Sunday, September 7, 2014


No, not those curves.  The ones on racetracks.

A curve
Yours truly changing direction
Many people seem to assume that racing is about high speed.  It isn't.  It's about taking corners, or changing direction.  In that long stretch where GP bike pass 300 km/h it isn't racing, it's taking a break from it.  A full breather's time, or two.  And what's next?  Curve!  The one you have to break hard as hell for.  And then you have to throw yourself at the ground since it`s a tight one.  You can't gently and progressively lean in like that french waiter would in front of your table.  You have to throw yourself, while still decelerating, mind you.  Can be a bit of a workout.  Now we enter the trust and sensibility region.  Does the front tire still have grip to spare?  What about the rear one?  It's the one that can provide us with a magical high-side!  That free carousel that gives you a nudge, bringing all your childhood dreams of flying back to life...  and that fear of landing, too.  Fear of breaking your bones or doing something even nastier to the rest of your body.  Fear of burning your wallet to patch the bike.  And oh so many delicate sensation while tumbling around uncontrollably until you get the gentle help of a guard rail or cement wall to stop your fun adventure across pavement and grass.

Now here's the apex.  That cornerstone point where you completely let go of the brake and start giving it gas.  Where you've finished decelerating in the direction you were previously going and start accelerating in the new direction.  Where's my weight over?  How fast can I go, remembering that too harsh a move will get the bike and me to part way, at my loss?

And finally, we're in the exit.  Clocking tenth of seconds happen here.  Gotta give it absolutely everything it can handle.  And nothing more, or it'll snap at you like someone with a hurting ego and you won't just loose seconds, you'll loose the whole day, some of your gear and some health.  So open up to feel the bike and your intuition.  And then do your best and go on.  To the straight.

Now, you're on gas, bike is getting back up like it's got a mind of his own, and you've moved your ass up to the seat.  Breating!  Relax those legs that just swung you from side to side of your bike.  Relax those arms that just supported you while you shed over 200 km/h while moving over the bike.  Relax that neck that was straining to get your head pointed right and that held that helmet across the firehose of a breeze.  Sit straight, look ahead, and breath.  Ok, shift that gear and keep breathing.

So I think of life.  That commute to work, 9 to 5, back for TV and beer, maybe some sex and then sleep isn't life.  It's the stretch to take a breather.  You're not marketing yourself trying to score a job or a partner.  You're not saving your life or that of your family.  And you're not taking that decreasing radius curve that starts with a divorce and ends all over the place.  You're on autopilot, probably even forgetting to breath.  Forgetting to relax entirely.

As sad as it sounds, some of us seem to need tight corners to shut down the autopilot, look ahead and come alive.  I can testify to that from many years of getting beers down and opting for passivity.  And those curve came, and some were exhausting to take, and some scared me, and I'm just out of one where Revenu Quebec took me by the inside and tried to take me out.  Hard on the assumptions those fuckers.  Think your money's yours?  That you can cash a check?  That banks are safe?  You can withdraw from your accounts, right?   Hummm, not anymore mister you owe us 56.13$.  Everything in your accounts?  Gone.  You are a criminal and will be treated like one.

Or that girl I fell for?  That ended up tuning a conflicting channel?  Interferences got so strong that it ended like that 300 to 50 braking with sweat in the visor and guts in the throat.  Got me to open my eyes all right.

So maybe you are, kinda, in a routine.  What then?  One way is to work at opening your eyes and waking up to life directly.  Maybe you meditate, exercise, and put the effort in to be here.  Maybe you have a serious yoga practice.  Or maybe you try taking any of those available turns offered to you... take a class, learn something new.  Read a book from which you learn something useful.  What about learning a new language?  You're only too old when you're stuck on autopilot you know?  Try bungee or parachute, learn Kung Fu or riding a motorcycle!  Learn to play an instrument or learn to paint...  Talk to strangers!  Make new friends!  Whatever it is, get started!

You may find that not only do you like what you're doing, but it wakes you up for more...

Yeah, so it's not about speed, and in those stretches we do nothing but hold the throttle pinned down and wait for the next curve, as relaxed or as stressed as we possibly can.  We sometimes crash, it's true.  In curves of course, nothing happens in the straights, unless you stick to the wrong gear and end up in burnout or depression.  And it sometimes hurt, that's true too.  But you know what?  I think it's worth it.  I know, in my guts, that it is.  And many smiling people agree with me.


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