This past weekend, we, being Kenny, me, and a couple of friends of his from his previous deployment, all went down to Deal's Gap to ride the Dragon's Tail. Kenny and I had done it before, staying in Fontana and riding to it the next morning, but this time we stayed in Maryville (which is actually further away?) because the resort we stayed at before was booked up.
Because I've ridden a motorcycle a grand total of 6 days, I declined taking mine. The Dragon's Tail is a brutal 318 curves in 11 miles, PLUS the curves on the road coming in. I already knew what to expect and I knew it was certain I wouldn't be able to do it.
But Kenny and I had a goal: He can lean the bike far enough over that there's a really good chance I can touch the ground. That was going to happen this weekend. On the first run up through, he went through there a lot harder than he had the first times we'd gone through there on our first visit. He pushed our chicken line down even further than the first time, which is saying a lot because there were only millimeters before the edge of the tire on our last trip.
We stopped, took a break, stretched our legs, then turned around because it was starting to get dark and it's easier to navigate during daylight. We let his friends lead the way back since we'd pushed so hard on the way up, and we stopped at the lookout once we completed the majority of it.
It was that last big left hand horseshoe that bit us. We haven't figured out if it was me, or if Kenny didn't set up for the curve right or what, but the bike wouldn't get through that last turn, and so we went down. Kenny and the bike ate dirt, I went flying and it was only because I had that split second that my injuries aren't anywhere close to severe. I jammed my thumbs bracing for impact, and I've got a bit of road rash where I tried to prop myself up before I stopped moving, but I rolled and managed to slide on my back, and the second I stopped moving, I had my helmet off and I was running to check on Kenny... who was in the midst of blacking out.
The good news here is that we're both fine. Well, as fine as you can be after wrecking a motorcycle.
Kenny, being the rider, got the brunt of the injuries - collarbone and rib bruising, some light scrapes. I'm left with residual pain in my left hip, some bruising, and a nasty scrape on my left arm. But THAT IS WHY YOU WEAR GEAR. I knew it. I knew why. Now, with torn up jackets, I see the full reason.
His bike lost a mirror and some of the side fairings and part of the clutch handle, but mechanically it's still sound as ever, so last night we ordered his new things. They'll get here anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, so it'll be a fun project both for him and me. He doesn't care to ride his bike around duct taped together (once the clutch is fixed, that is) so that's how we'll be getting to the Moto GP in a couple weeks time.
His mirror, thanks to the friends who went out riding the next day, has been added to the Tree of Shame.