…in the pants, just to make sure the new year knows who’s boss, what this girl expects and that she will not take the kinda crapola 2011 had the audacity of dishing out!
The Pirate and I just finished putting 600 miles on The Sponsor’s pickup truck. We’re home again; one of us garnished with a wee bit of winter grass, sporting a bald backside, the other feeling a little beat up and limp-wristed. One of us has a case of hay fever, the other doesn’t like laying around in the dirt. Comes to thinking about it, we both agree that a roll in the hay is greatly overrated.
I can’t think of a better way to start off the new year! Rebooting the system and resetting the speedometer! The Dynoworks Girls Day at JenningsGP!
Fear not, me squiddies, the full mission report will be turned in shortly.
Mr. Slow, who is my personal PR manager (he brags about his wife behind her back) and track photographer (he takes pictures wherever he is, just so happens he found himself at a race track with a camera in his paws and bored out of his mind), has finally uploaded some pics to his site.
When he sent me the link, the first words out of my mouth were: “Just 43? You’re not done yet, I see.” His reply was: “No, baby. I am done. That’s the cream of the crop.” I beg to differ, but he has standards, whereas I do not. A serial killer puts more thought into choosing a memento than I do with track shots. As long as it isn’t blurry, I’m hanging onto it.
I paid $40 for the official track photographer’s CD, and it only had 22 photos on it. I purchased it for two reasons: I am a photo whore and I wanted to compare the quality between the track photographer’s shots and Papa Razzi’s. Papa Razzi won hands down. Where the track photographer had to divide their attention between everybody on the track, my husband only concentrated on me and later on also included a friend I had made at the school. Isn’t he sweet?
He said it basically came down to equipment rather than skill of the photographer. They used an older body but a $10K telephoto lens. Papa Razzi can’t afford pricey glass like that, because he has a high-performance woman on his bank roll, so he made up for the lack of optical zoom in resolution. He probably will tell me I have it wrong, but that’s how I understood it.
At any rate, check out Papa Razzi’s photos from the Ed Bargy Racing School and track day weekend at JenningsGP in Jennings, Florida. Tell him what you think. I think they’re awesome and competitive with some of the other photographers out there. But I’m about as biased about the quality of his photos as Mr. Slow is objective on the subject of how fine my rear end looks when it is hanging off the bike.
I spent the weekend at JenningsGP in Jennings, FL for some more instruction to hone my race craft, followed by a track day to work on stuff to set it in. I had a blast, and I showed some of those WERA experts how clean the inside of an S1000RR’s tailpipe is. 🙂
I promise I will write up the weekend as soon as possible.
I dropped 17 seconds off my game, started being more consistent in lap times and shredded one set of Dunlops.
Good times, good times.
I don’t think I’m going to make it. I feel unsure on my feet and generally unwell. My head hurts, I have sleep-deprivation induced nausea and I have to go to the doctor to score some medicine if it is indeed an ear infection. I have worked on prepping my bike all night. It was slow going since I kept having to take breaks to rest my body. The bike is not even ready yet. I still need to change the oil and flush the radiator to replace the antifreeze with distilled water with a properly measured shot of Water Wetter mixed in.
But first off to the see my doc. I almost fall asleep in the waiting room. Must. Stay. Awake. I feel shaky inside. My name is finally called and after enduring the nurse and her insistent need for vital signs I am sent to my room. I almost doze off waiting for Doc to put in his appearance. He finally does and as I straighten up to greet him a wave of dizziness hits me. I hate that. It throws me off balance and makes me feel icky. I call it “vertigo” but that’s not the right term. I explain myself to the man, he gives me a diagnostic rundown then tells me it’s my allergies that have caused fluid to buildup “in there” and that’s where my dizziness and momentary loss of sense of balance come from. He prescribes me antibiotics, don’t forget your doctor’s note, and be on your way.
Mr. Slow is trying to help me get the bike ready, but I’m too addled in the brain to form a complete sentence or make sense enough so he could follow what I’m trying to tell him. I have’t the energy. We end up yelling at each other and I’m so angrily exhausted now that I tell him where he can go and that it isn’t JenningsGP with me. I don’t need this shit, I’m flying solo. He disappears into the bedroom to get some sleep, since he, too, has been up all night at his job. Somebody has gotta drive. But he can’t sleep since we’re mad at each other.
Kiss and make up like a couple of zombies and back to work. I can’t get the damned oil filter off the bike, it takes two frustrating trips to the auto parts store to get a tool that actually works. My sleepy anger finally gets the thing off so the rest of the oil can drain out. I clean the cavity that accepts the screw-in filter, replace the oil drain plug gasket, screw the drain plug back in after cleaning it, torque it down and resecure it with safety wire. I screw in the new wrench-off K&N filter, hand tighten it as instructed, safety wire it using the hole provided and dump in four quarts of Motul synthetic race oil. When I get to the last quart I find I’m too tired to check the level half-way through the bottle. I crank up the bike, let the engine circulate the oil, shut it off and put in the rest. Four quarts out, four quarts in. Logical. I don’t exactly know if four quarts came out, since I spilled a bunch of it because my catch pan wasn’t big enough to cover the area between the drain bolt and the filter. Arrgh! Now I have to clean this mess up. I don’t have the oil spill stuff they have at work. It looks like kitty litter and is absorbent as hell… kitty litter… hmmm… I have some of that. I go inside and get a few scoops of Tidy Cats and it does the trick quite nicely.
On to the radiator flush. I can’t get the damned clamp off the hose coming out of the water pump. Lowest point on bike, only place I’m reasonably sure of that it’s a radiator line and not an oil line. I’m shooting from the hip here. Yikes…
I hate being so weak. And I hate hose-freaking-clamps! I am getting frustrated again. It’s going on two o’clock and I have yet to pack! I am saved by Joe who apparently got a power nap in. He gets the hose off and runs to the auto parts store again for some anti-seize. We get the radiator flushed and replace the antifreeze with Water Wetter mix.
Note to self: Sweep up kitty litter before you flush the radiator. The stuff turns to muck the color and consistency of wet concrete; and the whole point was not to have it end up in the sewer system. At least it wasn’t but a small amount. Crap! happens when you’re in Zombieland.
It’s almost four o’clock. I’m now feeling like death warmed over. I think I might be seeing things… I am starving, I hadn’t eaten since the evening before. I am dehydrated. The dizziness is getting worse.
Joe sets up the ramps and once they are properly secured I ride my bike up into the truck. Yes, I know. No riding bikes up ramps unless you are a professional on a closed course. I’m too short, my feet don’t touch the ground once the front wheel is a little ways up on the ramp. I do not trust myself to be able to hold the bike on the incline, so I just ride it up and get on the brakes right before I engage the wheel chock to make sure I’m properly aligned.
Now you know why I can’t get the blasted thing down on my own. I can’t walk it down, I would have to shove off and roll backwards across the angle where my feet cannot reach. That freaks me out. And I’m neither strong nor coordinated enough to walk my bike down, while standing to the right of it, trying to hold it upright and manipulating the front brake lever.
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a race trailer? All my friends have toy haulers, I must make amends.
After securing the bike, I take a shower, pack my clothes and personal stuff and we’re off to the races. Which race, you ask? The race against the time the gate closes. If we don’t make it there before then, we’re sleeping outside on the side of the road. We still have to stop at “Little China” to pick up extra tie downs and a few other essentials, including the medicine my doctor had called in. After inhaling a veggie burger meal from Burger King and downing a bottle of water and my Diet Coke, I curl up in the passenger seat and try to sleep.
Sick and tired and I’m going to go do what? Yes, I seem to have the Darwinian gene: “Hey y’all come watch this!”
I just received a phone call from Mr. Slow. Sad news for his partner at work and bad news for me. My weekend at JenningsGP has just turned into a solo flight. Which means I will have to work all night Thursday, then go home, put the bike in the back of the pickup truck, load all my junk; then drive 167 miles to get my 12K service done on my poor neglected S1000RR; turn around and drive 267 miles, about five more hours, from Marietta, GA to Jennings, FL and hope to make it there before the gate closes at 10PM or I’ll be sleeping outside the gate parked on the side of the road.
Let’s pretend for a moment that I don’t have the shittiest luck in the history of shitty luck and I make it to the track before they lock up. At this point, I wouldn’t have slept a wink in about 28 hours and I still have to set up my pit area and get the bike down the ramp by myself. Check it all over once again to make sure nothing’s rattled loose on the trip, and finish prepping and hopefully have time to catch a few hours of sleep before registration and tech at 7AM.
I am so dead.
I also seem to be one week into developing an inner ear infection, which I have to take care of later today by procuring myself some antibiotics. Hopefully they can squeeze me in at the doctor’s office. Hopefully, the vertigo will have abated somewhat before my first session on the track. Hopefully, I won’t have lap times above 1:35. Hopefully, I won’t look like a total douche out there since I have to represent. Chances are I’m going to be (yet again) the only female rider in the joint. I won’t be at the top of my game, that’s for sure. I’m not even 100% certain that this is such a good idea. As a matter of fact, I know it isn’t. But, that’s racing. Or so they say. And I haven’t even raced yet and I’m already knee-deep in “I might just regret this” territory.
It’s not going to be pretty. Hand me some Xanax, an overdose of caffeine, and my knee sliders, I’m going in! Or out. One or the other, not sure yet which it is going to be.
Note to self: Bring 50 gallon drum of sugar-free Red Bull, because not only does it give you wings, it also consistently shaves at least 2 seconds off your lap times and can be used as a projectile weapon in those rare cases where a low-flying wrench just won’t do.
Mr. Slow surprised me a few days ago with an announcement that just made my day. No, that is not entirely true. So far it has made my week. I have been floating around about an inch off the ground ever since. Happily elated and in a shamefully good mood.
I’m not a romantic person. I find romance awkward. It seems so staged. Performed. Fake. The initiation sequence of the scoring program. Just add alcohol. I find these moments of the heart in everyday life, no candlelight dinner and moonlit walk on the beach required. One such happenstance is when hubby snuggled up to me in the middle of the night and informed me, sandwiched in between two unrelated sentences of our late night half-whispered conversation, that he was going to watch his baby race.
“I have Friday off,” he pauses, then adds: “and Sunday,”
He then told me that I should do a track day on Sunday. After spending a few days tossing the idea around, I quieted the responsible adult voice in my head that insisted on not spending any more money, but rather start paying off a loan or two early; and with that I went online and reserved myself a slot in the intermediate group.
We are making a weekend of it. I asked Joe if he isn’t going to get bored hanging around a race track for two days. He simply replied: “I have my photography.”
I have been trying to get to a track for over four months now. I considered throwing myself off an overpass if I didn’t get any real throttle therapy pretty soon. Every time it looked as though I could make it, something happened that prevented me from going. I am finally getting close to getting my much needed fix to feed the addiction and cure the winter blues and ease the withdrawal symptoms.
I need to bring an extra set of tires. Definitely.
I have a surprise for him, too. But I won’t tell him until we’re at the gate paying our fee to get in. If I can manage and keep my excited little blabber mouth shut for another week.
I faxed my membership application into WERA on Monday morning and today I see that they had finally charged the $110 fee to my card. Cool. I wonder if I got my number? Please let it be 27. I want Twenty-freaking-Seven. Two-Seven. Please. Please. Please. Upon checking the racers page by last name, I find myself. I’m on the list… but I’m on the same page with @MsXXFastRR who is WERA #111 (that lucky girl scored herself the next best thing to her own numerical bliss!), since I have been assigned some number that wasn’t even one of my choices. One-One-Tree. Damn! 113? What the heck?!? I didn’t get either my first choice, nor my second or third? Crap! 27 meant something. That was the number I had at the Kevin Schwantz School. I wanted to keep it. It was mine. It fit. I got used to it. I took comfort in its good fortune and confidence enhancing powers. Goodbye my old friend, it’s been nice knowing you. Goodbye 13. Goodbye 37.
Hello WERA Provisional Novice racer #113.
Coincidentally, 113 is one mile over my max speed attained on a 2008 H-D Sportster 1200 Low; way back in the day when I was still straddling Pig Iron and didn’t know what a tank slapper was. I rode that puppy until the poor hog shook her head. “Nononono!” ;P Then something told me that it would probably be in my best interest to slow smoothly and gradually, which I did. I later found out that this was indeed a very smart and healthy thing to do and I shouldn’t have been riding it out as long as I did in the first place.
Oh well, there it is. The 112-mph Story. Good grief! I feel old (senior class racing anyone?). That was a lifetime ago in a parallel universe. I had been riding maybe three months then. A point in time about halfway between a Harley and a ‘Busa. Those were the days. The Days of the Squid. No, not really. Well, yes, maybe a little.
28 months and 35,162 miles ago I was a scared provisional novice rider who almost quit on several occasions and I have finally managed leveling up to wanna-be racer and official (slow-as-of-yet) fastass. 🙂 Next stop: JenningsGP in three weeks, to see a man (Ed Bargy) about a “skill upgrade” and work on some kinks in my riding that are slowing me down…
…and maybe when I get a chance to go back to Barber, I can do something about that coma-inducing lap time of mine. 1:47 to 1:52 isn’t all that bad for a first time track n00b. But I know I have gotten faster since then. I mean seriously, it’s really not inspiring when you’re still playing around between T8 and T9 while Mr. Thirty-Four crosses the finish line on his Saturday afternoon joyride.
I wonder how much it’d set a girl back to drive one of those Porsches they have sitting in the parking lot next to Race Control? That has got to be one heck of a ride through Charlotte’s Web and then through the Alabama Roller Coaster. Probably would have to wear diapers for that one. Weeeeeee! *giggles then nods*
Bring it! It is on. (The truck and the bike, respectively.)