Friday, May 29, 2009

So Cal Track days Memorial Day weekend

Finally back to the track after nearly a year and what an epic weekend it was. I took Friday off and was able to head for Pahrump Nevada early. My bike was sporting a fresh set of Pirellis and I stripped off the mirrors and license plate. This would be the first time I put the R6 on the track and I was unmistakably excited. The rest of the corner workers showed up and we set the race trailer up for what would turn out to be a fantastic track day event.
Saturday morning came early yet I felt ready to relearn the lines of the track. I alternated with other corner workers and was able to get in some sessions in the morning. My pace was definitely slower than I have ran before but I felt smooth and controlled as I made my way around the track.
It was a blast to be back hanging with some great friends and riding together. Tom Day and Clif Sands really helped me tighten up my lines and was able to pick up speed. The R6 was really in it's element on the track, that bike loves to be pushed hard. Compared to the 01 GSXR 600 I rode before, the biggest difference was quicker turn in and stable in the corners. The bike is like a scalpel.
Changing the gearing will make a big difference as I felt the stock gearing too tall for the track.
Working the corners is enjoyable I love watching the other riders thread there way through turn 8, 9, and 10. The weather was on the warm side but very nice and conditions were optimal for tire grip. I can't say enough how much fun I had. Seeing my friends, and riding motorcycles on a track made for a memorable Memorial day weekend. Life is good!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Let the good times roll

My 47Th birthday was spent enjoying a fine day with friends and riding motorcycles. Feeling very rested and prepared, I met John and we headed east to meet up with the rest of the crew.

I was fairly generous with the throttle rolling out on the 52. We expected the turn out to be light on account of Mother's Day, but we ended up with 7 total. Rumbling through El Cajon was fun with a group of bikes, seven bikes and riders with a single purpose. In a short time we were roaring up Wildcat Canyon. The weather was conducive for riding despite a little fog. In Ramona we filled our stomachs and gas tanks and made our way up to Mt. Palomar. A new guy joined our group this Sunday and he really had a rough day. Outside of Rincon he clipped a mirror of an Excursion and luckily recovered without going down. The South grade is tight and you need to be focused. I rode smooth and felt relaxed as I chased John up the grade.

Rather than head to Julian three of us broke off and headed toward Warner Springs. The plan was to meet up with my friend from the desert, Nick. He was waiting for us at the 371/74 junction. The 74 into Hemet is a fun stretch of pavement, however it was late morning and traffic held us back. After a break at The Lookout we continued on the Ortega Hwy. to the coast.

Hanging with my riding buddies and getting in some turns was Birthday to remember.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Arai profile helmet review

I recently sold all of my street helmets. There was an issue with everyone of them, either too big or too small. I purchased a KBC helmet online and it fits great however the excessive wind noise is unsatisfactory. My riding buddy John suggested I try on his extra Arai profile and it fits perfect. We struck a deal and I was off to test the best helmet made at highway speeds.

The first thing I noticed was the overall fit and finish of the helmet. The face shield fits very flush and the interior padding is plush. The Arai is a quiet helmet for sure. Compared to the KBC it wins by a wide margin. A Quick turn of the head to check traffic at speed, this helmet doesn't move or whip your head around. I have always known that Arai makes exceptional products I just haven't been willing to cough up the big bucks. I now believe it is worth every penny!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Roll with the changes

It seems like forever since I rode last or posted a blog for that matter. Truth is it's been only 3 weeks, so it is time to update the bike journal. The regular Sunday morning ride was a mixed bag of weather and routes. I awoke at 5:30 am determined to beat John to Von's gas station, our usual meeting place. He is always there before me but today I was earlier. Things were looking up and I was feeling rested and ready to head to the East county.

We barreled down the 52 in pre-dawn darkness. There would be no sunrise today since the clocks sprang forward.The group was going to be light with only 2 others joining us for a ride to Mt. Palomar. Instead of the usual breakfast stop in Ramona it was decided to try a place in Lake Wolford. We encountered light drizzle as we wound our way up to the Lake. I figured it would burn off and not hinder our plans for Mt Palomar. By the time we got outside of Rincon and to the base of the South grade it was obvious we would avoid the slippery conditions and head to Borrego instead. I struggled most of the day to stay on pace and focus on smooth riding. My new helmet was distracting me with excessive wind noise and a less than snug fit. Despite the wet conditions and distractions I was glad to see the familiar Borrego Valley again. The Desert is blooming and we could see fields of yellow on our way to Yaqui pass. Even with the less than ideal conditions I still felt a sense of accomplishment. I am looking forward to next Sunday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

From the Beach to Borrego and back

We changed our normal ride to Mt. Palomar are account of the bicycle race last Sunday. As much as I admire Lance Armstrong, avoiding the traffic snarl was more important. John and I left at 7 a.m. and planned on having breakfast at Potrero. Otay Lakes is a fun section and we enjoyed mild temps. in the 60's. After coffee and gigantic breakfast burritos we were back on the bikes and heading east on the 94. The ride through the Laguna mountains was refreshing. Still plenty of snow from the last storm. Moderate to heavy traffic coupled with debris in the corners slowed our pace as we wound our way to Julian. Pointing our bikes east on Hwy. 78 we headed down the Banner grade. This stretch of pavement is filled with sharp turns, ideal for sport bikes. Blasting through Ranchita in triple digits I was keeping fingers crossed we would not encounter the law.

Aw Ha, there it was! Montezuma grade. I was looking forward to attacking this twisty two lane all morning. John and I matched each other turn for turn and quickly arrived in Borrego Springs.

We took another route back to the beach. In Descanso we topped off the tanks and headed to Japatul road. Other than the annoyance of slow traffic, we enjoyed this Sunday ride.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mid-week solo ride to the Desert

I needed to bid on painting project in the Coachella Valley today. Rather than be stuck in a "cage" for several hours, I decided to jump on the bike instead. The warm Santa Ana weather is a distant memory and has been replaced with more seasonal temps. Heading out at 8a.m. in low forty degree weather would require some layering. I broke out a mix of snowboard apparel and warm riding gear. I was surprisingly warm rolling up the Interstate 5. It felt good to sneak in a ride when normally I would be spreading paint on a Wednesday morning. Last weekend we got rained out on our usual jaunt to Mt.Palomar so I was eager to get in some saddle time. The freeway portion is monotonous but before I knew I was back on two lane pavement at Temecula. In the back of my mind I was a bit anxious knowing that it snowed several inches in the local mountains. I figured by 9:30 a.m. it would be warm enough to avoid icy conditions. Anza was blanketed with the white stuff and made for a picturesque view on both side of the road. The clean air, light traffic, and scenery was exactly what I needed to clear away the clutter in my mind. I stopped at the top of Hwy. 74 and snapped a quick shot before heading down to the Desert floor. After conducting my business I enjoyed the trip back to the beach. Having an alternative to driving a car will always be a good thing!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Product review: Hein Gericke Hiprotech gloves

Finding a premium racing glove under a hundred dollars can be next to impossible. I stumbled across a rare deal on these racing gloves last week. Browsing around the parts department at Quinsey Motorsports I spotted a few pairs of Hein Gericke gloves. Luckily one of the pairs was a medium.
Hein Gericke is a German company that has been manufacturing riding gear for over 30 years. I was impressed with the overall quality. Pre-curved fingers, carbon fiber knuckles, and dual wrist enclosures are some of the features found in these moto mitts. Break in time was almost non-existent.
The combination of kangaroo and cow hide allow for a supple, comfortable fit. After one 250 mile ride the finger and palm areas stretched into perfect form. Iam a fan of Hein Gericke. I feel like I got great deal on a serious racing glove.