Dicing it Up With Ghosts… Or Not

Dicing it Up With Ghosts… Or Not

You never really know what is going to come along and sabotage your rational mind. For the last week, I’ve had a familiar and unwelcome tickle in my brain. It the one that whispers that it’s just about that time when we go careening out of control on a negativity bender. It started with the telltale sign of my disrupted sleep. Today the monster’s claws came out. I hate it when that happens. But – this is my reality and talking about it helps me to some degree.

My husband Kenny was away doing a weekend ride, my daughter Chloe was busy doing Chloe-things and so since I was flying solo, I figured I’d get out for a ride in the morning before the heat of the day. While I was out, I saw a group of riders I know. It’s a small island, after all. I stopped in where they were having breakfast. And against my better judgment, I tagged along with them when they left for a road ride. They – speedy sport riders and me – laid back on my KTM.

Though I spend 90% of my time riding solo these days, I wasn’t always this way. I used to ride with a pack of sportbike crazies all the time. I loved the speed, the rush, the dicing it up and feeling ALIVE! But… that part of me was put to bed years ago. I don’t have that drive or those desires anymore. Or, so I thought.

It was a strange sensation to watch the bike in front of me fade out of sight on the road. There was a peculiar twinge of something like jealousy battling my good sense. For a moment, I wished I was riding something with sticky tires instead of knobbies. But I settled into cruising along on the 690. When I rounded the last corner, I saw hunched shoulders and helmets tipped toward their bike’s mirrors watching to see if I’d finally caught up with them.

At that moment I realized that I have finally closed that chapter on my old riding life. I’m firmly in the puttering category. When I reached the stop sign, I leaned towards my friend and said, “I can’t do what you guys are doing. I’m going to peel off,” and I left. There was a sting to those words that I didn’t like. It felt like shame.

What was that all about? I don’t ride sportbikes anymore. I don’t care about being the slowest person in the group. But, this was different. It felt like I couldn’t do the things that I used to.

3 Replies to “Dicing it Up With Ghosts… Or Not”

  1. I know the feeling. Although I was never really a “go faster” , I enjoy a ride well executed and like to feel I could/can maintain my position without too much waiting at the corners. I rode alone for many years, and now ride with my partner most of the time. Now, I don’t often boogey, but can still love an especially nice road. The difference is that I no longer want to ride with the fast guys. I enjoy the gatherings at lunch or the end of the day, but am happiest tooting along at my own pace taking in the world as we pass by, often stopping for a meander on foot too! Age? No matter, it feels good! As Voni Glaves would say “it’s the Smiles!”

  2. Of course you _could_, though perhaps not on the bike you were on, but experience equals awareness. If you understand that peeling into this corner at this speed may be well within the dynamic capability of this bike, but will be the last thing you ever do if ‘x’ happens just past the vanishing point ahead of you then the less aware and experienced rider you are trying to keep up with will always be faster through that corner.

    Of course, after 10,000 corners like that, you’ll inevitably ride up on the scene of their predictable accident, so there is that…

    If you want to reassure yourself that you’ve ‘still got it’, go do a track day on the Tiger & use the track environment to do all those things you can’t bring yourself to do on the street any more because you have experience & an imagination… you’ll pretty soon realise that yes, you can still do it, that when there’s acres of run off and flag marshals to warn you if there’s a problem round he next corner, dragging pegs and being a hooligan can still be a million kinds of fun, and lastly that some kid who thinks they are faster than you because they will fly through hazards on the street, oblivious to all the bullets they are dodging while you hang back are actually embarrassingly slow when you put them in an environment where ignorance & recklessness are no longer ‘advantageous’…

    For their part, they should be asking ‘Why is she slowing down here? What have I missed?’ rather than ‘Why is she so damned slow?’, and reminding both they and yourself that you know what you are doing is reason enough to book that trackday…

  3. I think that as long as you still can enjoy the ride that is what is really important. Even if it means at slower speeds 🙂 I didn’t start riding until my mid forties, so I was always a putterer. I couldn’t imagine riding any other way, nor did I have the desire to race around. I think racing along would make you miss all those interesting stories that you happen upon along the way.

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