Team MGH #205 - Midwest Harescramble Rambling

Discussion in 'Racing' started by andrewgore, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    I figured I'd start a new thread for the 2014 season. If you're bored & want to read up on the 2012\2013 seasons...Check HERE.

    It's been snowing since November. My motivation for getting ready for the upcoming race season has been around -5000. I didn't have a race bike until about 2 weeks ago (more on that later). I've been rowing off and on through the winter....though more off than on. My buddy I go racing with has been giving me crap about getting off my ass. He's been exercising far more than me, though I still like to remind him I'll beat him in a race any day :lol3.

    I was greatly motivated after watching this interview with Bob Hannah:
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/gDc3yz3Uqng" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    I realize I'm doing this racing thing for fun, but the concept of beating the guys now....before the bike ever touches dirt has stuck with me. I want to earn an A plate\number. Why? I don't know. I guess I want to prove to myself that I can go that speed, and heck A sounds better than B :lol3

    The first race is March 9th. I'm committing myself to working out every day for the month of February to help get ready for the upcoming season. This first race will be to shake the cobwebs. The race is notorious for sandy whoops. Everyone says they hate this race. It's about 4 hours away....so why not go?

    The biggest change this year for me is that I've gone KTM. I had been planning on going with a 450, but with shelling out this kinda $$$, I wanted to insure that I'd have a plated bike for when we do trail rides\practices up north. I also knew that I really didn't NEED the 450 umph. I wanted it, but I know the 350 will do the trick. Heck, if David Knight is destroying people on a Sherco 300 4-stroke, this KTM oughta be more than enough.

    So here it is, a 2013 350exc-f:
    [​IMG]

    Street legal stuffs have been removed. Wiring has been fixed (pretty bad for a $$$ machine). Gearing has been changed. Euro map has been flashed to the ECU. Now I'm just waiting on handguards & skid plate to arrive.

    My plan for this year is pretty straight forward. There are far too many races for me to even try to win the District 17 Open B Overall. I'm too far North in Illinois to make that a feasible option. So that said, the local Fox Valley Off-Road has their own mini-series which I intend to win the Open B Overall in. I have complete confidence that I can win it. I took 3rd this past season (5th in 2012) and considering I missed two of the events this past year, I see no reason that I won't accomplish this.

    I'm looking forward to a successful race (& Riding) season for 2014. We'll see yah at the races!

    Andrew
    #1
  2. yeroc40

    yeroc40 Been here awhile

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    Sweet new ride! I enjoyed last years thread and look forward to playing along this year..
    #2
  3. header

    header Chris

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    :lurk
    #3
  4. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Well a week or so into things here, and my motivation is staying relatively high. I inadvertently decided that I'd take Wednesday & Saturday as rest days from working out. My body appreciates the break & I think it'll give me a good transition when racing starts back up. I attempted to switch to waking up at 5 to workout in the AM before work, but it just makes the days too long. :lol3

    I'm also planning to start doing weekly trips to the Indoor MX track. I'm heading out there this Thursday & am planning to go once a week until racing starts to really get myself back into riding form. I'd love to be putting in 2 ride days a week, but that's just not looking feasible at this point.

    I'll have video later this week. I'm working on getting my brother to go with to help coach me a bit with my riding. He has always been good at coaching me on line selection, body positioning, and all that. So we'll see how it goes.

    Andrew

    PS - I'm slowly starting to NOT totally hate the rower anymore. Baby steps :D
    #4
  5. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Recap here: http://andrewgore.net/879

    I'll work on getting video done this weekend, but I did make it out to the indoor. Felt good to be back on the bike.

    [​IMG]

    It was about 35 degrees inside the building. My fingers froze up after the first lap around the track. I stopped, put my jacket on and shook my arms and hands back to life. I had some arm pump crop up which diminished gradually as I rode more. I tried to remind myself that I hadn't ridden a bike since November, and to take things slow. Not exactly how I like to ride, but I'd rather not injure myself before the season even really starts.

    I had a few close calls as the rear spun up going up the face of a couple of the jumps. The bike took the sideways landings in stride, though it did require some heavy body english from me to not get too huckabuck. I fought quite a bit with the bike on the track though. The dirt there is quite different. It's completely bone dry, so you end up with this powdered silt on top of slick hardpack. 90% of the turns are 180 degree bowl turns that don't lend themselves to maintaining corner speed. You end up diving into the turns, and working the clutch to shoot out of the turn as quick as possible.

    I need to work on trusting my front end again, but considering it's my first time on the bike, I'm quite OK with how I rode. My fitness is definitely up. I could feel myself a bit drained towards the end of my riding, but I still had the strength to work the bike through the turns, albeit slightly sloppier than I'd have preferred. I ended up packing up when both my goggles were so fogged up that I could no longer see the track. Yes, bad day to wear smoke tinted goggles in a dark indoor track.

    I'm excited. Bike feels good. My body feels good.....well it's a bit tight today. I hope the place stays open during the week (I was 1 of 3 people riding there last night). I can workout all I want at home, but there is absolutely no replacement for seat time.

    Video soon.

    Andrew
    #5
  6. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    I almost hesitate to post this, but I've gotta accept I don't always ride that well. :lol3

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/xSWNV-H0S6k?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    As my brother put it "You're stop\start....not smooth at all."

    I knew it though even before I was done riding. My body was extremely tight and I wasn't allowing myself to flow through anything. I know what to work on next time.

    Andrew
    #6
  7. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Last Saturday I went back to the Indoor MX track. I definitely got in a better groove, and rode far more loosely than I had the first time out. I switched over to running in 3rd gear for most of the track vs 2nd gear. This helped me not spin up the rear too much on corner exit, and helped me carry a bit more speed in the turns. My riding still needs much improvement in the corners though, but I'll put some blame on the track. :lol3

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ZRmmF_6EwKE?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    First race is set for 2 weeks, but I'm not so hot on the fact that it's been in the 10's-20's for the past few weeks & will continue to be the same up until the race. Far from ideal, and it's a 4 hour drive. Maybe I will stay in bed.

    Andrew
    #7
  8. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

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    Good luck in 2014. :thumb

    Got a big kick out of the Hannah vid. Still not sure if I like him or not. :lol3

    I'm 56. I envy you and being able to go out running Hare Scrambles on a 350 KTM. I think I still know how to ride but the body reminds me far too often that it's not 1976. Caught a good interview with Tommy John recently and he was talkign about Matt Harvey getting Tommy John surgery and training in general and why most guys can't get past 6 innings pitching any more and it's because they don't throw enough between starts. You can't throw 60-70 pitches and then expect to go over 100 on game day. Training is great and I know I've been a bit of an ass in the SX thread knocking Aldon and I get it about the training but there is no substitute for being on the bike. Unfortunatley it's not quite as easy as throwing a baseball logistically. You need time. A crisp bike. A place to ride. The ability ($$$$) to be there. I swear if I ever won lotto I'd go buy a dairy farm and just ride the cow fields all day long and see if I couldn't get rid of some cobwebs. It's just not that simple any more when you were 18 as long as you could top off the gas everything else kind of took care of itself. I rode for years after I got out of high school (who needs college or a job?) and something in the back of my mind said enjoy it while it lasts because once it's over it might be over for good. Looking back I was wise beyond my years. :cry

    Keep up the good work looking forward to your season. I'd love to get one of these new KTM 150's and just hold that thing pinned across a cornfield a few weeks after they cut it.
    #8
  9. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    nachtflug,
    Thanks! I'll do what I can to get myself winning more races this year. I'd love the option to ride at least 2-3 times a week, but without having land at my disposal, that is quite tricky. Maybe I should be looking at the 10 acre lot down the road from me that already has a track built on it.

    I'll be 29 this August and it's already painfully obvious to me that if I don't use it, I lose it. So I figure if I just never stop riding\racing, I should be good till about 80 or so. :lol3

    Regarding the KTM 150......I've been considering picking up a 125 for when I go ride at the MX tracks. There is a certain joy in holding the bike WOT and just working the clutch to keep your speed up around the track. They sure as heck may not be the fastest bikes out there, but you can sure turn heads when you keep the thing on the pipe. :evil

    Great...Now I need to pick up a 125 in addition to a street bike for my wife & I to go out on :freaky

    Andrew

    PS - Weather has taken another turn for the worse. With Temps in the single digits, I don't know if I'll be motivated enough to go to the indoor this week.
    #9
  10. nachtflug

    nachtflug infidel

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    Use it or lose it is a good way to put it, but as we're not talking about golf or tennis, it's not quite that simple. I stopped riding in 1982 due to marriage and a stint in the Navy, and all through the 90's used to think I could just jump right back on a dirt bike and pick up where I left off. I finally found out that wasn't the case, though luckily the easy way and not the hard way. So I've decided to spectate and photograph and live vicariously through others. Though the urge to just rip across a corn field never goes away. But it's nice to not have to deal with changing tires anymore. Do they still use those damn rim locks?:lol3

    Shot this guy 2 weeks ago ice racing at Lake George. They tell me he's pushing 80. :super

    [​IMG]

    All things in moderation. :wink:
    #10
  11. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    I've been quite lax on the updates. I haven't been as good about exercising as I planned. :lol3 It's easy to blame work, so I'll blame 10 hour days on my lack of exercise. I haven't been totally couch-like though, as I've been busting the skateboard out. I enjoy how well it keeps my legs\core\brain working in unison. Heck, I've even learned some tricks I never would have thought possible.

    Anyways, I finally got the 350 out for a proper shakedown. It was a good feeling to have the bike where it is meant to shine. While I think I need some more time to gel with it, I know I'll be very potent on this thing. It's got an ease about it in riding. It'd be even more deadly if I dropped the 900$ on a rekluse, but I'm cheap.

    Video from Saturdays ride:
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/tYu1zAfYd9U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    There were very few people riding, so it allowed me to do a nice practice loop without worrying about running into anyone else. Most people were on the small MX track (which was a slop fest), or a couple quad guys playing in mud pits.

    The loop was a good mix of endurocross, open trail, field and singletrack. I played with a couple different line choices in the Endurocross section. Keeping the bike in 2nd, I was able to more or less jump each log as if it were a small booter. It's incredibly taxing on your body, but so much quicker than doing the trials style "double blip". They added a log just before the last set of tractor tires. It threw off my rhythm from how things were last year. Not a big deal, as it should give me an advantage come race day. :D

    After the endurcross section was a nice off camber hill climb. They tend to put this in every race. 3rd gear, just hold the bike wfo. It bogs a bit, but a quick dab of the clutch gets the bike revving, and I don't have to worry about losing traction on the climb. This leads to a more open section that weaves through some light trees. Towards the end of the run, I finally push to jump over a large section of tree roots (just before the "chicane" before crossing some mud & heading down an open field). I had normally been dropping just below the roots, but if I just commit, the bike jumps the roots nicely.

    4th gear through the open field. Watching the video, I need to hold the throttle open longer. The ground was still slick up there, and it is followed by a curving downhill run, so I figured it's safer to not tuck the front and brake a bit earlier. Committing down the hill in the slick with the stock tires was a bit tricky, and at the very bottom of the run, took a bit of focus to keep the bike in 3rd to flow into the singletrack section.

    3rd gear into the singletrack seemed to be ideal for me. It helped me keep my speed and momentum up. Keeping the bike in 2nd gear, I tended to not flow as well and would be heavier throttle, heavier braking. I'll need to time some runs to verify which way is faster.

    I exited the singletrack and looped around back onto the Endurocross section. I still need to work on my flat-tracking turns. I didn't have 100% confidence in the front tire of the bike. It seemed to want to wash out on me while leaned over. I'll give it some time, but will likely replace soon.

    As far as racing.....I had planned to race an enduro this upcoming weekend. As it turns out, there is a harescramble not too far from some Amish areas in Wisconsin. It's a win\win, since my wife and I can go pick up some new furniture for the house and I can still get some racing in :deal :D

    I'm pumped, though my body right now is TIGHT. My upper body feels like I got hit with a bat. I'll push that out of my head though. Looking forward to getting this season under way.

    Andrew

    PS - Spending an hour and a half at the skatepark the day after riding......not a great idea. :1drink
    #11
  12. Gamequeazy

    Gamequeazy Curbjumper

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    Gonna be hitting any of the IXCR/MAXC/MWCX/WIXC races this year?
    #12
  13. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    I'll be up at sugar maple MX for the 1st wixc this Saturday. I was going to do an enduro, but this works out better

    Andrew
    #13
  14. Gamequeazy

    Gamequeazy Curbjumper

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    I think we're saying the same words but they mean different things to us :rofl

    I was meaning Western Indiana Cross Country, you meant Wisconsin Cross Country I figure.

    Cool. I'll be at MWXC round 2 in crawfordsville, good luck!
    #14
  15. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Well I've gone and done it now. I was having another great day of riding at Fox Valley on Saturday. I was riding great through the endurocross section, super confident in the singletrack, and felt spot on on their "MX" track. I had the chance to ride my buddies 2013 Husky TXC310R & was quite glad I went KTM vs the Husky.

    Anyways, all was quite well until I got caught behind a slower group of riders in a tight singletrack section. I've been riding this section in 3rd gear and like I said, I was in a good high speed groove. The group you'll see exits the singletrack early, whereas I opt to ride through to the end. Every other time through that day, I was going faster than I ever had through there. All was well until my left bark buster clipped a tree, which caused my right hand to grab a hand full of throttle......causing my right hand to hit another tree.....causing my bike & I to end up going backwards into another tree.

    Video proof:
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/9onoUONNctY?list=UU-pMy6dYl6efwZnqTSyWsOg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    My right index finger feels like I smashed it with a sledge hammer. My right wrist is tight and doesn't feel spot on, and my thumb is quite swollen & isn't operating exactly as it should (grip wise). I'll be down and out for a couple weeks, hopefully ready to go for the first race weekend May 10th\11th.

    The crash is the first "bad" crash I've had in a LONG time. I've had some other minor offs and have messed up in various ways shapes or forms, but this was the first that had me thinking as I was getting off the dirt "I could be broken". Thinking about it, reminds me of the following video:

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/cjHCtFV2LZ8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    I saw Walter Bond a few years back thanks to one of the staffing agencies our shop uses. I think what he says is spot on. I had had a few times going through those trees that I clipped a bar and was always able to save it. Always able to keep things under some form of control. I was getting to a point where I thought I could save the bike whatever the situation. I was wrong, and the trees won :lol3.

    I have learned another thing. While it's a good idea to push in areas where people are MUCH slower than me, it's also a good idea to not be always pushing like that, and to push in the more open areas where the margin of error is a bit better.

    Andrew

    PS - Bike needs bars & has a dent in the header. I'll be spending the week on the skateboard instead :1drink
    #15
  16. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    I am guessing that you had the flag guards only, eh.

    Sucks.
    #16
  17. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    Cycra full wrap-arounds
    [​IMG]

    My hand just managed to free itself form the bars I think and wedged between the tree & the bark buster. I think. :lol3

    Right now it looks like my hand is pretty much ready to go. My fingernail is being a bit of a PITA, but that's to be expected. I should be able to work around that. My left leg flared up last week, so I think I hit that at some point, or I pulled something while at the skatepark. I imagine it was the tree incident though. The leg feels good today, though we'll see after the skatepark tonight :D

    Andrew
    #17
  18. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    From my site: http://andrewgore.net/913

    First race is down and in the books. I've been him-hawing about racing this year. I've just been enjoying riding my bikes, so the hassle of dealing with a race was a bit less than appealing. In the morning, I was kinda hoping it was down pouring and I'd stay home and relax all day. It was the opposite, and we had perfect weather all day.

    My wife and MIL came with to the race. My MIL hadn't seen any of my races, and wanted to see what it was all about. When we got to the race, my buddies morning race had just started, so we went over and watched some of the action from the start area. This gave me a chance to eye up the first few turns, and see where the faster guys were starting to brake for the first dash into the woods. After a bit of watching, I figured it was time to start prepping myself for my race.

    I like to be geared up and ready to roll 30-45 minutes before my race. I don't like to really talk to anyone before, preferring to put on my headphones and mentally prep myself. About 15 minutes before the race, I start to do some mild jumping jacks\stretches\etc. Get the blood flowing a little bit and try to just zone in. About 5 minutes before the race is supposed to start, I head over by the starting area (where no one is really even lining up yet) and do some screwing around on some mulch piles and figure I should try out some dead engine starts.

    My past 4-stroke & e-start bikes had cost me some terrible starts. Nothing like pushing the damn button and watching the rest of your class just launch away. I tested in 1st gear and 2nd. 1st didn't seem to want to let the motor spin quick enough to fire, so I tried 2nd. It seemed to work well, but hey....I was uneasy about it. That is one thing I miss about the 2-stroke. With that RMX, you look at it wrong, and it starts up and roosts away. These 4-strokes...not a chance.

    Wardy (land owner\race organizer) finally shows up, gives a speech which I can't hear (ear plugs), and the bikes fire up, waiting for the flag to drop. B class guys are all on Row 4. That gives me 3 chances to do test dead engine starts.

    My line is up, engines off, the last check and the flag drops. The 350 fired right to life, but I don't get the pull that I wanted into the first turn. I'm a couple riders back. I see 2 guys up front really start to scoot away, and I know it'll be a lot of work to catch them with being stuck behind another 2 or 3 slower guys. I use it as a chance to regroup myself mentally after the start and form my plan of attack.

    I slowly begin recognizing where the course is leading us, and know that my first big offensive move will be in the Endurocross section. I'd practice it a LOT the last 2-3 times I'd been there, and I felt confident in my bike. I knew the good lines through there, and I know that if I treat everything like a jump or something I can just wheelie over, I'll pass a lot of guys. And I did just that. There seemed to be 10 guys all fiddling around through the section as I roosted on past them. That gave me a hell of a mental push to truck on and try to put some distance between anyone I passed.

    Unfortunately the section right after the Endurocross section was where I had my bad crash there a few weeks prior. On the upside, they were running the section backwards, so it was like a new section. I was a little gunshy running through there, but kept a decent enough pace that I felt I was pushing fast enough, but not at a speed where I'd be screwed if things got a bit wonky.

    I end up making my way through the course and get to timing and scoring. First lap through, and I see I'm 1st in Class. Again, another motivator that makes me push myself to go faster. I remind myself that at this point, it's mine to lose, so get on the gas. I pace myself, but push in areas where I feel confident. There were a few slick spots where I didn't trust my front tire, so I was a bit slow in those areas. Again though in the technical areas, I make my attacks. Endurocross, creek section, and the singletrack I gain a LOT of time on people. Thank God I rode trials before getting into harescrambles :lol3

    Around the 45 minute mark, I feel some minor fatigue setting in. By the next lap though I get a second wind (thanks to some big gulps of icey water) and am able to keep a good solid push. At some point I catch up to another guy in my class, who didn't realize that I was lapping him decided he's going to try to keep pace and not move over. Not the end of the world, as there were plenty of spots I could make a move. Of course right when this happens, I end up with an AA guy breathing down my neck. We're both hooting\hollering\revving to get the slow guy to just slide over a smidge to give us some space. We both finally find a spot to squeak past the guy. I lose sight of the AA guy pretty quick and continue on.

    By the 90 minute mark, I'm feeling some pain in my hands. I know they're blistered, but wasn't quite sure to what level. I see at timing and scoring that the race ends at 2:20 and it was currently 2:12. I pray that my lap times were not under 8 minutes. I knew I had 1 lap left in me, but 2 more would have been rough.

    I get to the endurcross section for what was the last time. All was fine until I jumped the last set of tractor tires. I land and feel all the blisters in my hand all spontaneously explode with the skin ripping off my hands. I grit down knowing that at least I won't likely have to do the creek section again. I knew I slowed down a bit, but it was still an acceptable pace considering.

    I cross the line and see the scoring still says I'm the class leader. I'll take it. :clap

    My wife & MIL greet me back at the truck and I do my best to get my gear off and catch my breath. I was a bit exhausted, but most of all, my hands BURNED. Removing my gloves revealed some nasty blisters, but hey...as far as I knew, I won, so again...I'll take it.

    My upper body is a bit worn out, but otherwise, I'm in relatively good shape. I'm happy with my performance. I'm thrilled with my bike. I would like some new tires on the bike. The OEM DOT tires are......not the best, though oddly the rear hooks up incredibly well. I keep being told I should invest in slightly stiffer springs for the bike, but I'm quite cheap. :lol3

    Overall a great day. My MIL kept repeating how amazed she was at how difficult the racing was. I knew this, but it is incredibly difficult to explain to people who don't ride, just how difficult this racing is. There is an assumption that since you have a motor, you just twist the throttle and you go faster. If only :lol3

    Some pics from the day (most action shots were from FreeMotoPix on facebook)

    Filling up with race fuel (yes...I've learned my lesson):
    [​IMG]

    Gearing up:
    [​IMG]

    Sweet word I look like one of those KTM guys:
    [​IMG]

    All lined up:
    [​IMG]

    Making a pass happen in the creek section:
    [​IMG]

    Working the Endurcross section:
    [​IMG]

    Some more creek action:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just before timing\scoring:
    [​IMG]

    Landing after jumping a bit too high off the tires:
    [​IMG]

    On the gas, making the pass:
    [​IMG]

    Gotta score some style points on this one :lol3
    [​IMG]

    How I felt at the end:
    [​IMG]

    The results 1st in Open B - 3rd in both B classes - 18th overall (out of 73):
    [​IMG]

    My lap time sheet:
    [​IMG]


    Great day!

    Andrew
    #18
  19. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    :clap
    #19
  20. andrewgore

    andrewgore Gôremā

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    EDIT - Video fixed. :clap

    My computer crashed last night while the race video was rendering......after close to 15 hours of rendering. I think it may be time for an upgraded box. On the upside, it only left out the last 20 minutes. So here's the first 90 minutes. I'll be re-uploading if my computer doesn't fail while re-rendering.

    <iframe width="853" height="480" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BINuyjql444" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Andrew
    #20