LogoLake Erie LoopLogo

Home Ride Info Camping Gallery Contact Us Frequently Asked Questions Race_Results

Race Results

ACBC Donate

Yahoo Groups

Facebook Page


Northern Ohio Firefighters

2016 Ride will be June 10th -June 12th and will be starting at Clare-Mar Lakes Campground

It Was a Crazy Idea Anyway

While contemplating the fact the half my life is behind me and that the second half will be more of the same unless I do something about it, I found this notice for a race. A cannonball race around Lake Erie. A race for very small motorcycles, moped size and slightly larger, to take place over one days time. Total distance, 650 miles.  Now that is something very different than anything I had ever done before. You can ask my wife, while I have done many insane things this would be a notable high point.   I think she thought I’d never follow thru when she agreed that that would be a “nice” thing to do.  She obviously wasn’t paying attention. Running souped up mopeds for many hours at a time competing with heavy traffic and avoiding the attention of the Law would be many things but “nice” is not one of them.

As I considered this challenge, the image of typical race vehicles plastered with more advertising that a free bulletin board at the supermarket came to mind.  I need sponsors to help me mount this campaign.  So a brief write up and pictures of the intended racer was enough to convince several of my local businesses to share the pain and glory.  It is amazing the things that can happen with the backing of a body shop, tire shop, cycle repair shop, and a welding /machine shop.  I even recruited a complete stranger I found on an internet chat site who had experience with modified small Hondas.  The bike of choice would be a 65 Honda S90 which due to exceptions and allowances in the classifications, would qualify for the smallest class of bikes being the souped up mopeds.
After buying a suitable bike, most of the winter was spent lightening the bike by substituting aluminum for steel wherever possible. Low handlebars footpegs moved back would contribute to that racing posture. Being a long distance endurance event, a large aluminum fuel tank was fabricated to minimize time spent looking for gas.  As the race approached the bike soon became a sharp looking race bike complete with up pointing megaphone exhaust which I am sure delighted the neighbors.  Friends from miles around would comment that they had “heard me go by” and they would then ask when is this race anyway?

I will tell you about the actual race but not keep you in suspense. I did not finish it.  My bike broke down but not without a mammoth display of Honda toughness.  The morning of the race was raining, hard.  We kind of forced each other to roll out of our tents and vehicles and try to get enough rain gear on to keep dry.  We were delusional from the beginning. My raingear consisted of yellow pants and jacket borrowed for work with a blaze orange safety vest. I figured that if I was to be run down by a semi it wasn’t going to be because he didn’t see me.  It wasn’t two miles down the road and water was pooling in my boots and they gloves were saturated.  This wouldn’t have been too bad except that two hours into the race the rain was replaced by a 40deg cold front in Detroit.  Hypothermia is the condition of losing more body heat than your systems can replace.  It’s kind of uncomfortable at the beginning but then you don’t seem to notice much. The little bike ran like a champ, holding 60-65 mph on the flat and level and boosting to 70+ when a truck drafted me along for awhile.  Did you know that tank trucks suck you in much better than ordinary vans?  What was unique about this race is that you are all alone. After the initial start I never saw the other riders until about midway, somewhere in Canada when I pulled into a service plaza for fuel and food.  There was Ernie Copper  warming up in his chase vehicle eating and I swear he was putting on dry clothes.  How unfair!  When I dismounted, my body decided to entertain the other patrons by going into an uncontrolled shake mode.  Somehow this wet and soiled guy dressed in bright yellow and orange doing the herky jerky shakes really clears the area. Little kids pulled back to the safety of their parents.  Their expressions seem to say, “keep your distance or I am going to scream”.  It was that way every time I got off the bike, rapid shakes as the muscles try to generate some heat.  Thirteen hours after starting this event and I had covered 560 miles.  The home stretch down I-90 heading back to Ohio and the finish line.  The bike had been running flat out, as in wide open throttle, for entire time.  How many motors would you expect to handle that abuse for so long? It was now 8:30 at night and with a mere 90 miles to go I was already savoring the chance to get warm and eat, when the bike lost power and started to backfire and miss.  I was not totally unprepared for field repairs but had not considered the challenge of assembling the parts of a tool kit while doing the shakes.  I could not even manage to work a screwdriver, much less technical thinking about what the problem was.  While trying to call a life line to come and pick me up, here comes Ernie buzzing by.  He could not see me as I had moved back away from the heavy traffic.  I would later find out that at the time of breakdown, I was leading all three divisions and could have “cleaned house” if only…if only.

We gathered around the fire late into the night sharing experiences and waiting for the last riders to come home well after midnight.  We now had a common bond in that each of us had braved the physical demands and weather to compete for the glory of finishing the race. In the end only a small handful would wear that honor.  The rest of us only tried.

But you know what? There will be another race and I will try again as this was a high point in my list of achievements even though I did not finish, I gave it my all.

| Ride Info | Camping | Donate | Gallery | Contact Us
Questions? Email the Webmaster!
Copyright© 2014 Lake Erie Loop