Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'll Take Mine Well Done

It all started one normal 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 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 WalMart 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 without little to no light. The bad thing about night riding is when you crash, most times the engine stops running so you have no light to see. 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 the motorcycle that has just hammered him into the ground like a tent peg. 

We survived this 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 same 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 human fireball! Ok, maybe that was a slight bit overly dramatic, but you get the picture.  After a couple of damns, some running, hoping and possibly a couple of skips ... my smoking, singed haired limb is safely extinguished. We did what any semi-normal buddies would do at a time like this, laughed our ass off about it. 

We rode the next day til noon, then headed out to another area where our off road 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. They 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 grass track area? 

I ride backwards on the course and I see Mike who is by now sitting up, a bit groggy. 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 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 a single person would line up with us. 

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Too funny Terry
Yeah that old gas and oil mix is really mean once those fumes float around a bit.My friends father had poured some gas and used motor oil on a big pile of wood on the 4th of july, but didn't have a match so while he was looking for one somebody put on some more gas then lit a match and like you said Woosh. When the air sucks out of your lungs and all of the small hairs crisp up during the initial explosion it can really be something, didn't drop my beer though. Well I am glad Irene is gone, it was flare city for me on Sunday with heavy rain all day, but thats all we got this far west of the coast. People on the coast from N.C. to V.T. were not so lucky though, lots of damage. Our vacation spot on the outer banks of N.C. is pretty much under water. I hope you are feeling better and that you get some pain free riding in.
Phil - Syr

Anonymous said...

Oh by the way I forgot to comment on the truck. That picture of the old Ford pick up brings back a lot of memories.
Phil

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh - the good ol' days! Glad you can still enjoy some riding!
Chelsea

tharr said...

Phil, it's amazing what goes through your mind when your on fire. Good handle on the beer! lol Irene was a doozey, a girl at work told me it was going to be a bad one. She said, "if they name a storm after my mother you know all hell is about to break loose!" I can imagine the flare that comes with a major hurricane. We just have to dodge tornadoes out here in Oklahoma. I have my own flare going on right now, hope to get out over the weekend.
Man, that 73 Ford has been all over the country hauling us to races. It had just under 200,000 miles on it when I sold it.

tharr said...

Thank you Chelsea. I am not able to ride the rough wooded trails that I loved to ride and race on, but at least I'm still on a bike and riding. Don't know how many more times I could survive being set on fire either! lol

deb aka murphthesurf said...

Loved riding with you through memory lane. Can't say I would have liked to be set on fire but then again...jumping off of rooftops, skateboarding into oncoming traffic and camping whilst bears ravage the food supply makes me realize that I am glad these are now memories. Thanks for sharing!

tharr said...

Hey Deb, glad you enjoyed it. I will admit, being on fire isn't for everybody. Amazing what we did when we younger and invincible isn't it. By the way, we were nearly 30 when this story took place! lol We had a racoon (we assume that was what it was) come into camp one night and ravage our food. It finally got a bag of potato chips opened up and we were laying in the tent laughing while it ate one chip at a time. Must have gone on for 15 minutes.

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mary said...

Boys will be boys and, no matter how old they get, crazy boys will continue to be crazy boys. Nice, if somewhat, flammable memory.

mary said...

Had a visual of the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz when I read this post.

tharr said...

Mary, every once in a while I think about some crazy stuff we did in the past. This was one that could be posted. lol You don't forget about being on fire, even if it for just a few seconds. On the scarecrow comment ... is that because he didn't have a brain??

mary said...

I was thinking more of the jumping around when the scarecrow was set on fire. That scarecrow had brains to spare and I'm sure you do also. Be well and stay away from open flames this holiday.