She’s ready in the hot pit lane, visor turned up, her heart pounding. Her hand is ready on the throttle, her fingers gripping its rubber sleeve, tense inside her leather gloves. Her feet are timidly inching her motorcycle forward as the pack is let loose by the grid marshal, row by row. With a wave, it’s her turn and she’s off! She’s rolling on the throttle, shoving her knee outward and pressing her chest to the gas tank with her eyes toward the corner exit. All anxiety, the rest of the world in fact, is now gone. She’s focused, alone on a ribbon of tarmac that seems as wide as the ocean, with no one but her peers nearby. Her fear is now replaced with endorphins that flood into her veins with each sweeping corner, each strip of rumbles snaking by like rainbow-colored worms.
“Who’s the girl on the bike?” you might ask. Well, she could be any of us. Maybe this was her first track day, or her second or her third. Maybe she’s riding a 250, a 600 or a big bike. I prefer to think she’s anyone who takes a risk, buys a set of leathers, and signs up for a track day. She’s the girl who loads her bike (with help) into the back of her truck at4:00, sometimes3:00 a.m.on a Saturday morning when it’s much easier to slap a snooze button instead of drive to the track.
I have to say this last track day at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway with Trackdaz.com was worth the early wake-up time and withstanding the frigid morning temps to set up our pit area. This track day was unique because for the first time, I pitted with two other female riders. Well, actually three (#3 had been designated “pit crew” for the weekend). Do you know how incredibly rare that is? Yes, you will see several women riding their bikes to tech inspection at a track day, but they’ll each be on their own and they’ll hardly talk to each other. How often do you see three girls riding their bikes together to tech inspection? I can almost guarantee you’ve never seen it, with the exception for maybe a women’s-only event.
So it’s finally happened. We managed to gather a group of girls at a track day without “women’s-only” in the event title. This is huge! It’s a step to the future, toward a ubiquitous presence in all things moto-related. As we stood there beside our bikes while the instructors poked and prodded our machines, I couldn’t help but think how awesome it would be to make it happen again.
At the end of the day, I had a chance to ride with Oki and Christine and we traded places during our Indian laps, each one making the other faster, learning something from the one another. I don’t mean to be mushy and stop me if you feel the need to hit your gag reflex with your finger, but to be out there on the track with my girl-friends was definitely one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had. Yes, we can all go on our own and pit separately. We can improve with each track day, getting faster and smoother with every lap, becoming more confident, efficient riders. But nothing can replace those priceless moments you get to dice back and forth through the corners with your friends. No intimidation. No gossip. No pre-conceived judgments. Just us girls on our bikes having some fun while chasing the boys. Now that’s what it’s all about!