Monday, April 9, 2012

The Track

I have friends who race their motorcycles at a pro racetrack.  For years, they've been cajoling me into joining them.  I've been tempted.  I just decided this is the year I'm going to go.  I'm joining a friend for a special day at the track on May 7th.

My friends say riding at the track is exhilarating.  You can let your machine rip without concern for SUVs, intersections or the police.  I've visited triple digits before (over 100 mph) but never for a sustained period.  On the track, there's no limit to how fast you can go.  My Yamaha is capable of 160 mph and I hear 140 mph is when things really get wild.  Plus, the curves and elevation-changes at a pro racetrack are designed to test your mettle with serious riding challenges.  I can't wait.

There are no racetracks in New York, so we'll travel to New Jersey.  Going to the track involves work because you need to modify your bike and wear adequate gear.  Mirrors must be removed from motorcycles (you don't use them); various parts are taken off (like your sidestand) because, when you lean the bike all the way over, you don't want them dragging on the ground; and antifreeze must be emptied from your bike because, if you crash, they don't want slippery liquid on the track. 

Also, you need to wear full leathers for protection in a crash.  I always wear my expensive Vanson jacket ($650) but need to add costly leather race-pants (around $500).  They have armor sewn in them.

Racing is, of course, dangerous.  But it's a calculated risk.  You don't have to ride over your head and I'm pretty knowledgeable about where that line is.  I plan to travel to the edge -- but not fall off the cliff.  In the process, I'm hoping to grin like a fool.  Good riding does that for me.

Would you ever do something like this?


  1. I think if you're smart about it (and you're a smart person, Ally).. go for it. I think motorcycle wrecks are one of the dangerous possibilities any person can get involved in.

    But I imagine like bungee jumping, parachuting, or any other extreme sport can be just as dangerous - and just as fun. I hope you have a great time and stay as safe as possible.

    I don't think I would ever do it. It's just not my cuppa.

  2. I saw your tweet about this. Because of the small cautionary voice in my head, I didn't reply...but I am all for fulfilling one's dreams. And the track sounds perfect for letting her rip. You won't actually be racing will you?

    1. Not this time. I want to get accustomed to the environment before taking on testosterone-fueled competitors.

  3. You are braver than me. I like going fast on my bike, but not that fast. I'm excited for you though and can't wait to hear all about it.

  4. I probably wouldn't do it, but I admire you for taking on the adventure!

  5. Hm, I like to think of myself as adventurous but I think I have a limit and this would be beyond that! Good for you for setting your mind to it! I don't have to ask you to be careful because I know you will... Have fun!

  6. Hope you have a blast. That type of activity is not for me. My husband wants to go sky diving for his 40th bday this year and wants me to do it with him but I don't.
    I am more the type that would take a risk visiting an exotic country in Africa trying to find and observe gorilla clans for example. :)

  7. I'm totally into this. If you've read my profile...I love motorcycles. Always wanted one, but my dad said hell no, lol! I'm just as fine being a passenger, but I bet there is more of a thrill in driving! sounds really exciting...never though about all the racing mods that had to be made. Hopefully someone takes pictures...would love to see you in action!

  8. Although not on a motorbike but in a car and not on a racetrack ... Germany 'allowed' speeding on the highway ... one sure way of blasting your cares away is having the world whizzing by in a blur.

    I'm sure you're going to love every minute of it!

  9. Oh wow, this sounds so exciting! I have never been on a motorcycle, ever. I wanted one in High School but my parents said, and I quote "Hell No". I thin it is really cool that you get to test your limits and see how fast & in control you can be. Please take lots of pics & have others take pics of you!

  10. Sounds super thrilling! I don't know that I could ever do something like that, but then again, I've tried things in the last year I never thought I'd do (like firing a gun) so you never know! Just be safe and like the others have said, get some good pictures!!

  11. Eeeee, the whole leaning-to-make-a-turn-at-warp-speed thing makes my stomach knot up. Whenever youdo race, BE SAFE! That said, my secret career-alternative would have been doing stunt driving... but just the off road slow and steady over a boulder kind. :) I also love that cobalt color of your bike. This was a wild post, I enjoyed experiencing your excitement about racing through your words.

  12. I don't particularly like traveling fast, so I think I'll pass on this adventure. I'm too scared of becoming a smear on the pavement. :(