Thursday, August 30, 2007

Went for a ride this evening. Got geared up, leather from head to toe, and set out to tilt some horizons before it got dark. No real destination in mind, just looking for a quiet road in the middle of nowhere that has some nice turns, so I can enjoy my bike and let it do what it was made to do as opposed to torturing it by making it do city-commuter duty.

Clamped on my radar detector, filled it with fuel, did the preflight walkaround, good to go.

Cruised 20 miles out of Seattle to get away from the dregs of the rush home hour, then pointed the bike east, toward the Cascade Mountain foothills. This area is rife with little known/little used slices of twisty-road heaven, usually as the highway switchbacks down into a small valley, then back up the other side. Rural.

I found a spot that had some really nice serpentine pavement, roughly 10 miles of first/second gear naughtiness. I cruised through the first time looking for police/gravel/tricky corners, then turned around and increased the speed.

After coming to grips with the fact that my new bigger sprocket means I'm riding a unicycle exiting most turns, I was getting comfy, experimenting with lines, body position, smoothness, you know, searching for that elusive flow, where you feel relaxed and smmootthhhhh, but you're really making time.

Back and forth, learning the road, trying new arcs. Enjoying the whole thing immensely.

Near one of my turnaround spots, two sportbike riders pass me, about to enter the playground I've been working in. I roll to my turnaround point, thinking(as just about every rider does), "Wonder if I can catch them?"

I turn, then crank it up, using the knowledge I've gained to work the road, accelerating out of corners with the front wheel two feet in the air, shifting my weight on the back tire to get the bike set up for the next turn, braking, turning in, leaning off, accelerating as much as the bike will allow (without flipping over backwards) to the next braking zone.

An old crappy car lumbers it's way onto the road, pulling out in front of me. I feel no anger, though, as he obviously didn't see me coming, and I was doing well in excess of the posted limit.

He proceeded to drive at 10 mph under the limit. I waited until a short straight, then gassed it, passing him with plenty of room to spare.

Cager forgotten, I returned to the business of dissecting the road.

Braking deep, knowing the corner was a tight hairpin marked 15 mph with gravel strewn around right at the apex, I late brake, then as I'm looking for my late apex,....

Damn. A bike, lying on it's side, directly in my lane.

One of the riders I'd crossed paths with.

I pulled off, they were already getting the bike upright and out of the traffic. From the arc of dirt across the road, I could tell, he'd lost the front, low siding into the armco barrier lining the section, the bike bouncing back out into the lane. Thankfully it really is a LOW speed turn, the guy was probably doing only 20 mph when he went down.

Parking, I said, " Everybody O.K.?" The downed rider was wearing full leathers, and stated he was ok. The bike ( similar to the R1 above), started right up, looked like only superficial damage to the left side.

As I was parking my own bike to see if they needed help, the guy in the car I'd passed rolled through, sarcastically clapping his hands, saying, " very cool" and other things I won't put on the blog, as I try to keep it SFW most times. Didn't even stop/ show any concern. Happy somebody had wrecked. He was pissed because I'd passed his traffic-blocking ass earlier. Since I was on a motorcycle, he assumed we were all together.

The riders thanked me for stopping, but assured me they were all right. They guy seemed more embarassed than anything.

I straddled my bike and rode on.

I did actually unintendidly catch the clapping guy just before the road split, He saw me in the rearview and made a final clapping gesture. I resisted making a gesture of my own (redneck morons can be gun toting batshaiet CRAZY), and settled for wheelieing past his piece of shit car as the road forked.

Enjoyed the rest of the ride, got home just as darkness settled in. Good Ride.
Y'all be careful out there.

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