning quad race.  The morning race had nearly perfect conditions.  Just after the morning race, all hell broke loose.  We started into a pattern that rained just about every hour for the rest of the day.  The afternoon race was an absolute mud pit.

This is what everyone looked like in the afternoon race

Now we are in the hotel, and looking to get to sleep very soon here.  Tomorrow is going to be an absolute mudbath.  My bike, my gear and everything else I expect to be ruined.

Here is a video from the last super mudbath GNCC at the John Penton.  This is my day tomorrow.

That is it for me.  Another post will come after the race.

Joe

GNCC races rule

I am off to do the GNCC race this weekend.  It is in Ohio, and I have not done this one.  Here are a few video’s to get you in the mood.

This is not a video from the John Penton GNCC.  But, it is a great video and shows you just what I think of when I think of a GNCC race.

This one is from Florida.  Not my favorite GNCC, but super hard due to the pace, the early season aspect and the sand whoops.

This one gives you an idea of what it is like at the later waves.

I hope we do not have to deal with how much mud there could be.  Ugh…  But, it is GNCC race.

TENNNN SECCONNNNNDDSSS!

Out

Joe

New race – Sugar Maple!

Up early.  Not sleeping well.  Might be an age thing, but also might be food or might be nerves or…  Any way you slice it, I am up and I do not need to be.  I’ve made a couple of PBJ sandwiches, packed waterbottles, bananas and I am ready to go.  I made the biggest pot of oatmeal you have ever seen.  I am eating it now, and starting my blog entry for the week.

We are going racing today.  New spot, close to Madison.  Sugar Maple is what it is called.  I rode there last fall as they we trying to get this place off the ground.  It had an immature, but good outdoor style MX track, but no trails yet to speak of.  Brian Terry and others have been there trying to put down enough trail to hold this Harescrambles race.  Today will be the day that tells that tail.

Brian told me yesterday that he thinks there will be a really good crowd.  He has been getting emails from people all across the midwest saying they were coming.  Could be good.

The Race

So we got there at pretty much 10am on the money, maybe a few minutes before hand.  We were all set up at 10:10 and ready to tour the new course. There was a fantastic MX track with a couple of huge table tops and a couple of nice doubles and 2 really fun step ups.  One section of woods was super technical and difficult.  Lots of embedded rocks and downed trees.  One section of woods was really nice and flowing.  And finally, there was a really fast cornfield section that was wide open 5th gear.

Lots of little log section like these that required doubling across.

Much of the trail in the woods was virgin trail that was just marked on the trees.

I got the start of starts.  1st off the line, first onto the MX track and 1st into the woods.  It was great.  I had a really good 1st 2 laps, but then on the 3rd lap I had trouble on one of the uphills and really struggled.  I stalled the motor and because of where I was sitting had to go back down the hill and try over.  On that lap I went form 1st to 4th.  I then had my work cut out for me.

The course was not that long, about 3.5 miles around.  There was a really good crowd turnout, about 16 people on my line, 12 on the AA, 12 on the A, 20+ on the B, and 20+ on the C line.  That makes for a lot of racers to get by when trying to move through the field.

I rode hard for the whole of the race.  I caught John with about 10 minutes to go in the race and got by.  He got back by me half way through the last lap, then we entered the last woods section with him just in front of me.  But, just as we entered the last flowing woods section, he muscled his way around another rider.  I was forced to do the same on a really sketchy holed out down hill.  Then, at the base of that hill he slid out around the turn and as I was avoiding him, I also fell over.  But, my bike did not stall and his did.  We were like Ryan Dungey and Ryan Villipoto at the end of the St. Louis SX race.  But this time the yellow bike got up first.  I rode away and made good time through the rest of the last woods.  That was my favorite woods section, and I made it stick.  We entered the last of the MX sections, and I railed the last berm and launched all the way over the table top to get into the timing tent 5 seconds ahead of John.  1st place.

There was one creek crossing that became like a GNCC mud section.  The mud got deeper and deeper through the race, and longer and longer.  That was the only mud section of the race, but look at the results.

After the race.

I should tell you now, that we had a guest with us that made the day all that much more fun.  Matt Pickersgill, a friend from the UK was visiting and experiencing his very first Harescrambles race.  “Brilliant”!  I find that English guys say things like “Brilliant” and “Proper” a lot.  Brilliant isn’t just how you would describe a bright light in their version of the english language.  It is how you would describe something that is just really cool.  Proper is not just how you should act at the dinner table, but is a modifier word that would be added to the front of something else.  For example, “You would have to have proper fitness to do this sport” or  “This is proper soft dirt”.  Here is a list of words that I heard from Matt over the weekend, and my attempt at definition.

Brilliant – see above

Proper – see above

Faffing – futzing about, normally it seems to be when someone has to wait for another person whilst they faff around with something.

Chuffed – happy about something

Mate – friend

Knackered – really tired

Get a crack on – get moving, stop dilly dallying

Minging – really smelly and gross

Tar it all with the same brush – stereotype of a group of people being
all the same.

Jogg on – stop messing around and get a move on, not as severe as crack on

Bollox – monkeys nuts (specific spelling with an x on the end)

Bollocks – dammit

Slapper – really loose Doris (women) slap slap slap, a bit of a whore really

Swish swosh – prosperous walk. Walking like you’ve got a lot of money in your pocket, which maybe you do.

giffer – a cap wearing cross between a git and a duffer (specifically spelled with a lower case g)

Giffer – orgy seeking drunk middle age woman

Duffer – a pratt

Pratt – bit of an idiot

Git – a bit of a sod

Sod – (suttly different than git) kind of an idiot

Twat – agressive reference to a bit of a bastard, also female anatomy so be careful with this one

Dog and bone – the phone

Cream crackered – knackered

I don’t Adam and Eve it – I don’t believe it.

of course it goes on and on.  A week with Matt can give you a whole new look at the english language.

Out

Joe

Mud or Dust.

We raced in the mud locally this weekend.  So did the GNCC circuit at Loretta’s.  But just 2 weeks ago, the GNCC circuit raced in the dust.  Here is the video from that race.

[Vimeo 11230611]

1st race is in the bag!

Aztalan has left the building.

The first race of the year is always a great thing.  It can be sketchy, because it is April and you just never know what the weather will do.  But, whatever it brings it is always just a great thing to get it going – for crying out loud.

Finally! We get back to racing on this stuff.

It has been super dry around here.  I mean, like mid summer dry.  Last week on Wed, Scott and I went to Dyracuse to ride and it was 75 and almost dusty.  This week, the guys at Aztalan were telling me that it was super dusty out there.  Well of course, a super pile of storms came through and dropped more than an inch of rain.  Aztalan went from being dusty to snotty slimy muddy.

Oh ya. I am going to race this thing! Yep.

That would be me above sporting new Moose Racing gear, and that would be my sweet Vesrah Suzuki hoody that I was warning that I would be wearing.

So the dirt at Aztalan is a mixture of 50% clay, 10% sand and 75% small rocks.  That adds up to more than 100%, because that is what it adds in weight on your bike when you race in the mud there for 2 hours.  There is so much rock jammed into every little nook and cranny of the bike.  I swear my bike weighed 300lbs at the end of the race.  I absolutely could not even lift it up on the stand.

There wasn’t any standing water on the race, but there was everything from pudding mud to snot on glass to the kind of mud that just turns your tires into huge doughnuts of mud.

It really didn’t do much to the mud to have the C class, or the Vintage class or the RGN class, race before us.  Sometimes, that race before us busts up the mud and gets us down to a better racing surface.  Not today.  It was just as mucky for us as it was for the 1st race today.

The RGN class of racing is pretty cool.  They race a bunch of different disciplines of racing during the year.  The key is that they have to do it on the same motorcycle for each discipline.  MX, Supermotard, Road racing, Drag racing, Harescrambles, Enduro, Trials etc…  Most people choose an MX bike, and change the wheels for the other disciplines etc…

There was a guy in the RGN class racing a KTM adventure bike. Seems like a good way to ruin a nice motorcycle.

Our race started at 1:30, as advertised.  It was raining a little bit when we started, and it would keep that up for the whole race.  I got a good start in 3rd at the 1st turn.  But, at the 2nd turn, the 2nd place guy stalled his bike and blocked my line.  I was shuffled back a few spots at that point. Unfortunately, I would not see the front anymore today.

I made my way back up to 2nd place at one point, but as I said I just could not seem to find the front today.  I am not exactly a mud specialist.  Actually, after a year of GNCC racing I really don’t care much for the mud.

I eventually fell back to 3rd, as some local MX’er made good and beat both John and I.

Liz was there and took a bunch of photo’s.  Enjoy.

Scott putting it down

Pretty Muddy

If I was just going a bit faster

I really should open my eyes

Also there was mud

Gratuitous ass shot

Pretty much what everyones bikes looked like after the race.

How I feel about mud racing!

There are a bunch more photos at SpiderwebMX facebook page.  Take a look.

Out.

Joe

Perfect dirt – big crowds – 4 hours!

Yow! If you are a rider, and live in Wisconsin, you were at Dyracuse riding Saturday.

The first day of the local riding season is always a beautiful thing. People come out of the woodwork. I mean it has been a long dormant season. So the first days that Dyracuse is open brings everybody out. The quad riders the freestyle pant cigarette smokers, the serious mxers, the one or two lap blitzers and the serious woods riders.

The parking lot was full yesterday. If you were a rider in Wisconsin, you were riding yesterday.

Some years, the trails are completely dry already.  Some years, the motocross track is perfect and the trails are underwater.  Some years, the trails are partially covered in snow.  Some years, it is a balmy 29 degrees for the high.  Yesterday, the dirt was absolutely perfect.  Perfect moisture to have loads of traction, yet zero mud.  The temperature was a high of 65.  It just does not get any better than that.

It is no secret, that I have been struggling with my bike of late.  I have been trying different things.  I guess it is the season for that.  But, with just a few weeks till the race season, I was starting to get impatient.  So, yesterday I rode with the bike all the way back to where it was last year.

– stock exhaust.

– bars and grips from last year.

– tires I was familiar with

– suspension set up from last year.

– brake levers at the foot

etc…

Everything fell back into place yesterday.  I went from very out of sorts on the bike, to very comfortable again.  It was great.  The bike turned where I wanted it to, it did what I expected it would do on bumps, it had the throttle response I was expecting etc…  My bike was spectacular yesterday.

I put in about 4 hours of riding time.  An hour to get started with, then about 2 hours in the middle and then a break to make some adjustments and then another hour or so.  Felt really great.  The photos below show that even after 4 hours of riding, my bike was in good shape.

Out,

Joe

It’s Friday – video time!

Friday.  I am in Asia for work.  But, I still managed to find a couple of video’s.  I get home on Sunday, and the riding season is full on.  2 wheels everyday.

Found that trailer for a good looking movie.  Here is a link to the entire movie on line.

What’s Next

Official GNCC Florida video on the GNCC site.

Georgia GNCC race

Fun helmet cam from one of the later waves at the Georgia GNCC – morning race

part 2 of the helmet cam from above – morning race Georgia GNCC

Video from the Steele Creek GNCC race last weekend.

Whacky Whacky China Eastern Flight – wow!

After you read this, you are going to swear that I made this story up.  I admit to a small amount of embellishment,  less than 10%.  This story really happened.  I have not changed the names of anyone to protect the innocent.  I have only added detail to give you the real flavor of how the story truly unfolded.  After you read it the 2nd time, you might be able to pick out the 10% embellishment, but what you will really think after that 2nd time is – “wow!”

My travels can be really interesting, and they can be really mundane.  This trip cannot be categorized in the mundane category.

I know that you probably think that I live a life of glamorous international travel. (I put off that aire I know) Sometimes my job does provide that, such as when I get to go to France a do a big bike ride, or the UK and get rained on for an entire mountain bike ride or…  Sometimes my job provides that I arrive in Shanghai late in the afternoon after 24 hours of travel and have to go directly to a business meeting and then to diner.  Ugh…

This week I had a travel experience that was straight out of a National Lampoon movie.  On Wed, I took a flight from Shanghai direct to Taipei.  It has only been a year or so that you could fly directly from China to Taiwan.  A few years ago, you would have to fly from China to Japan or Hong Kong first and then catch a flight to Taiwan.  The Chinese claim the island of Taiwan is part of China and the Taiwanese feel they are their own sovereign nation.  I am not going to try to clarify that situation, as people way smarter than me do not seem to be able to do that.

You might be wondering what that has to do with my story.  Well not much.  But, it was better to lead off with all of that than it was to claim that I wrote the screenplay to the original Ghostbusters (not the second one because that was a sucky movie).

The end result of all of this procrastination at the beginning of this story, is that I think that the Chinese are becoming more affluent down to many levels and are starting to be interested in International travel.  Although you may not realize that China and Taiwan are very different, I can tell you from first hand experience that they are supremely different.  Give a read to this story as evidence of all of that.

China Eastern flight, Shanghai to Taipei, Wed March 24.

China Eastern is the Chinese airline company with the planes do not habitually fall out of the sky.  China Eastern hires Pilots with actual piloting experience and piloting credentials that are at least very good forgeries.  China Eastern hires Mechanics that at a minimum can tell which end of the hammer to use.  And, as you will see from this story, hires Flight Attendants with chutzpah.

We showed up on time to get our flight at Shanghai Pudong airport, 8am.  We were lucky to have made it there without a snorkel (check my previous blog to know why) Already waiting in line at the checkout counter was a particularly raucous group of Chinese tourists.  As I watched their shenanigans at the check in counter and line, I recall saying to myself, “wow, I hope that they are not on our flight”.  Of course, you can imagine what flight they were on.

Chinese tourist outfit. This is nervous gum chewing man.

Since we booked the flight from the US or Taiwan or whatever, we could not get seating in advance.  That doesn’t really make sense, as in the rest of the world it does not seem to matter where you book a flight from, you normally can get a seat in advance.  Chalk this one up to one more of those “I just cannot figure China out” items.  The counter person asked me what kind of seat I would like – aisle or window or middle.  I was tempted to say middle, but in the end replied with “aisle”.  What luck, we have just one left, on row 40.  Not thinking about where the tour group might be sitting, I took it.  That will prove to be a fortuitous decision, as you will learn.

Must be target practice happening normally. Going for distance?

When I got on the plane, the tour group was already in place.  It was looking like a college dorm party, one that you would see in the movie Animal House.  People were screaming across the plane at their friends.  They were climbing over each other, tossing things back and forth, laughing and jostling – in general it was already mayhem.  I assumed that this will surely settle down once we get situated, and I wedged myself into the only open seat smack in the middle of the 50 or so strong tour group.

We just missed the 2 for 1 sale!

Immediately the woman next to me began to encroach upon my personal space.  I know that we Americans have a larger personal space than the Chinese do so, I was trying to be calm about it all and understanding of that personal space difference.  I am in their country, after all.  I can usually be calm and understanding of this sort of thing, but this was ridiculous.  I have never had personal space invaded like this.  She was reaching across in front of me to hand something to her friend across the aisle and talking across the front of me and her elbow was poking me in the sternum as she dug in her bag.  She leaned across me to do all of that, no matter if I was reading, if I was eating or if I was sleeping.  None of that mattered.  Yes, she was that much in my personal space.

Before we pulled back from the gate, she pulled out a package of gum and began smacking the gum in my ear at about 96db.  Not just a little bit loud, but so loud that I could not even drown it out with my ipod.

As we pulled away from the gate, people were still up and walking around the cabin.   The Flight Attendant was asking nicely “please sit down”.  The Chinese tourists ignored that and began opening the overhead compartments to rummage through their bags.

The Flight Attendants began yelling “SIT DOWN”.  The Chinese tourists leaned over each other and pointed out the windows and began opening more bins and bags.

The plane began to taxi towards the runway.

The Flight Attendants began running up and down the aisles yelling “SIT DOWN – NOW”.  They were pushing people down into their seats and slamming overhead bins closed.

The plane continued to taxi towards the runway.

The Chinese tourists were standing back up and opening the bins again, screaming across the aisles, trying to pass things among their friends and trying to see out of the windows on the other side of the plane.

There were Chinese tourists on one side of the plane who were trying carry on conversations with people 7 seats and 2 aisles over on the other side of the plane.  And I do not mean just one conversation.  There were at least a dozen conversations going on at once like this.

The Flight Attendants yelled “SIT DOWN – NOW”.  The Flight Attendants pushed people down into their chairs and forcibly buckled their safety belts for them.  It was as if the Chinese tourists had never seen a seat belt.  They had no idea what they did.  They had no idea how to fasten them.  And most interestingly, some of them did not know how to get out of the seat belts.

The Chinese tourists continued to yell across the plane at each other.

One of the Chinese tourists got up and started showing people how to get out of their safety belts.  Good idea.

I saw a book fly across the plane into another persons hand on the other side.  I guess it was time to trade books.

The plane rumbled down the runway, the nose lifted and it began to take flight.

Half of the Chinese tourists cheered and jumped up out of their seats.

The Flight Attendants yelled “SIT DOWN!”

Since some people had just learned how to get out of their safety belts, they stood up anyway.  One of the guys stood up and did a victory dance.  I think it was because he finally figured out how to get out of his safety belt.

The Flight Attendants yelled “SIT DOWN!”

Finally I could not take it anymore.  I was horse from laughing so hard.  My face hurts from the perpetual smile I have from watching it all go down.  I decide to put my ipod back on trying to drown it out a little bit and read a book on my Kindle.

The loud gum chewer next to me becomes so fascinated with my Kindle that she is beginning to lean in front of me to look closely at it.  She is leaning in between me and the Kindle, yelling at her friend across the aisle to look at the device I am reading.  Her friend starts to stand up to come over and look.

The Flight Attendant yells “SIT DOWN!”

I eventually put my hand on the side of the gum chewers head and pushed her back to her chair so that I could read.  She stayed in her chair for about  5 minutes and then she began to lean over in between me and the Kindle again.  I gave up and just let her stare at it.  She stares for about 2 solid minutes.  There is no movement on the Kindle – just stationary words.  I do not know what is holding her attention.  I am certain she cannot read English, as I am reading a book called “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”.  (It is a parody of the Pride and Prejudice story only the daughters are trained in martial arts so they can fend off the random Zombie attacks thrown in for good measure.)  A zombie attack happened to be happening on that page.  If she could have understood it, she would have reacted.  I do not know what she would have thought of that if she could read English.

The Flight Attendants give up trying to keep the Chinese tourists in their seats during the flight.  It is a complete Animal House scene on the plane.  They are running around, yelling back and forth from one side of the plane to the other gazing out of the windows.  They are grouped up taking Asian pictures of them making peace signs to the camera.  They are trying to take a picture of the scenery out of the window of the plane and get their friends face in the picture at the same time.  So, there is a grinning Chinese tourist in front of the window (making a peace sign) and the plane window in the background with I am sure some great scenery behind it.  That will make a picture worth framing.

The Flight attendants come around with food.  Each of the Chinese tourists dutifully sits down then and when the tray is put in front of them, they devour every edible thing on the tray.  The woman across the aisle licked the plate that contained the entre.  I swear, she licked the plate clean.  The gum smacker next to me even scooped whatever butter was left in the container and ate that.  I got a little bit nervous, as she started to gaze at my tray.  Fortunately, the Flight Attendants had their hands full with this crowd and they were johnny on the spot picking up trays, trying to stay ahead of the mayhem.

After the meal, I realized there is another gum smacker on the other side of the plane that I think is really nervous.  This guy has gone through almost a complete package of gum at this point.  He chews a piece for a few minutes then takes it out of his mouth and sticks it in the map pocket on the back of the chair in front of him.  Then, puts another piece in his mouth and starts the process all over again.  There is a pile of empty gum wrappers at his feet.  By the time we landed the back of the chair was kind of oozing.

The fasten seat belt sign comes on as we are beginning to make our approach to Taipei.  The Flight Attendants start yelling “SIT DOWN!”

The Chinese tourists continue jumping out of their seats and peering out the windows on the other side of the plane and opening the over head bins.

The nervous gum chewer across the way is on to another piece of gum.

The loud gum chewer next to me, reaches across in front of me to collect something from the woman across the aisle. She jams her elbow into my neck while doing it.

The Flight Attendants yell “SIT DOWN!”  One of them runs up the aisle to shut overhead bins that the Chinese tourists have left open.  Stuff is spilling out onto peoples heads.  A woman gets hit in the head with a bag from above.  At least 10 Chinese tourists get out of their seats to help.  The other Flight Attendants get up out of their seats to put the Chinese tourists back into their seats.

The loud gum chewer next to me puts her elbow into my sternum.

The nervous gum chewer across the aisle puts another chewed piece of gum into the pocket on the back of the seat in front of him.

The male Flight Attendant who has come back from the front of the plane is physically putting the Chinese tourists into their seats and buckling them in.

The landing gear comes down, the Flight Attendants barely make it back to their seats before the wheels touch the ground.

As soon as the wheels touch the ground, the Chinese tourists are all up out of their seats and trying to get their bags down.

The Flight Attendants scream over and over “SIT DOWN!”

The nervous gum chewer misses the pocket on the back of the seat in front of him and drops his chewed gum on the floor.  He steps on it and it stretches from his shoe to the floor.  As he moves his foot around, he is really making a sticky mess.

Finally we get to the gate.  All of the Chinese tourists are either already standing or up immediately.  Never mind that there is not really room for everybody to be standing up.  They are like lizards in a bowl, climbing over each other in one great big mass of humanity.  I see one little guy walk across the seats in the middle from one aisle to the other.  The nervous gum chewer is standing on his seat, I am sure getting gum all over it.

The gum smacker next to me is smacking so loud that even over the noise in the cabin on the ground – I can hear her gum smacking.

As we are all moving down the aisle of the plane, the 2 guys in front of me are climbing up and looking in each overhead bin.  If they find one with a bag in it, they scream out “Hey, there is a bag up here!” about 4 times each, then they climb up and look in the next bin.  If there is a bag in that bin, they scream out “Hey, there is a bag in here” and then move to the next bin.

When we get out into the airport the Chinese tourists are all grouped up and having a party over every poster every carpet color every lighted sing the color of the seats etc…  I see a group of them in front of the trash can in the terminal making peace signs and mugging for the camera (The trash can is carefully included in the picture).  They are high fiveing each other, as if they actually had some hand in a successful flight.

The loud gum smacker next to me, is down on the carpet on her knees feeling the carpet with tears in her eyes.  I think she is so excited to be out of her own country that she is almost beside herself.

The nervous gum chewer is standing there with his mouth open just gawking at windows and signs and chairs and tile on the floor and…

Travel is a wonderful thing.

Joe

I should have gotten the supersized carton of smokes!

Top 12 reasons I cannot wait for the season to start

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.

TENNNN…SECCONDS!

Riding at St. Joe today!

We bugged out of town this morning early, Very Early.  Scott pulled up in front of my house at 4:45am to load up.  It was 8 degrees!  8 degrees!  Good god.  I do not know how much of this a person can take.  At my house, there is about 20 inches of snow on the ground in the front yard.  It was interesting to watch the snow go away on the drive down.  At the Wisconsin/Illinois border the snow was about 10 inches deep.  At Bloomington-Normal, sort of in the middle of the state of Illinois, there were patches of grass beginning to show through the snow.  At Springfield Illinois, there was only patches of snow in the shade, but the lakes were still frozen.  At St. Louis Missouri, the snow was gone entirely and the water was no longer frozen.

Somewhere in Northern Illinois. Look closely, and you can see the windmills turning, making electricity. Can't see any ground not covered in snow though.

We got out at a grocery store in St. Louis, and it was spectacular.  Not just the store, but the weather.  Wow!  It is amazing how 40 degrees feels so damn warm at this time of the year.

We arrived at St. Joe at about 11:45.  Not too bad.  It took us about 45 minutes to get the bikes out, get things sorted, suit up, gas up, tire pressure etc…  But, before we hit 1pm we were riding.  Riding people!  Riding.

St. Joe handles water pretty well.  But, it must have rained or snowed a bunch this winter.  Because, it was muddy and the ground was thawing.  The mud was not so bad.  It was muddy, but we pushed that around pretty well and turned the trail into something quite rideable.

But, it has been cold everywhere.  Not just Wisconsin, but here in Missouri as well.  The ground is still frozen an inch or so down.  So, as you ride the firm ground seems to come to the top and it gets G R E A S Y!  Yow.  But it was really fun.

It was a bit muddy today.

I am testing a left hand rear brake.  I know – what the….?  I have been having a hard time with getting my right knee folded up under me.  My knee brace protects my knee, but it makes it hard to get at the brake lever while seated.  That is not much of a problem  when standing, but when seated it is.  Lately, I have found myself in much tighter terrain and need to sit down more.  So, I am trying the hand brake.

So far, I like it.  Only one ride on it, and until I race with it I do not know, but so far it is interesting.  Solves some problems, but presents a few challenges as well.  I will put together a complete report on it when the weekend is over.

Plan tomorrow is 2-3 hours in the morning, lunch and then 2-3 hours in the afternoon.

Riding makes me smile!

Out,

Joe

Those used to be clutch plates!

For the last few rides, I have been hearing a funny ticking sound in my bike.  It has been a few months, because at this time of year it takes a few months to ride your bike a few times.  After Crawfordsville, I heard a funny ticking sound.  I thought it was my valvetrain with slack.

– I adjusted the valves.  Still did it.

– I checked my clutch, seemed to be fine.  With the Rekluse, the gap on the pressure plate to the first friction is particular.  I checked that, it was good.  It did it again at the indoor MX track.

– I adjusted the valves.  And headed to the National Enduro in Sumter South Carolina.  It still did it, but I learned that it went away when the clutch lever was pulled in.

I figured that I would replace the whole clutch, basket and all.  As I was pulling it all apart to do that, this is what I found.

When I put those in the motor, they were complete clutch friction plates.

Like my teammate Scott said “I am no expert, but I am pretty sure that is not how they are supposed to look”.

Guess what, no more funny ticking sound.  Jeez!

So, this should hopefully make my St. Joe riding experience a bit more fun.

Out,

Joe

Look Ma, no brake pedal!

What the…?

Yep, you see it right.  No rear brake pedal.

The crew at Rekluse make a rear brake lever that replaces the stock clutch lever.  I have been using their magical Rekluse Z-Start Pro auto clutch since last season.  I cannot ride without it.  With my history of MTB racing, and given that I have already moved beyond a clutch lever, it is a natural to move the rear brake up to the handlebars where it is normally on a MTB.  I am psyched to try it.

So, we will see very soon.  In the mean time, here is what it looks like.

No moto riding

My job and life is out of control.

I am looking at at least 3 weeks of no riding in the middle of the season!  Holy Crap!
– I am just finishing a week in Taiwan.
– home this weekend, but hanna’s last dance recital is this weekend.  (That is for sure worth not riding for.)
– Italy next week and weekend. (this is not the end of the world, as it is a riding/work trip and Liz is going with me)
– out to California for the Tour of California and a big dealer intro the following week and weekend. (Taking Ali with me, so this will be fun as well)

But, even though the trips that I have to take are not bad trips, there is a ton of working to do in between there and the combination is keeping me off the moto for 3 solid weeks.

Wow. I don’t think I have ever had 3 consecutive weeks of no riding in the middle of the season. That sucks, considering the complete local riding season is only about 28 weeks long.

This is not going to do great things for my speed. I am managing to get plenty of fitness work in during that time, but nothing keeps you race fit like riding.

New bike coming.
Mark tells me that I should have another 250F showing up in the next weeks. It is another 2009, not a 2010. I am actually ok with that. Yes it would be nice to be on a fuel injected bike, but I am used to the current bike and have all the stuff I need to outfit a race bike.

The cool part about this, is that the current race bike becomes my practice and back up bike in a couple of weeks and the new bike will see just race hours.  That will allow that bike to be my back up bike for next year and hopefully Suzuki will have more fuel injected bikes available then which will become my race bike for next year.

Scott is opting to try a RMZ450 as his back up bike this year.  That is good, because at least we will learn about programing the fuel injection from that bike and plastic, larger tank etc… are now shared between the 450 and the 250, so we can start to collect that for both of us for next season.  But, I am glad it is him on that 450 and not me.  I LOVE my 250 and just do not feel I need anything bigger.

Either way, we will be psyched to be on Suzuki’s and love giving out all of our info so others can see the way on Suzuki’s as well.

out.

Joe

Top reasons I cannot wait for next season!

Next season will be here soon, just a few months away. But, in my book it cannot get here soon enough. My counter says that it is just 31 days till the National Enduro in SC, but a pathetic 114 days till the first local race.  The season of racing signifies so many good things it is almost impossible to list them all, but I will give it a try to list the ones that impress me the most.

Reason #1 that I cannot wait for the season.
The motorcycle season does get started before real summer. But, it is really summer where it gets going in earnest. The other thing summer leads to is people wearing a lot less clothes. Some might say, most importantly summer equals girls in shorts.  But, to me what that really equals is me in flip flops.  Why would someone want to wear shoes when they could wear flip flops.

Let’s examine this closely. Shoes are completely closed in.  Flip flops are wide open.

Reason #2 that I cannot wait for the season.

Leaving early with Scott in the van.  Have you ridden in the van?  If you have not, you do not know what you are missing.  It stinks, it is loud, it requires 2 hands on the wheel to keep it straight on the road, there is no cruise control.  Now all of that sounds like a bad experience, but in fact it is really really fun.  Candy will be on the dash yelling at us to make the right turn, not the left.  Scott will shove an entire sandwich in his mouth while we are driving.  One of us will try to eat a Quiznos sandwich while driving with one knee as both hands are shoving food in the mouth and trying to catch any of the peppers that fall towards the ground before they bounce.

Reason #3 that I cannot wait for the season.

The first turn.  I LOVE the chaos of the first turn.  I love trying to get there first. I love looking for the line through the melee.  I love trying to see where John is if it is a local race.  I love trying to count how many back I am from the front when we hit the woods if it is a national race.  I love the feel of my bike as it roosts away from the line and away from the first turn.  I love the stupid pass that someone will put on me as we go into the woods.

In the end, the race is fun… but the first turn.   Ah…

Reason #4 that I cannot wait for the season.

Skiing is silly, it is snow after all.  I mean, that is frozen water that we are trying to slide over with planks bolted to our feet.  It is damn fun, but much less predictable than dirt is.  Plus, it is cold out there.

Reason #5 that I cannot wait for the season.

I love having Candi on the dash.  She is so boisterous.

Reason #6 that I cannot wait for the season.

Quiznos.  I don’t have much reason to go to Quizno’s at any other time of the year.  Even though they are sandwich artists there.  Plus, have you seen my teammate eat?  He can put it away, and I get to witness it almost every week.  How can a guy that is mostly just lungs on top of legs put that much away?   Jeez!

Reason #7 that I cannot wait for the season.

Race gas.  Who doesn’t love the smell of race gas.  I mean it is not the smell of a pan of brownies being cooked or a burrito.  But, it is way better than dog doo on your shoe.  Now that doesn’t smell good at all.  But race gas, yum.  Maybe it is just that it means I am going racing that weekend.

Reason #8 that I cannot wait for the season.

I have a new pair of boots.  Enuf said, right?  Who doesn’t like that new boot look and feel.  You look like a dweeb with some matching gear and spanky new bright white (I hope I don’t get these dirty) boots.  You cannot feel the shifter or the brake lever, so as you over rev the motor or blow right through that first turn when you cannot find the brake – you look really good.  Girls swoon for new boots.

Reason #9 that I cannot wait for the season.

More riding, and less counting down till the season.

Reason #10 that I cannot wait for the season.

I love that “someone ran over me with a truck feeling” the day after a harescrambles race.  It is like 2 hours of someone hitting you with a hammer.  You pee every 20 minutes on the way there.  You drink 5 bottles of water and cytomax and recovery drink on the way home, and you do not need to pee until the next day.  I am certain that you drop about 5 pounds during a race.  Your bike is usually shredded after a race, but it makes the someone ran over me feeling all worth it.

Bonus reason #11 that I cannot wait for the season.

It has been a few months since we have needed to have someone pull us out of a muddy GNCC parking lot.  God I love that.

So, please please bring on the season.

out.

JV

No more local riding

Snowed on Friday.  More snow coming today/tonight.  Possibly 5-6 inches.  If that happens, we will definetely be done riding this year.  Knew it was coming, it always does.  But, I was just so hopeful that it wasn’t really going to be soon.  You know, living in denial.

Since I didn’t get to make it to Tennessee with Mark and Scott, I was just so hopeful that I could still ride locally somehow.  Not to be.  Winter has decided to step in here in Wisconsin.  I suppose that is ok, as it is time to work on the garage, work on my motorcycle, ski, train and get ready for next year.

So, today I am going to work on the garage a bit, take an inventory of things in the garage, create a laundry list of bike-gear-garage things that I need to work on, figure out locations for a few things that just have not gotten put away this fall etc…

New Pipe

My friend JD Friebel called the other day to brag that his new 4strokes are quieter than my 4stroke.  (I am exagerating of course, he called for a number of other reasons – that is just the one that I am quoting here.  I have to make the story fit my point after all.)

My teammate Scott and I have absolutely fallen in love with our Suzuki RMZ250 4strokes.  But, we both wish they were a bit quieter.  Not that riding a dirt bike doesn’t have some noise associated with it.  I just don’t like being THAT guy.  Mark Junge has pledged to work with us also to try to quiet the things down a bit and still have power.  Not the easiest things to do.

I am also working on it on my own.  So, I ordered up a new FMF exhaust system.

Always nice when you have boxes like this show up! Feel the power!

And Inside!

So, I have a new Q muffler from FMF, and a new stainless Mega-Bomb header.  FMF literature claims below 96db on the muffler and the header also claims a reduction in noise as well as more torque and 1.5hp.  We will see.

Now it is time to get the suspension back to FC to be reworked.  Going to ask them to take it back to the GNCC setting.  I am finding that a bunch of our racing is more about speed than it is to go through super technical enduro terrain.  I am doing a National Enduro in January, but by spring time we will be back to HS racing every weekend.

Ready to go back to Factory Connection for some love. Check out that floor!

Tough time of the year for moto guys, but eveything comes back around.  Spring will be here and the timer on my computer says that that the first race will be here in about 130 days.  Seems like an eternity, but it will be here soon enough.

Joe

Offseason!

That is a funny word.  I have come to loathe that word.  It means that the leaves are off the trees, and the riding trails are closed and my bike sits apart in the shop for much to much time.  It also means that I find myself working on my shop more and on my bike a lopsided number of hours.

The offseason also means that I get to focus on my fitness and figure out where I went right or wrong last season.   Here is a preliminary list of that.

Right
–    Switching to the 4 stroke.  It  is for sure the right bike for me these days.  Rides better, handles better has better power etc…
–    Riding with Pete Laubmeier.  He has been teaching me how to use my back brake properly.
–    My Moose gear.  It is all really good stuff.
–    The graphics on our bikes.  Everybody says they look dynamite.  Even Mike Webb at Suzuki noted how good they look.  Thanks AJ at Victory Circle.
–    Raced more than last year.  The combination of 2 series here in the state, and GNCC and OMA and…  has made for a lot of racing available to us.
–    I won 3 races outright this year.
–    I was 2nd more times than I can remember.
–    I know how to go really fast for the first half of the race.

Wrong
–    I only did 1 GNCC race
–    I only did 1 Enduro
–    I did not get to do the National Enduro in Marquette, and now it is not on the schedule for next season.
–    I have fitness problems.  I go really really fast for the first hour of the race, but then struggle in the 2nd hour.
–    2 series in the state has split up where riders go, and sometimes we do not get the size field that we should.

That is enough of a list to get me started on the offseason.  It means that as we look forward to next year I will be focusing on
1.    A fitness routine that helps me get through to the end of the race as strong as I can go in the beginning of the race.  I have 3 different trainers that I am working with to help me do that.  Scott’s wife Mary Daubert, Mary Grinaker and Kathy Mock.  They all will help me to build a fitness base that we can make work for the whole race.  I will be doing some XC ski racing this winter to help with that also.
2.    I will be laying out a schedule of racing that will allow me to be at enough races to pursue the overall win in the D16 series or the WIXC series.  After that, I am going to focus on doing the big races that I want to flush my season.  OMA winter nationals, National Enduro’s over the winter.  GNCC races in the spring and late summer.  D16/WIXC during the late spring and summer.
Today is an unheard of 70 degrees here in Wisconsin.  That means I will be putting off getting started on working on my shop and my winter bike work, in favor of a big mountain bike ride today.  Duh.

Off to the races.

Joe

Cleaned my bike after Crawfordsville – OMG

Took at least an hour to clean my bike. There was at least 40 lbs of mud on the bike. It was everywhere. The plastic, chain, sprockets, brake pads all went straight to the trash.

 

Love that Crawfordsville race and course, but man is it hard on equipment.

 

Out.

Crawfordsville – the aftermath

I needed to post up some pictures of the aftermath of Crawfordsville.  We got home late last night, so the bike just went into the garage and I piled into bed.  Today after work, I got after trying to get started cleaning it all up.

 

 

That was an almost new feeling motorcycle before this.  It had new plastic, and new graphics.  I wanted it to look good, and more than one person remarked that our bikes looked really good.  They did.

Ugh.

 

Joe

Another season done – Crawfordsville is complete.

What do you get when you combine 1000 motorcycles, soft dirt a bunch of river crossings and huge hills?  You get the Crawfordsville Ironman GNCC – that’s what you get.  This years addition was the hardest ever.  I think it was at least 10 times harder than last year.  The mud, the ruts, the hills, the waist deep river crossings, the ruts, the whoops, the power sapping soft dirt… Ugh.

Crawfordsville was the normal chaos of cars and trucks and ATV’s stuck in the muddy field.  I am also always amazed at the fact that we see confederate flags this far north.  They are on the back of trucks, they are on peoples hats, there are flags flying… Wow.

We parked in the XC2 pits.  We kind of know our way around the place and just inserted ourselves in there.  We pulled in and wedged ourselves between Chuck Woodford and our friend Mat Herrington.  A primo spot, it was cool.

The morning race had over 500 motorcycles.  Unbelievable.  This was probably the most well attended race I have ever seen.  I don’t know what the recession has to do with it.

see of motorcycles.

see of motorcycles.

HPIM3765

this one should have been with the mud gallery.  that is how your tires look trying to get in and out.

this one should have been with the mud gallery. that is how your tires look trying to get in and out.

When the first guys go through, it is not so bad.  Later during our race this will be a sea of mud and bikes stuck everywhere.

When the first guys go through, it is not so bad. Later during our race this will be a sea of mud and bikes stuck everywhere.

I got a pretty good start, probably 5th off the line and into the woods.  There were 15 guys on my line.  Dang, that RMZ is a great bike.  I also am really amazed at how well the 4stroke works now, compared to my previous 4stroke experience.  It is fast, it handles well it just does everything well.  Except, it is loud.  I don’t really like that part about it.

The first lap there was the usual impassable spot that had to be rerouted.  We were caught under this bridge culvert and with bikes stuck everywhere and overheating.  There was a super muddy creek we had to ride down, under the culvert, down the creek and then in theory make a 90 degree right turn up a 100 foot hill from the river.  There were at least 30 bikes there stuck when I arrived.  No one was making it up the hill.  We finally got through when they rerouted us away from a huge hill that people just could not make it up, but it was at least 5 minutes of just sitting there.

Also, somewhere along the first lap, I picked up a ribbon in my front brake.  For the whole race, my front brake had to be pumped to make the brake work.  The first pull it would go all the way to the bar, the second halfway and then finally on the 3rd pull it would work.  It was a bit distracting as the hills are so big there, there is just no way to ride without a front brake.  Hmmm…  must have heated up the fluid somehow and boiled it all out or…  I don’t know.

Because we start 15 minutes after the pro’s, and we had spent so much time sitting there in the creek, the pro’s caught us all before the end of the first lap.  ugh…  No 5 laps today.

Some of the race, I ran in 5th place.  But, then on the last lap, I got impossibly stuck and was multiple minutes slow.  Crossed a creek and then chose the wrong rut.  The rut I was in was deeper than the top of the seat of the bike.  There was an old guy there with an ATV, and after arguing with him for multiple minutes, he finally pulled out a strap and helped me pull the bike out of the rut.  I don’t know what he was there for, if he was not going to pull people out of the ruts.  I stood there for all those minutes, while multiple multiple people went by me.  Unfortunately, I dropped back to 7th there.  Not a bad finish, considering.

Of course it would not be a GNCC race, if we did not get the van stuck in the field trying to get out.  For what feels like the hundredth time, we had to have a tractor pull us out to get going.  We have been stuck in Scott’s van in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana (more than once), New York, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee…  Wow.  I wonder how many other states we can get it stuck in?

yep, stuck again!

yep, stuck again!

And yes.  we had to be towed out.

And yes. we had to be towed out.

The results.

The results.

Yes my bike looks horrible.

Yes my bike looks horrible.

Out

Joe

At Suzuki Mark’s place

On our way down to Crawfordsville, we needed to stop off at Suzuki Mark’s.  Thats what we call him anyway.

Mark and I standing in front of the trailer INSIDE his shop!

Mark and I standing in front of the trailer INSIDE his shop!

His real name is Mark Junge.  Mark and his wife Nancy run Vesrah Suzuki racing.  Mark is 8 time national endurance racing champion.  8 times!  Holy crap.  That is some skill  But on top of that, he and Nancy are just really good people.  They are super to be around.  I always love going to their shop.

A few Youtube videos for you from Mark’s racing.

Pit stop

Facebook page

Looking into Mark's shop.  That is the semi pulled into the shop and those are STACKS of race tires! Yow!

Looking into Mark's shop. That is the semi pulled into the shop and those are STACKS of race tires! Yow!

The shop is huge!  It is big enough that the full semi for the race team just pulls right into the shop.  Stacked on one end of the shop are at least 20 stacks of race tires in stacks shoulder high.  Stuffed into corners all over the shop are various race bikes.  Mark runs a full compliment of GSXR1000’s and a team of GSXR600’s.  There are what appears to me to be about 25 motorcycles in various states of race prep around the shop.

A few of the many many bikes around the shop.  They are all for sale at the end of the season, btw.

A few of the many many bikes around the shop. They are all for sale at the end of the season, btw.

Nancy showed me some of the archive bikes that Mark has around the shop.  He is trying to rebuild race bikes from all of the 9 seasons of championship racing.  Wow.

We wound our way back to the bowels of the shop, where Mark had stacks and stacks of race gas.  He gave us a bunch of the stinky stuff and we were just giddy to get it.  Something about having “race gas” makes it all seem that much more real.  That much more serious and sort of famous some how.  “I have race gas in my tank”, I had better go fast!

As much as we are moto freaks, Mark is a bicycle freak.

You can't really see it up there, but on the loft above the dyno room, there are at least 20 bicycles.

You can't really see it up there, but on the loft above the dyno room, there are at least 20 bicycles.

What is it with motorcycle guys loving bicycles?  I think it is really cool.

So, we got going from there and Candi told us that we had about 4 hours drive from there to get to Crawfordsville.  We had to make it through Chicago (The city of 24/7 traffic) and then through Gary Indiana (you know how nice that is) and then south in Indiana.  Indiana is actually a pretty nice place.  A lot like Illinois, ony better I think.

We had dinner in West Lafayette, the home of Purdue University.  It seems like a pretty good town.

After an uneventful drive, we are here in Crawfordsville.  We are in the lap of luxury is what it feels like.  We are in the Ramada Limited.  Doesn’t feel anything like our full season of GNCC.  During that season we were right in the thick of things.  We camped in the camper at the race site of each race.  We were there for all of the Quad race saturdays.  We walked the track on Saturday.  We worked on motorcycles.  We made lunch at the campsite.  We went to talk to Shane at Suzuki.  We found Jason Weigand and others.  We got signed up on Saturday.  We were regulars.  Now we are just 2 guys in a hotel room, doing a motorcycle race the next day.

I miss the full GNCC thing.  We will at least get a little bit of it tomorrow.

I will post up from the race site and twitter etc…  Wish us luck.

Joe

Crawfordsville, here we come!

The 303 rides again!

Now that is tight.  Thanks a ton AJ for the graphics upgrade just for this race.  It has rained a bunch there, but it rained overnight on Thursday.  Last year it rained all night on Friday and the race was fantastic.  I am counting on it being similar.  Either way, time to shred.