TALLADEGA SCENIC HIGHWAY ON MT. CHEAHA ~ ALABAMA ~ photo taken by Dianna Stover
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Friday, August 7, 2009

RIDING HIGH IN TALLADEGA

Dear Diary... A glimpse into the pages of a journal written by a woman rider.

Saturday
August 1, 2009

Dear Diary,
What a ride! I actually rode my Glide around one of the fastest tracks on the Nascar circuit... Talladega Super Speedway! What a rush!


Our good friend D, came up early this morning from PC and joined us for a run up to the track so we could participate in the March of Dimes Bikers For Babies fund raising event. The day turned out beautiful, with an overcast sky and temps in the high 80's. The three of us are big Nascar fans so we were pretty psyched to get there and run this ride. We've discussed the subject before... of getting on this track and having our way with her and today was our opportunity.

My ride getting there was full of anxious anticipation and I could hardly contain my excitement as the miles clicked off and brought us closer and closer to Talladega. Once we arrived, registration requirements were met and dollars donated, then we went right to the staging area and placed ourselves in line.

While we waited in the line-up to enter the speedway, my stomach was fluttering with a thousand butterflies. I didn't know what to expect, but I was eager to get out there and really see and feel this track... up close and personal. The closer we got to the front, the more frantic those butterflies got. Watching the man at the front of the line, I felt my smile grow wide when I saw him raise his right hand high in the air and give our group the "let 'em roll!" signal. Woo Hoo... here we go!

The lead bike was going take us around for three laps and maintain a speed of around 65 mph. We were not allowed to pass him or go above the yellow line (I must have missed that part) but otherwise, the track was ours. The formation left the pit area and as we approached the first turn I turned my head and had to look almost straight up. Boy, was it steep! It was like looking up the side of a giant concrete irrigation ditch. We were all still on the bottom flat part of the track as we got up to speed and tried to get ourselves spaced out a bit so we could take the track at our own pace. Coming out of turn two and heading down the back stretch gave us the opportunity to fan out a little bit and one of the volunteer track riders rolled up next to us and gave us the "speed up" signal. Hell... you don't have to tell me twice!

As I came into turn three I was just above the yellow line in the first lane on the track, but because I was only going about 65 mph., it felt a little unstable. I remembered at that moment, while talking to a track volunteer during our lunch, that when you ride into the turns at this track, you have to maintain a higher speed because of the steepness. I rolled on the throttle a little more and even though it felt better, I came back down to the flat because I was catching up the rider in front of me pretty fast.

Finding myself back around on the front stretch, my first lap gone, I'm thinking... okay, let's do this right! I fan out to the right, this time lagging a little so the lead rider could get further ahead of me. As I approached the first turn for the second time, I lined myself up in the first lane on the track and as the flatness of the front stretch started to slope into the turn, I gave it more throttle. I'm probably doing about 75 mph in the turn this time and it felt much more stable while riding on the severe slant of the track. I was able to maintain my speed coming down the back stretch and turns three and four also proved to be a lot more fun at the higher speed. Lap two gone!

At this point, I'm feeling nothing but the need for more speed and I'm having a blast! During my first two laps around, I noticed other riders take their machines high in the turns, just for the thrill of doing so. As I was in the middle of turn three during this second lap, a rider passed me riding the third lane on the track, right up next to the wall. I had to look almost straight up to see him and he had to be doing 90 mph or better! I could see the entire underneath surface of his wheels as he was literally riding on his sidewalls! It reminded me of the rabbit on the dog track... I just couldn't see the bar that was holding him up there!

H and I slowed down just a little bit and rode side by side for a few seconds on the front stretch as we readied ourselves for turn one again. He hollered over to me, "Did you see that guy point at us and tell us to get down below the line?" I'm shaking my head no thinking, what guy? He just grinned and shook his head.

Okay... last lap, let's make it count! Now, bigger circles means more distance... more distance means faster speeds before you catch up to someone. I decided right then and there, I'm taking the turns in the second lane this time. I get my self positioned and as I approach the turn I'm giving it more throttle. Being in the second lane looks a bit more scary cause it feels and looks like your riding on the side of a wall.


My ride into turns three and four for the last time was my climatic moment! The last time I looked at the speedometer as I entered turn three it read 86 mph. I gave it just a little more throttle as I held firm in my lane riding fast and steady. I
found myself feeling giddy as a school girl at the reality that I'm actually covering the same ground as some of my Nascar favorites like Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and my all time racing hero, Bill Elliott. I was having the time of my life! As I rode out of turn four and the track started to flatten out again, I saw a track volunteer come up to the right of me and waved to me that my three laps were up. I gave him a nod accompanied with a shit eatin' grin and slowed my bike so I could enter the pit area with the rest of the riders. Woo Hoo... it was awesome!!

I've always wanted to participate in a driving school and run this track, but the fact that I tackled the super speedway with my Glide first, was euphoric! It wasn't until we were sharing a beer at the Indian Hills Motorcycle resort in Rockford about an hour later, that H, D, and I talked about our exciting experience. They gave me a hard time for getting scolded... twice, but I don't seem to remember that. I thought that dude was just giving me a friendly wave... I guess I was having too much fun to realize I was getting in trouble.

I have till next time to find out what is required of me to become a track volunteer. I want to be the one that cruises the track all day and tells everyone else to stay below the yellow line. Haha! If I have my way, I'll be riding high in Talladega... again!

Me

13 comments:

MeanDonnaJean said...

And here I thought *I* gotta nice rush the other day from all those juicy answers/comments left for me. Hell no....mine didn't even come CLOSE to what U experienced. Talk about orgasmic pleasure!!!

Good for you, girl. Might as well do it ALL while we're still able.

B.B. said...

Whoo hoo! What a thrill! Thanks to your writing I almost feel like I was there!

mq01 said...

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOh :) thank you ladyR

Arizona Harley Dude said...

I wish I could have been there on the track with you.

irondad said...

What a cool thing to experience a track that means something to you in that special way! Gives you a whole new perspective when you're watching a race, doesn't it?

It was neat that you stretched things a bit to take advantage of the situation. Better to ask forgiveness than permission, eh?

FLHX_Dave said...

That was just too much. I have a big lump in my chest. That must have been just really kick ass. You described it just as I imagined it would be when I thought about it in my head.

Wow! I wanna play now. Let this kid in the sandbox damnit!

Awesome LadyR, just awesome.

Bucky said...

Jealous. That is all I can say. Sounds like a pretty kick a$$ time. Wish I could have rode with you.

Lady Ridesalot said...

MDJ... I've always wanted to drive a car on that track... this was actually better! I just wish they would let us sign waivers or something and give us the freedom to REALLY ride it like we want to. But it's all good. I still had a great experience! Scratch that from the bucket list... what's next?

B.B... Thrill with a capital "T"! It was awesome! I'm trying to hook up with this couple riding double that was sitting next to us in line. She was holding a video camera and recorded our time out on the track. I talked to him two days ago, and they are going to figure out how to copy what she has and let me have one for myself. Can't wait to see that!

mq01... Your soooooooo welcome!! ;}

AZD... Well how bout that? We both wished we were where the other one was this week. I had fun at the track no doubt, but you had fun going to Sturgis too. This is why sharing is so much fun. We can feel like we do it all... sort of! LOL!
This was very cool. You should check out the track at Phoenix and find out when they might do this there. I think local clubs hook up with the March of Dimes and do this it all over the US.

Irondad... You would have scolded me to! I know the rules are in place for our safety, but several riders took they're opportune moments to ride high until we were told to go back down. I think as long as no one was hot dogging they tried to let us have as much fun as we could. They kicked someone out earlier that morning for pulling a wheelie all the way down the back stretch, so I was just a rebel in the minimal sense. LOL!

I'm sure an ARC is in my future, as I want to volunteer to be a track escort next year. Too much fun! I'll let you know how it goes.

Dave... Three laps where just not enough. I was still hungry for more! I plan to do this again and again. (See my note to Irondad) I'm going to find out how to participate as a volunteer track escort. That's the ticket!!

Come on VD... find a sandbox near you and jump in!! ;}

Bucky... Totally awesome bro! I thought about you and Ultra 242 and Dad while I was doing this. I kept thinking... they're gonna sh*t when I tell them what I just did! I wish you guys could have done this with us! Maybe we can come to Daytona sometime when this event happens there. I think they do this all over, so we'd have to contact the track and find out schedules. I would love to run the track with my brothers... how cool is that?? Love ya and miss ya lots!!

Baron's Life said...

I'm totally jealous...glad you had fun though...the need for speed is always there...Can't believe the guy pulled a wheely on the track...It would have made for a good picture. You folks are so lucky to have this sort of activity...we got none of that up here in the northern wilderness...which makes me sad.

Ann said...

Excellent post! What a rush for a NASCAR fan!

Lady Ridesalot said...

Baron... the track volunteer who told my about the wheelie said it was a beauty! He hated he got kicked out, cause he could've been proud of that one!

I am a speed demon at heart... I'm very aware of safety and caution, but otherwise... the faster the better! ;)

Ann... it was so fun! As in the words of our California Govna' ... "I'll be bock!"

IowaHarleyGirl (Stephanie) said...

Very Cool Lady R! I hope you do get to become a track volunteer. You like the same drivers as my folks. My mom calls Kenseth Mattie. lol Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It's so cool that you are a chick with little fear! Maybe racing is in your future! :)

Lady Ridesalot said...

Steph... I overheard my hubby talking to my brothers the last time we were home. He said, "That's the problem... she doesn't know when to be scared!"

Maybe my new biker chick name should be "Braveheart"! Think Mel would mind?

Tell mom I think Mattie's a cutie!