All of us can agree that drinking and/or using drugs when you operate a car, or a motorcycle, is a terrible idea. But here’s the story of one reader who had a very strange encounter with somebody who was ridin’ high.
It comes from Lanesplitter reader dudemanbrocuz, and I added paragraph breaks for readability (hey, I’m the editor, it’s what I do):
I was riding with a bunch of dudes up the back side of Mount Rainier one summer afternoon. The road is known locally for being insane and insanely challenging. It is a beautiful twisty thing way out in the boonies and on the map it seems like a nice road to test your skills on. But when you get there you discover that the road is not only twisty in the horizontal axis, but is a literal roller coaster of whoop-de-doos. It goes up and down as much as it goes side to side. I was riding my new Ninja 1000 and the dude I am thinking about was on a 1-year-old ZX-14. Heavy bikes.
So, we get to the relevant portion of the road and he and I take off from the pack. I have never been there before and so I (perhaps naively) hit it hard. I am confident I can dust this guy who has more horsepower than I do but is riding what I consider to be sort of a bus. We go into the first turn that has a real vertical component and my front wheel floats right up off the pavement on the drop like it was full of helium. I am not even really on the gas. It was fun, for a second.
But immediately the road curved hard to the left. My front wheel was still in the air spinning lazily when it should have been on the asphalt digging-in and turning me. I tapped the rear brake to regain some control. The front wheel smacked down, chirped a bit, and then did its job nicely. My pulse was....rapid. I backed off the throttle a bit and dialed the aggression setting down to maybe 85%. It was hard as hell to keep the front on the ground, and to modulate the throttle so that I didn’t bottom out on the dips. It was fun, challenging, and exciting as hell. It was a real test of riding skills. Really.
But here’s the thing. Dude on the ZX-14 was just....gone. I mean, he sailed through that section like he was on a hover bike. It was like...”Is he even on the same road as I am?” A couple times I wondered whether he had simply gone into the trees and ferns on the first curve and I had ridden past him, trying as hard as I could to catch up when in reality he had died almost immediately and I was riding away from the crash scene.
When the road opened up again and I could see ahead, there he was, half a mile or so in front of me, standing by his bike at the side of the road with his helmet off. I pulled up and switched my bike off. I remember thinking, well, there’s always someone faster than you. So we stand there talking for a bit, he’s giggling and talking about Shakespeare and Top Ramen, and the rest of the pack pulls up.
We chat for a bit until it is time to continue up the mountain. People start to grab their helmets and stuff, and Dude asks the group, “Anyone want a smoke?”
I thought that was weird because people don’t normally offer cigarettes around. Everyone declines and Dude shrugs it off. He reaches into his tank bag and pulls out a baggie of weed and a small pipe. I must have looked like a LOLCAT cuz I was all like, “WTF?” He hits the pipe and I had to ask, “Dude, you smoke when you ride?” He was like, “All the time. Helps me concentrate and relax at the same time.” I said, “You already smoked today?” He said, “Yeah, right before we left the gas station.”
Mind blown. Assumptions evaporated. here was some new data that my mind had to assimilate. It seemed to violate some laws of motorcycle biophysics that I was pretty sure were not really up for debate. The evidence was right in front of me and so I could not do any kind of denial or tell myself a story that would return my world to normal. I shoved it back into the rear of my brain for later analysis. But, here we go again. So, Dude has just hit his pipe pretty hard. He gears up, climbs on his bike, and tears ass up the mountain road. I was thinking, “OK, now I can at least get in front of him so I don’t have to see the crash.”
So I take off as hard as I can. I am like two seconds behind him, riding the Ninja like I really had to be somewhere...and he just walks away from me. I cannot keep up with him.
Understand, I am a GOOD rider. I have been canyon racing since the ‘70’s. But Dude just ghosts it up the mountain like he lives on this street. Once again, by the time I get to the top of the hill there he is, standing there smiling, helmet and gloves off. I am out of breath, and my heart is beating hard from the exertion and excitement of pushing it really hard up the mountain.
I roll up and am sort of laughing about the new information I am learning, when he pulls out his last, best trick. So, we are standing there, waiting for the other guys to catch up, when he opens his tank bag. I have some water and a couple Power Bars in my tank bag, and it seems like a good time for a snack. I figure he has some sort of bike snack in there as well.
But Dude pulls out a big-ass white Styrofoam container of still-hot Chinese take-out. It was beef teriyaki with rice AND set of chopsticks. He pulls out a can of Diet Coke and some napkins, sits down cross-legged on the short wall overlooking the canyon below, and says something about a really nice day for a ride.
So, you know, ....the dispensary.
Do not try that at home. But still... damn.
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