Humility via motorcycle!
In January of 2006, I decided that I needed to practice riding and racing my XR650R so I signed up for the winter national hare and hound out in Lucerne California. My boss Fritz told me that I was taking the wrong bike and that I was a moron for racing a 650 in the California desert. Yeah right, Mr. 9 time six day, national enduro champ guy! You don’t know more than I do about racing! I was so cocky.
The trip started off with a sweet mistake. I left Gunnison at 5 am in -20 degree weather on Saturday morning. I was pinned heading west when I realized that I had left the keys to my now locked trailer back in Gunni. Nice move Morgan. I quickly swung by a Home Depot and bought some bolt cutters and another lock set and “fixed” the problem. I was back on the road and hammering down pretty quickly. I ended up in Lucerne at the race site at about 10 pm and set up my camp. That included pulling my big red pig out of my trailer and crawling into it with a sleeping back. The next morning came quickly and it was time to sign up.
I headed to get registered and found myself standing in line with Ty Davis. So freaking cool! After sign up you get a little time to pre-run the bomb run before the race starts so I went out and found a line that was going to work for me and my big girl. Now it was time to line up. There are no words that can accurately describe the feeling of being on a chalked line in the desert with over 150 other racers. It’s dead silent and you are watching the banner. The first sign of movement and you kick your bike and hope like hell that it starts. It's so loud and crazy that you can’t really even tell if your bike is running so you just twist it and dump the clutch and hope that you move forward. Luckily my big girl lit right up and I was off. The bomb run was terrifying, to say the least. It's about 2 miles of 5th gear pinned through the desert with all of those people trying to beat you to the single track. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see bikes cartwheeling and crashing everywhere. As the course narrowed down I settled in and started to get comfortable. The first loop went well, I passed a lot of guys and was going pretty fast. Then came loop 2.
The second loop of a hare and hound race is NUTS! This was why Fritz was telling me not to take my 650. What was fun, fast desert turned into almost trials riding for an XR. It was rock piles and washes chocked with boulders. It is still to this day some of the hardest riding I have ever done on a 650. As I neared the finish line I was so happy to see the checkered flag. I was so happy to be finished and have my bike holding all of its liquids. There was no reason to hang out for awards after my performance so I packed up and started heading back home to wrap up a blitz trip.
That experience had a profound effect on me even though I didn’t really understand it at the time. First of all, I began to listen to Fritz more. He clearly knew a lot more than I did about all kinds of racing and I could gain a lot of knowledge if I would just swallow my pride and listen. I also came to grips with how much work it was going to be to ride an XR650 over 1000 miles in the desert of Mexico. The biggest benefit though, was humility in general. I was so full of myself at the time that I needed to be beaten down a little. Life is like that. When things are rolling your way you slowly build yourself up in your mind. It's such a slow progression that you don’t really notice it until, BAM!! You get knocked back down and realize that you aren’t all that cool!
Thanks for tuning in again. If this is your first visit then I hope you go back and check out my earlier posts. This is a journey through my life to where I am today. I don’t know if I am doing it right or if anyone cares but I am doing it anyway! So far, your responses have been great, so thank you!!
Want to get ahead??? WORK!!
Ripping good day on the DIRTBIKES with Chris Thomas!! -2 degrees doesn’t stop us!!