Life is about learning to love the curves
Handling the curves of life smoothly and safely is a good thing. Learning to love the ones life throws at you as much as the ones on the track is key to happiness. Lean in low and roll on the throttle. Stay on your toes with a loose upper body and remember to look through the curve. No target fixation, always adjusting where you’re looking to where you want to be. Soft and smooth. Be deliberate. Remember – when in doubt gas it!! All good track policies and life ones as well.
I have found that sometimes life, just like the road, gives you warnings about upcoming curves – and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes unexpected curves are a good thing – especially after riding the length of Kansas. And sometimes things get a little messy – both in life and in motorcycling. The thing I knew for sure was that by going to Fishtail Riding School at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH I was going to get comfortable with the 12 turns of the road course there. The first few laps following my instructor (Joe) were a bit hairy and scary – even with the white x on the track to let you know where you should be to have the proper line coming into each turn and the cone on its side marking the apex in each turn. But with each lap and each session I got more comfortable and more relaxed. And quicker. Still not hanging my knees out. The only time I scrape my knee is when I’m on my way down to take a soil sample! Luckily for me, I and the bike, stayed upright all day. Can’t say the same for everyone in attendance. Some folks either ran out of track or traction, but no one required an ambulance ride.
Yup, I did say it. I went track day at Loudon. It was after all Cinco de Mayo and one can’t name one’s bike Margarita and not celebrate appropriately. So back in January I decided to enroll with Fishtail. I know I’m all about riding long distances and not riding fast, but I still thought it would be interesting to try it. So I did. Got lapped and someone passed me on the inside (a no-no for track day) but I did manage to drastically change the wear pattern on Margarita‘s tires.
Gregg came over on Sunday with his new Suzuki V-Strom 650 already track prepped and loaded in his trailer. He’s fondly referring to his new V-Strom as his Wee-Strom. The one he rode west last year with me was dangerously close to 100,000 miles. Yes – that’s not a typo. He’s got 98,000+ miles on it. Anyway – the old one was a DL1000 and Gregg’s a BIG guy – so the new shiny red one he’s calling the Wee-Strom. Plus when he rides it he says, “Weeeeeee.”
He was most definitely singing weeeeee all day at Fishtail.
It was a very long day. We pulled out of my driveway, having loaded up the bikes the night before, at 4:00 AM and headed to NH. I decided to sit out the last 20-minute instructional track session because I was tired and had had a great day and very much wanted to keep it that was. Gregg also decided to pass up the open track session so by 4:30 PM we were loading up and securing the bikes and by 5 PM we were on the road heading back to Maine. Got back to my house around 8 PM having picked up a pizza on the way home. We unloaded Margarita I put back the fuses I’d pulled (no headlights, brake lights, turn signals, horns) and put the license plate and mirrors back on and rigged up the tank bag straps. We ate our dinner and by the time I showered and crawled into bed it was just after 9 PM.
The next day was my very first day at the new job! What an awesome way to start the new job. Thanks Gregg.