Sharing a brain fart by Ryan Hulslander

Well it *almost* happened....

Here I am, riding with a group of guys here in east Texas Sunday morning and my cornering for my first half of the trip sucked...just plain f-in sucked - doing all the wrong things, too hot in the corner, bleeding off speed in the corner with the back brake making the bike stand at attention - I mean holy-s**t ! What the hell was wrong with me ?!?

So I talk to a few guys and they are offering some constructive criticism, relax and try to get back into the groove of it. So here I am, relaxing a little, concentrating, leaning a little better, looking further through the turn and do really good through a sweeping turn marked 50 MPH, then another the other way marked 45, a serpentine of 45, another 50 then WHAMMO - BRAIN FART on the 25 to the left.

It's as if my brain completely short circuited. Up ahead I see the other guys dipping and rolling into and off the 45 and from my perspective took an almost 90 degree angle to the left. So I'm consciously setting myself up, thinking of my speed (WAY too fast at this point), the guy right behind me, (why I even considered that I don't know), thinking of lean angle, figuring how fast I should go into the corner, what gear am I in, for some reason look at the road line in the middle to set myself up and completely fucking lose it. It was if my train of thought completely unraveled in my head and I couldn't think *anything* through. The rant I keep trying to tell myself of never touch the brake, press it hard and flick it through took an immediate backseat to the panic reactions. It wasn't target fixation on the line though. It was just a mental breakdown of every thought in my head that went to hell in a hand basket.

All I can see at this point is a sliding rear tire, a buttload of off-road gravel grinding under my tires, a small ditch drop-off to the right and it was nothing but the shear grace of God that I didn't let up off the rear brake and just rode it out. I realized afterwards any number of things could have happened, the least of which would have been to scrape precious hundreds of dollars worth of shiny black plastic, the worst of which a few months off of work. Yep. I'm rattled. Not so bad I want to give up riding - hell no - but rattled enough to know I got a helluva lot more to learn. Anyone in the world can haul ass in a straight line, but the corners are what separate the men from the boys.

I think I'll chill out and get a third bike with somewhat LESS torque and power of my bird to practice with, and practice my ASS off. Maybe a race class or two if I can afford it in the future. I'll also ride with a just a couple of friends where I won't feel ANY pressure, which was the part of me thinking if I was going fast enough for the fellow behind me. I recognize that it is always explained to us in the group not feel pressure of the guy behind you because you are riding your own pace but I couldn't help it.

I now understand how squids drop serious cash, pick up an R1 and total it within a week. Don't get me wrong - the XX felt like the only sport bike that FIT and has for over 14 months, as the others I tried felt like I was either riding a grizzly or scraping my knuckles on the concrete with my arse in the air but I went way over the top this weekend and almost cashed in my chips. Now, I'm not wigging out and thinking of selling by bird for a Goldwing but the idea of getting a smaller bike in the interim until I learn a lot more is definitely on the radar screen. I can't part with my bird though. If I die, I want it in my will that I will be buried with it, (or what's left of it). I just think in order to get these responses and actions to become automatic/second nature and not require conscious effort will come quicker and easier on a more manageable machine that won't throw me into next week if I accidentally grab a fistful of throttle. I can probably manage room for another small bike in the garage and was thinking earlier of a dirtbike but I think I want to get a grip on this first.

Any ideas of a bike with a "similar" feel of a Blackbird without the gut-wrenching, ball-twisting, stomach-in-your throat demon spirit springing from hell feeling ? I'll consider just the gut-wrenching if that is my only option, tho' :-)

A 'busa turbo, maybe ? [Just kidding]

Ryan