Well, my weekend was less than stellar. It was the 93rd running of the Loudon Classic...the longest running motorcycle race in the country and it is always a bit awe inspiring to be a part of that kind of history.
Anyway...race 1, lap 1 taken from my rear facing camera. This is at about ~50mph.
and the full race report if you are really that bored.
I have been in a bit of a funk lately with my own racing. I am still loving what I do but was struggling to find that fire that I had. I spent some time talking about it with my mentor Eric Wood and we worked though it. I woke up that morning with genuine excitement to get back on the track...something that had been missing for a while. I can't thank Eric enough for that!
For my first race of the weekend I got a killer start, ended up in 4th going into turn 1 and was gaining on 3rd place...a guy that is normally about 1.5 seconds a lap faster than me. I was focusing on being smooth but quick and was on his rear wheel. I was SURE that I could pass him.
There is a very tight right/left chicane as the last turn coming onto the straight. I knew that if I got a killer drive that I could make my move in T1 as my Kawi has more power than his crappy Yamahaha. I flopped right hard, grabbed some gas to help pick the bike up for the left flop. Sometimes when I am really on point I actually pick up the front wheel off the ground at this point which is what happened here. The wheel touched back down which is followed by a pretty nasty bump on the track. It unsettled the chassis (as it does) but my rhythm had me grabbing gas at that time so I instinctively did but I broke the number 1 rule we teach about drives - gas on, bike up. A stupid error on my part made in the heat of battle.
Because the bike was unsettled from the transition and bump, I was unable to stand the bike up those critical 2-3 degrees as I rolled on the gas and I lost the rear. No big deal, its a low speed area and in the picture you can see I was already starting to get back up to get on my bike and continue the race. Unfortunately for me, the rider behind me target fixated on me and ran me over hitting my right mid-quad and rolling over my knee. I can't really blame him and hold no ill will. Target fixation sucks and it is something we all try to overcome but sometimes you just can't help it.
Somehow he managed to keep the bike up which was good that he did not go down as well.
Anyway, they made me take the ambulance to the med center even though I insisted that I could walk, all the while I am screaming out the window for them to get my bike to my pits as the 20 lap feature race, the Loudon Classic was happening in an hour. HUGE THANKS to Jodie Gregory and Rich Bowman for getting me in and out of the ambulance as quickly as they did. I know that I am missing the names of the cornerworkers who were on me in a heartbeat and the staff inside the medical center so please, whoever you are, thank you!
I got checked out and nothing was broken so the EMT's were kind enough to give me a ride back to my pit where my teammates had already started taking my bike apart to fix the broken bits and get a new set of tires on. My team rocks, plain and simple. Walking was pretty painful but I stayed on my feet to keep the adrenaline working long enough to get through this race. FYI this is the highlight race of the entire year at my series so there was no way that I was going to miss it.
Time came, I got on the bike and gridded up...started from 2A, second row, inside...basically in 5th place. I hate inside starts but did ok but it became apparent early that my right leg was basically useless. I rely heavily on it when taking left turns as I lock my leg into the tank which I was unable to do at all so I basically ran 20 laps on just my left leg.
I did the best that I could but was really struggling to get the bike turned with the bum leg so I think I was rolling around the 1:17 mark...about 2 seconds off my pace. Sometime around lap 10 my left leg started to protest and shaking from fatigue. I was just going to swallow my pride and pit in but then I remembered that my wife was in the grandstands at the far end of the track and if she didn't see me come around each lap she would freak out and think that I crashed again so I sucked it up and slowed down to a crawl to finish out the race.
I developed all sorts of interesting body position throughout the race in an effort to conserve my left leg. At one point I was actually laying on the tank during the straights to relieve pressure on my left leg :-p
Anyway, it was not how I wanted to run the race as I was looking forward to a competitive finish but it was not to be. I finally finished 14th out of 28.
I had to cancel my Sunday races as I just couldn't bend enough to swing a leg over the bike.
So, right now my right knee is swollen to the size of a large grapefruit and I can't really bend it much...the bruising has just started on my quad which I expect will travel throughout my leg making a very pretty (and painful) sight.
Pain is temporary and I am usually pretty good about putting it out of my head but this really f'ing hurts :-p
As always I would like to thank my wife Erin for her unwavering support, my team for just being the best people on the planet but they went above and beyond for me this weekend, and for all of my sponsors who make the parts and gear that keep the bike and rider in one piece, even when getting run over =)