So stop by and say hi to Shawn and Phuc! I won’t be there.
Shorai Inc., the leader in the design, development and manufacture of lithium starter batteries, announced the company will be in attendance at the fourth-annual American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo), the powersports industry’s largest trade and consumer show in North America. Shorai will be showcasing its LFX™ batteries alongside OEMs, distributors, parts and accessories manufacturers and dealers to celebrate motorcycling, the motorcycling lifestyle and the business of motorcycling with consumers and media. The AIMExpo will take place Oct. 13-16, 2016, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Shorai will be in booth #2116.
I disappeared in Fall of 2011, so not much to catch up on for that year. It was a crazy year. I wound up selling my house in SoCal in November, which was a bit traumatic but you know how it is, you have to do what you have to do. A lot of changes to my life that Fall, so I basically stopped writing and just chose activities to escape reality, so to speak. That and as it turns out, I had thoroughly caught the racing bug that year and the race season was coming to a close. I had won the 2011 WERA West Women’s Super Stock Novice Championship, and preparations were already beginning for the next year.
August – Did some filming for streetluge with a few friends. We were baking in our leathers. Long day.
What happened, you ask? Uh, racing. Really, I have no excuse other than I was racing. And general life responsibilities. BUT, I did get the 2011/2012/2013 Novice Women’s Superstock Championship (I know, I know, I have to move up to expert). Although I didn’t get to attend the last round in Las Vegas, I finished 5th in B Superstock Novice and 6th in C Superstock Novice. I was hoping for 3rd, but the old C-horse just couldn’t keep up on the bigger tracks and I simply could not make it to Las Vegas. I made it to every round except the final. Incidentally, Miller was FANFARGINTASTIC!!!
So, yeah. I acted like the horse that got itself out of the paddock and went bonkers. Why am I not going bonkers now? Because I can’t afford to race this year 😉 And if I do, I will be racing AFM on some tracks I have never even been on.
Honestly, I also need another bike. I would looooove the Kawasaki ZX6R. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to test the 2013 ZX6R at Autoclub Speedway and it was glorious. I had been on the 2005 ZX10R and the 2011 ZX10R regularly before testing a customer’s 636 and I tell you what…the first time I touched my left knee in T13 (on street tires), I heard the trumpets of angels. This was NOT my old 2003 636, nosireebob. You know the old, and familiar, clunky shifting into 1st gear from neutral. NO more. That schtuff got sorted. In fact, I often wondered if I had even gone into gear. The first time I put it into first gear, expecting that nasty *CHUNK*, but instead experienced the quiet, I immediately thought “what sorcery is this??” It was like the engineers finally got rid of the thorn in kawa owners’ sides. Now, if Honda could just get onto the bandwagon and add a slipper clutch, we’d be in business.
So, yes. I was cheating on the seahorse and testing bikes up, down, and sideways. And not only Kawas. I rode a few others as well. Did not like the few R6’es I tried. Granted, they were set up for racers I knew and I am sure it would have felt more stable at speed, but I was not going to pin it on another’s bike. I tried three R6’es and, laughingly, I found that a street version with cruddy tires, felt the most comfortable.
I also tried a GSXR. No. Your tank is too tall. Fail.
I tried a Triumph. I cannot afford you and your parts are more difficult to get than an older inline 4. I am sorry.
The KTM RC8R – Didn’t test it, just had to ride it for the sighting laps for Fastrackriders (and only after I signed a paper stating that if I break, I buy). That’s a whole lotta bike that I don’t need, it is a bit tippy for my taste, the brakes are AWESOME, but the power delivery seemed a bit off with the throttle. With an aftermarket cam system, I’d have been happier. It feels like a 600 in weight and flickability, but it has the bite of a liter bike I had to respect. I need more seat time to really say whether or not I like it. Plus money, money, money…and all sorts of other excuses to stay on a Honda.
Except for you, sweet Yamaha WR250X, I love thee and would never abandon ye. Wait, what? I didn’t tell you I bought a 2009 WR250X Motard?? I did, I bought Eric’s WR off of him awhile back. And I LOVE it. It is my favorite bike, for the street. I also bought a CRF150R and raced a few times on it (one Enduro, and the Elsinore GP), as well as a 2002 Honda RC51 SP2 that is being fixed up. Geez. I have been MIA.
The reason I decided to make a post after such a long break was also because I took off on my first real weekend ride of the season and had so much to share about it. The weather is amazing in the Bay Area (oh yeah, I moved.) The green moss is so velvety and it is covering almost everything. The springs and rivers are running, the temperatures are just getting warm enough. Yes, folks, it’s that time again to get your streetbikes out of the garage and take off on a little adventure. Or two.
I will post a bit in the following days about rides, routes, the obligatory maintenance, and, of course, warnings. Until then, stay safe!
Pamela from Helmet or Heels made this great blog post which includes photos of women from all walks of life who ride. There is no stereotype, check it out! What Does A Woman Rider Look Like?
As it looks now, the Vegas WERA WEST event (April 2-3) just isn’t going to happen. One thing after another came up this month and I am simply tapped out. I still need a rear tire, entry fees for three races, track time on Friday and travel/gas expenses. And I have 8 days in which to do it . Vegas was an easy one because it’s about 4 hours away and I am comfortable on that track. I can only hope I will make it to the round at Buttonwillow the 23/24 but I don’t know that track very well so I would need the trackday time the Friday before, ergo more $$$.
Grown-up financial responsibilities won out and I am stuck here wishing I could be there. Bleh.
Okay, I will admit it, I have NEVER cleaned my front brake pistons. Ever. And it shows. I figured that out Saturday after the solo race when I saw that my pads were getting low. Then Shawn pointed out that my pistons were disgusting. I would need new front brake pads before the next race so I would do both before the next trackday to get them set in and tested. I am learning as I go…
What You Will Need: (This is for cleaning the pistons while on the bike, if you want to go the distance and remove the whole assembly, pistons, springs and all, go for it. Doing it this way is a heckuva lot easier and without messing with any brake lines.)
- tools you need to remove your caliper bolts and pins
- small bucket or container of warm water (I used a 1 qt Pyrex measuring cup set inside of a clean oil catch pan)
- regular liquid dish soap (just enough to mix in the warm water and make it sudsy. I don’t use brake cleaner on my pistons or caliper assembly because of the seals)
- firm toothbrush
- clean shop rag or paper towels (I used papertowels)
- blue threadlocker
- New brake pads if you are changing pads (Laughably the OEM pads were $38.95 per pair, vs. $44 for Galfer Sintered HH per pair)
- Scotch-brite pad (green or red), if you want to clean rotor
- brake cleaner, if you want to clean rotor
- safety wire and safety wire pliers (for race prep)
- RTV silicone (for race prep)
Up at dark-thirty again, this time with our routine down. Breakfast? Check! Smoothie with a securely lidded cup? Check! Fuel? Check! At the track 6:45 AM and the pit set up by 7 AM? Check! We are women, and we are awesome! LOL! 😉 Why so early if we’ve already teched? The bike needed to be on warmers because practice for 600cc Novices was during session 3–early! The night before after I left the track I had told Maia we needed to be sure to pump the brakes because I wasn’t sure we had done it after changing the wheels. She had written on her hand with a Sharpie “PUMP BRAKES!!!” I am super anal about pumping the brakes and checking pressures. It seems that these two things can easily be overlooked and either can ruin your whole weekend. We took care of that, the front was done, the rear was not. Always doublecheck. Maia picked up the transponder and we put it on the bike, we were ready.
It was FREEZING!!! Layer after layer, I had a hard time keeping my body temperature in check. I couldn’t stop shivering so it was imperative I keep my leathers on and stay warm. Edward from SD BMW let me borrow a neckwrap to wear while riding and a large shirt to keep warm while off the bike. I still can’t believe I forgot all of my Under Armour and clothes sitting in a bag in my garage.
The clouds were threatening rain most of the day and it was pretty windy. If it was going to rain, I did not have rain tires and honestly, it wasn’t worth it to me to attempt riding in anything remotely wet on DOTs. I was looking forward to testing out that DOT front, especially with the pre-load changes the day before. The result was incredible even on that slick. It should transition really easily now and be an entirely different animal. I made a mental note to take it easy at first to be sure it didn’t flick too severely and come unglued. The last thing I needed was to tuck the front in practice.
I went out for practice at around 8:30 and could tell immediately the front was agreeable with the changes we made. The brilliance was most apparent in T5 where I had had trouble the day before. The DOT now cut through that turn like butter. I still took it easy because I was getting used to the profile and pressure differences, not to mention the chill of the track. but it all worked out and finished practice with some extra sessions. We would not be running as much fuel today since my races were sprint laps (6). We also cut a Uhaul blanket in two and wrapped the tirewarmers like a pair of ghetto Tiresocks. This really helped keep them warm.
Shandra was still messing with her set-up so she wasn’t going to race afterall. We attended the riders’ meeting and saw the coolest riding vest/leathers set up. Essentially it had a system similar to a dead man switch (a tether) and as soon as you walked away from (or flew off) the bike, CO2 cartridges inflated spine, neck and chest airbags and protected all of your vital parts. Sure, uninflated it looked like you were getting ready to go SCUBA diving, but as soon as inflated and was needed, who cares what you looked like. After the meeting, I got my grid positions and wrote it on pink duct tape for my tank.
Fortunately the sun came out for my first race (WSS, HWT SB, V6 HW, V7MW, etc. combo race) however it was still windy. Basically I was racing behind a group of expert women in my wave and a bunch of novice and expert guys on bigger bikes from the first wave as well. I was the absolute last rider on the grid, second wave, on the inside AGAIN. Very cruddy place to be. Basically a first wave consists of a separate class of riders that they let go and then once they clear turn 1 we (the WSS) start our process to go.
Everything went a lot more smoothly today. Edward, Maia and Shandra helped me make sure everything was ready. I was running 33/26 hot (three above normal on the rear) and everything was set to go. After rolling out for my site lap, I noticed the wind was AWFUL! I thought to myself, “They are going to make us race in this??” (OMG Seriously? This is where they separate the men, the girls and the boys and I am worried about the wind. But in this case even little boys are faster than I am, lol)
I gridded up, but passed my grid marker by a couple inches so I tippy toed my bike back into position. As I was backing it up a second time, I then saw a girl on the row in front of me miss her own marker and I don’t know what happened but she got thrown off balance and dropped her bike. I think it was Marisol. All I kept thinking was how everyone is looking and I know everyone has done it but I was hoping people weren’t being critical blaming the girl card. Marisol is tiny and her R6 is still heavy compared to her own weight and leg length. It could happen to anyone. I remember feeling protective over her and then all I could think of was please don’t let it happen to me. It seemed like I was so far back from everyone! I would never get a good start. The 2 board was up so I started thinking about my start, we all revved up to our starting sweet spots and then the 1 board went up, turned sideways and the green was flown….and!