Eventually it happens to the best of us - you ride long enough and the day comes when nothing goes right, whether it's your fault or not.
Recently, MotoSport employee Brandon Hoff had such a day. A Saturday outing at Mountain View MX Park resulted in one incident after another until he decided it was better to go home intact - himself and the bike. But even after loading his truck at the end of his short day, one final hit was in store.
You might remember Hoff who, at 35, qualified for Loretta Lynn's last year fulfilling a lifelong goal. He's not training for the annual amateur championship series this year but that doesn't mean he stopped riding. With summer in full swing in Portland, the days remain long and the weather more than nice for a day at the track.
After the nearly 90 minute trip and paying $40 to rip his 2016 Kawasaki KX450 around at Mountain View, Hoff finally rolled the throttle for the first time in three months and was enjoying his opening ride when not 20 minutes in, he executed a corner and washed the front end out.
"I immediately knew it was a flat," he said of the squishy feeling that reverberates through the handlebars.
Indeed it was and only himself to blame. Hoff wasn't running a heavy duty tube so that's on him, he said. What's more, he didn't bring a spare tube or tire spoons. So what normally runs about $12 on a quick DIY, Hoff paid $35 to the "track guy" for a new tube and tire change. Additionally, he also forgot cash so he had to borrow money from a friend.
Flats happen. No big deal. But his track day now costs $75.
Brandon (left) has had better days at the track as seen here and above at a local private track
Hoff finally got to riding but not 20 minutes in on the second "ride" of the day the rear brake went out. Completely out. He put the pedal down and nothing happened. Thankfully it proved an easy fix as he bled the brakes and continued on but not before conceding the rear brake going out "was due to my horrible maintenance schedule."
He has some work to do once home but the bad brakes didn't keep Hoff off the track, however when entering corners he now had to pump the brakes to get the desired effect. Better than nothing but not an ideal situation. Finally, he enjoyed some good riding despite routinely pumping the brakes when about 30 minutes in on his third ride he felt a pop in his knee after dabbing on a corner. Uh oh.
He didn't feel pain but quickly left the track to check the carnal damage. No surgery needed but he'll want to buy a new knee brace. The pop he felt was the brace giving out after years of wear and tear. Whew. Tragedy avoided.
"That ended it," Hoff said. "Somebody was telling me I couldn't ride that day. I've never had so many issues in one day."
When things go right, Brandon looks pretty good on his Kawasaki
Perhaps some good foresight because more was yet to come. Hoff loaded his Kawasaki for the long ride home when he noticed the fork seals dumping fluid. Not leaking fluid - more like a geyser of oil flooding the back of his truck. He last performed maintenance on the forks in January, well within the recommended service interval, and he believes the forks either were not seated properly or dirt infiltrated the suspension system and ruined the seals.
Even after riding for more than 25 years, Hoff said the day served as a reminder to prepare for the unexpected (and maybe jump on that routine maintenance a bit more). He left most of his spare parts and tools at home and yes the day turned futile - his ride home was longer than the total riding time on the bike - but it's a good bet if you need a spare part or two the next time out and it so happens Hoff is riding that day he might have what you need.
Just don't forget your cash.
If you want to avoid a bad day at the track, check out some of these tips and helpful ideas: