Motorcycle Cannonball Stage 10 Team American Iron Status
As expected, today was a tough one with all 4 Adventure Power’s Team American Iron Magazine leaving early in the cool morning air from Golden, CO. Paul, I (Buzz), Cris and Pat all were anxious to get up and over the steep mountains over Loveland Pass at nearly 12,000 feet. We knew we needed plenty of motor and speed to get up and over and good brakes to safely get back down the other side.
Paul encountered some mechanical issues on his Harley JD and dropped back in the first 15 miles. Pat, Cris and I motored on in the chilly mountain air. I dressed for the afternoon heat, and paid the price in the chilly morning air. My bike ran strong, thanks in part to the correct 80 inch carburetor being installed in place of the 74 inch one I had been running up until this time. The replacement carb added significant power and cut down on the surging.
I rode with Cris and Pat for a half hour or so until we got to the base of the mountain. I pulled out ahead and hi it hard to build enough speed to carry me up the steep inclines. I was in 3rd gear most of the way up with the throttle wide open. To compensate for the very thin air, I leaned out the Linkert carb a few clicks and that helped. I rode as hard as I could and passed perhaps a dozen other motorcycles on the way up, some on the right and some on the left. By the time I got to the top I was exhausted and the bike was working overtime. Most of the riders stopped at the summit for photos and to enjoy the amazing views.
OK, so now that we motored our ways to the top, we then had to focus on getting back down the other side safely. Focus on engine and brake managemen. Don’t allow more speed than you can control even in sharp downhill turns – and there were plenty of them. As I rode up and then down that tall mountain road I was thankful to Rob Nussbaum and Ryan for building me a great and dependable bike and to Steve Coe who is tuning it for me and fixing whatever I mess up each day on the ride.
I did not see Paul in several hours and was a bit concerned. Turns out he had mechanical issues and chose to pull over for the chase trailer trather than cause more damage to his engine and bike. Tough call, but the right one.
After we got down the mountain we rode another couple of hours to lunch at Leadville, CO – a charming old town worth a visit.
They hosted us to a late braeakfast and then we were back on the road again. Some of the roads and views were world class, but I did not enjoy riding a 1936 Harley more than 50 miles on the Interstate highway with the 18 wheelers and cowboys in pick up trucks.
And I have to admit it was an odd feeling to be riding Cannonball without Paul Ousey or Jim Petty at my side. Hopefully all three of us (as well as Cris and Pat) will be up and running again tomorrow.
We ended the day with a wonderful reception at the Harley dealer in Grand Junction CO.
We finished the day with the following statistics: 101 motorcycles registered, 2,425 miles ridden. 32 still with full points, I am ranked 36, Paul is ranked 56, Cris is ranked 70, and Pat is ranked 75. On to Springville, Utah tomorrow, some 289 miles more.
Late night extra! It turns out Paul’s issues were worse than expected. When they pulled down the engine for inspection they found he had shattered the piston skirt of this front cylinder. Fortunately he has a spare JD engine and was able to swap it overnight. Paul, Coe and Wheeze didn’t get much sleep last night but we hope they will be up and ready to go in the morning. Go Team American Iron!