This is why I ride
Today was everything great about owning a bike, or in this case, borrowing one from Ducati.
I woke up early and looked outside. The sun was shining, the weather was warm and there was no breeze—a perfect day for riding in Southern USA. I quickly suit up and head out of Georgia. Ashville, North Carolina was my destination and I was excited to be headed out to the mountains.
The first couple of hours of riding through vibrant fall-coloured trees on flat roads was okay, but not very challenging— for me, or for the bike. When I started to climb up into the mountains, the straights were a long way behind and the fun was about to begin.
If you don’t ride, it’s hard to describe what the next forty miles feels like. You find a mountain pass that you’ve dreamt of often—hairpin corners, beautiful switchbacks, short straights to blast on, and lots of climbing and descending. The almost deserted back roads are the stuff of biking legend. This ride gave me a story I can dine out on for years—the type of story that will never get old.
If this were my local ride, I would get to know the road as well as my best friend. I’d master every corner, anticipate each sharp bend, I’d know which crests you can take at maximum attack, and which ones deserve more respect.
That wasn’t a luxury I had today—this was a one-shot deal. It was time to switch the big Enduro into sports mode. It’s amazing the difference it makes. The suspension firms up, the engine braking seems so much sharper and the power delivery is instant.
This mountain road gives me a chance to apply my favourite formula—accelerate hard; let the front wheel lift just enough off the ground to get the heart racing, brake hard and, with the ABS flashing like crazy, turn in hard. Lean it over, hit the apex and repeat. If you’ve ever ridden a lonely, back road through mountains in fall, you’ll recognise the feeling.
I reached the end of the forty-mile section and my heart pumped a little faster, the forearms were a little tighter and the day was so much sweeter.
Ducati, thanks for the use of the bike. Oh, and by the way, you may need a new set of tyres!