Leading my first
Major Ride

By Christine Traphagen
October 24th, 2006

 

Jim & I consider ourselves to be a couple of the original members of this group.  Jim bought his first VTX in February of 2002 after a long wait.  Talk about being a kid in a candy store. 

The first few weeks were really trying.  He was cleaning her from sun up to sun down.  I swear if I had said “Yes” that bike would still be in our bedroom.  Too bad I never get polished like that….lol

For the last few years I feel that I have taken on more and more responsibility within the group and have helped out when and where I could.  Although planning for the July 4th Event can be a thankless and tireless job, it is still a part of our VTX Family. 

I first started out filling-in where I could to get things done and help the rides get out on time.  One year I helped out with the Meet-N-Greet and a few games.  Last year I really stepped up and went in all the way.  I think I covered just about every area I could from T-Shirts to leading a major ride for the first time. This year really brought everything together for me. 

When I first became a part of this fine group I didn’t know anything about bikes.  But with some help and encouragement along the way from everyone I soon moved from the backseat to the riders seat in a relatively short amount of time.  Along the way I’ve gotten some great advice on riding, different styles, group riding and of course the most important piece….Ride your own ride!! 

I saw a girl once during the first Ride-In, she was on a Candy Apple Red VTX1300 and I can remember saying to Grace – Mrs. Badabing, “Boy I only hope I’m that good one day.”  We had just pulled into the parking lot for the Royal Gorge/Bishops Castle ride.  To me that was really impressive.  She looked very calm, relaxed and to be one with herself on the bike.

I’ve gone to just about every planning meeting we had last year to talk about the Ride-In and offer my thoughts and opinions on what should take place and how we could manage it again to yet another great year.  The ride list of what we wanted to do was long and it was clear there would be many miles to cover.  I knew this year I would need to step up and cover the ladies ride to make sure it was successful as it had been in the past.  When we were discussing the other rides, I heard Gary – Bye Bye talk about the Curves & Canyons Ride and how much fun he always seemed to have doing it.  So, I thought this year why not give it a try.

I thought for sure those guys would laugh at me and say, “No way.”  But what I received instead was so much encouragement and support I was really blown out of the water.  Here I had been riding with these guys over the past 3 years working on my skills to become half the rider that some of them are and they are willing to let me lead a major ride through some of the most challenging curves Colorado can throw at you.  You can bet money I wasn’t going to let any of them down.

During the next months we geared up for the practice rides and went over maps making sure that I knew where I was going.  Yes, you’re right if you know me at all you all know I cannot find my way out of a paper bag and I’ve been living in Colorado since 1976 go figure…..lol 

During the practice ride for the Curves & Canyon Ride I was able to lead a portion of that ride and gain more confidence for when I would be on my own out there with 20-30 other bikes counting on me to have a great ride and see some great scenery. 

Last summer I became very brave on my own bike and discovered that I truly enjoy carving up the hills and riding them like my hair is on fire!!  I usually don’t stay anywhere near the speed limit and if I do, it’s not for long.  Well of course leading a ride that was something I was going to have to work on.

The day finally came when it was my turn to get out front and show some fellow VTX’ers what Colorado was all about.  I know I didn’t sleep a wink the night before; I was just a bundle of nerves.  It probably didn’t help drinking the night before with the WIVO’s….lol

I got ready for the 8:00 am departure time and made my way out of the hotel and to the bike.  I got her running and moved to the front of the pack.  Boy talk about a very humbling experience.  Sure enough there were about 15-20 bikes that day for the ride and they looked at me like, “So who are you?”  I introduced myself as Ride Leader and Brian my Sweeper, talked about the ride, some stops and made a few changes to the route with Steve - Supercruiser and made sure everyone was topped off and ready to go.

That day was one of the most memorable days I have yet to experience on my VTX.  I felt so proud to be a woman leading a major ride for this group knowing that I had the encouragement from fellow VTX’ers that knew I would do a good job. 

Talk about no pressure.  The ride was AWSOME!!  We made it through the day with no accidents, lunch was good, and the ride back home was even better.  Yes, I did just under the speed limit and was still able to show our out-of-stators some of the most beautiful canyons in a relatively short amount of time. 

Would I do it again next year???  You bet’cha I would.  See ya in the twisties……