Well.... it's that time again. This Sunday is the next big date and I'm rollin' out some prep after a few delays in receiving parts. But first I have to take a few more minutes to ramble incessantly about how faaaahking badass riding is. First: a snapshot of tasks to be done:
Late last year I decommissioned the bikes from street use (i.e., non-opped and stopped paying insurance on them). I thought this transition would be a no-brainer given how little I had actually ridden. I thought the adjustment would be pretty painless because while, in my prime, I was an avid (obsessed) rider who clocked thousands and thousands of miles a year in all temps on the bikes, it just hadn't been the same. It has been a long time since the days where all I had were bikes and I would get off work, suit up, and do a happy hour run over the top of our mountain passes every day by myself just to decompress.
Suddenly late last week I started experiencing a lot of anxiety. I had been stir crazy for about a month or so but the restlessness was manageable. I'm not the type of chick to really have trouble sleeping but this stuff came about abruptly and I think I clocked about 3 hours of sleep every night for the last 7 days. I've been working on a pretty big project for work and while that was part of it, one night randomly whilst lingering between sleep and consciousness I heard myself say: "Why don't we ride anymore?"
My eyes shot open piercing through the darkness at the ceiling above me as visions of many amazing local and long distance spontaneous solo adventures danced around in my mind. Days where I would just wake up, load a backpack, hit the road and figure out what the plan was as I rode along.
The weather has been warming up and it's my second favorite time of year. The nights lately have been just perfect for the fire pit and in the chill of a crisp night, my senses are tickled by the sweet smell of blossoms and the damp soil of the foothills. This is the weather that brings back all of the memories from days of wreaking havoc on two wheels. Meeting random riders at gas stations and blasting out through the dark of night to the lake and back, exchanging info and planning future rides. This is the weather that brings about the old haunts and echoes of friends who are no longer around to ride with but are always in my heart and on my mind.
So last night, this guy that I've been chillin' with pings me regarding our plans to hang out: "I'm going to bring the bike out tonight, where do you want to meet up?" Most of the day at work I had spent in a dazed fog from the lack of sleep. The only thing that got me through the day was working a youth conference where, ironically, the key note speaker went on a huge motivational schpiel about passion and following your passions. As he spoke, my mind wandered and I thought about the bikes, the track day and these kids... what they will become. I thought about who I've been and who I am and what makes me love life so damned much. And I hoped I would finally get some sleep before spending a day blasting around the track.
I saw the message as I sat at a stop light with my windows down. That same smell of soil and blossoms wafted into the car as a motorcycle rode by and I followed it with envious eyes as it disappeared down the street; without a second thought, I grabbed the phone and responded: "My house, pick me up."
There was a delay in response as I got home, grabbed my street gear out of the closet and dusted everything off (LOL!); my beloved black leather jacket, my helmet (still spattered with bugs from the track day), and my street shoes that I dusted out a million times to ensure that spiders hadn't taken up residency.
I made my way outside as I heard the song of the siren. The lovely 2012 ZX6R made her way down my street and as he popped up his visor, I glared through my helmet with intent but subduing a devious grin: "How long has it been since you crashed and what were the circumstances?" I asked him. He popped his visor up and looked me square in the eyes: "Well that's a hell of a question... but uh... it's been a couple of years and it was at the track."
"Fair enough," I retorted. I had already made the decision but I figured at least an attempt at making my point was necessary.
As we made our way around all of the great riding spots I felt all of the tensions and the anxiety fade away. Granted, it wasn't the same as riding my own, but it was just enough to make me realize that there is a time and place for everything and that maybe I need to reconsider my decision.
There are things about street riding that make all of the bullshit in life seem worthwhile. There are things about riding these roads in my shitty little hell hole of a home town that few will ever find redeeming but that remind me exactly how much there is to appreciate even in being somewhere less than accommodating to a persons preferences.
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, and afterward I sat with my new friend and just smiled and praised the mighty red bike that had so graciously escorted me on my invigorating adventure. I can't help it. I can't help gushing. It's the ultimate love affair, these vessels of the soul. And as much as I love track days... it's just not enough. Flashback Friday: The honeymoon stage... and the love affair is still strong (circa 2006) I still remember exactly how I felt, sitting on that bike the moment that picture was captured
So today, on this lovely day off, I prep my trusty ninja. The bike that is the monument of my passion and the vessel of my soul. Soon, I'll take her blinders off and put her back on the road, too. Because this is our life together. Because life is too damn short to sit around waiting to get back on track.