Henry and I spent Saturday morning riding our dirt bikes. Henry brought both the 2-stroke PW50 (which he learned on, and loves) and the bigger 4-stroke TT-R 50 which he is learning to operate. Henry rode the PW50 for about 4 minutes before switching to the bigger bike. He stuck with it for the rest of the day and made big strides in in his shifting and braking on the more complicated machine.
I got to ride a little on my bike, but spent most of the day tagging along behind Henry. He’s really building his confidence, and his initial reaction to most tricky situations seems to usually be the right one.
Henry had a challenging day of riding. Wednesday night was his first time out on a three speed dirt bike. It’s hard to get the hang of shifting with one foot and braking with the other. He loves the bigger bike, and it fits him well, but the extra coordination it requires sapped enough of his concentration that he crashed twice.
He didn’t let it get him down though. Henry dusted himself off both times and jumped right back on the bike. He’s my mighty little man.
We retired to a well deserved and much anticipated dinner at Arby’s. But before we could go eat, Henry had to sit on his bike for a minute in the parking lot.
Henry got to ride with his buddy Jayden yesterday after school. They zipped all over the place, riding on the flat track, the pit bike track, and even taking a lap of the GP track. Henry had a great time despite a minor crash on the flat track, hopping back up and continuing like it was no big deal. He’s getting more proficient and more adventurous each time we go ride.
Saturday morning, the first real fall weather and light – it’s 50 degrees and windy, but Henry and I are undaunted. We returned to Ride Organic for some more father/son dirt riding.
Henry spent time on the Pee Wee track while I muddled around on the MX track.
Then Henry suggested we ride on the flat track. It was totally fun, and Henry picked up some speed.
My son Henry, age 7, noticed I had been packing up my Husky to go ride lately – “Where are you going, Dad?” he asked.
“I like to go ride at Ride Organic – it’s a place to ride dirt bikes.” I told him.
“I wish I could go to Ride Organic.” (This is the first time he has really shown an interest)
“Do you want to go after school on Wednesday?”
“Yeah!” – thus followed two straight days of questions about riding and declarations that he couldn’t wait to go.
As promised, I met him after school with the trailer and car fully loaded and ready to go. We arrived at Ride Organic, and Henry practiced his starts and stops (a ritual we created with his sister years ago). Then I set Henry loose on Ride Organic’s great little Pee Wee track.
Henry had a blast, and even made a friend. Together these two boys on their 50’s explored the pit bike track and the GP track in the woods – far more adventure than I expected for day 1.
I got to ride a little bit too, working on whoops and rutted turns on the Pro MX track. The dirt was really perfect, and I found I had to really get my inside foot way up as I railed through soft loamy ruts… a real treat.
It was hard to get Henry off the bike and back in the car, he was having so much fun. When we got home, he was so pleased with his day that he actually hugged his motorcycle on the trailer.
I had a motorcycling day so momentous that I probably can’t do it justice in this little blog. I took my daughter racing for the first time. She asked me if she could do it. We put together the things she needed, and I gave her every opportunity to back out gracefully, but she had made up her mind. She was going to race.
At the track, there was a significant rain delay. Helen had lots of time to make new friends. Finally, the track was prepped for racing, and the kids got to go out and practice. Helen had a ball, and rode around waving at her parents and other people she had just met – She was having fun, but only taking it so seriously.
Then she had her first heat race, and something happened: She realized everyone was ahead of her. So she picked up the pace. And kept picking it up. By the last lap, she was gaining ground on the bike ahead of her, and she succumbed to the “red mist”. She blew through the corner after the downhill part of the track with more speed than she expected, and she lost her nerve – she target fixated on the outside of the corner and drove herself right off the track and very nearly into a straw bale.
To her credit, she popped right up, got on the bike, and finished her last lap. But she was furious. Nothing we could say would make her happy – she was determined to beat somebody.
She got her wish in the main event. She caught and passed one of her new friends, and was very proud of herself for the rest of the day.
Helen was awarded a trophy, and she was delighted. She retired the day with great satisfaction.
My day had just begun. I stayed at the track for the night racing, and raced in the Open C Class, which had the largest field of any class that night.
I had done a bunch of work on my bike in the week since the last TT Scramble: I put on a new hard terrain rear tire, rebuilt the front and rear brake calipers, replaced the brake rotors, and installed a 14 oz oversize flywheel – the goals were to have better traction, better brake feel, and to avoid stalling the motor on corner entries with too much rear brake. It all worked – I did not have a single stall all night, and my lap times came down consistently. I placed 4th of 7 riders in my heat, which qualified me for the last slot pick on the front row, and I finished the main even a very honest 8th place out of 13 riders. I don’t think I have ever had that many riders behind me before. It may not sound like much, but It was an improvement in my racing, and that’s the kind of thing that makes a bad racer like me very happy!
Helen and I ordered a set of pre-printed numberplates from Attack Graphics for her TT-R 50 a few weeks ago. Today, since it was raining, I decided to finally apply the big stickers to her bike.
This wasn’t the first set of preprinted plates I had applied to a bike. Helen had a very nice set on her PW-50. That set was easy to apply because the stickers were small (it’s a tiny bike) and because a PW-50’s plates are flat as a pancake, with no severe curves or creases.
I have struggled in the past with pre-printed plates on my big YZ, especially on the right side number plate, which bulges out considerably to allow clearance for the muffler. I end up with creases and bubbles in the graphics, and it just makes me angry to have spent money to make something look nice and not have the satisfaction of a good end result.
So it was with some fear of failure that I set out to put Helen’s new graphics on her TT-R 50, which has all the trendy bodywork features of modern motocross bikes including bulging, curved, and creased number plates. I started with the hardest plate first, the right side plate with it’s big muffler bulge. The TT-R 50 has the added challenging feature of a pair of fake air inlets molded into the side plates, so the graphics had cutouts for those that had to line up perfectly.
It took me most of an hour to do the right side plate, but through patience, and persistence, I was able to stretch the thick vinyl graphics to sit perfectly on the piece. I was pretty proud. I did the left plate next, and it was a breeze. The front plate was so easy it was ridiculous – I spent maybe 90 seconds on it.
I am pleased with the outcome.
Now I just wish it would stop raining so we could all go ride. 😦