Before I say anything:
Hats off to Michael Mike, who pretty much made ALL of this happen. He lent us the use of his wonderful Geo Metro, and lent me the use of his 50cc Peugeot lightning rod. Despite our best laid plans, there were considerable obstacles to overcome with only a few days out til the races. Mike's huge generosity laid waste to these problems, and I appreciate it enormously. I'm going to bake you a cake, Michael.
The trip out there took us a bit longer than we anticipated but we had good weather, great gas mileage and got to have lunch with Josiah and Mike down in Eugene. We got lost several times during this trip, a side effect of not bringing a map. Duh. When we finally got to SF, we met up with the Creatures at a sweaty little dance club bustin' out Human League. It was the Danes' last night in town and Joel's birthday or something. Josh & Renee put us up at their place that night. (Rad!)
The next day we met up at 1977Mopeds and hung out while they wrangled all their race stuff together. I'd never been to 77SF before, probably the best organized, slickest independent bike shop I've been to. Dean and I headed out to Atwater, and got fucking lost. D'oh! like way lost. When we finally got to the track we had missed two practice sessions. Dean got out for the last two sessions, but I only made one, due to some problems getting my bike together. Getting lost and not getting to practice much put me in kind of a shitty mood. Having only a shoestring budget for the trip, I really didn't want to spend money on booze, and between that and not really knowing anybody other than Dean & Dan, I spent the remainder of the day and night like a wallflower at the dance, picking my nose and kicking rocks around. (facts) One super-cool thing about Atwater / Polini Cup is that they pretty much let us have total run of the place and lots of Four loco* fueled silliness followed. This is in stark contrast to the anal way most tracks operate. People camped out on the track infield and Harold projected movies of wheelies & babies barfing on the wall of a building that night. Forgetting about the camping aspect of the weekend, I didn't bring a tent, and tried sleeping in the Geo. (mistake) But I did get to hear Newport fumbling around his car and somebody puke their guts out all over some tires.
The next morning I "woke up" early and had breakfast at a local 24hr. diner. Dan & I went and got some gas in the Geo. By the time we got back, more people were on their feet. Qualifying went waaay better than practice, but I still wasn't super comfortable on the bike. <--this was in part due to my skin-ass tight leathers which apparently are a bit tighter on me nowadays. .. *ahem- mcgriddles- ahem* But whatevs I was in a much better mood and it was hard not to get pumped when theres a bunch of rowdy moped people and 17 bikes to race with. Plus it was a beautiful day.
If you saw the MopedTV broadcast stuff, then I don't have to explain how the racing went. Basically, Jeff from Choke and Jimmy are from another planet. Dean (3rd place) was the fastest of all the normal people, and the average was pretty good. -definitely faster than the average of 2004. My lap time was about 5 seconds slower than the leaders, and on a track this small racing 12 laps, that is slow enough to get you lapped. Most tracks for this kind of stuff are a bit under or over a mile long, Atwater is about a half-mile. Mike's LC peugeot stood up against basically eveything there and I got passed on the straights only once. I ended up in 10th place, which sort of sucks, because I know I can race better than that; but I managed to not wreck or break Naz's bike and stay in front of a few people. I'll be back after I do some sit-ups, and probably build a bike I can wreck with impunity.
If you've ever had the racing itch T H I S is the time & place to do it. Having raced a few times in the past with different leagues, racing your bike will never be cheaper or easier or as fun as this. Seriously. do it. Lots of people were worried about having leathers and a specifically race-prepped bike, and it was not at all the case. In the starting grid I saw people pull out their cell-phones and put them back in their pockets. On the first lap, a bunch of receipts or something fell out of a guys pocket. Most racers had a jacket and jeans. Dean wore a hoodie with skate pads. Also, total race cost was $80, including a season license, transponder and Saturday afternoon BBQ. Next time it'll be $50. That's crazy cheap! And if you're worried about having a fast enough bike, don't sweat it. There were one speed puchs and daily rider bikes out there kickin' ass. It really is about riding ability, not super high-tech set-ups. I really hope some chicks come out too. Some little girl on a pocket bike posted the same lap time as Jimmy, and I know there are some killer girl riders out there. Crash the sausage party ladies!
After the races we hung out with the 77 dudez. It was cool to meet a bunch of people: Pat, Flynn, Craig, Zach/Lee, Round, Elliott. The next day Dean & I spend an extra day in SF working late at '77. Dean was doing computer shit and I was turning wrenches with Lee to make some extra 'scrilla'. Super cool shop. That night I ended up drinking a bunch of beer at Josh & Renee's and having their roommates Guinea Pig pee on me. Adorable! Then I passed out on the inflatable posturpedic while Throw Momma from the Train was playing. I kinda regret missing the movie but it was a long day of fixin' things.
The next day we headed back to Seattle, but made a pit-stop at Motomatic to check out the shop. They have some awesome stuff there, and the grande-derbi-hobbit they built up is an engineering marvel. I took some stealth photos, but there's way better ones on Flickr from the track. The trek back was long and stupid and I almost fell asleep at the wheel. Emphasis on almost. I'm glad to be home, but this was an epic quest. And I hope to do it again soon, maybe with more folks..?
Congratulations to Dean for his awesome Team HRY showing! and thanks for all his help with everything this last weekend.
*Four loco= caffeinated and extra alcoholic stuff designed for moped rally faggotry which I had no idea about until Dean & ...some creature I don't remember(?) showed it to me.
pics, some borrowed, (I hope that's cool?)