Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wild Angels, Live...

Got this album for Christmas, obviously for the cover. Speaking of covers, it's what the band does with '50's and '60's rock standards. They're enthusiastic and sometimes hit the notes on the right beat.
But the cover is interesting, did they shoot this during an intermission on race day? Did they borrow these speedway bikes? Do they know what they're sitting on?
I couldn't get past the first paragraph of hyperbole in the liner notes, but I may try again later to see if it answers any of these questions...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wild Turkey!

Sorry, not the bourbon, the bird. This flock came up to the house while I was trying to get the XR200R rear wheel back to something resembling round and true. More work on that after I return from Sweden!

I took the YZ for another ride this morning, it's running great. I'll need to do some minor jetting changes but I think it could probably go the way it is now if I had to.
The next challenge will be to see if the front ice fender will leave enough clearance for the front brake line. Last year I had the 19" spool wheel on it. It's going to have the 21" wheel and brake this year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Progress on the YZ125

I've finally been able to spend some time on the YZ125. Got the engine in the frame on Thursday, but then the rest of the day was spent putting snow tires on Volvos. So today was the day to finish up and get it running.

You'll no doubt remember that I blew up the top end at Lake George last year as a result of a bad crank seal. I took the opportunity to "rebuild" the engine at that stage, fresh crank bearings and seals, fresh tranny bearings, fresh piston in the already freshened and bored top end. My only concern was that the tranny didn't feel great when I put it back together in the cases, so I was a bit nervous about how it would shift.

Here's where I was this morning.

It was not much work to get the rest of the bodywork on, fill fluids and give it a once over. It started up on the 3rd kick. Encouraged, I proceeded to do a few laps of the driveway. The tranny felt just fine, so I was relieved. In fact, the bike felt great all around. I rode it in the upper woods a bit, and some easy passes up and down the driveway. I'll run it through a few more heat cycles before I mount the ice wheels.

Since the gas tank graphics were completely shot, I decided to pull the rest of the graphics off the plastic. I may just run it this way, or get a black seat cover.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

KTM Wheel

You'll recall that I bent the front wheel on the EXC during the Black and Blue Enduro. Well I thought I had a good replacement wheel, but it wound up not working out. In the mean time I got a new "take-off" rim and laced it to the old hub. I borrowed a truing stand and dial indicator and got started with the wheel truing process.
Since I don't do this very often, it takes me awhile to re-learn the routine, but I finally got it pretty close.
One of my frustrations was finding any specifications for radial and axial runout. I finally found a site that claims that the OEM specs for most new wheels are .015 to .018 for either dimension. I've gotten this wheel within that, so I guess I'm satisfied.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

'65 (?) Sears/Gilera 106SS

This bike belonged to my brother Mark for a while, I'm guessing he got it in the late '70s. Then he sold it to his friend Kathy sometime in the '90s. It sat in her shop for several years. I saw it there and took pity on it, brought it up to my house for a little TLC. Unfortunately, the TLC took a few years to apply, and in the end had to be scaled back for financial reasons, but at least it finally got some attention.
Now it runs. Cool bike. It's a Gilera 106 rebadged and sold by Sears. Pushrod engine has pretty good torque and wide gearing.

The headlight works! The bike had a huge Japanese muffler on it when I got it, I put the shorty on. Sounds good.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Random Vermont photos

Punk/redneck represent!

It was cold.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Black and Blue Enduro, Stafford Connecticut Nov.1

One thing that comes to mind as I recall this event was the quote that I first read a long time ago in the Whole Earth Catalog, attributed simply to "a motorcycle racer", the quote was "When in doubt, gas it."

When I read that, I had no idea under what circumstances that advice might come in handy. I was not convinced that I'd ever try it because I didn't think I'd ever own, much less race, a motorcycle. Once I started racing motorcycles, I could rarely summon the courage to gas it if I wasn't fairly confident of the outcome. Now that I've raced an Enduro I suspect that the "motorcycle racer" probably raced off road Enduros.

Seamus and I had talked about entering this Enduro, but we didn't actually make the decision to do it till the night before. We agreed to meet at my place 4:00AM Sunday morning and drive down.

An Enduro is a cross country race that requires the rider keep track of his time as he goes through the event, using a route sheet, a clock, an odometer, a pair of scissors and some tape. There are check points along the way and you are penalized for checking in too early or too late. In either case the penalty adds points to your score. The object is to complete the race with the lowest score. My goal was to complete the race, score be damned. We were only dimly aware of what we were getting ourselves into.

The event starts with rows of 4 riders starting a minute apart, Seamus and I were on row 25, with only one row behind us, so that was good, at least we'd be able to see where everyone went. It started out pretty rough for me, I had an OK start in my group and I was riding well for about 2 minutes. Then we got into some rocks and I stalled the bike. Everyone kept on going. In fact the last row that started a minute behind us zipped past me as I was calmly trying to restart my bike. I finally got it started and took off, pretty sure that I was in last place. No worries though, there was still 63 miles to go.

Much of the next 63 miles was the gnarliest rocky singletrack that I've ever ridden. Through stream beds, river beds, hillclimbs, switchbacks, there were rocks all over the place. And where there weren't rocks, there were trees. Or water. So I got through the first off-road section and got to the first of several check points, where somebody writes a number on the scorecard taped to my front fender and steps aside. That's the invitation to continue, just follow the trail left by the previous 99 riders. Sometimes that's easy, but sometimes it's not so apparent, as when you transfer to a paved road and have to pay attention to the route sheet and hope you see arrows confirming your course.

I never did get lost or off course, so that was good. I did catch up with Seamus at a couple areas where riders could stop and reset clocks and ask other riders what minute they were on etc., but since he was making better progress in the woods he was always able to start ahead of me. That was fine, because every time I came up on some crazy section and didn't see him there, I figured if he could do it, I probably could too. I wish I could have taken some pictures on the trail, but it wasn't going to happen. Once you get going the last thing you want to do is stop, and if you do stop because of a crash or challenging terrain, the last thing you want to do is get out your phone/camera and take a picture.

At the top of one hillclimb I noticed a group of people standing around, as I got closer the trail made a sharp turn and a couple kids started yelling and pointing down the trail.."TIRES!GO GO GO!", and sure enough I look ahead and see a "tire trap" with guys yelling encouragement to hit it hard. This is where the "when in doubt, gas it" came to me. It certainly helped that the small group was screaming at me to gas it, but nevertheless...I did make it across on the first attempt, and was so proud of myself I waved to the folks as I continued on my way.

This is the trap, another rider attemting it. I lifted this from nedirtbikes.com


Other highlights in the morning, some riverbeds that had to be crossed with fairly deep mud bogs. I caught up to some riders in these. Then we got to some really fast fire roads that I didn't realize weren't intended to be taken so fast. Some of the fire roads had water holes that you had to cross. No big deal, except you never know how deep they are, or what may be lurking below the surface. Typically I'd cruise through them at a steady pace and the water would only come up to my boots, but at one of the last such water holes I got concerned when the front wheel disappeared under the water! I gassed it and made it out with the engine coughing a bit...

Then I finally reached the gas stop/lunch break. A welcome rest. I parked next to Seamus, he took one look at my front wheel and asked what happened. I said I could remember hitting a rock on one of those fire roads, 5th gear and ripping along, the rock jumped out and nailed my front wheel.

Lunch break, PBJ!

Do I look concerned about my front wheel?

This is the gas stop/lunch break, most of the riders have passed through already.

The ride got a little tougher just after the lunch break, muddy, slimy rocks, trees across the trail...really just more of the same but a little more intense for about the next hour. Then a long paved road section to get to the next trail. I think it got easier then, or maybe I felt like it was almost over so I relaxed, but anyway I cruised through the last bit feeling good and riding pretty well. We both finished and Seamus actually won his class! He was riding in "C 4 stroke", I was riding in "C Senior" and I have no idea how I finished in class. We stuck around to collect Seamus' trophy, ate at the $10 buffet and tried to learn a little more about how you're supposed to keep track of your timing and scoring.

End of the day...

This is the score board showing my class.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Last Thursday ride...

that is, the last organized Thursday ride of the season, was at Denver's track up near Highgate. We rode there about three weeks ago for the first time. This is a pretty short track that features a prominent ridge along the length of the east side and a mixed woods lower flat section. When we run it counter-clockwise it's a slowish kind of "technical" track. When we reverse direction and run clockwise it's a very quick, flowing course, almost a motocross track.
Fun either way, but you get your speed on going clockwise.
Here are the vids,

This is the entry to the ridge when we run counter-clockwise. It's a pretty steep climb with a drop at the top, trees and steep drops on either side.

Another view, following the bikes coming out of the woods exit and back to the ridge entry. I think you have Scott Armstrong on the Beta, Denver on his RMZ and Jim on a YZ?

Here's a view from the top of the ridge.

Another clip, Calef on his WR.

Here are some turns on the ridge. Jay and Randy.

Common courtesy, and a good survival skill, pull over and let the fast guy through.

Here are some clips of the lower section. Randy and Jay.


And finally, running clockwise, later in the day.

Denver and his wife Jessica have been great hosts, food and drink after riding and a campfire to warm up. I regret not taking photos, I guess I had food, beer and campfire on my mind. Oh well, here's Scott Armstrong anyway.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Thursday Night Ride

Hey, despite the weather predictions, we did manage a Thursday ride at the home track. Yup, 69 Bixby Hill. Rees and Calef came early and walked the track with me and helped with arrows and some re-routing. By the time we got back to the house Tom Butland and Seth (Tracy?) had arrived so we decided it was time to ride.

The leaves are down now, so the track is really tough to read. Roots, rock edges and minor irregularities are hidden, so there are plenty of surprises as you go along. I had more than my share of crashes and mishaps during the several laps I got in.

Tom is a trials rider, a member of the Green Mountain Plonkers, and he was riding his trials bike tonight. He very graciously offered it up to us to try as well. Most of us took him up on it. The last time I rode a trials bike, I came away with a separated shoulder. This time I kept it under control and had a lot of fun with it...in the driveway.

Here's some vid of Tom and Rees on the trials bike, and Calef losing his way...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shameless Sideburn Promo

I have to admit that if it weren't for these guys, you wouldn't be wasting your time on my blog 'cause I wouldn't have a blog.

click the pic...

Thanks guys, hope you sell a ton. (tonne, in England?)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

NEMM season wrap-up

NEMM round 6 photos

We had the last race of the season today at the Graniteville track. The day started off pretty cold, I think when Bill and I left the house at 9:30 it was still around 30 degrees. I was just hoping to survive the day without any major crashes, I knew the grip would be pretty poor. As it turned out, once we ran a couple practices the temp started coming up and it wasn't too bad.

We had some great heat races for Sport Cup, XR100 Cup and a new class for Seniors (Age 41 and up). I can't remember which heats had some of the best racing since we ran them back to back. There was some great action, especially on the starts heading into turn one and the jump. I think I won the Sport Cup heat, Bill won the Senior heat and the XR100 Cup heat was a crash fest.

The Sport Cup feature went well for me, I got over the jump in first place and held on for the win. I also sewed up 2nd place for the season. Go me. Furthermore, it was decided by Bill that I would retain the MERT, even though I suggested that he'd earned it for his heat race win. He overruled me based on my feature win and overall finishes...

After chasing Bill for the entire heat race in the Senior class, I was looking forward to another battle in the feature. Unfortunately we got an ugly start with wheelies and missed shifts, Johnny Branson took off and we straggled along behind. I think I took 2nd and Bill was either 3rd or 4th.

The XR100 Cup feature also went pretty well for me, I got over the jump in 4th place behind JD, John Donovan and Johnny Branson. They gapped me a little, but I had a good gap behind me as well. Johnny B. took an off course adventure which put me into 3rd and I finished there.

Here's some video from the Premier feature.

A huge thanks to Aaron (and friends) for putting this whole thing together. It was a really fun race series. Can't wait to see what next season brings.

This is Aaron presenting the Premier Class Championship Trophy to Jeremy DeGrasse.

Caferacer.net, NEMM, what's next?

Monday, October 12, 2009

WVR Oct 10, TT race...fast young kids

This is a TT race at Winchendon. I don't know the class, basically young 'uns on mini's.

As you can see, they start on the front straight, go through turns 1 & 2 onto the back straight about 1/2 length, then turn 180 deg. left to infield right decreasing radius sweeper, over a roller that brings them to turn 4 of the oval, left and down the front straight to start another lap.

WVR Oct 10, 450 Expert

This is a heat race, 450 Expert. I can't remember the riders names other than Asa Irish, I believe is #57 and I think Dave Casey is riding #98.

Local talent.

Here's a look at the tail end of another heat race, exit T4...

Last flattrack race of the season

Well I got one more chance to race the XT500 before I put it away for the season. I hadn't realized that the Oct. 10 race was a night race until I got a couple calls during the week asking if I was coming down. I loaded the bike and took my chances that it might be slow enough at work that I could leave a tad early. It was, I did.

But I missed practice and the heat race for Senior "B", in fact I was just barely able to suit up and get the bike fired in time to catch the Vintage heat race. I must have been pretty amped up, 'cause I rolled over the line a little early and got sent back to the penalty line. No big deal though, 'cause there were a couple restarts and I was able to get into a better position for them. Once we got a good race going I was in 3rd place behind Bucky on his TT500, and Mark Methe leading the way on his Husky. That's the way we finished. When we pulled off the track I pitted next to Bucky. He got his helmet off and asked me who the hell kept on bumping him in the turns. I had to sheepishly admit it was me, the turns were so greasy I kept sliding up into him, quite by accident. He took it well once I explained myself, others might not have gotten off so easy.

So the Senior "B" feature race comes up and since I missed the heat race I had to start on the 2nd line. I got a decent start though, and soon enough I was in 3rd place and gaining on the leaders. I actually caught them coming off the back straight into 3, and realized I was going in a little too hot. I should have run out a little deeper into the turn, instead I tried cutting inside of 'em, hit one of the marker cones and did a slow motion low side loop into the turn. Damn. I got up and finished the race but I don't know what my position was.

As I'm pulling off the track I realize that once again, I have no brake. It felt a little funny during the feature but I figured I'd adjust it for the next race. What I found though, was that this time the lock pin holding the rod to the pedal pivot was missing. The rod was just dangling off the swing arm. The Vintage race was coming up in two races so I didn't have time to do anything but remove the arm and race Vintage with no brakes. By this time the track had tacked up a bit, I knew I could ride around in the cushion without taking anybody out.

In the Vintage feature race I didn't have a great start which meant I had to let everybody settle in before I could really attack. I came out of turn 2 in 4th place behind a Moto Guzzi, Bucky and Mark. It took me a few laps to ride around the Guzzi and then I just relaxed and enjoyed sliding around in 3rd till the checkers. I'll take it.

Loaded, battle weary, I still love this bike.

It was great catching up with some of the crew from previous years racing, all asking about Scott and how's he doing. And of course Pete and Connie are the best.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shameless Promotion

No shame in trying to help out Sideways Promotions, enablers of your flattracking habit...
So here it is, direct from Sideways Pete;

Please list these events on your forums, club, websites etc

WVR appreciates your help as we need a good turnout to get through wintah’s mortgage payments J



Swap Meet, Motorcycle Races, Bucky Thunder Monster Truck Jack O’ Lantern Smash, RC exhibitions, $100 Wheelie Contest, $100 Best Halloween Costume Award, CLASSES: Amt, Exp $$, Youth 50cc, Youth 65/85cc, Senior 30+, 100-160cc Air Cooled 4 stroke Am + Pro, Vintage, and Dino Short Track & TT. Queen of Dirt & THUNDER CLOWNZ, Entertainment by Ron Jones 12-4

Gates Open 11, Practice 4:30 Adults $10, Kids 10-15 $5, Under 10 Free! Adults Leaving Before 5 Get Back $5. Vendors Pay $10 Gate Fee Only ------ Race Entry Fee $35 ------ 99DB Limit


Frozen T-Shirt Contest 2 pm, Short Track Practice 4:30pm, races 5:00, Wheelie Contest, Queen of Dirt Short Track, Monster Truck Jack O’ Lantern Smash, TT Races, Damn Costume Contest, Thunder Clownz Race

10-31 Wachusett Valley Riders “N”DURANCE CROSS

October 31st. WVR is branching out into the enduro cross competition. We are going to haul in new clay and then make the nastiest hare scrambles course inside the arena. Rocks, logs, loader tires and a real mud hole, no namby pamby birdbath, but a real bike swallowing ‘tucky hole plus some secret surprises! Practice starts at 4 and the races at 6. Classes: 160 and smaller air-cooled 4 Stroke. Novice, Amt$. Exp$. and Pro$ are run what ya brung cc. A trophy for the pro winner guaranteed your significant other won’t let you put it in your living room!
Who will be the King of Toy Town? Class Sizes Limited, Email for Pre Entry

Gate Fee Adults $10, Kids 10-15 $5, Under 10 Free!

Race Entry $35, Payouts: Trophys Mini 4 Stroke & Nov, Amt $75, 50, 25. Exp $100, 75, 50. Pro $200, 150, 100

Wachusett Valley Riders Club Rt 12 Winchendon Ma

99db limit

www.sidewayspromo.com 978-874-1732 email peterg11@verizon.net

Bettencourts auction and open house November 21.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

YZ125 Ice bike

I had an hour to burn this morning, so I got the first coat of SEM Rust Guard applied to the YZ. I had done some prep work on Sunday. This paint is not going to be pretty, but at least it won't be purple.

This is the frame after prep, ready to not be purple anymore.

After the first coat dried I just touched up where needed. This is before the touch up. The SEM is a thick, durable paint. I rolled it on with a 2 inch foam roller, touched it up with a foam paint brush. I can do future touch ups with regular automotive touch up paint. I think Volvo code 19 will work just fine.

I just realized...

Why I'm not so popular when I show up for the Dagostino Cup. I was driving to work this morning when it hit me...

some of those guys in the video have seen me before.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thursday night ride at Kelly O's

Had a great ride at Kelly O's in East Orange this past Thursday. Scott was up from Crooklyn to see Hannah off, so he got to ride her XR200 and we truck pooled with Seamus. Kelly O's has some great hillclimbs and lots of medium fast woods singletrack. The XR200R held up really well all things considered. It did spit the chain off on one of the hillclimbs, but we were able to get it back on and sort of finish the loop.
My 300 is running well and I'm back to normal with it...I had started to get used to the big four strokes after riding Matt's 450 and Seamus's 400. It was weird getting back on my 300 and not being immediately comfortable, but I was fine on Thursday. I did turn back the rebound on the rear shock several clicks before the ride. Forgot to take notice while I was riding it but I realized after the ride that I felt a little better control in the woods and over some of the nastier roots, so maybe it did make a difference.

Since we didn't have much time before darkness, we didn't get a video. Photos are courtesy of Scott's iPhone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dag Cup videos

Thanks to Scott...

Vintage Heavy heat race

Vintage Light heat and feature edit

Thursday, September 17, 2009

2009 Dagostino Cup

Another great day of racing, this time at a new venue. Since the flange for my KTM didn't arrive in time for me to do the Turkey Run, racing at the new Electric City Riders track was looking like the best bet, which was cinched when Scott secured a ride up with the crew from 6th Street Specials! Thanks Hugh and crew for bringing him up, and waiting for him through the rest of the program. Scott and I would have to share the XT500 for the day, so I asked the sign up official if Scott could race it in Vintage Light and I could race it in Vintage Heavy. She didn't see why not, but just to be sure I asked another track official. He looked at me, shrugged and said sure. My reasoning was that Scott would be able to race with the 6th Street guys that brought him up, and I'd have more fun getting beat by big Yamaha twins than modern Honda 450s in the Senior B class.

The only problem I had was that I'd replaced the rear brake shoes after the last race, but I hadn't had any way to really bed the shoes in, besides riding up and down Bixby Hill Road, which isn't particularly effective and isn't particularly popular with the neighbors. So I just hoped that we'd be able to continually adjust the brakes as we ran through practice and heats. As it turned out, the brakes were essentially useless the whole day. We flipped the actuator arm to see if we could get more travel, but in the end the only way we had any brake was to adjust them so that there was constant drag on the wheel.

Scott's day went pretty well. He was in the first heat for Vintage Light, didn't have a great start, came down the back straight in 3rd place. He had a race long chase for second and took it towards the end, which got him 3rd spot on the front row. The first two spots were given to the heat winners, in this case the Richtmeyer (sp?) brothers, both on Honda 4 valve Xls. Scott had a great start in his feature and held down first place for a lap before the Richtmeyer brothers took the lead. If Scott had had a usable rear brake it would have been a closer race, but he had to back off a 1/2 second before they did for each turn entry, and that adds up in eight laps.

My day went well too. I went out in the Vintage Heavy heat, had a fair start, little wheelie slowed me down a bit so I went into turn 1 in fourth but came out on the back straight in third place, which was encouraging. Since I really had no plan or strategy in mind this was going to be a totally reactive race, and being in third with the two guys in front not far ahead, my "reptile brain" took over. The reptile brain doesn't consider risk as much as my mammal brain, and really only wants to win. I can't switch between the two brains easily, if I start a race with a plan of action, the mammal brain will usually take control. Anyway, the reptile brain sensed that we (my bike and I?... have you noticed that a lot of racers refer to themselves in the race as "we") could hold the low line through both ends of the track pretty well, and that if I was patient getting back on the throttle I could stay inside of the big twins on the corner exits. This seemed to rattle at least one of the twin riders, as we were going down the back straight with me behind but inside he blew his corner entry into three and I found myself in second place coming out of four. I was encouraged even more when the guy on point drove into turn one a little deep and we came out of two side by side with me on the inside. There's nothing better than a drag race down the back straight, listening to the bikes, recording the whole thing in your mind for playback later, it's a very visceral experience. So I took the lead going into turn three, took the white flag out of four and checked out on the twins on the last lap.

So then a little post race drama. Seems the twin riders didn't appreciate a new guy on a 500 single winning their race, so they complained to the race ref and anyone else that would listen. I'd suspected this might happen as one of the twin riders yelled as we were pulling off the track that I couldn't be in this class. The ref was kind of embarrassed to come talk to me but he'd told them he would. I assured him I didn't care about points, which I figured they were concerned about, and he went back and told them. End of drama, sort of.

Unfortunately, that's about all there is to tell too. I went out for the feature, picked my spot on the line as the heat winner, which still caused some hand waiving and shouting, (since I wasn't racing for points the twins guys didn't think I should get first pick, but I ignored 'em). They finally got lined up, I anticipated the start, almost jumped it, pulled the clutch back in just as the light came on and stalled the bike. Bad combination of dragging brake, hot clutch and poor timing on my part. The assistant starter was about to red flag it but the starter shook his head "no".

I'm still smiling about the heat race win though. I've been trying to get the race videos on the blog but I'm having technical difficulties. You can check 'em on my facebook page though...or cut and paste these on your browser.



Power Valve

So now I'm back to the exhaust flange repair on the KTM. I should have done a little more research before I started taking things apart, but in the end it's probably just as well. I removed the side covers to expose the ends of the flange and found this power valve contraption.

I wasn't sure if any of this would interfere with the flange, so to be on the safe side I started disconnecting things. Turns out I could've left it all alone. Except that once I did get the flange off, the power valve looked like it was ready for a thorough decarbonization, which meant pulling it off anyway. The guy thats repairing my flange, Ken Breda, was kind enough to send me the info I need to set up the power valve, so I continued with the disassembly until I got to the 4 screws that hold the side plates that lock the power valve in place. They're 5mm countersunk screws with a 3mm hex drive, held in with loctite and a few years worth of heating/cooling cycles. (number 1 in the diagram above)
After stripping the heads with a number of different 3mm allen keys, I determined that I would need some other extraction method. I was able to drill 3 of the screws out with no drama, the 4th put up a fight but I got some help and managed to get it out with a tap-in easy out.
Then it was just a matter of cleaning things up and putting it all back together, which went pretty well thanks to the instructions Ken sent.

Here's the right side with the cover off, showing the linkage arm etc.

The new flange, which is definitely beefier. Super-sano weld by Ken Breda.

I finally got it all back together today, gave it a test ride and everything works. Hannah and her friend Andy from Binghamton and I rode the home track today, Andy rode my bike and I had Seamus's 400. Got in many laps, had fun.

Friday, September 11, 2009

XR200R progress

Good news on the XR200, I finally got the front brake to (really) work. Hannah and I rode at Matt's track on Thursday. It was her first time there and unfortunately the front brake was just about useless. She still rode really well and learned a lot. We rode a short loop a few times and I'm sure she'll be ready for more of the track once she feels confident with the new brakes. I think the shoes were still seating into the drum, which caused some of the poor feel, but the main problem remaining was the brake lever and perch, which were mismatched and worn out. So I got a new lever and perch today, put it on and presto, brakes!
I also welded the new foot peg extenders, which make a huge difference. They add a 1/2 inch of width and almost an inch of length to the peg, as well as nice aggressive teeth to keep your boot on.


So here's how it looks now, not a huge difference from when we got it, but much more rideable, new handlebars and brush guards, skid plate, lower seat, peg extenders and some routine maintenance have made a big difference. I took it in the woods today to work on a new section and it was a blast. It's so light and easy to turn, and the power off the bottom is great. It's so much more than twice an XR100R...


Here are some photos from our trip to California. We had a great time catching up with Paul and Martha and attending their wedding. We stayed in San Fransisco for the first two nights, on Lombard St. near Fisherman's Wharf. Then we moved up to Petaluma for the next three nights since that was closer to the wedding activities, in Sonoma.

Our first day there we were invited on a cruise of the Bay with Paul and Martha's family and friends. This was on Paul's friend Steve's boat. It was a beautiful evening.

The wind is pretty strong around the islands in the Bay, these Kite Boarders and Wind Surfers were having a great time, some of the surfers were really ripping, probably 30 MPH or more.

Paul hasn't changed a bit...thankfully!

We spent Friday around Fisherman's Wharf. We visited the WW11 Submarine "Pampanito", and the Liberty Ship "Jeremiah O'Brien". I was unaware of the role the Liberty Ships played during the war, and only vaguely aware of the Merchant Marine service, so this was a great opportunity to learn much more about it.

Saturday we went to Muir Woods, which is just across the bridge outside of Sausalito. A great day communing with the Redwoods and other flora and fauna. Sunday we drove to Point Reyes National Seashore and did some birdwatching and walking. Got some great views of White Tailed Kites, a new bird for me!
Monday we drove north to Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve, a nice park that has trails through the Redwoods in the valley and a winding single lane road that brings you up out of the Redwoods and into some higher elevation mountain trails with great views.

We took a different route home so that we could enjoy some of the incredible views of the Pacific Coast Highway.

Monday, August 31, 2009

NEMM round 4

Holy cow, what a good race day. Perfect weather, small entry list but the people that raced made up for whoever didn't show. The practice sessions went well, my XR100 ran flawlessly. Bill was having some minor issues but got through them by the time the heats started.

The Sport Cup heat was great, I can't remember the details except that Bill won, and I think I came in 3rd. He's been upgrading since the last race, and that bike is the business now...

note the fresh low pipe and that stonkin' silencer, and a couple BBR stickers...I think he doubled his BHP, but he's also riding better, a tough package to beat.

The XR100 Cup heat race was a surprise too, after a red flag on the first start, I had a decent re-start and was running in 3rd behind JD and Donald (I think). They crashed at some point and I held the lead till the end. At least I think that's what happened, anyway I started on the pole for that feature.

The Sport Cup feature went pretty well, I had a good start from the second row and was in 3rd behind Donald Newbegin and Ron Phinney (who was actually racing in another class, so really I was in second). I couldn't gain any ground on them, and I heard bikes right behind me but they weren't able to show me a wheel so we finished in that order, which gave me a 2nd place.

Next was XR100 Cup Feature, I had a crappy start, wheelied it, and JD and Rob Opiela (Unga Wunga) took the lead with me in 3rd, squandering my pole position! Once again I wasn't able to improve on the leaders but nobody was able to shove me out of the way and I wound up 3rd, which I was kind of proud of because this is a tough class. One mistake can send you back a couple places easily, and I've made some mistakes that I've paid for, but I got a decent podium finish this time.

I'll skip the Premium Cup 'cause I didn't race in it.

But I did race in the Enduro, this time with Rob Opiela and we rode Ron Phinney's KX85. The Enduro is a team race, two riders share a bike. The format is a 40 minute race divided into two 20 minute sessions for each rider. I wanted to try it on one of the "Premier" bikes and Ron Phinney generously offered his KX up since he would be teamed with his brother on the CR85.

Rob went out in the first group and managed to build a 3 lap lead in his 20 minutes. There was quite a bit of confusion at the rider change, not all the riders changing on the same lap etc. Anyway, I got on and tried to get up to speed without doing anything stupid (like crashing) and Aaron pretty quickly caught me and passed me, so now he was only two laps down. I got into a fairly good routine after that, figuring which gear to be in at the critical sections. Rob had told me 1st gear over the jump when we did the rider change and I agreed with that. Since Aaron was in front of me I could watch his progress pretty well and I was able to get into a pace that I thought might work out for a 2nd place overall. I got the 10 minute sign and was still feeling OK, about a lap later the red flag came out. Aaron and JD had tangled bars on the front straight, trying to pass Bill, and had a helluva wreck.

Click the photo

That ended the race right there, so Rob and I won the Enduro.

One of the highlights for me was trying to pass Bill, who was racing the NHF XR115, teamed with Steve Baker. Bill was running a real consistent line around the race track, which happened to be the same line I liked to use. I had to follow him for a bit to see where I could show him a wheel. That didn't work so I decided to use the 2 stroke power to my advantage, coming out of the "carousel" I down shifted to get the engine on the pipe and we had a drag race to turn 1, which I was pretty confidant the KX would win.

It did, but the whole thing was cool, I'm not used to having that much time to think about race strategies during a race.

I'm sure more photos will become available on the NEMM facebook page. All the racing photos of me are courtesy of Johnny Branson, the crash photo was taken by Sonja and lifted from caferacer.net.