Thursday, June 10, 2021
Monday, June 7, 2021
A John Prine lyric: "She reminds me of a chess game with someone I admire or a picnic in the rain after a prairie fire."
Last weekend saw no fires neither rain but it was sure one hell of a welcome breath of fresh air to go racing for the first time in 259 days. Since my last race I have found out that I have a little baby girl on the way. Talk about an impactful statement. Love. It has been over a month now and a few CT scans, lung tests, and medical evaluations since I foolishly allowed myself to get shit-whipped of my dirtbike and my carcass is still sore but healing up well. I was not sure how I would perform this past weekend at the vintage trials and motocross back in my beautiful home town of Steamboat Springs. I started to prepare a couple of weeks ago by digging up the bones of an abandoned 1974 Yamaha TY250 trials bike from my bone yard. A previous owner had frankenstiened a YZ tank, mystery seat/ exhaust combo, and some deadly ATV or ATC foot pegs. I did what I do and deemed it competition worthy. Though surely not going to win any beauty contest it did get some grumbles and giggles from the vintage purist.
Friday morning I loaded up and met up with the Kustom Coach Works (KCW) crew and convoyed out to my old home town on the best back roads I could think of to show off to them and their super cool vintage VWs. They usually spend about 100 nights a year sleeping in their rigs exploring the world near and far. Needles to say they are special people and I think they are top shelf cool. Big Ben had a fresh built old Honda trials in tow behind his 1950's bus equipped with a subaru engine. Saturday was the trials day and Ben did his first competition trials in 12 years. Talk about a dry spell. He impressed me immensely with his solid riding doing way better than people one third his age (and height)! I flailed something awful on my first loop dabbing like a dog on a skateboard and dropping fives like a frat boy in the champagne room. I managed to get my act together by the final loop and zero every test but one but the overall winner only dropped one on all three loops so a repeat victory from my last time was not to be had. I actually got beat by many but I was having a blast. Post trials beers were drank.
The Dick Man Premier Classic BSA 500 I rode in the motocross two years ago was not able to make it out to the race due to a last minute transport breakdown so the owner of the ranch that hosts the whole weekend offered me up his 1960 BSA Catalina with a Dick Man worked over chassis. Talk about catching a break. All that I can say is that I am a lucky dog. I said that I would do my best to bring it back in the same condition. I tried not to listen when I heard what these old dirtbikes sell for. And then there I was Sunday morning, lined up with my clutch finger twitching as my eyes registered a dropping green flag. Seconds later I was flying into a corner behind somebody in sacrilegious neon green modern mx gear and a full face helmet. His rear tire blasted me for the next four laps while I learned my bikes character and mostly concentrated on breaking with my left foot and up-shifted by going down with my right foot. I nearly cooked a few corners and knew if i were to pass the faster rider I would need to make a pass on the inside line without somehow turning us both into a dusty bloody ball of expensive and very heavy vintage iron. 2nd place was fine. The 2nd moto would be my time to make a move. And it was. The last corner of the last lap... I saw an open door and I took it. There was slight contact, Whoooping and hollering as we drag raced across the finish line. I won by a wheel length. A pass of a life time. I was so winded I got my helmet off and felt like my lung was collapsing again. I ingested much dirt and more epic glory than any ol dog could ever dream of. What a blast!!!
I am so fortunate to be around the quality people I am surrounded with and can not even begin to thank them enough for their generosity, allowing me to pilot amazing bikes and just spend time together picking up dust. Much!
Thursday, June 3, 2021
I am at the age where I am becoming aware of how much I talk about the way things used to be. "Back in the good ol days I used to race the Baja 1000 with bare feet both ways without a chase truck and eat only doughnuts! You little whipper snappers with electric start and 'I EAT ASS' bumper stickers couldn't eat your way through a wet tortilla!"
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
As I came out of the CT scan tube I jokingly asked the doctor if I had a broken neck. She didn't laugh. I was instead told that the reason my breathing was labored was because my spleen was extremely enlarged and it was trying to collapse my left lung. Huh, interesting. I had spent the two days after my little crash out in the desert drinking beer and whiskey and it took until monday morning for my lung to want to give out. Must have been all the fun I had out in the desert for the Meow Meow May Day Massacre that kept me going. It has been over two weeks since then and I feel a little ashamed to tell what happened but I sure as hell aint one who never makes mistakes.
The morning of the first day of the Meow Massacre was a huge clusterfuck for me. Trying to organize a big ride and and having it start and stop at two different locations with shuttle vans and almost all of us on illegal dirtbikes leaving my shop in a mob of thumpers and smokey two strokes through and out of town. It all ended up working out flawlessly. Out in the desert we finally got to the start of some single track and I was happy. Feeling free after days of preparation. My wife and her parents had our fuel jugs waiting for us out in the desert along with cookies.... and an ice chest full of beer... It felt so good out in the summer sun and everyone was digging it... I popped a top again. We thanked our gracious pit crew, put our helmets back on and I took off like a pinball full of liquid courage. I remember my back wheel dancing off prairie dog mounds as I grabbed gears across the flats and approached a ditch. The next thing I remember was being back at the gas stop and having a discussion about why I should stop putting my helmet back on. I kept apologizing and finally agreed that it was best to take my helmet off and retire for the day because I had no memory of a good five minutes in time. Apparently I was found snoring in the middle of the trail nowhere near my bike. Super great way to impress your in-laws when your wife is pregnant! I gave some instructions best I could to the riders and told them my sketchy hand drawn map would get them to the camp. And it did! And we all had a super fun weekend.
I am a very lucky person to be surrounded by the people that choose to be near me. My reckless ways are something worth much of my attention for I can border on the edge of being an asshole vs who I aspire to be. Despite my injured spleen, sternum, clavicle, AC shoulder joint, knee, ankle, finger, whiplash, and scambled egg grey matter, the worst part of my crash is the feeling of letting my people down. I don't think I will let that happen again.
Thursday, April 8, 2021
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
It has not been all race car around here. Though the four wheel bug has bit me bad. Over the last year I built this black and white beauty. Can you identifie it? It is the bike Honda should have but never made. - It has electric start and a kick starter. Ok so it is just a 2006 CRF450 X model but without X model plastics it really makes a sleeper. Or a sheep in Wolfe's clothing. A sheep with the heart of a mad rabid savage Ram! She started out as a Baja 1000 race bike, all tricked to the gills with the nice bits wealthy Baja racers bolt on their machines. It was brought back from Mexico and put into storage, still coated in dust, caked silt, and Ensenada ditch mud. It must have sat a long time and then it ended up in my shop by way of my customer having a bike stolen and having it replacing his stolen bike via some facebook conection of charity or some shit like that. I hosed it off, changed the oil, filters, fork seals and my customer had a bike to ride again. Mighty fine. Until winter came and it was again put into storage until spring time when my cutomer started it up... He told me it was very hard to start, when it did start it sounded awful but, he blasted it up and down the street anyway until it locked up tighter than a clam shell. He brought it into me to tear down and diagnoise. This is when I found out it had water, not antifreez. Doh! the cylinder was windowed with what looked like a great two stroke transfer port. The piston was balled up like some carmel pop corn ball aunt Edna makes for the hollidays that keep the dentist driving then fancy cars. Any way, Customer did not want to rebuild, he would part it out on ebay. I have parted out only one bike before and I still have nightmares. I made a deal with him to keep the frame and what was left of the engine to make another happy Honda with. A smart business man I am not. Everyone keeps telling me I need a new race bike. Ol Molly is a 2009 and overalled a couple off road races over the last few years and whenever I price out a new bike I think bull shit. I'll show them I'll build a new bike a 2006 new bike. I had a near brand new set of 2008 R model suspension I traded a supermoto rider that wanted the suspension off of my Pikes peak bike. It had some shit valving in it but I re-worked it. I built some wheels. I had a brand new rim set in the box from my Baja racing days (2006-08). I built a R model top end with all my experience and trickery. Mule sold me a new SDG seat. I rebuild some old R tripple trees and linkage I had around. I got lucky and found some Christini (the 2WD bike) plastics on ebay along with a new style crf front fender and number plate giving it a one off look. Mona Gary welded me up a SS header pipe. Bam- new bike.
Sunday, March 28, 2021
I have built a lot of engines over the past 25 years. Never befor one with this much displacement or this many pistons. First start up had me as excited and nervous as my first dirt bike engine job that I did over a winter in my parents basement. I remember starting up that Yamaha YZ and I was pleasently shocked when it kickstarted right to life. And then gutted but not really surprised when seconds later it locked up instantly. I tore it back down only to find a miss-placed washer that I had dropped into the crank case where it lodged it self between the crank lobe and the case causing no damage. Lesson learned: Acount for every thing and find anything you drop, or else. Luckily my small block chevy build didnt lock up or have any drama on it's maiden run in. Woo-hoo!
Monday, March 22, 2021
Sam Turner drew up this and since it is so rad I put it on a bunch of nice quality T-shirts. I think you should go buy one and maybe another for your nice neighbor down the street that shovels your side walk or your granny because remember that she used to make you really good mac and cheese and she never told your dad about that time you crapped your pants. She was also a wiffle-ball champion and you owe it to her.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
|I have been teaching Layla the 'Wild Thing' to skate across the shop.|
|The plan to transplant the Hayabusa engine into ol Salty Balls has made about as much progress as humanity has this winter. It will happen eventually. The salt flats are calling...|
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Friday, February 26, 2021
Three days ago I took the race car out for a spin on some back roads and it made me feel amazing.
Two days ago my mom unearthed my baby photo album I had never seen before and it made me smile and then... left me feeling not so good.
By the time I shifted the car out of 2nd gear I was sliding sideways linking a couple of corners together. I was completely in control of something most never experience.
Before I was three years old I looked to be a perfect piece of my perfect family but before I was four my parents split and all I remember is the fighting. I will probably never know why.
Being a racer has given me what nothing ever could.
But racing has always been more than a pacifier to me. It has been a teacher. I still have so much to learn...
Thursday, January 28, 2021
And in other news I have been suffering with an inner groin issue getting on and off the sofa. It is an old snowshoeing injury ( I wish I were joking) that has me un able to lift my foot to walk at times. Absolutely ridiculous. The pizza and beer physical fatness training program is still yet to be determined an adequate method...
Saturday, January 23, 2021
OK, so I know I am not old yet but I am older than I was yesterday. Older than my prime. At least I feel that way. It could be my achy clicking knees or the friends no longer with me but I know I have a lot of gas left in my tank. Last year was... last year. It was not all that bad for me but I am sure we all agree that there sure as hell was not enough racing. The couple of years before that were a bit consumed by my relocation which involved my wife spending a year schooling abroad in Kansas and me living out of an old Cowboy camper in a sketchy junk yard but after the dust settled we are content and I have my own property for my shop. Back out west and away from the hustle of the big city. It is hard to believe that 5 years ago I was attending the Denver Art Museum where there was a giant movie screen showing my ugly mug talk about racing, my race bike and leathers on display alongside a bunch of valuable samurai stuff and a bunch of high class folks eating wine and cheese. I remember at the time I had become numb to the attention and I was nonchalantly doing interviews left and right. I am not even sure I kept a single copy of the Westword feature. Much the same as I never kept a single issue of the Dirt Bike magazine with my full page |Klim advertisement years prior. Perhaps, even then I knew those things were not important to who I really am. The experiences shaped me but the person I am today is who I really am. I am still the same obsessed nut I was 15 years ago; Plotting out my yearly racing itinerary with sloppy ink on a calendar. I want to give 2021 a good run and focus on some racing again. It gives me reason to stay in shape both physically and mentally. I refuse to let any outside crap drag me down because after all anything is only going to ever be what we make of it. The world may seem to be a wreck and it may very well be but that does not matter. The potential for quality spent time is any time. All the time. A positive point of view is a powerful perspective.
Just another rambling preach about taking the reins and blah blah blah. Go and get it. make it happen. And blah blah yeah.
Saturday, January 9, 2021
So we all get dealt our fair share of shit now and then. Sometimes we bring it on ourselves and sometimes it is hard to know where it comes from. Like a meteorite or even a chunk of blue ice from the sky chunked down right on your melon. But I try not to dwell on the negative as it never seems to do me a bit of good and what is the good in telling others about your problems when most everybody does not care and some are probably glad you have problems. So how about the positive shit that the cosmos deal out, the good shit. The stuff smiles, hopes, and dreams are made of. Like an inspirational poster that speaks to you. How about some go fast old school race car revival. This old Vahsholtz Pikes Peak Torino of mine is not on my front burner but it is stuck on my trailer at the moment so I started checking around town for some old tires or wheels get it at least able to roll of the trailer. No luck at any of the tire shops. 14" not so common nor the 5 on 4-1/2" bolt pattern. None nowhere, but then I ask my neighbor who has an old car shop and: ... no.... wait, them old slotted aluminum mags above the tool box way up on the wall that were there when he bought the shop from the previous owner, coated in dust and mounted with old Mickey Thompson circle track rubber. I'll be damned if they are not the same wheels mounted on the old Red Sled in the picture posted way down below when Len raced her way back when she was new. My neighbor was just happy to see them find a proper home. As an old Cosmic Cowboy used to always say: "The Universe Provides." And the other week I saw a Craigslist ad for some old Ford engines and parts just a few blocks from my shop so even though I am still simmering the Torino on the back burner I thought I better see if he happened to have a builder FE block. He had four. two complete, two bare blocks, and a big block. And a shed packed full of FE cranks, heads, and all sorts of other stuff including tools, old memorabilia, and random shed bits. I said I could not take the whole lot of his hands, I just needed one engine. I told him I only had $300 in my billfold. He said "How about $150 for everything". And voilà, I am a horder.
Monday, January 4, 2021
Saturday, January 2, 2021
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
After racing for 25 years now, I have come to know some interesting folk, I have seen some crazy shit go down, and I have always come to philosophize every bit of it that I can wrap my head around. The always asked "Why?" is more of an inescapable ponder than an answerable question. All I know is what I have come to dig up and dust off like some archeologist stuck in their own back yard. My back yard is racing; The art, the act, and the blood, sweat and piss of it. There are some folk who are such divine seekers of perfection, their image is a window to the thoughtfulness of there obsession. Displays of beauty and power have always been in natures arsenal of dominance and survival. I love to walk through a race pit or paddock ogling the display of machinery, gear, and tools. I also really enjoy the back row where there are privateers with no matching outfits or loud banners proclaiming loyalty to a corporate sponsor. Something transparent and organic can be found in the less than perfect and it makes me feel good, warm, and, maybe even at home. That rare place where I feel complete and wholly alive. Like being right on the edge of disaster. Giving it your all and pushing with every bit of will and desire to win. Along with the raged edge comes the mind bending adrenaline and acknowledgment of one's own true self. The insane moments of speed and serenity, the true fucking essence of racing. Mmmmmm, racing.