Saturday, April 29, 2017

BMX Trophies - Those That I Kept

 Most people that have been around BMX racing know that a good rider ends up with lots and lots of trophies.  It's not like other sports where you get a trophy at the end of the season - they give out trophies at every race...if you place.  At some point, every parent of every BMX racer says "enough!!" and the kid has to give them away or, as in my case, sell them back to trophy shops for literally pennies on the dollar.  Hundreds and hundreds of trophies gone, I kept a few.  This first one is but a humble little thing.  It is powerful, however.  It's my first trophy.  I had won a few motos in my first couple months of racing, but this was the first trophy.  2nd place at Plantation Raceway.
Good old Dad.  He used a pencil and scratched in the date on the bottom.  May 3rd, 1980. Still there, 37 years later.
 I kept this monster from the NBL Grand National that was held in St. Charles in 1981.  National trophies were not every day trophies.  Most of them were bigger than the kids that won them.  This one is 5 feet tall and made of some pretty nice wood.
 Schwinn was a powerhouse in the early days of BMX racing.  They sponsored the NBL Grands for a few years.
 Really nice details on this one.
 It's hard to see, but it says "2nd Place", enough to give me National #4 for 1981.
This metal and wood trophy is particularly special.  By the middle of 1982, I had won a few national races.  But on June 19, 1982 I won the National in Lawrencburg, Tennessee...the first time I ever beat the legend Richie Anderson.  That's equivalent today to beating Serena Williams as a second year pro.
 It's also significant because the weekend also included a race in Nashville, where I was 2nd in a very competitive open class to Don Johle, another legend.
 Fast forward a bit.  Another very tame little trophy.  Four marble bases, lots of gold plating.
Tame, but one of the most powerful trophies I have.  This was from the World Championship race in Burbank, California from 1983.  An incredible race with the most incredible competition concentrated in one building.  And, as a 16 year old, I was racing the fastest amateurs in the world in every moto.
 3rd Place.  Believe it or not I was disappointed.  Over the entirety of the weekend, I was on fire and didn't lose but a couple of motos.  I still believe I could have won, but truly being there in the main event after countless semi-finals was a victory anyway.  Richie Anderson won and went on to win another incredible overall World Championship trohpy.  How can I feel bad about 3rd??
 Much more impressive looking is a trophy from that same World Championship weekend.  ESPN was televising the race and dubbed the World's Pre-Race the 'Pro Spectacular'.  Awesome chance to race on the World's course the day before the big show.
 Maybe the trophies were cooler since ESPN was paying for them instead of ol' Renny Roker??  Regardless, they were beautiful.
 I went 2nd, which made me even more sure I could win the big show the next day...but Richie Anderson won this, too.  You can't call me a quitter, I kept trying to beat that dude.
Funway was an amusement park of sorts near Chicago.  The NBL hosted a National there in the middle of 1984 and had some darn cool trophies.
 Killer anodized look.  It's actually pretty cheap feeling and lightweight but I kept it for other reasons.
 I couldn't get the shot with my camera, but the crazy colors on the face plate are awesome.
 I kept the Funway trophy because I doubled...that's what you call two wins on a race day.  That helped to get me into BMXA magazine in the "Sharpshootin" section.  Wild track with an over and under and a magazine interview.  That's a keeper.
This is a most impressive piece of work.  Sold wood base, marble top, machined alloy stanchions, metal eagles on top. This is from Indianapolis in August of 1984. 
 It's a cool trophy, for sure.  But of course I kept it for another reason.
This is the closest I ever came to Double-Doubling on a National weekend.  The day before was in Fort Wayne and I doubled there, and this was one 1st place from Indy...one more first, that's all I needed for my Double-Double.  But, nope.  Mahlon Abrams beat me into 2nd place.  So 1-1-1-2 is the best I ever came up with.
Ah, the clock trophy.  The 1984 Grand National in Louisville, Kentucky was a wild ride.  I could have, would have, should have.  But....
 The clock still works, but the second hand is gone.  It served me well over the years, as I used the second hand to time my roller and trainer sprints.  I can't tell you how many hours I spent staring at this clock face.
.....I didn't.  I got 3rd place in the main event.  I needed 2nd to be the top amateur rider in the country for 1984.  Instead, I was #2.  Call me crazy, but that's still not a great feeling.  And I don't have to tell you who won the race.

There are a few more that I kept but none that have great stories.  They are still in fair condition.  There were times when they sat in damp basements so they are not perfect.  But they still hold together.  I cleaned them tonight and tightened the bolts.  The killer Indianapolis trophy, as solid as it is, had a little malfunction and one of the little metal eagles snapped off.  Part of me wants to fix it but part of me wants to let all of them be.  It's fun to remember them and they don't have to be perfect to take that little trip with each of them.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Cobra Header Repair by Master Steve

I slowly came to the realization that there was a problem with the passenger side exhaust header on the Cobra.  A bit of popping while accelerating at first, and then some oily residue around the cylinder one header primary.  Sure enough, there was a crack in the primary, right next to the weld.
It took about an hour, but I didn't even have to lift the car.  The headers shoot straight out, perpendicular to the engine and bolt up to the side pipes just as the pipes exit the body under the rocker panel.  Easy, if somewhat hard on the back.
Odd looking square flange with 8 mounting bolts, this is the connection point with the side pipe.  The gasket is toast so I have to source one of those.
And there it is.  A tiny crack across the primary.  Being a rather rich running monster engine, a lot of black, unburned gasoline drips from this little crack when the car is running.
 I actually pulled the header straight up and out when I removed the last header bolt.  Again, easy.
 I supported the side pipe with a handy house hold item since it was no longer secured by the header.
I made the trek south to visit Master Steve.  If you work on cars, you want to be like Steve.  Trust me.  His talents are endless and he is the most down to Earth wrench I have ever known.  He went to work on the primary with a wire wheel to get a good surface to weld upon.
Then the welding started.  It was quick.  I won't show you the other projects that Steve is working on because you'll just be jealous.  Suffice to say, this little project didn't tax the master much.
And there we are.  I'll hit this with some high temp exhaust header paint and it will be back in business and glorious.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Everybody has a Steve Tilford Story


Everyone in the Midwest (and pretty much everywhere else, too!) has a Steve Tilford story.  Steve passed away recently and the world will miss him.  Tracy Smith, an OG from Columbia, Missouri called me up the other day and told me about a photo he'd found from the 1999 Missouri State Championship Criterium in Jefferson City.  He graciously sent a copy to me and for that I'm grateful.  In the top photo, you can see Tracy putting the hurt to Steve and you can see that I'm simply staring at Steve's hub because that was all that I could do.
In this photo, taken by Phil Shoulberg, I have miraculously recovered for the finish line sprint.  Steve beat me by a tiny bit but I won the state championship medal since Steve is from Kansas.  To be fair, I was hurting but I was sandbagging.  These two guys were quite a bit faster than me so I thought it wise to play dead until the right moment.  Steve, never short on words, called me out on it after the finish but he was laughing about it.  It wasn't my finest moment, but it was the only way I was ever going to beat Steve and it still didn't work out.

Thanks Tracy for the memories.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Car Watching - Aston Martin Vanquish

I give you the Aston Martin Vanquish.  All 3800 pounds of it. 
 Under that beautiful hood rests 5.9 Liters of V12 with over 560 horsepower.  So not only is it gorgeous, but it's capable of hitting 60 miles per hour in under 4 seconds and it can blow doors up to 200+ miles an hour.
 Very Jaguar-like in the face, the Aston's have always been quite a bit different than the Jag's. 
 The canopy tapers back and rests between the awesome fender bulges.  In person, this is menacing.
The best view: 3/4 rear shot.  You get to see the canopy and the fenders meld, and the sexy side windows cut the line along the door and the fender.  Take a close look at the brake calipers and rotors in the other photos.  They are all business, with carbon ceramic discs 

You have to love Chesterfield and the cars that visit here.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

April = Birthday Month

 Indeed, Eli Oli is 11 years old.  It was actually his birthday yesterday.  You know how parents are always going on and on about how time flies, can't believe it's been so long, blah blah blah.  It's all true.  We all say that.
 And Tyson will be 16 in a few more days.  He looks as surprised as we are about that.
 Annnnnd I have no idea what Kevin is trying to convey here.  He may be telling us that he's going to the bathroom and not to cut the cookie cakes without him?
Denise will be 28 this month as well.... When it's time to smile for the camera, this crew has everyone beat. That is a lot of cheese.
There was a pyromania moment during the ritual singing of Happy Birthday.  I believe Eli's candles spontaneously burst into flame and he was bravely trying to get the situation under control, but I can't be sure.  I think Gus knew something, because he had his protective eyewear on in the background, and he just looks sketchy.

Have to Steal the Opportunity to Mountain Bike

Spring is a sketchy dance partner.  You never really know what you're going to get.  Cold? Warm? Wet? Dry? A bit of all of the above during this past week.

I had heard some mixed reviews about the trail conditions around the area, so I chose Lost Valley today.  Not only is it one of the quickest places to dry out, but it's also the place with the fewest users on a really nice day...unlike Castlewood or Greensfelder.

It was mostly a good choice.  The only water/mud I encountered came from seeps on random hillsides.  You can see from my photo that it only resulted in a bit of splatter.  Otherwise, the trail was awesome.  Inexplicably, I had two Fred moments...I plunged my right foot into the creek on the way into the trail, and I plunged my left foot into the creek on the way out.  Yes, I was furious. 

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Back At Ya, AARP

 Truth be told, I've been getting AARP applications in the mail for a couple of years.  I actually blew them off as mistakes at first, given that I still get mail for my Mom at my address.  As their frequency increased, I had no choice but to accept that I was approaching AARP's prime hunting grounds:  the 50+ crowd.  Today was the first time since turning 50 that I opened one...one that said "Happy Birthday" on the envelope.  Well, thanks a ton, AARP.  That's so thoughtful of you.  I emailed them a very thoughtful "Thank You" note................
Thanks for the Birthday wishes, AARP.  I'm doing fine, not close to death yet.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Climbing Hills - All the Cool Old Guys Do It

 The Fastest Bike I've Ever Owned

I took the bull by the horns today piloted the C12 (that's Cannondale Caad12 to those that want to know) deep into Jefferson County.  There are two hills that I hate, hate, hate to climb.  That's Weede in either direction and Miller Road coming north from MM.  I made SURE to include those into today's ride.  For good measure, I added Hillcrest, Old Antonio, Rock Creek Valley and Schenk.  Schenk has got to be close to making it on the hate list, but I think it would not be so hard if I didn't hit Weede first, which I usually do.  All in all, it was an amazing day on the bike in some pretty darn good weather conditions.
45 miles, 4000 feet of climbing, 17.8 average speed, and almost 2000 calories.  What's for dinner???