Progress on the EVO

Well when Dave Kern starts something he is most likely going to finish it. I mean seriously. His wife Allison recently recounted the time that the motor blew during a race, fire was shooting out of the hood, over the car in large balls of glowing heat and she had to tell him that it was over, they had to pull over. Well, this same determination goes for fabrication of the ultimate race car too.

This years car features a complete composite body, about half of which is being fabricated by Dave with a bit of help from me. The other half are commercially available parts. The new car will feature larger, stickier tires, more elaborate aerodynamics and a full flat bottom to also aid in the aero. Wow, it is a ton of work and wow I wish I had more time to help him out because I feel bad that he is going at most of this alone!

Check out some photos from the build so far.

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My composites professor from Metro has decided to tackle the front aero. With a brand new splitter that should actually weigh about 1/3rd of the weight of the current splitter… well this thing should be mean

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Check back for more and check in with RaceKern for even more details on the build.

Ballooning

A couple months ago I went out for the first time with Michael Hill to go help crew for his hot air balloon flight. I had never done that before and I have some strange desire to try to learn random skills… just in case. I consider it 007 skills. I mean, what if! What if you just happen to find yourself needing to fly a hot air balloon, you may as well know how, right?

This time we flew Michaels new balloon. It was another new experience. These balloons seem so simple, but the devil is in the details. Yes, it is a simple balloon, yes it is a wicker (raton) basket and yes it is basically a bunch of strings wrapped around a balloon that makes this flight happen, but in order to make this all happen successfully you need to do everything in the right order, with the right technique. The toggles that hold the balloon seem very simple, but attach them correct and things go right, attach them incorrect and it is not ideal.

We ran a 7 mile flight in a perfect morning this week from Frederick Colorado. Take a look at some photos from the day.

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A little distraction

There is so much to do on all these cars and you hardly have time to stop and smell the roses. Well, as we were tinkering the other night we noticed a bit of nature had decided to watch us. This little guy decided to stop by and check in. He was resting peacefully till, of course, I had to get to close. He didn’t run however, he just kept his eye on me as he continued to hold his ground.

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Ice Racing 2012

If you know me at all you know that I love playing on the Ice! Last year I raced the season on Georgetown Lake. This year I have missed quite a few days up there but I keep trying to make it up there to race as much as possible. During the last race we had the opportunity to race on the largest track that they have ever put together! This track took up our entire portion of the lake and was simply… FUN. So many corners to figure out and a nice long lap as well.

Of course, if you know me you also know a camera came along on this adventure. Here is a quick edit of one full lap on the lake.

So, what else is there? How about the Steamboat Ice Track? Bridgestone winter driving school is a great place to go play. It isn’t quite as cheap as Ice racing, but you sure do get plenty of track time and it definitely is an amazing track. I headed up there with my old tires and was ready to go play. With a massive lack of confidence I put my car in the snowbanks a couple times. But wow, it is just so fun no matter what!

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We shared the GoPro’s throughout the day and threw together a short little video as well.

By the end of the day Dave pulled out a school car to show off what a Lexus can do on the track as well.

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Oh and yes, I was NOT the only one to get my car stuck in a snowbank!

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What fun a bit of snow can provide! I would 100% recomend heading up and taking a class at Bridgestone Winter Driving School if you have a chance!

Visiting my Sis

One of, what I would say is becoming tradition is when I head home I typically fly in via DC in order to spend a day or two with my sister. Unfortunately we don’t see each other more than about 2 times a year but it is always fun to explore her turf with her.

I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I have in the past but we had a chance to do a bit of exploring. One of the places that we visited was the Crime and Punishment museum. This place has a lot of memorabilia from famous gangsters, mobsters and of course devices of torture back to the earliest times. Parts of it are fascinating, parts of it are horrifying but it is pretty interesting. Turns out that is also where Americas most wanted is filmed as well so we explored the set a bit as well.

Crime and Punishment Museum, DC

Crime and Punishment Museum, DC (sorry about the quality on this one, that’s what happens when you are ramped up to 6400 ISO, 60×4.0!)

Oh and of course the “CAUGHT!” pic

Crime and Punishment Museum, DC

After leaving we were left to our devices at night in DC. I can’t say that I have explored monuments at night there before but it was pretty interesting to check out. We wanted to check out the brand new MLK memorial and on the way we saw the sights. The WWII memorial is a very beautiful structure at night. I really enjoyed seeing it all lit up.

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WWII Memorial

The Washington Monument is also very impressive and after the earthquake it is apparent that it has some damage. We could see some of the chunks that had fallen out, some cracks that were apparent as well, though you had to get pretty close to see that stuff.

Washington Monument

Onward and upward we arrived at the MLK memorial. I think it is a great monument, the detail is incredible in the carving but more important in my mind is the quotes that line the memorial.

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I quickly became pretty fascinated with the silhouettes of the other people who were reading the quotes. I enjoyed seeing them become part of the memorial as they enjoyed it.

MLK Jr Memorial

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Oh and of course, this little girl was awesome, she kept saying “I want to see Dr King!” I think she found him!

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After a couple days in DC, Meg, Val and I headed up to Pennsylvania to enjoy the holidays. It’s always great to spend a couple days catching up!

A long weekend

Each year my parents come out to visit for a week and each year they make it into a bit of an adventure. Sometimes they see and explore and sometimes they try things out and learn. In the past my mom learned to weld, my dad drove a bulldozer and both have found their way along trails and more. I make my way along with them for some of their adventures and they do others on their own.

This year I flew to Las Vegas to join them for a quick roadtrip back to Denver. For my birthday this year they gave me a driving experience. 5 laps in a Ferrari F430 F1! Yes, that sounds pretty good right?! So our first stop was to the track. Now, my parents aren’t exactly race car people, but my mom is up for adventure and she decided to try this out as well. We signed her up for an Aston Martin. After a short briefing and two discovery laps she was on her way. She stepped into the car and her instructor walked her through the operations of the car then onto the track! The track is a 1.4 mile road course. Pretty short but it had a very nice variety of corners to play on.

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As mom was continuing her laps I was being introduced to my own driving instructor. He walked me through the setup of the car, the operation of the car and asked me about my driving experience. “Ice racing, some karts, a little bit of play time in a Rally car… But I’ve seen it on TV.” I think he was a bit nervous at first. We headed out and wow, that thing handles so well! Very neutral, very balanced and incredibly smooth. in a lap or two I felt reasonably comfortable. by lap 5 I was wishing that it wasn’t my last lap!

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The experience was great and if you ever want to try out an exotic car on the track I’d definitely head over to Exotics Racing.

From there we headed out, a long drive that took us to Page Arizona. What is in Page? Well, it exists solely because of a large Dam. The reason we were there was because of Antelope Canyon. This is a slot canyon that is known for its absolute beauty. When we got there I was excited. I have heard of this, i have seen the pictures and the reports and it was exciting to be able to see it myself. Since Antelope Canyon is on Native American lands you need an escort in order to get into the Canyon. We selected Overland Canyon Tours because they had a photographers tour that sounded pretty exciting. When we arrived we realized that we were not alone. Wow, this is worse than a shopping mall! There were a ton of people in there. Probably 12-15 shuttles out front of the canyon including ours! I got some photos and I am glad that I went, but I think if I went again to something like this I would find a much less popular place to explore. I feel bad, the traffic that is in that canyon will definitely have an impact on it’s longterm viability.

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After a while I decided to embrace the crowds and use them in my photos. I think that the experience of the canyon was “crowded” so I think that people should see that when they see photos…

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After the adventure we headed over to see this Dam. It is the dam that holds back the water to create Lake Powell and it is a slightly smaller version of the Hoover dam. These things are always facinating. One small piece of concrete that holds back the 17 years of water that would have flowed through the canyon. That is a huge amount of water and no matter how big the dam is, it is small compared to the impact it has!

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From there we were off to Durango. Durango is a really cool town but it is also the home of the Durango to Silverton railroad. This is a long running narrow gauge railroad that runs Steam Locomotives from Durango to Silverton and back. Originally it was used for mining and transportation. But over time it has evolved to a tourist destination. You can arrive and hop on a train and ride the route that has been around for over 100 years. As you bump along the tracks you can look out on the river and the hillsides and imagine people camping along the shores panning for gold. You can imagine the mines on the hillsides and something about that old train makes all this come alive.

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Oh and of course there was a quick stop in Silverton before we headed back to Durango.

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The trip was very nice and relaxed. We had a great time and saw some beautiful things. It’s always good to take a short adventure with the family!

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Lisa’s Wedding

It seems like so long ago but many moons ago Lisa Myklak needed a place to live in the Boulder area and somehow my spare room became her new home. She was a great roommate and we got along great during the year that she lived here. Over the years we have kept in touch and I value her as a good friend and someone who I am very glad to have met.

Only a month ago I got a call from Lisa and she really wanted me to come to California to visit… because she was getting married! After a bit of figuring and deciding how I could swing yet another trip I made my way out to Santa Cruz to go to Lisa’s wedding. Lisa and Jimi met on bikes. They were both sponsored by Black Market bikes and they quickly came together. I never met Jimi but I heard about him and after this weekend I can see how much they mean to each other! Congrats Lisa, I am so happy for you!

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Finally, there is this one. Carter is the creator of Black Market bikes and many moons ago I shot with him as well:

Carter was pretty emotional at the wedding and gave a very heartfelt toast…

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I’m glad that I got to go to the wedding and spend the day not only with Lisa and Jimi but also with all the friends that I haven’t seen in too long! It was great to catch up!

A quick trip to California

It has been a while since I have spent time on a beach. It seems strange however that each time I visit the beach it is cold and rainy. However this time I didn’t mind, it was just so nice to get some sand between my toes!

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I headed to California for a friends wedding this time. I will put another post up in the next few days about the wedding however. The trip was just perfect, though a bit short. I arrived in California on Saturday. When I got in I drove straight to Felton California and met with some friends from Desert Dingo Racing. They have been a very great resource for our Class 11 Baja 1000 build. When I arrived Jim took me on out to their shop space. All outdoor and very nice. Crusty, their head mechanic was already working on the car. They showed me around and gave me all their secrets… I didn’t even have to get tough with them! Their vehicle is very tested and we are really excited to be able to apply some of the info toward our build.

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Do you want to see more pictures of the Desert Dingo’s car? Check out posts on Project Baja in the next week.

After spending some time with the Dingos I headed off to the beach. Ahhh… When I grew up every year we headed to Ocean City, NJ. Every year we also went to Cape May, NJ and each year I spent other days at the beach too. It is the one thing that Colorado is missing. Imagine this state with a beach! The first moment that I made it out to the beach was to Twin Lakes state park, bright and early on Sunday morning. It was cool out and the beach was active. A boat race left from the cape, people were fishing, running and more. It was a great place to spend a bit of time and look around.

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The wedding was in Santa Cruz at a local Vineyard. It was a beautiful setting, the weather was perfect as well! After the wedding I decided I was going to head up the coast along the PCH to make my way back to San Fran for my flight out.

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The beach was beautiful, cliffs dropping into the water linked with smaller more isolated areas. It was a great place to spend some time and check out the views.

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After an hour or so I headed further up the coast and got to a small town where I picked up some lunch and headed out to another beach to eat. It was brisk outside and I began heading up to San Francisco to get to my flight. I talked to a friend from Ice Racing who works up there and decided to meet up with him as well. First I headed to the icon of San Francisco. When was the last time I saw the Golden Gate Bridge? Probably around 1997! So it was time.

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Even though it was raining and crappy there is just something about that bridge! I walked across it I stood out a the first pillar and looked out toward alcatraz and I just enjoyed the marvels that are the Golden Gate Bridge for a while. Then I headed back to the Airport.

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When I got to the airport I met Bill the proud owner of Molly. Now before you say anything, Molly is a Bronco. Driven by Bill, Linda and Cheri… Well and pretty much anyone else that wants to drive it too! Bill is just an awesome guy and he gave me a thorough tour of the inner workings of the airport. Bill has previously been an airline pilot and now works in a complete maintenance of airport opperations. With all the maintenance opperations that are at the airport there area lot of gaps and grey areas so he works in a small elite group that is able to fill all the gaps and eliminate the grey areas. He is incredibly knowledgable about the airport and wow, it was awesome! Now I have to go back! He’s promised to make the next tour even bigger and even better!

It’s always great to get out of town and this was no exception. I’m looking forward t the next trip that is coming up soon!

Esinem Designs

Back at Metro I made some friendships with some good folks. Each has gone their separate way to figure out their career and I got a call from one of them just the other day. Jed has been doing a lot of projects out of his garage in order to get started. Furniture, custom work, bar’s and more. “And more” is something you may want to explore on his site… some of it is pretty funny.

Esinem sounds like S and M… so when you see “Paddles” on his site you may get an idea what I’m talking about. The cool thing about Jed is that he is open to anything. When he was looking for costume stuff with his wife for a 1920’s Gangster party they were having he found his way into a vintage shop. He found some wooden… toys. and was surprised at the quality of craftsmanship and when approached by the shop owner he found himself in a new line of work. Two weeks later he was producing paddles for the shop and to this day they have been a success! It is a fun story that you would expect from him even if you could have never guessed it.

Recently Jed has been making some custom pieces and was commissioned for a Magicians table. Something portable, something antique, something cool… When I got a call from him he asked if I would come take a few photos of it. It is a very cool piece and the Magician was very impressed as well. I’ve been horribly busy, so I unfortunately didn’t have enough battery power to keep shooting all the details, but you’ll get the idea.

Check out some photos and check out his site when you have a chance. http://esinemdesigns.com/

Magicians Table

Magicians Table

Magicians Table

Magicians Table

Testing and tuning with the EVO

What do you get when you take a high powered EVO made to run the toughest hillclimb in the nation and put its rally shoes back on? Well, you basically get a low level aircraft!

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After a bit of a rough ride at Pikes peak this year the car is back in action and ready for another local hill climb. Monarch is part of the CHCA series, in fact it is the last race of the series. The Kerns currently hold the record on the hill when they ran previously in the EVO with almost 200 less horsepower than it has currently. After fixing damage, replacing parts and basically converting it back to a rally car we took the car out to CORE to test it out.

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The EVO has so much power that all four wheels spin in nearly every gear on the dirt. It is a bit of an incredible thing. In addition it goes so much faster than the BMW that when you are going along the same course you spend close to double the time simply off the ground. There were several times when I thought: “Hmm, I sure hope we can land, regain traction and make that corner right there.” The funny thing is that the Ohlin suspension is so smooth compared to the BMW that even though you can tell you are going faster, the visual inputs are coming at you quicker, but it feels so smooth that you feel as though you are either going the same speed or going slower than the BMW.

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After a solid run at CORE we packed it up and headed home. No need to run it all day but we had a good solid test and it was a bit humbling to see Dave say with what appeared to be genuine surprise. “Wow, after testing with the BMW all summer, the EVO is FAST!”

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