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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Clearwater Beach Chalk Festival.

Sue and I got some good news last week and we managed to get over to Clearwater Beach where they were holding the last day of their Chalk Festival.

I thought I share a few pics here, for additional pics be sure to check my Facebook album here.  I didn't ride Kimmie over since Sue was with me, but it was still a good time and I tried Stone Crab for the first time (I was not impressed).

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Of course...

So how exactly did I allow this to happen?

Kimmie is slipping out from under me.  I can feel it.  I know now that I entered the turn a little fast and I'm leaning hard to get her to make the turn.  It's raining too, one of Florida's famous and brief pop up showers but it's enough to make the road a little slick.  My rain gear, of course, is at home.

Of course I had to stay late and choose to be adventurous, taking a road that I don't really know full of turns, deer and darkness.

I didn't go down.

I'm upright and in control.   I thanked a God I'm now sure exists.  Somehow...I did everything right.  I slow down to a much more manageable speed, I don't need to go through that again.

Of course, the second I slow down I've some asshole who's insisting on tailgating me.  Of course his bright lights are on.  I'm not in the mood for this crap and when he passes me, on the double yellow, I've a few choice words for him.  

I just want to get home.

I have to remind myself not to have a death grip on the handlebars.  I have to remind myself not to get fixated on any particular target.  All that training from a beginner's motorcycle class long ago starts to fill my head.  For the first time in a long time I'm miserable on the bike.

A family of small deer wander out into the road and I apply the brakes quickly, they look at me with alien eyes and move back into the woods.  I move on.

A few minutes later I come across the remains of a deer in the middle of the road and don't have a choice but to enter the other lane to avoid it.  The car behind me hits the carcass with a crunch and the slamming of brakes.

I just want to get home.  Kimmie can get me home.

I'm the only vehicle on this road now.  It's rural and there seems to be no moon or homes about.  The trees that would look like a leafy tunnel in the day now take on a more sinister view, as the branches becoming skinny arms meant to snatch the loan weary traveler.

Finally I'm near home, back on the streets I know.  I start to relax, and quickly fall into muscle memory as I lean and move around the turns that I have ridden 1001 times before.

Of course, a possum or some other strange nocturnal animal decides to commit suicide by running in front of my bike.  I, of course, hit it.

Somehow I stayed up.   Somehow Kimmie saved me.

Somehow Kimmie gets me home.

I go have a drink...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Back to the basics (feelings)

It's been a few weeks since I've written anything.  Sue is in a odd limbo of half treatment as the doctors decided the best course of treatment for her.

I ride back and forth to work when I can and now that the humidity has broken I find myself riding more.  Just the other day I left for work in the morning shortly after 8:30 and thought to myself that I would soon be breaking out the light sweater to wear under by summer riding jacket.  Then I realized how much my blood had thinned in the last few years.   The temperature was 75 F (23 C).  

In a odd sort of way I've found riding lets me turn off the 1001 or so thoughts that bounce around my head currently.  "What if Sue's treatment does not work?"  "What if the worst does happen?"  These are not the thoughts I thought I would be having at the age of 49.  Riding, at least for a short time, shuts those thoughts down as it becomes just the road and myself.

They creep in....but I force them down.  Part of winning is to stay positive.  We need to stay positive.

"I need to work on my curves." I think as I ride home on day, it's the same road I've ridden a thousand times before but I make a couple of bad turns on it.  Nothing serious, nothing that I can not recover from but more of a nagging suspicion "I'm better than this."

Like anything in life you want to get back to the basics, practice the fundamentals and fine tune the process.  Muscle memory is a great and wonderful thing but if you're remembering the wrong things, if you're doing just the slightest thing wrong on the most basic of affects everything thereafter.  I'm far from a perfectionist but I know how much going down hurts.

I also know that if I go down again...I'm done.   I'm not done with Kimmy yet.

So it's a lovely Saturday morning, I've got nothing planned for the day.  I gear up the way I always do; my ritual of ATTGATT.  I want a challenge and consider my secret place but then decide on the Green Swamp.   It's been a long time since I've ridden those roads and I'm curious to see if anything has changed.

My only concern is cracking in the front tire, but I shake off that concern.  The tread is good and although I need to replace it eventually, I did not see any air bubble the last time I washed my bike.  I'm also a little concerned about the CVT belt, Kimmie has over 25 thousand on her now and I'm not sure how much more belt life she has left.  But I force those concerns aside and stay positive.

I sit down on the bike...and it doesn't feel right.  I've a nagging suspension, a question in the back on my mind.  Again I check the tires, the brakes and run through the list...yet I can't shake that feeling.

If riding has taught me's to listen.

I ride the bike out and about town for a bit, taking it easy.   Trying to put that unease into the back of my mind or find a rational feeling for it.   I can't.

So here I am at home going over everything with a fine tooth comb and thinking that maybe I should get that tire replaced after all because of this odd feeling.  So there is no riding, no travel, no adventure for me this day.

Perhaps tomorrow.