Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'll Take Mine Well Done

It all started out one Saturday afternoon in 1987. Mike and I were headed to the woods to camp out and ride all weekend. We found a good spot to camp on Mill Creek right at the entrance to one of our favorite trails. We unloaded the bikes, gathered some fire wood, set the tent up and had something to eat quickly so we could go for a short night ride.

Night rides are crazy. Yes our race bikes do have lights on them, but they are not to see with, you could see better if you taped a $2 Wal Mart flashlight to your handlebars. We weren't going out for a leisurely ride at night, we would ride as hard as we could and push each others riding ability through the woods. The bad thing about night riding is when you crash, most times the engine stops running and you have no light to see. Let me go into detail ... at night miles from the city lights, in dense wooded areas, you cannot see your hand in front of your face. There is something deeply disturbing about a grown man crawling around on his hands and knees trying to locate a full sized dirt bike that has just slammed him into the ground.

We survived the night ride without any incidents and arrived safely back at camp. You can't have a camping trip without a camp fire so we were getting the wood prepared in the fire ring. It had rained earlier in the week so the wood was damp. What better way to start a fire with damp wood than to use premix (gas and 2 stroke racing oil), right? As I am dousing the damp firewood with the mixture, Mike strikes a match and drops on the wood ... the wood I am still pouring premix on. After a big whoosh, I realize my arm is on fire! My best friend has turned me into a partial human fireball! After several damns, my smoking and singed haired limb is safely extinguished. We did what any semi-normal buddies would do at a time like this, laughed our butts off about it.

We rode the next day til noon, then headed out to another area that our riding club was hosting a race at the next weekend. They were setting the start up funneling the racers through several turns back and forth to stagger the riders out some so they wouldn't all hit the woods at the same time. They asked Mike and I to test it out to see if everything was going to work and to get an idea of how long it would take to get to the woods. No problem, we pull our bikes out of the truck, put our gear on and line up next to each other on the start line. Mike Richmond started us and we hit the first turn side by side. We rode into the next turn wide open neither of us shutting down or giving an inch. Man, this is BIG TIME FUN now, we make it through the next two turns handlebar to handlebar and I just slightly inch out in front going into the next turn. Mike comes up on the outside of me in the turn and our tires made contact. Mikes bike slams him to the ground, and I, still unaware, have the throttle pinned running through the rest of the banners to the woods. I stop and look around for Mike. No Mike, hey, why is everyone going over to the middle of the starting area?

OH, I see now. I ride backwards back to check on Mike and by now he is sitting up, a bit groggy though. We started laughing once he got to his feet and I told him it was payback for setting me on fire the night before. After showing the guys my singed arm, they all decided we were crazy. After about 20 minutes Mike and I were lined back up on the start line for another run. We tried to get some others to run the start section with us again ... not one person would line up with us.