A few years ago I was hurt and had nothing to do but lay around and think. I came up with these inalienable truths of racing and wrote them down. It was true then and it's true now.
It's been over 100 days since I raced. I think that's the longest no-riding streak since I was 14. The problem has been a badly messed-up left knee with various complications. So for the last three months, my life has been very different. Instead of getting parts from Doctor D for testing, I've been giving parts to real Doctors for testing. Instead of dealing with premix, I've been dealing with pre-authorizations. Instead of taking soil samples I've been giving blood samples. I've got about two more months to go. It might as well be two years.
One good thing about it all: in my time off, I've finally discovered the Truth. I've been claiming to know the Truth all this time, but I wasn't really convinced myself. This was the spin I'd been giving to those people who tell me how racing is a vile habit with no redeeming aspects. I always came up with automatic responses for the sake of argument, but secretly I had doubts. I just wanted to keep racing. Well after not racing or even riding for three months, I've had time to reflect on all those responses. I was right all along! All those stupid things that people say about the evils of racing bikes are even stupider than I imagined.
Racing is expensive. Yes it is. But so is everything else. See, if we don't go racing, then chances are we'll do something else that's even harder on the bank account. In the period that I've been out, I've suddenly had enough time for that bathroom remodeling job. Price: $2000. I've also purchased three or four computer games, gone out to eat almost every night and gone to movies on weekends. Price: another $1000 or so. I suppose that I could have sat around in the house and watched TV, but that would have extracted a toll on my sanity. I probably would have had to start smoking or drinking, and those are expensive habits, too.
Racing is dangerous. Nonsense. The practice of medicine is dangerous. I walked in to the doctor's office on my own two legs. I haven't walked since then. They keep finding more stuff to fix and I never knew any of these things were broken. Sure, the initial problem came from years of racing, but who's to say that I wouldn't have hurt myself worse doing something else? Heck, a friend of mine just had a heart attack at age 32. I'd rather have a bum knee than a flabby cardiovascular system.
Racing is hard on your body. I've gained about 15 pounds since I stopped racing. I've been going to the gym and doing physical therapy, but do you know how hard it is to sit on a rowing machine or a stationary bike for two 20-minute motos when you're used to having fun working out? It's torture! The Geneva Convention would prevent them from doing that to POWs. I'm losing the battle of the bulge at such a rate that I'll have to revalve the suspension in my truck pretty soon.
Racing is hard on relationships. Just the opposite is true. In marriage counseling, they should prescribe motocross. Since I stopped racing, I've been grouchy, I have no patience and I have a short temper. On top of that, I'm always home where no one can escape from me.
Racing is hard on jobs. Not my job. I know, I'm kind of a freak. But since I haven't been able to ride, I haven't been able to test, I haven't been able to get out to photo shoots on the trail, I haven't even been able to work on bikes or ATVs in the garage. I am of virtually no use to anyone. And they wonder why I'm grouchy.
Racing is for those who have an ego problem. No kidding. But you need to understand that racing is the cure, not the cause. Nothing brings you down to earth quite as effectively as getting 24th in a field of 25. In the last few months I've been to 10 races as a spectator. By the second race, I had myself convinced that I could beat half the guys on the track if only I were all healed up. Without the valuable reality check that real racing provides there's nothing to keep Ron's imagination from running wild. And that wouldn't be good for anyone.
Racing requires too much time and dedication. Only if you do it right. The way I do it, racing only eats up the amount of time that I would otherwise spend eating, playing computer games, staring at worthless internet sites and generally being a burden on society.
Racing is violent and destructive. Again, only if done right. Face it, we were all hunter/gatherers at one time. Racers get to zero in for the kill on a regular basis. Non-racers have to get some kind of release otherwise. I'll bet if you poled all the mass murderers and killers in prison across the country, very few of them would be motocrossers. I have no data to back up my assumptions, but then I never do. I just say we empty out death row and put them all in a stadium race. Even if it isn't rehabilitative, it would be a heck of a show.
But really, I'm doing fine. I get the occasional fit of road rage and I might go off a little more often in editorial meetings, but in the end, I'll come out of this just fine. As for everyone around me, that's another subject.