The 5th of November simply means another ride day and I'm stoked about it. I'm still too scared to race, so I'm still in "factory practice" mode. You know that mode. Bling out your bike and gear like you’re pushing to the starting line at Loretta Lynn's. Run new tires and your best gear just to go tear it up for open practice. I've been getting a lot of entertainment from just riding as a hobby. I think I enjoy just sitting on my tailgate and observing as much as I like riding. It’s fun to see all of the different characters unloading their bikes.
There are always the local cool kids with the long "Over it" style haircuts that pull up in monster trucks with all of the "bro-brand" stickers. They usually have a couple bubble gum faced chicks with them and they never ride more than two or three laps at a time. They're awesome. There is no warming up with these cats. They kick their bikes to life and immediately wrap the throttle to 20,000 RPM and once they hit the track they're W.F.O. They scrub every single jump and rear tire slide every corner. They make a lot of noise and use more energy in a single lap than Lance Armstrong does in the entire Tour de France.
Then, you can listen to the vet guys that have seen everything. "Yeah...back in the day when I was riding with Bob Hannah on a dual shock Bultaco... those were the days of real men." Well, this may be true, but why does every old dude you meet at the bar or elsewhere tell you he actually rode with The Hurricane? Maybe it's just me, but it keeps happening. These guys are classic. As "real men" they throw a fit when the track is a little muddy, and get super pissed off if you pass them going too fast. I generally try to give the old guard some room, but they always ride the good lines... slowly.
Riding itself has changed a lot for me. I've learned a couple important lessons that have manifested from the four-stroke revolution. First off, I stall it pretty much every time I get on the track. I've been told what to do to my carburetor to help this but the list of instructions was longer than A Tale of Two Cities. So, I just try to pull the clutch in and keep it revved instead. Secondly, the roost is phenomenal. I got it so bad Tuesday that it blew my tear offs away from my goggles. My entire upper body looks like I was stoned at the stake by a drunken Irish mob. I don't wear a chest protector because my jersey looks cooler. (Dumb, dumb.)
Some things haven't changed though. Like, when you catch a guy from a half a lap behind then he looks back and sees you and goes completely Berserko Baker. I'm not sure if I was just mad about the principle of this clown doing this or about to pass out from the pain of the roost, but I went "Matiasevich-Bradshaw-Vegas '92" on him and punted him into the weeds. I think he knew he was in the wrong because there was no retaliation and his Dad didn't try to beat me up in the pits.
It's all good though! I love it whether I'm sitting on my tailgate or looking through my Oakleys.
So, it is a special day I guess. It's the only November 5th we'll see all year and I hope a lot of you guys use it to ride. I know I'm ready. I'm just finished detailing my bike with a tooth brush and I have a new set of gear ready to get stained. The chest protector is at the ready because it’s "new double" time. But that's another story...
Thanks for reading, see you next week.