I’ve finally earned my Wings! or You don’t need wings to fly…Posted: June 29, 2009
Picture it: CVS, 2009. A time shortly before I bought my Bouncy Baby Busa. It was a slow day, Scott and I were talking and the subject turned to motorcycles and how he wanted a Triumph Rocket III, but the wifey wouldn’t have none of it. The wifey also works there, but it wasn’t her shift. She’s a daredevil herself, but that’s a totally different story. LOL The natural progression of motorcycle talk eventually leads to the topic of fastest land speed ever attained. I set a personal best when I was 19 in my boyfriend’s Mazda 929. 220kM/H. ’round about 137mph. On the Autobahn. There is no speed limit, so I didn’t have to worry about the coppers at all. Ah, good times. Good times. Scott had me by 10 miles or so, also in a car, but I can’t recall what he said he was driving. I tell him, I can beat that, but need to wait until I get a new bike, since the Sporty only runs 112 before the dreaded death wobble. He runs out gets a set of wings. His naval Crew Wings. He hands them to me and says: “You can have these for your hi-viz vest.” I tell him, that I couldn’t accept that. And he states that they’ll go good with all the other pins I have on it already. I finally accept, but under the condition that I will not pin on my wings until I break his land speed record of 150mph. He agrees, but adds the condition that it will not count if I get a ticket while doing so. It’s a deal. I tuck the wings into the outside pocket of my Icon Mil-Spec vest and there they remain for quite some time, hardly thought of, but not forgotten. Fast forward several months. I’m practicing for my Iron Butt with Hijnx and DianeT (see the ‘desperate for a milestone‘ post) just to see if I could actually do a long-distance ride. During the trials I find myself on the second most boring road in all of South Carolina and definitely the most boring road in ALL of Georgia. 378. What’s a girl to do with that straight of a road in the middle of nowhere? Speed. That’s what. The wings come to mind. Hmmm… I have my GPS strapped to my left leg and it’s collecting data for said Iron Butt attempt. Average moving speed, stopped time, moving time, and max speed attained. You know, the kind of data you need to figure out if you can do 1000 miles in 24 hours. Yeah, why the hell not. I drop a couple of gears and lay into it. This isn’t the first time I used the ‘rusty part of the throttle’ but this is the first time I attain higher velocities sustained. At around 130, things start changing. Drastically. My butt’s done slid all the way against the Fat Lady’s hump. I’m almost flat against the tank, my head tucked in behind the windshield. But I’ve been here before. It’s all good. As the needle creeps up, the wind resistance becomes something to be reckoned with. It’s literally pulling at my arms. I counter by pushing myself forward slightly on the pegs, to keep the strain off my arms. That works for all of maybe 30 seconds. I complete my last upshift and the world starts blurring. Now, THIS is new. I have tunnel vision. Everything is blurred but the center of where I’m looking way ahead in the distance. I can feel the cat ears and tail that are held to my helmet by the way of suction cups acting like sails. They feel like they weigh a ton, and my head gets jerked around in the massive air current. I can’t tuck in further, my chin is almost resting on the tank. No place to go. I think my eyeballs are bulging and my lips are peeled back from the wind. I have a nice visual inside of my head of pilots in the centrifuge getting g-force training. Their skin all slid backwards on their skulls. How lovely. I hope I’m not gonna pass out when I reach warp speed. I’m grinning. Because I’m dancing with the devil and I’m leading. A few miles faster, the world also begins to vibrate a whole lot. Now it’s blurred and shaken. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the bike, it’s the wind. I think I’m oscillating at low amplitude high frequency… I dunno… I’m getting a bit squeamish, because the forces I’m subjected to seem to be piling up exponentially. The road is bumpy in the middle and my suspension gives me the appropriate feedback. So now I’m vibrating top AND bottom. I could stay on either side of my lane where it’s smoother, but the middle is where I wanted to be, bumpy or not. Probably a stupid choice. But it seemed safer at the time, more margin of error both ways. Anyway, the world changes. I can’t put my finger on it, but everything seems brighter, higher contrast, and still. If that makes sense. It’s quiet. I am wearing my earplugs, but have music playing, I can make out the engine’s whine (she’s not purring anymore, she’s got a whiney sort of roaring rumble, I kinda like it), and the wind is roaring, but it seems quiet. I dunno. Weird. I finally glance at the speedo (I hadn’t looked at it since the needle crept past 120), it reads slightly past 150. Not quite 155, somewhere between the tick marks of 150 and 155. Let’s call it 152. I hold speed a little while longer, then decelerate. Dang, it takes forever to slow back down. The world morphs back into its familiar shape. All sounds and sights return to normal. My head is rushing. I pull over, my arms tingly and my brain still slowing down. I don’t trust my legs to hold up the bike, so I put the kickstand down, just in case. I sit at the side of the road and claw at my GPSr to see what it reads in its Max Speed field. 137??? WTF? You have got to be kidding? No way! Arrrgh. What a bummer. I can’t be sure of the accuracy of either. My speedo is normally 5 off. So 152 indicated would mean that I was actually only going 147. But 137 on the GPSr? Hell with that! I earned my wings today! Nobody said it had to be real-time. 152 indicated works for me. What a total letdown after such exhilaration. Maybe some other time, without the cat ears, with a double bubble windshield and some racing leathers and on the drag strip I will bury the needle on the right side of the dial. It says 185 there, but we know she’ll do more than that. =D I have myself a new milestone. I will join the 200mph club. Period. I need a Power Commander 3, a new set of cans and some nitrous and I’m there, baby. I went home and pinned the wings to my vest. Yes, I think I’ve still earned them.