Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016

A sheep in wolf's clothing

I have owned a good running drag bike for over six years and never taken it to a drag strip. Shit, I ant even ridden it in six years. There is a simple explanation for this: It is the opposite of a sleeper. It is a sheep in wolf's clothing. It came to be my bike because it was sitting in a friend's back yard getting destroyed by the weather. After much hackling he finally relinquished it to me on the condition that I operate it in the land speed trials out at the bonneville salt falts. I had a few months to get the engine-less pro level drag bike ready. Step one was enter the BUB speed week- $350. Step two was borrow (with-out returning) an engine from an unsuspecting 1979 GS1000 left to rot in the bone yard at the shop I worked at. Step three was miraculously shoe horning the old air cooled hunk into the ZX frame. I ended up welding the rear motor mount with the engine in place. All I did was rebuild the carbs and on the salt I kept hogging out the main jets until I realized the fuel supply line was doing the starving. So I chopped the stock head pipes a few inches at a time increasing my top speed to 140mph. The pro chassis at that speed is a lot like strolling down the empty parkway at 25mph. It has sat for the last six years while I have blabbed on about bolting a cheap turbo set up on or something that would make it exciting to ride. And then my horsepower loving burn out, belching beloved, hot rodder wife finally inspired me to take it to the drag strip yesterday. The most difficult part of race prepping it was getting it off the ground enough to fit an oil pan under neath of it and get to the salt crusted drain plug. I was happy to check off another form of motorcycle competition. But as I feared, I was slow as porridge on my first run. So, I took off the 18 tooth counter shaft sprocket and replaced it with an eleven toother. I dropped a few seconds but I was still getting my doors blown off by machismo run what ya brung teenagers wearing nike air jordans piloting gsxr600s with ground effect lighting. In staging a little kid looking for somebody to look up to complemented my bike. He was enamored when I told him I put it together for a few hundred dollars. Then He asked me what it did the 1/4 mile in. After telling him he looked like I had just shit in his captain crunch. He quickly walked away with out even any sympathy. On my next run I got my socks knocked off by a dodge neon. My wife called me a slow bastard and said If I did not break into triple digit speed she was going to go home with the ford fairlane driver who could do 100ft wheelies. I knew all I could do was at the least a crowd winning burn out. And that was pretty fun. Because there are only a few things that drive me crazy and two of them are the sound of screeching women and the smell of burning rubber. Ride on.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Where you go'n city boy? Can't get there from here.

One time I bought a shed find for $100. It was from a granny cleaning out here gone back to the earth husband's shed. I have no Idea who the feller was but I do know what he intended to do. He wanted to build the ultimate dirtbike dream machine. He had bought a new champion frame. He had mounted a DT-1 engine in it. a fresh knobby on the back. He even had Timken steering head bearings in the box, Gary Jones Oury grips, and in and amoungst the box of special pistons and heads was a complete Gary Jones MX catolouge. Fuck me running I bought one cherry vintage MX steed from the old lady. The stuff had been sitting for a long time. Now vintage new old stock but once it was the creme of the crop tip top trick ass pony motorcross project. Minus the forks. Maybe he sent them off to be worked over by some geezer guru who drank more than worked. Maybe he was saving up pennies for the ultimate in front end boingers. Who knows why he never finished the project. All I knew is it was mine. And all I wanted back when I got it was a proper flattrack bike as I was in the early years of making my XS650 behave. After getting it home and doing a bit of dust wiping. I fired the mint right out of the virgin combustion chamber with no less than one kick through of the castrol puffer. Even I knew it would be a sacreligous thing to make a flattracker out of some old dead and gone fellows dream of the perfect loamy dice chucking knobblie treading light as a fucking feather moto machine. So i did what I knew I could do and headed to Wyoming where I knew a flattracker want-a-be might get what he wants. A visit to Yoda more of less. Roy Haynes is his name and sheds, barns, huts, and shops full of old bikes is his life long craft. I left the prestine mxer there and came home with a well used complete champion framer with another yamaha 250 engine, complete with wheels and a lot of ware and tare. Nothing a go through and freshining couldnt help. I polished her and painted her black frame white. I left the baby blue metal flake painted seat and tank complete with "Bicycle Shop" sponsor decals. I raced the light weight lightning bolt to wins and when it came time for me to move to the city and open my own motorbike shop I sold her to a friend who brought it out to Colorado to race in our season finally last weekend. It has been four years now since I sold that bike and used the money along with winnings from my only pikes peak win to open my shop. My shop is not just a shop. My shop is my dream come true. I would give my left nut to inform the old fellow who started putting his dirtbike dream together so long ago that despite to this day his bike is in the exact same condition as he left it- It has become something all right indeed.

It aint the years - It's the miles

I am not afraid of getting old. I am afraid of not being young. I have no worries about regretting what I have done or may do to my body. However I do worry about living with regret; Living with the regret of not doing more with all I have. Give it what you got. All you have got. Don't hold back because nothing left over will be worth shit after the finish line of life has been reached.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Yeah, I got problems

Im like a dog with too many tennis balls. I pounce into the weekend with a slother of slobber.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

High in the Himalayas

I looked out the window of my small twin prop airliner and saw tree tops only 15 minutes into a 1 ½ hour flight. Not good, I figure this is it; we are going down. I snug my seat belt and prepare for impact. I was not surprised that this plane may not get me out of India. The week spent in India had made me very immune to near death activity. The plane found landing strip at the last second and made its unscheduled landing due to a malfunction in the landing gear. I was sent back into the single terminal airport and amongst mass confusion and lack of communication I deciphered that the flight was cancelled and if I wanted to get to Delhi to make my connecting flight on back to the clean drinking water world ,I looked to be shit out of luck. No worries, I thought: What will be will be. So despite no clear communication I boarded a taxi cab for a five hour trip to another airport and made the flight with but a few seconds to spare. No worries eh? This was an adventure trip to India and riding old Royal Enfields through the Himalayas was only part of the adventure. In addition to the motorcycle fun there were the taxi rides which are beyond description but I will try; Have you ever played one of those auto road race video games? Near misses, constant overtaking, Techno beat music, and the most beautiful exposed unforgiving back drop. Speed junky fun that kept me chuckling the whole 10 hour drive into the mountains on my arrival day. The Royal Enfield has not changed hardly at all since the 1940’s. It is a tough, heavy little beast that just takes what ever is thrown at it. It putts right along and with a few motorcycle racing nutters at the controls the riding was a lot like racing your buddies at the little kiddy go cart track. You get the sensation of speed with out actually moving much faster than trotting yak. The bike’s street tires had about as much tread as a monk’s head and minimal ground clearance so navigating the rocky, muddy, dusty and always deadly roads was plenty exciting. Any faster bike would not provide enough opportunity to gawk at the totally indescribable jaw dropping scenery that was constantly abound. I also must admit that I skidded my front tire to a panic-halt mere inches away form the cliff edge that seems to always accompany one side of the narrow road. The big trucks and busses are on top of the food chain so it is the responsibility of the motorcycle to make way when meeting or passing on the narrow one lane, rock sliding, life taking, built in the 1950s with a D-8 Cat trail/path/road. The locals live what I see as a contrasting life of chaos and danger yet they always seem at peace and even in a traffic jam a smile is always near. Truly smiles for miles. I really enjoyed learning the limits of my utilitarian bike and the mountain vistas but perhaps the best part was for me, of course, the cold beer. Big bottles chilled in mountain streams at the most beautiful camps I could ever imagine. Our team of local cooks and mechanics followed us along in vans and even went ahead some days to set up our tents for us. They would get live chickens in town on the way to camp and dinner was as fresh as could be. They cooked amazing meals every night and morning and I happily put on some pounds in one week stuffing my face with what ever was put in front of it. I ate everything and anything, only finally succumbing to a case of the Delhi belly on the flight home after eating civilized airport food. There were a few speed nuts in our group and for once I was glad to not be the designated circus monkey breaking steering yokes and ripping off brake pedals. I only lost my muffler but so did at least half of the bikes. The bikes were designated tour group bikes so like a village bicycle, an easy life they had not. They had some miles or kilometers, I should say racked up on the clock and not one had any major mechanical issue. The mechanics were constantly reattaching mufflers though and servicing air filters. The method for air filter service was super neato: Remove filter and place it over the exhaust tail pipe, rev the shit out of the engine and reinstall filter. It worked like a charm and gave my bike another 25% horsepower which at 145000 feet was probably at least 2 or 3 horse! It really is futile to describe such a place or try and capture the depth and beauty of the Himalayan valleys. You just have to see it for your self. So if you get the chance, buy the fucking ticket and make it happen. I sure am glad I did. I mean shit, I had a giant monkey jump out of a tree right in front of me and show me it’s big red ball bag ass!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

Lands End Hill Climb

The day after getting home from Sturgis I loaded up good old Pikes Peak winner, Pink to Purple orphan Annie the Honda 450 of superb special speed. The Colorado Hill Climb Association started to allow motorcycles to compete 3 years ago. This was my first Lands End. It wont be my last. It has been said that before it was cut in half it was a better hill climb than Pikes Peak. Since its remaining 6 mile course is all dirt I would say it is most rad. Lord Mick won it last year and kept me very honest this year. He only finished a few seconds behind me and I set a new motorcycle recored 20 seconds faster than Mick's record the year prior. I had so much fun. It sure is great to be able to go as fast as possible on a closed public road. So much fun. So much fun. Thanks for the pictures Wallace.

Friday, August 19, 2016

I went to Sturgis and all I got was this hat

So after the race in Stockton I loaded up and hit the road a few hours before midnight. I used close pins to hold my eyes open and drove across nebraska as a meteor shower rained down and the late night talk show on the AM radio spurted out ranting garbage. I have never been to Sturgis. It was a total curcuis. More than i ever imagined. I felt like a refugee in a soup line when I tried to get some gas at the station across from the Buffalo Chip. I was excited to ride the track since I had yet to ride a flattrack bike around a right hand corner. In the first lap of my first practice my master link broke. I could not help but think what would have happened had that broke the night before in Stockton. I scrounged a new chain off of fellow FTW racer Jordan Baber. On the first lap of the 2 and last practice the brand new chain lost it's brand new master link. WTF?! I was dripping in sweat and sleep deprived so maybe I did not get the clip on good. And then the rain fell. And fell. I went out in my heat with safety wire for a master link clip and won. I was racing with a take no prisoner viking style. And I won the main in similar style. It was cool to be there with the like of Jake Zemke, a Bostrom, and Cary Hart. The track was right below the huge stage with jumbotron TV and super loud announcers. I hung out and watched The Reverend Horton Heat and had as much sturgis fun as I could before getting some much needed sleep. Because after all I needed to get home, get my 450 loaded up and head out went to the Lands End hill climb. A race that was considered back in the 1940's to be better than Pikes Peak...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Kansas I-70 flattrack series 2016

That time of year again. Pack up the van with canned food, whiskey, and bug spray, and go flattrack racing like it was done in the 70's. After waking up at home more than still a bit to the wind I finally ended up in Colby Kansas just as the heat races were running. I was more than happy to just drink beer and spectate but friends and sponsors had me in my leathers in no time. Despite hoping for some practice in a heat race or even a sighting lap I ended up just sitting around in my leathers for hours until finally I rolled onto the track for the Vintage pro twins class. My only practice would be rolling the first half of the start straight. I got the jump off the line and just as I was worried about how fast I should be taking turn one Davey Durell flew past me and showed me how it was done. Nothing left to do but hold on. Who the hell needs practice anyway. I ended up 3rd and that was my best finish of I-70 series this year. Stockton was super fun but I forgot my sprockets and failed miserably with gearing the first night. I only raced the one vintage pro twins class as I had a lot of racing to do in the upcoming days. On the 2nd night of Stockton I won my heat and was looking good in the main until somebody came under me into turn 3 and sent me all the way to the top of the banking and then some. I cam very close to deciding to lay it down at 75mph but I kept it out of the weeds and crossed the finish line 4th. Stockton has the best flattrack racing I have known. It is also the best place to hang out with friends. Really good friends.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

RSD X Indian Motorcycles Super Hooligan at Lost Highway

Last week I hopped on an airplane to LAX with my leathers and helmet to ride the #47 Indian for Roland Sands again. I rented a minivan (it was actually pretty cool but mini vans are still really not cool!). I hit up In 'N Out for a burger, Family dollar for a blanket and after making it to the track I slept in the back with a fast food bag for a pillow. I awoke with the sun to an empty music arena. I walked the track and noted how slick and off camber it was and then did reverse donuts in the mini van. As people started to show up the temperature rose up into the hundreds. I knew the hill side grass track was going to give the Hooligan nutters some hell. The first practice session was like watching an Arnold Schwartzenager scene involving a rocket launcher. One suicide machine dude had crushed his helmet. He said if he could find another lid he thought he was good to race still. No. I rode smooth but knew I would have to push to qualify for the main as only 1st place transfered to the main. In my heat I had a shit start and worked my way into 1st and then lost the front coming in. I used every bit of muscle I had to lift the giant scout back up and kept going. It paid as another crashed out and I ended up 3rd. giving me a a transfer to the B main where 1st place would make the main. I won it but i was pushing so hard across the finish line that I wiped out. The big girl had my hot shoe pinned under neath of her. It was like being sat upon by a huge fat chick inside a sauna. I got out from under her and heaved her back up. I franticly re attached my hot shoe and with sweat dumping out my face I lined up for the main. I wiped out once more causing a first corner red flag restart. I was totally exhausted. I mad it to the last corner of the last lap and right before the finish line I just had to butt surf the grass once more. I think I ended up 5th and I will tell you cold beer never tasted so good. What a great crowd of racers Roland draws. The track was surprisingly great for racing and taught a lot of respect for soft rider inputs. As the darkness came and temps dropped below 100 I hoofed it up the hill to a secret weird balcony like spot and watched good ol Mike Ness and the rest of Social Distortion kick out some good old stuff from the early days. Living the good life. Until a security guard awoke me at 4:30 from my sweaty slumber. "Can't sleep here hon, venue is closed." Well back to the airport and on with the real world.

Turning and burning grass

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Meanwhile back on earth

There is a park at the end of my street. This summer it has been full of people. I ride by them everyday on my way home, pedaling my old Raleigh with Baja in tow in the kiddy trailer. It is great to see so many people out and about in the park enjoying these warm summer days. I love sitting in the grass and watching the world go by. Or finding silly shapes and figures in the clouds. But I notice none of these park dwellers are looking up. Or around. They all are looking down. Every single one of them is hunched over and eyes are locked onto their little shiny black rectangle. It looks like something out of a fucking horror movie. Fuck Pokemon!!! Go do something rad!!!!! This is life and as far as we know it only happens once.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tarmac takes tenacious traction
blind bending arcing apexes
ferocious financial feeding
It is the flat-out speeding I am needing

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Pikes Peak 2016; Wrenching not racing

So there I was, sitting in the exact same spot that I had last seen Hot Carl alive one year prior. Instead of strapping on my helmet and gloves this year, I was checking tire pressure and taking the tire warmers off of a Ducati Multistrada that I had spent the last six weeks prepping for Paul Baleta with the Speed Therapy blog. As I watched him take off on the same upper practice section that last year had ended Carl's life. I could not help but feel some cold rocks in my gut. A few minutes after he left my sight the red flag came out. I kept my cool but on the inside I was burning metal on metal. Oscar, our Pirelli guy finally walked away from the marshal and then straight to me. His face was as sharp and cold as angle iron. "It's Baleta" he said, "He has gone off".  I kept composure but on the inside my pistons were siezing and I could feel a big end rod bearing start to knock. All the possible bolts I could have left loose danced in my brain. I waited more. Watching all the other mechanics watch me. Watching Jim, the director who scolded me for even showing up as crew after my banishment. I could feel eyes from all directions on me as I waited. And then there appeared my rider on the back of a sweep riders bike, safe and sound.   Racing is not for the faint of heart. Outcome: No crash: Good. Snapped crankshaft: Bad. We sourced a replacement engine. Imperial was on the ball about getting it done and making magic happen. In the mean time we dusted off my ol 450 2012 winning record setter junk yard beauty and gave paul his first experience on a supermoto for the Ws practice day. He was setting times faster than all but two of the other supermotos. The new engine back in the Big Red Duck ran good for Paul on his second day practicing the upper section. It was Thursday. And again it was very hard to not dwell on what gone down last year on Thursday practice near the summit. With out loss it is hard to appreciate gain. The smile on Paul's face, the new and welcome camaraderie, and the whole experience of racing on Pikes Peak kept me positive and some how an understanding of why I value my lifestyle more than any other I could imagine. Friday's qualifying/ bottom section of practice went well. It was a bit frustrating to see the lack of runs the riders were allowed but again, just seeing how much fun Paul, as a rookie was having more than made up for any bitter feelings I had towards the race and put things into perspective. Paul raced to a respectable 11:21 earning himself 4th in the Heavy Weight class. As soon as I watched his transponder cross the finish line I jumped on my borrowed street bike and booked it off the mountain. I really don't know if I will ever be back. If only I could find another patch of race track that pulls on my throttle cable so and affords my wallet... I reckon the future is what we make it to be. Thanks Paul, It was a huge honor to put together and prep your bike and a lot of fun being on the race week crew!!