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fossilfuel

Old Timer back to forum

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Just wanted to introduce myself to the forum. I am an old timer from back in the day....the ZX-6 days. I've been to 12-14 CSS schools not remembering the exact number. I thought I might chime in on some of the topics and be available if you have any questions about racing or the elderly :). I don't want to get into anything too technical but try to convey what I know about riding in very simple terms and share some of my riding experiences.

I chatted with Cobie and talked to him about what I have been doing. I have retired to an SV650 having ridden 600's and liter bikes, twins and in line fours. Its not about the size of the bike but the size of the heart of the rider. I joked to Cobie about continuing my experiential journey to the point that one day I just melt into the bike.

As a proponent of meditation, I find the most important tenant is to free ones mind and practice. I think the same tenant can be related to enhancing ones riding skills. I look forward to seeing you on the forum. :)

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FOSSILFUEL!! Welcome back, my old friend, so great to have in here again. I think you should start us out with a teaching story, got a fun one to share? 

I have a question for you, as another rider who has raced a lot of different types of bikes: what bike or race class has been the MOST fun for you? 

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I've missed you!! Best teaching story.....hmm. I don't have a particular "teaching" story because you guys are so professional but I do have a CCS event story at Laguna Seca in 2011. There were four of us bringing our wives and girlfriends. A house was rented with an ocean view. We arrived from the airport thinking that our google maps had sent us in the wrong area. We got out of the car and checked the address on the house. We were at the correct address but we were miles from the ocean. It turns out you had to go into the master bathroom, stand on a chair and look out the corner of the only window to see the ocean. The owner was a real estate agent, couples counselor and sexologist. The main living area had red crushed velvet furniture with hearts and cupid figurines throughout the house. For the entire time we were there, my wife and I slept on the floor on sheets we washed while there..

The only reason we stayed was that our deposit was non refundable....

And it was an experience riding Laguna Seca with the high temperature of 49 and 50 mph wind gusts...at the time the coldest April in 40 years....great memories.

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What Bike or class? The SV650 is the most fun I have ever had. The most fun class was riding an SV650 in the AHRMA Barber Vintage Festival  Sounds Of Thunder 1 race last year. We had 48 on the grid. I was on the 6th row on my SV650 in an unlimited class. two wave start with over 65 bikes racing on the track at the same time. I stayed awake most of the night wondering what I would do. Should I wait for the 3 minute board and start from pit lane, line up in the back at the end of the warm up lap? I decided to take everything I had learned and trust those that had taught me. I lined up on the grid and raced with the big boys. It was an unbelievable feeling. I finished 16th, not bad for 82 hp.

I have to race with bigger displacement bikes since my SV is not stock. I think it makes you a better rider.

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Oh, this is hilarious, for two reasons - one, I meant to type RACING story but apparently the typing app on my phone (I use Swype) decided I meant 'teaching' and two, red velvet furniture and a sexologist, OMG.

I think I was at that Laguna school. My husband and I spent most of the free time huddled in our little cargo trailer trying to keep warm!!

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I just found the post on vimeo with the video. It was 2008....time flies doesn't it.

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Welcome back, Fossil. There are still some of the old (other) fossils hanging out here, although I'm not as active as I used to be.

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Hello my friend. It is good to hear from you. I don't know how active I will be but I thought I would see if I could share some thoughts and tall stories :)  I'm not full bore anymore. I been building some SV650 engines and enjoying an abbreviated schedule. I try to do at least four race weekends and a couple of track weekends a year. I'm riding better now than I ever have and that keeps me going back.

I spend most of my time riding my mountain bike to stay in shape for the events I attend.

I hope to see you on the forum. Cheers mate!

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Thanks brother..

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Fossil!  I've been remiss in my forum participation, good to see that you made it up here again!

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In October of 2017, the year I posted this, I had a race ending accident at The Barber Vintage Festival. Race practice might have been an ominous sign for things to come when I nearly crashed on a team Triumph Thruxton going about 100 mph. I had been putting in some good lap times and needed about a 1/2 a second more to put in the top three. I was approaching turn 9 and 10 knowing I would need to get the bike turned quickly to carry the speed and to keep the bike off the rumble strips on the outside. I was finishing my steering input when the outside clip on snapped against the gas tank. I had no way to control the bike as I headed for the gravel on the outside of the track. I didn't have much time to think about it but the option of bailing didn't seem like a wise move at the time. I went through grass, pavement, gravel and then grass again. I had slowed to about 60 when I noticed the reflection of blue sky in the grass ahead. Any of you that have ridden or raced at Barber know how George likes to keep his landscaping nice and green. There was reflection of the sky in the grass ahead about three inches of water. I hit it and it was like an explosion. People who saw my antics wished the ride had been recorded. I survived it keeping the bike upright and getting it back to the pits. Lesson: when you are riding on someone else's machine double and triple check the levers, clip on's, rear sets etc etc etc.

The next day was my Sounds Of Thunder 2 race with 70 riders lined up on the grid. I was racing on my modified SV650. I was on the 9th row. My strategy for the race was to get a good start and try to hang on the leading pack. I wanted to get into the 1:37's which for me on a SV650 was a respectable lap. My previous fastest was a 1:39 in practice. I got a great jump and was headed down into turn one when I saw a blur coming in from my left side taking me out. I remember being launched over the left clip on then nothing but the most extreme pain I have ever felt in my life lasting for no more than a millisecond. I remember holding someone's hand and hearing sirens but not able to make out any faces. I remember telling them not to cut my leathers.

I have two close racing buddies, one an orthopedic surgeon and the other a neonatal surgeon. They were both on the track when this happened. One of them, the neonatal surgeon, knew that he would have to keep me close to try and better my lap times so he saw it all. He thought I was dead. He went against race protocol resting his bike against the Armco barrier and ran to me. He said he pulled up my visor to see if I was breathing.The rider who caused the initial accident lost his front coming into turn one ejecting me. The rider who did the damage had no place to go. He basically did a stoppie on my chest then releasing the brake lever rolling off me to have the rear wheel land on my chest. I had what they call a flailed chest with 10 broken ribs, a broken sternum and a punctured lung. I had to wait three days for surgery to install titanium plating to hold my ribs together. I had some issues with pneumonia after the surgery spending 12 days in intensive care. My biggest fear going through this was that I would be an invalid and before the advent of the titanium plating, I would have been. I would have much rather died doing something I love than be a burden.

The good news is a never gave up. I am almost good about 85% lung capacity and missing a muscle or two. I'm working out at a local gym and riding a Peloton at home. I also have a mountain bike that I take for long rides communing with nature. I have ended my racing career or should I say my wife has ended it :)  I loved racing but not enough to destroy a marriage. For me there were two choices, life or death no in between. I am physically fit enough to ride competitively and if I could talk my wife into it,  my goal would be the same, to better my craft every lap, to be the best that I could be. There's nothing like the feeling of beating your previous best lap time and there's nothing like being told "man, you can ride." I am one of those guys now, relegated to telling stories and helping with bike stands and tire warmers as others ride out to the track.  

Thank you, Cobie and all the rest of those at CSS that coached me a long the way. Great memories.

 

 

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