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.

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