Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The (Modest) edge of exit.


My first liter bike, as the story goes, was called Prime. It was the first bike I ever owned of such displacement and signified my increasing seriousness as a moto rider. It was also only divisible by itself, I guess. The next bike was called X. The the engine on this machine rocked a crankshaft with a "cross plane" configuration. I also stood at an unexpected crossroad in my lifestyle. "X" also stands in for the unknown, whether it be an exciting ride or a world-rocking crash. So it goes. And thus we are brought to the Atlas.

My current bike is the make and model of the machine that got me thinking about the literbike style in the first place. At Miller Motorsports Park one year, I saw the demon Haga fight for places in a World Superbike round. He finished out in the top five, but the madness of the style was that he had broken his collarbone the day before. He raced through the pain of hastily implanted screws and titanium rods. He was committed to a degree that frightened me. Perhaps I could approach his style in the smallest of incraments. Like getting an R1 maybe.

I have seen Haga in the flesh. Or at least in the leather. But there is another rider, a more distant hero of mine who rocks the same make and model of my newest ride. Sanders is his name, and a few times now he has ridden the R1 around the world. On one trip he clocked 19,930 miles in 31 days 20 hours. The fastest man around Earth on a moto. In yo face, Jules Verne.

Yeah.

So these guys are the poles at the edge of my axis. The mad racer and the mad traveler. And now I roll on the wheels that they rode into legend. I can't ride that far. But at least I can make it to Jacksonville Beach.

Sanders called his world record trip the Journey Beyond Reason. Sounds offensive to philosophical ears, so I am going to rock a journey within reason, a jaunt across florida to last a week or so. I will hit up homies, strangers, and roads I have never travelled. Maybe I think about thangs and record my reflections. I will hit up many cities but there will be no interstates. I hope there will be no rain. But we all know what Fanon says about hope.

When I hit the road, I will put out a pulse, a broadcast of my location through GPS that can be tracked online. I wonder if such a beacon will provide comfort when the road gets lonely. Doubt it.

Yes.

The Atlas is a collection of maps. It is also the god that holds heaven and earth on his shoulders. It is also the topmost bone of the vertebrae. The lesson is not difficult to decipher. Know where you're going, hold shit down and protect your neck.

See you chumps when I get back.

1 comment:

natrylmystic said...

I kinda keep thinking about this exit as an odyssey, and the invocation of Atlas just adds to my weird associations to the Homeric epic. Maybe because it was Atlas' daughter, Kalypso who held Odysseus captive as he tried to make his way home. What might your Kalypso be?

Athena, though, had Odysseus' back, and he often asked her for advice on successfully completing his journey. Toward the end, when he's trying to figure how to rock exit past the terrors of Charybdis and Schylla, he asks Athena if he should go in fighting so that he can stay his course.

Athena says this:
Must you have battle in your heart forever? The bloody toil of combat? Old contender, will you not yield to the immortal gods? That nightmare cannot die, being eternal evil itself -- horror, and pain, and chaos; there is no fighting her, no power can fight her, all that avails is flight.

I am intrigued by the ideas of yielding and flight.