Category Archives: Bike

September 17, 2002

(This post is “pre” formatted, ’cause I copied it from my post)

(OK, no it isn’t, ’cause no word wrap sucks!)

I spent my day at Willow Springs watching the Toyota 200, a 200 mile race on the big track. It was a hell of a show.

We got there around noon, and caught the end of a novice class race, which was ended on a red flag. Someone’s bike went end over end and sprayed parts all over turn 9. Rider was fine, though.

They had a “Fastest Wheelie” competition, with the winner turning in a 128mph wheelie. There was a ‘busa out there that just couldn’t, ahem, get it up…

The main event, though, made it totally worth going (even if it was $30, instead of the usual $10 for club races). Lee’s Cycles had a lot of bikes in, and I heard there was a guy in from hypercycles (he was one of the top qualifiers, I believe), but the race was really between two men; Jason Pridmore and Chuck Graves.

Those of you who know Willow, know that Chuck Graves dominates on this track. My friends also like to point out that he’s the only guy they know who gets his knee to the ground, while its still against his tank… some nice lean there.

Jason took an early lead, which he stretched out for the next 56 laps until he had 22 seconds on Graves by our count. Jason and Graves were going so fast, they had lapped Tommy Haden; the fourth place rider.

On the 56th lap, just after we watched a pair of really fast pittings by Graves and Pridmore, a rider lost his bike coming out of the Omega, and they had to red flag it and restart the race. Kiss your 22 second lead goodbye, Jason.

The restart went badly for Jason, he looked like he was in about 5th or 6th going into turn one… Now, he mostly fixed that problem by the time they came back around, but now he found himself trailing Graves in the #2 position. Ouch.

Well, the next 20+ laps were wild. The pair once again started lapping everyone else on the field, while Jason chewed away at Graves’ 6 second lead. He finally passed him on the straights after turn 9. Graves was going into turn 1 so hot, I was sure he was going to clip Jason’s rear tire with his own front, but he dropped back and went wide in the turn.

Next time through turn one Jason lapped a rider just as they dropped into the turn, planting an obstacle right in front of Graves… This was where Jason started to stretch his lead back out.

In the end, Jason took first place (and the $50k prize) with a 9 second lead over Graves (who had to settle for a mere $30k). I think they were averaging about 1:23 lap times, with Jason making a couple 1:20 laps as he was trying to take back the lead… Not bad for a 2.5 mile course!

September 8, 2002

Friday I did some riding in the rain. Yesterday, I packed james down to the parking lot where I did some left and right u-turns, some hard braking before a right-turn, and a bit of heavy braking work… Today I swapped out the headlights for a brighter pair (though they don’t look much brighter with the sun out, so I’ll have to test ’em tonight).

I’ve also got a clean K&N air filter for my mitsu, drying off in the sink…

September 5, 2002

I’m kinda afraid of u-turns now… go figure, eh?

Stayed home sick; I have a fever from my infected knee injury. After a few hours, I hopped on the bike and went up to check out Ortega Highway (What? I had a fever; I wasn’t thinking clearly)… I *thought* it was going to be a quick trip… I *should* have looked at a map, though, because it was 50 miles just to get to the offramp.

Its a nice road, very gentle on the coastal side, with some curves as you get out toward Riverside. The curves are all butted up against a hill, though, so visibility is poor to the right or you’re on the outside of a turn and have to watch for people coming across the double-yellow.

I took it totally chill, and did the speed limit… once you get to the twisties, that’s a safe speed, but on the coastal side, I could have done it much faster (when I’m on the ball)…

I still don’t have a shifter ordered; need to take care of that.

I’ve been wavering on whether I need to see a doctor about this infected knee… but it seems to be healing, so I guess I’m good… and it isn’t looking as bad as it did monday.

August 27, 2002

Well, I know what it feels like to have a motorcycle on top of your leg after a fall. Its pretty damn hard to get leverage and get that thing off of you.

I dropped the bike at about 2-FREAKING-MILES-AN-HOUR, in a U-Turn. There was some water running from right to left (starting the u-turn), which I saw, but I didn’t realize that near the left edge of the road the water edges up against a curb that kinda grows out of the road. The discoloration of the pavement because of the water masked the shadow of the curb (and the fact that it was noon probably didn’t help either).

So, what I figure is that I was counter-steering through the u-turn and when I came down over the curb, the front wheel caught perfectly and over I went. I never saw it coming; one second I was turning, the next I was on my side with a bike on top of me. I don’t know what I could have done differently (except maybe notice the damn curb).

The bike ran for a few seconds and then died, and I was finally able to climb out from under it. A guy working nearby (this was at the Santee Landfill/Reclamation plant) wandered over to see if I was all right and helped me get the bike up and into a spot where I could drop the kickstand. (Thank you, whoever you are!) I feel bad, ’cause I was so frazzled I didn’t even think to get his name… I hope I thanked him; I think I did.

So, the first thing I noticed was that the clutch lever seemed a bit short… The metal ball at the end had broken off… not a big deal.

Next, I noticed that the foot peg on the shifter had broken off… This was the biggest issue, and is the only thing I’m gonna worry about fixing. It made the ride home interesting, lemme tell ya.

There was some damage up front, but nothing I’m gonna worry about; gives the bike character (until I can afford a replacement fairing).

So, here’s the (low speed) crash report on my gear. My shoes held up great. As you can see, I scuffed up the toes quite a bit, but I didn’t even notice until I got home and looked down (steel toes; gotta love ’em). My Wrangler’s sucked and I won’t be taking another fall in jeans! This was a 5-10mph crash, max, and while they look fine on the outside, my knee kinda HURTS.

I also scuffed the knuckles on my left glove up nicely (which is about the only decently protected spot on them), but my hands are fine. Didn’t look over the jacket yet, but the helmet seems unscathed; I don’t think it touched down.

I stood around and chilled out. Called in to work; left voice mail for james and masa… Tried to start the bike but had no luck (flooded). Got a call back from Masa and chatted with him for a bit… By this point, the bike was starting, I was ready to go, and Masa had to take off… I got to have my adventurous ride home.

Coming up over the hill from Santee was exciting! I caught lots of wind from my left hand side, which made the bike drift right and/or lean left… This made my knee scream in anticipation of the pavement at 70mph (it was bad enough just dealing with the wind on my jeans at 70). I worried that I might have fucked up the alignment, so I pulled off, but everything seemed good (as far as I could tell, without assistance).

I made it home, using the little arm of the shifter to get it in gear (which was a lot easier than I thought it would be). Only when I got into my apartment did I find out what my knee looked like… Its not bad at all, but it stings. The abrasion is spread out across an inconveniently large area, which made bandaging difficult. I ended up unfolding a 3″x3″ gause pad into a 6×3, and tried to tape it down with small bandaids, but ended up wrapping an ace bandage around it all.

My left leg is currently a slightly elevated, limping advertisement for Ace, as I have my foot wrapped to immobilize a broken toe.

Well, I called in that I wasn’t gonna make it back to work, but I think I have time, so I’m gonna put my jeans back on and head in…

August 27, 2002

I locked the rear tire this morning when doing some hard brakeing before the driveway into work. Rear tire felt like it fishtailed on me, and I made the mistake of letting off the brake (which is probably why it actually fishtailed).

I checked the track and its a nice smooth line, which must have ended about where the fishtailing started.

I had debated bringing my digital camera with me this morning, but figured I wasn’t going to do anything interesting, so I left it at home. ;( Hopefully the one we have for taking pics of busses will turn up (signout sheet says its here).

August 25, 2002

OK, so I know I said I wasn’t going to hit 1000 miles today… but I was wrong.

I started off by heading up el camino real out to del mar, past the polo fields… I turned right to see where that road lead and found it was a nice shady road with some ok curves (but lots of traffic). Eventually this lead me up to an intersection where S8 went to the left and S6 went off to the right toward Lake Hodges. The road around the lake was curvy, but with a low speed limit and fairly residential.

I hooked back up with S6 and took it out to Escondido, which was boring, so I came back the same route to check out S8… S8 didn’t last very long and I soon found myself fairly lost… Even so, there were some decent roads.

Here is where I pulled over to let a gnat out of my helmet and turn back toward S9 and out to Encinitas (right before S9 turns, there’s a really sweet S), and here is a sign that really has no significance and didn’t come out very well. 😉

So, I rolled into Encinitas to head down the PCH. The big bright thing is the ocean and the sign you can almost read says PCH.

1000 miles.

I pulled off to take some pictures.

I made the unfortunate mistake of turning up Villa de la Valle, where an event had just let out at the Del Mar Racetrack… I got to sit in traffic and melt for a while, and I had already been feeling a bit dehydrated. All those people around me in cars had no concept of how much that traffic sucked.

After passing the freeway I caught some more traffic heading to el camino real, so I swung back around to kick it at the Mobil station where I downed a gatorade and some doritos and watched the worst driver I have ever seen try to get her mini-van close enough to the pumps… She was still trying when I left.

August 24, 2002

Just had a great ride… I was doing about 80 up the hill to my apartment with a pair of cars well ahead of me, so I was kinda going with the flow of that particular traffic. I check my mirror, signal, check over my shoulder and move into the empty right lane… slow for the right turn… and as I’m making the turn there’s this car out of nowhere behind me… I can only guess that they were behind me in the left lane and followed me over to make the turn…

I go through the turn in first and stay there til my apartment, as usual, go to make the left and this car comes up alongside me, almost in my lane, with its left turn signal on, and the driver is yelling out the window at me. “…ay…oin…oh…ast!”

And then he speeds off, clearly pissed at me for some reason. I didn’t cut him off and I can’t imagine what else I could have done to him… maybe drifted a bit close to his lane when rounding a curve (I did get close to the white lines, but didn’t cross them)… Or maybe he just saw a motorcycle going fast and figured I was clearly a lunatic and a danger to those around me, unlike the 6 tons of steel and plastic that I was following behind.

Wish I knew what the guy had said, so I could know why I should be pissed at the guy… As it is, its just one of those annoying incomplete moments where you know that some idiot is mad at you for no good reason but you lack the opportunity to throw it in their face.


August 17, 2002

James and Masa came down last night. We went out to blockbuster on the bikes on an unsuccessful hunt for a video (but really just to go ride). Got up this morning and hit the mission valley ihop via mira mesa (had to hit wamu on the way), then up to Cycle Gear where james got boots and knee sliders for Masa, and I picked up a jacket. Back to my place to dump excess gear and chill for a bit, then we were off again.

Over the hill toward del mar and up the long windy road out to camino ruiz, then back to the mira mesa baja fresh (masa couldn’t do pick-up-stix due to cross contamination (he’s vegan)). By this point I was tired and sore and my broken toe is giving me hell… knees slightly bugging me… I was ready to stop for the night… Perfect timing.

Masa and James are on their way back up to LA now. I had an absolute blast today. Put 140 miles on the bike.

They both think I’m off to a real good start.

Also did my first “repair” on the SV… There’s a rubber sleeve for a bolt on the windscreen that came poorly seated and I reseated it, with help from my sv toolkit. Neat.

OK, I’m hurting… gonna go watch Fast and the Furious.