Monday, May 26, 2008

130 mph

Isle of Man

Woke to the sound of sport bikes at about six a.m. this morning. There weren't any beans on our breakfast plates today. Bummer. We headed to Heysham to catch the ferry. The riding was fantastic with loads of bikes. Apparently the area is always packed with cycles on Sundays.
I noticed after breakfast that our tickets said we needed to be on the 2 a.m. ferry while Scott was on the 2 p.m. We alll booked together and were prepared to fight or beg or bribe to get on the boat but they were nice as pie. It took about two seconds and no money to make the change. A reminder that this isn't America.

Eighty or so bikes lined up to load the ferry. First we were all subjected to a search. They took my 3" locking blade. Turns out lockbacks are illegal here. Reminder number two. The guy that found it didn't know how to close it. It's likely the first he ever touched. He seemed scared and then relieved when I closed it for him.

His supervisor came over to question me. "Why do you have that knife?" "For cutting stuff."
That was the end of it. They apologized over and over but kept the knife. Not a big deal cuz it was a five dollar knife and I have two more with me. They stopped searching as soon as they found the first one. Good thing they didn't look in the other saddlebag. It was full of heroin, prostitutes and chainsaws.

All the bikes were directed to the starboard(right yee landlubber) side of the boat and ferry employees strapped them all together. I stopped on the passenger lounge level but it was hot and muggy and full of bikers, so I headed up to the top outside level.

I met a bloke that has been coming to the TT(Tourist Trophy- the longest running motorbike race in the world. It began in 1907) for thiry years. He's a race marshall now.

His accent was super sick but luckily, another guy joined us. The second was born and raised on Isle of Man and comes back every year to work the course as a medic. Phil showed up and they gave us the skinny on the best places to view the race, where to eat, which local beer to drink, and how to keep seagulls from flying off with your triple burger, "I'm noot juking mate, a triple."

It sure was fun to unload enmasse with all those other bikes. We met a group from Argentina because they saw me and my AK Rider sticker standing by the bikes while Phil and Scott got some supplies. Turns out one of them met Phil, Josh, and Mariska in Patagonia.

We rode the course this morning and I can't wait to see the big boys run it. I stepped out of my comfort zone on a couple of corners doing about 38. That makes me wonder how in the hell they can average 130 over a 37 mile course. If you have access to a computer you should open google earth and fly the course. And if you don't, then how in the hell are you reading this?

We're off to watch some practice laps tonight. They usually go faster during practice cuz they need to make sure the bikes can handle it and not blow up.

Oh yeah, today's breakfast kicked ass. We're staying at a farmhouse with a family and they gave us a working man's English breakfast. But I can't understand why they call that stuff pudding.

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