I've been riding a practice track for a few weeks and trying to get back into riding shape. There are a few local guys I ride with that go pretty good, but it wasn't until I got a visit from Jason Hooper and GNCC star Josh Strang that I rediscovered what a real rider can do. My buddies would say, "Man, you should be racing, you'd win!" I had been turning 1:05 lap times around my track, riding at what I thought was a fast pace. Knowing that Mr. Strang was a world class racer and athlete I brought my "A-Game" to the track yesterday.
We went out and rode a couple warm up laps then came back to the truck for water. Josh started putting new brake pads on his bike and I asked, "How long have you had those on there?" He replied in his Ozzy accent, "They were new yesterday morning, mate." “Hmmm...” I thought.
As all the gang started arriving I wanted to have a grudge race to see where we stood. I wanted to race seven laps and get a seven second head-start and see if he could catch me. I tore off riding as fast as I could but after two laps I looked over and saw he had already closed to within about 10 bike lengths. "Uh-oh, better wick it up,” I thought. The next two laps I rode way, way over my head, almost endoing on the triple trying a Bubba scrub. My feet were blowing off the pegs and I ruined all of the good ruts we had made trying to hold him off. It was four fingers on the clutch and not even using the front brake the whole 7th lap. I finally reached the finish line and pulled off gasping for air, barely conscious.
Josh rode on, and on, and...well, no less than 30, yes 30, laps later did he finally pull off. As I was pouring water over my head still trying to breathe my Pops walked over to me and showed me his lap times. His fastest was a 57 and he ran every passing lap in the 58 second range. He never went above 58 for 30 minutes. No way. Pops told me most of my laps were 59's and I had one 58 the lap I saw God over the triple. Josh rode up and took off his helmet and his hair was still dry. Then, the 21-year old ripper busted out three more 30-lap motos before calling it a day. Another new set of brake pads were toast.
The reality was: I'm 32-years-old, washed up, and those GNCC guys are gnarly. Josh Strang could bust a top 15 at a national no problem.
Damn, guys, get out there and ride. It's the bee's knees.
Motocross isn't everything though. October the 19th, will be a day that I'll never forget. At 11:50pm that night my nephew, Lincoln Dale Bowyer was born into the world. To that point in time, I could say with no ego that I had pretty much seen it all. My goodness was I wrong. All of you parents, aunts and uncles out there know something that other people don't. I got to hold Lincoln about 20 minutes after he was born and he just looked at me, not crying or anything. He just kind of had a "What the hell is going on?" look on his tiny face. He looked just like my brother Casey. I'm telling you right now, it was the craziest thing I've ever experienced. I finally went home and just stared at my blank TV with a feeling that words can't capture.
It was the most concrete form of reality that's ever hit this dude square in the chest.
I've said it before and I will reiterate, this is an astonishing mud ball we live on. This brief opportunity we have to be alive and breathing should not be taken for granted, because it is a gift and a blessing. Sometimes a little reality helps push this point through. Love your family and go ride dirt bikes.