More Twitter Wordles!

Oh, snap!... new twitter wordles!  Apparently "engine" is one of my most blogged words.  ROFL.


The Bay Tour

A friend flies planes and took me up for a tour over San Francisco last night.  Great sunset trip starting in Palo Alto, up the peninsula over San Francisco, over Marin and down over Oakland, touching down in San Jose, then back up the peninsula.  Living in San Francisco as a single person in my mid-thirties is definitely a Peter Pan experience.  All my friends have exotic and expensive hobbies.  I love it.  Here are some picture...

WERA West - Cal Speedway and Las Vegas Rounds One and Two

Racing in January is strange.  Feels too early to be race season already?  Here's updates...

I forked my twitter profiles and broke off motorcycle related tweeting to a new profile.  Follow me there for more timely updates, we'll see how much I can keep after this blogging thing this year:

Clicky, Click!

Scrambling to get the new bike together by January for WERA round one, I was driving down to Los Angeles calling every Yamaha dealer from San Francisco to LA on the way hoping to find someone with a clutch lever bushing for a 2008 Yamaha R1.  Fortunately Yamaha motor america is located in Cypress, California and I'm only a couple degrees of separation away from someone who works there.  Made it to the track in time to race, with a bike that was race ready.  Most of December was a sprint to get the bike together, so fairly amazing that I even got down there ready to ride.

Suspension is installed but not tuned, it might take me half the season to really get my suspension behaving like it should.  It's a game of millimeters.  Still, with a net new bike, all my handiwork in December putting the bike together in question, and no familiarity with the glitches of this particular machine... I was able to muster a 3rd place and a 6th place at Fontana for the WERA West season opener.  This is my first season racing as an Expert - so competition will be much more fierce this year.  To calibrate, the fastest guys on the grid in my races are pro, former pro, or about to be pro.  All in all, couldn't have hoped for better.  Not a bad start to the 2011 season!

Then round two at the end of January took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  I didn't place as well, but had fun, kept the bike upright, and got to be on the track at the same time as one of the fastest guys in the world... Jason DiSalvo (#40 below, me following... well trying to follow... ha!)

Also, I got a couple sponsorship offers at the start of the season, some formal and some informal.  I got a great brake sponsorship offer from EBC, they are already my favorite brakes but now they're paying me to ride with them?!?  w00t!.  Mission Motorcycles is my Yamaha shop of choice, they do great work and are awesome people.  Keigwins and Pirelli also help me a little, and are generally great to work with.

Also got some on board video from the Las Vegas round I'm still trying to find, hope to post it up here soon...

Dyno Tuning A Race Bike

First thing I did with the new race bike was dyno burn it in.  When any motor is new, the valves haven't completely set yet, and during the first few hundred miles on the engine it will settle in.  Valves seat with compression on the engine, the "engine braking" action that happens when you take your foot off the accelerator and put negative pressure through the system.  The momentum of the engine propels it forward, not the ignition.  Think pull vs. push.

Horsepower is important on a race bike, and properly seated valves make better horsepower than improperly seated ones.  So the first fifty miles on my bike and first three oil changes were done on a dyno at Mammoth Motorsports North of San Francisco by about an hour.  $250 and a day later, I gained three horsepower.  Dyno graphs later if I can find time to scan in my maps.  I'm at 152 rear wheel horsepower.  This puts me well under some of the newest bikes and tricked out bikes which make over 200 hp, but overall it's a lot for a bike that weighs about 570 lbs full of gas with rider.


What's That You Say? I Have A Blog?

I guess proof that I'm becoming uni-dimensional and incapable of discussing any topic that does not in some way involve motorcycles...  I have abandoned this blog basically since 2010 race season wrapped up.  Hilarious.  Let's catch up...

Spent the racing off-season, well... still scrambling around doing racing related things!  No exciting exotic holiday adventure travels this year, I stuck around Seattle visiting family.  Which was great!  I have trips planned this year already to Ireland, South Korea and Hong Kong though... so I'm still aiming darts at the map and trying to get to new places.

Working in computer security has maybe made me paranoid, or I'm just getting older and trying to build more figurative parachutes and seat belts into everything I'm doing staving off disaster scenarios.  Or I have zero impulse control and was simply tempted by a screaming bargain.  Whatever the cause, I ended up purchasing a second race bike in December.  It's exactly the same bike as my other race bike, now when I drive up to 15 hours away to a track in another state, a simple mechanical failure won't keep me from being able to race for that weekend.  I'll be bringing both bikes to the track with me for most races this year.  Disaster Recovery/ Business Continuity Planning at it's finest... my security friends would be so proud.

Financially, a race bike might something like this:

Bike.............  $8300 (new model bike is more, this is a 2008)
Shock..........  $900
Forks...........  $1100
Exhaust......    $2000
Body work...  $1000 (fiberglass and paint)
Electronics ... $500
Other stuff*... $2000

* clipons, rearsets, brake lines, brakes, tires, sliders, number plates, tuning, etc.

So I spent much of December evenings and weekend in my garage putting this bike together, and got it out racing early January already.  Health permitting, this year I will be doing all AFM races and all WERA West races.  Basically double the races I did last year, and expanding to some tracks in Las Vegas, Utah, Southern California, and all the local Northern California tracks.  I'm getting professional coaching, and will basically put in as much practice time as humanly possible for a person with a serious day job.

I feel like I'm living vibrantly racing bikes.  I get clues from the outside world about this...  When my truck is loaded up and heading to the track, I get all kinds of looks and stares.  Especially from meat heads, little boys and old men.  When old guys are looking on I like to imagine they're thinking, "go get 'em... and give 'em hell" Realistically they're probably thinking, "what the f*ck is that clown doing...?  he's not going to live to be my age...."  Ha, ha.  Either way, I'll take it.