January 1, 2010:
Happy New Year!
We had a very leisurely morning for the first day of the year. Champagne last night, and I wanted Irish Coffee this morning. I am a big fan of the stuff, but I don't have it often because I don't ride after drinking. So to have Irish I have to go for an early ride. And, in winter, that means a cold ride.
Still, the Irish Coffee called. So I suited up to hit the road, even though the temperature was 46 degrees. I did my normal warm up route and approached the feeder on I-10. At that point I felt great. It surely wasn't warm, but the temperature seemed bearable. I entered the freeway, contemplating a long ride.
The wind chill hit like a meat locker. Wow. Every piece of exposed skin was cold. I ride for fun, and this would not be fun. So I took the first exit (Shepherd) and then turned left onto Patterson to return home. Darn.
Still, the streets were deserted, and, once my speed dropped below 50, the wind chill was not that big a factor. I took the Studemont exit. As I proceeded eastbound on the feeder road, I approached the u-turn under the freeway.
I was going about 45 mph*. I was feeling great. I waited until the last moment (remember that there was no traffic about) and hit the front brake to slow for my turn. I released the brake, down shifted into second, and started the turn. This is a nice, long u-turn. Half way into the turn I accelerated out of the turn. There is a straight section before the second part of the turn. I left it in second and took a glance to make sure no cars were about. I consciously turned my head far to the left and leaned into the curve, making it a little sharper than I would normally take it.
Everything was going beautifully. Just like a well-performed dance. Then, all of a sudden, I felt the foot peg on my left scrape the pavement. I laughed out loud and yelled, "I scrapped the peg!" I completed the turn and headed home, savoring the achievement. I repeated to myself, over and over, "I scrapped the peg." This is the first time I can remember doing this on the Harley. I was a great feeling because it meant I had pushed the limit of the turn, executing everything perfectly. The scrapping was tactile proof of the excellence of the maneuver, and that I was at the edge. I was happy. I am happy.
When I got home I immediately told Maria the good news. Okay, I had to explain to her why it was good news. Still, what a way to start the year! And, oh yes, the mileage at the end of this very short (but eventful) trip stands at 18,807.
See you on the road. And don't forget to think.
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*Note to Law Enforcement:
All statements of speeds on various streets are simple estimates, and solely for novelity purposes. Actual speeds vary, but are always lower. I'm sure that legal speed limits are never exceeded, anything in this blog to the contrary nowithstanding.
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