Okay, warning in advance... I didn't race... I was a spectator. So, don't expect to hear me pontificate about clipping an apex or getting stoned sniffing race gas. Pictures at the bottom.
It was yet another great weekend of sun, motorcycles and friends.
Yesterday, I needed to knock out the final eighty miles of the break-in riding on my Suzuki. So, I headed out to Temple and tried to retrace the old Buell Demo-Ride route that I had established when I worked at the Harley dealership there. I found that some of the route was under construction (it looked mostly like destruction), but I did enjoy the roads around Oenaville. I got home and completed the initial service on the Suzuki. It wasn’t remarkable, except for the fact I didn’t make a mess on the floor or pour in too much oil.
This morning I met Jenn and Gary at the HEB parking lot here in Harker Heights, TX. The plan was to go watch the CMRA motorcycle races in College Station. It’s about a 220 mile round trip. Brent showed up on his Suzuki to see us off. I had hoped that more folks from the “old gang” would show up; but I understand that not everyone can take the whole day off to ride. The three of us rode off, under heavily overcast skies. The air was cool, but not uncomfortable. The only real curve between Killeen and Temple is the ramp where route 190 merges with I-35. I always try to make the most of it. Jenn was highly amused at how I stuck my knee out, even though I didn’t bother to shift my bottom at all. I explained that it’s like when you’re in a canoe and you use a paddle to create dynamic resistance on one side of the boat. I actually just made all that crap up, but it sounded good.
We stopped at the Starbucks in Temple, to get some overpriced coffee from the dude who looks like John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction.” A friend of mine (named “Two Dollar Tommy”) was there. He had been on some rides with our motorcycle club, back when he had a Honda VFR. But, this morning he was about to meet up with the local Harley Owner’s Group, and ride to Dublin, TX. The local lady who drives the Rolls Royce was also there, so Jenn and Gary got to see that I hadn’t just been inventing her. In fact, the lady’s husband showed us a neat feature on the Rolls where the hood ornament actually recedes into the car if you try to steal it.
I told Jenn and Gary that once we got on 485 that they could pass me if they wanted to go a little faster. Both claimed that they weren’t in a hurry. Of course, that lasted only a few miles. Somewhere along the way, I saw a blue bike streak blast me, followed quickly by an orange streak. It was a classic lesson in the Doppler Effect, as well as the power differences between small v-twins and four cylinder supersport machines. I gave chase, and remember reaching the 100 mph mark at least once (or as the British say, “The Ton”). We followed the route that “Uncle” Dicky had shown me, but the speeds were easily ten to fifteen mph faster than my trip with Dicky. The Suzuki performed well. I did notice that in the 80 mph range (which was my standard speed on open roads), the wind jabs at you like an invisible Mike Tyson. Mileage was also significantly worse with the more aggressive riding (dropping from 48 mpg to 38 mpg).
We rolled into the track facility, after coughing up a $5 entry fee. Race weekends at TWS are crowded affairs. The paved and covered paddock areas completely fill up, and people spill into the grassy areas on the infield to stake out a gypsy-like camp. We wandered around and met a few folks that we knew. The CMRA had a full schedule this afternoon, so we enjoyed watching the nearly countless races. I noticed that there were dozens of Suzuki SV650 race bikes. Around mid-day, they had a “spectator lap.” This was actually the first time I had ever ridden on a track. It was fun, but perhaps a bit slow, hot and crowded. People on 50cc pit bikes buzzed all around, forcing me to inhale their pungent 2-stroke mosquito fog.
We didn’t stay for all the races. The ride back was uneventful, but significantly more hot than the trip out. Around Yarrellton, I saw what I thought might be a “po-po” with a customer in the distance. Right about then, Jenn and Gary pulled around me to pull the trigger on some high speed riding. Fortunately, they also saw the cop, and checked their throttle twisting. I loved the expression on the policeman’s face as we zipped past. It was almost like he was saying, “damn, I know they are going faster than the guy I just pulled over.” Once we were beyond the sphere of Johnny Law, Jenn and Gary repeated the procedure of leaving me in the dust. They would stop and wait up for me at intersections; which has been a common theme in my motorcycling life since I switched from cruisers to sport bikes. Fortunately, I am secure in my slow masculinity. I suppose I will always be the guy in the back who beeps his horn at cows, notices the water level in the creeks, and tries to figure out what subphylum the crops are. The only other interesting thing that happened was when we were heading on 190 west around Nolanville. We were passed by a gaggle of squids who seemed to think it was cool to do a “fly-by” on us. They blew past in their flapping t-shirts and shiny sneakers. I’m not a talented sportbiker, but I suspect that my skills eclipse those of the typical poseur. You never see those sort of guys on twisty back roads, much less on the track.
Anyway, that’s what I did today. Like last weekend, I am brutally sunburned. I did attempt to counter the rays by buying a CMRA cap ($26, ouch). I think it was too late, because I feel like my face has turned to leather. Any time you spend with good friends is a gift, and today definitely fell into that category.
The "prov novs"
A freaky ass Honda 6-cyl.
Jenn and Gary, my friends.
A geeky Suzuki.
She is always on the phone.