Dublin to Castro Valley Loop

Yesterday was such a beautiful day. I finished up some projects around the house and was able to get out for a small ride in the late afternoon and took off towards Sunol. Figured I’d head out towards Niles Canyon Road and Palomares Road. Palomares Road is a nice semi-technical road with lots of elevation changes, blind turns, and decreasing radius turns. The total distance of the ride would be about 30 miles but by the time I got to the end of Palomares Road I just hadn’t had enough riding so I decided to turn around and head back the same direction. All in all it’s a really fun ride and worth doing again.

Dublin to Castro Valley Loop

Distance: 30 miles
Time: 40 minutes
Experience Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Comments: Leisure cruise on some back roads. Tighter twisties on Palomares Rd heading towards Castro Valley.

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“Project Hell”

Sorry for the lack of writing and content. Unfortunately, it has also been a lack of riding. What is keeping from good weather riding? It could be from the lack of good weather recently. What month is it again?

Semi-gloomy weather did put a dent in the riding plans but it also allowed Mackenzie and I to work on a project we decided to take on consisting of a retaining wall system to house bamboo (of some kind) and a couple of raised vegetable garden beds for miscellaneous veggies and herbs. Sounds pretty easy and straight forward. No doubt a lot of work, but still… no problem. Right?

Well, not very far into the project did the nickname “Project Hell” come about. Last minute delivery mishaps, 11th hour decision changes in the project, and the sheer determination to get it “just right” were just some of the factors involved in our project nickname.

All in all, our “Project Hell” came out great. We are still waiting for the cap stones to be delivered so we can put an end to this, what seems to be an never ending project. More on the cap stones later but for now here are some pics from the project.

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Rider Skill

Throttle Control

The May 2010 issue of Sport Rider had a fantastic article about throttle control titled “How and when to get on the gas” written by Andrew Trevitt. I loved the article so much I wanted to share with all of you.

“Most riders look at the throttle simply as the ‘go-fast’ control: open it to go faster, close it to slow down. But in fact the throttle is much more than that. Because the engine affects the motorcycle’s dynamics so much — especially in the middle of the corner — the throttle can be used as a tool to help your bike’s chassis work better. When the motorcycle is under power, there are several factors that work in your favor. The chassis is more stable as the engine’s spinning internals add more gyroscopic effect to the mix. There is less load on the front end, allowing the suspension and tire to work better as well as reducing the risk of a front-end crash. And opening the throttle brings the rear-end squat characteristics into play as well, improving the suspension action and tire grip at the rear end as well. If you’ve ever found a false neutral in a turn or experimented with coasting down a twisty hillside, you’ll know how much the engine can influence the chassis. With no power applied, both the steering and suspension work differently and can cause some tense moments mid-corner. (And no, we aren’t recommending you coast down a twisty road to try this)

It’s important to know that the act of opening the throttle doesn’t necessarily mean you will speed up. The initial application of power is usually not enough to overcome the friction and aerodynamics involved, and the motorcycle will continue to lose speed. In faster corners, data shows that the throttle needs to be as much as 20% percent open before the bike will begin to speed up. Expert-level riders know this and have the throttle open well before the apex of a turn, while the motorcycle is still slowing down. This is one aspect you can experiment with: On a straight stretch of deserted road, practice closing the throttle and then smoothly opening it enough so that you are still slowing down but you can feel the slack taken out of the drivetrain.

When you are braking, you should be gripping the tank with your knees to tank the weight off your arms; keep your elbows bent, and this will give you better control of the brake-to-throttle transition. Release the brake gradually as you lean into the turn and the cornering forces take over. Once you’ve completely released the brake lever but before you are coasting with no brake or throttle applied to a minimum, and how you open the throttle initially is just as important as when. In Reg Pridmore’s book ‘Smooth Riding the Pridmore Way’ and at his CLASS riding schools, Pridmore advises leaving the index and second fingers on the brake lever and using just the third and fourth fingers to apply the throttle. This is an advanced technique, but can significantly reduce the downtime between braking and throttle application.

In a long sweeping corner, hold the throttle open just enough so that you maintain a constant speed, and avoid the temptation to grab a handful of gas if you think you are going too slow. It’s better to smoothly and gradually apply the throttle for two reasons: One, you won’t have to abruptly close the throttle when you end up gaining too much speed, wasting all the hard work up to that point. And two, this is the area where the chance of a highside crash is greatest. Be smooth with corrections, and avoid closing the throttle completely if possible.

The smoother you can apply the throttle at this point, the better. Ideally, you want just enough power applied to take up the slack in the drivetrain and unload some of the weight from the wheel, while still reducing speed as you near the apex of the turn. Another benefit of having the power on at this point is that you unsettle the chassis less at the apex if your bike has notchy throttle response — the abruptness will have occurred while the bike was a bit more upright and not as affected. Smoothly roll the throttle on so that you reach your minimum speed right at the apex of the turn and can add speed from there. Note that this is easier practiced on longer, faster turns, where you have more time available and quite a bit of power is necessary to overcome the aerodynamics before acceleration can actually begin.

With the throttle already open at the apex, the slack taken out of the drivetrain and the suspension settled and ready for acceleration, you will get a much better drive out of the corner than you would otherwise. This pays dividends all the way down the next straight with more speed. With practice, you’ll find that getting on the gas smoothy and early pays off in many aspects allowing you to to ride quicker on the racetrack and more safely on the street.”


Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is scheduled for opening on October 28, 2010 and will host the world’s fastest rollercoaster built with the intentions of emulating the feeling of being in an F1 car. The rollercoaster will have go 0-100 km/h in 2 seconds and wil have a top speed of 240 km/h pulling 1.7 Gs. There will be 20 attractions in total along with a plethora of Ferrari racing history and Italian food. I love the idea of a Ferrari World. Too bad it’s so far away! I guess some day I’ll have to get out my travel shoes and check it out!


Koenigsegg Trevita CCXR

Most people drool over the thought of a Bugatti Veyron.

I always say that’s because they have never heard of the Koenigsegg CCX (which began production in 2006), Koenigsegg CCXR (which began production in 2007), or now the Koenigsegg Trevita CCXR. The Koenigsegg Trevita CCXR will have only 3 made, making it the rarest supercar and will boast a unique diamond weave carbon fiber finish. And now Jay Leno gets to see (and drive) first hand the Koenigsegg Trevita CCXR. Jay Leno has to be one of the luckiest guys in the

Its hard to say what is “best” about this supercar but I feel in love with the way the doors open. It’s a very unique and engineering tribute to the attention of detail this supercar possesses. Koenigsegg supercars utilize a dihedral synchro-helix actuation door. That’s a really technical and fancy way to say that the door rotates up and forward at the same time. The best way to imagine this is to watch the video.

The Koenigsegg Trevita CCXR is a coupe and speedster combo. With the top on it gives no hint that the roof is removable and with the top removed its a full on speedster. The front end was specifically engineered to house the top and is nicely tucked away. Yet another brilliant engineering feat. Even the suspension lifts up to go over bumps, unlike other supecars which drag and rip the front end off while driving in the streets.

The powertrain is a 4.8L V8 with dual overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, and twin supercharger which produces 1,018 hp with half the weight of a Bugatti Veyron. Power is planted to the ground through a transversal semi-automatic 6 speed super synchronization gearbox which gives 30ms shifts. Very cool stuff!

Here’s the video from Jay’s Garage.


Infineon Raceway – West Coast Moto Jam

Moto2Go sent me a tip about getting on it and posting about the Infineon Raceway West Coast Moto Jam which is going on Friday, May 14th through Sunday May 16th. It’s the Round 4 of AMA Pro Racing and it’s a double header. In addition, there will be Supermoto action, and new for 2010, some Flat Track and Motocross!

Click on the video player below for what is to come from the event!

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Livermore Wine & Beer Festival

Who would have thought the Livermore Wine & Beer Festival held in the downtown of Livermore would have been so fun? And with so many people?

Mark A. hits me up on late in the week to see if I had heard of it. And wouldn’t you know… I hadn’t the slightest clue of what it is! But we buy our tickets online and get the $5 discount. Mackenzie and I decided to go with beer tastings. Wine tastings during the middle of the day walking in the downtown sun just didn’t sound right. Or maybe it could have been the cost of wine tastings at $25 a head. It could have been a combination of both, I suppose.

Regardless, we ordered up our beer tickets. Er, maybe I should say that Aaron F. ordered up our tickets! Thanks Aaron! Aaron and Becca decided to come out for the festival and he picked up all of our tickets. The beer tasting portion of the festival consists of a “stadium” cup, which turns out to be a 12 oz cup. And for $15 you get the cup plus 5 tokens, 1 for each full cup pour. Not a bad deal at all!

After a few hours, some walking, a few beers down, and after lot of chatting, we all decided to split. Little did we know that Noah J. and Deb were going to hit us up to meet for lunch in Livermore on Sunday. So it was Mackenzie and I back on the bike and we headed out to Livermore. Good weather, great people, and a few beers turned out to be a great weekend!


MotoGP Spain

The second MotoGP race of the season was today at Jerez, Spain. It was an incredible race which got very exciting in the last few laps of the 27 lap race.

The race started out with Dani Pedrosa in pole position, Lorenzo in second, Stoner in third, Rossi in fourth, Hayden in fifth, Edwards in seventh, and Spies in eighth.

Off the start, Pedrosa got a great hole shot and Rossi moved into second with Hayden in third. I know! Hayden in third!

Spies dropped out early on in the race due to a front tire issue. Lorenzo moved up and swapped places with Hayden. Rossi was on the tail of Pedrosa for most of the race until Lorenzo started to make his move with 8 laps to go. For the next couple of laps Lorenzo is pushing to get past Rossi and finally manages to get with 6 laps to go. Lorenzo goes on a rampage and catches Pedrosa with 3 laps to go. A heated battle ensues with multiple attempts from Lorenzo to pass Pedrosa. It wasn’t until an absolutely beautiful pass on the inside, forcing Pedrosa outside in the last lap. An absolutely brilliantly executed pass by Lorenzo.

After the race, the hyperactive and passionate Lorenzo stopped his bike by the pond in the infield, ran, and jumped, fully suited with his helmet, gloves, and boots into the pond! After reality sunk in that he was in a 20 lb suit and racing boots, which I am only assuming wouldn’t float well, he attempted to find a way out of the pond. The sides of the pond were steep and eventually he had to receive assistance in getting out!

All in all, today’s MotoGP race in Jerez, Spain was a great race!

Product Reviews

Airbag Race Suits

Image of Alpinestars airbag racing suit

Alpinestars is introducing their Tech Air Race motorcycle suit. This suit is unlike other race suits out there. This one has airbags!

According to autoblog, MotoGP riders Ben Spies, Mika Kallio, and Dani Pedrosa are running the data logging suits in MotoGP Races. The 7 sensors can tell the electronic brain whether a crash is imminent within 8 milliseconds and another 50 milliseconds to fully inflate for about 5 seconds. After about 25 seconds the airbags fully deflate.

Talk about exciting news for the future! And not just for racing. This can be used for street and dirt applications.