Best Day EverPosted: June 13, 2011
I had a motorcycling day so momentous that I probably can’t do it justice in this little blog. I took my daughter racing for the first time. She asked me if she could do it. We put together the things she needed, and I gave her every opportunity to back out gracefully, but she had made up her mind. She was going to race.
At the track, there was a significant rain delay. Helen had lots of time to make new friends. Finally, the track was prepped for racing, and the kids got to go out and practice. Helen had a ball, and rode around waving at her parents and other people she had just met – She was having fun, but only taking it so seriously.
Then she had her first heat race, and something happened: She realized everyone was ahead of her. So she picked up the pace. And kept picking it up. By the last lap, she was gaining ground on the bike ahead of her, and she succumbed to the “red mist”. She blew through the corner after the downhill part of the track with more speed than she expected, and she lost her nerve – she target fixated on the outside of the corner and drove herself right off the track and very nearly into a straw bale.
To her credit, she popped right up, got on the bike, and finished her last lap. But she was furious. Nothing we could say would make her happy – she was determined to beat somebody.
She got her wish in the main event. She caught and passed one of her new friends, and was very proud of herself for the rest of the day.
Helen was awarded a trophy, and she was delighted. She retired the day with great satisfaction.
My day had just begun. I stayed at the track for the night racing, and raced in the Open C Class, which had the largest field of any class that night.
I had done a bunch of work on my bike in the week since the last TT Scramble: I put on a new hard terrain rear tire, rebuilt the front and rear brake calipers, replaced the brake rotors, and installed a 14 oz oversize flywheel – the goals were to have better traction, better brake feel, and to avoid stalling the motor on corner entries with too much rear brake. It all worked – I did not have a single stall all night, and my lap times came down consistently. I placed 4th of 7 riders in my heat, which qualified me for the last slot pick on the front row, and I finished the main even a very honest 8th place out of 13 riders. I don’t think I have ever had that many riders behind me before. It may not sound like much, but It was an improvement in my racing, and that’s the kind of thing that makes a bad racer like me very happy!