Sixty-five. That’s about the max speed we hit on Saturday. The rain just kept falling, and the course was just water with a vague promise of racetrack underneath. We ran Dunlop GPA-Pros, which are a great choice for spirited track riding in dry, warmish conditions. These were not those conditions.
Even with the electronics all nerfed, Penny was barely connected to the floor. Entering a corner, we’d brake and just start sliding. Forward and forward, hoping eventually the friction would catch up enough to keep us from going past the track into the deep, dark mud beyond. Sticking a wheel in the mud would mean a definite trip over the handlebars and an awful chore digging the bike back out.
So each corner we slid toward the mud and tried not to look at it, then we tipped in, good and nervous, and each time we were somewhat surprised that the bike didn’t just fall on its side. But we made it around the track.
Leaving a corner was even more interesting. Just a touch of gas and the rear spun and spun, and again all you can do is ride it out and hope that friction catches up and eventually you start moving forward instead of sideways.
And then of course, the vision. Or lack thereof. It’s just rain. You see rain, and nothing else, and you try to connect the dots through the puddles between the candy stripes while going as fast as you can and no faster.
The whole effect was like one of those nightmares where you can’t run the way you expect to, and you can’t punch, and you’re very vulnerable because your body isn’t responding.
We managed to make it through the most of the day with the bow and stern of our Ducati motorboat pointed in the right directions, but it was tense. You try to stay relaxed on the bike in all conditions. Fighting only makes things worse, especially when things aren’t going well. But it’s hard not to be tense when you’re not sure how much input is finally going to put you on the ground. Tensing up is a defensive reaction, like closing your eyes before you get hit in the head with a ball. And this kind of riding gives you the sense that you’re going to get hit in the head with the ball any time now. Any time now. Any time now.
Then, boom. The shift peg broke off and the weekend was over. It’d be a lie to say there wasn’t a touch of relief to get out of the rain with a good excuse. But of course, the next day things dried up and we had to watch from behind the barriers as other riders enjoyed the track we’d been swimming through.
And so we loaded back up, swung back through SF one more time to see family, and drove all the way back to GRR HQ in SD.