ZX6R VA Mountain Run and Volunteering at MotoAmerica VIR
I’ve been riding motorcycles for about 4 years. I took my first long trip on a 2012 Triumph Bonneville 3 months after passing the MSF course and riding away on the new bike. I did NC to VA, WV, PA through the mountains and then on to NYC and back to NC. It was an amazing learning experience.... both good and bad.
This trip definitely isn’t going to compare in terms of mileage but there are a lot of firsts in the works here:
#1 I’ll be camping the entire time - I’ve only camped a handful of times and never with the bike.
#2 I’ll be doing it on the ZX6R - I’ve taken it up to the NC mountains but that was just a one day ride where I stayed in a house and basically just did there and back to see if I could even do it. This’ll be the first proper multi-day ‘tour’.
#3 I’m going to my first motorcycle race - The VIR round of the MotoAmerica season.
#4 I’m volunteering all 4 days of the race (Thurs - Sunday) - First motorcycle race; first moto race volunteering.
Yesterday I started getting really anxious about the trip. The plan at the moment is to leave Raleigh NC after work tomorrow and head to Staunton VA for the night so itís getting close. A hundred things I donít have or could have / should have done better or might not be prepared for started bubbling up in my mind. No GPS (actually have never had one on the bike), no phone mount or power (for phone to do GPS), S20 Battlaxís with 4600 miles on them (though the tread still looks good), do I need more clothes?, do I need different clothes?, Iím wearing a waterproof jacket thatís pretty heavy (3 seasoníish) will I die of dehydration from sweating like mad?, will the tent leak?, no tire repair kit, wish I had a steering damper, wish I had different boots. But really the biggest stress was the weather. Itís calling for thunderstorms every day and the severity of the forecast seems to go up and down as the trip gets closer. I keep imagining riding through a downpour and arriving at a campsite to try to set everything up all while in the middle of a monsoon. I picture the bike falling over in mud b/c the kickstand sinks. I imagine the tailpack being flooded and the tent leaking. Iím no stranger to rain and I honestly donít mind it that much (if itís not the entire ride) but the camping part and the unknowns were what was doing my head inÖÖ..
Then I woke up to a beautiful morning. Skies just a little overcast but the air crystal clear. Rode into work and the bike felt amazing. The day started with one of those rides where you feel like the bike is just an extension of you. And the anxiety melted away. It may rain, and the tent may leak and my stuff might get drenched but itís gonna be an adventure and itíll be a new experience and Iím gonna live it with that perspective (Doesnít that sound nice? Letís hope thatís the reality of it ). Motorcycling itself is a lesson in compromise. We compromise stability (2 wheels vs 4) and shelter (from the elements) to experience exactly those things. That instability letís us experience the forces of leaning into a turn and the lack of cover letís us experience the environment weíre moving through in a way thatís impossible in a car. You smell the road, you smell the treeís (or concrete depending on where youíre riding) and you feel the bumps and imperfections in the road. You hear the road and the cars and the wind. The lack of 4 wheel stability makes your senses go into overdrive and that alone makes the experience of a ride different from anything else.
Agree on pavement. My thought was actually just for the first night. I'm camping at a campground Wednesday night near Staunton and riding the mountains the next morning before heading to VIR. The pictures of their sites make it look like I'd have to ride out into the woods
Definitely agree though and am not stressing that stuff. Looking forward to whatever comes.
Been having the hardest time getting absolutely everything packed up. I still had a few 'necessities' that weren't in the Kriega that I didn't know what to do with. I have a 20L Kriega too but stacking that on top of the 30 would have been ridiculous (yes, I did try it anyway). I'm also trying to do the trip with no weight on my back. I'm taking a backpack but only for very lightweight things and so that I have something at the track to take smaller bits back and forth from the campsite if needed. I packed and re-packed 3 or 4 times and was getting super frazzled. My wife walked in and said "why don't you find a way to wrap the tent and tarp up and attach it to the outside of the pack?". My first thought was 'blah blah blah, ok, whatever'.........
..... then I actually thought about it for 30 seconds and realized it was a great idea. Can't believe I didn't think of it. Thanks Jill!
Freeing up the space from the tent and tarp gave me just enough room to get everything in. Locked and loaded! Oh, and I also found out a great friend from Boston is gonna come down on Sunday and we're gonna run back through the mountains Sunday, Monday and some of Tuesday!!! Now that's a serious rider..... Boston to VA and back!