May 26, 2005
Lucy, TF, and I were emailing back and forth about motorcycles after our recent discussion of things like helmet laws. I’ve mentioned before that I’m an adrenaline junkie, so below is a picture of the sort of thing that gets my heart pounding. The picture was taken of me at the Streets of Willow Springs, exiting the “Skidpad” turn (see track map). That morning was the first time that I’d ever managed to get my knee down, which for you non-motorcyclists means that you’re leaned over so far that your knee is skimming the pavement.
Unfortunately, the day didn’t go so well after that. In my second session, I was hauling through the “Bowl” turn (again, see track map at above link), which is a turn with 20 degree banking. It’s the second-fastest turn on the track, and I was leaned over through it at probably 70-75 mph. There’s a small dip in the track, and I was too heavy on the gas. My rear wheel stepped out (i.e. slid) about 12-18″, and then all of a sudden, caught traction. This, in the motorcycle world, is called a highside, because the sudden loss and regaining of traction causes the bike to violently stand up, tossing a rider over the top of it. Despite a futile attempt to save it (hands still on the bars, body in the process of flying over the bike), I found myself sliding off the track and through gravel at high speed. But, in a testament to the relative safety of riding on a track, and to being in full protective gear, I got up, dusted myself off, and called it a day.
The bike is now gone, because I made the mistake of financing it, and didn’t have it paid off yet. Insurance companies aren’t too keen on paying for damages incurred at race tracks, so rather than continue paying the bike off while also trying to pay to repair it, I had to sell it. But now I’m starting to feel the itch again. I may not be looking at bikes again until I get out of debt, but I need to find something exciting and dangerous to do. I’m still an adrenaline junkie, and I need my fix!
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