08 November 2016

Stardate 2016.855

I work hard and play hard.

Me, Myself and I
A Hatchling Without a Name

I've always had a thing for two-wheeled bikes, with or without a motor. However, my roots lie with the motorized bike; more specifically, two-stroke dirt bikes. Now that the cost of many bicycles equals or exceeds the cost of a motorcycle, perhaps it's time to go motor again. Following is a synopsis of my motorized roots.

This is where it all began, Big Red Park, Colorado. When I was 15 years old, I landed a summer job as a dishwasher for the Sidestep Restaurant in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I also took up space at my uncle's house for the summer. He was one of the top enduro riders in the state and, along with staff from the Yamaha shop and several local riders, the group put on a popular race called the Timberline Enduro. The enduro took place near Hans Peak, Colorado, north of Steamboat. Big Red Park was the staging site. The furry creature in the pic was my childhood ol' English sheepdog, Rowdy.

My first race was a small, local event in Grand Junction, Colorado. At the time, Grand Junction proper was much smaller than today. I placed fourth, riding on a flatted rear tire. My head was swelling.

I worked my tail off on a farm, trap and skeet range and Tuesday night league trap shoot to buy my first brand new, full-blown motocross racer – a Yamaha YZ 250. After working every day, I was rewarded Tuesday nights with play. My boss was a retired professional trap shooter sponsored by Winchester. He often let me fill-in for teams short a shooter, and I still got paid! Head swelling complete.

Bikes have come a long way since 1977. Modern bikes have aluminum frames, water-cooled engines, disk brakes, additional 3 inches of suspension on each end, lower center of gravity, yada, yada, yada!

My moto uncle came down for my first race on the YZ 250.

Me, myself and I!

Holeshot! My first hare 'n hound desert race was at an event called the 8-hour. You guessed it, an 8-hour race. It was a team race, and my uncle asked if I would like to partner with him. Guess what I said? The start was a dead engine start with about 50 teams lined-up. The first turn was about a half-mile away.

I was a "hefty" 155 pounds, soaking wet. My uncle's bike (rules called for only one bike shared) was a Yamaha YZ 450. Back then dirt bikes were two-strokes, and the 450s and 500s were immensely powerful. For the dead engine start, I stood on a milk crate to kick start (no electronic starter then) the big-bored bike. Well, to make a long story short, I was the first bike to the first corner, known as the holeshot. When I realized where I was, heaps of adrenaline kicked in, and I just held on. Little did I know the dust gods had a surprise waiting several hours out.

With one lap down, the bike took on petrol, and my uncle took the cockpit.

I was starting lap three and an hour away from severely breaking my collar bone. Surprise!

My final motocross bike was a 1982 Honda CR 250R. I loved this bike. In 1984 I quit competing, headed to university and immersed myself in pedal power.

Me, myself and I; letting the good times roll!

I often reminisce about those whirlwind years. Where did the time go?

Thanks for reading...


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