Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Rocky Road To Spring Grove

Sunday, June 4, 2017 Spring Grove VA, VCHSS Round #4

"N.S.A.N.E."

This acronym was spotted on the number-plate of a bike at the races this weekend.  When queried the owner said that it stood for "Never Simple and Never Easy".  He went on to explain how he and his buddies were not mechanics, but had slowly been learning to fix their motorcycles over the last few years, making numerous mistakes along the way, yet always trying to progress.

I thought of my own road in racing, which was very similar.  I learned by watching, listening, asking questions, scouring the internet and trying to cherry pick accurate information, and by screwing up.  Repeatedly.  I still am.  For every challenge conquered three more spring up, for every bit of information gleaned, two more are forgotten.

Seven days prior to this event had me looking at my Gas Gas EC300 lying on it's side underwater in a huge puddle, (more like small lake) that had attempted to swallow it.  I'd underestimated the depth of this inland sea, hit a log submerged in its murky depths and gone down like the Edmund Fitzgerald, face first into a stinking bath of muddy water.  Miserably soaked to the core, but the real problem was an engine full of h2o.  After flipping the machine over with the plug out and kicking, most of it seemed to have been expelled from the innards and the bike re-fired.  It ran for about 3 minutes before the crank seized solid, a delayed victim I am sure, of the drowning.  Leaving me to push this dead albatross 1/2 a mile through the muddy woods in full gear in the VA summer heat and humidity.  I made it, after three heart attacks and two aneurysms.

It's been a long time since I had an all night wrenching thrash-fest on a bike, but it was necessary with only six days before the race.  The motor was stripped, good parts salvaged, and slowly, over the course of about 21 hours, the machine started to come together again.  Things fought me every step of the way.  Without going into great detail, suffice it to say this was no simple rebuild.  Finally, with bloody knuckles and cramping hands, the motor sprang to life again.  There was a transmission leak and the clutch wouldn't disengage, but the seized crank was no longer a problem.

Fast forward to June 4, back on the starting line with the "pre-race pukies" going on in my guts.  Once the wheels move it will be fine, but waiting on that damn flagman sure is hell.  Finally his elbow drops slightly and I see the green barely twitch.  My leg reacts, prodding the kickstart in one smooth motion.  Engine lights and we are off.

It still isn't getting any simpler.  Or easier.  But there's no where else I'd rather be......


Fifth off the line, new red plastics.  2p or not to pee?
 
  

2 comments:

  1. Your GasGas has a "crank drain plug" engineered into it expressly for the purpose your drowning created, so that you don't have to pull the plug and turn it upside down. It's in the center of the bottom, directly under the crank. I was a dealer from '97 through 2006. If I can assist you in any way. Please contact me. Do you visit the www.gasgasrider.org forum?

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    1. Unfortunately the skid plate at the time did not have a hole drilled in it (it does now) allowing trailside access to the drain bolt, so the only option was to flip the bike over. Thanks!

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