I’m Too Old For This!

We’ve all heard the expression: “I’m too old for this shit!” A few of us loudly proclaim our belief in the principle on occasion, but keep on keeping on. Some of us think it and quietly give up. Then there are some who use it as an excuse not to even start.

The subject of wether or not I’m too old to pound my body into submission and shape myself into an athlete by brute-force methodology has crossed my mind on more than a few occasions. My body is threatening mutiny, or so it seems. However, my mind has been known for its propensity of cracking the whip to quell the whining and the whimpering when the mission is deemed critical and worthy.

My husband’s view on the way I approach things? He just shakes his head and exclaims:

“Damn, baby! You never do anything half-assed, do you? You can’t help yourself!”

Even though my fervor must get on his nerves on occasion, I do believe he is sitting back, smugly, big shit-eating grin on his overly satisfied face, arms crossed at the chest, nodding and thinking to himself:

“Yeah, that’s my baby!”

He brags to his friends and co-workers. I know he does. Where others whip out their wallets (mobile phones) in one smooth and snappy movement to accost you with an array of baby pics and family portraits, he whips out his track photography. I think he has more pictures of me dragging knee on his phone than I do. That’s pretty bad. Where the wives (girlfriends) of others are gorgeous in their perfect hair and flawless makeup, he runs around flashing people with my sweaty helmet hair and unpainted countenance in dirty leathers.

He says I’m not like most 40 year-olds. But I don’t buy it. I feel too old for my own good on most days; and where I used to look ten years younger, frequent exposure to the elements and a high-stress work environment have finally taken their toll. I now am starting to look about as old as I feel. My crow’s feet alone could probably get me some premature social security benefits, if they didn’t check their paperwork. 😉

At least we don’t get the “so nice of you to take your daughter out” comments anymore. That was always a hoot, since hubby usually responded to those remarks with laying a fat slobbery kiss on me a few minutes later, after failing to correct the erroneous assumption. What a nut job! That’s why I don’t take him out in public very often… *giggles*

But there are a few individuals who defy the “life is over after 40” rule and they give me the drive to keep on going. Because a midlife crisis, after all, is a terrible thing to waste. =D

I almost didn’t start racing when I first got the notion and excitedly and very loudly exclaimed, while my nose was buried in Keith Code’s book A Twist of the Wrist: “Hell yeah! I wanna do THAT!” I’m glad I was on weekend duty and alone in the office. After the initial excitement wore off and my brain had time to process all of the information, it responded with an unkindly “I’m too old for this shit!” and that was the end of it for about a year or so.

A guy at work, who is a few years my junior, found out that I had crashed on my second race weekend and ended my first season prematurely, decided that he should save me from myself and told me the following: “I know you don’t want to hear this, but you’re too old to race. You crash and your body takes forever to heal and your injuries are probably going to be more severe. That’s probably also why you’re slow. You’re afraid to go fast.”

[Note: I only sustained minor injuries to my left hand due to my glove failing. The season ended prematurely because it took a little over three months and most of my saved up money to repair my bike, and it was decided it was best to prepare to race a full season in 2012, with a dedicated race bike and a lot more cash saved up.]

Excuse me?!? Dude, you better thank your lucky stars that we’re at work, because if you had said that to me anywhere else, I would have put you in your place, you presumptuous little prick! And then raced your cruiser riding ass for pinks. In first gear, with one hand. Asshole!

He stopped riding sport bikes (“crotch rockets” is the term he actually used) because he, by his own admission, was “too old for this shit” and had crashed and it took him forever to heal.

The reason I started racing, despite my misgivings about starting so late in life and only having been riding motorcycles on the street for a little over two years? Burt Munro. The old fart showed Bonneville how old timers roll, and he didn’t even pre-register. 😉 He bet “the farm” on his dream and it paid off. Against all odds, with plenty of obstacles and no sponsors. Yeah! He’s still my hero.

Read up on him sometime or watch the movie ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’. Very inspiring story, even if you are not into racing. His story transcends the sport. It’s a testament to the fact that “I’m too old for this shit!” is just another fallacy we’ve been brainwashed with by the media, societal norms and rate-of-return expectations. Youth is wasted on the young. Whoever said that, they have it pegged.

I ran into a man of the “over-the-hill type” at my inaugural WERA race. He’s freaking awesome. I think he said he started racing when he was 67 and that was a few years back. But don’t quote me on his exact age. The man is my hero. He doesn’t know it, but I secretly look up to him. He’s having fun doing what he does, has a wicked sense of humor, and he’s fast.

My “sister in speed”, whom I met during a racing school we both attended, just shrugged when she first heard how old I was and said: “You’re just a baby.” She doesn’t look it, but she’s ten years my senior. And crashing does not slow her down a bit. She’s having fun, too.

There are many other people to whom I look up to, who defy the norm. People who do in spite of it all. Did you know there is a dude who races motorcycles and only has one arm?!? I didn’t know it was possible. I saw him at Barber, while I was walking to the race control building he was making his way onto pit road to go on track. I did a double take, shaking my head because I thought I was hallucinating, and then did a triumphant fist pump in his direction. He didn’t see me, because he had already passed the spot where I was standing to let traffic through. Yeah, get a load of THAT. That’s what I call passion! That’s what I call drive and determination. Freakin’ awesome. I still don’t know who he is, but there are a number of amputees still riding and racing motorcycles. Still think you’re too old, too disabled, too whatever?

Today I am researching a few topics of interest on running and come across an article that talks about fears first time road racers have. One of which is also a very real fear for first time motorcycle road racers: the fear of coming in last. It takes one race to get over that silliness. 🙂 But I digress. One of the items listed was the fear of being too old to run, let alone enter an official road race. The article ended with:

“You’re never too old to start running, and it’s definitely never too late to start road racing.”

And that is the truth.

Obstacles are placed in our way to test our resolve, our determination, our passion, and our will to succeed. I can’t do nothing about my chronological age; but I can work on being in the best shape of my life and not let my age stop me from achieving my goals. My age also can’t keep me from dreaming!

And as the clock keeps ticking away, forcing me to grow even older than “too old for this shit”, I still try and retain my inner peace and happiness while I’m waiting for my turn again.

Three basic ingredients are needed for sustained happiness:

  1. Something to do.
  2. Something to look forward to.
  3. Somebody to love.

I have lost my main “to do” four months ago, but I am keeping busy with my marathon training and writing, to keep the depression and anxiety at bay.

I am looking forward to racing my motorcycle again, which will happen once I have secured re-employment and have regained a positive cash flow and met my other financial responsibilities. 2013 could be my year and I have to be ready, mentally and physically.

I have the third item covered in spades. No, make that hearts, even though it is not the trump suit, it works better in a literary sense.


The Man Refused To Watch

I just finished watching @MsXXFastRR’s videos from her first WERA West race weekend. Her friend has them posted on her YouTube channel. And as I watched them take off and start racing around the track, I started feeling a little sick to my stomach. Good grief! Is this how fast we are going? Seriously? It doesn’t look that fast when you’re on the bike. Neither does POV footage look all that fast. But watching it over the pit lane wall? Holy shite! No wonder Mr. Slow disappeared into thin air and blamed the heat for not sticking around when he met me at Barber in June. I probably would have run away screaming had I been the one watching him doing laps. Well, with his skill, I have reason to be worried.

I can see it now: Mr. Slow on his Concours 14 turning laps, hanging his cheeks into the breeze, hoping that the zipper on his four-cow one-piece race leathers won’t bust or that he’ll slam that Connie right into the ground with his huge weight shift… People watch him go by and are astonished: “He didn’t even take the bags off!”

Yup, that’s my man! Or would be, if he had any interest in track riding. He went to the 1/4-mile strip once. He did 75 at the trap. He said he was going faster, but slowed down because he didn’t know where the thing ended. Puhleeeze!

Seriously though, I just can’t get over this. Makes me wonder if I’m off my rocker, insane in the membrane, three mils short of proper preload.

Seriously, I want to do WHAT?!?

Let’s just say, I don’t blame the man. I understand now. I understand.


Sugar and Spice, Cat Ears and All Things Nice

Somebody asked me once: “Why in the hell are you wearing cat ears on your helmet?” My answer was quite simple: “Because I can.” I paused, then added: “…and the kids like it.” He didn’t get it. Why do I wear silly stuff like that when I’m out riding on my motorcycle? It started on the Harley. I actually did it because I could. I’m a dork. I do silly things all the time. I don’t take life too seriously, nor myself; most of the time I actually succeed. I ordered the cat ears (tested up to 175 mph) and stuck them on my lid, and rode around on my black Sportster wearing my all-black gear, my black carbon fiber full-face helmet and black and white cat ears with matching tail stuck to my menacing crown with the aid of suction cups.

I soon noticed that I seemed to have more fans in the younger demographic. Children started waving at me, smiling, and pointing excited little fingers in my general direction. Toddlers’ faces pressed up against the rear windows of minivans became a regular sight. I waved back and acknowledged the little ones; it really made me feel good. It made me giggle, too. Kids also reacted differently to me when I was slowly cruising through a shopping center lot on the lookout for a place to park. They didn’t seem as scared of “big black man” on the big black bike. The engine noise seemed to bother them less also. It is as if the addition of those two small things of fake fur and plastic made all the difference in the world. It opened up an opportunity of curious fascination, rather than induce fear and uncertainty.

Miss Busa's Cat Ears

Miss Busa and The Fat Lady (RIP): Yes, those are cat ears on my helmet. No, I won't take them off. I also refuse to grow up! Why? Because you can't make me. 🙂

That is how Miss Busa’s Cat Ear Tradition started. I am now on my third set. I have never had any negative experiences with them. They are a conversation starter, an icebreaker, and everybody just thinks they are the coolest things ever. Riders and non-riders alike react positively. Who would have thought that such a small gesture would bring about such a dramatic change in perception and hence attitudes?

In South Carolina I have the Clemson University fans chasing after me with their cell phone cameras, asking me if they could take a picture. I wore my tiger set there once and I couldn’t figure out what in the world had gotten into these people. I thought it quite strange and bordering on the verge of freakish. Husband then explained that I was in “Clemson Country”, that those people were Clemson Tiger fans; mostly Football and Basketball, but Clemson University’s athletic department offers a host of other sports for both men and women.

Miss Busa is rockin' the rocket on I-285 outer perimeter, top side.

Miss Busa is rockin' the rocket on I-285 outer perimeter, top side. Tiger (or cat) ears and tail are standard equipment for this girl.

I’ve had a dude on a ‘Busa literally chase me down to finally catch me at a red light, flip his face shield up and yell over the combined sound of our Hayabusas’ engines that I must let him take a picture with his phone, his daughter doesn’t believe that girls ride motorcycles. I laughed and gave him the thumbs up, he whipped out his BlackBerry snapped the pic, the light changed he turned right and I went straight. I haven’t seen him since. Maybe his daughter now rides one of those electric minibikes. 😉

It is stuff like this that makes me love the ride even more.

Before I forget…
And for all you (online) haters of Miss Busa’s magic cat ears who think that this is just the gayest thing ever, let me state for the record: Yes, it is. It’s totally gay!!! Gay, GAy, gAy, gAY, gaY! In the traditional meaning of the word; but you people wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?


Shut Your Trap and Ride Your Own Ride!

The Phenomenon:
Truckers have a name for a person who can only be confrontational and talk trash about another person from the safety of their own bubble: The Radio Rambo. Radio Rambos are the kind of people who are nice to your face and are agreeable enough, but once they get on their CB radios from the safety of their own truck and dial it into channel 19, something amazing happens: They grow a set of trash-talking balls: They’ll cuss you out, they’ll talk smack, they’ll know everything better than you and they’ll threaten to kick your ass. But only if you do or say something that isn’t in concert of their own lacking set of standards and beliefs.

The Internet has its own version of the Radio Rambo. They hang out on forums, social media networks, online gaming servers, and anywhere else where they can be socially retarded ass-clowns and spew their hate to enhance their e-peen. All from the safety of their own home via a broadband connection and a dynamic IP. These people aren’t happy – for whatever reason — until they’ve established their so-called superiority by disrupting online camaraderie and inciting dissent and hate.

How I Roll:
I don’t talk voice when I game online, because there is no real good adult conversation to be had, unless it’s on a private server and you’re playing with people you already know iRL or have known for a long time iCL. I don’t participate in ‘controversial’ debates online either. It’s pretty much fruitless unless it is severely moderated and the moderator is impartial. Good luck with that one. I don’t let people rate or comment on my YouTube videos, because I’m not seeking their approval, and by what I’ve seen on YouTube, that’s a good thing. I moderate comments on my blog, same reason. People seem to need a lot of handholding these days, when it comes to etiquette and the social contract. Unless you have some constructive criticism to share, or have something useful to add, or just kudos to spread, I don’t want to hear from you. Go elsewhere. I use the Internet mainly for fun, social interaction on a level that is conducive to empowerment and learning, and for the camaraderie of like-minded people. I take serious stuff private and keep it out of open forum. I don’t personally attack people, or am patronizing, and I always pay attention to what I type. I even reread it several times to make sure I’m not inadvertently coming across as abrasive or could be misread as getting personal. But that’s just me. I don’t like hurting people, and I treat them with the respect and the tolerance that I would expect from others for myself. It is just common sense to me. In other words, I don’t tolerate haters and relationship saboteurs, because I don’t have to. There’s the little X in the corner that shuts them up. But it also shuts up the people that I do like to hang out with. L

WTF?
Where am I going with all of this? This is a motorcycle blog and this has to do with motorcycling. I’m getting to it. I’m just setting the stage, so the reader will know where I’m coming from and understand how I conduct myself online. I have high standards and I’m keeping it that way. Don’t like what I have to say? You know how to close your browser, no? Want to flame? Go ahead, I’ll read your comment, but save your breath, it’ll never be approved and posted. And I damn sure am not going to give you the satisfaction of replying. I don’t participate in the circle jerk of flame wars.

The Scoop:
Not that I had to actually defend myself, my choice of bike, my riding style, my choice of gear, or my level of risk acceptance to anybody in real life. EVER. Not seriously, anyway. It seems that most motorcyclists get along fairly well for the most part, no matter what they ride or how they ride it. In real life, I suppose it comes down to this: If you don’t like a person’s attitude towards riding, you don’t ride with them or hang out with them. Fairly simple. Most of the hate-mongers don’t have the balls to step up to me, while I’m getting off my ‘Busa, and tell me that I’m an asshat for riding the fastest production motorcycle made by mankind and that I’m a prime candidate for killing myself out there. They never tell me to my face that I’m a squid for simply owning one. But online, it’s a different story. Wonder why that is… And I’m sick of it. I’m sick of all the damn stereotypes and all the know-it-alls who don’t even know me or have ever seen me ride. Shut your presumptuous mouths! I don’t want to hear it from you. Your credibility to the validity of whatever comes out of your pie hole is already in the toilet at this point. All you have done, is manage to show your obvious lack of intelligence by providing invalid or unsubstantiated arguments that have the sole purpose of personally attacking, for whatever reason it is that compels you to do so. You aren’t part of any solution. Your crappy logic doesn’t help solve anything, improve anything, or help another rider become a better or safer one. Slinging your so-called credentials around doesn’t really help your cause. Oh, I’m supposed to take EVERYTHING you say as proven fact, because of your so-called “experience”? I’m not one to follow blindly. This IS the Internet, people can be who- or whatever they please. Did I mention I was a rocket scientist with three degrees from MIT? Well, there you have it. I am. Trust me. I know what I speak of. And now I tell you the location of the Anti-Gravity Room: It’s in North Augusta, SC. Don’t you know anything???

If, on the other hand, you have a valid argument and are trying to help another rider out, it would probably be best to be smart and diplomatic about it. If you really care about your message being heard and you feel it is of paramount importance, it would be in your best interest to be supportive rather than abrasive and stereotypical. And quit slinging accolades, nobody cares! You insult or patronize and wonder why your arguments fall on deaf ears. If you want to get your message across, it would be advantageous to not alienate the intended recipient. And for crying out loud, don’t humiliate them in public forum.

Here are some pointers for you asshats who think you know it all, because you have x amount experience, y amount of miles, helped z number of people avoid certain death by giving them your sage motorcycling advice:

1. Not all sport bike riders are jackasses who do wheelies and stoppies in rush hour traffic; or lane-split at 80+ mph; or paint smiley faces on the road with their rear rubber. Don’t you dare judge me by my choice of motorcycle. It makes me think that all you have is throttle envy and you’re in it for the pissing contest and don’t care about the ride at all.

2. Just because I ride a Hayabusa or [insert your most loathed supersport or literbike here] doesn’t mean I’m a moronic speed freak, do triple digits everywhere and view the public roads as my personal racetrack. Get over yourselves. The throttle goes both ways. This also makes me think you’re compensating for something.

3. Saying that all Hayabusa or [insert your most loathed supersport or literbike here] riders are squids is like saying all Harley riders drink and ride. When it comes down to it, everybody’s got a rep, but that doesn’t speak for the whole group, does it? So, fuck you! Don’t judge me by some idiot who happens to ride the same style bike that I do. And I have a newsflash for you: All bikers have a bad rep in the eyes of the non-motorcycling public; to them you’re just another hooligan on two wheels.

4. Why does it matter what the hell a person rides anyway? WHY? Can’t we just all enjoy our chosen sport and get along? It’s not like you have to ride with people you deem incompatible with your own riding philosophies. Personally, I only ride with very select few people. Group riding isn’t for me, it’s too stressful, I stay mostly out of it due to safety concerns.

5. If you dare tell me you never did an Act of Squidliness in your whole entire motorcycling career, I’m going to low-side it in the corner, because I was laughing so freaking hard, I chopped the throttle and upset the suspension. Who do you think is going to buy that??? Get over it and quit lying to yourself. Like you’ve never had an instance of “let’s see what she can do?” on a deserted stretch of public road out in the middle of nowhere. Phuuuleeeze!

6. Just because somebody doesn’t agree with your sentiments, doesn’t mean they’re a worse rider and less safe than you. There’s more than one line of travel through a corner, and different doesn’t necessarily mean worse or unsafe.

7. I hate to tell you all that, no I actually am going to enjoy it: Legal doesn’t equal safe, and illegal doesn’t equal unsafe.  In other words: Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe. When you’re out there, you ride your own ride. It’s your life on the line, and you are the one in control. You are the only one who will be making the judgment call. Your mission out there is to come home safe and sound, preferably with the bike in one piece. And don’t you dare tell me that how I go about it, is for whatever reason, wrong. I must be doing something right, because I’m still here. And I had more close calls I handled well, without incident, than I care to remember. You’re not the one who is going to visit me in the hospital, pay my medical bills, or visit my grieving family. So STFU!!!

8. Having to make the crappy, no-win choice between keeping it legal and staying safe: Personally, I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six. If you don’t like it, again, you’re not riding my ride, are you?

9. However, if you have constructive criticism, valuable input, want to discuss riding skills and techniques, do PLP or practice emergency skills with me, discuss the latest m/c book you’ve read and generally want to get together for the purpose of camaraderie, sharing experiences and help each other become better and safer riders, and you don’t give a hoot what I ride, I’m your girl.

Rolling It TraNceD Style
I will never stop learning. I refuse to become an “experienced” rider. The day I quit learning is the day I should park it for good. I will never stop pushing my boundaries. I’m not an idiot. I don’t blatantly punch through my skill envelope. Constant prodding and gentle pushing is a must for me, though. I want to be the best rider I can be. I don’t want to become a complacent know-it-all; that just spells disaster. If I’m not reaching out of my comfort zone on a regular basis, I’m not working on improving my skill set. I want to keep educating myself, because knowledge is power. What I don’t know can kill me. What I fear can kill me. I don’t have a death wish, I know myself, my weaknesses, my strengths. I know I can be a squid at times, but it’s all good. If I wasn’t a squid at times, I wouldn’t have much of a blog, now would I?

@MissBusa
A girl on a Hayabusa has an instant reputation for badassery. I don’t know why. I joke about it. I enjoy it. It is my online persona. It is the Marilyn Monroe to my Norma Jean.