Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Well...

We all have seen the movie where she asks the hero "If you risk you life for something than shouldn't that something be very important?" And yes, it better be. or something like "Some people go through life not being good at anything and blah blah blah". Well, I think racing is life. But, not because it is the only thing that my under- self-esteemed child has found to build my adult ego. Not because it brings glory and fame and sometimes even money. It is my life because it is what I used to learn life. My parents did a pretty good job but it was a broken family and school? How much life is a green spiked mohawk going to learn in school!? I learned how to live by learning how to race. Facing the fear of lining up on a starting gate. Getting hurt and figuring out how to avoid injury. Fixing clapped out garage sale race bikes. Fixing hand me down conversion vans to get to the race. Saving money to go race and learning how to get on the podium. Be a champion and not be a dick about it.
Practice on the hill last week went great for me. At least until Thursday morning. This is when things turned around for my companion Carl. His bike was finally tuned and taking throttle for the first time all practice week and the early practice weekend before. The red headed italian bitch of a bike was finally letting him ride with out sputtering and fart burping like a drunk having an epileptic  seizure. Carl was all smiles as usual when he put his helmet on. I was fumbling with my ear plugs and he got the jump on me to practice line. I watched him launch and grab gears like a pouncing tiger.  On that practice run near the top of the mountain I ran wide in one corner. "OH SHIT!" I said as I neared the slippery white paint line on the edge. A few corners later and I saw a photographer waiving something. Awaiting to come backdown as a group the word went out that number 217 went off... Who is that I thought as if my brain was trying to keep it from me. It registered. On the way down there was an ambulance and flagging on the out side of Cog Cut, a blind apex corner that had become so bumpy bikes were jumping through like a mx whoop section. We sat at our pit waiting for the ambulance to pass us and head down the mountain. It never did. My retarded brain finally computed what the flagging was laid down for and why I would never again hear Carl's laugh. See his ear to ear grin and listen to him teach me about getting off the seat, looking through the corner and keeping my god damned feet on the pegs.
Friday morning I qualified P 2 less than two seconds of pole.
Saturday we rode our street legal bikes up with normal traffic. Nearing the summit I stopped where Carl flew off. There were bumps. Big greasy fat marmot whistle pigs hanging out like Nascar fans. A culvert and many jagged boulders. My wife squeezed me and I knew she did not care to stop and see. She wanted to keep moving. Keep moving forward. On ward and upward.
Sunday morning I felt solid. I had a real team around me making sure everything was ready. My Love and friends were all supporting me. I hugged Carl's widow and then turned to my Love and gave her an embrace and then swung a leg over the super machine. The flag waived and I gave it the beans. All week the bike launching from starts was the talk of the pits. Every time it launched it spun, crouched and wheelied as I feathered the clutch. This time it nearly shit the bed. Starting on a cold engine was not a good idea. after a mile of throttle massaging it finally started to rev. Then she revved to hard and to much exiting a hard corner. Ass end gone. I was tossed out of the seat holding on to the bars and twisting that fucking thing for dear life, somehow my lower body founds its position. Whew! The back was total grease on the gas. Nothing I did to accelerate could keep it from stepping out. In one long horse shoe corner I felt it start to go, without thinking I stood it up and rode it into the drainage ditch. I kept it pinned and rode out never missing a beat. Up through the double u switch backs sliding every corner. Near the Devil's Playground as I approached my cheering fan section the bike went into limp mode. Over heated and probably as angry at me as I was at it the thing went retard and limped all the way past the downhill of Bottomless Pit. It finally cooled down and regained full power. I lofted the front wheel in every shift and made my way to Carl's Corner. It took everything I had to not completely let off the gas. Two corners left. Everything I had was given. I crossed the line. The last dirt on the mountain is in the summit parking lot. I pitched that thing sideways to celebrate but this beast has no steering. I hit the locks and dumped it over the highside. The camera crew interviewing the HRC honda who finished a mer 14 seconds in front of me for 1st caught it all. I did not know whether to laugh or cry. Feel ashamed or honored. All I know is I am learning the way every day and from hear on it is on my shoulders to do my best every time I line up. No matter what that line is. I will keep charging forward.  2015 2nd place Heavy weight and 2nd motorcycle and 10th overall vehicle with a time of 10:18. Good bye Pikes Peak. It has been amazing.  R.I.P. 217.

7 comments:

benchdonkees said...

Wow, amazing words as ever! Good work too, you deserve it. So sorry about your pal.

cosmicowboy said...

I had a great as time as I could on the Mountain! Wensday practice was awesome! He was fast as grease and save it from going over the rail. We were pleased all was good! I told them I wasn't going up the Mountain on Thursday! I can't breath and I don't like Devils playground! It is beautiful up there when the sun comes up over the Springs and breath taking! And what I mean by breath taking is you can't breath! When they came down from the hill I was sitting in the office of the Lone Duck campground talking to Steve, and flirting with the girls, Steve said well they are all smiling so all must be OK, but I got a glance of the wrenches face and a could tell it wasn't! I hurried over to the van as fast as I could and still get air! Wrench got out and I could see something was wrong! How did it go! Not good was all he said! Is TRAVIS OK? Him being my first concern! About then he came around the Truck eyes red and tearful and gave me a big hug and said we lost Carl! WHAT? We lost Carl! The same guy who had yelled Cowboy your back the day before and gave me a big hug, the same guy that I had harassed the night before for not taking a drink of my Shine of eating a steak! From there on things were kind of a blur! Long nights, good food great friend propping each other up knowing Carl would not want us to stop! So we went on, sometimes sober, sometimes drunk, sometimes crying, sometimes laughing! Travis did good on Sunday and It was all over but more laughing and crying and Whiskey and PBR! It has been fun the last three years I have been there. Staying at the Lone Duck! Meeting new friends I'll have for life, but I don't like the Mountain and I don't think she likes us! Thanks to the Mona Lisa for propping me up Sunday night and having a drink of Whiskey with me! I will never forget my last trip there! Find your Zen and look at the moon! Love you all, may come back to Lone Duck but never will I set foot on the mountain! To Carl's. Friends and Darling wife! I'm glad I got to hug you all again and tell you I Love you! Sorry I can't be there for you tonight but you will always be in my Heart! Cowboy!

Chris Snyder said...

Sorry about your buddy. Thanks for the writing.

Adam Bauer said...

Fuck Yeah Cowboy! 👍🏁🍻

R Skye Moore said...

Great shot of you and Carl. Glad its over. Can't think of the words right now.

Dave Rutherford said...

Travis - A great ride Sunday. I stoped by before the start to wish you well, but it was a scrum and you were a celebrity. Carl's Corner has been and it remains my nemisis. It is wicked fast, bumpy, blind and always a challenge. I did not know Carl as you, but we all feel his loss. It has caused me to re-think my future PPIHC plans. I just can't shake it . . . . Maybe after 20+ years of racing, it is time . . . .

Cheers,

Dave
Vintage #23

Boulder Moto said...

You get it. Hot Carl was on your side....