Thursday, October 7, 2010

Record Reflections

It was a huge thrill to return home from the Bonneville Salt Flats with the motorcycle world land speed record once again. What makes it even more special is that my entire family, my wife Tricia, my daughter Kristin, my stepsons Mario and Ryan and even my mom and dad were there to share it with me. My brother Buddy and his new companion Bernadette were also there. Buddy has been with me from the start, when the first team I drove for didn't think it was necessary that I have my own, properly fitting fireproof race suit to wear in case my machine caught fire, which they tend to do on occasion.

The picture on the right is exactly what I'm talking about. My wife, bless her heart, has stood beside me since we've been together. My racing scares the hell out of her. She's been there when a fellow competitor drew his last breath, or when the driver for a team pitted beside us was life-flighted away after losing control of his machine while chasing his dream. If it weren't for her I wouldn't have ran this season. She knew how bad I wanted the record back; she told me she thought I could do it and that she was behind me if I wanted to go again. Gotta love her...

My niece Nikki and a handful of close friends also came out to lend a hand and offer their support. Paul Iwanaga, RC Jones, Scott Jensen, Ed Chamberlain and several others came all the way out to the Utah desert to spend the week on the salt flats; to eat bad casino food, and to get sun burnt in places not meant to see the sun. My dad brought a group of friends from Hawthorne Nevada. His health isn't what it used to be, so the fact that he even came was more special to me than he will ever know. Those guys know how to have a good time too. They set up camp next to the timing tower. They had their coolers, umbrellas and lawn chairs, and tossed horseshoes in between runs while enjoying each other's company.

One thing I found interesting, the longer I do this, the more work it becomes. My average weight is around 180, but my ideal weight, ie., the weight I'm most comfortable in the bike is 175. This year it took me nearly 3 months to get in fighting trim. I lost the weight, felt strong, physically and mentally, but it just used to come so much easier! I guess I do like having the racing as the carrot I use to force myself to get in shape. That and the fact the my wife just quit feeding me about the last week before we left for Bonneville!

Somehow during the meet my mom noticed a tear in my racing suit. Like old times she got out a needle and thread and found some matching cloth and took care of me. How lucky can a guy be?

The meet itself was a struggle from the beginning. Handling issues, an engine swap, and a damaged transmission had us hustling the entire meet. The team worked hard, burning the midnight oil on several occasions. In the end it must have been meant to be. We upped the record to 376.363 mph (pending ratification by the FIM) We had an official exit speed on the final run of 394 mph, and unofficially, our data logger showed we exceeded 400 mph before deceleration. This is a personal triumph for me, our team, and of course my family and friends.

I was recently asked what I get for doing this. (as in, what kind of reward) I told this person the reward is in doing it. It's not about the money, the trophies, or the notoriety. Its about pushing yourself to do something outside your comfort zone because its important to you. Whether you succeed or not isn't what's important. What is is that you gave it your all; you left nothing on the table when it was all said and done. When the Top 1 Ack Attack team loaded everything up at the end of the meet, even our table was broken. They used it all and went home smiling.

Thanks for the memories...












Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ride Annie Ride

A close friend of the family is going through a very tough time. Annie Goeden is 28 years old and is suffering from osteosarcoma, a form of cancer that starts in the bones. She has a son, Jacob, who is just turning 4. Annie's 'bucket list' consists of a trip to Hawaii (which Tricia's dad and Darla recently took her too) and to ride on the back of a 'Harley'.

Tricia and I are working to grant her second wish, only in a much grander fashion. Annie doesn't know it, but we are putting a charity ride together celebrating Annie's life. If you live in northern California, please join us for fun, great food, and a chance to meet Annie and some really special friends.
The ride starts in Grass Valley, winds through hilly hwy 20 to Yuba City. We pick up Annie and head to the Sutter Buttes for a scenic, leisurely ride. We end up at Sam Brannan Park for a bbq and a chance for everyone to meet and share their experiences on the ride and to meet Annie.
Mark April 24th on your calender. Please RSVP so we know you're coming.
Thanks!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A New Year...Time for an Update

Well the new year is here and I've had so many of you wanting an update on everything from my brother's accident and how his recovery is doing, to my current writing projects, and maybe a little about the world land speed record. I decided to leave my blog untouched for a year so friends and family could read about my brother and share their comments. Thanks to everyone who left a note of encouragement.

First off, my bro is doing much better. So good, in fact, that they recently gave him his drivers license back. That's big news because Buddy designs and builds large metal harvesting equipment, water storage tanks and the like. Can you imagine having to deliver a 20,000 gallon water tank on your bicycle? Oh the humanity... Not to mention I'm sure by now he was getting a little chapped in the saddle and a bad case of Popeye legs.

Here's a picture of him on the road to recovery. (he's the one on the right) As you can see he's still in a cast and the accident appears to have stunted his growth a little. Oops, wait... that's me and Bud next to my mom (wow, with a mile high hairdo!) back in the early seventies. I guess I'll look harder for some better pictures...

Bud's next big goal is to get his pilot's license back so he can do what he loves best, flying. I never did understand his affliction to flying. That stuff is dangerous.

On his time off, the Bud Man has been playing his share of golf and as you can see here, he's been hitting the waves too... For a while he was experiencing circulation problems, but that was traced to his extremely tight shorts.

Due to some technical difficulties, it seems the only pictures that keep popping up are from quite some time ago. I think I hit the "way back" button by mistake when I began downloading his pictures.

I've got a better idea. Instead of reminiscing about the good old days with these photos, how about watching this quick video instead:

video
This was a lot of fun creating and I got to present it to my brother on Christmas morning. Just having him around to share it with and have a laugh and maybe shed a tear for our sister who is no longer with us was good for the soul.

Bud still has a long road ahead. In a week or two he's going in for surgery on his shoulder for a torn rotater cuff. He recently had one of his hips replaced and he even helped redesign the hip socket the doctor used...seriously! His eye still needs a little work which will happen at a later date. Once all these surgeries are behind him he'll be ready to take on the world. Luckily, his business is still moving forward and keeping busy under his control.

As for me, over the last year or so I've had feature articles I've written land in Thunder Press, Easyriders Magazine, and Ultimate Motorcycling. My monthly column at MotorcycleUSA.com is doing great and I just finished writing my 22nd edition: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/287/5330/Motorcycle-Article/Salt-Addiction-Joe-Amo.aspx I have another book in the works that I'm hoping to finish writing in March. This one is fiction and a step in a new direction that I'm excited about. Thanks for stopping by and checking us out.

Enjoy the ride.

Rocky Robinson