Dirty Old Men

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.

Older, grayer, and almost as fast as they used to be.

Older, grayer, and almost as fast as they used to be.

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.

Team Hardcore has an *interesting* logo

Team Hardcore has an *interesting* logo


Breaking out of (and into) a rut

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┬áthe 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.

Dust em’ off

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!

Friends of Joe

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.

Walter picks a course

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!

Trail blazers

Brother John, buddy Walter, and I all took the Monday off and rode our play bikes at Briggs’ offroad riding area. The proprietor, Russ Briggs e-mailed me a couple weeks ago to suggest that I might come ride his new trails to help “burn them in” before Sept 18. It seems he’s hosting a big off road event that day, with Husqvarna demo rides and a poker run through his wooded trails.

I thought it was a great idea, so I rounded up as many knuckle heads as I could to go ride – turns out I am only influential with John and Walter.

motion shot in the woods

speeding through the woods

Walter ducks under a fallen tree

watch your head

The trails were great, as always. We rode for over three hours, making ourselves plenty tired in the process. We capped off the trip with “two by fours” of malt liquor on the porch of the grocery store in Richwoods. Couldn’t ask for a better day.

John at a pause on the trail

brother John

Walter at a break in the ride

buddy Walter

Tree Huggers

Helen and I went to Coyote Trails near Coulterville, Illinois this evening. We rode both on the practice track, and in the woods. It was Helen’s first time in the woods. She was fantastic. I could see the apprehension on her face when we approached the first creek crossing. Helen had never ridden across a creek before. But she watched me do it, then she followed, and she made it across cleanly. Each 2.5 mile lap of the woods has four creek crossings. By Helen’s third lap, she was leading me through the woods, and hitting the creeks at a run with her feet up. She is one brave little girl. Helen handled the steep hills very well too. I had a heck of a time getting her off the bike at 7:30 pm. On the ride home, she told me that she liked the creek crossings the best.

Helen rides the practice track

Beautiful weather for a trail ride

Helen on the practice track

Helen climbs a hill on the practice track

Helen, foot out on the practice track

Foot out!

Helen's first crash on the practice track

Wipe out!

Helen struggles from under her bike


Helen gets back up from a crash

Dust yourself off

Helen starts her bike after a crash

Start it back up

Helen gets going after a crash

Take off, eh?

Helen starts taking pictures with the helmet cam

Let's head into the woods

Helen admires the pond

Helen really liked this pond, and craned her neck to get a shot of it.

Helen and Bill wait for an ATV rider to clear off

Helen consults her dad

Helen and her dad about to set off

Is there a better view anywhere in the world?

Helen crosses a rocky creek


Helen about to cross the creek


Helen rides a winding trail in the woods

The winding trails in the woods

Helen follows her dad up a hill

Follow the leader


It’s the youth outreach program that has been so sadly missing from our nation’s businesses: Take Our Neighbor’s Kid To Ride Day. Did you observe this day? Did you put your neighbor’s kid on a motorcycle? You didn’t? I weep for your neighbors’ children. Because their neighborhood sucks, and you didn’t do anything about it. Booo.

I brightened my neighborhood today. I took my neighbor’s kid to go ride. Jason Wilson Jr. is a big 15, smart, polite, and responsible. He is the older brother to my children’s playmates. I needed to get the YZ out and get myself some seat time in anticipation of next week’s races, and it’s always more fun with company. I invited. Jason accepted.

I picked Jason up at 8:00. He was ready to go. We got to the riding area at 10:00. I gave Jason the basics of the “friction point” and sent him around the parking lot. He figured it out almost immediately. So I took him into the deep sand and up and down the steep rocky slopes all day, and he had a great time.

Jason Wilson Jr.

Could he be happier?

2000 YZ426F

The YZ needs riding

Jason Wilson rides on sand whoops at St. Joe State Park

Jason learns the whoop-de-doos

Bill coaches Jason on a steep descent

We're going down a what?

Navigating down a steep incline on trail 100

Down we go

Fast ride up a slope

and back up again


Jason views the trail map

We have to go how far to get back to the car?

I had a great time too. Jason is good company, and he’s a natural dirt rider. He’s welcome to come on future rides.

Bill takes a whiz in the woods

Bonus pee pee footage

Next week is “turn your helmet cam off before you go pee week.” We’re working on getting the message out.