Alas, I made it to the Racer X office with about 45 seconds to spare before all hell broke loose. When I woke up this morning the sun was out and there was that clean smell in the air that only comes after a hard rain. The storm had blown the leaves free from the trees and the roads were covered, with only two lanes cut through it from the wheels of everyone's morning commute.
For the second time in 12 hours I felt that heightened sense as I came face to face with the fist clenching reality of what awaits me this weekend. I don’t know how much more I can take. I’m hardly five days removed from one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever been a part of, yet there is one that will go down in two days that will be the heaviest one yet.
This is a great time to be alive, folks. The Fall season is upon us, the most beautiful season of the year, but I can barley hold my eyes from an intense glare and stop my teeth from clenching. There have been some times that I have sat down to write the Rev Up with the utmost enthusiasm, but this is truly the pinnacle. Let’s do it.
We’ve been talking about the MXoN all week and we probably will be for a long, long time. Nobody saw it coming. Most of the pre-race chatter I heard was cynical and skeptical. But you cannot stop momentum. Our sport has been surging for the past five years and it all came to a head with that event. Live television, live internet feed, the final charge of the greatest motocross rider of all-time. The emergence of a new power, and the ever persistent power struggle of world supremacy. What a grand story. It brought people from all over the world, but more interesting than that, it brought some validation that motocross is one of the most intriguing and glorious motorsports there is. It just might be the best kept secret in all of sports. Well, I think the cat is slowing getting out of the bag. People are beginning to realize how amazing our gig is. Talk about a story. How much more heritage and lore can you get? In my walk of the venue I encountered Donnie Hansen, Chuck Sun, Ronnie Lechien, Danny Laporte and Roger DeCoster. Seeing those cats and thinking about the blood, sweat and tears those animals gave during that event just made it all so special.
I can be quite the spaced-out day dreamer at times, and I think a lot. When Ricky took the white flag in that last moto I thought about the first time I met him at Lake Whitney in 1988. He was this tiny, weird, little dirty kid and I was making fun of his ratted out bike with a cut-down seat cover. He didn’t even have gloves on. But holy shit was he fast. We became friends over the years and our families traveled together to the big amateur races. All of those memories hit me at the same time as he circulated the Budds Creek facility on that last lap. That tiny little guy I met all those years ago went on to become the greatest motocross rider in history. Nobody imagined he would do what he did. But the thing I like the most about all of his accomplishments is that he is still the dude that sang and danced in the gong show with me at the Winter Olympics. Still the guy that would come over to our motorhome and steal our Little Debbie brownie cakes. Ricky Carmichael is almost God-like in the world of motocross, but he is really just a good person and one of the most real and down-to-earth people you will ever meet. After the race I kind of stood off to the side and watched his Mom hold his twins and saw all of his peers give him hand shakes. Congratulations, Ricky. You did it right, man.
I’ve been soaking in the aftermath of that race all week, then came that storm last night. It made me realize how small all of us are. Even the strong and the hard cower in the face of mother nature. Just when we fool ourselves into thinking we are safe in our bubble, a nice sound blast from a thunderstorm will bring you back to reality. A storm delivers that spooky sensation of being vulnerable and it excites the senses and makes you feel alive. Riding through that storm last night got me in a state of mind I haven’t felt in a long time. I’m pumped up, guys. I’m really, really pumped up.
Think about every fight song you’ve ever heard and every inspiring headline, or philosophical quote you’ve ever read. Harness that inspired feeling and multiply it by a hundred and that’s where I’m at. We’re going to Kansas this weekend folks. He’s gonna make them stand up. They can pack about 160,000 people into the stands and the lion’s share of them will be looking for the black car. Grade school teachers, former co-workers, classmates, old motocross racing buddies, casual friends…they’re all going to be there. If, by the grace of God, he is able to make it towards the front they will inch towards the edge of their seats. If he is able to stand on it hard enough to get to the front they’ll stand up. Last year he passed Jimmie Johnson in a four-tire drift and stole the lead. He said he could see them stand up through the windshield of his car, even though he was going 190 mph. I saw them and I can still hear them. I want to hear them again. We’re going back home. He left three years ago and comes back to them driving in The Chase for the Nextel Cup, a scant 18 points away from the big trophy.
That storm last night got me ready for the one that is coming this Sunday afternoon. We’re going to need a little help to get through it, so I’m going to call on you guys for a little good luck and support. If you’re around the tube Sunday afternoon, tune and give the #07 a chest thump. I’m off to the airport.