Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Carl's bike rides again

I still call it Carl's bike but I reckon I own it now, at least in physical form. I was happy to make her my own and carry on with it where Carl left off. First up was a new race body so as the original could be preserved. I am happy with my spray paint job and 1993 ZX7 design but Scott my neighbor who runs Vinyl Works knocked it out of the park with the Ninja font Newbold's Motorbike Shop decals. I mounted up some remaining Pikes Peak tires and before heading to the track I stopped by Carl's old house. His garage was completely as he left it with a few pieces of yard work and miscellaneous house-work junk now starting to pile up on what he left behind. His vintage triumph dirt bike's top end lay neatly scattered on the work bench with two years of dust now settled onto the job. I riffled through his race parts bin hoping to find the kit harness computer link cable I needed to operate the kit ECU. I grabbed a cell phone chord out of despair but later found it would not hook up to anything kawasaki. I got a bit weird feeling when I started to find things I knew Carl was treasuring. I found sprockets and brake pads and other bits for the ZX10 but with nobody to ask if it goes with the sale of the bike or not I left it all. I grabbed the service book, the ZX10's tire warmers and left. A few minutes down the road I realized I left without grabbing the spare set of wheels that came with the bike. The main thing I went there for. I didn't know if I should turn around or what I should do, I just went to the race track; doing the only thing I ever know how to do. My first few outings on the bike went well. I was overcome with the bikes speed but very pleased with how it kept it's composure and instantly I felt more at home on it than any other racing street bike I have ridden. Fuck is it fast though. Practice sessions completed and I was amazed at how easy the bike was to ride. Then My race came and after I did the warm up lap I gridded on the back row as I have not raced in almost a year and had no points. I launched at the start light but the bike stayed in some sort of limiter mode. Computers. Not having a book for the kit ecu or a computer I could not find any faults. I drank two beers and went to sleep in my little old shitty camper I love so dear. The rain came down hard while I slumbered and I hoped I was not going to need the rain tires that were still sitting in Carl's garage. I awoke to a brilliant sun rise over the corn fields surrounding the race track. The bike ran spot on in practice and I was only left now with the premier race of the day. It was my first time racing the premier class, my first time on a liter bike, and my first time racing short course in almost a year. As I staged I noticed I was the only bike without a brand new tire mounted. Again, I gridded last. The start light went out and I got pinched out in the first corner. I saw elbows bumping in front of me and bikes checking up. I hit my apex onto the long back straight and as I grabbed gears I felt the sensation of flying. The bike is a missile! I out braked and made my way around a few bikes. A few laps in and I was passed back by one of the racers. I figured I was done to settle in the back of the pack with my lack of experience and un sure of my stamina for the 14 lap money class race. But then I started to gain on the rider so I passed them back again, I caught some other riders and passed them as well. I was pushing hard but I felt like I was with in my limits. At the end of the long straight I missed my brake marker at what must have been close to 180mph but I kept it on track and kept the hammer down. My rear tire was giving up the fight as I snarled my way up out of the corners, the traction control keeping things in check. I pushed on and finished my fastest lap of the race right before the white flag came out. 15th place out of 26 expert racers. Plenty of room to improve. The world has much to offer. Fuck yeah! I did it. I raced a liter bike. Carl's liter bike. My liter bike.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

BOLTS WY 2017

Sometimes life has me feeling like a dog on a leash that is all tangled up and wrapped around my legs like a twisty vine. So when Warren asked me if I wanted to spend six days riding up to Jackson Hole Wyoming I figured I could use some unwinding. Fuck it. That is why I own a goldwing. We stopped by my parents ranch, slept under the hay shed, rode the back roads including the legendary all dirt Irish Canyon. 20 miles from our destination we got blasted with a hail storm that left us with oozing welts, soggy britches and feeling alive. When we reached the camp the Bolts crew had tacos, cliff diving, and swimming in mountain streams colder than any thing I have dared to know. A quality group of active people. We did the turkey tour through yellow stone and saw the classic shit. On the way home the shovel head gave up the fight with bad internal noise. Fucking Harley Fucking Davidsons. I don't get the craze. I did get the explosive shits though. Picture me squatting roadside in the reed grass blasting out my internals when out of nowhere the girls high school volley ball team comes walking down the road. Classic. And we doubled up nuts the butt on the goldwing and lived out our dumb and dumber dreams. Life is what we make it and the people we share it with are what help make it worth making it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Colorado Hill Climbing

Round number three of the Colorado Hill Climb Association. Only four motorcycles entered. If only I could convey how fun this kind of racing is. I can't. It is weird misfit heavy horsepower car stuff and maybe that is why nobody shows up with a bike. Maybe Hill Climb racing is only thought to be drag racing with a long ass swing arm. Maybe proper Hill Climb racing needs a better name. Maybe I like it so much because nobody gets it. Flattrack/Dirt track everybody seems to get and I don't know why but I have had zero interest in racing on the dirt ovals for some time now. Maybe I can put into words for some to understand why I like the weird misfit easy going Hill Climbing.
I cut some grooves in some customers old take off tire, load the van and stock up on beer on my way out of the hot and overcrowded city. A few hours into the mountains and it is raining, cold, and flat out fucking beautiful tits. I unload and set up pits and get on my XR to go pre run the course. After getting to the finish line I pass through an active mine and keep going up on some old mining roads. I get lost. I take the beer out of my pocket and drink taking turns holding it with my cold and numb hands. 
Cuddled in my 50 year old down Northface mummy bag in the van drifting off to a deep pre-race slumber to the pitter patter of mother nature watering the race track. At dawn's crack I emerge from my cocoon enough to start the coffee a perculating. After a few hours it is my turn for one of four saturday practice runs. The awaiting has left me anxious to hammer on the throttle and not wast any entry speed into the densely treed hair pin corners. Full bar lock loam sliding. 5th gear needle threading. Adrenaline. In the pit I drop a few jet sizes. On the next run I drop a few seconds and break the course record I set three years ago. Sardine sandwich and a few more seconds dropped on a few more runs. Whiskey, spam, and another night of my van's roof drumming out the sounds of hero dirt perfect traction. Sunday is the day of worship, two race runs with a weird veteran decision to sit out the over saturated second run out of it not being necessary for the win. Perhaps age is setting in. Could be wisdom. Could be bullshit. 40 applauding racecar  drivers can't be all that wrong.







I'm going off the rails on a crazy train

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

9 lives dumped from phone

The wind machine sooths the grind. We all need an ultra sonic spa. Today's work bench brought to you by Olympia. It is the water.

New race bike motor. Just you wait and see. VMX TT500 stock stomper Dick Mann man

Paint booth

Project gonna go fast. Long live #217. Hot Carl's new colors brought to you by Krylon

The golden ticket


I am not here for a long time. I am here for a good time

Jeff Stanton

 Let'g get a shotgun and kill Barney

Heinz- 57 drawers 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Motorchycho

You! Yes you! get yourself a copy of issue #31 (13 backwards!)
Email motorcychomag@gmail.com today! It has a nice tale I wrote about love, life, and DIRTBIKING in it.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Pikes Peak 2017

It is over. I have been home one week and acclimated back to normal society the best I can. It was one hell of a ride. Really, what can I say? It was the most mentally tough thing I have ever done. Not so much the race but keeping it together mentally. The first time I saw the bike in Spain and how far behind schedule it was at becoming a safe bike to ride on the mountain I thought long and hard about calling it off. I thought long and hard about calling it off all race week but I reckon deep inside I knew I would give it my best despite knowing there was a good chance the bike would run out of gas before finishing. For this race, giving it my best was not pushing to the limits of the bike but pushing hard enough to make a decent finish but most importantly not pushing so hard that if something went wrong on the bike (like it did) that I would have enough room between me and the edge. Despite countless setbacks and many mental hurtles we ended the race week all wearing a smile. With a class win and 4th overall motorcycle behind the factory supported boys and tried, tested and true bikes I am very happy with how it turned out, be it just by the skin of our teeth. Read all about it in the new Sideburn out very soon.
A big thanks to all that have helped support me in so many different ways. As always racing is teaching me and the learning is what I crave. And the dirty hot nasty speed.







Sunday, June 18, 2017

One week until race day

Early mornings, late nights, long days. Race week starts tomorrow. The mystical moment before the sun cracks it's breath of brilliance. Hands on deck. Sails are catching the wind rolling off our wheels. ahoy!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Confessions, reflections, and dreams

There are things in my head that I can not even begin to put into words. Saturday I found my self once again in my Ronin race leather suite passing the corner where Carl lost his life. The last time I went by was three days after his crash and while I was on my way to a 2nd place overall finish. In the two years that have passed things have changed. Out of respect for my friends and family I have acquired a new fear for the mountain. Also, the road between Carl’s corner and the finish line had become much more bumpy. My bike was blitzing the tarmac humps in the same way a motocross bike skims a whoop-de-do section. These cold hard bumps had solid frozen water in-between them. My bike had a stiff and well set up for smooth as glass race track rear Ohlins shock. The front forks however were the stock Suzuki SV units with no damping adjustment, marshmellows for springs and what felt like jello for fork oil. The day before I removed the proper Inverted GSXR forks that complemented the rear Ohlins as per request for the Pike Peak committee’s rule of only allowing bikes equipped with OEM one piece handlbars. Their attempt at safety. The Thursday before I found out that UPS had had an “error” in shipping our special Bottpower race bike and it would not arrive in time to practice on. So, I called up the director of the motorcycle racing who would probably like to never see or hear form me again, and I asked him for permission to practice on my SV instead of the high profile Bottpower. He granted me the favor and there I was on the mountain at speed on my underpowered little Suzuki with shit for front suspension and DOT race tires I had never used before. On my second run up I crossed the double yellow with more lean than I should have and lost the front. It was good that it was just a slow tight hairpin corner and I never let go of the bars. My confidence however was gone. Later in the morning as the snow crystals blew across the road making small drifts I again totally lost the front but at a much faster speed I was able to save the bike from what would have been a bad crash. I am addicted to danger and that danger is the road. I must respect. Coming home from these mornings leaves a huge distance between me and the other people in my life. I want to tell them how much fun I just had but all they hear is how close I came to the edge. I want to share my experience but the only people who can even begin to understand are other self involved maniacs. In my head is a clumpy soup of pride and shame. It is a recipe of my own concoction that I am always cooking faster than I can eat. Hopefully today will see the delivery of the Bottpower and I can soon share a tasty feast of glory.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Living the dream

I must have some of the best luck! Or maybe it is just the universe balancing out for all the time I spent in hand cuffs before DIRTBIKES saved my life. Anyhoo last Wednesday my buddy Campo who runs Meta magazine came in my shop and said he could get me a spot in the 125 dream race at Thundervalley. I am not worthy but my 2003 Amsoil Factory Connection Chris Gosselaar former pro number 39 bike knows a pro prepped track. I was planning on taking it easy before pikes peak to not risk injury. That plan fucked right off. Saturday found me in the middle of a full 40 bike gate in the middle of a national motocross. The sound of 40 125 two strokes had me shredding into the first corner with both raging goose bumps and a big ol' pre-mix boner. Thanks to Aaron Sauerbrey for the pictures!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Testing

I was told Friday that I would fly out Monday to Spain to test the bike. I spent Saturday and Sunday racing the Temple Canyon Hillclimb some 3 hrs south of home. I won and set a new motorcycle course record and had a shit ton of fun doing it. I got home late Sunday night just in time to let the dogs out and have them get sprayed by a skunk. I packed my bag and wished my wife the best of luck with giving the dogs a bath. After three planes and many hours I arrived in Spain where Bottpower David picked me up at the Valencia airport and we went straight to the shop where the bike awaited me. We spent several hours securing large bundles of excess wire spaghetti piles with zip ties and duct tape. Not exactly what I was expecting. At the local Kart track that afternoon I got to spin some laps on the beast and was happy with how it handled. The next two days I spent with the bike up on a lift back at the shop, I diagnosed and fixed a charging system failure and did my best to tidy up some of the last minute stuff and give all the fasteners the touch of a wrench. We then drove 3hrs to Aragon home of Motorland, the most amazing track I have ever seen let alone ride. It has been home to Moto GP! The next two days we sorted out many issues. I did my best to keep positive and keep progressing with the bike. It is a very capable bike for pikes peak and I should have it up on my lift at my shop next week for some final messaging love. We will do some more testing and a track day before heading up to the mountain next weekend for the early practice weekend. With the team of friends and support we have I am confident we will have the bike operating in top form and I will gain next level confidence allowing us success.

Hill Climb - a lesson in time from visualhybrid on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

She's A Runner!

Pikes Peak tugs at emotions in many ways. One of the many mental stresses for the last three years for me has been depending on other people. Before it was only me. When somebody says that they are building a super machine that they want me to ride, I feel completely honored and thankful for such opportunity. Though I hope for the best I expect the worst. Because I know how hard it is to build a race bike from scratch I know that it may never come together in time with such exotic and high tech machinery such as Ronin and Bottpower. Though I got to do some early testing on a stock Ronin the Race bike was a whole different beast and it was not ready to ride until practice on the mountain. When I prepared a Multistrada for Paul last year I was the one being depended on to get things sorted in time and even with a mostly stock bike it was a stress on my part.  Add to it the race organizers selection of the limited field of racers and my uncertain standings with the organization. It was a huge relief to have my entry accepted this year. This year I am in store to race a special bike built to conquer the mountain from the ground up by world class Moto2 engineer. To say I have been a bit eager is like to say my dog likes to fetch a ball. With less than a month to go until first practice on the mountain I have been informed by David with Bottpower that the bike completed it's first test without issue. A former world superbike racer did the shaking down. I soak this all in as I type this. I am to fly over to Spain next week to test the bike myself. I am totally and completely tickled pink to purple. Insert goofy, grinning, shitting pants emoji here.