Got to soutwick just before 10am. Gave Phil a buzz and he was 6 minutes out so I waited for him to show before I unloaded and geared up. Right on time Phil shows up and we get signed in and he points out the important stuff, like where the track is and how to get on it properly. Sounds silly but even after him telling me I found it just a little confusing as how to get on and I hate to be the idiot thats going the wrong way, or the one they talk about "How the fuck did he manage to do that?"
I get to the starting gate and sit for a few, watch the bikes go around and get a general feel for the pulse of track. It seems everyone is pretty laid back and just doing what they want. Some are going hard at it, others are taking it easy. No one seems to mind what the others riding style is. This is good as I want to go out and just go around the track nice and easy the first time but was worried about being the slow noob on the track.
Starting line Brap Brap!!!
Here I am bikes running I'm geared up and ready to do my first lap on an official motocross track. I start off down the start line nice and easy and reach the funnell into the track.Stop and wait for some bikes to go, No one coming ok here I go... Pull out onto the track get ready for the first turn, get up on the tank lean that body over the front end....Wham I'm on my ass
.. WTF?!?!?!?! Oh wait this is sand...Damn It!!! Get back on the bike and get going again and prepare for the next turn. Stand up, ass back, no front brake and stay on the throttle, any unsteadiness means more gas...and... Made it through
Now mind you I was probably only doing 2 or 3 miles an hour but it felt fast
The track, which is all sand, was horrible and wonderful at the same time. Its been so dry there is nothing that could be done with it grooming wise. Some spots were probably 10 or 12 inches of loose sand I thought it was all soft but Phil claims he found the one spot that wasn't. He came to that conclusion after a get off that took him off the bike for the rest of the day. It seemed that most everyone could only do about 3 laps before coming back off to rest. You had to fight the bike everywhere. To me that was a plus as it made for a very steep learing curve. I learend to ride sand in a 1/2 lap and felt very experienced at it after just a handful of laps. By experienced I mean I sucked just as much in sand as I do at every other type of terrain or my riding was limited by me, not the track surface.
The rest of the day consisted of me doing between 2-4 laps and taking a water break and letting my arms un pump then going back out. Watching the videos when I got home I was happy with my progression. My first laps had me around a 5 minute lap time, yes I know I suck, and the last ones which was maybe half way through had me down to about 2.5 minutes, yes I know I still suck.
The best part of the day and I wish I had a picture or video of it was when my family showed up. the, wife, kids and dog decided to take the 90 mile trip and show me some support. As I came around one turn there they were on the other side of the fence each holding a sign. K E N. Made my day, !!!!!!!! Shortly after that I went down again but this time almost went head first into the bottom of the dryed up pond that you can see at the 10second mark of my crash video.. Feeling I was really tired out by this time, I decided it would be best to stop for the day. I didn't think I could gain any more experience as I could basically just sit on the bike and putt around.. So marked the end of MX Day
Phil was kind enough to let me try his YZ125 around the track and this helped me figure out somethings about my own bike, Most I knew but it confirmed my suspicions. Riding on the MX track itself led me to the initial discovery of the problems with the bike. My times on the YZ were probably close to the same but what I discoverd was that the YZ did not exhaust me like my 200 did. I could do a complete lap standing and pushing it vs the KTM where at about a 1/2 lap I was starting to get tired.
The shifter on the KTM requires me to lift my whole foot off the peg to upshift, I was aware of this but it never caused too much of a problem, I actually tried to adjust it down a spline but when I did it hits the frame before it will down shift.. Im going to try just replacing the shifter I hope its bent otherwise there is a chance the shift crap inside the motor is worn.
The new boots I got have left me searching for the brake pedal. More testing and investigation is required to determine if the pedal is bent in too much or if Im just un coordinated.
The bars are too low I need to raise them. When standing I am leaned over putting a bunch of weight on my forearms creating pretty much instant arm pump.
Grips. You can't hold on to old worn out grips... I now understand when people talk about bike ads that say never raced and you are better off with one that is. Stuff that you can get away with on a weekend rider you cant if you want to race and be any good at it. while on that subject the owner of REP who did my forks was at the track.. He told me why the bike felt so fucked up before. Somewhere along the line someone used a vice grip to work on the internals and stripped the crap out of one of the bolts.. the forks were filled with chunks of aluminum which got lodged in the valves keeping them stuck open... I pulled the rear shock off this am.. It's in a box and will be on the way to REP Tomorrow.
Again I learned just how out of shape I was. It continues to amaze me that I can reach a level of exhaustion in 2-3 minutes on a motorcycle that I cant reach jogging a few miles, doing basic exercises or even some of the pretty hard manual labor jobs that I often find myself doing. I need to ride more both for the experience and for the physical conditioning. I came off the track with a determination to do so. So Im giving up tagging and cruising and recreational riding. The hours I spend or should say used to spend doing that will be replaced with real off road riding. I'm all in .. 2012 Kenny61 is going racing