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Remembering Why We Started

As an aspiring racer for the past decade now I’ve been suffering from burnout for a few years, and not the kind that involves smoking tires. Having dumped all my time and energy — and money (so much money) — into motorsport, it has left life really out of balance. It always starts out as fun and quite honestly it can stay that way, but as you edge nearer the front of the field, things change.

When you begin shaving off tenths of a second instead of seconds, every little thing becomes important. You start sweating every bolt and every quarter turn of suspension. You are up late in the garage or reviewing track maps at a desk. Then there’s the tire bill. They seem to last a great while until you get near the front, then you’re shelling out dentist money just to get another few sessions in.

I have said before that if you have a heroin addiction, your friends and family will have an intervention and try to get you help. But if you have a racing addiction, they will give you $100 and tell you to follow your dreams. (Stick with heroin… at least there’s hope.)

But this morning I got a reminder of the base reason I got into racing. Simply, it’s fun. The hours it takes to get to the track and clean up the bike afterwards is a challenge, but actually being on the track with your friends and just hauling butt is a thrill not enough people know. I didn’t have the greatest of childhoods so most of it is basically blocked off from memory, but watching this video — less than a minute in length — reminded me of Hidden Valley and Sheep Hills in my hometown of Huntington Beach, California. It reminded me of how a bicycle opened up my world from a neighborhood to a city. It reminded me of jumping beach cruisers off big table tops so fast that I landed past the slow down/turn around lane and still had to scrub off speed in the knee-high grasses.  I learned to patch or replace tubes on my own, and how to work a spoke wrench and replace bent handlebars. It really set me on my path in many ways. I’d forgotten that.

The little girl in this video reminded me to stop taking myself so seriously, quit worrying about results, and to let myself enjoy the world in general. It also reminded me how child-like I still am, never really worrying about the next day and just living in the moment. I can’t stop watching it. But I’ve wasted a morning watching cat videos on the internet, so at least this got me thinking. Actually, it got me thinking about how I live on a hill and my bike is sitting in the garage. I usually don’t use it because I dread pedaling back up the hill, but I forgot I can also enjoy the ride down.

And I would be remiss if I did not point out one other thing about this video; that girl can totally hit an apex. She shot through turn 10 like Josh Hayes or something. I wonder if he is grinning in his helmet when he does it?

(Direct Link to Facebook video: https://www.facebook.com/kotomile/videos/10206228170414870/)

Thanks, Juliette. I needed that.

Written by Johnny Killmore

Johnny Killmore is a Formula sidecar and motorcycle racer who lives in the Bay Area of California. Fascinated at a young age by machines, Johnny is most comfortable at race tracks, garages, or far away places astride a motorcycle. Having cultivated a life revolving around speed, racing is a natural extension of that.

Johnny is also a great story teller so it follows naturally that he would share his adventures and report on the adventures of others. Having formally studied journalism, art, and agriculture, Johnny uses the visual and literary arts to bring to life the challenges, risks, and rewards of living a life at speed.

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