The editor is on an eight-day tour of Texas that started yesterday with his arrival at the Colin Edwards Texas Tornado Boot Camp near Lake Conroe and will culminate with the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas on Sunday in Austin. He’s promised a daily blog of his travels. We’ll see if he lives up to that.
Pretty much every muscle in my body hurts today after day one of the Texas Tornado Boot Camp. None more than my stomach after spending the majority of last night laughing until I cried at the numerous Colin Edwards stories as the majority of the 32 in camp (including instructors) sat around, swilled beers and bench-raced. I guess you can go ahead and add slight headache to my list of pains. Such is life at the Boot Camp.
Yesterday was one of those days that make you realize just how much fun motorcycles can be. The day started slowly with many of the campers showing up for check-in and move-in day at around noon. We got riding at around 3:30.
Day one on the numerous tracks at Edwards facility began with the group being split into two halves so the staff could evaluate and divide based on the riding level of the students. It took me exactly three laps before I took somebody out, but it must have impressed someone enough to put me in the A group. Unfortunately my target was Steve Parrish, one of the commentators on the BBC feed of MotoGP. I got in a little hot and took out Steve’s front wheel and he hit the deck. Fortunately, I’ve known him since about 1978 so he was only mildly upset. It wasn’t the last time Parrish crashed (I lost count at five), but it was the only time I he could blame me.
Not long after bragging that I was going to go crash free on day one, I went ahead and plowed the front end, slamming my right side into terra firma. Fortunately, at the last minute before riding, I’d opted for a set of elbow guards. My smartest decision of the day.
The first thing you notice when you stop riding at the camp is that your teeth are covered in orange grit. You can try it at home if you like: Just empty your bag of Cheetos in the sand and then start eating them. The reason it gets to your teeth here is that you’re smiling the entire time your riding. Okay, there’s probably also a little open-mouth breathing to blame as well.
The staff here makes all of this fun and day one didn’t consist of anything other than just riding and riding and riding. Today will feature instruction and some drills as we build on what we already know.
What I know is that I have to find a few seconds out on the big track they use for the Superpole session that is run at the end of every day. I ended up in eighth of the 32 who did the flying lap that Edwards hand-times – I had two instructors, James Rispoli and four others ahead of me. The one I have my target set on is Florian, Edwards’ crew chief who has me by .2 of a second. Flo Jo is going down today. Not so for Shea Fouchek, the former road racer who led Superpole yesterday. He’s got some seven seconds on me – and although the Superpole track is rather long, it isn’t the Isle of Man so seven seconds is a lot. Let’s just say that if Fouchek didn’t sleep well last night, it wasn’t because he was fretting over me.
Edwards didn’t ride, but from what I hear he saves his best until last. He waits until everyone does Superpole on the final day, then goes out and kicks everyone’s derriere. The instructors who have beaten him brag about it as much as they can, mostly behind his back, and it’s easy to tell that it doesn’t sit well with Colin. It also doesn’t happen very often.
As he says, “This is my house.”
That’s it for now. More coffee is calling my name and I hear bikes being warmed up outside.
To read part one click here.