Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lessons in listening

I was exhausted from my 95 mile rain soaked hill ride Saturday so I planned to just ride the KTM950 all day Sunday or part of the day and the rest on the 250.  My friend Paul wanted to ride off road on his Suzuki DL650 V-Strom, a generic dual sprt bike made to spen 95% of it's life on public highways, paved or gravel.  He begged to do hard stuff, I was going to let him put around Wayne for a bit but Nooo, he didn't want to go off-road, he wanted to ride with his road buddies 1st then do something closer.   We left Gulliver's Travel's stuffed full of trucker food and headed south with his road buddies looping around until we landed in Coshocton for a rendezvous with Allen and anyone else who may have shown up.

Speaking of his road buddies, they were a bit over enthusiastic, passing on double yellows all morning forcing the rest to do the same or get left behind. I found it to be a bit nerve racking, especially carving corners on D908 knobbies.

A few of us continued on to play in the dirt, Allen (DR650) Paul (DL650 V strom) and Jim (800GS). One guy HAD a nearly new V-strom. It was new until he dropped it half way down Quarry Rd and snapped off the end of the brake lever and broke the front turn signal. Luckily he had crash bars. Somewhere down the hill I whacked the right tank guard on the 950 pretty hard. Enough parts moved that it cracked the header. I couldn't feel or see the leak, but I could hear it. At the bottom the Jim on the GS800 (pretty new also) tried to submerge the beast in the creek at the bottom.

Then we were on an abandoned rail bed. It was a nice cruise until we crossed a paved highway where Whitey took his cigarette break a couple summers ago when we were helping a few rookies climb up to the road. I looked down in the now overgrown ravine and proclaimed it didn't look that bad so I dove in head first. A hundred yards in and there is no Paul or Jim, Just Allan. Allen said they were taking turn dropping their bikes. By the time I got back, Jim was over but Paul failed to negotiate a small 5" sapling and once again, tossed his Strom on the ground (in honor of Meef?). Got him going only to find out someone did a fine job of barricading the trail with big timber and we had to turn around (Sorry Guys).

At this point we found out Paul had now lost his left turn signal also and snapped off the tip of his shifter. While scouting a possible out we also noted his bike had twisted the sub-frame strut where the left passenger peg used to sit relatively level. It ain't level no more, the V-strom was no longer new, it now officially used 

When I got home I pulled the right tank off to inspect the header. It didn't feel right and when I pulled the heat wrapping off from the previous owner I found a lot of rotten metal and it basically fell apart on the floor. The wrap had held it together for about 2 hours.

The hole had been on the bottom where I couldn't feel and like a plasma cutter, torched a hole in the plastic side of the skid plate and melted the top cover of the relay switch for the starter to the starter fuse. When I pulled the cover, the fuse came with it.

I am lucky though, could have been the gas tank  I am lucky also in the fact I was worried about what was under the heat wrap so I bought a new header on Advrider for $35 about 1 month ago. KTM price $243.00!! Thank God I am a hoarder!!! 

Heading to Summit Racing tomorrow morning to get new heat-shield for the tank, no more of that heat wrap crap.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Adventure in Overkill

Friday the 14th we went up to the unveiling of the new Ducati Multistrada in Akron presented by Northern Ohio Ducati.  The bike is pretty cool and I wanted to test it so I signed up for the last slot the next day.

Saturday I headed out with Turra to do a 30 mile bike ride, then garage sale-ing and then lunch.  Then I hopped on the 640 and headed out trail riding down at Battlesburg MX park.  After a few hours I headed north to a friends house who was riding up to the demo with me.  I used his garden hose to wash off my pants and we air dried them on the way up.  After the demo ride we headed south to meet the girls for dinner at the local steakhouse.  I was so tired I could barely stay awake for dinner.

Sunday we headed north to Brecksville.  Friends said I had to go back since I won the last edition by soloing 30 of the 30 miles.  Brecksville has no flat sections at all except for the inclined planes.  I sat in for a lap and then it all went to hell, like a farm dog, someone jumped so I chased.  It ended up being the winning move but I had left the winning legs at home with Saturdays calendar of events.  I won $20 for 6th place woo-hoo!

Afterwards Drew Bercaw and I set out on a supposedly 40 mile ride.  Supposedly because that was by the regular highway but I knew a shortcut, well, so I thought.  50 miles later we rolled into the Blue Heron Deli where our team cars were waiting to feed our starving tired butts.

We made it home just in time to watch the Tour of California where I promptly missed most of it because of eyelid failure.  I think I am getting too old for those types of weekends...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Easier said than done.

On the 8th the Salem motorcycle club had a make up race at Big Valley.  I wanted to go but I wanted to be different so I loaded up the 640 with tools, tubes and fix-a-flat and headed to the race, on the 640.

Upon arrival we took off the tail bag, GPS and my back pack and stored them in George's Truck and signed up.  Lots of strange stares when I pulled up to the line on a bike with a fairing.  Yes, the 640 Adventure has fairing, it is an adventure/touring bike used in Rally Races.  The race started and I let the field roll off and I took chase only to find out a 640 can really haul the mail in the dirt and as turn 2 came up, I found that a 350 pound bike with 5 gallons of gas added on doesn't exactly stop like my 250.  Luckily no one was run over when I blew the turn and tried to relocate the banners to the far side of the spectators.

I also found out that the suspension, that had been revalved for a 140 pound vertically challenged person didn't fair too well with my 200 pound J-Lo booty squashing it like a roach.  Whoop after whoop, logs, rocks, washouts, all sent signals to my wrists and but cheeks that the valving was way too soft or I needed to go on a diet!!

I did pass quite a few people and quite a few passed me back but after about 90 minutes of the 2 hour event the noodles I used to call arms lost their starch and went limp, I couldn't hold on any longer and not only was my life in danger, so was anything still standing that go in my way including trees, people, bikes and woodland creatures of all sizes.  The bike was a beast on that tight twisty course.

I pulled off and waited for George to come out of the woods and while I was chatting with a couple guys who had hedged bets against me finishing, I stepped into a low spot and dumped the bike right there in front of everyone just so they could be entertained and get the monies worth on the day.  Thankfully they helped me pick the pig back up or it may still be laying there barring thieves.

I re-attached all my junk and headed home covered in mud.  As on the way down, I decided to take some pictures for a photo scavenger hunt where you have to take pictures of certain objects with your bike. One place I stopped was the Spread Eagle Tavern in Hanoverton, Ohio.  While I was photographing the historic building a gentleman baring fruit approached me and offered me something to eat.  As he handed me the food he said; "Here, you look like you have been on the road for days and could use something to eat".  All I could do was laugh and tell him I was just coming home from a race and was fine.   I guess there are still some good people in the world.  We chatted about the history of the area, I thanked him then headed straight to the Little Ceasers in Massillon then home.  Pizza sounded way better than apples and oranges, they just don't compare...