Husky/Yamaha...the Experiment Continues!

Huskyyama part 3

Since my last article I’ve spent a little more time working on the setup for the Yamaha front end. Nothing big or special just playing with the clickers, the one big thing I did was install a Pro Circuit rear shock link. From what I’ve read the newer KTM’s rear end offers sort of a dead feel, it works fine but isn’t really noticeable or you don’t or aren’t supposed to notice it. I don’t know if this feel is in response to the fact a lot of expert and Pro level riders steer more with the front end these days. Gone are a lot of the cut and thrust riders of old, mostly borne out of the way two strokes were ridden. I never was a cut and thrust rider however I’ve become a brake sliding rider in the woods. Anyway Pro Circuit says their link brings back the feel of the rear end working with the front end, so I installed one. The real big difference is in the length of the three legged knuckle the part that attaches to the shock was about 5mm shorter than the stock one. Turns out that’s a lot, I had to slow the rebound quite a bit. The new linkage didn’t change the sag but Pro Circuit calls for an increase of two sizes on the shock spring. My first ride with the new linkage was at Est. I could immediately tell a difference the rear felt like it was now moving with the front end. I had to increase the compression to maximum to keep from bottoming out.

Since then I’ve installed a #52 rear spring and rode it at the Sierra Old Timers MC ride day at Prairie City MX on the 30th of December. The track conditions were very good except for the deep ruts that developed. I again played with the clickers but the biggest thing was three other riders put some laps on it and offered me some feedback.

One of the riders is a two stoke guy and not only rode my bike that day but a 2017 KTM 350SXF and a 2015 350SXF. The 2017 is basically stock; the 2015 has had the suspension done. Interesting all of us had different opinions about which bike had more or better power. The 2015 and my 2016 both have Rekluse’s and feel like they may lose a little off the bottom compared to the 2017, (That’s no doubt why I ride mine in the advanced ignition mode) they all had great power for a 350.

They all liked the front end on my bike. The 2017 KTM rider who is a very fast 50 Master liked my suspension (Better than his) until he picked up his speed then felt it was comparable to his stock air forked 2017. When I rode the 2017 I felt the forks were harsh at slower speeds and within two laps my right hand started cramping again just like it did on my 4CS forks. I didn’t ride the 2015 and wished I had, I’ll get another chance to do so at some point.

All the riders had their own critiques of my bike (As I did of the 2017) all no doubt a product of our own individual feel for preferences. Like I’ve said before I’m setting this bike up for me.

Interestingly enough I didn’t notice the back end on my bike or the one on the 2017 for that matter at Praire City MX. On the 2017 I was noticing how uncomfortable the forks were at slower speeds. To be fair the guy who rides the 2017 isn’t known for his suspension tuning abilities, he is fast enough to overcome most all of those short comings. (I hope he doesn’t read this if he does I probably won’t get a deal on furniture anymore.)

Went to Est. on the very first day of the New Year, the track conditions were perfect not many riders so it didn’t get out of hand rough. Turned the clickers in a couple added a little air to the tires and just rode, the bike worked well.

I’ve assigned a new tag to describe my riding expertise; I’m going to begin referring to myself as a TTOT (tot) rider, which stands for Totally Tapped Out Talent. Something about this just cracks me up.

Doug 21J

Your TOT rider



Chasing the Last Checkered Flag!

Art and I have for the last few years tried to find ways to define how we older athletes are living and thriving like no other time in our history. I’ve written articles trying to explain in some way how and why we are doing the things we are doing.

Art sent me the article you are about to read for two reasons, one it touches me in two areas, I am an older athlete and I’m also a Hospice volunteer. I’ve been a Hospice volunteer for ten years now and I can tell you one of the many misconceptions about Hospice is that it’s a death sentence. Yes in order to be eligible for Hospice care you must have been diagnosed by an MD to have six months or less to live. You must also have reached a point where you are no longer trying to cure the illness. Sadly a lot of physicians (For lots of reasons) do not recommend Hospice until the very end when it becomes a scramble just to make the patient comfortable.

Hospice is about comfort care, making the patient comfortable by managing their symptoms. Comfort care is about making the patient as comfortable as possible allowing them to live life to the fullest extent they can. Statistics show that people who go on Hospice tend to live longer. (Longer than six months many times)

In the article Wally has been told there is nothing more they can do for him and when he becomes a Hospice patient he discovers a whole new way to live out the rest of his life.

There are lessons for all of us in this article.

Doug 21J


Hospice Racing Is an End-Of-Life Celebration

When lifelong cyclist Wally Ghia found himself in hospice care, he embraced the time he had left in the saddle to inspire others in his situation

By ian dille November 1, 2016


The letter from the hospital read, “There is no longer anything we can do for you.” 

The words read like a death sentence to Flavio “Wally” Ghia, 74. An avid cyclist, he’d been a masters state mountain bike champion in Arizona, and had managed regional bike racing teams sponsored by bike companies like Diamondback and Ritchey.

And he’d battled major health issues through it all: necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria that nearly took his leg; a fall from a mule, resulting in a debilitating head injury and nerve damage; and congestive heart failure that required him to intermittently use an oxygen tank to breathe. He wasn’t ready to stop living. But when Ghia was introduced to hospice care through Durango, Colorado’s Mercy Hospital, his perspective shifted.

“They told me, ‘We can take the pain away,’” says Ghia, who felt like hospice had saved his life. 

For Ghia, hospice care wasn’t just about waiting for the inevitable, but about embracing the time before it. To that end, Ghia—who spent 57 years employed in product marketing—is working to start and promote a new cycling team named Hospice Racing that helps hospice residents live meaningfully.

"My honest belief is that if I raced, there are others out there who might just say, 'Hey, I think I could walk a 5K.' I’m not that terminally unique."

In September, Ghia competed in Salida, Colorado’s Banana Belt mountain bike race—relying heavily on painkillers and knowing he had little time left—for his new team. Bicycling spoke with Ghia about his life, Hospice Racing, and what it means to live. 

BICYCLING: What led you to the start line with Hospice Racing?
Wally Ghia
: It started as a dark joke, a way to lighten the mood after I went into hospice care. My friends Joan and Peter picked me up from the hospital and said, “Hey, you could race for Hospice Racing.” We made up a snarky tag line, “Burying the Competition,” and I had some stickers printed up. We gave them out at the hospital, and people loved them. I thought, maybe I should actually do a race. 

I called my friend Shawn Gillis, who owns Absolute Bikes in Salida, and he said, “This isn’t a bad idea.” At that point we changed the tag line to “A Happier Ending,” which is how I really feel in my heart. 

How did the race go?

I made sure that I was about two hours into the morphine before the race. That was for pain management, and was on top of some of the other things that I take.  I had two people holding me up on the start line, one in front, and one on my left side, in case I fell over a little bit. Well, I ended up on my ass. So Shawn ran and got this old beat up beach cruiser tandem. He said, “Get on the back, stick your feet out, and don’t pedal.” We went about three miles that way. 

After the race, the winner, Nick Gould, a professional racer from Durango, he came up and asked to take a photo with me. At that point, I had my oxygen tank and mask back on to help me breathe.