You get up early. Pack up the trailer or van or pickup. Drive between 2 and 24 hours. Pay your money to get in. Register for the race. Walk part of the course. Get nervous talking about how tight that one section is, or how tough that uphill is going to be during the race with traffic, or how bad the mud is going to be in that one section, or how dusty it is going to be… There will be nervous trips to the porta john. Then it will be time to go to the line. Guys from the morning race will be there telling you how bad the dust was.
Then the gun goes off, and it all melts away. The stress of before now becomes the adrenaline of getting through the mud hole and up the big hill. There is the guy in front of you to chase. You know he is there, you can see his dust and catch a glimpse of him entering the trees as you enter the open section. Sometimes during the race you are the hunter, other times the hunted. Some races the end cannot come soon enough, others you cannot believe it’s over when you reach the end.
When the end does come, it seems that the duration of the race did not matter. Exhaustion is always the result. Sometimes there is pain. Sometimes there is blood. There is always sweat and always dirt. That is good.
Sometimes when the end of the race comes you are not sure about the result. Other times there is victory or satisfaction. Sometimes there is disappointment. Always there is awe and pride.
So you load up afterward. Dreading the cleanup and the possible damage. You pile it all in and shove the tailgate closed, much like a suitcase at the end of a long trip. How did it all get so much larger and so much messier?
On the drive home, there is bench racing with your friends. The race plays out in little bits in your head and in the air between the 2 of you. There is shared difficulties and individual struggles. You start to plan and think of the next race, all the while dreading getting home with the pile of dirty gear and shattered motorcycle in the back. There will be hours of cleanup and gear washing and repair and prep for the next time on the bike.
When you do get home, your body is cramped and feels broken. Sometimes you can barely move from the 3 crashes during the race. If it is 2-10 hours to get home the difference to your cramped body can be a lot. You drink and drink and never have to pee. Your whole body can begin to set up like concrete. Finally you do get out of the truck in the driveway and move toward the house, it sometimes hurts to walk that far. Sometimes there is hardware, and other times just a bit of a twinge.
In the end, it is always worth it.
What does it all mean?…. Who Cares! It is the most fun thing you can ever do with a Sunday. (Well, except that other thing.) Any day racing a motorcycle is better than any day not.
Spring is here. Racing starts soon. I cannot wait.