Today’s weather was incredible – high sixties and breezy at the halfway point in November, with lots of moisture in the dirt from the previous week’s rains. I made the most of this gift by taking my Husqvarna to Ride Organic for a splendid afternoon of dirt riding.
I got to rip around the GP track and relax in the November sunshine.
I had a special treat this morning. I got to ride with Jo Wottowa, a friend and competitor from “back in the day” when supermoto was a thing. It’s been twelve years since I last rode with this guy. We met up at Ride Organic, Jo on his sharp and zippy KTM 350, me on my Be Em Husky-You.
Jo and his buddy JJ showed me the way around the Ride Organic GP track. JJ is fine throttle jockey, ripping through the woods like his hair is on fire. Jo and I agree that a more stately pace is the dignified way to go – we prefer to savor those fine moments on the trail when the temperature is a perfect 70 degrees. To keep things interesting, Jo devised a challenge for JJ – try to lap Jo and Bill more than once in 10 laps of the GP track. JJ was all over it, and ripped off into the woods in a cloud of dust and fine four stroke noise. In truth, when JJ passed me, I was pretty happy about it – my throttle arm had “pumped” to the point where I was accelerating unintendedly at unfortunate moments. JJ claimed he was experiencing the same thing, but I suspect he was just being a good boy and humoring an elder.
Before our morning was over, we made plans to ride together again. Reconnecting with an old friend and finding you still have all those things in common leaves you with a really happy feeling.
This makes two days in a row that I’ve taken my Husky to Ride Organic – beautiful weather, and another opportunity to reacquaint myself with dirt riding. I worked mostly on rutted corners, finding the right rolling speed at the beginning to motor out without standing the bike up and getting cross-rutted. I’m certainly not in riding shape – I got pretty tired pretty fast.
I’m hoping to do lots more riding, get those skills and stamina back…being off the bike for so long has been a bummer.
I went for a rare ride today, and spent the afternoon on Ride Organic’s excellent GP track. I met a fellow vet rider and we had a good time dusting off the cobwebs. Paul – glad to have met you, looking forward to riding with you again soon!
I really don’t get out on the bike much anymore. That’s a shame. And when I do get the chance, it’s easy to get bummed when things don’t go as planned.
My brother John talked me into going for a Sunday ride. I wanted to go to Dogtown Public House in Mexico Missouri because they are a client of my wife’s photography business. She shot studio portraits of a series of iconic dog breeds, and had them printed on huge canvasses to be the thematic centrepieces of this relatively new Irish pub. Because of time constraints with their opening, my wife had these giant prints drop shipped to the pub and never got to see the finished product. I like Irish pubs. I like long rides, and I like my wife’s photography – This seemed like a perfect destination.
I met up with John at his place in the morning, and we hit the road – he on his Bonneville T-100, me on my Z1000.
We took the freeways and highways all the way there – a fast, but boring 2 hours with not much to see. We arrived between 11:00 and noon – perfect timing, I thought, since Dogtown Public House’s facebook page said they were open at 11:00 on Sundays.
Right away, something didn’t look right. there were no lights on at the restaurant, and no hours posted.
Peering in the dark bar, I could see Amy’s photos on the wall. It was a nice looking place. But there was mail from the previous day on the floor by the front door – a sure sign that they weren’t opening any time soon that day.
Defeated, John and I found a nearby pizza buffet, and had our lunch. We decided to take a more scenic route back home. We took 19 south down to Hermann Missouri, and jogged back East on 94, a pleasantly twisty and scenic ride through the wine country. The afternoon heat was not pleasant. And when we stopped for gas outside of Hermann, John’s bike wouldn’t start back up – the starter just ratcheted in protest when he thumbed the start button. We ended up bump starting it and resigned to riding straight home with no more stops.
94 was Ok, we had a fair few miles without being stuck behind super-cautious winery goers, but there were some times when we were behind some city-dweller putting along at 40 mph, and dragging his SUV’s brakes for a hundred yards before every corner. That makes the heat of the day even more unpleasant. 94 isn’t at its best on a hot Sunday afternoon, but it was still the highlight of the ride.
Buddies Walter and Doug and I took our play bikes to Saint Joe State Park. The weather forecast was dismal, but wrong. While the ground was wet, we didn’t get a single drop of rain, and we enjoyed a high of 55 degrees, making for a great day of riding.
I had a funny thing happen. In our second hour of riding, I found that my bike was acting funny – hesitating at more than half throttle at high rpms. Out of gas? Bad gas? I topped off the tank. No real improvement. Over time, it got a bit better, but not much. I had visions of piston ring replacement, or hunting down a intake leak. What could it be?
The post ride bike wash revealed a blocked spark arrestor – more than 70% was caked in mud. No wonder it didn’t run right!
Brother John and I trailered the MX bikes to Lincoln Trail Motorsports in Casey IL on Sunday. The weather was to be great, and track prep was promised. I got up early to load the car and trailer. It’s a long drive for us – a little over two hours.
I worried out loud, about 30 minutes from our destination that I grabbed a helmet when I was packing that I thought was mine, but I didn’t check it; I realized that Helen’s helmet is stored in an identical bag. “Wouldn’t that be awful if I brought Helen’s helmet instead of mine?” I said.
After paying gate fees at Lincoln Trail, we unpacked and quickly found my fear to be true! No helmet for me! Auuuughh! I was so angry at myself. My brother consoled me. We would take turns riding, and I could use his helmet and goggles. It wasn’t ideal, but it was at least a way for both of us to enjoy the day to some degree.
So we took turns. And we had a great time. I enjoyed watching John ride, and he was happy to watch me. Neither of us has any real endurance for motocross, so our riding time wasn’t diminished much.
Then the second bad thing happened.
The newly rebuilt motor on the YZ gave out.
I distinctly recall being alarmed at the sound the Yamaha was making as John went by on his last lap. It was wheezy, with a kind of dull clatter instead of the deep thump of a healthy MX motor. “Ugh” I thought. And as he came by, right in front of me, over a low tabletop jump, the motor seized in mid air. John saved it somehow, landing with the rear wheel locked, he was up over the bars, feet off the pegs, but he didn’t crash. Thank God, I thought. What a total disaster this day had become.
I probably messed up the wristpin clips or something during the piston installation. Only a teardown will reveal it. No sense speculating. The next step is to pull it all apart.
On the way home, I tried hard not to be morose. We had actually had a very good day. Lincoln Trail is an excellent facility. I wish I lived closer. If it was half an hour away, I’d be there twice a week, I’m pretty sure. The Husky was fabulous, easy to ride, confidence inspiring, and fun. John enjoyed his first taste of motocross immensely. It’s all overwhelmingly positive stuff.
Now if I could just remember my helmet, and not botch my bike builds, we’d be sitting pretty…