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Retardation. 7/1/2007

I had to make a short run out of town this morning, to look at a place that falls under my area of responsibility, some what.  I decided to drive, since I had a couple of passengers with me, and the promise of a look at an orchard.  When I first heard of the location of this place, I didn’t think much of it, until this very morning, when I realised that it was located right smack on one of my favourite local riding roads, ever.

The weekend haunt of the canyon strafers.

I must have passed it about a thousand times, on a thousand given Sundays, and never realised what it was, what it is, and how it was going to feature in my life.  Strange how karma works out doesn’t it?  I was driving the diesel, early in the morning.  Naturally, when I was at the petrol station fuelling up, 2 riding buddies, one on an Africa Twin modified to be a supermotard, and the other on a Multistrada, turned up at the pump next to mine.  One surprised hello later, they looked at the diesel, and asked where I was going, and if I had given up riding for off roading.  I said I was going the same place they were, except at a much slower pace.  They laughed and bid me farewell, and rode off.

I felt a little pang of envy as they did so, watching them ride off, and immediately hit warp speed on their bikes.  More than a small part of me wished I was riding with them.  But, I had things to do, places to be, etc. 

And then I approached the canyon road.  I headed up the approach, up the first hill, and charged into the first left hand corner.  Using the line I always take.  And then it dawned on me, as the diesel started crossing the center line, and drifting very, very wide, exactly what I was driving.  I was in the wrong vehicle for this.  Very wrong indeed.

Old habits, honed over years and years of weekends riding the same road, die hard.  I had only ever done this road twice before, years and years ago, in a 4 wheeled vehicle, once in a 4 door sedan, the other instance driving a Porsche 928.  And now in the diesel.  It felt weird, like wearing your underwear the wrong way around.

I tried charging through the first set of corners.  I scared more than a few cars, who didn’t expect to see this 2 and a half ton vehicle blasting through the bends.  A BMW tried following me, but he backed off after seeing the way I threw the diesel into a blind 4 part set of esses.  There is definitely something to be said about knowing a road, and knowing it well.

And then I backed off, and slowed down.  I couldn’t do this.  Not after I once did this road on a 916 in about XX* minutes, start to hilltop.  Anything else would be a pale shadow of all the times I stormed up this road, riding various motorcycles, with varying degrees of high speed and insanity.

Never felt so retarded in all my life.

* Figure omitted to prevent someone shaking their head and wondering what the hell they are doing with me.