Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Poconos and Finger Lakes Rally

What a weekend!

Carlos, John and myself left late on Friday morning for the Poconos Track Day run by Team Promotion. John was on his GS and I was on my R. Carlos rode his K while his wonderfully understanding wife, Cindy, drove his track bike up on Saturday morning. What a woman!!!!

Here is my R all packed and waiting to go:

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We went to the Poconos via Hamburg and a stop at Cabela's and Cigar International. If you
enjoy the occasion stogey, this place is a must see! Complete bar, restaurant and cigar
shop all built into one. NIRVANA!!!

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An Awesome Smoke:
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After a run to JZ's favorite shop, Walmart , and several other stops(JZ and Carlos packed NOTHING!!!!! Some motorcycle long distance riders!!!!),we finally headed off the highway and explored some GREAT back roads.  If you look at the Mad Maps rides outside of Hamburg PA and going towards the Poconos, those twisty roads on the map don't do the real thing justice!

We pulled into the HoJos we were staying for the night around 6 pm- a full 10 hours after I left Ronkonkoma. Amazing how any LIBMWRC ride turns into a marathon ride! We had a great steak dinner and a few brews and headed for bed.

The track day was a ton of fun.  As others have said, it's NOT about going fast but being as smooth as possible.  Through controlled movements of the motorcycle, speed comes automatically.  Being in control is the name of the game!  We shared space garage space with Ron Rabinowitz (sp?) and a few of his friends who truly know how to ride. I am in awe of their riding ability.

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We prepped my bike and I headed for the classroom where the coaches taught how to ride on a track.  The day started with 12 of us in our group.  We had to were red jerseys to signify that we were the newbies on the track.  They taught us about how to read the cones on the track, how to position our bodies, how to be smoother riders.  When we were finally released to the track, three riders were assigned to a coach who we had to follow for two sessions or approx 6 laps.  They taught us how to approach a turn, where to look for the apex of the turn and to immediately look ahead for the next one. AWESOME TIME!  

Our merry band of 12 consisted of a few 20 somethings, 30 something and a hand full of old farts over 40 including me. At the end of each session, we went back to the classroom to debrief our ride.  Yours truly got the most praise from the coaches for riding the R so aggressively and correct body positioning in the first session. In the second session, I was totally got blasted for riding over my head. Go figure!  By sessions 4 and 5, I had it down pat.  They call the class ART- Advance Riding Technique.  It really is an art watching the coaches and other riders do their thing!
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I was very impressed with how the whole event was run. The lessons and feedback was direct and supported by examples and suggestions on how to correct the "mistakes".  Anyone acting or riding out of control were immediately addressed. Very professional atmosphere!
Carlos and John can share how their days went. Mine was so awesome, I'm looking to now sell the R to get myself a real track bike.  Anyone interested?

We were surprised when we saw Paul P. show up. He spent a few hours hanging with us in the pits and watching us not crash.  It really was cool to see him and I wouldn't be surprised if a track day is in his future. 

Mike C came up to join us on our trip the Finger Lakes Rally. By 4pm, we started to pack up and make the three hour trip to Watkins Glen.  We finally left a little before 6 and arrive shortly after nine pm. Dinner sucked- Burger King - but at least our boy Harold had some beers waiting for us on ice.

We set up camp in the dark and had a few cold ones before we headed to bed.
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The Rally was a bit of a disappointment.  Three vendors and the flea market- that's it. About 700 people were in attendance.  We missed the prime rib on Saturday night so we only ate dinner on Sunday- dried out chicken and ratatouille.  For the $45 we paid, I was disappointed.  The live music Saturday night was okay but the band on Sunday was awful.  I would call the Saturday night band akin to a B rated wedding band and Sunday's band was more of a poor man's Peter,Paul and Mary band. Considering the announced average age of the attendees was 58, the band selections was appropriate. The other bit of shocking news was that there were more club members from Ontario, Canada than from New York.  Heck, there were more club members from PA than their were from NY and that includes the Finger Lakes group.  Our 5 club members represented 10% of the New Yorkers in attendance. So sad for this mighty rally.  I was there a few years back and there were over a thousand in attendance.  That being said, we had a great ride Sunday up and round Cayuga and Seneca lakes.  The riding really was amazing!!!

Here is Harold in his new riding jacket to match his Barney Purple GS:
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Finally, it wouldn't be a Finger Lakes Rally if we did not have a problem with the weather. I know a few years back, several club members survived a brush with a tropical storm. While it was not that bad- it was awfully close. 
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Late Sunday night, a light rain had started. It actually sounded nice when we were tucked away in our tents.  At approx. 6:30am, a torrential storm swept through the campgrounds. The wind picked my tent up and rolled it over WITH MY FAT BUTT IN IT!!!!!!!!  The wind and rain was BIBLICAL!!!!!  Branches fell down from trees near some of the bikes.   The map above tells the story. John's tent,like many others in the campground was destroyed. That rain line followed us all 8 hours home.  We would just get ahead of it, strip off the rain gear and then BAM!!!!!!!  HEAVY RAIN!!!!!  

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As we approached the city, John and Harold headed south while Carlos and I headed for the Bridgeport ferry. The thought of driving through the city on Labor Day in rain and traffic simply did not appeal to us.  Mike had decided earlier that he was going to stop by to be with some Family in Newburg. As we left Mike, that rain was not done with us.  Carlos and I simply put our rain gear on and hunkered down to meet the ferry by 4:45 pm.  As we came down the route 6/25 and merged onto I-95- the rain stopped.  It was dry as a bone in Bridgeport. We pulled onto the ferry at 4:40pm happy to be dry and have some nice adult beverages.
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No sooner did we order our beverages than my phone rings- it's Harold. He and John made it home, dry as a bone and in record time. I did what any other club member who survived the ride that Carlos and I did - told Harold what he could go do with himself and hung up on him :-)  

Made it home a little before 630. Tired but glad I made the journey.

Now, who wants to buy my R? I have my eye on a great little Yamaha racer!!!!!!!

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