Not quite a noob, Not quite a Pro, Not quite old man, Not quite boy racer......

Discussion in 'Racing' started by andrewgore, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    I'm pretty confident my buddy who raced with me this weekend won't be going to another one. Maybe he'll feel differently after our school with Shane Watts at the end of the month. Joe in Washington, he'll go to more. He's got plenty of good fight in him.

    Andrew

    PS - Gonna see if the welding shop next to our shop here will weld up my radiator. Eventually it seems for Enduros it'd be a good idea to have a spare set in the truck. I'll be carrying more tools with me in my kit at the next race. More spares in the trailer too.
    #21
  2. jburroughs12

    jburroughs12 Corndog Millionaire

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    Contrary to popular belief....my text meant exactly what it said. :lol3

    I grew up in Illinois with Andrew, we don't have these things called hills out there. Whereas in Washington, they have these miserable hills with ruts, roots, rocks, mud, etc etc...

    The first half of the race was a blast. I was railing along on the new to me cr250 that I picked up a few weeks ago.The gas stop was right around mile 30 or so, took a quick breather there, and headed back to the trails.

    After the gas stop, however, things changed drastically. The majority of the second half of the 60 miles was gnarly single track from hell.

    I decided that I 100% need a rekluse clutch if I want to even think about doing another enduro, or hare scrambles on the west side of the mountains out here. Towards the end, I was using all four fingers to pull in my clutch, and three fingers to use my front brake. What I was middle of second gear riding at the beginning of the day, I was idling in first gear in survival mode.

    I firmly believe that I have a great bike for the races, except for the lack of an auto clutch. Get that taken care of, and I think I'll have a fighting chance of enjoying myself throughout the entire race.

    I would much rather ride on the east side of the mountains, more open, sandy, flatter (similar to Illinois, but a bit more sand), but I'm a stubborn S.O.B. and will take what I can get.

    See you guys at the races.
    #22
  3. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Omnia mea mecum porto

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    :lurk
    #23
  4. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Why not add some color to my prior post. There were some folks taking pics on the course, but no idea if\when those will be available. I do have some pics though of my personal damage of the weekend.

    Exhibit A:
    [​IMG]

    This design just annoys me. On top of getting some radiator guards, I'm also going to put rubber caps on the ends of the screws. Seems to be the wise thing to do here to help deter the screw poking through the aluminum.

    Exhibit B:
    [​IMG]

    Now keep in mind that I have haggard feet as it is. This left foot has been through some serious hell due to my riding. This isn't the 1st time I've managed to put it between a tree & a hard place. First time was at a Harescramble in Byron, IL. At this point I was still wearing my Alipinestars trials boots. Super comfy, but a bit less protection than MX boots. I put my foot between the foot peg & a tree doing 15-20. Pain was immense, and I immediately sought out some Alpinestar Tech 8's (which I was wearing this past weekend....I dislike them BTW).

    Exhibit C:
    [​IMG]

    The piggy that went to the butcher. I nabbed this pic last night after getting out of the shower. I had a moment where I thought the toe was broken, cause as I stood on my foot, the toe rolled over completely on it's side. I did a quick comparo with my right foot, found this to be "normal", at which point I headed to the kitchen to grab a tasty beer.

    So maybe I need some input here. I realize I've only smashed my foot a second time here in about 18 months, but it's been 2 times too many. Are there any good suggestions for avoiding smashing my feet into things? I'm sure it'd help a bit with some smaller boots, but as you can see, I got some serious finger toes, so I'd have to lob them off to fit something smaller than size 13 boots. I mentioned earlier that I really dislike the Alpinestar Tech 8's. The boots have an "inner booty" that annoys the snot out of me. After you wash the boots, that booty feels like it shrunk 2 sizes. Then cram your foot into a shrunken leather boot. Long story short, they've annoyed me almost from day one. I thought they'd provide more protection, but I'm honestly not finding that to be the case.

    Keep my toes up? I try this best I can, and maybe I need to ride on the balls of my feet more? Tricky though with non stop rear brake work (and no, I won't be getting a left hand rear brake). I'm up for suggestions here on this one. In the meantime, I'll be waiting on my replacement radiator & getting myself prepared for the Shane Watts school. :D

    Andrew
    #24
  5. saiyajinali

    saiyajinali n00b

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    Oh you guys are going to love Wattsy. A friend of mine and myself did his school in SC back in February. He is going to pick apart your technique and call you on alot of bad habits that we have a tendency to have. I have been a better rider since I came back & I am getting better every week. I would reccomend either taking a GOPro or taking notes of everything he shows you so you wont forget after the weekend is over. And yes YOU WILL BE WORN OUT by the end of it LOL.:evil
    #25
  6. Stagehand

    Stagehand Imperfectionist

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    Well the radiator is probably a relatively easy fix. Theres a reputable rad shop in town that fix a smooshed g450 rad i had, for about a hundred bucks. They could repair cooling fins like some lind of magic.

    The foot thing? Lift your feet man! Your probably cutting it pretty close and if your foot didnt get in the way would the footpeg then hit the obstacle send your ahit everywhere?

    I would love to do a watts course. Sounds like good fun
    #26
  7. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Omnia mea mecum porto

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    The foot thing... 2 times in 18 months of hard riding doesn't sound too often to me. :dunno
    #27
  8. KZJohn

    KZJohn Been here awhile

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    If you are serious about becoming a better rider/racer the best thing you can do is take lessons from a pro. They can see all the bad habits you have developed and give you drills and advice to correct them. I took lessons from Jim Gibson several years ago and it made a huge difference i my riding, (as long as I practiced what he taught me). One day he had me doing nothing but braking drills in the parking lot, didn't even look at the track all day. Listen to what the pro says and practice it until you can do it in your sleep, then practice it again. :deal
    #28
  9. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    This here is why I was ecstatic when I saw there was going to be a Dirtwise school nearby. I briefly mentioned that I went to school down at the Trials Training Center. This was an incredible experience. The little things I picked up on, improved my riding immensely. The confidence in hitting various terrain took time to build, but it was built on a solid foundation that I really think helps today. So yeah, by the end of last year, I knew if I was serious about this I NEEDED to get to a school. There are plenty of MX schools around, but I knew I needed to be focused on off-road specific. I understand a lot of things will carry over from one to the other, but you won't find an MX guy showing you how to dodge trees. :lol3

    I've luckily got next to our shop about a 1 acre area to practice riding. I haven't really been capitalizing on this lately, but will for sure here. I used to keep my trials bike at our shop & after work just hop outside and spend an hour or two just working on figure 8's, off-camber work, wheelies, stoppies, and generally just having fun on the bike. This was how I got good at skateboarding. I could sit there and work on a trick over, and over, and over, and over until I would have it perfected. Amazingly enough I can still do most of the tricks I did a few years ago.....just not quite down the big drops\stairs anymore. :lol3

    I'll work on picking my feet up more. I suppose 2 times in 18 months isn't so bad. I've really been focusing lately on not even placing my feet down while woods riding at all. I tend to stand 90%+ of the time (once again, thanks to trials for that), and really the only time I've been finding my feet going down, is if I for some reason lose my balance and do a quick dab to right myself. I'll just chock this one up to "Crap Happens". It's racing.

    I'm gonna have to bust out the Dirtwise DVD & give that another watch this week. See which little drills I can do after work to improve myself. April 28th seems forever away. :lol3

    Andrew
    #29
  10. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    Someone here wrote a review of the dirtwise school. By the end of the school the reviewer commented that his/her riding had improved substantially and on the 2nd day was already able to do things that seemed impossible the day before.

    Your trials background definitely gives you a leg up, I suspect that Wattsy is going to help you on your cornering speed and taking obstacles at speed.

    If he talk about downhill sections, pay close attention. Downhills are prime passing opportunities. Seriously.
    #30
  11. KZJohn

    KZJohn Been here awhile

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    Down hills are just the same as level sections, your just going faster at the end!:D
    #31
  12. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    You've pinpointed my 2 huge weaknesses. Overall cornering speed & hitting obstacles faster. I'm pretty comfortable railing turns that have a decent berm to them. Flat\wide open turns (no banks) I greatly struggle with. I suppose it boils down to trusting my front tire to hook up & being more comfortable with steering with the rear. Again one of them time & practice situations.

    Same goes with going over obstacles. I like hopping up and over tall stuff. It's a great feeling being on top of something that you feel a dirtbike shouldn't have just hopped up onto. Unfortunately I need to figure out how to do that at a quicker speed instead of slowing, hopping over, and gassing away. I find this particularly annoying with crossing telephone poles. As before, no issue actually getting over it, but doing it at speed....another ball game. I find if I go fast, and plant the front tire just at the top of it, my rear end gets kicked up hard and I find myself getting punted by my seat. Slowing down to cross, I just lose a lot of time. Maybe I need to look at them as mini jumps? From what I've read, I believe this is something that they work on at the Shane Watts school.

    Here is an old pic of doing a tractor tire on my 450. I did a similar one a couple weekends ago on the WR250. So much easier on the Husky. A quick pop and it was up and over. The 450 wasn't bad, but the confidence in doing things on the Husky is way better.
    [​IMG]

    Downhills I absolutely love. They seem to have this cool factor of a fine line between HOLY CRAP I'M OUTTA CONTROL and on the gas accelerating, and some brakes at the end to get you through the inconvenient 180 degree turn right at the bottom. :D

    Ok, back to work. Getting distracted far too easily. Can you tell I like riding motorcycles? :lol3

    Andrew
    #32
  13. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    Once you look at telephone pole sized logs as jumps, life will get much faster. We have set up double and triple log crossings. The fastest guys jump them, using the 1st log to launch over the rest.
    #33
  14. turtleworx96

    turtleworx96 n00b

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    Gearne SG10's

    Had mine for over 2 years of doing 2 full seasons of british enduro's and rallies,and they are still holding up great, the first boot that you can actually move you ankle up and down in, really worth a look, they have a hinge system so you can move your foot but it doesnt reduce te protection.

    Also this might sound stupid but try learning to ride by almost resting your big toes on the frame rails, I have size 13 feet aswell and this is the only solution I have found to not nabbing your toes through the rocky rooty stuff :)
    #34
  15. EOD3MC

    EOD3MC What will break next

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    A bunch of us took the Dirtwise class last year around this time. I'm more of a trail rider then a racer, but the class was excellent. Shane starts with the basics and justs keeps building....
    Well worth the time and money
    #35
  16. saiyajinali

    saiyajinali n00b

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    Just to give you a heads up about the Shane Watts School. Depending on where it is held, will determine what drills and what he will show you that weekend. The first day he will take everyone through body positioning, balance, braking, stoppies, etc. The second day is when you will cover some of the more advanced stuff. We didn't cover hill climbs and mud riding techniques(which I wanted) because the terrain was dry & it was in sandy south carolina. But we did cover sand whoops, sand corner ruts, grinding, etc.

    What I plan on doing is taking the class again next year because I will be at a higher skill level & he will be able to show me even more advanced techniques that I could grasp this time. We had A riders in our class this time that he was schooling.
    #36
  17. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Barnyard,
    I think you've again nailed it. When I raced the Endurocross at Indy in 2010, I was blown away by the pro's nailing the piece of timber as they launched into the wood pile section after it. I will work on this. What could possibly go wrong? :lol3 I'll work my way up in speed.

    turtleworx96,
    My buddy has the Gaerne SG10's or 12's. They look really nice. I had tended to stick with the A* mostly due to knowing that they fit well (road race and trials boots). I also scored the Tech 8's on ebay for like 150$ New in Box, so hard to pass that up. Right now I just hate to drop 500$ on another pair of boots.
    I'll give the resting my toes on the rails a look. I took a quick look at the bike last night, but noted the engine sits well outside the frame. If anything I'll keep in my mind to keep toes pointed in.

    saiyajinali,
    I'm going into the school with as open of a mind as I can. I'm sure I've got plenty of bad habits that need breaking. I want to do whatever I can to get myself comfortable taking things to the next level. I could sit and watch how-to videos all day long on the simplest of things. If I got something goofy with my basics, I wanna sort it out asap.


    In other news, I broke out the oxy-acetylene torch yesterday and got to fixing the radiator. Initial operation wasn't the prettiest, but pressure testing it, it held air, so I was happy:
    [​IMG]

    I figured I'd be extra safe & brought out the welding equivalent of Duct Tap.....JB Weld:
    [​IMG]

    I know it'll lose some of it's cooling capacity, but it'll make for a useful spare. Spare are good.

    Thanks again for all the suggestions. I greatly appreciate them :thumb
    Andrew
    #37
  18. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Been a few days since I've updated anything, so I figure I may as well. Things haven't changed much since last weekend. My wife (Nurse in training) and I have come to the conclusion that my pinky toe is broken. Still colorful, thankfully the rest of my foot is starting to lose its blue\brown hue that it has had. Comfortable to walk in, in all but my cowboy boots. Oddly enough, when I rode this past Sunday, my Tech 8's slipped on my feet and felt extremely comfortable. I've concluded that I will no longer be washing the boots. Not normally how I'd roll, as I like my boots to look fresh, but the fact that they were comfortable even on the messed up foot, has me convinced that my washing them has been causing them to tighten up and cause many a curse word while putting them on my feet.

    So anyways, back to riding this past Sunday. I opted to not bring the XR350R, cause I figured the radiator fix would work & I really didn't want to load up 2 bikes. We rode at an alternate location, which had a shorter 1/2-1 mile loop that wove through some woods, and also contained an open area with a giant mound of gravel to mess around on. I was really hoping to ride our normal area, but riding at this location proved to be a good benefit to me for a few reason.

    1: It was extremely similar to the terrain\layout of what the enduro was (tightness\turns\soil\etc)
    2: There were some log crossings that I was able to work on my crossing technique.
    3: There was plenty of tight(er) tree sections where I could work on keeping toes pointed in.

    The loop wove in and through some tight woods. Looping back and forth, with 1 minor climb & 1 minor downhill section. The downhill section had a good chicane towards the end of it which was a bit off camber. This section helped me work on increasing my speed and late braking to navigate through things. I still had some minor issues, but was definitely able to improve upon my speed through things.

    The log crossings, I kept what Barnyard said. Imagine that they are jumps. I did exactly that and what a difference. On the tallest of the log crossings, I normally would have lifted my front tire a bit to soften the front end action, but instead, just hit it wfo in 2nd gear. The bike soaked it up like a nice little jump and had me landing in the power and ready to continue on. It was a really nice feeling. There were also 2 other log crossings that were quite similar to each other. The one was at the end of the loop. It was 2 6-8" diameter logs\branches that lay across the trail at just less than a 45 degree angle. Normally this would be something where I'd be hesitant and consider lofting the front to wheelie across, or even slow down to roll over. Instead, I kept the bike on the gas, and hit the first one like a jump. This worked out extremely well, as I was able to downshift while up in the air, and prep myself to steer the rear end around with the rear brake, to line up for the right hand turn which turned into the start of the loop. The final 2 log section was one that I initially rolled over. It was in a very tight location, so I was hesitant to just go out and jump them. I knew they were close enough, but there were plenty of trees just after the 2nd log. My buddy & I talked it over while riding. He was considering gapping it, so was I......so I had to be the first one to do it. :lol3 A quick blip of throttle in 2nd gear, I was able to drop the rear tire just on the top of the 2nd log, and was able to apply enough brake to not run off the trail, and still make the turn there. Made me a LOT quicker through that section.

    The tight trees literally had me on my toes throughout the day. I was mostly fearful of hitting my left foot again, so there were a few times where I looked like I was riding trials and avoiding dabbing in a few spots. This did help force me to think about foot position while riding. Out in the open, I still tend to err to the side of riding in the center of my foot & rolling my feet on the outside of the pegs for peg weighting. In the tighter areas, I was focusing though riding on the ball of my feet & keep my toes pointed in. I felt I was a bit quicker to respond to some of the stuff the bike was doing beneath me. Still needs work, but it's in process.

    Now I finally had a chance to ride another friends KDX200. He kept telling me I'd want to buy one as soon as I rode it. While there were some things I liked about it, the Husky has that extra power that I'd never give up. The KDX felt cramped as well, and really only had 1 trait that I really liked. On my Husky, I tend to steer with the rear. I'll either brake slide the rear around to help square up a turn, or I'll use the power to slip the rear tire and pivot my way on through. The KDX was a bit different. The rear end felt so incredibly planted & plush. Instead of steering with slipping the rear around, I basically steered by weighting the bike\leaning. It would grip the entire time and works it's way through the turn. I really like how that felt, and am a bit unsure of how to accomplish a similar feeling with my bike.

    For reference on the bikes, my buddy said that the Husky felt just way to rough over little stuff. I don't feel that stuff as much as him though. Right now I'm feeling extremely comfortable on how my Husky is handling everything. There are a few times where I feel that the front end will tuck\push, but a lot of that I can attribute to terrain, body position, or whatever else. I'd still like to investigate further work on my suspension though. I will tackle that when I have a constant, pre-defined course that I can feel exact changes on.

    We also for kicks drag raced the Husky WR250 vs a 2005 KTM 250SX across a tilled up corn field. Basically dead even in speed, however I had no problem holding wfo in 5th not feeling like the bike would do anything weird. The MX\SX valved KTM.....well the same couldn't be said for him. :lol3

    Now time to begin packing up some stuff for Shane Watts school this weekend. Quite excited!

    Andrew

    PS - sorry no pics\video. Forgot the GoPro in the truck.
    #38
  19. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    Cool update.

    I had been searching for a video from the last national enduro that was in MN. One of the vids showed a log crossing with a left turn immediately following. The fastest guys used the little wheel rut before the log as a ramp to jump it. Landed and used the tree to bounce the front wheel to the left and set up that turn.

    The vid showed a number of pros hitting it followed by a number of B and C riders. The amount of time that many of the B and C riders lost was amazing.

    Fast guys are fast everywhere. They are also confident. Now that you have done it, you will do it in the next race. Normal 'c-rider choke points' will be spots where you pass.

    Awesome.

    Have you had your suspension valved and sprung for your weight and riding ability??? I would imagine that you have taken care of your race sag. If you have not, check that and set it before the Watts clinic. It sounds like you might need stiffer springs in your fork too. I would bet that Watts goes over that and may even have discounts coupons from his sponsors.

    A couple of friends that trail ride primarily and race just a couple of times a year had their suspensions done. Both agreed that it was the best money they spent for making it easier to go faster. Both also agreed that money spent on suspension was waaaay smarter than money spent on making the motor more powerful.
    #39
  20. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    On suspension sag, amazingly enough, this is the first bike I've ever owned that the sag was essentially 100% spot on. It's helped that I've dropped to an appropriate weight for my height (180# - 6' Tall). Though I'll run through the numbers again just to verify.

    I haven't sent out my suspension for anyone to alter, as I've been using the Shim Restackor program to do things on my own. I understand that I'll have my own limits to where I can take things with the program, as I don't have years and years of messing with things to fully understand it all. This winter I'll probably be sending out my suspension to someone, as I'd really like to have the rear end & front be in better synch with each other. Right now I really don't feel as if it's bad (though it absolutely sucks for anything mx related), but I would really love to ride the bike after having a professional tuner work their magic on it.

    I used to be completely of the mindset that I should be able to ride around suspension, basically learn to work around how it reacts & be able to go from there. Then I rode a woods bike and realized that yes, I could ride around the MX suspension in the woods, but it would kill my arms after an hour or so of a race. I still probably err on the side of trying to work around whatever my bike is doing. I'm kinda bad in the fact that I tend to not really even touch my clickers at all when I'm riding.

    Andrew
    #40