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.