Well each Thanksgiving there is a motorcycle ride that starts from around Los Angeles, travels on a long, roundabout way to Barstow and then finishes in Las Vegas. It’s a very popular ride and this year over 700 people suited up and took their motocycles out of Palmdale and headed for Las Vegas. I was among those who departed but unfortunately I was not among the ones who arrived.
Anyhow, I was at a loose end (nothing to do) this Thanksgiving and rather than dwell I decided to RIDE.
The adventure started in Palmdale, California and for many hundreds of riders completed in Las Vegas Nevada.
The first thing that I noticed when I showed up to enroll was that every single rider, without exception, was geared up with full motocross gear. Motocross boots, protective knee pads, and so on. Heavily suited up riders stolled by in the hundreds. Hmm. This is not a race mind you. This is just a ride. I showed up in the same clothes that I used to ride my bike to work. Interestingly enough, my jacket had shoulder and elbow pads built in. When I ended the ride, these were the only two parts of my body not in agonizing pain. Moving on…
Riders started departing at around 6:30am, I left Palmdale a little before 7 am.
The start of the ride, once we hit the dirt was a fast, sandy trail. Being 54 years old and pretty much a Sunday stroll kind of rider, I wiped out pretty quickly. By 9 am I had eaten dirt three times and was sporting bruised knee, bruised shoulder and neck and a sprain in my right hand. Fortunately I am left handed. So I rode on.
Of course I was left in the dust by younger and more experienced riders, and that dust provided me with two more spills. The first, emerging out of a cloud of other riders dust and seeing….a pack of 5 stopped riders…to avoid S&M sex with several other riders I ended up eating large amounts of dirt and sand.
Then, by the time I had been on the trails just 2.5 hours I encountered a huge cloud of thick dust and then, a railway line! All that I can say is that the bike came out on top, for which I am very grateful. It only takes a week or so to generate new skin, and skin generation is totally free! Bike repair is incredibly expensive. So I guess I lucked out to find myself flat on my back with my bike’s fall onto the railway lines happily cushioned by the presence of my ankle. I have to say that I slapped my hand up and down in the sand many times in surrender, but my bike did not get up and walk away. In the end, I had to pry my ankle out from under the bike on my own. I lost about 12 square inches of skin, but replaced it with 24 inches of ankle swelling. So I came out the winner in the end. However at that point I suddenly realized why all the other riders were suited up so good. It wasn’t that I fell down more (I saw plenty of other riders picking themselves up) it was that I didn’t bother to suit up!
To my own amazement, I rode another 6 hours with a sprained ankle and stripped shin. I guess it was the adrenaline. However at the end of the day I made it to Barstow, day 1 completed. But Barstow was as far as I went. Next year you can be sure you will see me in Las Vegas, suited up to the max! And in the end I was glad I went and enjoyed every insane minute of the blood, the sweat, the dust and the ride!
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