April 24, 2005

The Truth About Motocross

I originally posted this essay on Motodrive last week. It's still true!

For many, MANY of us, motocross became real when we had our first whiff of two-stroke cologne, that sweet, unmistakable (and irreplaceable) bouquet of castor-oil based exhaust.

Then there was that first time we saw someone REALLY fast blitz through a turn at a clearly impossible speed and shower us with roost... and we couldn't take our eyes off of him even under threat of permanently inflicted eye damage.

Then there was the first time we witnessed the flight of a motocross motorcycle. It didn't matter if it was 6 feet or 60, the grace of the arc etched itself into our mental dictionaries, right under the definition of "so damn cool".

And of course, there was the time we took to the air on our own, finally sampling that addictive weightless rush. There's no telling how many bones have been broken in the pursuit of that special feeling, but it doesn't even matter: we heal up and go for it again and again.

Then there is the spectacle that is Supercross. Supercross is nothing if not Super, and it overwhelms with its size from the moment we enter the expansive parking lots, trek (literally for miles) into the massive stadiums, wade through thousands of people and thousands of seats to finally gorge our eyes on a track made up of small mountains. We watch our heroes, giants all, as they soar several stories high. And we cheer for our privateer brothers as they struggle to overcome their own mortality, becoming heroes themselves in the process. (Of course, as spectators we have our own struggle with the enormous bathroom lines and sky-high food and drink prices...)

But it really all comes down to those magical Sundays standing trackside when the National Championship is being contested by the fastest motocrossers the world has ever seen. We cheer and we scream and we clap, but mostly we watch in complete and utter awe, not quite believing that these racers are only human, as they do things on their motorcycles that, basically, make no sense at all. Yet it reaches us way deep down in our gut... on a spiritual level, even. And at the end of a racing day, even if our favorite rider somehow disappointed, we still go home with the supremely happy feeling that WE ARE MOTOCROSS, and we wear our dirt with pride.

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