I took last week off from blogging in preparation for our 2-3 day ride. After a long and grueling 4 days at work, 12 hour shifts where we are on our feet about 90% of that time, I was ready for some days off. I took my bike out for a 105 mile test run with all of the bags and equipment that we would be carrying on our ride. We worked in some really rough washed out trails, fast fire roads, dirt roads and a little bit of asphalt. Everything was going good at first. My duffel bag stayed strapped down to the rear fender rack, the Wolfman tank bag performed exceptionally well, panniers fit and rode well ... but my bike was blubbering. No big deal, just trash in the carb, as soon as I get home I will pull the carb off and clean the float bowl and main jet. As the day progressed, my bike's performance deteriorated. When I got back home, I washed my bike and did my normal maintenance routine, then turned my attention to the carburetor. After cleaning the carb and putting it back on the bike, I hit the starter. Nothing. After an adjustment and a new spark plug (I knew deep down the new plug wouldn't change anything), I hit the starter again. Nothing part 2. I pull the carb back off to double check that I didn't screw something up and cannot find anything wrong. Once again, put it on the bike, hit the starter, Nothing part 3. After Nothing part 4, 5 and 6, I call my KTM shop and run the bike up to them to check out quickly. I raced with several of the guys that work there so they worked my bike in for me that afternoon. After confirming that everything I had done was ok, they did a compression and leakdown test. My bike is losing compression, which means a top end tear down to find the problem.
After planning this trip for 2 months, just waiting for cooler weather, I can't tell you how frustrating it is to be typing this tonight instead of being 140 miles north spending the night on Bull Shoals Lake. If it could have just waited another week before it puked the top end, I would have been fine with it.
As far as my RA goes, I am feeling better still. Sore and stiff ankles, heels and feet along with my knees and right shoulder still being grouchy, other than that I have no complaints. I have been using the Voltaren Gel on my hands quite a bit over the last 2 weeks and it does help. The middle joint of my ring finger on my left hand is very notchy when I bend it now. It doesn't hurt too bad but you can watch the knuckle pop as you bend it. I hope this passes quickly. I am back to working out consistently and am starting to feel my muscles fill back out in my arms. I love the feeling after a workout where you have pushed yourself a little bit. My arms hated me the first couple of weeks, but are now starting to like working out again.