2013 was an INSANE year. It was very difficult, life threw me some curves. Can I get a do over. please? Someone also broke into my truck and stole my tire warmers, a spare Shorai battery, and two ShoeiX11 helmets. My insurance refused to pay for anything, and I even had to pay for the broken glass, which I am STILL finding in my truck. I couldn’t race without a helmet, so I had to buy another (a Shoei X12 WOO!!). Thankfully, I received a 50% discount. I still don’t have tire warmers, so I borrowed them for the rest of the year.
I won the WERA West Women’s Super Stock Novice Championship and now have to go to Expert status. I also got 5th in B Superstock Novice and 6th in C Superstock Novice. I didn’t make it to the last Las Vegas Round, but I DID make it to Miller. Which is the best track EVER.
I was till packed from Miller, so me and my take-off-shod C Horse took off to race a round out at Streets of Willow for Motowest GP. I think all of us who went to Miller for WERA were still itching like mad to race, so we all kinda crashed the MotoWest party. I took home 2nd place in Mediumweight with the boys, heehee. Not bad for a track I haven’t been on in years and with barely any practice. I had a minor, and totally preventable, mechanical on Sunday morning so I was stuck with my bike’s guts hanging out during practice. While changing a throttle cam, a “helpful” hand pushed the throttle cable in and it looped on the guard. So, off the airbox went and then some. I KNOW better than to change things before a race, too. Now it is set in stone with me.
I realized that I would reeeeally like a ZX6R. I am tired of the C horse. I mean, I like her. I just need more bike. Just a little more, not like liter bike status. Just UPDATED!! Plus I find that I am having brake fade now. I have decreased my times and sometimes I would like a bit more stopping power without coming unglued in the rear.
I also competed in my first true Enduro. OMG. It was like 70 miles or something insane like that. Through the high desert, for hours. Uphill. Both ways, in fact. I don’t even know what I placed because it was a timed trial and I didn’t have the little timer dealie to roll across the line at the precise second you should be. So, I was about 5 minutes behind everyone. I had no clue when to start after my fuel break. I just drank a Monster, poured in fuel waited when I saw the group I had started with cross over the start after their own fuel break. Not exact science, but it was a ton of fun. I crashed 3 times, once into a cactus, once in sand, and the other time going up a huge hill and getting cross-rutted.
So, here are the pics…
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.
I love this photo! 🙂
MotoRace Reports highlights another fellow female trackday junkie this week… my good friend and favorite BMW racer, Em Alicia! Check it out! 🙂
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)
I have about 10 minutes before my next race, C Superstock Novice, so I pull in, get the bike immediately on warmers. I downed a ton of water and put on the jacket again, it was stupid-cold and the wind was really kicking up. So much in fact we had to take down the canopy. People’s canopies were breaking and flipping all around us. The halfway flag had been flown so I made sure we were going to put in 3 liters of fuel, and I was going to start getting ready. It is worth noting that my fuel indicator light is broken, it shows 2 bars at empty, or at least it has in the past which I found out the hard way. I look with a flashlight, measure with a stick, factor laps, distance, blah blah blah but it has a mind of its own. I knew we probably had a liter or so left from the last race so I felt 3 additional liters would be more than sufficient for a 6 lap sprint. I keep it at pretty high rpms so I go through fuel more than your standard rider on the street.
And then the worst happens, the wind laps at the surface of the fuel (Maia had not put the lid on the pitcher) and it went right in her eye and all over her face. I had less than 2 laps left (about 3 minutes) for the 5 board, but I grabbed her arm and walked her to the garage. She could not see and it was burning like crazy. After I got her to the bathroom and she was washing out her eye and I ran back to my pit to get everything in order. Edward and Shandra had taken care of everything and all I had to do was get on the bike and get into race-mode. I am definitely bringing them cupcakes next event! I got my helmet and gloves on, got on the bike, they removed the warmers and stands and I was off.
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!