Monday
Apr252016

Rear view mirror part 2

 

Even after I finished “Looking in the 2015 rear view mirror” I thought there was still more to be said. So I sat down again and started putting down more thoughts.

As I’ve gotten older my perspectives have changed a lot (a natural occurrence I would say).  My folks whom I was lucky enough to have in my life until they were both over ninety, who didn’t have to suffer some long drawn out ordeal. They both spent less than 24hrs in the hospital at the end. My mom had dementia, the worst cruelest kind in which she would have moments of clarity than sink back into the fog. My dad was very sharp right up to the end and was looking forward to living to hundred. He was a big man even at the end he was still over two hundred twenty pounds and not fat. Not many live to be ninety-one and are that big. Long life seems to favor the smaller versions of us.

My wife and I had taken a Hospice course in an effort to better understand how to deal with my mother’s dementia. Little did I know at the time how taking that course would eventually change my life.

I had known for some time my father was afraid of dying, because I was also afraid of dying. I doubt I’m alone in this. Seems kind of strange for someone who races motorcycles to be afraid of dying. There are a lot of people who say anyone who races motorcycles must have a death wish. It took me many years to figure out that racing bikes has nothing to do with having a death wish. You can be scared to death of dying but still race bikes and I think one difference is when racing you feel as though you have some sort of control over it, an illusion to be sure. But when it comes to actually dying I felt I had no control over that, which I don’t really. 

I was alone in the hospital room when my dad pasted away. I didn’t know what to say or do as the process unfolded in front of me, I just sat there. I believe now he was showing me he was ok with it and it wasn’t anything to be afraid of. But that revelation took a few years to come into focus for me.

After my dad passed away I was haunted with the helpless feeling I had sitting in that room. I decided I wanted to know more about the death and dying process in the hopes of finding some peace around my ineptitude in that moment. I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing that feeling. I became involved in Hospice as a patient volunteer. And of course heard the familiar “I don’t know how you can do that” and many other such sayings. For me it has been incredibly rewarding, I’ve certainly received more than I’ve given. I’ve been privileged to meet some incredible people at the end of their lives in the last ten years. Strong, brave, scared all at the same time kind of people. I’ve learned a lot and I’m certainly more comfortable in my own skin now.

I used to do most things like riding by myself, but somewhere in all this I’ve discovered it’s much more rewarding to do things with friends. I also discovered there are actually people who don’t mind being around me and vice versa. I have a whole lot of days piled up behind me and with a lot fewer days ahead of me, I only have room for my kind of people these days, the rest can go bother someone else.

 And my plan is to do it as actively as I can, as long as I can. No doubt you and I have been blessed to be able to do what we do. But we’ve taken advantage of our good fortune.  I doubt any of us older guys and ladies envisioned doing the things we are doing today. I should say something about diet and eating properly, so I just did. Actually some of us are more into what we eat than others, it’s sort of whatever works for you. We must be doing something right we’re still very active. I also imagine there are a lot more who discouraged us to do or keep doing what we do than those who encouraged us. It’s a good thing we’re stubborn, hard headed and not easily swayed.

I guess what I’m saying about us older folk is we’ve now lived a little, our view of life is not the same as it was back then. There really is something to be said about sixty is the new forty, I certainly feel this way, how about you.

 Doug 21J 

PS The main reason for adding on to the first article was to say more about what makes us older athletes different from the rest of the heard. But you know I don’t hang around many people my age, most of them aren’t doing anything. And those I do hang with are as good an athlete as I am or better. Do we sit around and talk about our aches and pains like other older folks do… yes we do. But a lot of those aches and pains are self-inflicted. You ever hang out and start comparing bumps, bruises, old scars, broken bones and hematomas the size of softballs? Old scars are of particular interest with trail riders or stories about how you almost died, that’s priceless stuff. One thing we all have in common is we are out doing something.

A lot of us older riders are hero’s to forty and fifty year olds, I’ve never been anyone’s hero, and it feels pretty darn good. Some day it will be their turn.  

 

Part 1 can be found in the Viewpoint section

 

 

Wednesday
Apr202016

Old Guys Rule Fernley International Old Timers Motocross

This was the second round of the 2016 International OT motocross racing season. The first round was held in Arizona.

A lot of riders showed up Friday to ride practice from 10-3, I was one of them. The weather was far from perfect, the north wind was steady with frequent gusts and it was cold. By the time I got there and did a couple of practice sessions the track was already getting rough. The track set up typically for Fernley is jumps that are safe and fool you into thinking the track is going to be too easy. Well, not true it does get rough and there are lots of sandy corners that are very soft and if you don’t carry enough speed you will wallow around and genuinely look like a squid. 

I was struggling a little with my suspension and was making numerous changes while practicing, without much success. A friend of mine says Doug you know about suspension right, (And of course I puffed up a little) he say’s I’m having trouble with my suspension and I read this article (He reads lots of articles) and in it they said if you’re experiencing this, do this. I say gee that sounds nice and kept going the opposite direction with my settings. After he had made a couple of the changes suggested in the article he tells me, it’s working great now. So after going as far as I could in the opposite direction I decided to try it the article’s way and low and behold it worked great. I did confess to him that I had made a couple of changes. (Big fib I made big changes) 

First thing Saturday morning is practice followed by a riders meeting, our national anthem, then Canadian national anthem. (It’s an International organization and event) then the first moto. Sunday is a repeat of Saturday except there are only two motos instead of the three on Saturday. The weather Saturday and Sunday was great!

Since this was my first race since breaking my back in January I signed up in the really old class. Our race consisted of two gate drops. The intermediates and experts on the first gate and the rest of us on the second gate. My normal class would have been the first gate.  After the first gate the second gate drops about fifteen to twenty seconds later. My first priority was to get the hole shot on my row then see if I could catch any riders who started on the first gate. I had no idea how I’d do since I’ve been off the bike for months healing. I surprised myself with both my speed and fitness. I was able to pass my way up to the top five in the expert class every race and actually ended up passing my way up to third on the last moto on Sunday. I’ll take that especially starting from the second gate.

 

Sunday’s motos started out different, my plan of getting the hole shots didn’t pan out. The first moto I found myself at the last second trying to decide how I was going to start and promptly got hung up in the gate. I thought to myself “what a rookie mistake.” So the first lap was spent catching and passing the guys on my row. The second moto went better but one of our club members who had been trying to beat me into the first corner on Saturday beat me to the first turn both motos on Sunday.  He was elated to say the least. “That made my weekend” he said. Unfortunately for him he used all his energy trying to stay ahead of me and got caught at the end of the last moto on Sunday by the rider he was competing with for the overall win in his class. He said it was still worth it. 

Our club referee was being pestered all weekend by a rider who wanted to move back down in class because he was so out of shape and was getting his ass kicked. Now this rider is a rather large man with a more than ample belly. When he told the referee he was out of shape I overheard the referee say “How you would know when you were in shape” I had to turn by back so I could laugh. 

My new Yamaha YZ450FX (Electric Start) worked excellent. The bike was very stable and even though the track got rough it handled the deep whoops well, no hint of kicking sideways. The SBB suspension worked great there was no harsh feed back to the hands through all the rough stuff.

The club had a great turnout and did a very good job throughout the weekend. The track held up well from a dust standpoint. I don’t think there were any serious injuries. The club had some nice raffle prizes. And the big news was the dinner, this year’s dinner was very good. They had it catered by a well known catering company. I’m sure they were trying to make up for last year’s dinner which was shall we say poor and leave it at that.