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Week ending November 26th, 2006
Back from Willow Springs in one piece - haha. I had dinner with friends on Saturday night then headed to the track. I decided to stop in Lancaster at 10:00 pm and get a room. There was a guy there that had been traveling for 19 hours with a 40ft long trailer. He couldn't find a place to park so I helped him back his trailer up and we found a spot in the next parking lot. It was cold (around 32 degrees). The next morning I got up around 6am and made it to the track by 7am. It was still very cold so I waited until the second session before going out. Of course as it warmed up the winds also started gusting to around 20mph making it real fun around turn 8.

Right away the front end was skipping everywhere, especially through turn 8. That was immediately noticeable because I took it easy on the first session instead of trying to make a fast lap right out of the gate. After the session I went to see Dave and he said that my springs were set too stiff so he lightened them up and adjusted the rebound and compression dampening. After that the bike handled much, much better. Odds are the incorrect suspension settings (which I had done right before I crashed) are what contributed to the tank slapper. The front would not stay planted in any of the turns during the session. The forks were extending all the way out making the bike's geometry unstable. (Hello "tank slapper!") I was pretty far off my fastest pace but it was good to get back out on the track and come home with both me and the bike undamaged. I'll probably go back again in December over WSMC weekend to get more track time before racing again in January.

I finally found a suitable, local place to park my bike trailer. I'm glad because I don't want to leave it in Elisnore as that's a long drive and running around with my trailer attached to my truck all the time wasn't a good alternative.

Thanksgiving was great at Saddleback. They had the Cowboy/Buccaneer game on the big screen and there were more people than I expected but many volunteers. I helped out where I could, made a few new friends and overall had a great time. It was different than how I have spent Thanksgiving in the past but sometimes change is good (the only thing constant is change) and being able to serve others helps me feel like I am giving something back.

Week ending November 19th, 2006

Most of this past weekend I spent priming and sanding the Sharkskinz bodywork for the RR. I actually sanded until my fingers bled (literally). The last couple times I painted the bike I didn't do a good sanding job but this time I want the surface to look like glass, especially when I paint the clear over it.

Oscar should have the Bandit lowers completed this week so it'll be great to get those on the bike to see how it looks. It's been a long project and to see it finally completed will be a joy. I still need to take the Bandit over to Mission to get it on the dyno and double check the a/f readings. Even though the bike is making 137 hp at the rear wheel the compression check came out low for what it should have (155 vs 180).

It's Thanksgiving this week. I have a lot to be Thankful for. My awesome family and friends, a business that is doing well, a great Church, my health and so many other things. I've been invited to several places for Thanksgiving (and thank you!) but I'll be volunteering at Saddleback's Single's ministry. You are welcome to come by Thursday at 3pm if you have no place to go for Thanksgiving.

Week ending November 12th, 2006
Since this is the first blog, I guess I should bring you up to date on what's been going on this year. Other than crashing at Willow this past July (sustaining a bad concussion and breaking my collar bone, ruining my helmet, gloves and my SX-1 leathers) I've been working hard at the office and really diving into my bike projects. (see BIKES page). I have been working out regularly, hanging out with friends a lot, staying involved in the Church and basically enjoying life. I can't complain about anything as life's been treating me well and I am very thankful for that.

This week I was on my way downstairs to work when I saw a small lizard on the top of my stairs leading to the garage. I thought I would do the right thing so I gently picked him up, took him out the front door and set him down carefully in the bushes. Seeing he was going to escape the capture, with joyous glee he leaped from my hand into the safety of the bushes but not before leaving me with a present - he peed on my hand! No good deed goes unpunished, they say. ;)

I am riding the Bandit to work just about every day since the rebuild was complete (except when I have client meetings). I had almost forgotten how great it was to be able to ride on the street! Riding puts me into this sort of "meditative" state as it clears my mind. I always seem to be able to think problems through better when I am on two wheels. (Just to add, the new power of the 1216 kit makes the bike a joy to ride with plenty of torque to spare.)

Over the course of 2006 I have learned that faith is really where it's at. You can (and will) kill yourself trying to take control of your life. I have experienced this phenomenon first hand. I found myself trying to stay one step ahead of God's will and plan for me. That's not a good place to be at all. It's a hard lesson in humility and I "got edu-macated" quite fast. The best laid plans of mice and men are no match for what God has in store for our lives. Once you hand things over to His will you'll find yourself in a much happier place and peace will be with you. It's so much easier (and healthier) to let things go than it is to trying to wrest control from God. Interfering in His plans for your life is a sure fire way to misery and unhappiness... I just finished the New Testament and have started on the Old Testament so I guess you could say God is on my mind a lot - more than ever - and I'm glad :)

More to come next week. Until then, keep it shiny side up and remember to "kiss the mirror..." (riding tip, not a ego trip, kids! - haha) Cheers!

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