Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 Hare and Hound #1

Raced in the 1st race of the National Hare and Hound series last Sunday.  I'm still racing as a beginner and as such I only race the first loop of the race.  Even then those 40 miles were very difficult - not terrible but my physical state was probably my worst enemy.  I was/am out of shape but even more important was that I had not eaten in 5 or 6 hours before the race and I was out of energy.  Lesson learned!

I haven't seen the detailed results yet but it appears I was first and last in my class since there was no one else there.  This particular racing club has the distinction of offering the toughest race of the year so I feel good having finished it without breaking anything on the bike or myself.

In a couple of weeks I'll be heading out to the next race in the series and I hope for a better showing.  My new bike and attitude should help me to run a better race next time.  Last week I was very aggressive in the rocks.  Before I was apprehensive and that usually had me ending up going very slow and falling down.  Last week I was tired and annoyed with all the rocks and started powering through them.  Every time but 2 worked out well for me.  Of those two times I went down once and went halfway down the other time, stopped from going all the way to the ground by a rock and a terrible crunching sound that I thought had busted by radiator and ended my race.  But, apparently nothing was wrong because I continued another 10 or 15 miles with no issues.

Last year I participated in four races - I am hoping to be able to double that this year and hopefully even more next year as my kids get a little older and a little more self sufficient.  My wife is barely tolerating this but she knows it is important to me so I have to give her a huge THANKS! for letting me do this as much as I hope to.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Catching up and starting anew in 2012

Wow. A whole year has passed and I haven't written a thing.  Very disappointing.

Many things have happened over the last year some have helped me move forward in my quest and some have set me back a bit.

First, I never did write a ride report about the LAB2V ride we did over the Thanksgiving weekend in 2010.  It was a 2 day event where we rode more than 200 miles each day.

Here is a pic from day two of the ride:

As noted in a previous post, later that day something happened and I went down hard, was unconscious for at least 10 minutes and ended up with a cracked rib, sore shoulder and a mild concussion.  I was able to finish the ride but had to take some blacktop to get back on schedule - though we still finished after dark.

It was a great ride and I hope to be able to do it again someday.

I found out about the Southern California Desert Racing community in December of 2010 and figured it would help me prepare for Dakar should I be so lucky as to actually enter and ride in it.

I'll keep this part short - I entered 4 races in which I crashed in all but 1 of them - nothing serious just some scratches on the motorcycle - fortunately no damage to the rider. :)

I finished all four races which was my primary goal (other than not hurting myself or the bike too much.)

What I found after the fourth race though was that I was beating up my KTM690 too much and didn't feel like it was the right bike for this kind of racing.

For the next couple of months I was preoccupied with buying the house our children will grow up in.  We moved in at the end of June.  I wasn't doing much riding at that time although I was taking the bike out for short rides once a month or so just because I had the 'urge' to get out there.

I was supposed to take part in the 'Kings of the West Rally' 5 day event but the date got moved and my wife was quite pregnant by the time the ride began.  Luckily I did not take the chance and go on the ride because she went into labor and had to be taken to the hospital on the final day of the ride.  A few days later (October 3rd) we had our second baby boy.

Given the newborn and a rambunctious two and a half year old I was not going to be able to do the LAB2V again in 2011.

Over the year I had kept thinking I'd like to get a different or another bike to continue doing the desert races since they were quite fun, helped increase my skills and made me exercise.  When I saw that the new KTM dual sport bikes were going to have fuel injection I got pretty excited and decided I wanted one.  After months of putting it off I finally advertised the 690 on Craig's List and sold it the next day!

I was debating between the 350 and the 500 and finally decided on the 350 for a number of reasons.  It doesn't have the torque of the 690 but it is WAY lighter and so much more nimble.  Here it is after riding it home from the dealer.

I've had it in the dirt once, about 70 miles or so, and it was great out there.  The power was a little lacking as expected but the weight and ease of maneuverability made up for it tenfold.

I'll get to my complete 2012 plans in the next post or two but the next event I'm hoping to do is Sunday.  The Desert MC National Hare and Hound will be my first desert race for 2012 and I'm hoping this new bike will help me to finish a lot less tired than last year.

Speaking of that, I really need to get in shape.  I am the heaviest I've ever been - 170lbs.  My goal is to get down below 155 in the next couple of months.  Lots of work to do!