Vintage guy on Vintage Enduro

Discussion in 'Racing' started by cynicwanderer, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    #21
  2. oregoncoast

    oregoncoast Racing Like a Noob

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    :ear
    #22
  3. Tbone

    Tbone off-ramp slayer

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    :lurk
    #23
  4. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    Ok, I loaded up the bikes on the old vintage truck and motored up the sierras over donner pass towards nevada. I stopped in Fernley (last place with a walmart until, I think Elko, I think) and got some coolant and oil for the truck, which uses both. Arrived at Toulon at dinner time. Now there really isn't much in Toulon, just an exit off I-80 and some enduro markers to a flat spot on the side of the valley where the pitts where. I later learned that Toulon was sort of infamous. apparently, someone from the donner party got murdered here...

    I found a place to park the truck for my "camp" and proceeded to register for the race. I asked about the sound check and they just said "we only have a spark arrestor inspection"... ok, where was that ? "at the start. just be in compliance"... ok. I unloaded the bikes and noted that there was more oil on the xr350r fork, that must have bled out over the donner pass and with the extra pressure trapped in the forks due to the tie down and extra altitude, through the failing fork seal. oh well, I thought, the other fork is still OK, I'll take it out for a test ride. the bike felt great, however, I noticed that the front suspension was "topping out", i.e. they hit the stop when the extended... that's not good. since I didn't want to spend the rest of the night rebuilding the front forks, I decided to use the xr200r instead. took it out for a test ride, it's all good.

    my row was 83... this is 1:23 after the key time of 9:00am, so 10:23. I adjusted the second time zone on my ironman wristwatch tied on my xr200r handle bars as "timekeeping" equipment. however, this race was in "National Format", which means timekeeping wasn't scored. you can only hour out when you're too late and you have to restart at some of the check that aren't tests back on your key time. so, it's pretty much just a hare scramble type event once you start getting behind. gas can in at 8:00, riders meeting at 8:30... wait for my start time talking with the neighbors at my camp site. I guess this was the pickup truck camping area, since all of the neighbors were camping in trucks and maybe a tent, as opposed to the "large diesel truck with huge toy hauler" camping area, which was about 90% of the rest of the pitt area.

    at the start, we had our spark arrestor inspection, which consisted of one of the officials sticking the welding rod up the exhaust, about minute before our start time.... they didn't care wheter the motor was running or not, and I didn't see anyone actuall fail the inspection. the actual start was dead engine. the xr200r is a bitch to start when cold, but once it's warmed up it's a "half a kick starter". i.e. you just bump the starter a bit and it fires right up... which comes in real handy on the side of the hill when it's in gear and you only have enough footing for a "half kick" to get it started again. these races are usually in groups. the A class starts in early rows, followed by the B class riders a little while later and finally the C class, which started on row 65 in this enduro. the last row was 87, I think. so I started 4 minutes before the last riders... I wished some fellow riders I had met before good luck and proceeded to line up, introductions were made, exhausts were inspected and we were off...
    #24
  5. Gham

    Gham Long timer

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    :ear

    I'll check back in later!!! Good luck:clap
    #25
  6. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    the first section was a bit of trail next to the road and I instantly remembered what I didn't like about desert racing.... whoops... I passed a couple of guys that dumped their bikes. after that, there were a couple of sections with relatively smooth sand that I could go a bit faster on, then some rocky sections... whenever there was a rock in the trail section, they put up a hazard sign. it was tempting to go off the trail to get some smoother ground during the whoopy parts, but that was risky, since the bushes can hide rocks (that are not marked when off trail).

    much of the course consisted of going up the dry creek beds of the washes until the top and then turning sharply to go up a sandy hill over the saddle to the next wash and go back down the wash until it intersects a road to cut over to another wash. the rocky parts where comfortable, since that's what I ride all the time. the sandy uphills were a bitch. a xr200r does not make a good desert bike for this type of riding. usually there was not enough space to get up some speed in 2nd. so, when you realize you're going up one of these hills, I'd hit the gas in first and wind'er out until the rev limiter kicks, but on several hills it just didn't have enough to make it to the top without bleeding off enough speed for the front to start digging in. on one of the hills the sweep caught up with me, they asked me several times whether I wanted to keep going, which I wanted to. that's the problem being on row 83 when the last row is 87... one of the sweeps had some nostalgia of riding xr200r and asked if he could ride it up one of the more challenging hills. he made it, barely. the problems with the whoops in the sand were similar. when the whoops started getting big, I'd have to slow way down and then the front wheel to dig into the sand, and I'd lose control or tip over...

    however, I was actually enjoying the ride. the hills were hard and the whoops sucked, but I really liked the terrain, saw some old mines, a scorpion. with the hills and the whoops slowing me down, I was getting progressively farther behind until I hour'ed out on the 4th check, which was the end of the first loop (about 50miles). I was finally figuring out some strategies for the hills, but they wouldn't let anyone who hour'ed out to start the second loop (another 68 miles). too bad.

    back at the pits I loaded the bike and chatted with the neighbors until the gas truck came with my cans. defeated, I went home. a challenge with the truck going over the sierras. there was one section where they split the lanes and made the left lane run next to the opposing lanes. it was dark, really tight, curvy as hell with dividers on both sides, with barely enough room for a standard size truck with worn steering... RVs and trucks had to go on the other (right) lane, which I should have with my truck. it was about 15-18 miles of white knuckle time, worse than anything on the enduro course...

    it sure would be nice to finish one of these things this season... three more enduros left !
    #26
  7. Gham

    Gham Long timer

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    I enjoy your writing style,descriptive and interesting.

    Best of luck in the rest of the season
    #27
  8. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    thanks !

    #28
  9. oregoncoast

    oregoncoast Racing Like a Noob

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    You'll finish. It's all about having fun, really, and you are doing that in spades :freaky
    #29
  10. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    Lessons Learned:

    1. xr200r is not a desert bike.
    2. high altitude messes with your front forks. bleed/check pressure, when changing altitude. maybe I'll take out the valve cores the next time I have to take the bike over a pass.
    3. high altitude messes with your tire pressure. check pressure. it was way too high in the high desert.
    4. deep whoops in sand suck, see #1
    5. steep hills with sandy soil suck, see #1
    6. have fun, don't worry about the sweep riding behind you.
    7. having an old style seat (i.e. nut crusher), allows you to tape the route sheet to the tank.

    BTW, I managed to lose one of the sweeps in one of the canyons. I ended up going off course to follow the creek bed a little higher to avoid the sandy hill, before cutting over, and he must have gone back when he didn't see me on the course anymore. at the next check, they were asking me whether I had seen the sweep, me being the last rider on the course and all...

    I wish it was easier to post photos on here.
    #30
  11. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    because of the dismal performance in the whoops I decided to go back to the OHV park and try some suspension tweaks. I played around with the rebound rate (the only thing besides the preload and charge pressure that is adjustable) and my lap times were identical (over aprox 5 mile test course) and it felt the same... hmm, I tried the same thing with the front forks by changing the oil weight in the past, and I a small change usually makes a significant change in the track time.

    anyway, at home, I took off the shock and checked it, and it looks like it doesn't have any charge, and it sounds like it has some air in the oil, also there is some oil on the shaft, so I think it's blown. also, the adjuster knob is cracked, so it won't really adjust anything, anyway.

    did some research, I can send the shock in to a suspension place for a rebuild $200-300, or maybe a rebuild plus a emulator/cartridge upgrade $300-600, or a new after market shock from works performance, between $700-1000... sigh. haven't seen any shocks for this bike (1981-1983 XR200R) on ebay, besides they are likely to have dried seals or worn after 30 years as well... checked my supply of shocks, and I have nothing that fits this bike, only bigger XR bikes.

    hmmm. $1000 for new shocks, $300-400 for fork emulators, $200-1000 for a cam/stroker upgrade... it would be a pretty hot bike..., but still a xr200r. at the minimum, it would be nice to get it back to it's factory fresh glory.
    #31
  12. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    OK, got the shock rebuild on the xr200r and figured out the XRL front fork issues and the green sticker on the xr350r. should be all ready for the next enduro (49'er) this weekend. well, I need to take the xr200r into the CHP for a "VIN check" and then go to the DMV and get a plate/greensticker before this weekend in order to run the xr200r, but technically it's all ready to go. the xr350r could use some new tires, especially since it started raining this week, so it could be muddy/snowy this weekend.

    now, I need to decide whether to enter the xr200r, maybe in the C-200 class or ride the xr350r in C-senior. next month, I will actually be able to ride as C-SuperSenior... not sure how I feel about that. the Senior, SuperSenior and 200cc are all smallish classes, but seem to have some good riders... all I really care about, is finishing a race without houring out or hurting myself.

    I got some gold valves emulators on order, which I may install on the xr200r forks...
    #32
  13. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    yeah ! I now have a plated 1983 XR200R !
    #33
  14. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    Getting ready for the 49'er this sunday. Then two more Enduroes each weekend after that before the end of the year. Cowbell and Buckhorn !

    I got new action cam (Sony HD Action Cam) and I'm trying to figure how to best mount it. It comes with some sticky pads for mounting it on top of the helmet, but I'm concerned that it will get knocked off. I also think that view is over done. I would like to mount it on the side of my helmet, or on my upper arm, but don't have a good way of mounting it. Eventually, I'd like to have two cams, one pointing forward, and one facing rearward under the seat, I think that would be an exciting view.
    #34
  15. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    OK, I finished the 49er with a score under 100 !!! I tried out my Sony HD Action Cam. it worked mostly, but cut out about 2/3 of the way through it. I'm not sure if it overheated or not. here is a small clip...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwh9PJC9HMo

    most of it was tame and the conditions were perfect ! I had a great time.

    more to come...
    #35
  16. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    the conditions for the 49er were almost perfect. the ground was moist from the rains, but not muddy. the temps were
    comfortable/cool. there was some snow at higher elevations, but not too bad. only the last section (C-riders) was
    snowy/muddy and rocky. this time they had the C-riders only do about 75miles of the course, while the A/B riders did
    about 100miles.

    I decided to ride the xr200r, since it's a fun bike to rider in tight stuff. people complain about the rocks on this course,
    but t wasn't all that bad. the course was pretty easy/tame. there were some uphill rocky section where the sun was in
    your eyes, so it was easy not to see some rock or root sticking out, but nothing happened. still having some trouble
    with my timekeeping (I keep getting confused and then default to conservative), but I finished the course and turn not
    burn any check (lol). I ended up riding with with someone I met during the first enduro I did on the same row and we
    finished about the same time, while she did much better than I did. however, her husband broke his collar bone and
    was out for the rest of the race. some of the people doing this stuff are really nice.

    I did learn about a new way to hurt yourself riding motorcycles... at the gas stop I didn't screw my gas cap on all
    the way and gas was spilling out over my legs/crotch area. of course, when we got to higher altitude and cooler air
    with the combination of the wind on the faster section, was causing a lot of evaporative cooling of the gas and caused
    some pretty severe frostbite. it hurt like hell and I almost froze my balls off, literally.

    I went to the Dr. the next day because the areas that hurt the most during the incidence, didn't hurt at all at that point.
    he said this was a first for him and diagnosed 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree frost burns. the 3rd degree parts still don't, while
    the 1st degree partsare gone and the 2nd degree areas on my inner thighs still hurt a lot... that was the lesson learned
    though. I guess this is what enduro is all about, a test of man and machine. you're doing it right when your weekend
    activity warrants a Dr's visit...

    all in all, besides the burns, I had a great time and I'm happy to have finally finish one. planning on going to cowbell
    this weekend, if I recover enough.
    #36
  17. Tbone

    Tbone off-ramp slayer

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    dang that had to hurt! Nice job on finally finishing one:clap
    #37
  18. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    ok, got xr400 forks, xr400r wheel, maxxis IT tyre.... on my xr350r and took it out for a test ride this morning at the local OHV area. I couldn't do my standard test course to get a time, which is what I use to help evaluate my suspension changes, because they were setting up for this weekend's hare scramble. I would be tempted to enter it, but I have the cowbell enduro this sunday to go to. the xr400 front end felt pretty good, I won't know how it compares to my xr650l front end until I get some timing. I suspect there is not much difference.

    I also got my xr650l forks back from a rebuild, but couldn't get the seat for the xr200r recovered in time for this weekend. now I have to decide between the xr350 (with xr400 front) and the xr200 (with xr350 front) for this weekend's ride. I have not ridden there (midcreek above upper clear lake), so I don't know. I asked the local ex enduro champs, and one recommended the xr200 while he other said, I shouldn't have any prorblems with either bike, but probably don't need the horse power of the xr350, just footpeg clearance for some of the rutted out sections. incidentally both the xr200 (thanks to it's smaller engine) and the xr350 have about the same ground clearance. still can't decide. since the xr350 currently had the better time keeping setup, it has a slight advantage for me.

    I'm also going to drill vent holes in the camera case, since it tends to fog up and probably overheats in there as well. I plan to use some gortex patching material from REI to cover the holes to keep the majority if the mud/water out of it.
    #38
  19. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    cowbell went fine. started on row 87. I rode the xr350 with its new forks. the xr350 can be a fast bike to ride with the stock suspension, but it takes attention to ride it fast. the xr400 forks make it a much faster bike that even takes more attention to ride. it was a relatively tight course, so I didn't push it.

    the goal was to finish the enduro, but I got carried away and had some close calls and even a bend handlebar. however, after reviewing my score card, it looks like I may have burned a check by 28mins. YIKES ! (maybe the 58:34 was really a 85.34, since that would have put me only 2 minutes too fast). however, I don't remember ever being ahead at all (especiall 28minutes), since I actually figured out the enduro computer and had correct time. oh well.

    lot's of rocky uphills, and loads of really slick loam mud and puddles to slip on. oh... the course was littered with huge waterbars, sometimes dangerously close together, if you're going fast and really deep ruts in places.

    the other riders on my row started to wipe out on the first (small) hill we hit, and that's the last I saw of them.

    the last few miles were on a flat rear. thank god for rimlocks ! made it back to the finish, even though it made for some interesting uphills with the rear end going everywhere it likes.

    oh, and because of my hectic departure and lack of preparations, I forgot my Camelback. only water/gatoraide at the fuel stops (2 stops in 85 ground miles ~4+hrs. someone drank my gatoraide, but another rider gave me his spare. thanks !

    figured out the calibrate function on my vintage honda computer, but I missed a turn _before_ the odometer check (dooh), so I ended up not using it. it only works, if you calibrate withing +/-10% of the target mileage (and the test mileahe is actually correct). no biggy, I just the odometer manually and ran it in "uncalibrated" mode.

    so:

    bike -> flat rear, bend bar

    ingo -> nasty chaffing on frost bite sites from last weekend, big lump above my ankle from where my foot got hung up on a rock, re-re-re-pulled muscle in my upper leg trying to recover from a mud induced hiccup. I think that's it.
    #39
  20. cynicwanderer

    cynicwanderer Been here awhile

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    a clip from the enduro. apparently some of the riders had some difficulties on this section. there was a line when I arrived at the bottom and I had enough time to get off the bike and relieve myself, before getting back on to continue. this is the section....

    http://youtu.be/YrroUzw_shM

    always looks easier on the video, but really didn't have any problems on any of the hilly section, except maybe when there was sun in my eyes and couldn't see the trail.
    #40