The long over due update.

Update: Sorry it’s going to be a long one…

It’s been ages, since I posted an update. Um, just over a year to be more accurate. So I figured that I needed to get my act together and get it done. It’s been a pretty busy year at that!

Some of these things I’ll break out and post up a picture page for, since there was a lot cool things to see.

So starting with July 2016:

I was still new rider director, so I was busy instructing at the track for all the SMRI events.

There was some dual sport riding with the Triumphs in Taos group. A great bunch of people, and a fun weekend of riding.

I also worked as an instructor for the All Girls day down at Arroyo Seco, in October. A really fun day working with some 40 women on bikes.

There was the Rubber Chicken Ride in Oct as well. I had an amazing time doing those rides, right up until I got cross rutted at about 40mph. I landed on my head. I ended up with headaches for about 7 months after that. Had to have an MRI, I did take a bit of time off from riding during the late fall/early winter.  But was still doing more than I should have been.

In Oct I took a dirt school with West38Moto, this ended up being a great thing for me. I got way more comfortable riding the Tiger off road. Also the riding I did with a local endro racer doing dual sport rides, and the instruction I received from him, helped me land an instructing gig with West38. I still have a great deal to learn, but you’ve gotta start somewhere!

I spent the winter doing a great deal of off road riding on the Husky and the Tiger, it helped me make some great progress with my dirt riding. I’ll even go so far as to say all that dirt riding has helped me with the track and street riding.

I did a long weekend trip down to Big Bend. Did some dirt riding with a group of guys from TX, that I met in the bar the first night there. Poor guys, they had no idea if I could ride or not, but they let me tag along with them.

There was the better part of a month spent helping get Jim and David ready for the Sonora rally. I really wished I could have gone with them, but it was a boys trip. ;-P
I had my long time BFF from Alaska come down for a visit. I forced her to get back on her dirt bike and go riding with me.

There was the Brewsday family trip to Moab for a week. I really got some great riding in there. I also ended up with a kidney infection… not so great, but at least it was at the end of the trip so I didn’t have to miss out on much.

After that was instructing for West38 for a VERY large group. It was an awesome time. That was followed up by a trip to Flagstaff for the Overland expo. It was there I was interviewed for an article on me by Women’s ADV. Second article in 6 months, the New Mexican did a story on Jaime and I about our trip to Alaska.

I did do a race in Deming in March, I wanted to see if I could still ride a race bike. It was slow in coming back to me, but I did finally during the last race manage to pull out some better lap times.

I’ve not done much racing compared to the past few years. I had decided to not chase any championships, since I was going to miss a couple of SMRI races during my trip to Alaska and Canada. I did end up doing couple when I got back. In addition to doing the race schools and the track day schools for the club.

After 10 years of racing I decided at the end of 2016 that I need to take a real break from the club. I stepped down from the New Rider Director position. I also decided to make it a relatively clean break too. I stopped going to must of the events, for no other reason than, I just needed to re-evaluate if it was something that I wanted to keep doing.

For 2017 I had been planning doing only 4 races during the 2017 season. One with each of the clubs. (SMRI, MRA, ASMA, and USBA) It didn’t quite work out that way, but I’m pretty pleased with how things have gone.

I ended up riding at 1 track day and did some instructing, I also did some races the next day.  Had great time, but wasn’t happy with how I rode in the races. It confirmed that I really did need to step back from there and work on my riding, instead of spending so much time teaching.  Also that I really needed time away from that track, it just doesn’t hold my interest anymore.

I did some instructing at Sandia for some track riders and a couple of racers. I really enjoyed doing that, and I’ll try to do more of it for the 2018 season.

In July 2017 I went with W38M to scout the UT BDR (Uath Backcountry Discovery Route). BDRs are really nice dual sport routes designed for larger dual sport bikes. It is about camping and riding a great deal of dirt, the routes are set up to be around 7 days long. We were riding from north to south on the UT one down to Green River. It was a challenge for me, as well as a learning experience, I would have NEVER done a lot of the on the Tiger without the support that I had with the group. I’m hoping to get to go along on the Baja rides they are going to do in 2018. There were some really tricky moments for me, but I didn’t fall or drop the bike a single time!!!

After we made it to Green River it was a ride on the road back up to SLC so we could run the Booth during the BMW MOA Rally. I’ve never gone to one, so I really wanted to work the booth each day, and see what it was about. There were some great vendors there, I also managed to pick up a sponsor for the racing!!

In between all this I was doing some more instructing at the track, a few days of instructing for dirt riding, and I was coaching MSF classes. It wasn’t like I wasn’t getting any riding in this year. Lol.

I needed the track time, to get ready for the MRA 4 hr Endurance race weekend. Jaime and I head up for that one. We tried hard to get some others to go with us, but alas everyone else bailed out. Had a great time, I was dropping time with each session. I managed to get down to my personal best time by the last day and finished 4th in the LOR race. I was really pleased with the weekend.

Next up was more dual sport riding up in Meeker, CO for the TrailTaker Rally. I took the Husky up for this one, good thing too. I came back with some nasty bruises from falling down a few rock faces. I went up alone with my Toy Hauler. Met some really great people from CO, ID and UT. Had really nice rides for 4 days.

September was a pretty quiet month, there was just work and an overnight camping trip with the local Triumph Tiger Troop. I finally got to see some of the sights in the eastern side of the state. Had a great time getting to know that group better.
After that weekend I spent the next two weekends getting my MSF certification updated so I could teach the new BRCu curriculum. I really like the way it laid out and that we are going to be using the ecourse. I think the range exercises are better too!

So that brings me up to date and to October! I was really luck to start the month off helping Jim and David get ready to run the Baja Rally.

I rode down to Baja with Jim. I got to drive his earthroamer around Baja from campsite to campsite. Talk about scary…. That thing is huge! Then add on an 8×14 trailer, Mexico roads and drivers. Yiikkes! It was the first time I’ve gotten to go to Mexico. It was an experience. The roads are narrow, don’t have any shoulders. There was also the border crossing at Tijuana, holy cow what a zoo! It took hours. The flight back was long, but without drama. I liked that latter part. I wasn’t detained at the border so that a good thing.

Next up are some MSF classes, a couple of W38M Classes, an ASMA race, Thanksgiving, and a Hogs on the High Seas Cruise. My first cruise ever. It’s all Lori’s fault, it’s what she wanted to do for turning 50 this year. I’m looking forward to doing some scuba diving!

Kicking off the 2016 Race Season

Our first event for the club for 2016 was the BMW sponsored track day.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day, for the first time in about 5 years the weather cooperated with us.  The day was perfect!

The only downside I can come up with was the number of people who fell down during the day.  We had 10 crashes, which is 10 too many in my book.  Two of them where the same person on two different bikes.  I’m thinking that he was just pushing a bit too much for his first day back out on the track.  I’m really pleased that none of the crashes where students that I worked with.  Goes to show that my program does work.

I spent my morning on a drift bike… not really but every time I went to the throttle the back of the bike stepped out.  I did manage to get a lot of use out of that tire.  Two Race days last year, two track days at Sandia, a track day at Arroyo last year, a few laps and a race day at Arroyo this year and that morning.  The tire looked great, just looking at it you would think it had lots of life left, it just wasn’t hooking up.   After I figured out what it was I started to play with it and making it step out on purpose in a few of the turns.  I just wasn’t about to take the bike into the expert group and try to put down some really hot laps with it.

Once I put a different rear tire on at lunch I did get out for some hot laps, it felt great to get some fast laps in.  I’m going to need to a lot more of those if I am going to do any racing at all this season.  I’m still in teaching mode and rolling off way too soon for a few of the turns.  In all it was a really great day.  I hope the next track day is just as nice.

Free All Girls Day!

Now I have never been able to pass up free track time. This one wasn’t any different.  Besides, it’s been a couple of years since I was down to Arroyo Seco.  I think the last time I was there it snowed…  There was no way I was going stay way from this event, the weather was going to be perfect.

I took Rachael down with me, she was the reason I taught the last New Racer school.  She wanted to get to another track and was thinking about sleeping in her car.  I figured there would be plenty of room in the trailer for both of us.  I just hadn’t planned on not being able to get into the track.  We had to camp outside the fence for the night… it made unloading the bikes undesirable.  We we improvised with how to sleep around the bikes.  The one down side to this trailer when you aren’t traveling alone.

The next morning we got in to the gate pretty early, the only ones who beat us in were the poor couple who had tried to sleep in a tent next to us that night.  They gave up at about 4 am and moved into the truck so they could warm up.  It was pretty cold that night, so I’m glad the bikes stayed in the trailer with us and the heat.

I spent the first 1/2 hour figuring out how to ride the 675 around the track figuring out where I wanted my lines.  It really came back quicker then that but heck I just wanted to stay out there for a while before I began to track people down to help them.

The first girl I started with is the one who went off the track in the first 10 minutes,  they got her back out there so I had her follow me around after I spent some time talking with her about how to think about riding at the track.  It is different then riding on the street, but it really does help you once you get back out on the streets.  I spent close to an hour with her.  By the time she had to go for the day she was back to grinning from ear to ear and excited about coming back out!  After that I just went out and rode around until I came across someone who I figured I could help in some manner.  I think by the end of the day I had managed to work with all but a couple of the ladies.

Overall, they were really happy to get the help and said for some reason it made more sense coming from me than it did when their boyfriend or spouse tried to get them to do the same things.  🙂  I am really hoping that I can make it to the one next year and help Roger grow the event a bit more.

 

 

Sunsets, Nick and Mark

Catchy title, eh?

I decided to head up to PMP (Pueblo Motorsports Park) to observe and help Nick with the Sunset rider’s clinics he does up there.  He’s a very dynamic instructor, I was hoping to see if he had any new drills, that I might be able to use with the classes down here.  I got there later then  would have liked, but I had to get some things fixed on the trailer.  The shop opened up late that day so I was behind.

Once I got there Nick told me to go get reacquainted with the track.  I hadn’t been on the track in over 3 years, they had also changed up the last turn.   I really do love that layout, it’s not as wide as I remembered it being.  There was a couple of times, hard on the gas coming out of turns I was a lil worried about running out of track.  😀   Turns out that they didn’t have enough students for Mark to ride the demos so he offered me up to ride them.  I loved it!  Riding a few of the turns backward was trippy, esp, the first time through, after that I had a great deal of fun with it.

I had hoped to get some track time with Mark on Sunday, but the weather just hasn’t been the best for it.  I had to stop running demos once the track surface was wet…. wet pavement with cold race slicks is just a really bad idea.  I’ve gotten a bit wiser with age, no matter what anyone else says.   Mark, Tammy and I camped at the track that night so we could catch up a bit.  I’ve missed them a great deal.  They are at the top of my favorite people list.  After a few margaritas, some chatting, it was off to get some sleep so we could ride in the am.  I was convinced the track was going to dry off by the morning.  ha.

It rained more overnight,  there was standing water all over.  Again, race slicks… not going out there with water around.  Instead we headed off to breakfast, got to chat more about riding, racing, and the usual track rumors.  I learned a few new things about the trailer and that the batteries, will not last over night if it’s really cold out.  The bike slept in the trailer with me, mainly because it’s Pueblo.  I wouldn’t leave anything out that I wanted to keep.  It was a fun lil trip with the trailer.

Training Day for Jaime

The only nice things about working on the weekends is being able to go to the track on a week day and have the whole thing to your self!   Well almost to myself, I took Jaime down there with me.  She and I worked on her downshifts, corner entries, and practiced a few starts.  In all a great way to kill a day off.

A Monday off = track time!

I haven’t been able to do a Monday at the track in over two years.  I ended up working on Sunday so I took Monday off.  I would have rather had the OT, but since that is limited, I’ll take the track time.  😀

Jaime showed up at my place really early… ick! I’m so not a morning person, but the idea of going to the track and not work made it almost enjoyable.  After loading her gear in the track we headed down to the track.  We ended up with the place to ourselves up until the last 1 hour we where there.

I worked with Jaime on getting her to stop rushing the entrance to turn 7 on the std config. It’s scary to watch her do that, it puts her on a path to hit the K wall.  Never a good thing.  She was finally getting her body off the bike, getting her shifting done in better spots, and getting her self set up earlier.  The only thing that showed up was her wanting to get hard on the gas with some lean angle.  I now totally get why Mark fussed at me over that a few years ago.  It really does almost make your heart stop.

I did get a few hot laps in while we where there.  It was great to be able to carry pace through turn 7.  I even got my knee down in the hair pin twice, and I never put my left knee down.

SMRI June Track day

Finally some nice warm weather for our time at the track!!!  It was much easier to run the school this time, I’m sure it had something to do with only having one student and no rain delays.  I even had two students for the Sunset clinics, that got rained out.  Neither of them wanted to be out in the rain trying new things for the first time.  I can’t blame them, I wasn’t over the moon about them doing it either.  I don’t like that surface when it’s wet.

I did manage to get in some needed hot laps for the new configuration.  I wasn’t close to my best time but at least I wasn’t running super slow this time.

I did do another race school, this time I had 3 but only 1 showed.  It’s frustrating to have that happen.  It gave me time to help him, work on drills with him and still have time for my riding.  In all I kind of liked it.

I did finally get my new leathers the Thursday before.  I was pretty bummed when I pulled them from the box.  They looked huge, and when I put them on…. they were huge.  They are about 6 inches too big in waist and 3 in the legs and the legs are too long so the armour isn’t in the right spots for my knees.  I call they asked for pictures of how they fit.  I just hope they step up and fix them.  Otherwise I’m going to have to find someone else to modify them to fit.  I really hate the idea of having to modify custom leathers.

SMRI May track day

I can’t believe that for second time we were looking a rain for a track day!  This is like the 5th time in 8  years that we had to deal with rain.  The April track day was canceled before anyone turned a wheel on the track.  This time, we had nice weather when we go there, things were drying out from the night before and it looked promising.  Only to have it start raining again just as we started the rider’s meeting.  We delayed for an hour, got the track dry, ran 3 groups and had to stop for lunch.  Not a promising start to the day.  We had one more round of rain come through and then…. the clouds parted and we had mostly sunny weather for the rest of the day.  There was wind, but with all that rain there wasn’t any blowing dirt!  Bonus.  We finally got to run sessions and get everyone one some good time on the track.

This was the first round for me in my new position with the club.  I managed in all the delays to hook all the new racer students up with Mentors, since all the ones who had said they would help didn’t show for the day….  Disappointing.  I had some of the new experts step up and they did a fantastic job helping the new racers learn the ropes.  They ran through their drills we discussed things as they came up.  I had enough time to circulate and watch over everyone, spend some time with my student who was already a racer, but wanted to do the school again.  She didn’t need as much time as the others.  She made some good steps in the right direction.

At the end of the day we ran the mock race, they all thought it was going to be a 6 lap race, but I had them throw the red flag before then.  Everyone did great and they all past their written test.  So for our race the next day we had 7 new racers!!!!

Back up to speed, well kind of, but not really…

I had forgotten just how much fun it can be to have the track ALL to yourself.  You can do whatever you want. Focus just on one corner, running back and forth until you have it down.

I got some time at Sandia a couple of weekends ago.  It was just myself and one other person.  I went out with Kelcey to mark some points along the track for drills for the New Racer School and for the track days.  We walked the track talking about the unique issues that is has.  I hadn’t done that in a couple of years.  It was a good reminder of why I needed to be in certain spots on the track.  The best example of that is the Std Config turn #2, there is a bump coming off the large oval that if you are on the brakes as you go over it.  You will unload the bikes suspension and end up riding the front tire right off the track.  I’ve actually done just that my first year racing and so have a number of other racers.  Our previous NRD fractured his pelvis doing just that.

It took about an hour of playing for me to finally get my knee down in Turn 6, for some reason that is the easiest for me.  Then I got turn 5, followed by turn 1.  I was so happy I decided to call it a day at that point.  I really only get my knee on the ground when I’m running just under the 1 minute mark there.  So I’ve got some work to do to get back to the 57s I usually run, but at least I’m getting closer.

 

Finally back on the bikes!!

So I hadn’t ridden the dirt bike since 4th of July.  I was a bit concerned about falling with it after having C6 and C7 in my neck fused.  So an opportunity to do an off road class came up with Divide Ride Adventures, it was a dual sport riding class set up by a friend of mine for women.

I have to say, I was really rusty and I was pretty nervous about riding again. By the end of the day I was feeling pretty good and almost back to normal. I’ve done a few more rides on the dirt bike and played at the MX park. I’m actually riding it better then I did before the wreck now.  I was really worried about falling at first, but I’ve now done that in the deep sand two weeks ago, so now I’m no longer worrying about what will happen to me if I fall.  It’s surprising how once you stop worrying about falling, riding is actually easier.   

The street bike I’ve gotten to take out 3 times now for longer rides and I’ve been trying to ride to work every day for a month now. The first couple of weeks it was a pain in the neck. It’s gotten much better now, I think it was a lack of strength issue that made it so uncomfortable at the start. I’m still not totally comfortable riding it at higher speeds, but I’m thinking that will get better over time too.

I have also gotten back on the race bike. I went over to Inde Motorsports Ranch to guest instruct with the YCRS over there. Getting back to speed () on the track is going to take more time. It wasn’t until the second day that I finally started to move off the bike, and carry some decent speed, but no where near what I can do. That is super frustrating, and as usual the more I tried the less progress I made.

So I’m just going to take it slow. I’ve got some private track time this weekend at my home track lined up. I’m just going to go out and play, it should help me get comfortable again. It would also help if I had had my own leathers. But, my new suit isn’t done yet and my other one was destroyed in the crash. I’ve gotten it repaired but the guy told me he  wouldn’t recommend using it unless there wasn’t another option. He doesn’t think it will offer up much protection.  I hope the new one is done before the track day!!!

I’m looking forward to our first track day in April. It’s going to be busy and exhausting. In Oct. I was elected to the New Rider Director position for the race club. That means I am teaching all the schools. That day I have a race school, a track day school, and a street clinic going on. So much for me getting time to work on me. On the other hand I won’t have time to over think it and worry about my riding. I’m just going to have to knuckle down and teach. I enjoy that.