Tag Archives: Vesrah Suzuki

I Need A Time Machine!

Today I put the snow tires on Liz’s car. Its not hard, just takes a few minutes. But, it is a sobering experience. Anyway, it is a sure sign that winter is coming or maybe not. Either way, it cannot get here soon enough and through itself fast enough. Snow, frozen lakes, frozen ground…it’s just all too much for me. Continue reading

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My most Awesome day at Loretta Lynn’s GNCC!

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

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

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

Light testing – 7 days to go

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

– L&M Seca 700 on my handlebar

– L&M Seca 1400 on my helmet

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

enjoy.

Joe

Whistler Bike Park – I’m Not There!

Whistler Bike Park Is Open!!!!

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artsy

Thanks a ton to all of our sponsors.

Vesrah

Suzuki

Bell helmets

Moose racing

Factory Connection

Kenda tires

Zipty racing

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.

I’ve had a lot of good races lately, this wasn’t one

As usual, Scott and I headed down to do the Ironman GNCC race. There have been years when we have done all the GNCC races and years when we have done very few. Even in the years with very few, we never miss the Ironman. It is THE classic GNCC race.

My bike looked sweet, ready for the race.

If you would just like the summary, it was dry. Super dry. Mike bike failed and I DNF’d. Scott won his class. It was a tough way to end my season, but it was not a complete fail, as at least Scott did well.

Josh Strang's bike was dialed and ready to go.

Josh had the coolest gripper seat I have ever seen

Josh loves his Trek

I have been riding super three last months. All of my races lately have just gotten better and better. I guess was due for a crummy one.

It had not rained in Indiana since august. I am serious. It was dust bowl dry. I have never seen s place so dry. The dust was insane.

On Saturday, I left at the butt crack of dawn to pick up Scott at the Chicago airport. He had arrived there early, and I had loaded up the van to collect him there and go straight to the race. We arrived at noon and unpacked the mountain bikes and rode a complete lap on the course. The uphills seer so powdery, we could not even ride up them. It was like riding through soft powder, sometimes up to your calf.

Imagine following that dust cloud into the woods.

The trail

We set up early on Sunday, then did a course walk with the Suzuki guys. It was cool to see the track with Josh Strang. He does not look at the course the same way that us mortals do. The things I was worried about in the trail, he did not even notice.

When my wave started, I got a medium start. Somewhere in the middle. But, as soon as we got into the woods, I begins picking off riders. I got myself to where I could see the front, but then my bike bogged and came to a stop. I kicked and kicked, and it finally started. I took off, and just 50 meters it did it again.

When I got it started for the 2nd time, I made my way to the pits. I thought the throttle was sticking. It was. I lubed up the cable thinking that was the problem, and headed back out. On the very next hill, I gunned it hard and the throttle stuck wide open. The bike launched into a tree, and tweaked the front end. My day was done.

Scott had a great day. He won his class. He is the first of the 2 of us to do that. Yet.

Proud Boy. He should be.

On to next year. I hope to have a new injected bike then. I will not quit going to the Ironman, until I score a top 5 effort there.

Out

Of course there were monster truck rides - why wouldn't there be?

If you do not have a monster truck, you build a monster golf cart I guess. Oh, and equip it with a rocking stereo that you can blast Hair Band music from the 80's.

World Championship of Wisconsin HS racing!

Two Suzuki’s on the top step of the podium today at Dyracuse, the last D16 race of the season.  Scott (@vesrahoffroad on Twitter) won the AA class, I won the +40 class.  This is the first time in 5 years of going to races together that we have both won on the same day.  And, we did it at Dyracuse.  It feels good to win here.  Neither one of us have ever won this race before.

Dyracuse is a great sandy old school MX track, surrounded by about 2000 acres of woods.  The lap did part of the MX track and then into a section of pines that has been replanted in rows.  It is 5 minutes of completely whooped out sandy singletrack through the woods.  Up and down hills, zig zaging around the trees.  It is hard and got really bad by the end of the race.  Really really rough and the whoops got really deep and very squared out.  After that section we went back out onto the MX track to finish the lap, then back into the woods.  This section of woods started out with fantastic black perfect moisture dirt.  Then into a super tough off camber long stretch that was filled with really tough rocks.  Hard.  Then onto a little Supercross track and then finish the loop and back onto the MX track.

Scott got a great start and then holeshot into the woods first, then I got the holeshot and got to the woods first on my line as well.  2 Suzuki RMZ250’s, with both of us in orange Moose Racing gear.  It was beautiful.

I struggled on the first lap in my race in the rocky section.  I got caught behind a slower rider from a wave ahead of me on a steep uphill section.  The guys behind me went immediately around me and the other stuck riders and at least 3 people from my wave went through.  I rode really hard and caught up to Roger Bird who was in 2nd.  I was behind him for about half a lap.  He was going pretty well, but was definitely going slower than i wanted to.  He was pushing hard, too hard, and he bounced off a tree and went down.  I slowed to a stop to see how he was doing, but he was fine, so I took off in pursuit of the leader.

I found him about a lap later and worked to get by him.  Once I did, I tried to put my head down and check out, but he was glued to me.  That is where he stayed for 3 laps.  Then on the 6th lap, he took a smarter line around a rocky section and got by me and he tried to check out.  He was going well, but then on the last lap I came around a turn and there he was stuck off the side of the trail.  I assume that he had crashed there.

I finished out the lap and came across the line in 1st.  Finally.  It has been a long season with a lot of 2nd place finishes.  I started the season by winning and now I have ended the season winning. I ended up 2nd overall again to John Buechner.  He is very strong, and really fun to ride against.  We are about the same speed, but he seems to make better luck for himself at the end of the race more than I.

My Suzuki RMZ worked great, Mark at Vesrah makes sure that the brakes are great on it, my Moose gear worked flawlessly, my Bell helmets are the best fitting ever, AJ at Victory Circle Graphix keeps the bike looking great, my Rekluse Core EXP clutch makes it almost impossible to stall…  Everything worked like a champ.

I cannot say enough about my fitness help.  Mary Daubert gives advice, Kathy Mock has written training programs for me, and Mary Grinaker works out with me once a week to check my progress and keep me on the right track.  For a guy that is going to turn 50 in a few months, I am doing pretty well with all of this.  Thanks everyone.

Now onto one more race for the year.  The Ironman GNCC at the end of the month.  I hate to say it out loud, but this is going to be the year that I crack the top 5 in my class there.  I am fit, my bike is great, I am riding well…  Yep, this is going to be the year.

Out for now.

Joe

I went to the Dresser.

For the land of the free

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

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

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

– 11.5 miles of sweet up and down hills singletrack

– a super cool little endurocross section at the finish area

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

out,

Joe

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

OMG, that was hard!

The Suzuki compound at the race

Still cannot get over how pro the van looks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

out,

Joe

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

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

Friday Video post

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

Here is what the Trek race department does.

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

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

Hope that makes your “Friday” better.

off to the races.

Joe

The Van has logos!

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

It was!

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

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

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

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

Out,

Joe

GNCC day before

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

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

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

Scott’s

–        Diesel

–        arm rests on the seats

–        Sirrius/XM radio

–        history

Mat’s

–        Cruise Control

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is what everyone looked like in the afternoon race

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

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

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

Joe

GNCC races rule

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

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

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

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

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

TENNNN SECCONNNNNDDSSS!

Out

Joe

New race – Sugar Maple!

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

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

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

The Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the race.

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

Brilliant – see above

Proper – see above

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

Chuffed – happy about something

Mate – friend

Knackered – really tired

Get a crack on – get moving, stop dilly dallying

Minging – really smelly and gross

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

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

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

Bollocks – dammit

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

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

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

Giffer – orgy seeking drunk middle age woman

Duffer – a pratt

Pratt – bit of an idiot

Git – a bit of a sod

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

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

Dog and bone – the phone

Cream crackered – knackered

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

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

Out

Joe

1st race is in the bag!

Aztalan has left the building.

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

Finally! We get back to racing on this stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott putting it down

Pretty Muddy

If I was just going a bit faster

I really should open my eyes

Also there was mud

Gratuitous ass shot

Pretty much what everyones bikes looked like after the race.

How I feel about mud racing!

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

Out.

Joe

It’s Friday – video time!

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

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

What’s Next

Official GNCC Florida video on the GNCC site.

Georgia GNCC race

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

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

Video from the Steele Creek GNCC race last weekend.

Whacky Whacky China Eastern Flight – wow!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chinese tourist outfit. This is nervous gum chewing man.

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

Must be target practice happening normally. Going for distance?

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

We just missed the 2 for 1 sale!

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

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

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

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

The plane began to taxi towards the runway.

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

The plane continued to taxi towards the runway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Flight Attendants yelled “SIT DOWN!”

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

The Flight Attendants yelled “SIT DOWN!”

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

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

The Flight Attendant yells “SIT DOWN!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel is a wonderful thing.

Joe

I should have gotten the supersized carton of smokes!

Top 12 reasons I cannot wait for the season to start

In no real order of importance, these are the top 10 reasons that I cannot wait for the season to start.

1. The smell of race gas. There is nothing like it. My wife hates it, and that is ok. Man up, this is motorcycle racing.

2. Blisters that tear open and bleed. This typically happens on a double race weekend.  You race on Saturday, create huge blisters.  Then race again on Sunday.  The result is a blister that gets torn open and becomes a bloody mess.  Hurts, and is not really good for you, but it means you raced your motorcycle 2 days in a row, and that well…

3. The chaos of the first turn.  Imagine that you have 20 or more motorcycles tearing forward around a first turn.  Usually, that turn is in the open so there are lots of lines through it.  You might wonder why a first turn matters in a 2-3 hour race.  The first turn itself is not so important, but usually the second turn is where the track would funnel down to a singletrack in the woods.  Getting there first does matter.  But, it means that everyone hits that first turn hard to set up for the woods.  It makes the first turn just chaos.  I used to get nervous on the start line thinking about it.  Now I just cannot wait.  I love the chaos.

4. Flip flops.  Flip flops equal summer.  I usually wear regular shoes on the way to the race.  You need the regular shoes for unloading the van and for walking the trail etc…  But, after the race there is nothing better than freeing your feet.  Scott thinks I am stupid, but it is worth the risk of toe damage to get that “I am not wearing anything on my feet” feeling after the race.

5. The passenger seat in the van.  The van is not anything great to look at it, but it is the greatest race vehicle to dirt bag motorcycle racers could hope for.  At this point I have spent a lot of time in that seat heading to races all over the country.  That seat equals going to races for me.  There is no one that has spent as much time as I have in that seat.  Scott would be a close 2nd, but it is my place for viewing the world as it leads up to a motorcycle race.  That passenger seat in my mind equals racing.

6. No snow shoveling.  Snow shoveling is the polar opposite of motorcycle racing.  It is not fun, there isn’t really much satisfaction that you get from doing it and, on the days you do it you are not racing your motorcycle.  And even if you do it right, the next snow storm is going to come along and ruin what you did.  I have never snow shoveled one day and then raced my motorcycle the next day – I’m just sayin.  Snowshoveling equals no racing, ergo racing equals no snowshoveling.

7. My wife in a bikini.  Racing happens in the summer, what else happens in the summer? – Duh.

8. Getting the whole race right.  This only happens about once or twice a year.  Sometimes it happens on a day when you win, other times it happens on a day when you get 5th.  But, when it does happen it is really really great.  It is why we all do this and what we are always chasing, and rarely achieve.  I am going to have a few of them this year.

9. Brian-isms.  Brian Terry is the D16 Harescrambles rep, a great guy and a friend of mine.  But, he says whacky things.  I don’t know if he says whacky things when it is not race season.  But, I hear them during race season and therefore it makes me know it is race season.  Read this earlier post and you will see how  Brian-isms = race season.

10. New decals.  They are so shinny.  You know what I am talking about.  Old decals look scuffed and smudged and dirty all the time.  During the offseason, you don’t bother replacing them.  “Ah, they will be fine for going down to Missouri and riding.”  But, I really like to show up to a race with fresh decals.  They are so shinny.

11. Putting fresh tires on my bike.  I usually nick my knuckles.  But, new tires are like decals.  They just make the bike feel so neat.  I don’t bother on a practice day, but for race day I like to show up with fresh meat on there.

12. TENNN..SECCCOONDS!!!!  The starter at a GNCC race yells this out 10 seconds before the race.  It means the melee of the first turn is about the happen, the fresh tires and decals are looking good, I can smell race gas, I have spent time in the passenger seat, I am not going to be shoveling snow that day, there is still the possibility of getting the whole race right, I am looking forward to flip flops after and of course there may be a bikini involved.

TENNNN…SECCONDS!

Riding at St. Joe today!

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a bit muddy today.

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

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

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

Riding makes me smile!

Out,

Joe

Those used to be clutch plates!

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

– I adjusted the valves.  Still did it.

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

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

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

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

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

Guess what, no more funny ticking sound.  Jeez!

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

Out,

Joe

Look Ma, no brake pedal!

What the…?

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

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

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

No moto riding

My job and life is out of control.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

out.

Joe

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

End of the Decade!

December 19 , 2009

–       We are almost out of the first decade of the 2000’s.

–       We are almost to the shortest day of the year, and my oldest daughters birthday.  (Dec 21)

–       We are unfortunately a long way away from riding locally.

–       We are just 43 days away from the first National Enduro in South Carolina!

–       We are just 67 days away from our annual riding and early season testing trip to St. Joe Missouri

–       We are just 126 days away from the first D16 Harescrambles event.

Woohoo!

Maybe there is a GNCC event in there as well, haven’t completely decided on that.

Either way, it seems like there are some things coming up.  But, it is a long time until I can be on a 2 wheeler outside with regularity.  The problem is that I am going to get to South Carolina to do the enduro and it is going to go all wonked, I am sure.  I will get on the bike, be super excited to be on the bike, get a few miles into the Enduro and KINK!  No riding ain’t going to help my ride, people.

Fatcyclist is a pro.

I am super enthused about Fatcyclist.com getting to go and ride with the RadioShack guys last week.  That was really cool.

Here are the video’s of his time there, if you missed it.

and another.

and another.

My suspension just came back this week from Factory Connection.

Here are some gratuites pictures of my suspension on the counter and against my shop cabinets.  Did I mention how excited I am about my suspension?  I know that everyone get’s their suspension done, but damn.  Mine is just the best.  Factory Connection you know.

New, rebuilt, shinny, cool.

cheap opportunity for me to show off my garage floor, and the rebuilt FC suspension.

New Helmet cam!

This year, we will be showing some helmet cam video’s here at the site.  I am going to try to take video at least once per month, and put it up on the site.  We will see how that goes.

VIOsport helmet cam goodness.

The guys at VIOsport took my old camera and updated it to the new stuff.  New lenses, new mounts, new straps and new software.  I am super excited.  Those guys are up in Marquette Michigan, where the National Enduro is and where the best mountain bike riding in the entire Midwest is.  I wish I was back in my college days, this would definitely be my choice for a school in the Midwest.

I wonder is a 49 year old can go back to college?

My bike is not ready.

It has a long way to go before the Enduro at the end of January.  That is ok, I have a few weekends to work on it between now and then.

So I am out in the garage now.  I seem to spend a bunch of time in the winter out here.  Heater is on.  Floor is mopped (yes I am weird that way.)  I like it out here.  My bikes are here, my motorcycle is here, my skis are here, my truck is here – and there are no girls here.

That is it for now.

Try not to fall on the ice.

Joe

Top reasons I cannot wait for next season!

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

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

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

Reason #2 that I cannot wait for the season.

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

Reason #3 that I cannot wait for the season.

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

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

Reason #4 that I cannot wait for the season.

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

Reason #5 that I cannot wait for the season.

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

Reason #6 that I cannot wait for the season.

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

Reason #7 that I cannot wait for the season.

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

Reason #8 that I cannot wait for the season.

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

Reason #9 that I cannot wait for the season.

More riding, and less counting down till the season.

Reason #10 that I cannot wait for the season.

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

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

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

So, please please bring on the season.

out.

JV

No more local riding

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

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

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

New Pipe

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

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

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

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

And Inside!

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

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

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

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

Joe

Cycling week/weekend #2

Taiwan road bike ride

This past week I was in Taiwan. Working all week, it is halfway around the world and when you have been there a bunch, you tend to want to just get through it. The days get long.

But, I have been planning an extra day lately, just to get out for a ride. So, Friday we planned a big ride in the mountains outside of Taichung.

There was a pretty good group of us.  8 riders.  Mostly expat Americans, but also 2 Taiwan nationals.

We left the hotel in Taichung at 7:30.  The roads were wet, as it had rained overnight.  We looked at the skies and they were ominous, but we decided we really wanted to get a ride in anyway.  It was misting a bit, and we probably should have taken that as a sign.  We didn’t.  I left the hotel without a vest, without a jacket.  It was 70 degrees, afterall.

We had the usual experience getting out of the city.  Taichung is over a million people, and the hotel is pretty much right in the middle of it.  But, unlike American cities, a million is not that big.  People live in apartments, and there really are not any suberbs.  So, there is traffic but getting out of the city doesnt really take that long.  The traffic can be pretty intense.  There are a ton of scooters and cars and bikes and buses and trucks and people everywhere.  The normal laws of traffic do not always apply in Taiwan.  People just tend to do whatever they want to.  It all seems to work, but it makes riding a bike there a bit hairy.

It was misty as I said earlier but it was warm and just as soon as we got to the edge of the city, the traffic fell away.  But, the road also went up pretty much  from the edge of town.  The route for the day included 3 big mountain passes.  The mountains are not super high in  Taiwan, the island is at sea level afterall.  But, the mountains a really really steep.  The second climb was the steepest and the hardest.

After the first climb it started to rain – hard.  I am talking ocean tropical rain.  Big huge rain drops.  The wind picked up and the temperature started to drop.  The temperature dropped not to really cold, but so that when soaked on the 2nd descent, it felt really really cold.  We quickly went up the 3rd climb and that warmed us all up.  But, it was still raining.  In fact it rained the rest of the ride.

3 hours in the rain.  By the time we got back to the hotel, we were all pruned and tired of being in the wet.  I am afraid that I made a huge mess of the hotel lobby with my wet and disgusting bike and gear.  I trashed the hotel room as well.  Sorry.

I had to pack my wet gear in a plastic bag and head to the airport after that.  I can tell you that when I got home, the inside of my suitcase was – ewe.

 

Mountain bike ride on Sunday.

So back at home and we are still enjoying the great fall weather.  Today was about 50 degrees for a high.  It rained just once early in the week, but the cool temperatures and the regular rain has made the dirt completely epic at our trails at work.  The leaves are all down, and the traffic on the trails has made the ribbon of singletrack just perfect.  Wow.

Liz and I went out with our friends Aaron and Kathy Mock.  We rode for almost 3 hours.  It was really incredible.

So, the month has not been much for riding my motorcycle, but the mountain biking and road cycling has been spectacular.  Next weekend is the mountain bike race in Arkansas.  I hope that I do not shred my face again like I did previously.  Eiter way, it will be fun.

After the Arkansas trip, it will be time to get back to specific training for the coming race season.  Time to work with a trainer and set up a program and get after it all.

Joe

Crawfordsville confederate flag. With Ying/Yang on same trailer

Original Message
From: Vadeboncoeur, Joe
To: ‘joev3.7092@twitpic.com’ <joev3.7092@twitpic.com>
Sent: Sun Nov 01 10:02:52 2009
Subject: Crawfordsville confederate flag. With Ying/Yang on same trailer

img00004

Cleaned my bike after Crawfordsville – OMG

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

 

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

 

Out.

Crawfordsville – the aftermath

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

 

 

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

Ugh.

 

Joe

Another season done – Crawfordsville is complete.

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

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

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

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

see of motorcycles.

see of motorcycles.

HPIM3765

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

yep, stuck again!

yep, stuck again!

And yes.  we had to be towed out.

And yes. we had to be towed out.

The results.

The results.

Yes my bike looks horrible.

Yes my bike looks horrible.

Out

Joe

At Suzuki Mark’s place

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

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

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

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

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

Pit stop

Facebook page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe

Crawfordsville, here we come!

The 303 rides again!

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

3+ hours at dyracuse.

Absolutely perfect dirt today! Rode with Mat Herrington. Damn he is fast.  We did 3+ hours.  We did the first hour together, and my pace.  Then switched and of course I cannot keep up with Mat. We strung up the loop from the race 2 weeks ago. But, it was really good and I had good form. Too bad that I did not ride this well at the race there.

Stopped at 2 hours and splashed gas, ate 2 gu packs and then headed out for another hour.  In that hour, I really rode well.  Mat did lap me near the end of that 3rd hour, but he was not going that much faster than me then.  I suppose we were both on auto pilot at that point.

Mark did a superb rebuild on my motor, and OMG! Wow is it super.  It has tons of power now, and is really smooth. Temperature was 40 at the start, probably 50 at the finish.  I have only raised the needle one clip.  Otherwise the jetting is stock.  It was pretty perfect.

I cannot wait for Crawfordsville now!  7 days to go!

Woohoo!

Getting ready!

The big one is just a couple of weeks away!  As you can see, I am returning to my number from last year. Doing a bunch of bike prep today.

Getting spruced up plastic and decals ready for the GNCC race!

Getting spruced up plastic and decals ready for the GNCC race!

Yipee!!!!

Yipee!!!!

You will definately want to check out this video.  Thanks Ryan Moss from Midwest Enduro’s.

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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

Wow – What a weekend!

This was a huge weekend!
Saturday – 12 hour solo MTB race.
Sunday – District 16 Aztalan Harescrambles

Saturday’s MTB race was at Wausau, 9mile forest.
I had originally planned to ride the race with Liz.  But, I could not make up my mind about what I was going to do, and she got tired of waiting for me to make up my mind.  She decided to ride with her friend Kathy, and left me to do it solo.  I have never done a solo 12, so why not?

Liz and I went up on Friday with the trailer.  We met Kathy there, and set up our camp.  I needed to instruct Liz and Kathy about tearing down the trailer at the end of the race, as I would not be staying the 2nd night.

We set up camp and found our friends that were doing the race as well.  We all sat around the campfire drinking beer and telling stories.  Great fun.

Race morning dawned a nice day.  That would stick around for quite some time, but the weather would not stay nice for the whole day.

The course was 14 miles around, with about 2/3 of it being singletrack and the rest double track.  There we really just 3 really technical sections and 4 significant climbs.  On your first lap, the technical sections were not too tough and the climbs were all taken out of the saddle attacking in the middle ring.  Later in the race, the climbs were just something to get through.  Sort of a milestone along the way “one climb down, 3 to go.  Only 2 more rock sections – and so on.”

My first 2 laps were going fine.  I had a good pace and felt like I could keep going at that.  My first lap was a 1”19”, my second was a 1’10”.  But, after my 2nd lap, my camelbak was really low so I decided to pull in and refill.  I ate a cliff bar and a gu pack and went straight back out.

My 3rd lap was still pretty good, but I came across Liz late in the lap so rode with her for the rest of the lap.  She was going well, but complained of falling down and hurting her knee.  I ate a banana at the end of that lap and went back out.  It is now about 4+ hours into the race.  Right away on the 4th lap, my hamstring and quads on both legs began to cramp.  The 4th lap was an effort in not pushing on the pedals.  I made it around, but I was really slow.

Back at the camper, I ate the left over oatmeal from breakfast and drank a bunch and laid down to rest my legs.  After about an hour I went back out and did my 5th lap, I am now in my 6th-7th hour of riding and 8-9hours into the race.  After the food and drink, I felt much better.  I also went back to Cytomax as my drink of choice and the difference was amazing.

That was it for me as it was getting dark at about 10 hours into the race when I finished that lap.  I had hoped to get 6 laps in, but the cramping episode killed that.  So, I loaded up and drove home, leaving Liz and Kathy to stay over night in the camper and then to bring it all home with them.

I am on to the next lap of the weekend.

Sunday – Aztalan Harescrambles race

Earlier in the week I had prepped my new RMZ to race.  I did not truly know how well I would go on that bike, as I had not done any real back to back lap time comparison.  I also had never raced Aztalan, as normally I would set up that course.  It had always looked fun, and now I would finally get a chance to do it.

I loaded up my stuff, along with some really stinky race gas that Mark Junge had given us and headed over  in the morning.  Right away when we got there, I headed out to ride the course.  I knew right away that it was going to be a tough day.  My legs were hurting just walking up the first hill, and it was getting really hot.

The course used most of the Motocross track, but some of it was backwards making the jumps not really work in those backwards sections.  The woods sections were mostly quite tight and had a bunch of really steep up  hills and down hills.  There was one hill in the track walk that I knew was going to be tough.  It left from the MX track right up the side of a huge hill.  It had a stump in the middle and a hump in the hillside halfway up, with a really steep face at the top.

The gun went off on our race, just a few minutes late.  I got a decent start in about 5th, but when we hit that tough hill, the guy in front of me fell over and I had no where to go.  I ended up sliding back down the hill and having to restart my bike…ugh.  Everyone else went around the hill and headed down the trail.  John and Jim (class rivals) were checking out, the rest of the group was around the hill and I was kicking my bike.  Damn…  It was going to be a long effort.

I got going and caught the back markers right away.  There were 13 guys on my line.  I finished the first lap in 6th.  I finished the 2nd lap in 4th.  I finished the 3rd lap in 3rd.  I was now up to Jim who was in 2nd.  It took me 2 laps to get around him.  But I did, when he bobbled in a turn.  I put my head down again and a lap later caught John in the lead.  I battled with John for more than 8 laps.  I could not get by him.  I was faster, but he was riding really smart and covering all the shorter lines and insides of turns, leaving me the long way only.  I tried tons of different lines etc… But just could not get by him.  I tried a different line on the turn into the whoops, but fell over and just had to chase back up to him.

Finally, late in the race he fell over in a turn and I went by.  But, by then I was done.  I just could not get myself back up to the pace that I had used to catch him earlier in the race.  It was like all the fluid in my internal tank had run completely out at that point.  I just could not go.  John got back around me on the entrance to a flat turn that I just did not have the energy to late brake into.  On the next turn I got tangled up with a tree and ended up on the ground.  My bike was wrapped around a tree and it took an unbelievable amount of energy to get it untangled and get going again.  I was not completely cooked and rode around like a fleeb for a lap till the end of the race.  2nd.  Not bad for the weekend.

Some notes.
– The RMZ 250 is incredible.  That is it for me, the RM250 2stroke will get cleaned up now and sold.  It was a great bike, but the chassis is stuck in 2001.  The RMZ handles so much better.
– I can ride the RMZ so much more aggressively than the 2stroke.  It just begs to be ridden hard.  I think the 2stroke has way more power, and that is what makes it harder to ride.  It is much easier to ride a slow bike fast, than it is to ride a fast bike slow.
– The connection of your right wrist to the ground is incredible on this bike.  You just have to kind of telepathy yourself forward and you go.
– The race gas stinks and makes you kind of sick to your stomach to use it, but I think Scott is right that it makes the motor just a bit more responsive.  I mixed it 50/50 with pump and it was very nice.  (Does make the garage stink though.)
– There were a bunch of off camber turns with loose dirt and rocks.  The RMZ will flat track right through that stuff.  Fun.
– The RMZ flies much better than the RM250.  Jumps that are doable for me on this bike are not necessarily doable for me on the 2stroke.
– I had really good pace in the race.  I was much faster than Jim and a bit faster than John.  John would gap me in around a lapper or something and I would have no problem bringing him back.
– The singletrack was very tight.  The course was really fun, because it had 5th gear tapped out straightaways and 1st gear tight woods sections and the toughest uphills and downhills that I have seen since GNCC races last year.
– I am running a 13t countershaft sprocket(stock is a 12) and stock rear gearing.  It was perfect for this weekend.
– I am just running the stock gas tank, but had plenty of gas left after the race.  I think I could have gone another lap or maybe even 2 more.  In a longer race or a race with a really long lap that I could end up much closer to 2.5 hours, I could need to refuel.  At a GNCC, I will need to fuel for sure.

Joe

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

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!

5 days till race day – china mussings

Ok.  Just 5 days to go!  5 days, and the curtain goes up on another race season.  This is about my 6th now, and I can never get enough of it.  I wait and wait and wait, and then it finally gets here.  Then we race a ton, and travel and race some more.  The beginning of the year always starts off cold and wet.  Then, one day it is hero dirt.  Then, it is dusty for what feels like forever.  Then, you show up at a race somewhere and it is cold and wet again.  Then, you are back at Crawfordsville in the mud at a GNCC race.  Then, on the way home from Crawfordsville it is starting to spit snow.  And, all of a sudden it is winter again and the long season of waiting starts over again.

But enough of that.  Before that happens, there will be racing to be done on many many weekends.

But, before that happens, I have to go home from China.  I am in Shanghai now, and will be making my way toward home tomorrow.  Getting home takes 2 days from here.  There is the flight to Taipei, then the flight to Los Angeles.  That combination takes about 22 hours.  Unfortunately, I arrive in LA too late to get home that same day.  So, I stay over night in LA and then have to fly home early the next day.  In the end, the travel home takes about 40 hours all together.  Ugh…

So, I am going to end this trip with a bunch of photos that I took today in China.

Sign in my hotel elevator.

Sign in my hotel elevator. "Man is that Dental Institute Ever Good".

Bob Dog, could be related to Cat Dog!

Bob Dog, could be related to Cat Dog!

How high can you stack up containers?

How high can you stack up containers?

Be quiet back there.  Just pay attention to where we have been!

Be quiet back there. Just pay attention to where we have been!

The corner bike shop.  Literally, ON the corner!

The corner bike shop. Literally, ON the corner!

Containers at a factory, sometimes are stacked as high as you can stack them!

Containers at a factory, sometimes are stacked as high as you can stack them!

That is pretty much it for this trip.  Next update – Race day!

Out,

Joe