I started riding whatever I could on the dirt. Pre teens it was a bicycle. then it was the little Rupp. Middle school saw an xr75 and in early high school came the RM250. I was lucky enough to have a small area of woods maybe 3-4 acres a block away from my house. A little further away was an old railroad line that we could ride about 8 miles to an abandoned golfcourse. Typical day was go to school, get home, lie about finishing homework and ride till dinner time. Repeat next day at around age 16 I considered entering some races but since we were now of drivers license age my buddies got rid of there bikes and started getting cars. I myself was working on an old beat up 69 Road Runner and while I kept the bike interest shifted from MX to cars.
Fast forward a few years:
Off to college then USMC boot camp and School of infantry. I signed up for the reserves so after training I returned home to find out my brother took the RM250 upstate so his friends could ride it since I wasn't using it (big brothers suck). It was never to be seen again
. I stay involved turning wrenches on what ever big block Chrysler product I can find but never get serious with it.
Persian Gulf war breaks out and Im activated 9 months goes by and I return home the day before my birthday, That was some present
. Older mentally and physically I get into construction and with my military back ground am able to land some other stuff as well. I meet my wife and a few years later Im married have a house and she is pregnant with twins. Any type of racing or motorized hobbies are out of the question as I have neither time or money to get involved with it. Hell I live walking distance from a reservoir with great fishing and 14 years later I still haven't gone fishing there:
My son has vision problems and at this time he is legally blind, he can see but his vision is bad enough that he meets the criteria for the designation. happily he lost that designation last year as his vision has improved enough
. Shortly before Christmas my wife out of no where informs me that my son needs a quad for Christmas. Since he is blind he will never be able to get a drivers license and he will miss out on driving. She further adds that I need to get one for myself because if i don't I will never take him riding. Christmas Morning came to reveal Santa left 2 shiny new quads in the garage. I nice little 90cc machine for him and a 2up utility quad for me so that I could use it around the house and ride around the wife or daughter. The ATV fleet over the next few years grew into 4 machines and we rode when we could. However I found my self craving for a more sporty machine. I love mud bogging it but I would see the sport ones tearing up the track and hitting jumps and wish I was out there.
Over the years I had thought about getting another bike. In 93 I was going to get a dual sport but the guy never called me back. Shortly after that a good friend died on his sportbike and It took the taste for a bike away. sadly this was a recurring theme over the next few years. Eveytime I started thinking about it again another person I knew met a messy death.
July 8 2010:
Out of nowhere I get an urge to search craigslist for motorcycles. There was an 02 XRL650 posted and within 24 hours it would be mine. In search of places to ride off road I find ADV and sign up. Meet some great people my age and older and learn that yes a 40+ year old guy can still have fun on a bike.
January 1 2012:
The old feelings and dreams of being in an actual official race return. My kids are getting older and I actually have a few dollars I can put into it, and by a few I mean a few. I make my New Years resolution 2012 I'm going racing. I join Netra and print out the calendar. Looks like I can make maybe a half dozen events over the year. I decide to get into enduros simply because I always preferred trail riding and them MX heats just seemed to short.
Weapon of choice is an old somewhat beat up 2002 KTM 200 EXC. First planned event is 5/6 Tuxedo ridge Harescramble
January 22 2012:
One of the guys from the ATV sight post up about a winter scramble at Broome Tioga MX track in Central NY. I have the weekend off and haven't seen or ridden with these guys in 2 or 3 years now and decide I will take a ride up at a minimum just to see them. Then figure what the hell I'll bring my 4x4 quad there ain't that much snow and Ill run it in the utility class. I started looking into it and find there is no snow on the track and start thinking Hmm if it don't snow I could actually run the 200 and get a feel of a hare scramble...
One week to Feb 12 2012 (race day)
There is still no snow on the track and nothing in the forecast. Decision is made I will race the 200. Check of truck reveals problem with front 4wd driveshaft. Part will not be in till after race but with no snow in forecast driveshaft is simply removed as I wont be needing it. Also the 200 will be entered in the Non Studded class as my budget does not allow for a set of studded tires that I will use only one, also again no snow on the track so why would I need them.
2 days before race day:
Forescast reveals 30% chance of snow showers maybe 1" of accumulation Sunday night (after race) all systems go! Im going racing
Feb 11 2012
Bike is loaded I have some work to do before I leave but I will be leaving directly from job site. Wake up to forecast of 2-3" of snow. There is a dusting at my house but any accumulations will be south of me. Still all systems go. Get on road and start heading north cloudy but no snow
RT 17 just west of Roscoe NY west bound a few flakes start coming down. Then more and more. There is at least an inch of snow on the road and If I try to maintain speed on the hills my rear tires are starting to spin
remember that front driveshaft I didn't need
Im 10 miles from RT 81 and doing 45mph this sucks.
A few miles up 81 I get pulled over for weaving and driving slow plus that taillight I been meaning to fix. Sorry officer I aint been drinking. Im just slippin and sliding. Dont you have 4wd? Well yes and know and I give him the story. Think he felt sorry for me cause he wished me good luck and sent me on my way
I finally make it to My hotel. Check in and literally as I get into my room my phone goes off. Its the ATV guys, He informs me they are now calling fora foot of snow and he aint going to drive to the track or race in that. Fuck it my phone is still saying snow showers. I call wife and she is telling me there are lake effect warnings but no accumulation forecasts. Im beat tired and dont want to drive back in what is on the roads now I decide to see what its like in the morning and if need be I will just hole up in the hotel till the roads are clear and head back home. lay down on bed and I am aselep before my head hits the pillow. Didn't even set alarm clock but luckily around 6-6:30am I woke up.
Race day Feb 12 2012
Start of day
Fuck me there is 3-4 inches of snow on the ground and its coming down pretty good. What do I do? I didn't come this far to fail...
Its 14 degrees. After 5 minutes of kicking it comes to life. All systems go
I go watch the kids race the minis and decide I can see some dirt so It shouldn't be too bad.
The time comes for me to line up. Row 5 for the unstudded bikes. Im the only one there. And most people are looking at me like I'm out of my mind. A smile comes across my face as I realize all I have to do is finish and I get my first place trophy. I go to start the bike to keep it warm as I am waiting and it is a dead start. Damn bike that startyed with 1 kick 5 minutes ago now wont start. It fires but dies. Im frantic now. Kicking like crazy trying not to fall over cause its snow and ice. Im about exhausted and it starts. OMG what just happened. I let it idle and revit a bit hit the kill say a quick prayer and give it a swift kick...Shes purrin like a kitten. They are about to start the national Anthem and I shut her down confident.
The flag man waves the green for the first row. Unlimited class is off
Then the second
Then the third
Then nothing. 4th row guy has his hands in the air doing the wtf about me sign. Flag man waves him on but the bike wont start...
Flag man rolls up flag and walks off starting line. Hmmmm. whats goin on? I've never done this before and don't want to get disqualified for a false start.Like I said all I need to do is finish.
wait a lil longer jump up and down wave my arms nothing hes bs'n with some people.
Fire up the bike and slowly ride up to him.. Hi how are you? Im racing here and you never waved me on? Oh yeah go ahead You're the only one on your row you got all day.
I'm off! Im slippin and sliding but i hit the first hill/ turn and its all chewed up from teh studded bike I nail it and can get enough traction to lift the front tire in the air. Hit he next up hill turn I pass a guy trying to push his bike up the hill and can actually see them bikes that took off a few minutes before me. WTF? Am I That good? I know have hopes of not being dead last overall.
I get to the grass field area and discover that no those other bikes were not just in front of me but there were about a million loops before you got out of the field and the only place I can get any traction is in the chewed up tight turns It took me awhile to get to where I saw the bikes when I thought I was catching up. Its slippery as hell about 3 inches of snow on the track and its still snowing. I keep repeating ride to finish, just ride to finish and you got this beat no reason to take chances. make it through the course best I can and come back into where everyone can see me and drop my bike going into a turn. Damn it why here
get back up and get going. 2nd lap and and all the dug up dirt is freezing and the packed snow is turning to ice. I fall a few more times and im getting tired, ride to finish ken just ride to finish...
End of lap 2 Im tired. You are supposed top shout your number to the guy at the finish line so he can score you I decide to stop and chat so I can catch my breath. Again I'm in no rush. I'm only racing against myself. Scorer tells me we are 22 minutes into the race. The race is 25 minutes plus one lap, so I know my lap time is well over 3 minutes so I just need to tough it out one more lap...
Its a damn blizzard. I can hardly see. the track is pretty much pure ice. the places i had traction before are gone I think I dropped the bike 6 times on that last lap alone. the only satisfaction I got was passing one guy who had proabaly already lapped me. It appears he cant climb hills and has one of the safety guys pushing him up the hill. Sadly I dropped the bike again and that gave him enough time to catch up to me just before the finish line. Exhausted pass the finish line and get my flag. I got a real big thumbs up from a girl in the scoring booth. they all new I was exhausted and had fallen numerous times. While no one confronted me directly as I pulled off the track and tore my helmet off so I could breath. I heard the comments about the crazy old fucker with the balls to run it with no studs. I think I saw a few thumbs ups between gasps for air. Then again I may have just been hallucinating I hear lack of oxygen will do that.
The results are posted and I go to confirm my 1st place finish
Unstudded class lists three entries. I was 2nd place
Not sure what happened and it's not like I was going to make a stink out of it. Best I can guess is that the other 2 guys started in either row 1, 2 or 3 as the only bike in row 4 didn't start (dnf) and I was the only bike in row 5. Times weren't listed either but Im guessing he got at least a 3minute head start and Since I kept my mantra of just finish I never pushed it or was in a rush to pick up the bike and get going. I also wouldn't have stopped to bs with the scoring dude in the middle of the race. Im guessing this totaled up to a minimum of 5 minutes to the 1st place cheater.
I loaded the bike up and hopped in the truck which was now stuck in the snow. Rocking back and forth with a huge cloud of diesel smoke got me free and a big smile Who the hell needs studs. I came I did it Im happy!!! Passing a Honda advertisement on the way out slamming second place took the smile off my face.
Backing into a car at a gas station and caving in his drivers door took the smile off some pizza delivery guys face too. oops
I called my wife after the race and let her know what happened. I guess she told my daughter about my stolen trophy issue and I came home to this.
What a day!!!