The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Ride

This past October I made a most excellent adventure that was the first I've ever made of its kind. I am a bit of a forum lurker over at the VFR Forums, and I saw that they were planning on doing a group ride. Now most of the people were folks of real commitment that save vacation days and all that jazz to do things like this. Me I was lazy, so I decided to meet up with them that morning.

Unfortunately that meant that I had to wake up at about 6am and get on the road to meet them for an 8am start in Kerrville. Well, I sure got up that early and my goodness is there a huge difference in temperature between the city and the country. In the city everything felt fine (but cool) at around the mid-50s. However, out in the valleys things got into the 30s. And if you've never ridden a bike in the 30s, first I don't recommend it, and secondly, just imagine that you are stuck in a car with the windows down, no heat and it's freezing outside...that's warmer than a bike in the 30s.

Anyways, I raced as best as I legally could, but found out later that I missed them heading out by no more than 2 minutes. So I decided to go ahead and follow the route as best as I could:

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One thing I have to say about the Hill Country in this region is that it is breathtakingly beautiful. Fertile valleys, rolling hills, old 2-lane roads, lots of trees and vistas everywhere. I first found this area with the wife earlier in the year, and I've already been back 3 times in the last year...just gorgeous!

After playing a little rende-miss with the group, I finally met up with them and had my chance to sign The Flaf. My bike is definitely not one of those you see all the time, but when they came I couldn't help but get excited. What mods did they have? Are there any tricks to our bikes that I don't know about? What is that weird crack on my windshield? All sorts of questions. It was a really nice crowd too because most of the guys that ride my bike are a bit older so there were no crazy antics, talks about the craziest wheelies and stoppies that they mustered around minivans. Nope, just good people (okay, a couple weirdos, but for finding them on the internet I was impressed) on a good bike, riding great roads, in a gorgeous area. Oh, and did I mention that they were good riders. I've never seen people on bikes that were that confident and FAST! Not that we ever pursued supra-legal speeds, because that would be stupid (that's for you dad). They really pushed me to gain a lot of confidence in what my bike could do and to realize that the limiting factor in my relationship with my motorcycle is not the's me.

Fortunately I was really happy, and practically grinning the whole time.

There's just a certain Zen that I reach on my bike when riding closer to my limits. All you can do is focus on the road, the angles, the lean, the brake balance, bike pitch, contact patches, friction limits, max lean angles, pushing of the handles, keeping enough throttle on so that the rear doesn't break loose, pulling the handle, gassing the engine, squeezing the tank, setting the line for the next turn... So much to think about that when I ride I realize that riding is the ONLY thing I can think about. And it cleanses my soul and leaves me more satisfied than practically anything else.

It was a good day, a long day, a challenging day, and a satisfying day. Although I must admit...I was really sore afterwards too because by the end of it I had been on my bike from 6am to about 8pm, ridden 500 miles, and really attacked it for about 300 miles of that. I simply got back and collapsed on my bed satisfied at having gone, and filled with dreams like this:

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