7.10.11 Day 18 Its become about the people and not the riding.
Alarm clock rings at 6 am and its time to get back to the track to finish loading. We want to be in NY around 9am because the competitor that is letting us park the rig at his house is having a reality show being filmed about him and I wanted to get some laundry done so I had to get it done before the filming got started. This will also get Jake to the airport early so he can try to catch an earlier flight.
8:30 rolls around and we finish breaking everything down and loading. We normally get things done quicker but we are both tired and dragging our feet a little. We go back to our bed and breakfast, take showers and then pack up our personal belongings. We don’t get to our competitors place until 10AM or so. Let’s call our competitor Will for now. He probably doesn’t mind if I use his real name but out of respect for his privacy(you’ll understand later) we will give him an alias.
Will lives in a rather large and luxurious estate in upstate NY. There are three different houses, a huge pond, and private museum full of rare motorcycles, cars ATVs, snowmobiles and even leathers and race suits from famous racers. He even has a few race suits that the cast wore from Talladega nights. I have been to this place once before a few years back. We were racing in New Jersey and we destroyed a dry sump oil pump and he was the closest one with a pump. Unfortunately he was several hours away and it was already late at night. The pump he had was also already installed on the car so not only did we stay up all night driving to his place in NY from NJ, but we also had to remove the pump off the car while trying not to make a mess in his pristine museum. We got back to NJ just an hour before the car had to be on track and we were finishing the pump install as the driver was climbing into the car and belting in. Crazy night, but not the worst I have been through. Anyways, back to New York…….
Will has a full time mechanic to take care of all his vehicles and also a driver coach/ engineer. Peter is the mechanic and Erik is the coach/engineer. They are both motorcycle guys with lots and lots of experience in the bike and racing industry. It was great to hang out with them a little bit and talk about the rarity of Will’s collection. There were a few bikes that I have never seen before in person and that’s a big deal because I have seen a lot of rare bikes. There is one in particular that I couldn’t help drooling over and had to roll then stuff my tongue back in my mouth. I wish I could post pictures of these bikes but since it’s a private collection, I really don’t want to betray Will’s trust by posting it for all to see. This holds true for pictures of his racetrack too since it was a lot of work politically to get the racetrack up and running.
We dropped the trailer off and I got my laundry started. Then Jake and I went to get some lunch, some burgers and wings at Hudson Diner I think it was called. It was a baseball themed restaurant that served concession stand style food. It wasn’t bad, I was starving so I could have eaten anything. When we got back, the film crew was already there and were about to film Will letting his prized white finned koi loose into his pond. These koi have been living in a long slender aquarium at his place in NYC and have long since overgrown the slender aquarium. They were having trouble turning around so Will decided it was better to let them free in the large pond than to watch them suffer in their aquarium. BTW, this isn’t an ordinary aquarium either, it was one of those that separated two different rooms and was super fancy as you would expect from a billionaire philanthropist. We watched the film crew film Will and his family release the massive koi into the pond then Peter took us around the racetrack in their personal Nissan 370Z safety car they had just finished building. The track is just over a mile long so it isn’t huge, but it has plenty of elevation change and even a 30 degree banking if I remember right. Then he showed up the observation deck that was being built that would overlook the racetrack and the proposed rally course. Absolutely insane stuff. Jake and I jokingly(kind of)asked to take a car or a bike out for a spin and Peter said there might be a chance we get to ride a bike out there later. Sweet! I’m not thinking it’s a sure thing at all, but just thinking about it was awesome. The track was just paved and not fully cured yet so a car couldn’t go out at speed, but a bike was no problem. Unfortunately, the filming crew was there and Jake had to go catch his flight so it was a no go for him. I had to stick around and finish my laundry.
One of the estate helpers was supposed to do my laundry for me(weird feeling to have someone else do something for me) but she had not put my clothes in the dryer yet so I threw them in myself around 4 o clock. This is much much later than I had expected. I was hoping to be gone by 2pm so I could start making my way to New Hampshire via CT, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. When the laundry was finally done, I packed everything up, got suited up and ready to ride. It was already 5 pm or so at this point so I wasn’t going to make it far today. Then the film crew showed up at the museum/workshop so I couldn’t leave just yet. They filmed the museum, the crew working on some race carts and some other stuff around the place. By the time they finished, it was almost 6 and I was just thinking about going back to Lime Rock and camping there since it would probably be free. Peter, however, offered to let me sleep at his place for the night and I could get up early and head out from there. Seriously, when I started this trip, I thought the highlight would be the riding and the scenery, but the people I have met is really what has made this trip so incredible so far. I must have done something awesome in a past life to deserve the generosity people have shown me thus far. Its encouraging to know that there are people out there who are willing to help out basically a complete stranger. I have always been the type to help people in any way I can, but people have gone above and beyond for me and I truly wish there was a way for me to repay every one of them.
I take Peter’s offer to crash at his place so I stuck around until he could get off work. Peter mentioned there was a chance that we may get to ride on track as part of the reality show. Basically it would show that Will has a bunch of friends that he just lets use the track when he’s not on it so a small group of us would be riding around the track. A little bit, later, we hear a bike going around the track and its one of Will’s friends on his MV Agusta F4. Then Will comes down and says, “ I just setup the show so that I heard someone running around the track and now I’m gonna go join them with some other buddies. I have leathers for everyone and a couple of bikes, let’s go!” Peter and I both have our own bikes there so we were going to ride them, but Erik got to ride a Ducati, Will jumped on his KTM RC8 and another guy rode one of the Bimotas. I quickly unloaded all my bags and leathered up and so did everyone else. We rode up to the racetrack and went out in groups of 4 since that was the legal limit of bikes on track at a time. It was already getting late and quiet time for the track was at 7 so they did a bit of filming, then I got on track for a few laps and it was time to shut it down. I only got maybe 4 laps but it was enough to have fun and drag some knees. I also rode a highly banked corner for the first time on a motorcycle so that was really cool. The track is super busy with lots of back to back corners with very short straights so there is always something going on. Peter said that I should come back on my way back south and we could get more track time. I wasn’t planning on coming back that way, but now I might have to change my plans. Really amazing stuff. This morning, I had no idea that I would be riding Jess on a private racetrack while being filmed for a reality show for the second largest network in Europe. Crazyness!!!
With the excitement over and the film crew leaving, Peter and Erik could finally leave so they finished up around the shop and closed it down. Erik has been in the motorcycle and racing industry for years and has an incredible resume and knows a ton of people in the business so he made me take his number down incase I ran into any troubles and he would help me out in any way he can. Peter and Erik are both awesome guys and genuinely wanted to help and support me. It was incredible to have just met them that day and they were doing that for me. I may have said this before, but the ride is no longer about the riding or the beautiful scenery. It has now become about meeting people.
The shop all closed up, I follow Peter back to his parents place so he can drop off his bike and pick up his truck and dog. On the way there, we see the nicest sunset I’ve seen in a long time. The sun was dropping right over the Catskill Mountains. At Peter’s parents place, I meet his dog and mother. His dog, BJ, is an American Pit but the nicest dog ever and is solid as a rock with huge paws. After Peter drops his bike off, we go to his place down the street. He has a workshop behind his house and a creek behind it. He tells me of a flood that recently happened where the water rose about 5 feet into the shop and ruined so much of his equipment and a dirt bike, but miraculously his Suzuki GSXR 750 wasn’t damaged. He showed me a picture of the GSXR with water up to the seat. He was so lucky that bike wasn’t ruined. Peter ordered us a pizza and wings and apparently paid for it, when the pizza man showed up I got up to give him cash but noticed it was already paid for. Man, the next one is on me Peter. We had dinner and watched Speed TV for a while and I tried to catch up on the blog. Bj kept putting his head right on my lap begging to be petted so I obliged. What a cool dog. I was too exhausted to write too much so I called it quits and went to bed. Its been a good day.