If you can’t see it it’s not there.

Two MotoGP stars have ended their careers in recently years, citing invisible illnesses or injury. Casey Stoner I think I have talked about before.

 “…they demand visible proof – a plaster cast, bones protruding through flesh, something they can see. They are not prepared to accept invisible problems…” –Ben Spies on Asphalt and Rubber

I appear to be inadvertently wearing Spies’ helmet colours, partly as I liked the design, partly as the design was discounted on the HJG FG-15 I wanted. This was enough prodding to take enough interest in a the rider in case i was accosted  by a rabid fan. I have not found any in this country yet, but the helmet design gets plenty of comments and questions about who painted it.

I digress, Spies had a number of crashes landing badly on the same shoulder, which contributed to a career ending injury. He left MotoGP a shadow of his former talent, with a large proportion of both the MotoGP circus and fans of the sport unable to comprehend why he’d left because they couldn’t see the injury. I can almost hear the cries of “but you don’t look sick”.

Advertisements

Pirates vs Hipsters

In a land of offensive stereotypes about power rangers and hipsters, I thought I would do my own little anti-type.

Bike: Japanese Retro, shaft drive a bonus, low seat and lightweight. Old and well used. Currently a scruffy 1992 XV535.

Custom Work: Luggage rack, topbox with extra reflective tape. Heated Grips, wider mirrors, fender extensions.

Helmet: White HJC Ben Spies race rep, because animal skulls and damask patterns are cool. And it’s light, cheap, and exhibits Sharp stars.

Eyewear: Black plastic glasses, ironic that they came from specsavers bottom shelf and have a real proscription. Pinlock and Yamaha race rep sunstrip on clear or smoke tint visor.

Facial Expression: Hidden behind chinbar and foggy mask.

Facial Hair: Apathy beard, shaving is time I could be fixing bike or drinking coffee.

Clothing: Black, mostly gore-tex or equivalent, mix of textiles and leather. Occasional stick-on retro-reflective star. Tough and utilitarian touring kit.

Footwear: Retro high-leg motorcycle boots, from Altberg so fully armoured and CE certified

Accessories: flame pattern buff, spare visor

Tattoos: None, due to chronic indecisiveness.

Bitch: Filthy redhead, has battlecry of ATGATT, missing some kit…

Average ride: Twenty miles down back lanes because through town is being dug up / full of traffic / infested with imbeciles, inevitably a social call or to the supermarket.

Jorge Lorenzo’s collarbone.

Last Thursday at Assen, Jorge Lorenzo had an epic 148mph crash, revieving a displaced fracture of his left collarbone. Ouch. See the inconveniently unembeddable video. On the Friday he was flown to Barcelona, had the bone bodged together with some titanium, and flew back to Assen in time to take part in the warm up on the Saturday morning, and was medically cleared to race.

He started 12th and eventually finished 5th, looking uncomfortable throughout the race, and once he passed the chequered flag is was apparent from his body language that he was hurting badly.

She who is mine was not impressed at all was most vocal about this, particularly when the commentators were discussing how full of painkillers he might be. I’m fairly sure most of the really good painkillers suggest avoiding the operation of heavy machinery. Granted a MotoGP bike is pretty light, but it’s still enough to kill someone if it hits them. I share a similar disapproval of operating motor vehicles in a chemically altered state.

So why did Jorge ride? Because he could. Cal Crutchlow resorted to lying to medical staff in order to ride at Silverstone. Becasue he thought he could ride, and ride he did. I’m not going to link to anything about Bradley Smith’s finger, because it’s really gross. But this is what athletes at the peak of their career do. Because not riding is the hard thing to to do.

I can only imagine the physical effort required to ride a race bike like you mean it. My 535 is quite a soft ride, it only made 46 horses when it was new, and currently has a bit of paper from Fi International telling me it makes less than 33bhp and has shit fuel economy and will continue to do so until December 2014. A Yamaha YZR-M1 makes more than 200 more horses. Still a 60 mile trip through the twisties, averaging no more than 40mph for me is enough to be agony when I get off. An hour of dual carriageway or motorway speed? Plan on not getting out of bed the next day. Longer than that, well for a start that’s time to get petrol (535 tank is ten litres before reserve, reserve switch is unreliable) and take break. I’ve simply not done a trip where I’ve used more than a tank of fuel yet. Occasionally I will refuel leaving and arriving as that is where the petrol stations happen to be, but this is usually on shorter trips where I want a full tank and no messing about the next day.

But the days I can, I’m riding. What else would I do?