Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Perspective

 Our perspective is always changing. If it is not than that means we are not moving and just stagnant. I find myself immersed in a life that I only dreamed about as a child and a younger man. Yet I am always seeking more and dreaming new dreams. I must remind myself to be so very thankful for all I have done and all I have to do. That and I really like free stickers, cold beer and comfy boots









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Friday, October 7, 2022

Hello, my name is Travis and I am addicted to speed.

 4 months. I think that is some kind of record. A sad record since last posted. Is the sickness taking hold of me? Is it the empty easy screen scrolling time spent on facebook? The impeding physical form nearing the completion of it's 39th rotation around the sun? The fact I moved my house and shop to a new all in one location of honky heaven this summer? That I am a proud loving father of a 12 month old wonder girl who loves being a dare devil and spends three or four days a week in a motorbike shop recking havoc and wants nothing more than to show me how much she loves me and is worthy of my hopelessly adoring admiration? Or is  it just the nerve damage I suffered in my last post?  Well, I reckon a little of all of that and some more than others. But I still can't feel the skin over my left knee. And I will die first if I ever have to move my shop again. Very serious. I feel old, and yet I feel more than ever the need to live hard and go fast. Like hill climb racing where so much preparation and anticipation goes into one short run or hopeful full throttle perfection; every chance I get to pin it now, you best believe I'm a stretch that mother fucking throttle cable like a piece of dental floss picking a crocodile's ass out of a t-rex tooth.  

Anyhoo, my little darling daughter Nova is an amazing addition to life. I am a very lucky man! The new shop/casa is taking form and it excites me, but that is probably not why you are reading this blog. like I have a fucking clue if anybody even reads this blog any more or why I am sharing/gloating/whining?? I don't know. It is my happy place to just write like a fantasy editorial for a bike mag or a journal that a Jewish girl wrote in an addict during some serios shit going down. Maybe someday I'll get a pair of fancy slippers and change my name to Ann. Maybe that is not very funny. What I was really trying to get on here and post about is the racing! The racing! I did race this summer, It was sick! Sicker than a covid booger on an airport escalator hand rail getting all stretched out like laughy taffy. Sick I tell ya! I raced the bug at the first two hill climbs finishing 3rd and than 2nd at Lands End. I got to share the Podium with some guy named Jeff Zwart. A former 24hr of Leman and team mate of Paul Newman. 3rd place podium was a no show. We picked up our Champaine bottles and he looked at me and said "Do we really want to do this?" I did not hesitate and I said " Hell no, lets save this shit for mimosas in the morning!" I like to think that he saved his bubbly, went back to his beautifal abode in Aspen and had a nice orange juice breakfast while thinking of me and my rusty slug bug like I did while thinking of his turbo factory Porshe but I like to dream a lot. 

The 3rd race I entered this summer was the high elevation Monarch hill climb and I thought it best to leave the little anemic edamame commie at home and get the led out of my ass with the Pontiac veteran hill climb car. Two years ago I spent a lot of time and a fair amount of money building that sbc350 engine from the crankshaft up all my self and I was ready to see what the fuck it all came down to.  I had most of the bugs worked out but I figured there would be more so for the first time in my life I went racing without a motorbike. Just the big old car. I have won every hill climb I have entered for that last few years on a bike and I figured what the hell. I knew I would miss the last two hill climbs this year for my daughters' birthday (Mom said so :() and another weekend I promised Mom for the final. I love Mom. So I knew I would not get the points championship but who fucking cares anyway. I used to but really? who fucking cares? It is a silly game. I ... I will win that fucking championship next year! Any how I did not bring a bike to Monarch so that I could focus on racing the big stockcar and working on any bugs. There were enough bugs to keep the Orkin man busy. My Hill Climb racing hill-billy friends helped and the old 1980 Pontiac finished every run taking the class win. Better yet, it scared the ever living shit out of me. The engine I built is strong and happy and the suspension on that big chunk of iron is more soggy than a soup sandwich. On the start straight stretch of the narrow two track mining road we hit 90mph. And a jump. On a motorbike I heard them say jump and never knew what the shit they were talking about. In the Pontiac I knew. gravel flew over the hood and around the windshield landing in my lap while I did things with the steering wheel resembling a Honey Mooners wife smack. but she smacked back and all I could do was keep my foot in it. Similar front suspension feed back was felt another time or two in the course. After my final fun the front cross member and a-arms where packed tight with a granet shale concrete like substance. She needs some stiffer springs and at least some shock absorbers that dampen more than my screen door spring.

Peace, grease, and healthy knees!
















Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Bent Rims MC Florence Grand Prix 2022 (39 year old border collie tries to steal tennis ball from young pups)

 Well, it's been a while. All the pictures I take these days are of my daughter. No explanations needed. I did forget to post something of the now annual May day Meow Meow Massacre but I left my phone alone that week and just really had a good time. I even managed to stay conscious the entire weekend of riding. It was great. But a while ago I started to hear about the Grand Prix in Florence Kansas. It used to be a big one back in the 70's like the Catalina Grand Prix. It was to come back this year so I made sure to be the first to sign up in the pro class when registration opened. It was our first family trip and with two days of driving just to get there, 90 degree temps and 90 percent humidity it was a big first family trip to take on. One week before the race they got 4" of rain and unlike our western desert that would soak that up like a sponge the Kansas terefirma just holds that water like a plate in the sink. I was so jazzed up to go racing as becoming a dad has put a stop to the monthly, or bi-monthly, or even twice a year busy race schedule I have kept for the past 15 plus years. I was the first one to line my bike up down on main street, being the first pre registered I thought it correct. I waited in the hot sun for an hour plus as the other 500 plus riders lined up and staged behind me. Main street, down town Florence Kansas looked like something right out of a 1970's motorcycle race. A shotgun start sent off the first wave of pro riders. I didn't get a good jump off the line against the electric start bikes but my 2006 honda 450 reeled in a couple riders before the first turn. backing it in sideways on brick street intersection felt so good! Down an ally 5th gear pinned floating across street intersections. I made my way up to 2nd place before we left town and I thought how cool it would be to get into the lead in front of my spectating family and friends who had raced the abbreviated vintage class in the morning. Without really thinking it through I went for a pass for the lead, got pinched off and hung up on the leaders rear tire. I kept it up but veered into a fence, I ducked a rope and took out a fence post with my knee. I came to a stop right down the street from the start line (where everybody was watching). Like Chris Farly, I franticly un-tangled the rope from my neck and kicked, and kicked, and kicked, my bike back to life. Not how one should start a 100 mile race. But I put my head down and started passing people like the maniac I can be all jacked up on adrenaline. I ended up accentually jumping over an entire dyke, canal, levy, or what ever it is called, landing on a road in high speed traffic heading perpendicular to me. It could have been so bad. So the next lap I did what I was supposed to and ride through the mud soup. Like a old Blackwater 100 mud obstacle, I looped out and feel back into the 2' deep soup. I tired again and again sunk myself. The following lap I would take the easy (slow route) around the dyke like everyone else but by then my throttle grip was loose. On lap three my knee was hurting so bad from disintegrating that damn fence post I decided I was going to retire from the race. I could only ride sitting down and the fun dry sections of grass track that I would normally be annihilating like a pit bull in a bunny cage had me riding with my foot off of the peg to avoid the shocking pain from bumps. But I thought of my daughter and wife who were toughing out the heat and humidity all weekend in our shitty little camper just so I could race. This race means something. What, I don't know. But as Steve Mcqueen said; "It'd better be important." So I soldiered on. My camelback had become in-operable in the fence crash incident and we had to do our own pit support as insurance would not allow anyone into the pits. because the pits were in the middle of main street, a 5th gear drag race through town. So nobody to give me any water. I re-fueled my self and put on my spare googles. That were souped with mud in the first muddy pond so after lap 4 I rode with no eye protection, something I never do. The course was mostly tacky and primo but there were several mud bogs and a couple slimy hill climbs. Every lap I cut through the bottle neck of riders waiting there turn and with out stopping I kept tractoring around all the bodies and abandoned bikes. By lap 8 I was getting really thirsty and I started yelling at anybody and everyone. "Pro rider!" "Out of the way" "COMING THROUGH!" People in town cheered me. I finally stopped at some rowdy looking young lads and asked for a beer. I poured a BUD LIGHT though my helmet ingesting every possible drop. I think it saved me. The last few laps are a blur. I was not really on earth but in some parallel dream land just running on pain and auto pilot. Along side some railroad tracks I took a large stone to the eye. I vaguely remember being told one more lap by the scorer who wiped my number plate clean to read every lap. I had started to curse at him horribly by that point calling him very bad things so I did not know if it was the last lap or not but I figured I better ride it like it was. In a very muddy field I remember holding a 4th gear pinned line overtaking a rider who must have been I first gear. My handle bar end just barley kissed his handle bar end. I wonder If he even noticed.  When I crossed the finish line the transponder scoring screen said I had gone from 7th to 5th in that lap. I rode over to my fuel jug and collapsed my head to my handle bars and sobbed like my daughter does when she needs a nap really bad. I just sat there crying. People asked if I was ok an I told them "fuck yeah I am ok, I am great, the race is over!" I put my fuel jug between my knees and rode back through town to the camping area where I had left some 5 hours earlier. I got off my bike and fell to the ground. I may have been still sobbing and I think people were worried about me because right then I got the most crazy full lower body cramps I have ever had. Way worse than any cramps I had got when I was desert racing. Spazzing, flopping around on the ground moaning, probably more like screaming. And an hour later I was on the last step of the podium on main street feeling like a million bucks. Well pretty much. It was a good race. I thought many times about quitting. I know that if I keep chasing tennis balls like an old border collie someday the quit might find me but my tung still flops for more. Maybe I'll race the vintage class next year. Or team race. But with out that pro class pay out how am I to pay my van gas bill?! For two days after the race my muscles hurt bad from the cramps. For three days after the race I had a large black hole in my vision from taking the stone to the eye. It has been  nine days since the race and the waterbed sized fluid above my knee is finally going down some but the pain from standing working all day is bad. Mostly the fluid in my shin hurts. It is a weird nerve pain like the layers of skin are being felid apart by a sushi chef. It is a lot of fluid. I have gone to get it drained twice in the last four days. The rope burn on my neck looks like I escaped a hanging. Not this time hang man. Not this time.  













Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Peter

 I get asked to go riding with people a lot. It goes along with having a motorcycle shop I reckon. Thing is though, for me riding is not a social occasion. When I put on a helmet I tune into a channel of focus that usually involves speed that nibbles at the outer edge of control. I often top off the tank and do not stop at all or even let off pace until I am back to the fuel jug with a near empty tank. It may go back to my training rides when I was racing pro off road or it may be that it is just my happy place to be alone, eyes glazed, hands tightly clenched while my brain makes split second calculations.  I know my time to cherish in this behavior is limited. Someday I must slow down. Or at least get a gps tracker to let my partner know where I am at.  After all I am a dad now. I do have a couple of true old pals that I do enjoy to share my now valuable and infrequent throttle twist time with. Being a dad and aligning schedules with others is tough. So is being a serious rider though, no mater who you are. A couple of years ago an old skinny dude with a long grey Billy Gibbons beard came into my shop and like many found my shop inspiring. After inviting me to ride with him like so many others I was ready to retort my reply I keep on ready playback and then I stopped myself and said sure, why not. I think it was the way he talked about sliding 5th gear corners with a twinkle in his eye on the many gas and oil field roads he knew. Peter has spent his life working the oil and gas fields of western colorado, all the while riding dirtbikes. At 67 years old he still does just that. He has only bought two bikes brand new; A Suzuki TM400 that he rode into the ground and his current stead a 1982 Honda XR500. The first time we rode together, I was at first concerned. He proclaimed he was geared up after grabbing some old work gloves and a street bike helmet with a badly scratched visor. He took off like a raped ape and I was doing everything I could to stay above his roost. We were instantly in 5th gear as he flew over blind crests spinning his bald as a baby's ass rear tire like a speedway champ. "Crap!" I thought, I am about to have to call an ambulance to the middle of nowhere. But then he started giving me hand signals while in the middle of 5th gear corner slides... "Fuck! This dude IS for real!" Since then we have enjoyed some really good rides together. He gets paid to go out and service the oil pumps so it is free gas to him and he gladly hauls me along. He might not ride singletrack at my stupid pace though he is never far behind and he rides pace on the roads faster than any young bucks I ride with. He likes to stop every once in a while to puff one of his doobies. I however keep my recreating to only one form at a time these days. But I am learning to enjoy the ride along with the riding. 





Saturday, March 19, 2022

Elvira's vibrator


 My brain cells have finally stopped doing the Hokie Pokie dance steps learned while designing the expansion chamber enough to finally write a post. But they are still sweating and gnawing like a husky sled dog ready for another haul across the arctic. The pipe about mounted up as good as I hoped but of course with a fair amount of my less than perfect way of just getting shit done. I hope it works but am fully prepared to do another version, if nothing else to perfect the fabrication skills. Hell, I may even use a cone anvil instead of my hands and an old steering stem to form the sheet metal. maybe even an upgrade from the tin snips I bought from the 50 cent crate at the pawn shop. The rear hub fits into the swing arm with about as much room to spare as a thong on a big black booty behind the pole in a club on north freemont street that acquires a young cracker patron in a pearl snap shirt and wont let him leave her lap until the sun comes up and he has to drive back home to colorado that very day. That was a long time ago. But she named me "Lil' White Chocolate" and my nipples have never been the same since. 

Anyhoo, the YZ450F ebay radiator fit up nice enough with some bracket weldin. I found a new XR750 seat on VFT. The seller asked what I was doing and told me my frame is worth more than my finished bike would be. He also told me with out me asking that he was a flattrack team owner or something. Whatever. I thanked him. The coffin tank was much more easy as opposed to tunneling out an old kawi tank. I think it also adds to the tarnished nickel frame polish. Hell even the primer grey seat works. U cant take the patina pervert out of me. I am trying to make something that looks a bit more optimistic than that of how it performs but I really hate using more than what I have in my hoard pile and I just might be a hopeless trash bin scraper Sleeper builder. Fuck. I hope this thing is actually ridable on a track let alone the blue groove track that is the only track in colorado. I cant help but wonder why nobody races a 500 2 stroke. I think A young Tim Neave companied one in the UK for a season before he went tarmac racing. Other than that zip zero nada. A 500 makes down low power not un like a four stroke 450 but it also has a quick snap and something like 28 percent more torque. So I engineered the pipe for a low and wide power band. Fuck if I know if that engineering works better than a duck fart in outer space. I also opened up the combustion chamber and from my experience Lectron carbs smooth the hit like ice cubes in a big bad water bong. But if this widow maker really is hell bent on teaching me the art of breaking collar bones I reckon I can always get out my JB Weld and lower the port heights. Now I just need to sack up and fit a brake and some foot pegs and see if I still know how to go fast in circles... Oh, and I did start it and it does sound like Puff The Magic Dragon having ben wa balls ripped out by Betty Page on top of  a stack of Marshall amps while Dime Bag Darrell from Pantera shreds a guitar solo. So yeah.








Friday, March 18, 2022

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Pulse Jet Rocket Exhaust

I like to build things with metal. Gaps can be filled, angels bent, beads can be built up and ground down. Metal is not like wood. The only wood I work is in the shower. Measure twice, cut once. Some things make me want to cut in the shower. Numbers make my head hurt. I dropped out of pre-algebra. Fuck I hate numbers. There are like so many of them. However I do appreciate math being the common language though. And I like a challenge. Plus there really is nobody selling down pipes for a KX500 in a Trackmaster frame. In I dove.

Simple geometry is enough to make the sweat pour out of my heavy wrinkled forehead. However the really hard part that has kept me up at night haunting my dreams for weeks is the Expansion chamber's diffuser, belly and baffle lengths. Header and stinger too. I used some very overwhelming at first and still mind numbing excel spreadsheet calculators made by Michael Forrest (Dragonfly75.com) The dude is smart and agreed to hold my hand via 50+ emails...
I plan on building several expansion chambers to play around with but here is version one.

Modifying an old floating brake rotor to fit on the quick change hub. I am so stoked on finally owning a lathe.  


I gave my credit card a good shwacking for a set of Ohlins to complement the upside down forks. I love the cool old retro patena pervert kawi gas tank but I am also thinking about this home brew alumininium coffin tank and maybe an xr750 style seat. Modern vs Vintage? I love my old shit but I also want this bike to appeal to a large demographic of potential consumers within the motorsports marketplace. I'm a shut the fuck up now.
 Any thoughts...



 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Bakc to basics: A lesson in trail

 


I ride trails. Not trials. I partake in trials, tribulations, try anything once. Tried it before. Might  try it again. Long ago I learned what rake angle was. It broke and I had to buy the wife a new rake. I also learned what off set and trail where. I let my un diagnoised ADD number fearing brain let those equations fad away and just know what it feels like when my forks are too steep or when the off set is twitchy. But this nice tight discussion from Richard Pollock of Mule makes much more easy sense than my normal eyeball it, cut, grind, eyeball it more and say "fuck it, fuck yeah". I must be getting old. preaching about doing things correctly. Whatever. Give it a read and maybe you will be less lost loading dog turd leaf piles into the bin with a broken rake while rationalizing why a trail and a trial are of importance at all.

https://phillittleracing.com/richard-pollock-of-mule-motorcycles-talks-about-sportster-race-handling

Sunday, January 23, 2022

KX500 Trackmaster





 I have been saving a Trackmaster frame for about 5 years now. Good old Tommy bought it from Jim Henry and gave it to me to do something with. Jim Henry was the first person to help me out on the old Flattrack.com forums when I started building my XS. He set me straight on my maiden voyage into flattracking selling me a front to rear wheel quick change adapter and a seat. Thanks to him my XS was a well set up and behaving racer right from the get go helping me immerse myself into the sport of flattracking. Right after Tommy bought it Jim passed away. Maybe a year after the 80+ year old brakeless class racer had one gnarly get off at Stockton 1/2 mile. Tommy and I thought about putting an XS twin engine in the frame but I found out the frame was originally built for a single two stroke engine. The engine mounts had been heavily molested so I thought a lighter engine might be better, knowing my less than great welding on top of previous less than great welding added to a heavy 80 HP engine might go over like the Hindenburg. It sat. I moved. Tommy died. Rest in peace my Cosmic Cowboy amigo. A special frame awaiting a special engine. I thought of retiring it to a street tracker cradling the Gt550 2 stroke triple I have hoarded. I thought of another CRF450 framer. Then looking at it one day it hit me that I had a 1987 KX500 engine horded away awaiting a special frame. I learned some of the KX500 engine mojo tuning when building the KX500AF and it's stock frame sister build a few years ago. A powerful light engine in a classic known dirt oval track weapon. It won't be vintage class legal so the Durrell racing forks hoarded find themselves a worthy home along with a spare nice old heavy XS rear(old front) mag wheel with quick change adapters the Ranum bros machined up using my old Jim Henry as a model.    First I cut the swing arm out and boxed it to accept modern wide rear tires. I fit the engine with the counter shaft as low as possible in relation to the swing arm pivot. Both the swing arm and motormounts are the first tig welding I have ever done not on aluminum and I am amazed how much fun tig welding steel is rather than aluminum. Much easier but still my weld quality leave much to be desired. For the past week now I have been masochistically torturing my ADD ridden, math class flunky of a brain with designing an expansion chamber.... Wish me luck.