How the racing came about…..
I finally got to participate in my first track day in May 06. I had to ride my bike from Santa Fe down to the track, prep the bike for the track and then ride home at the end of the day once we were done on the track. I had no clue what I was doing, what to expect, or what I really needed to make the day successful. When I left in the morning it was really cold and I was numb after riding the 70 miles to the track. Then there was prepping the bike, pulling off my bags, taping up all the reflectors and lights, setting the tire pressures and figuring out the gear I had bought just for this and had only worn once before. I did talk another girl into going to the day with me and her boyfriend came along to help us out. As it turns out she hated it and I fell in love.
It would be the only one for me until the next year, due to my totaling my car, while on the way to CO for a job interview. It had made such an impression that I became focused on how to make it happen more often. It was totally clear to me that I needed a way to get to and from the track without having to ride my bike there, that ride down in the morning was a killer and the ride home in the heat after being on the track all day just about finished me. I also knew that I wanted a bike just for the track, I had seen just what happens to the bikes when you fall down and I wasn’t about to risk my beautiful sprint. There were a couple of racers who frequented the local forum so I asked about how to go about finding a track bike. Chris offered to go with me to look at all the bikes I was considering, plus he had a buddy selling a race bike. I looked at 3 bikes that were already track prepped, I went with Stuart’s R6 (Chris’ friend).
The R6 was in the best shape of the three and Stuart was willing to show me some of the things I’d need to know about track bikes. Like how to change the oil and tires… He also helped with advice on pop-ups, how to load and unload, as well as helping me obtain some of the things I’d need for the bike, like stands, ramps, tie downs, and tools. Who knew there was so much to going to the track???
I took delivery of the bike two days later, at the race track. They had rented the track for 4 hours to dial in Stuart’s new bike. It was only my second time on the track and I’d never run it that direction. I scared myself to death on the second lap. This bike was set up for GP shift, it was the first time I’d ridden like that and I shifted the wrong way. I managed to saved it and that was it…. What a rush. I knew right then I’d done the right thing and that I was going to be obsessed with this. I did 4 more track days, before I took the SMRI race school to get my race license. I had decided that was what I was going to give myself for my 40th birthday.
SMRI had a race that was just for women; I love that and figured it would be the safest place for me. I just hadn’t considered that I would have to be out there with all the guys during practice. Dang, those dudes are scary at times, it was only practice and I got bumped into twice. Yes, it could have been my lines, but those two were notorious for running into people and had caused a few wrecks already that year. One of them would cause the worst wreck I’ve ever seen later in the day. It would be the second time that day they would have to life flight someone from the track to the hospital. That’s right, they had to helicopter two people from the track, on separate occasions, one of the guys I had met through Stuart and Chris and that we were all pitted with had his head run over and to this day he still isn’t back to where he was before the wreck. He also can’t remember for a year prior to the wreck, which means he doesn’t remember me. It made me really pause and think about what I was getting myself into.
2007 was a short season, for me only two races, but I learned a great deal, and decided that I was going to get fast enough to leave the women’s only race to go and race with the boys and I was going to beat them too.