Monday, January 3, 2011

put down the torch and ride

Over the past few years Wilson, Doug and I have been doing a bit of ice riding... I won't call it ice racing (yet) as we still go pretty slow, and I think only once did we have 3 serviceable bikes running at once.  The winter does a number on machines normally designed to run above freezing, with my ttr being the most reticent to start and idle when it is far below zero.  The good news is, keeping the 125 running at -15 degrees celcius is easy, you just pin it... and "pinning it" with 11 hp is not too dangerous!  My ttr again was the only machine that would run properly this day, with Wilson borrowing it in the fall and doing some magic with the carburetor -- his bike, Doug's thump pitbike would only seem to run on choke, and only until his rear tire went flat.  My tires have stayed airtight for a few years now, mainly due to running 3/8" koldkutters and lining the tire with a mountainbike tire between the maxxis and the tube.  A pain to put on, but it seems to be working.
Of course, to "dress for success" in the cold Canadian winter requires some specialized equipment -- layers are good, lined coveralls are nice, with a neckroll, big boots, leather mitts/gauntlets, and definately a full-face helmet.  Of course, said helmet needs the visor open at all times... see "frozen boogers" below...

As usual, Wilson did all the work as the track is actually a frozen slough near his place.  The owner, who rides a Harley and is good friends with Wilson lets us out and ignores us while we make noise.  On occasion he comes by and chats, shakes his head and says we're both crazy.  With noses running due to the cold, and then freezing to our upper lips and chin, and even forming booger-based icicles on our helmet chinbars, he's probably right.  In order to create the 5-turn masterpiece, Wilson went out with a snowblower and carved out a circuit on the frozen pond, cutting though several inches of snow with the consistency of concrete.  Well, Estoril was booked this weekend, so we would make do with this!  This is a pic of me taken by Wilson -- note the perfect form and massive speed.  Better than playing MotoGp on the Wii.
This is a short video I took of Wilson early in the day.  It will give you a sense of the incredible speed and massive talent he possesses.  A little known fact is that Wilson raced dirt track in 1981.  I was 10 years old at the time... as you can see, the passage of time has not dulled his sliding skills.  How this transfers to racing a TZ250 remains to be seen.

Next we have a shorter video of me taken by Wilson.  Hmmm, a bit sketchy -- I suppose I'm having a hard time coping with the horsepower of the bike.  By the end of the session, we were both turning competitive laptimes (around the 25 second mark) but were getting tired and falling down a bit.  The front tire was also starting to push quite a bit -- investigation showed the kold kutters on the left side of the tire were starting to pull out somewhat.  With no dunlop tire technician on site, we decided to call it a day.  Future plans are getting my 150 out on some proper tires for some more fun.  What did YOU do yesterday?
BTW, it's -25 degrees celcius today -- that's -13 fahrenheit.  Stay warm, I'm going out into the garage...

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