BLOG IT FORWARD: WEEK 4 KEVIN MURPHY
These are some of the highlights of my week.
I was on my way to the store riding my bicycle on the overpass the freeway at rush hour, I noticed a Harley splitting lanes. (Don't ask me why, but I notice certain things and motorcycles are one of them) Traffic was moving really slow and this biker was splitting between #1 and #2 lanes and just when the bike left my vision and went under the bridge I heard glass and metal on concrete scrapping. I rode my bike to the corner of the bridge and looked down and saw the man on the ground and bike on its side. I threw my bicycle over into the ice plant and ran down to help him out. Just as I come up to help him, he pulls his helmet off and to my surprise it was a friend of mine. He seemed to be in some pain but insisted on standing up and moving out of the way to the side of the road. I picked up his bike and pushed the beast to the shoulder. I stayed with him until the ambulance arrived and gave his helmet and vest to his girlfriend. He was lucky it always could be worse but I am glad to say that he was wearing a full-face helmet not a brain bucket like most. He was cut off by someone making a lane change and hit the rear of the car and broke the back window with what I am assuming his head. Glad to say he is ok. Never like to see another biker on ground as I have been there before.
While wrenching in the garage getting ready for the upcoming motorcycle race, my neighbor, who is around the age of 11, came walking over pushing his bike. He is a little shy and in a small voice asked if I had a pump for his flat tire. Of course I had a pump. I filled his front tire and checked his brakes and watched him ride around the block a few times. Whatever that feeling is that happens when you can help someone else is one of the best feelings... whether it is pride or just feeling humbled by some simple task that is effortless to you and puts a smile on someone's face.
Motorcycles are something I love, and competition drives me to try to push myself to new levels. Last Dog Standing is a race that has very different technical challenges. I have raced this event one other time and the outcome was not one that I would call pleasant. At my first attempt I burned my clutch up, overheated and blew my radiator cap off the bike. Also was suffering from exhaustion due to high temps and a very physically demanding race. So this year I had my goals set high. With fitness being on point I concentrated on my bike setup. I had to make sure that I was ready to handle anything.
The night before the race I met up with some teammates and friends and talked while doing some last minute adjustments to the bike. Laughed and looked over each others race machines.
Race morning is always fun and packed full of good vibes and a bit of a scramble to make sure everything is in place. I was one of the last ones to lineup at the starting line and took the very inside line. Green Flag was waved and kicked the bike and off we went. I made it to the first turn in about sixth place. I was picking off guys and not getting passed except by two guys. One being Johnny Campbell who made it clear that the big 2013 450cc factory Honda was a bit faster than my 10 year old 250. The other being Paul Krause who passed me and then blew a turn a lap later while putting some pressure on him. He and I battled the rest of the qualifying race holding him off till the checkers. Stoked! We shared a few high fives and was happy to have such a great guy to share some clean racing with.
Qualifying round went well and put me on row 7 next to my new favorite battle buddy Paul. This race is a little different as it is a knockout type of event with crazy man made obstacles and highly technical riding lines. We took off for Round 1 and Paul got the better of me off the start and followed him for a few miles till I approached the highly popular water crossing. The idea is to ride across a 2 x 6 inch board spanned across a two and a half foot deep pool of recycled stagnate warm muddy water. As I made my approach I noticed three other individuals already had fallen in the water. I picked my line and carefully rode on the board till all of a sudden I was in need of some swim fins and snorkel. I had dropped my front wheel and went over the bars and completely submerged the bike and myself! I yanked up the bike and began to push the bike to the side of the course. I quickly flipped the bike upside down and ran back to my truck and grabbed a new spark plug and wrench. I pulled the plug and watched water pour out of my bike and also saw a lot of the competition raced right by me.
Determined to never give up I flipped the bike over and fired the bike after getting some help from another racer who had done the same to his bike. I lent him the wrench and took off in a mad dash to finish. Finishing within an hour of the leaders to make it to the next round. Drenched and on a mission, I made countless passes and rode the rest of the race clearing all of the obstacles with aggression and ease.
I made it to Round 2 and again started side by side with Paul and once again would pull me off the line. We arrived at the first hill climb and already the riders who started ahead of me were struggling to make the climb. My first attempt was unsuccessful. Second attempt I made it just shy of ten feet of the top. With ten others doing the same, we all were pushing our bikes in a frantic state to finish this round within 25 minutes of the leader to advance to round 3. I muscled my bike up with some help from a rope and three course workers. Blasted through the race until the last section I arrived and looking down an eight-foot waterfall drop. It wasn't the height that got me it was the huge rocks with no line to really "ride" down.
Teaming up with my friend and badass Michael Allen who was in front of me, carried and walked his bike down some sections. It’s not like it was one time, this "trail" they had marked as "race course" wasn't something that you would want to walk down. Now doing this with a 240 pound ripping hot motorcycle is something a bit more challenging. The guy behind me tried to ride down one of the sections that didn't seem too intense and ended up going over the bars and trapped underneath his bike pinning him face down. I hiked up as fast as I could to free his feet from the bike and lift the bike up off him. I helped him turn his bike around in an area the size of an airplane bathroom.
As much as I like being challenged it seemed to be a never ending drop off after drop off. Finally descending to the bottom of this canyon the finish line was in sight just passing over six or so trees laying on their sides in another pool of rank smelling water that is still trapped in my boots. Finishing the race in 11th place and missing the cutoff to the third and final round by ten minutes.
Fun day and had a great time watching the eight guys race that made it to the last round. Hanging out with some great people and exchanging some well deserved high fives. I felt great before during and after the event knowing I had some good karma heading my way and felt prepared for the challenge. Wish every week was action packed like this one.
Thanks to Tom Walker, Craig Thompson and Kevin Driver for some good laughs and interesting bets that I think are still yet to be paid up on. Also to my Dad and five year old little sister who told me after the race "don't get stuck in the mud again, right?" Thanks to Dan Lykken for taking these photos of the race. Enjoy!