Friday, January 29, 2016


Ever notice how life is a series of impulses, desires, urges, wants, dreams and hopes that are never supposed to see the light of day?  It seems to me we spend an awful lot of time thinking these thoughts that we couldn't or wouldn't dare tell anyone.  Be sensible they said, don't do what you want to do, do what you should do, what is required of you.  Enough of that crap and you stop knowing what the hell it is you want to do, or who you are for that matter.

That's a terrible feeling.  For the gullible and easily manipulated there is always the media.  Television, magazines, the internet, are more than willing to tell you what you want, just pay the price of admission and viola! Fulfillment!  For a limited time we will double your order, that's twice the Fulfillment (just pay separate processing and handling fees)!!!  Call today!

We ease ourselves into this misery as one enters a scalding bath, slowly, one toe at a time until it can no longer be felt and soon the body is totally immersed.  But the water inevitably becomes tepid, then cold and our flesh wrinkles and it is no longer enough.  We have to add more scalding water or get the hell out and do something else.

Two of the greatest decisions I made in my life came as a result of following impulse.  I saw a skateboard at a yardsale for $2 when I was 12.  My mother said no, that I would hurt myself, so I rode my bicycle back later and bought the damn thing and hid it in the basement.  I then embarked on a 25 year journey that saw me travel the United States and learn some of the most valuable lessons life has to teach as I came to know myself.  25 years man, that's longer than most marriages last.  All from a $2 purchase that I was not supposed to have.

Motorcycles were the same way.  At 16 I bought a $250 Yamaha that my parents adamantly argued against.  So began another odyssey that continues to this day and has brought me here, to your computer screen.

I didn't know at the time how those two decisions would shape my life, I just had a feeling there was something there.  Where would I be now, had I not followed those impulses?  I don't know, living up to someone else's expectations?  Dead?  In a van down by the river?  Corporate lackey? Billionaire?  Whichever possible pasts I may have eschewed through my lack of respect for duty, authority, conformity, they could not have proven as worthy as what I have known through following the siren's call of my heart.

Impulse #1

Impulse #2.  And life would never be the same.  Or normal.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Two Mistresses

People keep asking me what my plans are for the 2016 season.  There was talk of attempting the "Double Double" (two championships in two classes two years in a row) and while that is tempting, my heart lay elsewhere.  Over the course of 2015 this infatuation of mine for off-road riding began to rival my passion for roadracing. Competing in off-road events seemed the next logical progression, but I found myself still unwilling to forswear the pavement entirely.  Can a man truly serve two mistresses?  This glutton for punishment was itching to try.

In true Larrivee fashion, I opted not to go the easy way, which would be to buy a modern, race-prepped machine, but instead to outfit my truly archaic KDX200 from the previous millennium to compete in what are known as "hare scrambles", which as the name implies is like a bunch of bunnies hopping and tearing around in the forest, except these bunnies have knobby tires and drink race fuel.

Bolstering my decision to race such an antediluvian machine was the timeworn adage: "It's 80 percent rider, 20 percent bike".  I also read somewhere that when most people feel ready to physically quit, they really are only 40 percent expended.  So that leaves something like another 60 percent out there, using a little Enron math, standard deviation, rounding up and that puts me somewhere around 120%!

In all seriousness, it seemed like a worthwhile theory to test.  Was it really 80 percent rider?  Could a physically fit forty-something getting several hours seat time per week hope for a reasonable showing on a well-prepared, if somewhat long in the tooth motorcycle or would the onslaught of technology prove too much to bear?  It promised to be an interesting and possibly eye-opening experience.

Two things I knew going in:

1. As it had proven with roadracing, I was going to have a lot to learn.

2. If I was aware of what I was getting into, I probably wouldn't do it.

Machine, vintage 1989.  Scrapheap fodder or worthy mount?

Rider, vintage 1974.  Too old to rock and roll? Too young to die?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Slap In The Face, Pat On The Back

"The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred." -Soichiro Honda

I know, I know, two Honda quotes in a week, my apologies.  This one really got me thinking.  I began to recount the moments in my life where this has occurred.  Then I stopped and wondered what actually qualified as a "soul stirring" moment, overthought the whole thing into a bunch of requirements and qualifications and promptly ended up in some philosophical morass the likes of which an intellectual 4x4 with a winch could not pull me out of.

Finally, like a drunk emerging from his heady stupor, I had a moment of clarity.  If you have to question, then it simply wasn't.  This made definition easier, but also dramatically cut down on the number of occurrences, which is sobering in and of itself.

As you may have guessed, some of my moments involve motorcycling one way or another, the rest are none of your goddamn business, at least not until somebody around here buys me a nice dinner.

Moving down my list that seemed to be growing shorter by the minute, I defined two different types of these events, the first of which I called 'The Slap in the Face', the second, 'The Pat on the Back'.

The Slap in the Face, by virtue of name alone, is the more jarring of the two, but perhaps more meaningful.  It is the kind of experience that can lead to a real personal shift, a stirring in the opposite direction that turns our notions on their ears.  As we age, we become more armored against these, I think, at least until the slap gets powerful enough to knock us on our asses.  Then we ignore them at our peril.

The Pat on the Back is exactly that, only deeper.  An affirmation of the things we already knew but needed to be reminded of, an ember re-kindled.  They serve, maybe, to let us know that we haven't gotten absolutely everything wrong.

Whichever of these we experience, they are one of the few things that call to us to do more than exist.  Vegetables exist, rocks exist, dirt exists, we, on the other hand, can be moved.  And that is something, so I will keep looking for it with two wheels, two feet and two eyes.

One cannot hope to be moved that stands still all the time.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Vicarious Living

No riding this weekend.  18" of snow in central VA ensured that and made simply getting from point A to B obscenely difficult and without the benefit of 4-wheel drive, nearly impossible.

It's not pretty what lack of riding can do to a person.  A stagnant, caged and restless monotony enshrouds the man who cannot do what he loves.  He will climb the walls by his fingernails.  My mind and body have come to count on the 6-10 hours of ride time per weekend.  Absent of this I am more tense, unable to slough off the detritus of the previous week's 47 hour grind.  I shudder to think about how tightly wound the working stiffs who don't have such a wonderful outlet as motorcycles must be.  What they do to deal with it?  Drink?

I have been here before, in an earlier chapter of a checkered past, as a skateboarder in the frozen bowels of Northern New York.  Long before indoor skateparks, our activities came to an abrupt halt during the long winters, aside from the occasional basement session banging our skulls on the water pipes when somebody's parents were at work.  These don't last long, you dent one Maytag and everybody's pissed!

Without the ability to engage our passions, we become unwilling spectators to them.  How many times did we rewind and rewatch that copy of H-Street's Shackle Me Not or Hokus Pokus videos trying to memorize Matt Hensley's movements?  Hundreds if not thousands.  It was all that could be done to dull the urge until it warmed enough for us to shovel out a 20" x 20" section of road and hope the ice melted before new snow fell.

If you skated in the early 90s, this image is seared into your brain.

Ironic how life has a way of repeating itself, isn't it?  I find myself turning to the digital medium once again for a fix, having just spent my lunch break watching YouTube videos of enduro riding, occasionally glancing out the window to ensure the snow is melting.  A poor substitute for the real thing, and while patience may be a virtue, it certainly isn't one of mine.

(These guys put out some decent videos for a bunch of contemplative old farts, I've even picked up a tip or two for my off-road riding, check them out if you feel so inclined:  Enduro and Cross Training Videos )

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Selfishly Go Forth

"Racing improves the breed." -Soichiro Honda

Someone brought it to my attention recently that motorcycle racing can be seen as a wholly selfish endeavour.  Superficially maybe, and I think for many of us it begins that way.  If you persist, though, and become increasingly intimate with the culture, perception shifts.

Racers are not entirely a bunch of self-absorbed narcissists sating a wanton desire for speed, but rather a community of like-minded individuals gathered to test themselves and each other.  When one rises above, others must aspire to that level or be left behind.  The funny thing though, more often than not, is competitors openly assisting one another, be it through advice, equipment, time, or money.  A true sense exists of being involved in something amazing larger than a lone rider.   It's cliche to say it now, but racers are living the dream, or at the very least attempting to, and the majority of them are sincerely pleased to help others do so as well.  When the fan hits the shit, sometimes your fiercest rival is the only one you can count on to keep you on track.

Anyone with balls (or ovaries) big enough to step into a chosen arena and proclaim "I am good enough.  I deserve to be here.", and subsequently labor to back that statement up, now no longer exclusively serves their own interests, whether they know it or not.  A thing such as this that motivates and inspires others and asks them for their best can never be considered wholly selfish.  When we seek out challenge, we begin to understand ourselves a little more, and in doing so become happier, more focused, stronger, better people and our entire outlook can change.  It is infectious.  What uplifts us as individuals, uplifts us as a whole.

Maybe when Mr. Honda spoke about improving the breed, he was not referring to machines at all.

It takes a village, or something.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The End Is Nigh

1/22/16 7:10 AM PST

The National Weather Service has issued the following warning:  The end of the world is here.  Buying bottled water at The Walmart will not help you.  Please bend over, put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.  Nearby areas are reporting herds of  panicked lemmings swarming grocery stores to purchase the last can of lima beans.  Some drivers have begun running their cars into ditches before the snow falls to get a jump on the crowds.  A snowflake was spotted in western Virginia, causing 37 heart attack related fatalities and one news helicopter crash.  If you have a god, pray to him now.  If not, you may want to find one, there are many to choose from. Atheists may exit quietly from the back of the bus, there are no further instructions for you.  Others should now make peace with your enemies, hug your children and please calmly wait for the end.  You are well and truly fucked.  Be sure to stay tuned for the new Martha Stewart special "What I Ate With Oprah In the Apocalypse".

My assigned "Motorcycle Parking" spot will remain empty today.  I consider myself a pretty hardcore commuter, but even I have my limit, which is usually when snow begins sticking to the roadways and the central Virginia populace of driving doofuses start crashing into everything.  I received an email at work yesterday reminding me to "wear boots with good traction on snow and ice" and I realized just how far we have sunk as a country, species, whatever.

By coddling all the morons and idiots out there it ensures that stupidity is the new norm.  It flies in the face of evolution and guarantees that the planet will be overrun with simpletons eating, shitting and breeding until all resources are wiped out.  Our communication has been reduced to a series of grunts and three letter texts OMG!  We live in a new world where all the corners are rounded, floors and walls padded.  We are devolving into something worse than animals, because at least they have survival instincts.

Hence one of the appealing things about motorcycles, they do not suffer fools for very long.  While I would never wish death or injury on a fellow rider, there is also no sleep lost over some retard who met his maker while trying to 12 o'clock on the interstate (other than the fact that it makes us all look bad).  The motorcyclist who refuses to learn, adapt and be aware is not long for this world.  Riding is one of the last true refuges of responsibility left to our existence in the modern void.  And responsibility means freedom.

Not today old friend


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sometimes It's Hard

Strapping on my knee braces I notice the stiffness in my legs.  Shoulders are sore as well and if I think about it, there is an overall tired feeling.  Bed would be easier than this on a Sunday morning.  A wave of dread ripples through my gut followed by speculation as to how long this will take to pass, before the enjoyment begins.  It almost always does, otherwise I would not keep coming back.

I've got to take things easy for the first fifteen or so minutes to get warmed up.  Many an outing has been dampened or ended by an early morning crash that breaks motorcycle parts and bruises body ones.  A quick reminder this is not a race and that I am alone out here.  Priority one is to return with rider and machine intact.

Anticipation for the ride has been building all week, preparations have been made and now that the moment is finally here the simpering voice of doubt and indecision begins mewling about bed and rest again.  I stomp it down like a nest of cockroaches, squashing most, with the only quickest escaping through the cracks in the wall.  Soon they will be forgotten.  Mostly.

Other times it's just plain hard.  The days that feel as if you've never ridden a motorcycle, all the practice and techniques and hours logged seem as if they were done by another you.  A younger you.  A better you.  Paths and obstacles once thought vanquished seem to have grown new teeth with which to rend a hapless wanderer.  A motorcycle no longer feels like an extension of the body but rather an awkward prosthetic designed to toss you unceremoniously to the hard earth.  It sucks, and it can drain the fun right out of riding faster than Craigslist motorcycles eat up my tax refund.

What's to be done then?  Take your ball and bat and go home?  Pack it in only to regret on Monday, knowing there is a week's wait before any sort of redemption?  Under certain extremities discretion is the better part of valor and we get warnings.  I've thumped myself hard enough off-road that I wasn't sure if I would be able to ride out, when suddenly the real test of yourself is just to get home without any further damage.  But what about when for no good reason your body and brain are saying quit and the thing counted on to bring some joy and stress relief is causing pain and pissing you off to no end?

It's nice when there is someone to help you get back up again.
 But that's not always the case.  Shannonville, 2000

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

State of The Blog

Ever realize something that seems profound and stop to wonder if other people just know it instinctively?  Makes you a little reticent to speak for fear of coming across like the village idiot.  Kind of like finding a big booger hanging out of your nose and then stopping to wonder how many people saw it without telling you.

Writing a blog is a lot like that, (no, not a big booger), but the former, considering if this babble is just, well..., babble.  Or is the ego correct and there might be something of import to impart?  In many ways it doesn't really matter, posting on the internet is much like talking to yourself, except the trolls replying aren't in your head anymore.  Doesn't make them any less imaginary.

While fear of floating a few turds on the septic sea of the internet is minimal, what with the stink already so great, it is there.  I've tried to keep honest and bullshit free and mostly motorcycle related, tried not to be too wordy or send everybody running for a dictionary every fourth word to convince you how wicked smart (please read with Boston accent) I am.  Attempts (many failed) have been made to avoid being poetic, flowery, or philosophical.  Other than the occasional grammar/spelling error, I do not go back and re-edit my work, or remove it.  I don't use a lot of vulgar language, because that shit gets fucking old, but I don't have a kiddie-safe version for you either.  I've learned not to write everything I think, perhaps the hardest part of writing to become proficient with.

According to site traffic statistics, Speed of Arrival is wildly popular among Turkish hackers and most seem to be referred here from Yugoslavian gay porn and Russian meat cooking sites.  Interesting demographics to be sure.  That leaves the rest of you, hopefully with at least some passing interest in riding motorcycles.

Because that's what it really is about, riding.  It was suggested to me by a motorcycle magazine submissions department to avoid talking about how I feel when riding/racing.  I'm sure in some ways this is akin to preaching to the choir, but sometimes, doesn't the choir want to be preached to?  Isn't that what brought them there in the first place?  The whole reason I ride is for the feeling I get from doing so, take that away and you get what?  Glossy, ad-filled sales brochures with droll stories that wouldn't offend anyone.  Or enlighten them for that matter.

So I will continue writing this blog, where it doesn't matter how commercially viable the words are.  If you stumble across Speed of Arrival and think it reeks a little less than the rest of the shit around here, let me know.

Thanks for reading.

Kris Larrivee

Riding a machine from the last century at the dawn of the new millennium.
1971 Suzuki Titan
Shannonville, 2001 

Monday, January 18, 2016


No one else wanted to ride yesterday.  Can't say the conditions were very favorable, and after a bit I lost most of the feeling in my fingers.  Still better than being at work.  Or caged in the house.

Friday, January 15, 2016


It's safe to say I spend a lot of time Mon-Fri getting ready to ride on the weekends.  Frequently weekday evenings are spent in the garage in doing maintenance, swapping parts.  I do not want to be one of those guys that shows up to ride with a rusty chain, wobbly wheel bearings and stuff falling off.  You expect that kind of thing from kids, but not grown men who should know better, yet I see it all the time.  Many people treat their weekend rides like mowing the lawn.  Roll the appliance out of the garage, press the button and commence, stop for lemonade and hotdogs when tired.

As I ride what is considered an absolute "dinosaur" of a machine (1989 KDX200), the kind of motorcycle that modern 4-stroke bike riders can barely restrain their laughter at when I roll up, the pressure is high.  Any sort of breakdown or failure would be attributed to riding an old piece of shit, any crash blamed on lack of the fanciest suspension, getting stuck a result of not having 60 fuel-injected, knobby shredding horsepower on tap at the crack of the throttle.

Folderol (it's a word, look it up).  Have motorcycles improved over the last 25 years?  Of course.  Can 90% of us take advantage of all those improvements?  Probably not.  Don't get me wrong, some things, like electric start, lighter overall weight, those are great things.  But are they $10,000 great?  Who knows, and until someone is willing to lend me a modern bike for long term testing, I don't care to find out.

So I concern myself with the things that I can control.  I maintain the bike religiously, oil changes, suspension refreshing, air filter cleanings, chain cleanings, linkage greasing, bearing replacement, overall cleaning after each ride, all the tedious shit that we hate to do.  I don't enjoy it, sometimes I downright abhor it, but to neglect is to invite failure.  I make improvements where I can while avoiding trivial bling.  I keep good tires on it.  I treat it first and foremost as what it is: the only thing that is going to get me into the woods and back out if I don't want to walk.

I also keep myself in pretty decent physical condition for an old man (check out those abs ladies!).  What good is all the latest equipment when you are wheezing, huffing and puffing after 15 minutes at a decent pace?  Or too exhausted to pick up your sweet new ride after a fall?  Fitness makes all the difference.  To neglect is to invite failure of the worst kind.

Working on bikes and working out isn't always fun, but riding a bike well for more than five minutes sure as hell is.

Get off the couch, give me twenty push-ups and lube that chain, maggot!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Head Is Filled With Music

Post title stolen from the Real McKenzies' song of same name (good stuff and a true story to boot).

Autopilot of the Gods Part II (read first part here: part I)

Passion can get you close, but not all the way.  So can joy, focus and even anger.  Some initial intensity seems to be required, while fear appears to be a strong preventative.  There is also a repetition component, training of body and mind to perform the necessary tasks without hesitation.  The next component is what seems nearly impossible to pinpoint.  As lame as this may sound, it happens when it happens.  Maybe what separates us mere humans from the great athletes is the ability to achieve this at will and prolong it.   I have discovered no reliable formula to attain the state with regularity.  Upon approach, any recognition will cause it to turn and run.  Imagine starting to fall into a blissful sleep and musing how nice only to jangle yourself awake again.  Blink an eye, gone.  A random thought like a bucket of black ink sloshed over fresh snow, and it's gone.

Time spent there is incomparable and defies description.  How can something be quiet and loud?  Surreal and feel like home? Full of everything and still empty?  Serenely peaceful and utterly violent? Impossible and yet real?  It is the line where sport and athleticism meet art and inspiration and become dance, your partner the laws of physics seemingly at their most limber, mathematics contorted to incredulous positions, probability distilled to possibility and alchemized into reality.

I come back to the computer program analogy, coded in our brains, an intimate knowledge of the universe we move through, unfortunately more than CTRL+ALT+DELETE is required to access.  If you want to get really metaphysical, it makes sense if we accept the fact that we are all part of something larger than ourselves and have origins in the same universe, so why wouldn't that information be imprinted somewhere in our DNA?  The issue is retrieval.

Best of luck.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Autopilot of The Gods

Slow down go fast.

It's the mantra of coaches and trackday control riders, the premise being that you can't go fast if you don't know what you are doing and you will never know what you are doing if you don't slow it down enough for your brain to suss out what the hell is going on.

Therein lies the rub, because you want to go fast, and if it's a race weekend, you NEED to go fast.  NOW.  Ain't nobody got time for building up to speed, being Zen and all that California new age crap.  So we make ourselves try to "go fast", with the usual predictable results.  Mistakes, crashing, poor lap times and worse.  All of these things only make us slower, and the circle continues.

You can't force fast.  I tried for years and I catch myself still trying to do it with frustrating regularity, especially at a new to me racetrack or in the woods with a bunch of guys all trying to do exactly the same thing.  Seeking to be "fast" removes focus from the task we came to do, which is ride, and ride well.  "Fast" is a transparent goal without a plan, an empty and meaningless concept, a roadmap with no route numbers or street names.  In short, it's bullshit.

You ride and ride until the tasks of doing so become second nature, then the speed comes, sometimes.

There is an otherworldly point beyond focus and adrenaline, when the conscious mind moves to the periphery and the subconscious takes over.  We can accomplish amazing things in those uncommon moments, as the everyday constraints of shouldn't do, can't do, I don't knows, buts, ifs, yesterdays, tomorrows, apprehension and fear vanish like a tiny poof of smoke in the breeze.  This has been described as an out of body experience, heightened awareness, even a taste of divinity.  For me it has always been a lessening awareness, a lessening of anger, frustration, failure, sadness, pain, rules, conformity, a lessening of the shit we find ourselves mired in on a daily basis.  Somehow, whatever spirit resides in us finds its way.  The only door left open is what you can do, what you will do.  A thing not easily forgotten once experienced, leaving us to eternally search for the hidden gate, an ephemeral, intangible Grail.

Therein lies the next rub, the harder you look, the harder it becomes to find.  It's like god tapping you on one shoulder while grinning sardonically over the other one as you look in the wrong direction.  Personally speaking, it only happens when I am not thinking about it, when I have slowed things down enough to forget this "going fast" malarkey.  There is an unconscious building as things move ever faster, at some undefined, unmarked point, without knowledge, some transcendental computer program coded into a tiny patch of undiscovered grey matter turns itself on and takes over, this "autopilot of the gods".  And things happen, really fucking fast.  Without trying.  Never mind the irony that the only way to get to such a place is to disremember it's existence and the fact that you desperately want to get there.

Always looking, not always finding.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Waste Not

"Shorter of breath and one day closer to death." -Pink Floyd

I wasted a lot of time in my 20s (and 30s).  Wasted it not doing what I wanted to be doing, what I should have been doing, instead doing not much of anything.  Sure I did some racing and riding, but there was not a real commitment on my part.  I spoke passionately about it, I spent lots of money, but deep down in some quiet little corner of my brain I knew I was not doing what it took to win, partially because the spoiled child inside me still thought I was entitled to it, and partially probably because I was lazy.

It wasn't until 2014 that I decided to get really serious about it.  I mean, if you aren't out there racing to win, why not just do a trackday or sit on the couch watching football eating greasy chicken parts?  Regular readers of the blog will already know the story, for those that don't, might I suggest some studying in the archives?

Success followed, but always hand in hand with adversity and always at a price.  Nothing came easy, but things started to make more sense.  I finally realized what it took, and it took a lot.  That's what got me thinking about all that wasted time.

There are hardly enough hours during the week now, between riding, training and the job I have to work to afford it all, that I can't imagine wasting a moment.

Maybe that's what a real mid-life crisis is, the inevitable realization that while the span of time may be infinite, our time to span is most certainly not.  The end of things is not particularly scary to me, but rather the thought of unfinished things, when only recently, so late in the day did I even know what those things were.  What kind of race is it when you are twenty years behind, running in the wrong direction?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Hard Way II

Some people are gifted of a mechanical aptitude, fixing just comes naturally to them.  They can diagnose a thing which is malfunctioning and come up with a simple and elegant solution to solve the given problem.  I am not one of those people.

How then did I find myself on a cold January evening standing in my garage lacing and truing a dirt bike wheel?  While taking a break to warm my frozen fingers, I pondered this.

I have no formal technical training, and as discussed above, little to no skill, patience or digital dexterity.  Despite this I have managed to muddle through these mechanical tasks, that over the years have increased in difficulty from simple maintenance and bolt on modifications to engine rebuilds and degreeing cams.  I am still not an expert and I constantly make dumb mistakes, mostly through a lack of taking my time.  The beauty of working alone in your garage is that nobody can see the stupid shit you do.  It's just a matter of making it right before wheeling the thing out of the garage.
I don't particularly like busting my knuckles wrenching on things, dropping small parts where big fingers can't reach them or any of the other myriad annoyances that come with self service.  What I like even less, though, is the thought of someone else's hands on my machines, doing tasks that I am perfectly capable of doing, or learning to do.  That's nothing but sheer laziness.  The kind of laziness that I am just not affluent enough to afford.

So I read, and watch YouTube videos and I screw up.  Often.  And sometimes, just sometimes, I manage to get it right.

Lacing a wheel can be a satisfying endeavour.

If you have patience in abundance,  several hours to spare,

and no social life whatsoever.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Hard Way

I was riding off road with friends recently.  The day progressed and the pace picked up, as it is wont to do when you get a bunch of racers and ex-racers together.  The terrain was mostly single track with some faster sections.  I was positioned at the tail end of the group (I hate having to look back for other riders behind me) and I noticed something interesting.

Whenever a particularly difficult section (rocks, roots, log jump, ruts, etc.) presented itself, each rider, to a man, took the easier way out when there was one.  The smoother path, the straighter one, the less challenging one.  Except me.  I continually chose the least favorable, least hospitable of the routes.  Sometimes this slowed me down, sometimes I fell down.  Occasionally I came out ahead of everyone while they took a circuitous path around some obstacle that I clambered over.

I guess it's human nature to take the path of least resistance.  Especially when trying to impress your buddies with how fast you are.  Somehow I couldn't help but feel I would be cheating myself, doing a disservice to my riding by cherry picking a route.  I had to do things the hard way.

I tried not to look too deeply into this, because then it starts to become a scary metaphor for your whole life and sheds light on a lot of things that might be better off left in the dark.  The unexamined life may not be worth living, but the over scrutinized one is not much fun either.

Nobody else wanted to ride through the slippery creek bed.  I was drawn to it.

Everything is a little harder on 27 year old equipment.  But no less fun.

Monday, January 4, 2016


Ten New Year's Motorcycle Resolutions I will probably not keep.

1. I resolve not to flip off the assholes that fail to yield like they are supposed to.

2. I resolve to keep quiet when mouthbreathers toss cigarette butts near me at stoplights.

3. I resolve to only lane split in states where it is legal (California here I come).

4. I resolve to expect only the best, most courteous behavior from my fellow drivers.

5. I resolve not to blow a gasket when those motherfuckers fail miserably.

6. I resolve not to mount a 50 caliber machine gun on my commuter bike to deal with these idiots.

7. I resolve not to make fun of retarded sportbikes with 30 foot swingarms and pink LEDs.

8. I resolve not to judge fellow bikers on their attire, even if it is a Sons Of Anarchy leather vest.

9. I resolve to ride no more than 10 miles per hour above the posted speed limit.

10.  I resolve not to snicker derisively at the next moron who calls it a steering "dampener", a "helment", or who tells me about how they installed a "powerband" in his 125.

My first racebike.  What does it have to do with New year's resolutions?  I'm not sure, but I did resolve never to ride such an ill handling, unreliable, ugly colored machine ever again!