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?

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