A 2-Up Ride Around Daytona Speedway
The word Daytona is said about 75 times an hour around the office right now, do the math, that’s more than once a minute. We’re a month away from Daytona Bike Week, a month away from setting up the biggest retail tent we’ve ever done and a month away from launching our sponsorships in to the 2013 AMA Pro Racing season. It’s safe to say we’re riled up about it.
It’s not our first year in Daytona, but each year we go, it serves up something new… something that makes us rush through the year so we can hurry back the next year. Before I spill all of our secrets for this year’s Bike Week, I have to take a moment to reminisce about the most terrifying, exciting and lucky experience Daytona has ever served up, a 2-up ride around those beautiful banks with the talented Jason Pridmore.
I’ve raced motorcycles, but only off road on dirt bikes and until being on-board with Pridmore, I’ve never been able to fathom what it’s like to race around a road racing track. I’ll be honest, the thought of being on the back of anyone’s motorcycle scares me, I really rather be the one at the helm controlling my own fate. I think most riders can relate to that. I’ll admit it, when I was asked if I’d be down for the 2-up ride, I did not blurt out “yes,” I said I would think about it, because I was scared. I had never traveled at those speeds before, I had no idea what to expect, I had no idea what the risks were, so I went full ninny status and had to “think about it.” My response surprised me more than anyone. Since I was in full blown ninny mode, I proceeded to call my best friend who said, “DO IT!” I called my boyfriend who laughed at me and said, “You have to do it!” I called the President of Superstore, I figured since he was a successful road racer in his time, he could give me the best advice, “It will be the scariest thing you’ve ever done, but you can’t pass it up. Jason’s one of the best and he’s a pro, you’re in good hands… but remember… you’re NOT on the clock.”
That’s it then, it’s settled, my ninny got the reassurance that she needed, and I will let someone I don’t know hurl me around a paved track, with steep banked corners, at speeds approaching 200mph. Let’s do this.
When the time came, I was instructed to go the bathroom before putting leathers on, because apparently it’s common for 2-up newbs to lose control. Maybe that’s too much information, but it was a serious caveat. I finally climbed into some Dainese leathers and went out to the track where Jason Pridmore gave me instruction on where to hold on, what to do, and what not to do while sitting on the back. Easy enough, I just have to hold on…
We shot down the first straightaway and came into the first corners so hot that I was convinced something was wrong, there’s no way we’re supposed to be going this fast. I held on for dear life and completely lost track of where we were at on the track. I knew that we were rounding the first bank because the side wall was right in front of my face and the sound of the bike was bouncing off the wall. The first bank is where we picked up a speed that I don’t even know how to explain, it’s a pace that you just don’t experience on a dirt bike. The next few corners were a blur, because I literally could not focus my eyes in a straight line, it was all I could do to hold on with everything I had. I could only hold on with my hands because with every corner, I was literally being tossed from one side to the next. By the time we hit the second bank turn I took a big deep breath and it was then that I realized that I hadn’t taken a breath since I climbed on board. That breath represented the end of the ride and it’s a good thing, because there’s no way I could’ve held on for another lap.
When I finally released my grip and got off the bike, I instantly had a whole new appreciation for the art and control associated with road racing. Every rider and racer alike has the ability to process information faster than the average person. We’re trained to look ahead, pick a line and have a plan, but the elite racers do this at a freakish level that most of us can’t fathom. I’m convinced it’s a gift that these people were born with more than it is a trained skill. Watching them is amazing enough, being on board with one riding only half the rate they typically do, is life changing.
Daytona, whether it’s Bike Week or the famous Daytona 200 or Flat Track or Road Racing – you have to experience it at least once. I can guarantee that it will always be more than you expect and you’ll ride away with stories you can tell forever. I’ll see you there – let the countdown begin.