Monday, November 10, 2008

2nd Hare Scramble

(This is a truly bad post. Not written that well, and not all that interesting. It's one of those "you had to be there" stories. I havent written much in a long time though, and need to get some practice in.)

Raced my second hare scramble yesterday. I mainly ride offroad, but have been riding more track lately. This particular harescramble is raced on a 7 mile course that includes two separate motocross tracks and a whole lot of dirt track out back. You get two hours, and ride as many laps as you can in that time.

Compared to 15 minute motos that MX guys do, it's a lot more difficult to keep up a race pace for that long. On the other hand, compared to the 4 hour Enduro races that I'm used to, it's pretty easy.

Unlike a lot of harescrambles, this one doesnt really have an offroad portion. It's all dirt track, only part of it doesnt have the big jumps.

Getting used to track riding has been kind of hard. At first I just tried not to die or bust myself up too bad. The big jumps, when you first try them, have different consequences for different mistakes. If you really sally a jump, you will lose some speed, and not look too cool as your back tire comes about 6 inches off the ground.

If you are a little bit braver and get a little more speed up the takeoff, you fly farther, and look cool until you land, but when you come up a little bit short you have a lot more momentum to slam into the ground, and depending on your skill and suspension, have a chance of flying off the bike and eating dirt.

It's best to just commit to the jump and give it a little more than you think you need so that you hit the landing. The smoothest way to land is to hit the downhill landing, but sometimes it's hard for a new track guy to think about that when you're accelerating into what looks like a wall and thinking about death and destruction instead of what you should be thinking about.

Anyway, I ddint have any bad wrecks yesterday, although i did case a few... ok a lot of jumps.

I mainly though about my cornering, which is a little different on a MX track, and passing people. Last race I would ride bhind guys for too long, even if I was faster than them, because I've never had to pass people in corners or on short straights like that. It just feels different in the woods, and most of the time in a 4 hour race I just wait for them to make a mistake. If theyre slower than me, theyre guaranteed to make a mistake soon.

Also, you start an enduro with only 4-5 riders on your "minute" so it stays pretty spread out. Rarely are you bunched up with 3-4 riders, much less 40 riders like the first few turns on a track.

I got some good advice before the race, and stopped thinking about them as riders, adn started looking at someone I wanted to pass as an OBSTACLE. Believe it or not this helped a lot. Instead of worrying about what they were going to do, this helped me focus on what i was going to do. Once i figured out where their line was, I just passed them like I would a big rock or tree worrying about my line more than theirs.

I'm not all that competitive, obviously, but I had a blast. For the whole two hours I would just pick one guy ahead of me and try to catch up to him and pass him. Then I would move on to someone else. It all felt like an individual race, and kept me focused on going fast. If there was nobody around me, that was when I caught myself being lazy a few times and not pushing hard enough.

Overall, I have to say I improved my cornering the most, although I still need to work on my consistency. There were a lot of corners that I was able to carry a lot of momentum through, keeping more speed up for longer, and then quickly braking and transitioning to loads of throttle as I came through the halfway point. I did a much better job of staying in the right gear, which is critical on a 2 stroke closely geared bike like mine.

My weak point is still the "whoops" which kicked my ass again. Last race I had a pretty ugly wreck in a big long set of whoops. This time I didnt wreck, but thats because I wussed out and just took them slower letting my bike buck me like a mule. Often I would get passed in the whoops or on the big MX jumps, and then pass the same guy once we got into the straights and corners. If I could just get decent, instead of pathetic, in that type of stuff I might be a little more competitive in the novice class. Right now though, I'm just racing for fun and to compare my own lap times after each race to see how much I've improved.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

i dont know you...

so youre going to have to give me some more info before i email you back. also, i was thinking about it, but i deleted the comment with the irresponsible amount of information on it and now i cant remember the address. ralee something.

it's not that i have any reason not to email people, i just dont know if this is for a good reason, or something stupid. i dont really feel up to harrassment right now. if it's for a decent reason though, get back to me and leave your address again.

so anyway...


it's been a long week.

for anyone who doesnt know what im talking about, or even if you do...

never think you know the whole story before youve heard all sides, or at least more than one side. the same story can serve more than one agenda, and once that agenda is served, some people/writers are liable to decide that the need for thorough research is complete, lest the sensational become muddled and mundane with further revelation.

Beware of obvious answers. There are a lot of people emotionally invested in this. I only want what is best for the families and soldiers involved. I can live with not looking good on tv. I was there throughout and nobody, at any level, in the unit did anything wrong. Far, far from it.

Now I know what it must feel like to be a celebrity and have a sex tape released. Theres nothing more intimate and personal than combat, and having the world watch your performance is disconcerting, to say the least.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

alive and well

I'm still here, just busy as a one legged man lately with pursuits both professional and private competing for my time.

At work, I pinned on the rank of First Sergeant a few days ago, although I have actually held the position for over six months. It's nice to wear the rank, but I wont actually get paid for the job until my number comes up sometime next year.

The family is good. My boy is a senior now, learning to drive, and my girl just started soccer for the second season.

Away from work and family, I have been consumed by everything dirt bike related. If you thought snowboarding was bad, you wouldnt believe the amount of riding we have gotten in this season. So far, nothing broken. Lots of scrapes and bruises, but thats to be expected.

When we got back, everybody was talking about buying dirtbikes, and surprisingly, about 7 of them actually followed up on it. With that many riding partners, and a mind boggling amount of trails to ride around colorado, we've been hitting it weekly, usually more, ever since about February or March.

I started racing this year, at the age of 37. I could, and probably will if I keep updating the blog, expound for hours on the torture of a four hour off road enduro race, and how much I love it even while it's trying to kill me.

I was never much of a motocross rider in the past, but have now gotten pretty serious about it. I still dont race MX, but racing a 2 hour hare scramble on a motocross track instead of a 20 minute moto makes it a moot point. I'll prbably race MX next season if it starts before we deploy, but the long races are what I love.

My riding style and interests have evolved and improved more in the last summer than in the last 30+ years.

I sold my KLX 300 and bought my first KTM. I got a used 2006 250 XC, and will probably have to write something about the reasons and joys of switching from a four stroke to a two stroke sometime. I'm in the process of taking my whole engine apart, and honestly it's not much more complicated than a machine gun. If it were a four stroke, I would be lost in the sauce right now, probably carrying an armload of parts in to a real mechanic so he could fix what I screwed up... for an outrageous amount of money.

Anyway, I'll probably start writing more as time goes on. Depends on the training schedule in part, and we've been training a lot lately, but it should taper off a little before it picks up again after the new year, so I'll try to be more diligent in posting. I need the practice.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

great article

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Surrender at any cost

That seems to be the message of Barack Obama. Apparently, he still thinks it a good idea to attack John McCain for wanting to stay in Iraq and finish what we’ve started. 6-12 months ago, this might have been a good idea. Iraq was on fire and the American Public, whose stores of fortitude have always been lower than the actual Soldiers who are doing the fighting, had decided that enough was enough. Today, with clear evidence that the troop surge has produced results, Al Qaeda on its heels, or flat on its back, in most of Iraq, and violence is at its lowest point in years, the public has largely either renewed their support, or stopped talking about it altogether.

Some people refuse to accept that they could have been so wrong. If you are a democrat, you are absolutely forbidden to say one positive thing about the handling of the war. I’ll give anyone a dollar if they can find me an actual democrat who will admit to progress in Iraq and attribute it to the Republican administration’s policies.
Not that there were any administration officials out on the street with us, but that’s the last thing we want. All we really want is the personnel and equipment necessary to carry out our mission. We’ll do the heavy lifting; just give us the gloves and a dolly.
I saw an article in the NYTimes from September that cast doubt on reports that violence had actually dropped in Iraq. Apparently they were not skeptical at all when violence was high, but now that there is progress being made, it’s all a big C.O.N.Spiracy.

Take my word for it. If you really don’t believe the reports, you have to either believe an eyewitness or go see for yourself. I seriously doubt there will be many liberals going to see for themselves. If they did, they wouldn’t tell anyone. It would ruin their social life if they committed such a grave faux pas.

The first six months over there were as bad as can be imagined. The last 8 months were relatively easy. To leave now when things are finally looking up would be like invading Normandy, driving across Europe, and stopping at the German border.

The hardest part, knock on wood, is over, but only if we keep pressing forward. Iraq is a pot that has just stopped boiling. It wouldn’t take much of a fire to start it boiling again. I would hate to think that we did all this work and lost all these Soldiers so that some liberal/Socialist opinion monger could reverse everything without a thought for the future... or the past.

Monday, February 18, 2008


From comments..."Anyway - Sounds like you're pretty good natured about the whole thing so. :-) Keep at it and you'll probably get pretty good eventually. Of course that is assuming that you don't break something before then of course. ;-)"

Too late.

The first one to go was a rib high on the left side.

The better I get, the faster I'm going when I eat it. We were at Keystone, and I was trying to keep up with a friend who may or may not have been born with a snowboard strapped to his feet. I was bombing down the mountain at around mach 3, when I caught my front edge on a pretty steep blue slope.

According to eyewitness accounts, I was in the air for over a full second, long enough that I remember thinking "This is going to be reeeeally bad", before I slammed to the earth with my left fist caught between my chest cavity and the hard hard surface of inevitability.

Then I started to cartwheel.

Then I continued to cartwheel.

I've never been especially good at cartwheels, but these were superb, true cartwheels. Body fully extended, head... board... head... board... etc.

Once the cartwheel show ended, I ended up facing up the mountain, still travelling at a brisk pace. I dug both elbows into the snow, and after leaving two 50 foot furrows in the snow, finally stopped.

Everyone who wasn't dialing 911 hauled ass to my position, ready to begin first aid.

Pride pushed me to my feet, and I continued to board the rest of the day.

I've been out twice since then, and was doing ok with it until I replayed the exact scene at wolf creek last weekend.

Breaking a rib doesn't hurt nearly as much as landing on a broken rib.

I literally couldn't breathe for about 5 minutes, and thought i might have punctured a lung, but apparently not.

Oh well...
I have two more days to heal before my next trip to keystone. I doubt that it will be enough, but hey, if Soldiers can be hard when it comes to accomplishing missions, we should surely be tough enough to drive on when we're doing things we WANT to do, right?

Monday, January 28, 2008

livin the dream...

My life right now is doing a bunch of stuff, and then snowboarding, and then doing a bunch of other stuff, and then going snowboarding again, and then more stuff, until I finally get to go snowboarding, and then... etc.

It's not that simple, but if only it could be...

Don't get me wrong, theres plenty of family time in there, especially since I took the family to get skiing and snowboarding lessons.

And I go to work, where we do whatever we have to do, and then talk about snowboarding all day.

I even watch a little TV...
mostly LOST (trying to get everyone caught up before the new season) and the Winter X Games (which has snowboarding)

Why did I wait 36 years to start snowboarding?

(I mean besides the fact that I spent most of my career in Hawaii, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee)