It’s not that I never had it. Sometimes I did. I have come back in matches from 5-0 down in the final set, saved match points and made a miraculous recovery to win. But those were special and rare moments when something clicked and I was able to hyper motivate myself to actually care about the result of the game. To care about NOT LOSING. Usually I was happy to just give it my best shot and accept the result either way.
When I ride a motorcycle it’s the same, whether on road or track. I’m just out to have a good time, race my mates for fun. Sometimes I’m faster, other times they’re ahead of me. I ride at my pace and will not be drawn into a pace that’s faster than I’m comfortable with.
But sometimes, just sometimes, I get drawn into a death race. Where 2 gladiators face each other with jousting sticks and charge at each other. And both parties know that neither will give an inch or flinch, to the death.
It happened on the Snowy Mountains Highway while I was following Daz. Daz was doing about 150 and I was following him comfortably, enjoying the ride, the scenery and the feeling of contentment one gets while riding with close mates. Then Daz started pulling away. I happily upped the pace too as the road was smooth as silk, traffic was non-existent and visibility extended a long long way as the road snaked its way over the rolling high country approaching Kiandra.
As these thoughts floated in my preoccupied head and the pace reached the mid 200s, I was about to pull the pin and back off. Let Daz have his victory, there is always beer to drown my shame in. But then Daz made a mistake. A mistake so innocuous that he wouldn’t even have realized it’s a mistake. It’s an action every motorcyclist makes a hundred times a day without it being a mistake. But on that day, in that instant, it was a mistake. Daz looked in his mirror.
In that instant while Daz is looking in his mirror, I imagine the beginnings of a smirk appearing across his lips as he sees the Tuono’s twin headlights start to recede in his mirrors. And something flips in my head.
Not today. I am not losing today.
Fuck You. It’s fuckin ON now muthafucka!
For the next 15 minutes we both test the upper limits of our bikes and our abilities and Daz tests the fuck out my commitment. But I stay strong. Everytime he looks in the mirror, the Tuono’s lights shine big and bright. If something unexpected happens we’re both going to jail, or hell. But I’ll be fucked if I flinch first.
We surf the ragged edge of the human experience for longer than many people will possibly experience in a lifetime. And those 15 minutes are a quantum leap in my understanding of my motorcycle, of Daz, of the Snowy Mountains, of myself. I realize that I can concentrate longer, dig deeper and fight harder than I thought.
It’s in moments like these where we extend ourselves beyond our immediate capabilities, that we grow. It’s when we stretch ourselves beyond what our mind tells us is possible, we win.
Because the ultimate race is not with anyone else. It’s with ourselves. It’s not to be better than anyone else. It’s to be the best YOU can be. And that race never ends.
It’s always a race!