Dear Mr. Ping
First off I want to say how much I love your column and look forward to reading it every Friday. As for the guy who said your column is always late, sometimes I can't read it before the workday over so it gives my Monday a good start! Let me give some background information… I'm a 21-year-old girl who has been working with motorcycles since I was 14. I've worked for two big manufactures and I love the motorcycle industry. It's my drive and passion. I could never work anywhere else. I also have been riding motorcycles since I was 15. My boyfriend says I'm one of the toughest girls he has ever known but when I put my leg over a bike I become a different person. I get really scared and sometimes I just want to ride and not push my limits. I'm so scared to fall and break something that I won't push myself. I go to the tracks with my boyfriend and to be honest I have just as much fun watching other people do what I can't. I've been trying to push myself more and I have been improving but I just don't think it'll ever be good enough to ride on the big tracks. As for my question, do you have any suggestions? Like going to a motorcycle school for someone at my speed to build my confidence, or make my boyfriend push me more. I really don't want to give it up, but I also don't always want to be the last one. Good luck with your team!!
PS- I’ve attached a picture of 2008’s rider of the year and me.
It sounds like a pretty simple solution to me, really. Your lack of nerve is something that is very common in a lot of women and it is easily curable. There are some side effects though. After the first week of your testosterone injections you will feel an increased level of aggressiveness. You might scream at a co-worker, punch a hole in a wall or grab a baseball bat and completely destroy the copy machine when it runs out of toner. These are all perfectly normal emotions for someone with increased testosterone levels and you will learn to live with them in time. You may also want to head to the drug store and pick up some extra razors because you are going to be growing facial hair like a lumberjack. Your voice will drop a couple octaves, your jaw line will double in size and you might even notice a hint of a penis after a while. You can kiss your boyfriend bye-bye at that point but the good news is you will have plenty of time to go to the track and practice. You should be much more, ahem, ballsy by that point and jumping everything on the track. After a year or two of practice you can be on the WMA tour scaring the other girls on the start line and horrifying fans with your lady beard. I hope this suggestion has been helpful.
Hey, Ping- I have one question after all these years:
Everyone wanted more surface area to put sponsor logos on race bikes, remember? They invented the wrap around full plastic kits a few years back, but nobody used them. The cost was high for the average Joe, but not for the factory bikes. Is it a case of not running them so the untrained fan thinks what he buys off the showroom floor is the "same" bike say Stewart runs? Those kits did make a bike look very different than what people see at supercrosses.
I think they were called Ryno skins. I remember Mike Metzger running them for a while but they never really caught on. There are a few reasons why they didn’t become more popular. First, they caused the engine and shock to overheat. Even with vents cut into them they held in heat, which made even a water-cooled two stroke run too hot. It would be even worse with a four-stroke. Also, they made access to the engine difficult in case there was something that needed to be worked on. At the time there was concern that if you had to change a spark plug on the line you would have to unclip the entire paneling before you could even get to the plug. Lastly, they were a little bit heavy. Teams spend thousands of dollars on titanium, magnesium and carbon fiber parts to decrease weight so they don’t want to bolt on a bunch of unnecessary weight. Now, if someone could produce something made of carbon fiber that didn’t hinder cooling of the engine and shock and provided easy access or quick removal to get to the vital parts of the motor we might all be running them.
I just want to know if you are going to ride in the NAHA pro hill climb again next year at Glen Helen. I know you were not too happy with your performance this year. I was also wondering if you could explain the feeling of riding up 70% grades on a bike with an extended swing arm? I bet it is a rush.
I’d love to do another round of the NAHA series. The Glen Helen event doesn’t have much hill to work with but it is definitely the most convenient round. I got fourth last year and I feel like I got ripped off a little bit. I missed the podium in the 450 class by tenths of a second. Then I laid down a smoker on my first run in the crossover race only to have the clock malfunction. My second run was decent but Kurt Caselli beat me by a fraction of a second and took all the money. So, I’ve got to redeem myself this year and it will probably be at Glen Helen. Oh, and about the feeling of riding up that kind of vertical wall? Frightening. I didn’t believe that anyone would make it up the hill when I first saw it but the very first rider to run at it made it all the way. It’s amazing what a paddle tire and an extended swingarm will do. The first time I rode one of the 700’s I felt a little bit like one of those monkeys that NASA shot into space. I had the uniform, the equipment and the training and whatnot… but it just didn’t seem natural.
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