Aftermath of the school….

Rode the SV today for the first time since CSS school, and noticed a world of difference in my riding:

1. It seemed really small, low and light compared to the ZX-6Rs. Almost like how my Virago felt like a toy bike when I first started riding the SV. This was not good. I want a grown-up bike. :(

2. The brakes on the ZX-6R are light years ahead of the ones on the SV. :( I think I’m going to adjust the clutch and the front brake so that they are closer to my fingers.

3. It handled *incredibly* well now that I was seated further from the tank, completely relaxed, and holding the handlebars loosely. My lower back hurt a bit from this new positioning, but I know that I will get used to it pretty soon.

4. It felt like someone had smoothed the road out just for me. Only the road was the same, of course. I was just not receiving every single bump and vibration from the suspension from being stiff as a board on the bike. When the hell did I start riding that bad anyway?

5. I. Hate. The. Windshield. It’s me or it – one of us has to go. Tomorrow I’m going to start looking for a new flyscreen/fairing combination that might work on the bike.

6. The bike feels super low. I think I just might raise it all the way back up to see how it works. The only thing that makes me wary about doing this is handling the hills in Seattle.

7. This was the most comfortable commute I have done on the SV. I’m really looking forward to taking her out on a long distance ride next. I suspect the earliest this will happen is on Sunday when I ride down to PR to watch the WMRRA races. Perhaps I’ll do the Palouse trip one weekend in May, and then the 2Fast trackday on 5/14 which I registered for today.

California Superbike School

Here it is at last. My write up about Superbike School, long awaited by some of you (you know who you are). :P


Some of you might recall that I was signed up to do the two day camp of California Superbike School last June, but I did the idiot thing and signed up for a NESBA trackday weekend at Pacific Raceways in early June, just so that I would have a bit of track experience that year before I went out to learn from the pros. As it turns out, I crashed in the last five minutes of the first day partly because a control rider cut me off and mostly because I target fixated, did the squidly thing, panicked, gave in to my survival reaction, used up my $10 of survival time, whatever you want to call it. I went down with the bike on me, still holding on to the handlebars because I’d never learned how to crash, and ended up with a broken finger, two torn ligaments, a busted right knee and a badly bruised shin. Two surgeries fixed the finger and the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), staying off of the leg helped heal the lateral collateral ligament (LCL), months of physiotherapy helped heal some of the scars, but I still have the busted knee and what they say is permanent nerve damage to my shin. Needless to say, I couldn’t do the school last year and had to cancel my spot, because the surgeons looked at me like I was mad when I asked them what dates I could sign up for that year. “You’re going to get back on that death machine again?”

And as a corollary, a couple of months after my surgeries, while I still had splints on both hands, I crashed my car when I failed to yield at a green light and turned left in front of an oncoming car – that old classic that kills thousands of my kind every year, now I had upon my head.

Last year is long gone, it’ll be almost a year since the day I first crashed, but while time has cured some of the physical injuries, my mental trauma refused to go away no matter what I tried. I’ve never talked or written about it much, because bikers aren’t supposed to be afraid, or if they are, nobody talks about it. If you’re scared, just park the fucking bike and walk, right? And for a while there, I even wondered to myself… why not? Park it, and you’ll be free of it. Maybe then all the nightmare scenarios that go on in your head every time you ride will finally go away. There’s other things you could do to find meaning in your life, like collect newts or something. People do it all the time.

For most of this year, all the riding plans I’d made have been less than half-hearted. I made them because they were things I was meant to do last year, but never got to do. Everything that I planned was more because I wanted to make up for the year I had lost rather than it being driven by any real desire or motivation. Even Superbike School I signed up for partly because I was meant to do it last year.


Back from CSS School…

I got back from California around noon in time to start my workweek. :( Except I CANNOT WORK. I cannot stop thinking of Superbikes. I cannot stop thinking about flying through the laps at the Streets of Willows Springs at the end of Level II. I cannot ignore the two Twist of The Wrist books that are sitting next to me, the first of which I covered with notes and markup in the plane because it ALL MAKES SENSE NOW, crazy Scientology talk or not. I can’t bear to not look into my copy of The Milepost which arrived in the mail while I was gone.

I am also super tired from waking up at 4:30AM, driving 60 miles to the airport and flying for two hours to Seattle. And I have to head out pretty soon to go watch the AMA Supercross races at Qwest Field this evening.

I have faffed around with checking all work email and responding to some, but I haven’t done any real work yet.

What on EARTH possessed me to volunteer to work on the weekend? Oh right, so I didn’t have to report time off for being out during the week. *sigh*