Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Ninety degrees that wont leave my mind..

im obsessed with a curve. on the road, unfortunately, and not on a girl. i dunno if you relate to this kinda obsession, but sometimes something seemingly inoccuous seizes your imagination in an inexplicable manner, and you just follow it, and dont question why. this curve is like that, sorta. its on my usual office route, a rather dangerously sharp one thats a proper corner, ninety fucking degrees. just barely qualifies to be a curve. but ever since the first time i've ridden it, its been like a yardstick to me. i nearly crashed the first time, since i didn't expect such a sharp curve at the end of what has now become a 120 kmph stretch for me. nearly hit the sidewalk the first time, banking so low over the sand covering the edges of the road that i couldnt utter the standard-issue set of expletives since i was pretty much sure i had my heart in my mouth. and i have been hooked since. it has become the highlight of my daily commute to office, a sort of scale against which i try and self assess my riding ability. the obsession is to master this curve.

its a seemingly simple task, and i could say that i have done it to a good degree of success, but somehow that doesnt do it for this particular curve. it lies there every morning, regardless of everything else around, as an open challenge. and somehow, i kinda think it demands to be taken perfectly. thats the essence of the obsession. i may not become perfect at anything else i do ever in my life, but i have to be perfect when i take this curve. i dunno if you can relate to that kind of a thought, especially since i cant relate to it myself. i mean, its nonsense, if you think of it. i try to dismiss all thoughts about this curve when i start my ride in the morning, but halfway down the ride i'm plotting already. i have my best speeds and lines, yesterday's speeds and line, calculations about what i'll do today, thoughts about traffic, all running through my mind as i approach it. i dump speed as i enter it, bank as low as i dare keeping as much speed as possible and wondering if there's enough traction, open throttle at the apex, make sure my line misses the gravel and then take a quick peek at the speedometer to figure if i've done good, all in the space of a second or less.

and the next few minutes are spent contemplating on where i can improve, what i did wrong, etc. sometimes it goes as far as affecting my day, in a way. i look at it as a horoscope on some random days. if something has changed about the curve, say for instance theres a vehicle parked there restricting my antics, or someone's unloaded gravel or theres shattered glass lying around after an accident, then i kinda think the day might be different too. not your usual black-n-white good-or-bad omen, just a vague inkling. most often it turns out to be nonsense, but for at least half a kilometer after the curve, these are usually the thoughts that hit me.

the funny thing is, i have a suspicion that i would never know when i have done it perfectly. i have a feeling that in the middle of all this, i might not be the best judge of what's perfect and whats not. and judgement obviously isnt easy when your butt is hanging off to the right of the seat, your shoe is scraping the ground, your heart plus some assorted innards are trying to get into your mouth and people are looking at you like you've lost it. and that's what gets to me. i might take this curve perfectly, hell i might already have, and i'll probably never know. Ive tried different criteria, none worked. i initially thought that getting the fastest exit speed would be the key to happiness. i've done seventy and have self-certified myself as a lunatic, but that didnt seem to be it. i could probably get to eighty, and i know it wont do the trick, especially since i used to believe nothing more than sixty five was possible. tried looking at the best, smoothest, sweeping line across it, that didnt work either. i've tried to judge based on braking, acceleration, the sound the bike makes, and each time i think somethings good, something else doesn't fit, and i get mad as hell thinking i'll never know if i've done it right.

either i'm a lousy judge, or maybe perfection is just a compromise.

PS : All antics performed in this piece are done by an effing idiot, kids, please dont try this at home.