Sometimes I feel I am a bit of an anomoly in the riding community. Some people think I'm some freaky fast rider and others think I'm a big chicken not willing to push the envelope to keep up. I rode alot this weekend with two days on the island and one run up the S2S on Monday morning. For the past couple of years riding with most of you I've become more and more cautious as opposed to increasingly brave.
Yes, I like to ride fast. Yes I like the feeling of Mach 3 with my hair on fire, but I am constantly doing a reality check while riding. ZX9'er and I were talking to a rider who joined us yesterday for his first run up the S2S. What surprised me was that Andrew said he talks to himself all the time while riding. It surprised me because I am in the habit of doing the same. Andrew is a fast rider, but when I follow him I find he brake checks or throttle checks in the exact same spots as I do...............hence why I like riding with him.
"It's a 50 corner, so I can take it at 120-130 safely, but what if there is an obstruction around this blind corner or an RV over the center line? "
"I'm at 240 heading North out of Furry Creek up the passing hill, but what if a cop is at the top?"
"Mr. Speed Demon in front of me is out across the double yellow to pass 4 cars and will make the corner but is there enough room for me? What is to be gained by staying close? What will I give up by waiting................waiting..............waitin g?"
I find myself constantly asking "what if?" and "What's my next move should I need to make an emergency maneuver?"
This makes me slower than some of the riders I am with. It's taken a while for me to realize that this is not a limitation of skill, but more an appreciation of our/my mortality. Has it ever diminished the thrill of the ride in any way? Frankly, No!
Sometimes my brain just isn't 100%
Sometimes what ate or drank today or the night before has affected me.
Sometimes the view, the smell of the air, the beauty of watching a fellow rider in front of me carve a corner perfectly is enough for the moment.
Sometimes the oncoming cars are freaking me out just enough that I turn it back a notch.
Sometimes I think this is the best I can be.
Sometimes I wish I was on a GoldWing.
Sometimes I am truly concerned for my fellow riders.
Sometimes I just don't feel like getting to know you better........first name and nickname is enough.
As much as I have enjoyed getting to know alot of you I have struggled with developing close friendships with many of you. It's a thought that really really bothers me. I can feel the closeness grow and it scares me. My heart sinks every time I hear of one of my Brothers and Sisters going down. So many are eager to criticize those that bin it (myself included).........I hate their lack of compassion.
As aloof as I may appear, I hate being that way. It's self preservation I guess because I couldn't handle the resulting pain. I've had my share and it leaves deep scars.
If I was 20 again I know my thoughts would be different for sure. Now pushing 40 I've come to accept the fact I will always ride at 80% of my potential on the street.
I've learned one thing in life which has kept me sane and connected:
Life is an unending series of crises, whether it be job, health, relationship, money, or spiritual in form. In between these crises are periods of serenity. They may last a day or perhaps months or even years. Accepting the fact that a new crisis is due upon you at any time should cause you to grab hold of the current "good times" and live them to the fullest and not squander it.
Today is a good day, relish it.