Summer Solstice - June 21, 2013
If at first you don't succeed.
Success does not come to those who don't try. A failed attempt is not a failure unless you did not learn from your experience and resolve to try again. We set out to earn a Saddlesore from the Iron Butt Association, ride 1000 miles in 24 hours and document the ride along the way. Three of us set out at the break of dawn with a goal of becoming one of the World's Toughest Motorcycle Riders, a V-Strom, a Tiger and a California. The longest day of the year with perfect weather, we could not have asked for a better day but we quickly learned that any mishaps along the way can derail your plans in an instant. A carefully planned route included the proper timing to get through major metropolitan areas during non-peak traffic hours. Three miles into our quest one of our riders was confronted with our first challenge of the day, a flat tire. A quick assessment of the situation showed that there was not an apparent reason for the flat and dashed our hopes for an emergency plug. The tire was inflated with the Mini Foot Pump we so wisely included in emergency supplies and tools and we made our way to Twisted Throttle's repair shop. After waking the service technician from his early morning slumber and convincing him to come in to lend a hand, we began to plan the route again with hopes that our goal for the day had not been dashed in an instant. Turns out the failure was due to dry rot on the valve stem however despite a speedy repair, too much time had been lost and our hopes of getting through New York before dawn had evaporated. Time was no longer on our side.
Northward bound we would go with new hopes of lobster and speed, NHRA was running in Epping New Hampshire. We rode together like we had done this before even though we had not. Three amigos rolling through the mountains and valley's, over the elevated river bridges and gorges as I marveled in the wonder of nature. We watched the sun rise in the mountains as the miles passed us by. What a glorious day. It dawned on me soon into our journey as we traveled these traffic free roads that we were making great time and would have had no problem reaching that original goal of miles if only we had not lost so much time so soon. The days goal became to just ride through each of the New England states and enjoy the ride, the company, the views and experience of the day. We rode the Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountain Region of New Hampshire, a first for one of our travelers and a photo opportunity at the summit overlook. A late lunch that never tasted so good after many hours in the saddle and then it was off to Epping to see some top fuel racing and meet some of the drivers. A personal tour through the pits and some introductions to some great folks involved in the sport and it was time to hit the road once again. As I headed south toward home I realized just how much I did not want this day or the ride to end as I watched the sunset over the skyline of Boston.
I logged 764 miles this day, enjoying every moment and dreaming of the next ride before this one was even over.
Not everyone is successful in every goal, today I was one of those who was not successful however I did not fail. The lessons I learned were vast, the day and the ride was splendid.
- Time moves forward and no matter how much desire or determination you can't always beat the time ticking away.
- Attitude is everything. I'd have easily had an unpleasant day had I dwelled on the failure and not looked toward the opportunities still before us.
- Wearing blinders in your own head can be detrimental to your ability to see the big picture.
- Strength does not come from what you can do. Strength is the ability to overcome that which you thought you could not do.
- A deer spooked by the lead riders easily become unpredictable. I am thankful I practice my hazard avoidance skills often and my encounter was only a brushing.
- Having a well planned out day including emergency supplies will not ward off the unforeseen.
- Nature is the original artist and I am lucky to live in New England.
- When you change your tires, change your valve stems. Or better yet replace them with brass or aluminum stems.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. As much as I thought I drank it was still not enough.