I too admire your spirit, yet I can't help thinking you were just as stupid as you were lucky...
On one hand you are quite realistic about your abilities, you know you are fast, but not the fastest in the competition. But it is all for fun, so there are no problems there. Still every time you go out there you have to push the envelope and try and beat the faster guys, crashing about what, half of the time?! Why on earth didn't you slow down?
It's interesting that you mention thinking about the cause of the various crashes, but apparently you were not able to draw any conclusions from it.
Sorry if this sounds harsh... I hope you fully recover, and manage to get out of the crashing business.
I recently had a couple of minor knee surgeries and have been moaning about the slow-to-leave pain. Thanks for the perspective. I don't feel nearly as bad. I wish you a calmer life and a speedy recovery.
Man you make bike racing sound fun! For what it's worth, in my limited experience, whenever you're on the track, racing or not: It is not a good idea to ever put yourself in a spot where you can be "pinched off." No mirrors, remember?
Hmmm, seeign as how I just low-sided at T-hill in Nor-cal on Monday your personal experiences really "hit' home. Thanks for writing your experiences, they're fun to read, I can relate, and seems like you're healing up. I hope you return to good as new.
I always found it hard to accept the commonly stated idea that crashing isn't "if" it's "when." But someone cut under me and stole my line while I was trying to pose for the camera. This made me delay my lean into the corner just long enough to cause me to run wide on the turn. Of course I could have simply backed off the throttle and waited until the next lap for my photo opportunity but ... No - I wanted that picture! I guess it really is true: "pride goes before a fall!" The good news is that except for some sore muscles I'm fine. My bike is worse than me and needs help.
Decisions to "push it" are hard to resist and I obviously neglected my own proverb, "a good day of riding fast is one that allows me to ride fast again tomorrow." Well my oproverb changes everytime I think it to myself but you get the idea. Now we just need to put that idea into practice a bit better don't we !?
Thanks for the great story, an amazing life you've lead for sure. I hope you're healing up well now. I also hope you didn't throw away your leathers, they can be repaired. Barnacle Bill's Racing Leather specializes in repairing leathers, they do it for a lot of AMA pro teams (John Hopkins/EMGO Suzuki for example). I've had them fix 2 sets of leathers for me (perfectly) and they can even fix "Cut-Offs", like what happened to you.
I hope you decide to ride again, and if you do, you might want to follow up with good 'ol Bill: www.racingleather.com.
I'm not sure what the lesson is here, though I'd like to know. I too spent some years in the military. I'm 40, just started racing this year in CCS. I did 11 races in 2 weekends this hear, and finished roughly middle of the pack in just about every race. I typically got a great start, then let everyone go by in Turn 1, then got into a rhythem and rode w/ people about my speed. I fell once this year, in practice, when I was working on my line through the roller coaster at VIR and a faster rider took out my front wheel with a bad pass. Cost me a helmet and about $300 damage to my bike, but not a scatch, which was good considering I was going about 70 and I slid about 100 meters total.
The real question is whether to keep racing. I enjoy it a lot. I would never risk falling to win or get a pass. I do this for fun. But, there are faster riders out there that dream of the AMA and will make a bad pass if they think they need to get by. Also, I have a day job, and a family to support. So ... does that make racing worth it? It is a tremendous amount of fun to dice w/ riders of similar speed. It is also gratifying to pursue the personal control and excellence that faster lap times require. But, is it worth the risk. I just don't know.
I survived being burned, shot at, broken leg, the Army in the Viet Nam era, etc. I ride a nice Intruder 1400, and I've only dropped a bike once, when I was in the initial MSF course, no big injury other than hurt pride. Bro, if I would say, buy a nice Cruiser and retire from the racing, and enjoy a quiet ride with the wind in your hair, Motorcycle Racing, like war, is a younger man's game. Quit while you are alive and ahead, everyone will respect your for what you have done so far, cut the risk and enjoy life.....
Dude, right up until the end I kept thinking "What a lucky bastard!". Now I mostly think you're tough, stubborn and lucky, all admirable in my book. Love your outlook. Good luck on whatever road you decide to take in life.
Great story and great attitude. I hope you recover fully(or as close to it) from your injuries. In your last post you stated that "I still love to ride motorcycles"
Well, I can tell you from experience, if riding is what you love, then riding is what you will do. It is something that is in your blood, in your soul, so to speak. I know and have known several people(including myself) who have suffered debilitating injuries, only to return to riding as soon as they thought it possible. In my case, I collapsed 3 disks in my lower back 7 years ago. Sawbones told me I would be lucky to maintain a normal life, and that excluded any chance of riding again. Well, long story short, I got my Victory last fall and ride as often as I can. The feeling I get from being on that bike again far outweighs any physical pain I feel.
My advise to you, for what it's worth, would be to keep your face in the wind. For as bad as your injuries may hurt, that's nothing compared to the ache you will feel if you don't ride.
That's a question that only you can answer, but is also one that most racers and even a lot of riders have faced at some time. I know of racers who will not ride on the street because the think it is too dangerous.
It sounds like you really enjoy racing and that you know how to avoid taking unnecessary risks. You don't say what you ride, but that can also be a big risk factor.
I wish that everyone that rode a motorcycle could experience the thrill of racing at least once in their life. As you know, there's nothing like it.
1st of all thank you for your service to your country. You realize by surviving 'Nam you beat some pretty tough odds. You obviously are an adrenalin junkie, just like me only more so. But after some near misses I realized life is precious, and that my family needs me here. It would be selfish of me to push the envelope over and over again. I think perhaps you have reached that point too. You have achieved much-enjoyed life to the fullest. Just back it down a notch-take into consideration your age and prolonged healing time the older you get. But by all means keep riding!! Take that ZRX down some lonely back roads alone or with a friend and get the 120mph rush-just not too often!!
Hope you heal quickly and fully-ride safe!
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