Tag Archives: suzuki

Best and Worst of 2011!

Wow.  Another racing year gone by.  (I’m not actually getting older though. I am a bit like Merlin, getting younger all the time.)

We have always played a game with the family at dinner time.  It was called Best and Worst.  Continue reading

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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

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

Short Perry Mountain Challenge Post

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

There is a new term in my vocabulary now – “Alabama Hot”! I used to use the term “Africa Hot”. Africa hot was a definition of the ultimate level of human hot experience. You know what I am saying…”wow, it’s hot. No, last week was hot, this is Africa Hot”. It was meant as a saying to prove that things really cannot get any hotter. I’m here to tell you that, it can get hotter. It can get even hotter than Africa Hot. It can get “Alabama Hot”! Wow, I did not know it could get that hot. Until you have raced an all day Offroad Motorcycle race at 100 degrees with 90% humidity, and a low of 85 at night, you don’t really know what hot is. I know I certainly didn’t.

I also know now, that I am a puss. I used to think that a 2 hour HS race or a 3hour GNCC race was hard. Heck, I even thought a 4+ hour National Enduro was hard. HA! Those are for wimps. I feel like I can do those without even worrying now, after this experience. I have gotten off the motorcycle after those races and said, “wow, that was the hardest thing I have ever done”. What a wimp. I can never say that again, because unless I am doing the Perry Mountain Challenge in even harder conditions, nothing engineered by Offroad racers can be more physically challenging than this was. Wow, is all I have to say.

My hat is off to the people that were ironmaning the race.

The Vesrah Suzuki Offroad team, made a good showing. We planned well, we prepared well, we brought a good crew to help… We spent a fair amount of time at the pointy end of the field at,11:30 at night (13 hours into the race) we were in 1st place of the 26 duo teams. The laps that Scott did put time into everyone else, and I was able to maintain whatever position he left me with for my laps.

Unfortunately, we struggled during the night for a few different reasons and ended up sitting down for much of the rest of the night. (more on all of that on the full post later). I got back on the bike at about 4:45 in the morning. We were in 7th place. Between there and the 10am finish, we managed to work our way back up to 5th place, almost into 4th. We made up laps on all of those teams, but fell 3 minutes short of 4th place.

Man it was fun. The course rocked. The organization of that race was superb. I cannot say enough about all of that. But, our crew was by far the best out there:

Hanna Vadeboncoeur – documentarian and back up chef. She ran all the cameras and got a ton of great video and photos. You will see those this weekend when I put up the next post.

Liz Vadeboncoeur – chef. She stayed up all night, she kept food coming for the crew and riders. She kept the camelbaks full of cold beverage. She made dinner at breakfast time, breakfast 4 different times during the night etc…

Matt Pickersgill – logistics. He ran the big white board that kept track of all the riders lap times, how many laps done, when the rider was due back in, when the next rider had to be back to the pits, ran the sign board for the rider etc…

Chris Garrison – crew chief. She did everything. A little mechanic work, handled keeping the riders cool, handled my dirty snotty sweaty helmet and goggles, disgusting slobbered on chest protector, Scott throwing up etc… She was a saint through it all.

Noah Mitchell – mechanic. Noah was the man. He did not sleep, he cleaned bikes, he never missed a beat and our bikes were perfect ever time. He cleaned carburetors, mounted and dismounted lights, changed tires, changed oil etc… Scott and I only touched the bikes to ride them. Indispensable.

We could not have done it without them – all.

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

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

Out.
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!

1st annual Adams County Harescrambles – yipp!

This past Sunday we got back to racing here locally. Finally, right? It is getting a bit absurd as to why we all live here. I mean, how much non summer can a person take? I suppose an Eskimo would think that our summer was glorious. To me, I am not too keen on living in the icebox. It’s a bit like Monty Python in the holy grail, “I don’t think he would be too keen, as he has already got one!”. I mean, how can a rabbit bite someone’s head off anyway? Bruce Willis would never do that.

So Bob Kau ran the Adams county race on his property up there. I don’t know what Bob does, but he seems to have property everywhere. I guess being a crotchety old guy with a beer in hand equals property baron. Maybe I should try that. I used to think that Bob was just that, a crotchety old guy with a beer in his hand, now that I have gotten to know him better, I know him as a crotchety old guy with a beer in his hand that has a hard and crusty outside but on the inside he is really a nice guy. He always has good things to say, he points out what he likes when you see him and what he doesn’t like. He is quick to point out when you look good on your bike, and when you do not look good. I kinda like him. I guess you do sometimes get what yo see.

My problem is that I have seldom looked good on my bike this year. I just am not riding that well this year. People have been telling me that I look just fine, but I am going backwards. I used to be able to match John’s pace, but this year he seems to be a gear faster than me. I have some work to do.

Here is a video of the 1st lap from my helmet cam this past weekend.

My race was not a disaster. I still ended up 3rd, with a huge margin over 4th. A new guy named Jay got in between John and I.

There was this almost endless sandy section. It was a GP course through an old cranberry farm. It was fun, but amazingly hard. I will put it together, as Pete is going to work with me to try to figure out what I am doing. We will see.

Other stuff
– there were 15 riders on the +40 line, I think 14 on the AA line. That is cool. Big fields are better than not.
– my suspension was set up really well for the sand, but was way too stiff for the tight stuff. That got really rough. I needed to strike a better balance for my settings, Factory Connection does great work, but still requires that the rider do his part choosing settings for the day. My bad.
– thanks a ton to Pete and everyone at the Madison Motorcycle club for putting the race on.

My bike was great. It ran like a champ. The new bars were great (thanks Easton). The Sand Mad rear and Southwick front were perfect in the sand and worked like a champ (thanks a ton Kenda), as always Moose gear is impossible to beat. Me new EVS braces are the bomb.

From here, I am looking forward to the last couple of weeks of preparation for the 24hour race.

Out for now. Working with Pete days come up next week when I return. Thanks Bob!

Joe

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

After the Sandlapper National Enduro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Out.
Joe

Go to South Carolina, and ride yourself crazy boy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today, on to Salley SC for the National Enduro.

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.

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

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

Finally another post

It has been a long time since I have posted anything here. I am sorry if you have been faithfully checking back, waiting for a post. I will try to make that up here, I will not be so absent again. I don’t really have a good reason for no posting, but I HAVE been really busy.

It all kinda started with the crash in Whistler. You may recall that I crashed really hard in Whistler in early July, separating my AC in my right shoulder. That really set me back. That was about 6-7 weeks ago, I have been training since then, but it is coming back really slowly.

This is what it looked like before it all went bad.

Byron HS

The Byron HS was a real old school HS. I am talking about really tight 90%woods 4 mile course. It was soft and it became really really rutted. So rutted that of course it was really really tough riding. This one was really hard to ride with my shoulder. I fell over a couple of times and that was quite the ordeal with a shoulder that was only about 50%.

I got a crap start and arrived late to the woods. There was about 18 people on my line and getting to the woods in 15th or so was a challenge. The course was mostly single track and passing was nearly impossible. At the woods I knew it was going to be a long day. I had my work cut out for me.

I managed to pass a few people each lap and ended up 5th. John and I were both in the +40 A class. There are a bunch of really fast guys in Illinois, especially in the A class.

But, I was completely shredded after the race. It is completely amazing what an injury and a few weeks of inactivity can do to your aggression and fitness. I have a long way to go for sure.

It was crazy hot on the line at Byron. I must have sweat out a gallon before the start.

Tight turn at Byron. The whole thing was tight, so calling out a single turn as tight seems silly.

Scott

Stone Lake HS

This was the next race on the agenda.  The series had been to this venue before, but I had not personally.  The first time around was when I was in Whistler with the family in early July.

Stone Lake is near Rice Lake Wi.  I know, I know…the Wisconsin lake thing.  It does get confusing.  Anyway, Stone Lake is up in northern Wi.  I love coming up here.  The northern part of Wisconsin is a special place.  The forest is great, and there are not many people.  But, the terrain can be challenging.

Stone Lake was a long loop.  8 miles around.  There was not a huge crowd there, only about 9 people on my line.  The course started out on a really really great MX track.  Great dirt, groomed to perfection, huge uphill jumps, really nice bermed turns.  Yow.  Then it went through some GNCC width trails.  They were fast and furious.  Then a great grassy field section and then 3 miles of the toughest roughest rock infested trail I have ever raced on.

Of course it rained the night before the race.  It is ME at the race after all, so it has to rain.  The rain didn’t hurt the MX track or the fast trails.  But, the rocky 3mile section was murder with mud.   I am talking standing up 100% of the time, trials type riding over wet slippery rocks that are flipping your bike right and left.  It was a workout.

I got another crap start (seems like my shoulder injury has turned me into a week starter).  I fell trying to get off the MX track, but pushed anyway and got up to 2nd before we got off the fast GNCC type trails.  I was passed by a guy I did not know going into the rock infested part of the race.  For 2 laps after that, I could still see John and that 2nd place guy on the MX track when we would get back to that, but then my fitness fell apart and I went backwards.

Oh well.  Those are not too bad of efforts for a guy with a bad shoulder.  I am starting to feel closer to 90% now, so I think I should get back to the front after this.

JD ripping

My Girl Gang

Me, but not going anywhere near JD's pace

Yep, that is about how well it went for me.

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

Friday Video post (on a Wednesday) -it’s been a while

I have not had much time to swoop for video on the web lately. Lots of travel and lots of other obligations. So, here is what I have collected over the past weeks.

This is great video from Paul Whibley’s winning GNCC season. I only did one of the races this year. Kind of a drag. I went from doing all of them the year before to just the last one on this season.

I found this video showing a preview of the next World Cup Downhill race. Wow, I don’t think I could even pick my way slowly through a lot of this course, much less look at it and figure out how I can blitz it.

That is all for now. More next week.

Good night

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

Helmet Cam video-St. Joe Missouri

This is a loop that Scott and I were riding at St. Joe this weekend.  You will see about 1/2 of the loop and then a small turning exercise we were doing in the open.

I crash at the end of it, where severely bruised my thigh.  It was bad enough that it ended my day.  If you listen closely at the end, you can hear me moan and say “shit that hurt”.  Oh well.

Super fun and great to spend 2 days on the bike at the end of Feb.  Going skiing in Utah next week, and hopefully will do the MXC race in Illinois on the 14th.

I took all this with my Vio Sport helmet cam.

(Yes, Scott had to wait for me to stay in the frame)

Enjoy

Joe

Riding at Waterman

Scott and I rode at Waterman Indoor MX track last weekend.  It is not the greatest riding, and I am not the greatest MX rider.  But, it is January and we rode our motorcycles.  Good on that, eh?

It was really cold in the building.  Probably around 40 degrees.  40 is not that bad, considering.  But, it is cold to spend all day in.  We rode for about 2.5 hours in 17 minute increments.

This is a video from early in the day.  I got better, but this is the video I can show.

There was one good table top jump for me that I could nail the first landing.  I never got up the nerve to really fling it and go for the 3rd landing.  There was a series of 2 table tops that I could eventually jump from the top of one table top to the top of the next.  There was also a really fun fairly peaky whoop section that I felt fast in.  Oh well.

Out for now.

Joe

Dyracuse World Championships

The Dyracuse World Championship of Wisconsin offroad racing!  That is what Scott and I have been billing it as.

Dyracuse is where both the WIXC series and the D16 AMA series was going to come together and race the last race of the season together.  It was held at Dyracuse riding area, on trails that Scott and I knew pretty well.  And, it was not without it’s share of Drama – mostly in the AA class, so I will let you read about that on Scott’s blog.

Dry, Dry, Dry! That was the order of the day.  We knew it was going to be dusty and we knew it was going to be dry and hard to see.  Sure enough, it was.  Huge clouds of dust.  During the week before, it rained cats and dogs in Madison.  Madison is just an hour and a half drive south of Dyracuse.  We were pretty excited during the week, that there could be perfect dirt at Dyracuse.  But, a check of the actual weather in the days before showed less than .5inch of rain during the week before.  Ugh.

The course is long at Dyracuse, so Scott and I decided to leave at 5am so that we would have time to ride the whole course on our mountain bikes before the race.  Scott had brought with him a Gary Fisher 29’er, but all I had at home was a Trek Jack dirt jumping bike.  Scotts bike worked perfectly in the sand, but mine with indoor tires set up left a lot to be desired.  So, Scott made it all the way around and I made it just a little bit.  Oh well.

turned out there was quite a bit of unused trail that they found for the race.

turned out there was quite a bit of unused trail that they found for the race.

Ahhhhh!

Ahhhhh!

There was also quite a bit of virgin trail, and that will play in Scott's story!

There was also quite a bit of virgin trail, and that will play in Scott's story!

Yep!  We are dorks.

Yep! We are dorks.

Turned out to be a huge crowd on the line.  I think for sure the biggest crowd of the year here in Wisconsin.  I guess that is what it is like when we bring both race series together and kind of proves my point that we have enough racers here in the state for 1 series, but not for 2.

There were 18 guys on the line for the +40 race.  Wow.  This was going to be fun.  The gun went off and I did not get a good start.  I knew that I needed to be near the front at the beginning of the race or the dust was going to be impossible.  I pushed really hard to get by people on the track before we headed into the woods.  On the 4th turn, I chose to go under a rider and when I did I must have been too close as he fell over on top of me.  Literally on top of me.  His bike was on mine, and he was on me.  But, my bike was laying there under his – still running.  Damn that Rekluse clutch is amazing.  I got my bike untangled and got going, and when I came off the track, Brian told me that I was 2nd to last.  So, I had my work cut out for me.

I caught up to Rob really quickly, who was on a new 450.  Yow.  That is too much bike for me, but he claims to love it.  But, I knifed through him pretty fast and kept going.  In the woods, just because you are on a 450, that doesn’t mean that a 250F cannot leave you behind.  When we came through after the first lap, I was in 3rd.  I assumed that Jim and John were ahead of me.  I was right on Jim, but it turned out I was wrong on John.  I caught Jim and another guy and worked my way through them on the 2nd lap.

At the end of the 2nd lap, I was in 1st.  Not bad for the start that I had and getting off the Motocross track.  I do really well in the opening laps, especially when I have a deficit to make up.  I rode the next 4 laps in 1st place, and probably got a little bit complacent.  I think I settled into a mellow trail pace, thinking that I had it in the bag.

Unfortunately, Jim and John had a different idea.  They caught me on lap 6 and had a good freight train going.  They went right through me.  Ugh.  How could I let my early part of the race pace, fall off.  I got mad again, and that is when I ride much better.  I decided this wasn’t going to happen and put my head down again.  On the MX track, I came over a rise only to discover Jim on the ground.  I could not see him until to late, and unfortunately I ran right into his back wheel when he was picking his bike up – knocking his bike back down.  I felt really bad for that and apologized like crazy.  But, I did not want to wait for him as I really wanted to see if I could catch John.

On the 7th lap, I completely fell apart – again!  I have problems.  I threw away another race.  Another time that I should have won, but did not.

So, the District 16 series is over.  John won the overall.  He deserved it  He was the most consistent of us all.  I took a credible 2nd overall, but I have some consistency issues that I need to work on for next year.  Fitness and being able to hold that pace for the 2nd hour as well.

That is it for today.  More observations to come.

out!

Joe

Dyracuse riding and Dresser racing!

I have a lot to talk about.  You could say that I probably always do.  In fact, most people would really like me to shut up.  But I always have a lot to say.  Even on average weeks I have a lot to say.  But, I really have a lot to say today.

Haven’t written much lately, so here goes.

Last weekend I rode for 2.5 hours at Black River Falls with John B.  This week on Wed, I rode with Scott, his brother Pat, Tom Baker and Roger Bird.  We had a whole posse at Dyracuse.

loading a bunch of bikes in the back of the van and going to Dyracuse is always a good thing.

loading a bunch of bikes in the back of the van and going to Dyracuse is always a good thing.

We rode for hours and hours and burned up a bunch of gas.  We traded bikes back and forth and everyone had the opportunity to ride others bikes.  Of course I like mine the best, but Scott’s primary race bike is pretty interesting.  He is faster than I, so he is looking for more power where I am looking for manageable power.  His bike was almost violent feeling.  Mine is friendly.  We both used those terms when we were done riding each others bikes.

I LOVE my bike.  The RMZ250 and I are perfectly suited.  I can ride it agressive all the time.  Last year when the XC2 guys would pass me, I always marveled at how they were always on the gas.  When I was on the 250 2stroke, I was always trying to stay away from the hit.  If there was a small clearing in the trail, you were afraid to give it a bunch of gas, because it was going to go all death-murder-kill on you.  I mean the power was violent on that thing.  So, to avoid that hit of power, I would try to carry lots of momentum all the time.  Good strategy, but not really fast.  Now, I am on the gas also.  And it shows.  I have gone from struggling with my riding to always riding at the pointy end of the group.

Damn, it feels good.

Today was the Dresser D16 race.  It was interesting.

Started out the drive at 5am, it was dark and foggy.  Ugh.  Tough driving.  Candi pulled me through though.

She has me going, but look closely and you can see that I have quite a ways to go.

She has me going, but look closely and you can see that I have quite a ways to go.

I had the radio going and was putting down the miles, and the sun eventually came up and gave up a killer sunrise.

On the road again!

On the road again!

I made it to the race, and it was getting hot and there was no moisture anywhere in sight.  I mean I am talking dust like you have never seen before.  There was 100+ riders on the line and 8 rows.  An 11 mile course, with an Enduro cross section.  Telephone poles at angles, piled up rock section, and a second piled up Telephone pole section on a big downhill.  It was super fun.

The gun went off and I was 5th going into the woods.  20 people on the line, and it was a dust cave.  The woods had this really powdery grey dirt that just made huge clouds.  The whole 11 miles ended up just one big dry rut of powdery dirt.  When the guy in front of you got on the gas on an uphill, you would get a solid face full of dirt.  Blasted.  I am scared to look at my airfilter.

I ran a filter skin, and pulled it at an hour.  The bike did run better for 15 minutes or so – but eventually must have choked and it ran really rich.  bogging.

I worked my way to the front a little bit into the first lap.  I was riding really really really well.  That RMZ just kicks ass.  Suits me like… I don’t know what.

In the end, I had a really great 2’05” race.  I rode nearly perfect for that time.  Unfortunately, the race was 2’20” long.  Dammit.  I was so close.  With about 15 minutes to go, I fell over.  Nothing bad, just a tip over.  Unfortunately when you do something like that, it just creates a cloud of dust that is choking.  Took me too long to get going, and John along with a lapper went by me.  I rode like mad, trying to get around the lapper to get up to John – but in the end I just put myself over the edge and then crashed again.  Got going after that, and then a guy that I had just passed screamed at me.  I let him go by, and he proceeded to get stuck on the next hill, forcing me to go back down to the bottom and find another way up.  It took me forever to get over that hill.

Funny how you can go from on top of your form to so retarded in so little time.  I still was 2nd, but I should have won.

After the race, I had a text exchange with my daughter Hanna.

Me – Dammit.  I led for most of the race, but with 15 minutes to go i fell and mangled my radiator – breaking my shroud (again).

Hanna – I’m sorry

Me.  Don’t be I still had fun and was 2nd.

Hanna. What time will you be home.

Me.  Candi says 9, but she lies.  I usually can beat her time.  Stupid stripper voice GPS unit.

Hanna. Ha sounds good.

Me.  Eating Quiznos, listening to foghat.

Hanna.  Chillin, listening to Celion Dion.

Me. Yuck

Hanna. I’ve lost my tea

Me.  Odd that Penguin being there.

Me.  No point in steering now.

Hanna.  Your brothers drunk?

Hanna.  My super powers are supercharged.

Me.  I totally have a space pen.

Hanna.  Well that is bizarre.

Me.  Left handed driving is he.

Hanna.  Well it’s the wrong side of the body.

Me.  Are there any animals that breathe mud?

Hanna. Frogs should

Me.  Radioactive mud.

Hanna.  Anything’ll do

Me.  What is better, Maroon 5, dehydrated breakfast cereal hour or Cleveland?

Hanna.  Cleveland, Rays.

Me.  Only 1 dog pooping today.

Hanna.  me too.

Me.  Hard to see when you are racing.

Hanna. Strange same here.

Hanna.  Mall too

Me.  I have never raced at the mall.

Hanna.  Weird.

Me.  She is your friend.

Me.  The weather, construction and traffic conspired to slow me down.  Home at 9:25.  I already apologized to Candi.

Hanna.  Haha.  I say you ower her an apology for sure.

There you have it.  Not sure what we meant by all of that.  I do know that I cannot wait to race again next weekend.  Pretty roached right now.

I am getting up early to work on the motorcycle.  Clean it and take the broken shrouds off to look at the radiators.  I need to try to get AJ at Victory Circle Graphix to send some shroud graphics to get me going before next weekend.

Scott texted me on the way home to say that he smelled a podium for me at Crawfordsville.  Not sure about that.  I am faster, but that is a long way faster.  If I was to do that, I would probably want to go back and do them all again next year.

yow.

Oh, even though the heat and dust were bad.  Moose Sahara gear is incredible.

That is is for me.

Joe

The barn cometh – Crystal Falls

Crystal Falls
August 23, 2009

The barn cometh.
Crystal Falls has an old barn, that we ran right through.  It was really cool.  Kinda alarming.  You would go right into it from the sun, it would go completely dark and the only thing you would see is the light of the doorway on the other side.  Yow.  But, it was really really fun.

It is also about the most awesome course in the entire district.

This was the 2nd time I had raced here.  This time it was more than 7 miles around.  We did the whole MX track of a really great old school outdoor MX track.  A couple of doubles, but mostly big hills table tops and great berms.  Then into the woods, then out to a great grass track, then back into the woods, then out to another grass track, then through the barn, then out to another grass track, then back into the woods, then back on the MX track to finish the lap.  Very GNCC like, but much tighter in the woods sections.

It took me 2 kicks to get my bike started, so I was last into the 1st turn, but when we left the MX track Jim was in 1st, John right on him in 2nd and me right on John in 3rd.  Perfect.  The next 3 laps were a huge huge amount of fun.  The lead changed about 12 times per lap.  We were all 3 right on each other.  No one could get an advantage on anyone it seemed.

Unfortunately John and Jim got into a little tussle on the 1st lap.  Jim got frustrated with John passing him and Jim cut through the middle of a turn and knocked John down to the ground.  I slowed enough to make sure everyone was ok, but then went off on my own.  A guy on an old KDX somehow appeared out of nowhere at that time and jumped in front of me.  I was ok with that, except he was riding about 11 feet wide.  He was impossible to pass.  I finally did get around him when he chose a crummy line through the mud hole.

Jim and John made it back to me and as I noted earlier, we traded the lead for the 1st 3 laps.  On the 4th lap, John got a front flat and I moved clear of Jim by 1.5 minutes.  That is how we finished.

I managed 11th overall, but had lap times of the 7th place guy, but we started 4 minutes behind.  Not too shabby.

–    My RMZ 250 is the perfect motorcycle.  I am convinced.  I know the 2010 is fuel injected, and I am looking forward to one of   those somehow.  But for now, I cannot imagine a better motorcycle.  Wow.
–    I ran shinny new Pirelli Scorpian mid hards.  They were incredible.  So much better than the stock Dunlops that came on the bike, which I ran for a bit as I did not have any new Pirelli’s.  But OMG.
–    I still have about an inch of gas in the bottom of the tank.  That is the stock tank, for 2 hours and 1 minute.  That thing just does not use much gas.
–    The Rekluse clutch is incredible.  No stalls, no arm pump (at least from the clutch operation).
–    Looking forward to getting my suspension back from Factory Connection.  The stock stuff is good, but the rough trail made it tough today.
–    The race gas the Mark at Vesrah provided make the RMZ super clean running.  No bog, no hesitation, just sewing machine like response from the right wrist.
–    After the race, I was showering off with the sun shower, when this little kid asks me “what are you doing?”  Washing off.  “Why?”, I am dirty.  “Are you leaving?”…   What is up with that?

Enjoy the photo’s.

Out.

Joe

We’re Back!

Summer break is a long time.  A lot has changed, so let’s get started.

During the break, I did some bicycle racing and some decent training, but mostly I just felt like I got fat.  Fat is not good.  Makes you feel fat.  Not like “Hey I am Phat!”, but more like oh god my pants feel tight.  I always have wondered what it was like to wear really tight girl pants, now I know.

Time to get back after it all.

A few things have happened

– I sold one of my RM250’s.

– I have been riding the RMZ, and that thing kicks butt.  I am going to rebuild the other RM250 as the Ricky Carmichael replica that it started life as, and sell it off.  I do not think I will be riding anything but that RMZ – it is that good.  Also means that I will have a bunch of RM parts to get rid of on here and on Ebay.

– I am adicted to FRS.  If you haven’t tried it, do.  OMG!

– I am listening right now to David Lee Roth, minus Van Halen.  I know that is wonked, but I am doing it anyway.

– I finished my garage.  It rocks.  If it is empty later today, I will post up some photo’s.

– The coffee is good this morning.

So, yesterday… Scott and I got off our butts and rode.

Me behind the wheel of the trusty steed.  Getting us there!

Me behind the wheel of the trusty steed. Getting us there!

  • No Candi, as we know the way.  Scott's new Sirrius unit rocked us there.  She was pissed.
  • No Candi, as we know the way. Scott’s new Sirrius unit rocked us there. She was pissed.
  • A beautiful sight, but no premix!

    A beautiful sight, but no premix!

    We slid up to Dyracuse in the rain.  The skies parted as we arrived and it turned out to be the most epic day of dirt ever.  I suppose it has been super dry there all summer, and the sand became the really dense loam that added up to being the most fun you can have.

    I mean, you could not have designed better dirt.  That place is great and all, but sometimes when you show up it is just powdery sand.  This is the time that you dream about.  The dirt that keeps you coming back hoping to find it again.

    2 shots.

    That is the MX track. mmm....

    That is the MX track when we were leaving even.  mmm…

    cock your head sideways, and you will see what I am talking about. Oh ya!

    cock your head sideways, and you will see what I am talking about. Oh ya!

    Suited up like the nervous dorks that we are.  15 minutes after arriving, we were taking a look at the loop.  Dyracuse park has purchased another 300+ acres adjacent to the park.  We added a ton of new singletrack in that new area to our loop.  The loop if now over 20 minutes long.  Holy Cow!  20 minutes!  You still get to know it and it can become redundant.  But, when you say to yourself “Ok, one more.”  You better mean it.

    I felt really good.  I would say that I am ready to roll.  The second half of the season is here.

    – Crystal Falls D16 race.

    – Valders WIXC race.

    – Long Lake D16 race.

    – Dresser D16 race.

    – Rhinelander WIXC race.

    – Dyracuse D16/WIXC race.

    – Crawfordsville GNCC

    – OMA “The Race”

    Not a bad way to kick the season to the curb.  Not ready for this one to be over, but ready to get back to racing.

    I love the chaos of the first turn.

    Joe

    That new bike smell!

    So you get a new bike.  It is all shinny.  All crisp feeling.

    The fasteners do not have marks on them yet.  There is no duct tape holding on a graphic yet.  There are no zipties holding panels together yet.  There are no dents in the rims.  There are no boot rub marks on the cases or frame yet.  The teeth on the footpegs are not worn.  It is a fantastic time in a dirt bikes life, and in a dirt bikers life.

    You get to change the oil without having to scrape dirt off the drainplug first.  The air box is so shinny inside.  You get to torque all the bolts for the first time, marking them painstakingly with a sharpie to show that they have been done.  You get to lube up all the bearings without having to clean gunk off them first.

    After you are done prepping it for the first time, but before you have really ridden it yet, you go out to the garage just to stare at it and admire it.  You start it just for the heck of it.  You invite your friends over to see it.  Your wife comes out to look at it and says “looks just like the other one.”  (But she doesn’t really count in this, and who asked her anyway?)

    Then the first ride day comes and your almost sad about tarnishing that new bike smell.  Almost.

    You take it out and absolutely thrash it.

    The Victim!

    The Victim!

    Scott and I took shinny new 2009 Suzuki RMZ 250F’s to Dyracuse and rode the crap out of them.

    The dirt was perfect, the trails were completely empty.

    2hours on a new bike.  No steering damper on the bike yet, so it was hard to stay on the trail in the 2nd hour.  But damn a new bike is fun.

    I think that my riding has adapted to a Suzuki.  I get a new Suzuki, and within a few laps on it, I am completely comfortable.  I don’t really think I want to switch brands ever, as I think I would have to learn to ride all over again.

    I love my RM250 2 strokes, but I have to admit that this new bike seemed really good right away.  I am excited, because if it this good right away, it could be REALLY good after I live with it for a while.

    The aftermath!  It was so shinny before!

    The aftermath! It was so shinny before!

    Out.

    Joe

    WIXC race at Silver Cliff!

    You may recall that I tried to tell the story of Glaciers one other time. I think in reality, I have discovered a devious Canadian plot. You see, the glaciers did their thing a few years ago. They picked up some rocks, and slowly over time brought them south. I mean it took a while. It isn’t like they loaded up the car and brought the rocks south. The glaciers took their damn time at it.

    So, now we all go to Pearson and say, “oh, how cute. Look at what the glaciers did!” But, in the mean time the Canadians have been loading up their trains and sending all the Canadian rocks to Silver Cliff. I figured it out. I was sitting at a train crossing watching a Canadian Pacific train go by. Then it dawned on me, that the Canadians are sending their rocks to the Harescrambles location of the race that I did today. All the Canadian rocks are there. I mean they are THERE. Stuck in the ground, covered in slime and just waiting to flat your tires, ding your rims and break your ribs.

    Silver Cliff WIXC race story!

    The WIXC race is generally a 2 race weekend. But, because of the State soccer tournament, I could not make the Saturday race. I knew I would be at a disadvantage, because everyone else was there the day before and would know the course. But, I loaded up early and headed out.

    Since I got there very early, I was able to head out and look at the course.  I thought I should do that, as everyone else was getting up and making breakfast and just moving around.  Remember, they had the opportunity to see the course the day before, so did not need to see it today.

    It had rained the night before, so I soon learned that what we were going to see in the race was slippery mud and even slipperier rocks.  Ugh…  It was going to be a day of slow and steady was going to win the day.

    This is pretty much what all of the course looked like.  Mud, rocks and roots!

    This is pretty much what all of the course looked like. Mud, rocks and roots!

    In addition to rocks and roots, there was also mud and wet trees and branches.  Yum.

    In addition to rocks and roots, there was also mud and wet trees and branches. Yum.

    The start went straight up a big sandy and rocky hill, one line wide, only about 50 yards from the start line.  There was an alternate line around the hill, that I contemplated instead of dealing with the hill.  I watched someone select that alternate line in a wave ahead of mine, but he inspite of a good start and charging up that line, he was still only 2nd into the woods.

    My wave went off, and I kicked, but no forward motion.  Damn, I did not get it lit.  It started on the 2nd try, but I was now last going into the woods.  I had some weird numbing of my hands and a bit of arm pump right away.  I struggled to get past a couple of people in the first lap.  I did finally settle down and start to work on riding smooth, though the course was so rough and rocky that it was hard to settle down.

    By the 3rd or so lap, I did catch Jim who was leading as he was getting up from a fall.  I passed him right away, but he passed me right back.  I was completely comfortable with the pace, so I decided to sit on him for a while to see how he was riding.  We were just 45 or so minutes into the race so I had plenty of time to see it unfold.  I sat on Jim for 2 or so laps and he was just bouncing off of things right and left.  Finally he struggled out of the line on a big hill, and I motored past.  Once past, I put my head down and went hard.

    I had one bobble along the way, and aparantley Jim got sight of me as I was off my bike trying to get up a big hill.  But, I never saw him after I went past him.  I rode pretty well.  Slow and steady was the order of the day.  The rocks reward smooth standing riding style.  I managed to have a few minutes on Jim at the finish and won my class.  I was also 8th overall on the day.

    My RM 250 worked perfectly for that.  My Factory Connection soft tuned suspension was magic.

    Early Start!

    The new WIXC races start at 11am. That is fantastic, as you can race and still be home for dinner. But, when you are trying to get to the race in the morning, it is a bit daunting. Google maps said it was a 5 hour drive to the race. So, I jumped in the truck at 5am, intending to get to the race by 9am.  Candi, who knows me and my driving habits better, knew it was only really going to take 4 hours to get there.  Unfortunately, she chose to keep that from me until we were already inroute to the race.  Sometimes, I think she has a mind of her own.  I’m just sayin!

    It was kind of cool to be out driving already at 4am.  No one is out, and when you go through a town it is completely quiet except the birds.  Neat.  It is also kind of gross though.  The amount of HUGE bugs that were splattering on the windshield was pretty bad.  Large splats of bug.  Yuck.

    On the way home, it rained big on me.  Unfortunately, it was not enough rain to clean off the mud on the bike.  I did see a really cool Volkswagen bus on the road.  Dang they are cool.

    Cool old VW with bikes on the back.  Always like seeing those.

    Cool old VW with bikes on the back. Always like seeing those.

    Hixton Photo’s

    Brian Terry took these photo’s during the Hixton race on May 31.

    556707369_p69nn-O

    Eric Muth’s RM250

    Eric found our website this past winter.  He has become a Suzuki fan as a result and has just built up his own RM 250 and is pretty psyched.

    Scott and I are both super psyched that someone else out there has discovered how good a Suzuki RM250 is. We are happy that we could help out Eric in some way as he was building his bike.  If you have any questions that Scott or Joe can answer about your RM250 and using it as a woods bike, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Joe – joe@vesrahsuzukioffroad.com

    Scott- scott@vesrahsuzukioffroad.com

    Here is a photo of Eric’s bike.

    Eric Muth's RM 250

    Eric Muth's RM 250

    See you in the woods somewhere.

    Joe

    Brave Soldier!

    I have discovered some great stuff, called Brave Soldier Friction Zone. Scott found it before me, but I am an absolute fan.  You goop it on your hands in the spots that would blister up normally, and then stuff your mitts into the glove – all gooped up.

    The potion is magic! I used to finish a race with completely raw hands. Busted open blisters on top of busted open blisters. I sometimes would finish a ride with my hands so bad that it was difficult to drive the car home after the race or ride. I have a history of being able to go through a pair of grips in one race, I still do. I am hard on my hands.

    I can still go through a pair of grips or a pair of gloves in one race. But, the Brave Soldier stuff saves my hands. I finish the race with my hands in perfect shape.

    It makes a huge difference. Try it.

    Brave Soldier Website

    You can buy it through Amazon.com, if you cannot find it locally.

    Link to Dirt Bike Magazine results for Rhinelander National Harescrambles

    http://blogs.dirtrider.com/6544212/industry-buzz/raines-3-peats-in-wisconsin/index.html

    Check out Scott in 5th overall!

    AMA National Harescrambles – Rhinelander

    Once a year, we get to race on what is the best course in the state. Rhinelander – Sugar Camp. The only bad thing about Rhinelander is that it is just on the edge of being too far to drive for the day. We can do it, but just barely. It is 4ish hours away, and if it was 30 minutes farther, I would say that it is too far to drive for the day. It requires that we get out of my driveway at about 5am.

    Candi making the first of her many mistakes on the day.

    Candi making the first of her many mistakes on the day.

    If you have read my blog before, then you know that I own the one and only navigation unit with a voice stolen from a stripper named Candi. Candi normally speaks with you in a voice that makes you think you are the best driver in the world. She speaks slowly, precisely and accurately. She can direct you to things that are close and things that are many days drive away. She just needs to know where you need to go, and a few seconds to calculate a route and presto. She also can be told up front if you want to stick to main highways, avoid main highways, avoid tollways, avoid ferries etc…

    But lately, I have been noticing more and more attitude from Candi. She seems to get upset when you make detours or wrong turns. She does not like it when you stop to go to the bathroom. She does not like it if you get hungry and have to get off the route she has chosen. I have also noticed that she has decided to try different routes to the same places we have been together. I don’t always need the navigation to get somewhere, especially if I have been there before. But, I like to use her even still, because she can tell me what time I will most probably arrive. But is it possible that she is bored with our relationship and needs to spice it up a bit with different routes? Think about it.

    So you are probably wanting to hear a bit about the race. The race was good. I was 4th in the +40A class and 19th overall. If that was all you wanted to know, you would stop now and go back to reading about Swine Flu, or following Lance Armstrong’s Twitter or seeing what goofy photos your friends have put up on Facebook. But of course if you decide to stay, there is much more to this story than that.

    It is a weird spring. The weather patterns have been interesting this year. The spring started off with a bunch of rain. We looked to be on par with one of the wettest springs in memory. But, crazy patterns have emerged. It seems that spring has let up for a few days in advance of a race and then started up again the day after the race. In other words, races have been dry and even cool. Then it either warms up in between races or it rains for 4 days straight in between.

    Rhinelander was dusty. Can you believe it? Dusty! Not just the little bit of dust that you get on a windy day. I am talking black air filter after the race, cannot see the trail dusty.

    Dust during the morning race!  Nothing campared to the afternoon dust fest!

    Dust during the morning race! Nothing campared to the afternoon dust fest!

    We parked along the course, just before the start finish area. Nice little stretch of straight trail that allowed us to set up our pit area and take on gas etc… without worry about wasting time that you did not have before the finish of the race.

    I had what turned out to be the perfect bike set up for the race.

    – 06 RM250, super soft suspension from my Enduro bike, big tank etc…

    I think that is going to be my set up for the year on the race bike.

    Last year I discovered some stuff called Brave Soldier. You put it on your hands before you put them into your gloves. It is magic. I used to get huge blisters on my hands, and now nothing. Even at at super rough race like this, it works wonders. Try it.

    Applying the magic stuff.

    Applying the magic stuff.

    That will do it.

    That will do it.

    There were 13 people on my line. I got a good start in the race, 4th off the MX track. But, even that proved to be too far back – the dust was so bad. You could not see a thing going down the open straights. It was much better in the woods, but even there it was tough. Especially tough were the transitions from the open areas to the woods. It took a couple of seconds for your eyes to adjust when you made that transition. But during those seconds when your eyes were adjusting, you just hoped that it was not too rough.

    Decent start.

    Decent start.

    Speaking of rough. We have had a race on this course for a few years now. The course is getting pretty beat. It has huge holes in it and square edge bumps and rocks and tons of roots. Good thing I had the soft suspension on the bike.

    Rick Anschutz came by me right away, going much faster than I was comfortable going in that limited visibility. He was pretty fearless in the dust. There was also some AA guy from Minnesota there, racing in our class. He checked out right away, and we never saw him again. Rob and I battled for the first 2/3 of the race. He had me at the first half of that, and I caught him and passed him for the 2nd half of that. But, then he managed to get ahead of me for the last 2 laps and put 2 minutes into me. Damn.

    It was fun to do a 3 hour race again. My fitness is much better than last year, as I am writing this the next morning and do not have any of the fatigue that I experienced from the GNCC races last year. This course was just as hard as those, I am just not nearly as beat up feeling.

    I learned I cannot do a 2 hour race on a stock size tank. At the rate that I burned fuel at this race, I can only make 114 minutes on a small tank. That ends that debate.

    Next weekend, Hixton D16 race.

    Out

    Our pits, right by the start finish.

    Our pits, right by the start finish.

    Artsy photo!

    Artsy photo!

    Rhinelander National bike set up

    Ok. Here is the dealeo. I am trying to decide which bike set up I should ride for the National HS race in Rhinelander this weekend.

    I know I want to ride the 06 motor and frame. That one starts the easiest and the frame seems to feel the best. Don’t ask me why, the 2 bikes are exactly the same.

    1.  I am thinking that I will want to use the softer suspension from the 07. That stuff feels like magic over chop and roots and rocks. It also gives the bike amazing traction.  But, at higher speeds and on an MX track the firmer HS suspension feels better.  But, the race is 3 hours long, so preserving yourself is a big deal.

    2.  I like the feel of the power with the Qmuffler. It tones it all down and makes the bike super easy to ride. Sometimes less power is faster than more power. Plus, it is super quiet. I like that.  the only problem is that it is harder to lift the bike if you get it stuck.  the Q sticks out the back a bit and you loose your grab spot on the fender.

    Need to mount up some new grips, and I think I will just go with the tires and wheels that I have set up already.

    Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.

    See you up there on Sunday.  It is going to be great fun.

    God I love the race season.

    Out.

    Joe

    Glaciers

    A long time ago, the earth was covered with glaciers. Huge slabs of ice, many many meters thick. They stretched from what is the North Pole today all the way down past Canada and into Wisconsin. They moved really slowly. I mean really slowly, hence the term “glacial”.

    The glaciers weighed tons and tons. They pressed down on the earth, and scraped the top layer of rocks and topsoil off and carried them south as they progressed. They progressed south for centuries. They marched south without stopping, continuously. All the while, they were picking up rocks and earth. They loaded up on tons and tons of rocks and dirt.

    Then, the weather patterns changed, and the glaciers began to recede. The Earth climate warmed, it was the end of the ice age, and if you have seen the movie you know that the little squirrel guy will get his prize nut. But, the glaciers didn’t really just recede. They melted. And when they did melt, they left all the rocks and dirt they had picked up for centuries right where they were. In actuality, the rocks and dirt were all left specifically in north central Wisconsin. I guess that explains why I like Canada and Northern Wisconsin so much, they are actually the same place. They probably don’t like us so much though, we have all their rocks and soil. There are so many rocks there, that there cannot be any rocks left in Canada, they are all in central Wisconsin.

    So why the history of the earth lesson? Why do you need to know all of this? You need to know, because DAMN – IT IS ROCKY UP THERE!

    I think I saw all the Canada rocks myself. They are all on the HS and Enduro trail at Pearson.

    Sunday was the D16 Pearson Enduro. There were 3 loops for the B and C group. I rode +40 B, because I am still trying to figure out this Enduro thing. This one was a “no-timekeeping” event. That means that it was a bit like a bunch of short HS races.

    I rode my soft suspension bike. It was spectacular. The trail was tough for the first section. It is hard to jump right into a technical section, from a standstill.

    John Buechner is the fast man these days. I held my own, but John is the class of our group right now.

    I got lost on the trail. I fell over a few times. I rode like a pud in the first section. I rode really well in the 3rd section. I ended up 4th.

    Out.

    Pearson D16 HS race

    If you look up in a dictionary what the definition of rocks is, it shows a picture of the woods in Pearson. Specifically, the area near the quarry is littered with rocks. There are so many rocks, that there sometimes is just a bit of dirt between the rocks. Rocks, rocks rocks. I am talking lots of rocks. I cannot believe how many rocks there are.

    This is what most of the trails looked like before our race.  Epic!

    This is what most of the trails looked like before our race. Epic!

    I used to think the definition of Rocky was Snowshoe WV. Now I know what the real definition of rocky is. Pearson, Wi. Rocks everywhere.

    I drove up today in Scotts van. That felt right. I mean, I was in the van, pulling the trailer, listening to music, heading to a race at a distance. But, unfortunately Scott was not there. Feels weird. Scott and I have been racing together for so long, that it just doesn’t really feel right without him there also. We have a routine. We are an old married couple. We know who is responsible for what. We know who is going to set up the tents, we know who is going to unload the bikes. We trust that when the other one loads the bikes it will be done right. So, to go to a race without him, but being in the van is a bit odd.

    Remember that last year we drove the trusty Ford Econoline all around the country to races. Florida to North Carolina to New York state, to Ohio, to Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee… The van can tell many many stories of races and being stuck in a field somewhere. There is no vehicle that can be stuck like the van can.

    Through all of that Candi the stripper navigation unit was with us. She is right there on the dashboard barking out commands. She was with me on the drive north.

    The Pearson D16 HS race is an epic event. The loop is more than 15 miles around. Brian Terry, D16 HS rep, billed it to us all as about a 30 minute lap. Because of all the rocks that I mentioned earlier, it turned out to be 45 minutes plus for the 1st place AA riders. Most people in later waves were struggling to be under 1 hour. It was really really technical and really really rocky.

    Alot of the tails were virgin trails that were just suggestions through the woods.

    Alot of the tails were virgin trails that were just suggestions through the woods.

    Yep!

    Yep!

    Did I mention it was rocky?

    So, the start area was just a short little stretch with a 180 degree turn and a short stretch back to the woods and in. That was it, and then the abuse started. John Buechner took the holeshot. He starts really well. I muscled my way to 2nd before we hit the woods. I followed John, and we had a good pace going. John rides tight technical stuff really well. We had our heads down, and we put a gap into everyone else pretty quickly.

    Typical grass track area at the finish point.

    Typical grass track area at the finish point.

    Fun!

    Fun!

    But, then about 15 minutes into the lap, I ricochet of a tree and into another tree. I had my bell rung and ended up on the ground. But, more importantly, my bike was upside down on a rock and the banjo bolt that holds the hose onto the master cylinder was bent down and was letting fluid out underneath it. I jumped up, started my bike and took off. As I went into the first turn after that and grabbed the front brake the line split and I spugged out all of the fluid. That was it, my race was over. No front brake.

    Now, I would rather ride a bike that doesn’t even have a rear brake lever than to ride even for one race without a front brake. I believe that I rely on the front brake for about 80% of my braking. So, I went from 80% to zero front brake. It was tough for me just to ride. With how technical things were there at Pearson, I was effectively just trail riding for the rest of the day.

    I faded back from fighting for the lead. That wasn’t going to happen. I ended up 5th, which wasn’t too bad for no front brake, I am happy with that.

    Tomorrow, we are doing an Enduro on many of the same trails. It should be fun. 4+ hours of riding is always a good thing.

    I will let you know how that goes tomorrow.

    Race day – it’s finally here!

    May 10.  Arkansaw Cycle Park. The first D16 race.

    Wow.  It seemed like winter would never end.  But then I went on a long business trip, and when I returned it is spring.  The leaves are coming out on the trees, the grass is green and more importantly – we are racing!

    Scott picked me up at an oh so early o’clock – 5 minutes before 5am to be exact.  Scott and I have a thing about, when you say we are leaving at 5am, that means driving off at 5am.  It was dark in the driveway, we both had to be up at about 4am to get going, but we were both giddy.  I mean there is always something special about the first spring race day.  The air is crisp, there was a forecast for rain, it is dark out when you drive out of the driveway… yowza!

    You can see that Candi is having a hard time figuring out where we are going today!

    You can see that Candi is having a hard time figuring out where we are going at this hour!

    Arkansaw Cycle park is way over on the west side of the state.  The event is a shared event with the D23(Minnesota) crowd.  They have a big district over there and this will promise to be a big event.  Arkansaw Cycle park is a big piece of property with fantastic dirt, lots of rocks in the soil and big hills.  The loop is a great mix of MX track, tight woods, big hills and GP type course on the fields.  The loop is about 8.5 miles around and is about 20 minutes long.

    That is what I am talking about.  Loading up the van and going racing!

    That is what I am talking about. Loading up the van and going racing!

    We had a 3rd person with us in the van today.  Our friend Roger Bird is back racing with us again.  Roger has had a series of injuries, and is now healthy again and looking to finish out a season with us in the van.  It will be fun to have him along.  He races the same class that I do, but we have been friends a long time.  In fact, Roger is the one that got me into all of this in the first place.  Good to have him back with us, too bad he rides the wrong brand of bike.

    On the way to Arkansaw, the skies opened up on us.  I was thinking, “ugh… a mud race!”  But, as we got closer the rain stopped and the fields on that side of the state are not underwater like they are on our side of the state.  It was going to be a good race.

    We set up our pits, sort of an abbreviated version of what we did at all the GNCC races last year.  We did not have the camper, and we did not need the full set up for just a day race.  But, I think as usual we look to represent.

    Flying the colors for one of our sponsors!

    Flying the colors for one of our sponsors!

    There were at least 140 people on the start.  The +40 wave was 20 people deep.  That is a big field.  Almost the size of the afternoon race at a GNCC.  Pretty much the same size of the+40 line.

    The gun went off for the AA line, and Scott actually took the holeshot.  I watched him zoom off up the hill into the woods with JD in hot pursuit.  But, I will let him tell that story elsewhere.

    For our start, things were interesting.  JD’s dad had warned me that there was a huge puddle in the 2nd turn.  Stay to the outside.    John Buechner got the start, I came out of the first turn 4th.  Not bad, but in that 2nd turn I went outside as I was advised, but the guy in front of me went right into the lake of water and coated me all across the front with mud.  I pulled a tear off and got my vision back and was pleased to see that I had not lost any places.  We tore off up the hill and into the first woods section in that order.

    In that first woods section, the guy in front of me tagged a tree and went down fast in front of me.  Too fast for me to avoid his bike.  I wedged my front wheel between his rear fender and his tire and was stuck there.  At least 5 riders dodged around us before I could get going again.  So, the chase was on.

    I chased hard for most of the race, but for the first 2 laps it was basically just follow the leader.  One line in the woods and 150ish riders equals single file and difficulty passing.  Eventually it opened up and I could ride hard.  The middle part of the race I put on a charge.  At one point at about the 1.5 hour point, I was in site of John Buechner, but my body ran out of gas.  I fizzled and did not make it all the way up to John.  I made it back up to 4th, but could not get any higher.  Turned out that I was only 1.5 minutes out of 1st, but I could not get there.  John was actually 2nd on the day.  Don’t know the guy who won, and it turns out there was actually someone in between John and I that I did not see.  Roger was a very credible 6th.  Not bad for his 1st race back in a few years.

    Some facts.

    – The course turned into one big long rut in the woods.  The dirt was soft, and a lot of the trail was virgin singletrack on a side hill.  That makes for one big long rut.

    – That rut killed my clutch. (Actually, the rut is just a trail condition, I killed the clutch because I was dragging it so much while paddling through that rut)  I need new plates, new basket, new clevis arm, new push rod, new springs…  Hopefully our big parts order is in at Vesrah.

    – I was jetted a little on the lean side.  It was only 55 degrees, and I was jetted for 65-70.  That was what it was all week, so that is what I assumed we would have for race day. The bike was a bit challenging to ride when I was tired.  I am better with a bit richer jetting, especially when I am knackered.

    – The grip in the fields was incredible.  I was pulling 3rd and 4th gear long wheelies out of turns.  The berm around the outside of the turn was crazy fast.  You could just hook into the berm, roll on the throttle and sit back.  The bike would just grab a ton of traction and rocket towards the next turn.  wow.

    Looks a little bit like last year.  New graphics for the team on our RM250's, underneath Suzuki tents.

    Looks a little bit like last year. New graphics for the team on our RM250's, underneath Suzuki tents.

    So now, I move onto next weekend.  The Pearson Harescrambles on Saturday and the Pearson Enduro on Sunday.  A big weekend.

    You can only have 1 first race of the year.

    Out.

    Joe

    Taiwan bike rides

    Been in Taiwan all week.  Heading to China next week.  Big work weeks.  Lots of stress, loads of work time, loads of hotel time etc…  Never a lot of fun.  People ask me all the time what it is like to be in Taiwan.  I usually say, drive by the dump in your part of the world and smell the air, that is what it is like most of the time.  Not always pleasant.  But, the people are really nice and it is not a bad place to do business.  Not sure I could live there, but I don’t really mind so much  going there for work – other than the week or 2 that it takes out of your life.

    I also know that I could not live there as there is zero possibility for riding an offroad motorcycle.  Couldn’t tolerate that.

    But, I have figured out a way to get out for a bike ride while I am there.  In fact, the island is really mountainous and there are little roads into the mountains all over the place.  There are also a bunch of bike industry expats there, and they want to get out and ride.  So, after working our tails off for 3 days, we had a couple of bike rides planned.  One for early morning before work on Friday and a long one for Saturday morning.  This the story of those.

    Fridays ride consisted of battling our way out of Taichung city center, to the edge of town where the riding gets much better.  When I say battling, I really mean it.  You have to fight for your space among all the scooters and crazy drivers and small delivery trucks, cars going the wrong way on one way streets etc…

    This is actually one of the quiter moments getting out of town.  It is a national holiday after all.

    This is actually one of the quieter moments getting out of town. It is a national holiday after all.

    Friday is a national holiday here (May day weekend), so we figured that the streets would be much lighter traffic than normal, and we were going out at 7am.  The traffic was lighter than normal, but in 100 miles of ride at home I am certain that you see fewer cars there than you do in 2-3 miles here, even on a holiday.

    At every intersection, you are sure to be way outnumbered by scooters.

    At every intersection, you are sure to be way outnumbered by scooters.

    We made our way on this ride out of town, and then the riding gets much better.  We rode along a closed road by a river heading towards the mountains for 10 or so miles.  It was nice, more like riding at home, no cars, no scooters etc…  Then, we bumped back onto the normal roads in a small village outside of Taichung and turned right, and faced a wall of a climb.  The climbs are not super long here (you can see the tops of the mountains from the bottom), but they can be really steep.  This climb pitched up pretty quick.  It went on for 3-4 miles then tops out with a nice view.

    That is me and Mark Pippin, at the top of the biggest climb on Friday.

    That is me and Mark Pippin, at the top of the biggest climb on Friday.

    We then came down the other side, and it was just as steep.  I am talking both brakes on, crummy pavement, tight and twisty, blind corner type descending.  I always like descending, but I must say that on a road I have never been on, on a borrowed bike with the brakes set up wrong way around for me (being an admitted motohead, I ride with my right hand running the front brake), I am not as fearless as I would normally be.  Preservation gene kicking in and all.

    We got to the bottom of that valley and turned up another climb.  At the top of that we descended back down to the same little village and then we were back on the closed river road pounding along in our big chainrings.  It was good fun.  We stopped at a Starbucks (I know, corporate coffee) on the way down, and I know we make a scene there with our cycling gear.  It is pretty funny hearing the Chinese barrista say “Grande Latte”with her Chinese accent.

    The round trip on that Friday ride was about 50kilometers.  Not too bad for a morning ride before being in the office for the rest of the day.

    Saturday’s ride will be twice as long and with even more climbing.

    When you get out early on Saturday, it is actually pretty quiet on the streets.

    When you get out early on Saturday, it is actually pretty quiet on the streets.

    My friends there have a morning text message system that alerts everyone to the ride time and the start location.  So, the bike bell sound on my phone went off in the middle of the night, confirming a 7am start at a spot 2 blocks from the hotel I stay at.  Sweet!  That means I can roll out at 7am, and still be within the international standard 5 minute rule to the start of a ride.  I rolled up with a banana in my mouth and no coffee in me.  That is ok, because it is also an international standard that a weekend morning ride ends at the Starbucks.

    The corner meeting spot.  Right in front of Love World.

    The corner meeting spot. Right in front of Love World.

    We headed out the same basic direction from the city center that we did the previous day.  From Taichung, the China straight is one way, and the mountains inland the other way.  That means that all rides pretty much take the same road out of town, and the road home for the last couple of miles is also the same.  The island of Taiwan has gone cycling crazy it seems, as we saw at least 200 cyclists heading out in that direction as we were heading out.  It goes slightly uphill from the center of town, so it gives you a great warmup on the way out and a whip it up section on the way back in.

    We headed up the first climb, and the temperature was already getting up to around 75.  The sun was beating down on us, and the humidity was up so you could feel the sweat starting to come out of your pores already.  We all settled into a climbing rhythm and it was not long until we were all silent and spread out up and down the climb.  One of the things that is really weird is how much clothes the locals wear when they are riding.  They seem to want to stay out of the sun completely.  They will even have a bandanna over their face that isn’t covered by their sunglasses.  It is a little bit strange, makes them all look like they are going to rob a bank or head across a desert or something.

    This guy didn't have his face covered, but he is covering the rest of himself up in spite of the heat.

    This guy didn't have his face covered, but he is covering the rest of himself up in spite of the heat.

    They also ride these little wheel bikes and folding bikes.  You do want to tell them that they would go a ton faster if they would ride a real road bike.  But, it isn’t just a few of them on bikes like the one above.  A LOT of them are on those.  hmmm.

    So we headed up a 2nd long climb and then a 3rd climb and finally the 4th climb was the biggest.  It went on for a good 10-12k, had a bunch of really tough sections, the pavement quality varied and there were a ton of blind corners.  All of that is not so bad going up, but the same conditions exist on the descents as well.  Makes the riding exciting.

    Sometimes the road is like this, but not always.

    Sometimes the road is like this, but not always.

    More often than not, the road is more like this.  Narrow, and blind.  Pretty cool scenery though.

    More often than not, the road is more like this. Narrow, and blind. Pretty cool scenery though.

    There is another weird thing that is true in Taiwan.  Dogs are street savvy on the one hand, and on the other hand really really casual about the road.  They get out of the way of traffic, they seem to understand that the road is dangerous.  You do see lots of dogs with just one leg etc…  I guess they either learn, or they are not around.  But, at the same time they seem really not worried at all about the traffic.

    This dog has decided that the side of the road is his.  He didn't even move when we rode by.

    This dog has decided that the side of the road is his. He didn't even move when we rode by.

    This dog is just sitting in the road and not concerned.  I guess he just figures the trucks will go around him.  Or not.

    This dog is just sitting in the road and not concerned. I guess he just figures the trucks will go around him. Or not.

    We made our way down one last descent back into the village outside of Taichung, and then rode the big ring all the way back to the meeting place and then around the corner to the Starbucks.  100km ride, 4 climbs, one of them really respectable.  I feel pretty good.

    Gotta end the ride at Starbucks.  Doesn't matter where you are in the world, some things are just accepted as the way it is done.

    Gotta end the ride at Starbucks. Doesn't matter where you are in the world, some things are just accepted as the way it is done.

    Artsy riding shot.

    Artsy riding shot.

    The local collector, and his trailer of "goods".

    The local collector, and his trailer of "goods". You cannot forget you are in Taiwan, after all!

    Tomorrow is Sunday, heading to China, no more riding on this trip.

    Out.

    Joe

    Dyracuse – opening day

    Perfect!  That is about how I would describe it.  50 degrees, moisture in the soil but no real mud to speak of.  There were a ton of people there.

    Joe Bauer, John Buechner and I arrived at about 9:30.  The gate does not open until 10, but we got changed and all set by the time the gate was open.  “Speedy Pete” Laubemeir and a couple of other arrived at 10:15.  We were ready to ride by the time they were unpacking.

    The 3 of us went out and found a loop.  A combination of the HS race loop from 2 years ago, and some of the HS race loop from last year.  It was great.  We made about a 15 minute loop, that had the trademark terrain of Dyracuse.  Lots of sand, lots of whoops, lots of fast sections and a bunch of log crossings etc…  Damn, Speedy Pete really is speedy.  Wow.

    I was on a plan to see if my bike can run 2 hours with the small tank.  I think I can.  I am going to expand it a bit, just to give me some insurance, but I think I can get a 2 hour race in with the small tank.  I am psyched by that.

    My Suzuki worked flawless today.  This is the 06, that I grenaded last year.  But, Mark Junge completely rebuilt the motor for me, and it is sweeeeet!  I love that bike.  My new Moose XCR gear is really really good stuff.

    On the way home, John and Joe talked me into do the Enduro down in Indiana with them instead of the GNCC race at Loretta’s.  Loretta’s is 9 hours away.  The Enduro down in Indiana is just 4 hours away.  That did it for me.

    This week I will get my enduro bike ready to ride, and I will ride that up at Dyracuse next weekend.

    Damn weather gods!

    Wisconsin can be a wacked place.

    It is March 29, and we woke up today to 6 inches of snow on the ground. March 29! They held a golf tournament here 2 weeks ago, for crying out loud. It is bad enough that it snows like this at stupid times, but to have it be that way on the morning of what was supposed to be the first race of the year for me, really sucks.

    This is what it looked like out the window when I got up!  March 29!

    This is what it looked like out the window when I got up! March 29!

    I know that I am supposed to stop talking about the weather. After all, grousing about it doesn’t do anything.  In fact, it doesn’t even make me feel any better.  I am having a hard time just “dealing with it”. Someone is out to get me, or at least that is the way that I feel some times.  That feeling is what makes me want to “Damn the weather gods!”

    I guess I actually have it pretty good. I have bikes, I have a riding area.  I am pretty fit, and I am ready to go.  Maybe this weekends race was just not to be.  Sure wanted to kick my bike over on a starting line though.

    Oh well.  On to some other rants.

    Can someone tell me what the hell is up with James Stewart? He is by far the fastest man on the planet. I don’t think that even Ricky Carmichal could keep up with him on his best days. Yet, Chad Reed has a good chance of beating him for the overall in the AMA SX series. Chad is fast, and a classy rider. But, come on, this is James Stewart we are talking about. Chad Reed?

    But, I guess the races have been fun to watch.

    What about that GNCC series, eh? We have had so many years with a guest superstar, that we had all forgotten what GNCC racing is really like. The races are tough, and there really is not guarantee from one race to the next.  There really are only a couple of people that can dominate the racing the way that Juha and David Knight did, and they are not here this year. Jeez it has been exciting. 3 winners in 3 races. I am still waiting for Paul Whibley to solidify things at the top, but for now it is damn exciting. I fear that Paul will put it together sometime soon, and we will go back to runaway wins by one rider again.  I am disappointed that my man Nathan Kanney has not put it together yet.  It is a long season, and we will see what happens next.

    Next weekend is the opening weekend of our biggest riding area.  I suspect that we will be fighting our way through the snow.  But, I will not be missing that for anything.  Dyracuse riding area.

    Our for now.

    Joe

    2009 graphics!

    So I have to post up.  Today, I got one of my bikes completely ready to go.  The season is here, and we needed to get our act in gear.  AJ, from Victory Graphix sent us our new graphics for the year, and man does it look boss!

    Wow.

    My bike with the small tank!

    My bike with the small tank!

    Detail of the rear fender with sponsor logos.

    Detail of the rear fender with sponsor logos.

    hpim1977

    coming at you!

    coming at you!

    I don't even want to go and get it dirty!

    I don't even want to go and get it dirty!

    I am going to go down to Illinois and race it on Sunday, in the snow and sandy mud.  Seems a shame to shred it like that, but that is what it is for.

    Show time.

    Joe

    Photo’s from St. Joe Riding weekend

    Here are some photos that I found from our weekend at St. Joe, back in February.

    hpim1965

    hpim1966

    hpim1967

    hpim1970

    Looks like fun, eh?

    Looks like fun, eh?

    Back in the saddle again!

    Back In The Saddle Again

    Back In The Saddle Again

    Scott and I went down to Waterman indoor MX track on Friday to ride. Waterman is a really safe little indoor MX track. Not very fast, with only small little jumps. No impossible doubles, and one tough SX style whoops section. It is not my real cup of tea, but it is December with feet of snow on the ground and we are riding. Cannot really complain.

    After a year of GNCC racing, it did not feel too bad. As I said, it is pretty slow. But, GNCC racing is pretty fast and has taught me not to be afraid of speed or even medium jumping. Scott and I both talked on our way home about how the jumps seemed more manageable than they did in past trips here.

    Getting ready to ride!

    Getting ready to ride!

    Waterman is a little bit on the dark side and the air can get pretty bad, but as I noted – it is hard for guys from way up north to argue with riding in December with feet of snow on the ground.

    The whoop section took it’s toll on me. There really is no way to get through them other than to hit them hard and try to stay up on top. They are too tight to double through them and if you go to slow you do the “bucking horse” thing – not good. The crowds were not too big, so we got a bunch of riding. At about the 2 hour riding point, my arms/shoulders/back gave up the ghost and turned to rubber. (amazing how your fitness goes away when you are not riding)

    preview of my HS bike for 2009 season

    preview of my HS bike for 2009 season

    I did a bunch of geeky calculations about my fuel usage during the ride session at Waterman. You see, I have a goal of racing my HS bike in 2 hour events with a small tank. I think I can. I definitely am faster with the small tank, at least in my head I am. Based on Friday’s ride I am calculating that I can go just over 2 hours with the small tank at race pace outdoors. I will be spending a bunch of time this spring experimenting.

    I have found a few articles talking about punching out a stock tank with a heat gun and a few PSI from a bicycle pump. If I can get a quarter to half a gallon more from the stock tank I am pretty sure I will not have a problem.

    So, it was almost 2 months since my last ride. I think it will be another 2 months till we are able to ride next. Lot’s of bike work and gear work to be done before then.

    Stay tuned.

    Joe

    New WIXC series


    I am super excited about the new WIXC series we have here for next year.

    Rick Anschutz, former D16 AMA Harescrambles rep, has changed his role to race promoter. Rick did a fantastic job as the AMA rep here in the District for a long time. He helped organize races, he kept all of us honest by being the hardnosed rule enforcer, he and his wife Paula and his daughter spent considerable time money and effort for every racing day of each year and he always pushed for more races every year. We all have him to thank for the positive state of racing here in Wisconsin now.

    I wrote a post earlier that as I go back and read it now, did not sound like I was very supportive of the new WIXC series. On the contrary, I am really confident that everything will work out for Rick. I am hopeful that my schedule works out so that I can do the majority of the WIXC races this season. I WILL be doing a bunch of the WIXC races to show my support for Rick, acknowledging his efforts in the past and his series for the future!

    Rick – sorry that I did not sound supportive of your future series. I know that you were the driving force behind all of our racing here for the past years, and I know if anyone can make another series work here in Wisconsin – you can. I, along with everyone else in the state, really thank you.

    You might have read in earlier posts that we have a ton of racing opportunities here in Wisconsin next year. Rick Anschutz will bring his considerable experience to the new WIXC series, Brian Terry (all around good guy) has taken over the AMA district and looks to have a bunch of races on the calendar, there is an AMA Eastern Harescrambles race here (also promoted and organized by Rick Anschutz), there are a couple of National Enduro’s nearby, Ryan Moss’s great MidwestEnduros.com website keeps us informed of a lot of opportunities for Enduro racing, of course there are OMA races and MXC races put on by Bill Gusse and then maybe a couple of GNCC races are not too far away.

    Joe

    Thanksgiving – Arkansas – Update

    As usual, my brother and his family, my sister and her family and my family all descended upon my mother’s house for Thanksgiving. She lives in Hot Springs Arkansas. My brother and sister live in Texas, so it is sort of a central meeting spot for all of us. We have been doing this since my mother moved there about 13 years ago. We ride mountain bikes, burn things in the back yard (she lives in the woods) and drink our share of beer (not the kids, although some of them are getting old enough). Basically, it is mayhem for 5 days. Kids running everywhere, we have built a little piece of singletrack in the woods by her house, we have built a whole bunch of freeride features there also. We all refer to it as our redneck Thanksgiving.

    We rode ourselves silly for the week. Every day we did some riding at either the XC race course in town, or at 2 different trail networks. We also found a freeride area at Burns park in Little Rock and a dirt jump park. We only had XC bikes, but we made due.

    All I had was my 69'er SS.  Not the best jump park bike, but we made due!

    All I had was my 69'er. Not the best jump park bike, bu we made due!

    Hanna reaching for the back side.  Her bike is better, but not really the right gear.

    Hanna reaching for the back side. Her bike is better, but not really the right gear.

    Ali putting it together with the right bike, and pretty much the right gear.

    Ali putting it together with the right bike, and pretty much the right gear.

    So, the week before we left for Arkansas, Scott and I met with Mark Junge from Vesrah and discussed our season for next year. Scott and I both need a year of focusing on local races after our adventure this past year. Mark is completely into that. Mark is still working out his overall deal for the Vesrah Suzuki endurance road racing team, so how we fit into that is up in the air a bit. But regardless, Scott and I will still be on Suzuki’s for next year and running our little offroad wing of Vesrah Suzuki.

    There is a huge season available to us for next year. 12 or so D16 Harescrambles races, 12 or so races in the new Wisconsin XC series, there are 3-4 OMA races that are close to Wisconsin, 2 National Enduro’s that are in the Upper midwest, 1 National Harescrambles in the upper midwest, 6-8 D16 Enduro races and of course Crawfordsville GNCC. Before I even add mountain bike racees, I could cover my schedule with more than 20 motorcycle races next year.

    I hope you like the new look of our website. There are a few more new things that will be coming in the next month or so as well. We have combined the 2 websites from last year into 1 site. For the time being, you can still get here from the old sites, but you should update your saved URL to http://www.vesrahsuzukioffroad.com. We wanted to have one site where all of our sponsors would be represented, our individual blogs could be found, our schedule and results can be found and profiles of our bikes. This year we will be campaigning a few different bikes. Scott is going to be running a 144 project bike, an RM 250 and hopefully and RMZ250. I will be running an RM250 dedicated to Harescrambles and and RM250 set up for Enduro racing. It is going to be a fun year.

    We have a new sponsor for both Scott and I for next year. Moose clothing has stepped in to provide us with the best gear for our pursuits. I have always loved their stuff. I am pretty excited to be riding in the best gear for next year.

    It is time for buckling down on a training program. Scott’s wife Mary, runs a business called Up and Over Fitness. She was a Olympic level mountain bike racer in a previous life, and knows more about fitness than most anyone. I have stacks of programs here from my prep last season that I need to organize into a program for this season. I don’t really look forward to all the time in the gym, but I know it pays off when hour 2 of a Harescrambles race comes along or that last timed section of an Enduro.

    Joe