Mid Spring Moab Dual Sporting (Day 1)

24 short hours later (needed a couple hours nap along the way) and we had made it.  Sweet fancy Moab!  It also seemed as though there was a car show going on.  Lots of people, lots of cars, and lots of vehicles on the road that in Illinois would result in a whole lot of “Don’t Taze me BRO!”  I managed to not get any pictures of said cars, though there is this:

 

John & I were staying at the KOA on the South side of town.  Previously we had stayed at a campground on the North end of town, but this year we opted to go KOA since we didn’t have a trailer to sleep in, and John didn’t seem to hot on sleeping on the side of the road in tents (dunno why?)

 

2 Were comfy in these, 3 would have been a bit of a crowd, but doable.

 

With that, we drove into town, got groceries and let everything settle down.  We had no fridge in the little cabin, so we made do with keeping a foam cooler full of ice.  PB&J, Ham n Cheese, and some Ramen was all that was needed to fuel us.  OK, probably more would have been better.  Don’t worry, we ate out a few times.  Some better than others.

Food didn’t really matter at this point, our goal was to figure out the next days riding.  John & I were planning to meetup with a guy Brian who we’d ridden with in Moab last year.  We were thinking of riding a trail called Fins n Things, since it was close by and figured it’d give us a chance to make sure the bikes were in good working order before venturing further off.

Saturday morning the plans veered slightly with John and myself meeting with Brian, Doc, Lacy, and Kenbob who were thinking they’d go off to ride Lockhart Basin.  We’d ridden that twice last year, but it is a good rather mellow trail.  It’s an out n back kind of thing which has you doing around 120 miles by the days end.  Maybe more if you stop at the gas\restaurant out in Needles park.

Lockhart Basin starts with you going through town, and follow a nice twisty paved section of road to get to the start of gravel\off-road.  Not even 5 miles into the ride, Kenbob is stopped on the side of the road with his Husky (italian) with the bike not starting.  We were stopped right along the Colorado river, in the shade, with beautiful canyon walls all around us.  Great for sight seeing…not so great for what turned out to be Kenbobs in tank fuel line burst.

 

Lacy decided he’d stay with Kenbob, pickup their truck and rescue him.  Doc on his KTM 300, Brian on his 500, John and I on our 350’s decided we’d continue with the days ride.  The ride as said above, a great way to get in the groove of Moab things.  You go from road, to gravel, to 2 track, to rocks, and then mix that all up along the way with a dash of sand here and there.  There’s also a few good views tossed in along the way as well.

 

Brian checks for cell reception (oddly available most of the time)

 

Yah, you gotta stop and take a few pics along the way.  While riding, you have to balance between focusing on riding, and enjoying the incredible views.

 

John & Brian wolf down some snacks (its easy to under-eat on these rides)

 

I do my best to get some proper selfies in:

 

From here, we worked our way along the trail.  About 10 miles from the Needles Outpost, there was a creek crossing, which was followed by about 10 miles of open gravel road.  We took a poll and decided we were all cool with turning back there, and making out way towards home.  I asked Doc how he was on fuel.  He was rocking a KTM 2T, and while he had a larger than OEM tank, I know those 2T’s like fuel.  He informed us he was running a Lectron carb now, and while he hadn’t actually tested range, he claimed better than stock MPG.  You can guess where this is going, but we told him your call, and began making our way back.

As noted, the views here are “above average” to say the least, and leave you scratching your head at how in the hell does this happen.

 

Yah, I had to get a nice panoramic of the 350 on a more open section towards the end.

 

You could really get to enjoy some of these fast and open flowy sections.  The 350 has somewhat short legs, but it’s nice to stretch out into 6th gear for a few, and feel a good breeze against you.  Even with the temps being relatively cooler, it’s easy to warm up quickly, especially with all the gear you pile on.

All good things must come to an end, and 90 miles into the ride Doc was clear out of fuel.  We had at least 20-30 miles to get back to town.  I noted the excess fuel in my tank.  Brian happened to have a couple empty water bottles in his pack as well as a small section of fuel hose.  I offer up my fuel, and somehow find myself siphoning fuel for Doc.  A mouth full of fuel later, and I managed to get around 1L of fuel for Doc.  Again, he claimed this was enough, I was happy to be done ingesting gasoline, and buttoned everything back up to continue on back.

I know when you’re low on fuel, you can sometimes ride amazingly conservatively, resulting in phenomenal fuel mileage.  That didn’t happen.  Sure enough, 3 miles or so from town Doc runs out again.  I decide this is BS and since I spent the last 20 minutes spitting out the taste of gasoline from my mouth, tell him we’ll use my tow strap for the remaining bit.  I drop him off at the closest and fill up my tank.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but everyone afterwords asked me……”why did you siphon his gas?”  As I said, I hadn’t thought about it, just mentally thought I didn’t want to leave someone on the trail.  Looking back on how the whole situation went down, I developed a new rule.  If you’re on a ride and take literally 0 precautions for fuel you may or may not need, sorry, but you’re SOL.  I’d like to think I’m a helping person by nature, but yeah….sometimes we must learn lessons the hard way.  Not sure if Doc learned any lessons, but I did. :lol3

We got back to camp, and I opened up a refreshing beverage and began taking some notes from the day.  I knew if I didn’t take notes then…it’d never happen and I’d forget everything that went down.

 

John & I would meet a group of guys in town, at a crappy Mexican restaurant.  It was so forgettable that I didn’t take any pictures and have blocked the guacamole out of my memory.  I slept well that night.  Good dry air and a tired body will do that for you.

Todays ride was a good warmup….tomorrow’s would be a body beater.

-Andrew

I’m having image issues, so please see images here:

https://andrewgore.smugmug.com/Travel/Motorcycle-Related/Moab-2016/

Fox Valley Off Road Open B Year End Results

The results are in…..

Saturdays GP: B Class, 3rd Overall
GP Results

Sundays HS: Open B, 1st – Overall, 9th/49
Class Results     Overall Results

Fox Valley Off Road Overall (Open B):
1st/25
FVOR Overall Points

Suffice to say, I’m quite thrilled.  It feels good to have finally won some form of overall series since my Advanced Trials class in 2009.  I rode far less than normal this year, but seemed to grow more and more confident in my riding.  Thanks to my wife, family, and friends for all the support.

Andrew

August – September Race Reports

I’m well behind on this. What can I say, I’ve been busy. Since my last version was a TLDR Wall o Text, I’ll keep it short & sweet.

August 17th Harescramble. I don’t remember how the race went. For the bulk of the race, I thought I was in 2nd place. Turned out there was a timing\scoring error in my favor. 1st place Open B, 18th\48 Overall.

September 20th GP Race:
I did this race for 2 reasons. 1. I hadn’t ridden the 350 since the last race, and 2. I was in 1st place for the FVOR Open B Overall and racing the GP would give me some bonus points, should I not perform well on Sunday First moto I had a bad start, but everyone seemed to be moving a good pace. I learned the course (short) and ended up 4th\11 in the B class. Not bad considering I was shaking off some cobwebs. Second moto things were great……until the skies opened . Goggles were removed. I couldn’t see a thing, and it was like riding on ice. Lap times dropped substantially. I was riding reasonably well until I stalled the bike on the simplest of climbs. Go figure my E-Start button decided to not work. I tried kick starting the bike, only to slide backwards into a tree I got back up & finished 4th again.

Recap – Moto 1 – 4th Moto 2 – 4th – Overall 3rd. Apparently some folks stopped riding when the rain came….I said bring it

September 21st Harescramble:
This was the race I wanted to race. I knew if I won this one, I’d have the FVOR Open B overall. It had rained a bit more overnight, but luckily the morning race combined with dry weather made the course plenty tacky (though still a bit slick in areas). My bike was coated in mud from Saturdays race. My gear was coated & mostly still wet. Luckily I had some dry gloves with & some alternate goggles to use. Once again, I had a weak start (starter button is on the fritz). This time though, the bad start was a blessing in disguise. A group of guys piled up on the inside of the 1st turn, allowing me to squeak around the outside of them.

I had 2 or 3 guys in front of me from my class. I ended up making quick work of them & had them passed before the end of the first lap. Lap timer showed I was in 1st place. I knew at this point it was mine to lose, so I kept as sharp as I could, and kept pushing as hard as I could. Riding the GP helped a lot, as most all of the GP course was part of the harescramble course.

The Harescramble course first half was windy stuff through some sloppy wooded areas. After the first lap, this area tacked up pretty well. Next up was the endurocross. Normally I was jumping these obstacles. This time I kept the same speed, but tried to keep as low as possible on them. I wasn’t in the mood for heavy impacts. Next up was the 1st half of the moto track. I did what I could to keep pinned through here as it felt like “free time” to me as most guys don’t keep it full speed there. I tucked the front on a sandy turn though. Thankfully slow speed & the bike kept running.

After the 1st half of the moto track, we did a small climb\descent, hit the moto whoops, and back up another climb to the 1st grass section. This was good fun here. I’d do the climb in 3rd gear (slightly lugging) which kept good traction on the bad surface. It allowed me to rev out through 3rd into the first grass turn, keep in 3rd for the turn and up into 4th before dropping back into the woods. From here it was back onto the moto track, and another off-camber uphill climb. I was loving this climb. I went into the first portion in 3rd, and then dropped to 2nd when the hill got steeper. At the top, you’d jump out into the 2nd grass track section, where I’d click into 3rd, 4th, and then pinned in 5th to the end. It felt good to stretch the bikes legs a bit. From here it was some windy 2-track type stuff, through timing & scoring, and then across and down into the creek section. Again, another spot where I felt I made good time.

The entire race, I felt I was riding extremely well. I was confident on the bike (moreso than I’d been all year) and above all, just felt in control of things. I was a little sore from Saturday, but it wasn’t really affecting me. I wasn’t out of breath, and my muscles weren’t really feeling it. I was just having fun riding as fast as I could. On top of that, I was incredibly consistent. My times were within 5-10 seconds throughout the entire race.

I was fast, consistent, and having fun. Unofficial results 1st in Open B, 9th\48 overall.

These finishes should get me the FVOR Open B Overall too
Good weekend, finished off with a nice glass of beer when I got home:

And while it’s not much, a couple pics.

Bike after Saturdays GP (and before Sundays HS):

 

EXTRA PICS:

FreeMotoPix again snagged some photos from the weekend.

The bike was nice & clean at the GP

Leaving Timing & Scoring:

Probably the 2 slickest spots, there were others, but these 2 were the only ones I thought about in the race:

On the gas on the MX track:

Endurocross section:

Hillclimb just before getting on the 2nd portion of grass track:

Working the creek section (wow a shot where I have decent form ):

And a parting shot:

Andrew

Multiple reports update – June & July FVOR Race Results

I’m just a wee bit behind on my updates here.  Real quick on the June race.  I’d like to not think about it too much, but if I don’t keep the past in my mind, I’ll likely repeat it.  I don’t want that.  Junes harescramble at FVOR went like this:

I got a poor start.  I was then stuck behind a good deal of slower riders in my class and got frustrated.  Not the end of the world, as I started passing people, but I unfortunately let a lot of their mistakes affect me.  I went to make a hasty pass on a rider on a downhill section.  I attempted to pass him on the outside, which was fine until he crossed over into me.  I slammed on the brakes hard, but still managed to clip his rear wheel with my front.  Front VS. Rear, Rear always wins.  I cartwheeled down the hill.  I picked up the bike, noted the bars were tweaked, as was the front fender.  Each bump I heard a loud grinding noise.  I was a bit mentally defeated at this point, and thought I was having little fun while trying to navigate some arrows & blown tape in the wooded areas.  I wasn’t having fun, end o story.  I called it quits early.  Packed up and went home.

That’s the past and I aimed to do better come next race.  This Sundays race, I kept calm.  The little B & Big B classes grouped together for 1 line were too big, so they split us into separate lines at the start.  I liked this, as I had no one on the immediate sides of me.  I wear ear plugs when I race, so dead engine starts can prove to be tricky as I have a hard time hearing the motor start.  I kept calm, and pulled the holeshot.  I was holding a decent pace, but early on tucked the front in a slick turn.  I got back up as quick as possible and kept pushing.  I noted I was getting some arm pump pretty bad early on.  I don’t normally get arm pump, so I figured it was a combo of not riding off-road enough & possibly having tossed a different set of bars on the bike (and pushing to keep up my early race pace).  I calmed myself down and dealt with it.

On the second lap I tried getting a sip of water from my camelbak.  Nothing.  I thought Ice had clogged the hose, so I kept going.  Next lap as I noted I slipped into 3rd place, I again tried getting some water from my camelbak.  Nothing.  At some point I decided when I had a decent gap from whoever might be near me, I would have to stop.  I knew while I was plenty hydrated, I’d have a hard time making 105 minutes without water.  The dust in some open sections had been coating my mouth & it was needless to say, not pleasant.

My gap (perceived or whatever) opened up enough where I felt comfortable stopping to fix the camelbak.  Bladder out, and saw the quick release hose had released itself.  A quick click back in and I was back going.  Around 30 seconds loss I’d say.  The rush of cool water was an instant boost and I felt a resurgence of energy.  Unfortunately a group of guys had passed me (4 or 5).  They were in different classes, but it meant I’d have to deal with passing them again.  Not a big deal, but each person you gotta deal with passing is precious time lost.  I managed to pass them within the lap, so that was good for me mentally.

As the race progressed I could feel I was making some costly mistakes.  I let a few riders mess me up on some hill climbs.  Both times I had selected alternate lines, only to mess up and lose my momentum.  Not the end of the world, but HUGE energy sucks.  I felt the end was nearing, and saw there were approximately 20 minutes left on the clock.  At this point I had been lapped by the AA guys.  I knew my lap times were over the 10 minute mark, so tried to push that next lap to try and maybe find the 2nd place guy.  No such luck.

Last lap, my body was feeling it.  My tweaked ankle (from a skateboard incident) was really bothering me, and I felt the blisters on my left thumb really cropping up.  On the first real downhill, I managed to tuck the front (and subsequently destroy my left footpeg).  I hadn’t noticed the footpeg, so I just tried trucking on best I could.  I pushed when I could, I kept calm and knew no one was too close behind, and felt OK with the (unofficial) 3rd. Official 2nd Place

I saw the checkers and relaxed as I crossed the finish line logs.  I was definitely sore & out of breath.  The early half of the race without being able to quench the dryness in my mouth hampered things a bit.  I can really tell I haven’t been riding off-road enough.  The past several years I’d been spending almost every weekend riding dirt.  Lately it seems I’ve only been riding at the races.  This does not help me keep my speed up.  I’m going to have to figure out how I’m going to work around that.  Having my messed up ankle (rolled it while skateboarding) didn’t help either, though this should be 100% by the next race.

So there we have it.  I’ve got an unofficial 3rd place.  Overall I’m happy with my performance given the circumstances.  I’d really like to be winning every race, but well I’m trying to be as realistic about my situation as possible.  I’m looking forward to the next one.

-Andrew

Update: Official result = 2nd in Open B.  28th Overall.

 

ps – I’ll post pics as soon as I can find any online.

Unexpected Findings

Got invited to ride on some farm property yesterday. Close by, free, and wide open areas to work on some skills…how could I say no? I also saw it as a chance to do some scientific testing between some bikes and see which gets me through some trails quickest.

We plotted out a small loop. Started on a small section of farm field, into a singletrack tall grass section and then a quick duck into some mildly tight\off-camber section. This led to a small jaunt back out of the woods and back across the field. Once you were back across the field, there was a dried up pond that we roosted around. The outside was packed full of downed trees, and sticks, and by the end of the day, getting slick and rutted. As you finished your way around the pond, we had a pile of downed tree limbs to hop over followed by a slightly larger 18″ diameter-ish tree to hop. After the tree hop, you immediately banked hard right, and then a quick left to bring yourself back out of the pond area to where you started.

It was a short loop, but it gave me a chance to do a lot of hot laps. My findings were mildly frustrating, but I suppose telling of my riding. I had 3 bikes to test out. My Husky, the Mighty XR, and my buddies KDX200. I started out on the Husky, so I had a good general idea of how the bike handled the loop, what to do, what to expect, etc, etc. Initial lap times were 59-60 seconds. I then hopped on the KDX, and my lap times were 57-58 seconds. I hopped onto the Mighty XR, where my lap times were at a consistent 58 seconds. After all that, and some other fooling around, with my body tired, I did another 5 laps on the Husky, where my lap times were at a consistent 58 seconds.

So what’s this telling me? I know I felt that on the KDX, the bike felt the most compliant and kind of the easiest to go fast. The bike felt plush and confident. The S12XC front he has on the thing helped in the slick sections for sure. He’s got an autoclutch, though I still work the clutch manually, but that may have had an effect on things. The XR, I felt I had to work the most to go the same speed. The drum rear brake always required more attention to help stop you, and the slightly sticky throttle made you have to think more while riding, rather than focusing on going fast. I liken riding it to riding a 125 2-stroke. They can go just as fast, but require a LOT more input, body english, and finesse to get the speed out of it. Now for the WR, I felt to me it has the most room for improvement. The bike has got plenty of power which helps immensely in anything more open. It was the most forgiving if I messed, up, but required a bit more brain focus to extract the speed out of it. The suspension is also not nearly as plush as the KDX, however, it is feeling better now than it ever has (I opened HS\LS Rear compression 100% open).

I got to do a lot of work on drills that we did at the Shane Watts school. Braking\accelerating\drifting\wheelies\etc. From where I was a year ago, I’m 10x more confident in high speed roosting, and drifting out the rear. Heck, I could be dragging my knee on the XR if I wanted. 

Yesterdays riding (and subsequent timing results) has me questioning if the Husky is the bike for me. With my apparent knack for breaking a bike at every race, it’s got me considering the idea of going back to a Japanese bike, due to the abundance of parts\spares\cheap prices. Hard to say as I really enjoy the Husky, but I need something that I can trust will take me all the way through a race. Any thoughts\opinions on this?

I can say however that that XR350R just won’t be sold. We did some flat out drag races between it & the KDX200. The XR was dead even with the KDX. Quite the mighty little beast. 

Time for some Sunday lunch.
Andrew