Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up. Sorry, I’m late, guys. But I have an excuse I’ve been waiting to use for a long time. I was riding.
I love this time of year. It hit home last night as I was unloading my gear bag in front of the house. It was around 9:00pm and the WVU game was at full song. You could hear people shouting and hollering at their television sets inside their homes all around the neighborhood. I kind of smiled when I heard that, then began taking my gear out of the bag. I reached down and grabbed my helmet, then dropped it disgustedly and wiped the sweat on my hand off on my t-shirt. Then it hit me how long it had been since I had done that. Man, there isn’t anything better than spending time at the motocross track on a 70 degree fall afternoon. I snapped out of the trance as a 50 degree breeze sent a chill through me. Then came that smell that only comes this time a year.
We don’t get to ride much around here. West Virginia has a considerable winter season that stretches from mid-October through April. By then, it’s time for the Loretta Lynn qualifying program and we're pretty much running wide open until, well, now. So when I had a chance to go to Muddy Creek this week I was down right giddy. The event was the official introduction of the 2009 KX450F, and 20 or so journalists and test riders from around the industry were invited to try their hand at the new machine. I had about two weeks to prepare for the trip, so I went riding as much as I could to get ready. I’ve only ridden about a half dozen times in the past three years, and I ended up getting out to the track twice before heading to the introduction. The second time out I took a pretty good digger and tweaked my knee and back. I thought, “Ah yes, now I remember."
The Kawasaki folks drove us out to the track at 8:00 a.m. It felt just like all of those mornings heading to the races back in the day, and I was similarly nervous. Didn’t want to go out there and ride like a goon or wad up the cherry new bike. Of course, there is a little bit of fun, competitive spirit among publications. Have to hold up the flag for my boys, right? We drove into the Muddy Creek facility with our faces pressed against the glass like kids at the zoo. The site was the best moto porn you can imagine. Black dirt juxtaposed against vibrant green grass. A Team Green hauler with 16 brand new bikes overlooked the track. My right foot was taping faster than the Slipknot drummer at Ozzfest.
We all snatched our gear bags and skipped over to the row of bikes and met with our mechanic for the day. “Which one is mine?” I asked. Kawasaki’s Jeff Chambers laughed at me and pointed out the one I would be testing. Then told me he would be my guy. Jeff was my guy when I rode for Team Green back in 1993. A little over 20 seconds later I had my gear on and was heading out to the track. I raced Muddy Creek back in 1994. It was my first ride on a 125. A KX125.
So, just go out and feel the bike out and break it in a little, right? Hell, no. I dropped the hammer and was charging on the first lap. Perfect Loamaha soil. The most incredible bike I had ever thrown a leg over. I couldn’t even feel my knee or back injuries. I pinned it for four laps, trying to scrub the jumps and tucking down the straights. I could hear a guy behind me so I was trying to pull him, but the guy was catching me quick. Just then I looked back, expecting the Dirt Rider dude, and it was none other than Tim “Red Dog” Ferry. Feeling like a goon I pulled over and watched him float out of site like some kind of Jedi or something. It was a perfect day.
I can barley walk this morning. Hands, wrists, knees, and back are shot. It feels awesome though. There is nothing better than riding, guys. Now is the time to go do it. Fall is here and it just smells like riding. The football games don’t start until the afternoon. Get your ass out of bed this Saturday and Sunday and load up the gear bag. Go out there and get you some of that 65 degree 9:00 a.m. nirvana while it lasts.