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DATE: MAY 17th, 2002
Prep (SBís, oil change, air filters, chain):
I had my dealer do both the SB02-002 (Impeller) and the SB02-008 (Stalling) service bulletins prior to getting my bike race ready myself. The bike was idling lower than before and would run in 1st gear at idle without stalling. Next I changed the fluids, second time. For this oil change I only checked and cleaned the tranny filter (rear, right-side) and the engine oil filter (front, left-side). This was because I was trying to get both my camping trailer and the bike ready for the weekend and I didnít have enough time to do the oil filter in the back of the engine. I had some metal flakes in the tranny filter but it was less than what I found after the 1st fluid change that I did after break-in. The engine oil filter had a little debris in one corner of one of the filterís folds. It was real fine looking and I was able to easily remove it with some cleaner and a toothbrush. I canít really tell you how long it took me to do this because I kept getting interruptions and was not able to work on the bike continuously.
To clean the 2 air filters I bought some PJ1 foam-filter cleaning spray and spray-on foam filter oil. I love this stuff. It worked very well. I still washed both filters in warm soapy water after using the PJ1 cleaner. I let them dry over night and the next day I sprayed on the foam-filter oil and using rubber gloves I worked the oil in evenly throughout the filters. I had also ordered some Filter Skins to use on the air filter behind the number plate. I sprayed them with filter oil and worked it in until they went from white to pink all over. I put one on the bike and put the other two in a zip-loc baggie.
I also checked and adjusted the chain, it had a little too much slack in it. The last thing I did to prep the bike for racing was check the front wheel out. I havenít mentioned this before but has anyone else had a problem with a tight front wheel that doesnít spin freely? I couldnít tell for sure but it looked to me like the brake rotor was warped or bent just slightly. I took the brake caliper off and spun the wheel and it freewheeled just fine. I put the caliper back on tried again but it still felt pretty much the same.
The last thing to do was to spiff up the plastic a bit with Blue Coral Finishing Touch spray. Now I felt like I was ready to race with this bike.
WHAT: Motocross, natural terrain
WHERE: Lincoln Trail Motorsports, Casey, IL (www.ltmoffroad.com)
WHEN: May 4th
Before I went out and took my practice laps I checked the fuel and the tank was about 1/3 of the way full. I wanted to see how the bike would do with as little fuel as possible in order to conserve weight. I waited for my turn to take off and when it came I hammered the throttle. Because I started it first gear the front wheel immediately came off the ground. It was still off the ground as I shifted to second but shortly there after it settled down and I shifted to third. All the while Iíve got the throttle almost pinned! What a rush! Now, Iíve never ridden on a well-groomed and prepped MX track before so when I made the left-hander at the end of the front straight I was excited at how well the bike stuck to the ground and carved the corner as I rounded the turn and headed for the first small jump half-way between corner 1 and corner 2. The track contains several doubles, 1 triple, a few step-up jumps and 3 whoop sections. Lots of up and down terrain changes as well. All in all a very fun track to ride! I took it easy my first couple of times around because I had never ridden this track before. But then I started pushing myself a little. On one of the whoop sections the bike stalled as the front wheel was going down and the rear wheel was coming up. At first I was a little nervous, since I just had the Stalling SB done. But as I thought about it I wondered if the fuel pick-up line bounced up and out of the gas as I was going up and down through the whoops. I know a lot of guys have talked about how well the Dale flies through whoop sections but Iím not up to that skill level yet so I just bob up and down through them slowly. When I got back to my pit I filled the gas tank to just past 2/3 full and didnít have any other stalling problems all day. The bike felt really good and I was excited about being the only Cannondale present that day!
After practice I went over to the Pro-Action trailer that was there and saw there were setting sag on bikes. I figured since this is the company that valved the Ohlins on my bike that they would be just as good at setting sag as I would. Especially since Iíve never done it before. He checked the clickers on the forks (both rebound and compression) and they were set at factory specs. Then he measured the sag in the rear. He ended up raising the collar about as far as it would go without have the shock spring loose. He told me I could stand to gain a few pounds or get a light spring. He said the sag was at about 93mm. My ready-to-ride weight on this day was probably about 215-217 lbs. I knew now that the sag was set that I would be faster than ever on the track! Just kidding.
I lined up on the far outside of the gate. Being that this was my first MX start ever I wanted to stay out of the way of guys who have done this before. We had two classes on the track for this race, 250 C & D (I was in the D class). They let the C guys go and about 20-30 seconds later the gate dropped for me. I started in second to avoid pulling a huge wheelie. Once I got the bike moving a little I pinned the throttle and made it to the 1st corner in 3rd place (out of 5). But after the second turn was a doubles section that I was rolling through so I was soon in 4th. My buddy, Joe, was behind me but he got knocked down in the second turn by a sandbagger. Iím really a very cautious rider. After all Iíve got 2 kids, a mortgage and a bunch of other stuff to pay off and my #1 goal for the day was not to get hurt. The X440S really gives me a lot of confidence though. After the 1st lap and when the butterflies were gone I focused on racing the track. For the most part, in this moto, I only went fast when the track was straight and flat. The Cannondale was flawless, no stalls, soaked up everything it came into and traction was awesome. I was really enjoying my first race. I ended up finishing 4th, but only because my buddy went over the handlebars on the last lap. He was gaining on me until then. My biggest accomplishment (to me) for this moto was that I didnít even get lapped by any of the C riders! Yeah!
Before this moto my brother-in-law took a look at my front brake rotor to see if he could get the wheel spinning more freely. He loosened all the screws holding the rotor on and then retightened them while trying to make sure they all seated evenly. After he was done the wheel did spin better but it would still stop at a certain place because of friction.
My buddy hurt his shoulder bad enough in our first moto that he sat out the second one and cheered me on. I took the same starting position as before. This time I was the last one into the 1st turn. That was cool though, I didnít have to worry about anyone behind me and I could ride the track at a pace I was comfortable with. This time out though I was really tempted to try and do some doubles that I rolled through before. But the coaching I got from my brother-in-law (has raced MX before) was not today. I glad he said that because I probably wouldíve ended up hurt. But I will be doing that soon after some practice. The track was really dry so traction wasnít as abundant as it was during practice. But I think with these conditions and the right rider the Cannondale would be a definite advantage. I donít remember that much wheel spin, so all the power the Dale motor was putting out was getting to the ground. I went a little faster in this moto because of being more familiar with the track. I also jumped a little farther than before. The X440S was definitely more capable then I am which was very reassuring. Still no complaints everything worked flawlessly. Although by the end of this moto, I was pretty pooped.
Iím still very impressed with this bike. I canít wait until I have the skills to push the bike closer to its limits. Iím already counting the days until my next race!
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