Hopefully everyone had a safe New Year's Eve. Mine was just plain quiet. The Ol' Lady and I acted more than our age, and just chilled at the hacienda. It seems to have been a common story amongst the crewers this year. Maybe there was just something in the air. Who knows? Regardless, my better half is already lobbying for a more eventful plan next year.
New Year's Day would seem like the perfect day to get out and ride. A free day off work in the middle of the week, assuming of course your New Year's Eve revelry wasn't too out of control. However, my bike sat lonely in the corner as I kept up a 4 or 5 year tradition.
Marko and I headed up towards Bainbridge to join in the Hangover Hare Scramble. The local moto club runs this gig every year. It's a good chance to get everyone together for a little friendly competition. This year the event was held at Southern Raceway MX Park. Otherwise known as the Lusk's place. The park has several motocross courses, some flat grass track with big sweeper corners, and they let us add a little singletrack for good measure. The itinerary called for a two man, six lap relay race first, and then a 45 minute, free for all, grudge match, on a longer course, later that afternoon.
Mark and I both had time constraints, so our plan was to show for the relay, and then cut out for family time afternoon. Neither of us had ridden moto for somewhere around 8 months, so I asked him earlier in the week if we should go out an ride the cobwebs off. "Hell no!" he says. So we show up rusty and wondering. We even called ourselves Team Cold Turkey at the sign up. As in, we decided to quit "not riding" moto, cold turkey.
After plenty of arguing, and a questionable coin toss, Marko gets lumped with the start lap. I had no idea how we were doing when he finished that lap. When we made the exchange, I just gave it everything I had. I finished my lap completely jazzed up. Mark took off while I sat there humming like a bug light. All of a sudden my forearms pumped up to about 6 times their normal size! I've dealt with arm pump before, but usually while I'm still riding. I guess the wide open, all or nothing style of this race didn't give them time to warm up very well, and when I stopped, the pump caught up. As soon as I left for my next lap, the problem went away. It came back though, within minutes of finishing that run. What a strange sensation. I felt like I looked like Popeye.
When I finished our last lap, Mark was at the finish, looking over the scorer's shoulder, and it seems we finished 7th overall. Not too bad for guys who have not heard a dirt bike scream in anger for the last 8 months.
Now at this time, we should have taken our exit, but we were pretty elated with our finish, or just high off of race gas fumes. I'm getting ready to load up, when Mark hears the call for the big course parade lap, before the grudge match. So with very little effort I'm convinced to ride the parade lap, for "just a little more" riding. I'm sure you breeders out there know the "just a little more" phrase. "Come on, Mom! Can't I stay up just a little more?" "Dad, can't we keep playing, just a little more?". "Please, Honey, can't you keep rubbing it? Just a little more?" Keep your minds out of the gutter! I was referring to a BACK rub!
Anyway, the parade lap was too fun, so we went back around, "just once more". (very similar to "just a little more") The club guys called us all off the course so the race could get under way. Thinking it was all over I headed for the truck. Mark's already there getting organized to load up. Like any good "bad influence" I hint that maybe we could go line up and do the start and just the first lap of the grudge match. Before I can get "...do the start..." out, Mark is already buckling his helmet, and throwing a leg over his bike. I think this is why my wife thinks Mark and I should not hang out unsupervised. It's just too easy to talk each other into trouble! After lining up and asking where the first turn was, we kill the bikes and wait for the horn. A dead engine start is nerve wrecking. It's deathly quiet, much like a mountain bike race. But when the horn blows, everyone kicks hard and hopes the beast come to life with just one kick. You have to pay attention to the vibration of your bike to know if it fired off, because you damn sure won't hear it in the cacauphonous, metallic maelstrom that ensues! 30+ screaming two strokes and roaring four strokes all aiming to occupy the same 10' space around the first corner. When I arrive at the corner, I look up and Marko has managed a holeshot, with me sitting about 4 or 5 riders back. What the hell are we doing?! Running, that's what!! I rode as hard as I could just trying not to get run over by guys with way more talent, experience, and/or foolishness than I possess. What a blast!
True to my word, I pulled over just before I finished the first lap. At the truck, Mark pulled up just after me, and his helmet looked a little snug, trying to contain the grin on his face. It sucked to have to leave when we did, but I could already feel fatigue setting in, and moto is just not a good idea when you're beat. You get tired on mountain bike, you slow down. You get tired on a dirt bike, and things happen too fast. Slowing down may not be an option, and it takes strength to wrestle that big bike around.
Aside from the 1.5-2 hour clean up required to remove all of the Georgia clay from my bike and gear, it was a damn good time. As usual, I wonder why I let so much time pass between motos. But for now, I've got to get back to pedaling. Felasco is looming large on the horizon, and while I've not been as slack as some of the crew with my preparations, I still don't feel 100%. Alas, the dirt bike will sit dormant for another couple of weeks, at least.