You know you're having a weird week when you can't summarize your past weekend until Thursday.
In any case, here we go!
I cruised home on Friday to see the parentals and my sister and bro-in-law, Don and Michelle, with nothing in mind for the weekend except racing.
After going to see The Wedding Crashers on Friday night ("Let's go kill something! I'm psyched!"), we pretty much went back to Don and Michelle's and went to bed.
Because we had to wake up at 4:15am.
Every year, Don loads up his motorcycle (a beauty of a CBR 929) and goes to several "track days". Basically, a bunch of studs in leathers and helmets go out on a road coarse and drive around - fast.
I'm totally there.
Because we decided to forgo Brickyard quals this year, this was my very first track day, and I was superstoked.
After breakfast at a truck stop with the crew of guys we were going to be hanging out with all day, we roll into Putnam Park and set up our pit, meeting other racer boys and scoping out the entire setup. Michelle and I decide to go to the driver's meeting, only to find we were the only chicks there, and apparently were the main source of entertainment for the drivers ("You guys got pork chops around your neck? What's with the staring?").
The guys finally suit up for their first session (Don and his friends, The Other Don (TOD), Randy (otherwise known as Boomhauer), Rudy and several others are all riding intermediate. Roddy, a flashy spinner of tales, is riding expert) and take off.
Michelle and I watch the track from pit road, and it's AMAZING to watch these guys fly by at 140mph on the straighaway, and then bank into the turns with their knees on the pavement.
Of course, as soon as the first session is over, all the guys flock together to discuss every nuance of the track, every throttle, every brake. Michelle and I have already nicknamed half the guys at the track...Skater Boy, Brit Man, Ducati Guy, Mohawk Boy (who put a mohawk on his helmet!), Obey...
Finally it's time for the second session (there are three groups, and each spends 20 minutes on the track every hour from 9am to 5pm). TOD and Boomhauer have never been to Putnam before, but had been screaming around the track during the first session. Don tends to be a pretty conservative driver - wanting to find his marks and sweep the turns than to run full out.
Not so much for Boomhauer.
I saw the whole thing.
The bike highsided and flew through the air one way.
Boomhauer flew at least 10 feet in the air the other way.
Ambulances went screaming out, the guys loaded into a pickup to get Boomhauer's bike, and his son hopped into the care center with his dad.
Turns out, Boomhauer didn't break, rupture or destroy anything, but he's going to be really, really sore. Flying off a bike into air for ten feet then rolling for a while will do that to you.
Of course, this became the main topic of conversation for hours after the wreck, because Boomhauer's bike was TOTALLED.
This, apparently, is a really rare event at Putnam. I tried to take some photos of the carnage, but these hardly do it justice.
Finally the excitement died away, and everyone retreated to their tents for lunch. Not that the tents were any cooler than the open air...
Also, I'm pretty sure we were the only pit dining on peel and eat shrimp, potato salad, and rice krispy treats. Let it be said the Priddis clan always travels in style...
After the next session, Don discovered that the brace that holds his brake fluid in place had snapped in half during his last run. Good thing Boomhauer was still around...we managed to salvage the one good piece on his bike. ;-)
After some creative problem solving and a lot of twisting with a wrench, we managed to fit the bolt to Don's bike. Let it be said that this member of his pit crew was on the ball that day!
A couple more session go by, one in which Roddy (in the expert class) overevved himself and ended up dropping a rod out of his bike. And then there were two...
Don goes out for the second to last session, and Michelle and I decide to watch the run from the tower, which is higher up - and air conditioned!
The guys are all circling track, and I'm trying to watch speeds for some of the guys when Michelle gasps and pointed to turn 9.
A biker had slid off the track and into the grass, and had bounced and rolled about 20 feet.
Yeah, it was Don.
He'd caught a bump in the track (which all the guys agreed was treacherous), and the bike just couldn't correct. His flight was nearly as spectacular (or painful) as Boomhauer's, and his bike is in much better shape.
So we do we have to end the day at Putnam? Yeah, another damn ambulance ride...
Don's now the proud owner of a sprained ankle, a bruised knee, a broken rib, an achy shoulder and a bout of wounded pride. All the guys were great about helping us load up, examine damage, brace the bike and everything else we had to do to pack up. Michelle had to drive home, and did a kick ass job of driving with the trailer for the very first time. The bike is salvageable, but not exactly pristine...
But then again, I guess the same can be said about poor old Don:
Despite all the drama of track day (two ambulance rides, three broken bikes, 100 degree heat, less riders than usual, and a group of guys unlike any other), I had a freakin' BLAST! It was so much fun, and I'm totally signing up to go next year.
Assuming I'm not bad luck.
Wanna see all the Putnam Park pictures? Click here.
The rest of the weekend was great too - the fam got together to watch our HOMETOWN BOY, Tony Stewart, win the Brickyard. Columbus was mighty happy for their native son. :-)
And now I'm back home in TinyTown and the days seem to be getting shorter and shorter, but with more and more to do. Such is the end of summer...
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find out more about motorcycle schools so I can learn to ride...