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. 5Chord

    5Chord No Short-Term Memory

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    Hey Andrew,

    Hope you did well today! I bought some stuff from you back in '09 when we were in our BMW X-country phase:lol3

    It was nice catching up via your post. I too am drawn to the outdoor racing scene like a moth to the flame, but I'm just getting started at 50. I took a bunch of lessons from Motovation MX school back in late '09 on a 2003 CR85RB and got my basics......Just enough to survive a novice practice session at your local MX park. Not long after I bought a RM-Z250 from one of my instructors and the fun begins.....I also bought a Husky 2 Stroke! [​IMG]

    But my ride of choice is still the 4 stroke 250
    [​IMG]

    After nearly dying (more than once) trying to start this beast in the heat after stalling and/or crashing, I too installed a Rekluse. It reduced my stalls and my lap times, but it's not perfect. Recently at Walden MX during my site lap, I managed to stall the bike on a HUGE downhill double and realized fro the first time that you CAN"T JUMP START A BIKE WITH AN AUTO CLUTCH.....Lol...But I'm keeping mine for now..

    Here's a couple pics of me and my pit-girl 4th of July weekend.......

    [​IMG]
    Here I make my pass through the rhythm Section! (Lying: About to be lapped)





    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This would have been my first race ever had I not tweaked both ankles after casing a huge (for me) double in practice. But...I plan on coming back and maybe even racing an entire series next year in the Over 40 C division...Because I totally wasn't the worst guy! LOL :freaky
    #81
  2. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    So woke up nice and early. Ate 4 strips of tasty bacon & 3 scrambled eggs. Took some coffee with me to go (then switched to water when I got to my buddies house). All loaded up, and headed on down to Fox Valley. Had to make a pit stop on the way as I had drank a lot of water that morning already, and well, you just don't fight the body. Signed in, and I got to watch my buddy John take off in the early AM race. He was 7th or 9th off the start in his group, and I could see the dust was going to be a PITA.

    It was supposed to be 95+ today and sunny. Thankfully God smiled upon us with 85 & overcast. Unfortunately he didn't give us enough rain to settle the dust, so it was what it was....LOTS of lingering dust. About 45 minutes before my race, I geared up and did a whole bunch of jumping jacks, followed by some high knee running in place.....whatever you will call it. One of them things that they made the kids in High School track do that they all complained about. Anyways, I thought my race started at 12:30, and so at 12, I rolled over to the practice loop looking to do some circles, and saw the entire starting area packed. Mild panic, roosted back to the truck and got the rest of my gear.

    By the time I got to the line, I had a theoretically piss poor starting position. I was 2 guys in from all the way inside of the first turn. In standard Harescramble form, the race started just about 15 minutes behind schedule. My 2nd gear starts were feeling positive, and from what I could gather, I was in the top 5 or 6 right off the start (keep in mind, my line was ALL of the B classes). I couldn't see jack squat. The AA & A lines ahead of us just left the place a dust bowl. And in the trees, there was 0 wind, so it just lingered.

    I stayed on the tail of the guy ahead of me as best I could. I kept feeling as if my front tire was washing out. I'd put brand new tires on the bike, so I thought it was odd, but was thinking that they just sucked more than I remembered the last set I had. As I kept riding, I got myself into a groove as best I could, stayed up on the pegs and tried to let the bike float beneath me. I soon realized that the tires weren't the problem, it was just that the dirt was absolutely terrible. I explained it to a buddy of mine as "flour on top of absolute hardpack". You'd think that it was loamy\sandy dirt, but it was a trick. The dirt just POOFED away as you attempted to lock in, and then as you went to put weight on the front tire for the turn, it acted like a lubricant on the hardpack beneath it. Absolute crap, but wtf you gonna do? Everyone else is riding the same stuff. Deal with it, and truck on.

    Like I said, I got myself into a groove and pushed on. I didn't want to push too hard out of the gate, as I knew since it was warmer and crappier conditions, that guys would eventually start making mistakes, and getting worn out. As I went through the scoring the first time, I saw that I was in 6th in my class. I knew I could do better than that, so I slowly began inching up my pace. I found that if I kept the bike in 3rd gear instead of 2nd that I held an overall faster average speed. So I began keeping it clicked in 3rd (bless this 6 speed gear box I swapped in), and only dropped into 2nd if I absolutely had to. It worked, and I found myself pulling up into 5th position.

    I soon had a guy come up behind me, who I thought that this early, must be in my class. I picked up my pace a bit and pushed on. I overshot a turn or something, and he went past, only for me to realize that the guy was in a totally different class. Not a big deal, except that when I went to get back going, shortly thereafter, I washed out my front and dropped the bike on the left hand side. I looked back, saw no one close, so I took a little extra time in getting the bike restarted. I knew if I rushed, that I'd only hurt myself (use up energy), and end up further behind. This worked, as I got the bike running and was back on my way.

    All was well until the 45-60 minute mark. My body felt like it was locking up. My rear suspension literally felt like it was locked solid, and it was jack hammering the ever living piss out of my body. My kidneys felt like they were being pounded on by a baseball bat on my back. It sucked, but I knew I had to truck on and somehow some way it'd go away. Just as I passed a guy in another class, I gas it through a creek, and as soon as I get on the other side, it's like someone clamped a vice on my sides. I screamed a few choice words and sat down, attempting to keep on the throttle, as I had just passed the guy. It was like torture. As I got out of that section, and into the next, I saw the guy wasn't too close behind me, so I calmed myself down and did my best to take long deep breaths. I took another quick sip of water, and again, deep breaths. This seemed to work, and made me realize that I was holding in my breath too much. It was the only thing that made sense.

    As soon as I loosened up my breathing, my pace began to pickup. My movements were getting more fluid, and I felt I was picking up my pace. I noted that there were some guys I had passed who were in my group, so by this point I knew I was in 5th place. As I went to cross the second log by the start\finish line (tall log), the bike felt like the throttle rocketed on me. All was well as I landed. I saw as I passed through scoring that I was 10 seconds behind 4th place. The hunt was on........or so I thought.

    I got on the gas coming out of scoring, and as soon as I let off, it was like the bike went WFO. I figured something jiggled loose (despite my safety wired throttle cable), and began checking the cable at the carb & throttle housing. Both areas looked fine. I figured maybe I could run with it revving to the moon, just ride in a high gear, and somehow make it work. I rode for a little bit, and soon realized this was a sure fire way to get hurt, and knew at that point....it was over. 75 minutes into the 105 minute race, and my Husky failed me again.

    I made it back to our truck by modulating not the clutch, but the kill switch. I was fuming, as I was so close....so close. But that was it. That's racing. I left the bike on its side while I sat down and attempted to collect myself. Needless to say I was an unhappy camper. I regained my composure and joked about how this husky has been nothing but issues for me. But I suppose, that's racing.

    I had fun, and despite my jokes with friends that if I had another DNF this weekend that I'd be done racing, I'll be back at the races in 2 weeks time. The next race is an enduro, where I had the first one (and my first DNF). I hope to be slightly more prepared for this one, but the Husky has a few minor issues that I need to address. Easy enough, but some small ones that just piss me off. (Weak radiators that seem to break upon looking at them wrong), and a few other things.

    I'll be at that enduro, and then unfortunately, the following enduro is 6.5 hours away, so I'll be going to a Harescramble closer by on August 19th, and then another harescramble on the 26th just before my birthday.

    I'll post more, but in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the rest of this....overly sized IPA I've got here & watch some Game of Thrones.

    Andrew

    PS - Thanks for words of encouragement from all. Despite the shitluck, I had quite the exciting ride today.

    PPS - I forgot my GoPro today. At least it wasn't a forgotten helmet like the one race last year :lol3
    #82
  3. Luke

    Luke GPoET&P

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    That sucks, doing so well and then let down by the bike. Well, good luck fixing it, and better luck next race.

    Racing in the heat has to be rough. We're so soft out here; it's barely over 65*, it's just stopped raining and racing is on hold until fall. :lol3
    #83
  4. Tbone

    Tbone off-ramp slayer

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    That sucks Andrew! But at least you figured out your breathing issue. After a couple of DNF's a few years ago I finally gave in and bought a newer bike. Best money I ever spent.
    #84
  5. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    LukasM,
    I'll give that a whirl. We haven't used too much coconut water in smoothies, but have in some other cooking\baking recipes. As things progress, I'll figure out what works. Thanks for the tip!

    Barnyard,
    I'm not a fan of drinking straight coconut water\milk, but it does make some tasty ice cream. :evil

    5Chord,
    Who doesn't love casing doubles? I didn't commit on a smaller double at a neighbors track. Resulted in the following:
    [​IMG]

    Broken linkage & snapped the shock in half. :lol3 And not sure if it was that, or catching my foot in a rut earlier that day, but I also had to get a giant syringe worth of blood pulled out of my knee. Oddly enough, the doc told me my knees looked in great shape.

    Luke,
    I've been getting used to the heat now. And just like always, I'll get used to the heat & 2 weeks later, Illinois will get all crazy weather and it'll start snowing or something. :lol3 I could really go for some 65 & light drizzle riding right now though.

    Tbone,
    I'm a bit torn right now on getting a new bike. Mostly cause I hate to lose money on the Husky, and I surely would. And besides that, I really enjoy riding it. The thing has good power, feels good in the woods (though I need to do some work on the rear shock), and is overall a good bike...but apparently problematic. My wife has informed me she'd pick me up a new bike when she graduates from nursing school next August, so I've been tossing around the idea of a new GasGas. I know, I know....just get a KTM. I just can't do it. That and the new GasGas bikes just look wicked, and if they're anywhere near how my GasGas trials bike was....it'd have to handle like a champ.


    Time to get some work done. I ordered up the wrong belt to fix one of our machines here at our shop. Let's hope I can find one locally. Happy Mondays.

    Andrew
    #85
  6. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Problem found:

    Carburetor end of the cable:
    [​IMG]

    The throttle end looked the same as well. I guess lubing the cable is a bad idea as it masked that the cable was dying? Either way, new one on the way. I got a couple weeks to get back in fighting form. I've noticed some tightness in the muscles in my back, so I'll be focusing a bit on them. We'll see how all this goes.

    Andrew
    #86
  7. Tbone

    Tbone off-ramp slayer

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    Glad you found it. I usually just buy new cables when mine starts to get tight for that reason.

    Concerning the new bike, It just reduces the amount of things that can go wrong, but doesn't eliminate it from happening. I was racing a 2000 model ktm300 2 years ago when I got the chance to race a 2009 300. I decided 2 miles in that I'd never race my old bike again...the newer bike was so much better and I worked so much less to go fast.
    #87
  8. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Yesterday I only had ordered a throttle cable & tube. I figured since Halls Cycles wasn't open monday, I'd tack on a clutch cable as well. Don't need to see how far\long I can ride with no clutch in a race. :lol3 Rather spend the 30$ now on that, then be SOL in another race.

    I'm also ordering up some fresh fork seals, oil, and rear shock oil as well. I'm going to revalve the rear shock in hopes to improve it's overall performance. I'll be stealing some of what Luke had posted up. His suggestions for the fork were spot on & I always felt confident & planted on the front end. I also didn't get the jarring feel I normally used to get in my upper body. Lower body now is another story, so I feel the rear needs some lovin'.

    New boots will be on order as well. I've always loved Alpinestar, as their Trials Boots & Road Race boots were awesome. Unfortunately their Tech 8's I've had for the past year and a half.....well annoy the snot outa me. It's time to change. The inner booty is 1 full size too small for my feet (yeah, thats comfy putting on before a race), and the arch on the sole of the boot is completely worn out. I don't have oodles of dollars to toss at super big $$ boots, but I want something good, so I'm going Italian & picking up some Gaerne GX-1 boots. My buddy has some G10 or whatever and likes them, so I'll see how these are. If they last 2 years, I'll be a happy camper.

    On the new bike thing....I'll be addressing that next year for a couple reason. 1. Money. I've got too much invested right now in the Husky to personalize it to myself, that I hate to lose my rear on another bike. 2. I vowed to never change bikes mid-season again. Yeah, I'll keep a backup bike (mighty XR), but won't make a straight up change. 3. I need to test ride a GasGas. I'm very drawn to them (maybe its the Black & Red colors?) Only real concern is that they are slightly more "oddball" than the Husky. Though I honestly don't need\want all sorts of aftermarket doodads that are more readily available for bikes like KTM & Yamaha & such. 4. I'm HOPING that with the newer\stricter EU emissions standards for 2014 MY Bikes, that we will begin seeing some Direct Injection or Fuel Injection 2-strokes. I know some like that, and some don't, and I won't bother getting into a this vs that thing, but yeah, I'd like to see if anything comes out in that form.

    Time to finish putting together my order for parts & goodies. AKA - Empty the wallet. :lol3

    Andrew
    #88
  9. Tbone

    Tbone off-ramp slayer

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    You really know your bike inside and out! I just hand my suspension over to our local guy and ask how much? :D

    There are a few GasGas guys racing in FTR. Beautiful bikes with quality components, just would be nice to have a local dealer.

    I just bought some Gaerne Reacts. Very nice build quality especially for the price ($237.00)

    http://www.motorcyclecloseouts.com/off+road/motocross+boots/gaerne_g+react+boots?utm_source=gps&utm_medium=csn&utm_term=G+React+Boots&utm_campaign=off+road-motocross+boots&gclid=CNr36MDesrECFUff4AoddW0AmA
    #89
  10. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Well these look better:
    [​IMG]

    I thankfully have Halls-Cycles a few hours away, so I order on Tuesday, it arrives on Wednesday. I'll have to take a trip down & sit on some bikes.

    I will say I've got a habit for not really test riding a bike before I buy it. And honestly, I got a problem where I just love riding motorcycles, so basically any bike I hop on, puts a smile on my face (well other than the WR250R....that bike sucks). The real test is how the bike holds up to me and the apparent abuse I put on them. :lol3

    Well I'm looking forward to riding this weekend. I'll probably be on the XR, as I want to get the WR all sorted out before the upcoming races. Cables are just the start.

    Andrew
    #90
  11. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Got invited to ride on some farm property yesterday. Close by, free, and wide open areas to work on some skills...how could I say no? I also saw it as a chance to do some scientific testing between some bikes and see which gets me through some trails quickest.

    We plotted out a small loop. Started on a small section of farm field, into a singletrack tall grass section and then a quick duck into some mildly tight\off-camber section. This led to a small jaunt back out of the woods and back across the field. Once you were back across the field, there was a dried up pond that we roosted around. The outside was packed full of downed trees, and sticks, and by the end of the day, getting slick and rutted. As you finished your way around the pond, we had a pile of downed tree limbs to hop over followed by a slightly larger 18" diameter-ish tree to hop. After the tree hop, you immediately banked hard right, and then a quick left to bring yourself back out of the pond area to where you started.

    It was a short loop, but it gave me a chance to do a lot of hot laps. My findings were mildly frustrating, but I suppose telling of my riding. I had 3 bikes to test out. My Husky, the Mighty XR, and my buddies KDX200. I started out on the Husky, so I had a good general idea of how the bike handled the loop, what to do, what to expect, etc, etc. Initial lap times were 59-60 seconds. I then hopped on the KDX, and my lap times were 57-58 seconds. I hopped onto the Mighty XR, where my lap times were at a consistent 58 seconds. After all that, and some other fooling around, with my body tired, I did another 5 laps on the Husky, where my lap times were at a consistent 58 seconds.

    So what's this telling me? I know I felt that on the KDX, the bike felt the most compliant and kind of the easiest to go fast. The bike felt plush and confident. The S12XC front he has on the thing helped in the slick sections for sure. He's got an autoclutch, though I still work the clutch manually, but that may have had an effect on things. The XR, I felt I had to work the most to go the same speed. The drum rear brake always required more attention to help stop you, and the slightly sticky throttle made you have to think more while riding, rather than focusing on going fast. I liken riding it to riding a 125 2-stroke. They can go just as fast, but require a LOT more input, body english, and finesse to get the speed out of it. Now for the WR, I felt to me it has the most room for improvement. The bike has got plenty of power which helps immensely in anything more open. It was the most forgiving if I messed, up, but required a bit more brain focus to extract the speed out of it. The suspension is also not nearly as plush as the KDX, however, it is feeling better now than it ever has (I opened HS\LS Rear compression 100% open).

    I got to do a lot of work on drills that we did at the Shane Watts school. Braking\accelerating\drifting\wheelies\etc. From where I was a year ago, I'm 10x more confident in high speed roosting, and drifting out the rear. Heck, I could be dragging my knee on the XR if I wanted. :lol3

    Yesterdays riding (and subsequent timing results) has me questioning if the Husky is the bike for me. With my apparent knack for breaking a bike at every race, it's got me considering the idea of going back to a Japanese bike, due to the abundance of parts\spares\cheap prices. Hard to say as I really enjoy the Husky, but I need something that I can trust will take me all the way through a race. Any thoughts\opinions on this?

    I can say however that that XR350R just won't be sold. We did some flat out drag races between it & the KDX200. The XR was dead even with the KDX. Quite the mighty little beast. :lol3

    Time for some Sunday lunch.
    Andrew
    #91
  12. header

    header Chris

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    A member here summed it up quite well:

    "The speed you know is the speed you have"

    Or something like that :lol3
    When I setup a bike its so I can ride that same speed all day long. Without setting up a bike I can still ride fast but long days get much longer when things aren't just right. There are certain places where a good bike makes a big difference but for most people its more about their ability than setup. Now once i've learned the techniques, setup helps a lot. Having good suspension always makes things much safer though.

    Things like knowing when to hit the gas or when to unweight the bike makes all the difference in the world.

    The thing that makes the biggest difference and covers the widest amount of situations is fresh tires. Right now i've got about 120 miles on a fresh set of M12's and the edge is already gone. I can feel it in turns where its really hard pack. Granted this is some very rough rocky terrain and i'm riding harder than ever but i'm still pretty surprised that I can tell a difference.
    #92
  13. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    I get to pick up my new fork seals, oil, filter, and best of all.....New Boots!! I opted for the Gaerne GX-1. Hopefully they last.

    Since I knew I had seals & fluid to swap, I figured I'd do some prep work.

    Freshly packed\greased steering stem bearings:
    [​IMG]
    (Disregard the haggard looking radiator guards. I got some from Motosportz on the way)

    And the fork tubes awaiting new seals (bushings are still essentially un-worn):
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I'm debating if I should pull the rebound stack in the forks. I figure I probably should since I got them sitting out. I'll take a peak at things here tonight.

    Next race is a little over a week away. Really pushing to push for actually finishing the enduro this time. :lol3

    Andrew
    #93
  14. spdjnky

    spdjnky Been here awhile

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    I ride a couple of different bikes right now. One is my brothers KTM450EXC and the other is my buddies KDX220. I feel most comfortable on the KDX220 in the tight slower loops. I am confident and faster on the KTM thru the two track or more open woods. I have only been back in the woods riding for a couple of years and both of their bikes just sit unless I use them. Not a bad deal for me.:D All said I too am still not convinced either on what to buy or ride as I don't have the option of owning multiple bikes and do a variety of different riding.
    I scan the local Craigslist listings daily and seem to have seen a certain Husky listed recently.:D
    #94
  15. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Yeah, I've listed the bike for sale. I'm honestly up in the air on it. The fact that I'm the same speed on any of my bikes, tells me that I just need to push faster, no matter which bike I'm on. Also tells me that, maybe I should go to a Japanese bike. I apparently have a knack for breaking things on bikes, and the YZ\KX\CR\RM, all have far more parts readily available on ebay. :lol3

    I hate to switch bikes mid-season, especially with minimal bike prep time. Tough call, but I figure if it happens, it happens.

    In the meantime, I'll continue maintaining, and making minor mods to the Husky.

    Andrew

    PS - Luke, I'm re-reading your revalving thread. I found that the Amsoil Shock Therapy oil I put in the Husky before was = to 10wt oil. The new stuff I got is supposed to be 5wt. I'm anxious to see the difference. I think I'll steal some of your ideas for rebounding valving on the fork as well. I think we're on the same page with things in that regard.
    #95
  16. Luke

    Luke GPoET&P

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    Interesting that all the bikes would be so close to the same speed. If you really want to geek out, put on a heart rate monitor with a calorie counter and ride some laps. That might tell you which bike's working you harder. :lol3

    Thanks for trying out the suspension (and telling me about it). Since I can't do good back-to-back tests it's nice to have some sort of confirmation that I'm not just imagining improvements. FWIW, I have a nagging feeling that my front rebound is actually too slow. I did the spring-mass-damper calculations, and for the rear it turned out that a damping factor of 1 feels about perfect. Imagine that. Basic Mech-E theory actually working. Of course, I BSed so much of the calculation that it may just be a coincidence.

    The front is now 1.25, and I'll try less, as it's still a bit divey in whoops. Since your bike is lighter than mine (and probably has lighter springs too) you'd probably want even lighter valving as well, just to get the same damping factor.
    #96
  17. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Luke,
    When I got back last night from picking up my parts & gear, I figured I needed to be more detailed with my processing of my suspension changes. Since I knew I was switching from a 10wt oil to a 5wt oil, I only wanted to change 1 thing at a time. So for right now, the fork rebound valving is staying the same. I need to see how it feels with this oil, and go from there.

    I really like the idea of the heart rate monitor to compare the bikes. I believe I'll be ordering one up and use it to track things. It'll be good to see what my heart rate is too while riding the bicycle. Something tells me that riding the dirtbike & bicycle are nowhere near each other. :lol3

    Andrew
    #97
  18. header

    header Chris

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    When I wore a heart rate monitor my heart rate was bumping right up against max anytime I was riding hard. The thing that got me though was how high it was when I was doing anything on the bike. It never went below 130 if I was even sitting on the bike. Some of that would have been from the extreme heat we had those couple weeks I had it on (heart rate was around 100 sitting in a chair) but I was still pretty impressed.
    #98
  19. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    Back when I did enduros, I compared a loop on my daughter's 200xcw vs my 250exc. I was faster on the 200. Some of that was slightly different gearing, some was that it was a little easier to ride. There is a couple of pretty fast guys in D23 that used to ride 300s that now ride 200s. They say they take less energy to ride fast, plus it is easier to ride a 200 wide open than a 300.
    #99
  20. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Rode my 10.x mile bicycle loop again today. Averaged just around 14.5 MPH for 40 minutes. Has some decent climbs I can do to really get my heart rate up. I averaged 145 bpm heart rate with a peak of 176.

    Not too bad. I'm excited to see where I'm at tomorrow on the 2 bikes.

    Barnyard,
    I've been looking at the new husky 310. The more I read on them makes me want to try one.

    Andrew Gore