Monday, December 18, 2006

Skyline Drive is not a Short Cut

While pondering the title for this post, I considered:
- my trip on Skyline Drive from 211 to 66
- 211 gets twisty on the way to Skyline Drive

- 45 mph, a speed limit for hairpin turns!?
- deer on Skyline Drive
- Skyline Drive is not a short cut (the winner)
- Low on gas at 3,000 ft
- Half an hour is not long enough to navigate Skyline Drive from the middle entrance to the Northern entrance

The weather today was too good to pass up. So, wrapping up work a bit early, I headed out on the gixer via I-66 and 211 to the middle entrance to Skyline Drive.

The sunset was absolutely beautiful during the whole trip west. But, when I arrived at the middle entrace to Skyline Drive later than I'd hoped, determination won over common-sense. I reasoned: Skyline Drive will cut off some of the northern return trip, and get me further east as well.... it might even be faster than turning around and returning via 211! Uh hunh.

With the sun nearly set behind the mountains, I headed north on Skyline Drive past too many deer to count. The throb of the gixer's 1L engine in 4th gear at 45 mph seemed to be enough to drive most of them off the road. A few lingered just to make sure I was paying attention, affording fun for all of us.

At about the midway point between the Skyline entrances/exits, the low-fuel light began to blink. Oh joy. Could I have consumed that much gas already!? If I could run low on the trip out, did that mean that I'm averaging 25 mpg rather than 35 or 40 mpg!? How long is Skyline Drive again?? ...That was the longest nine miles of coasting downhill, ever. Arrived at the 7-11 gas station near the park entrance/exit with a gallon still in the tank.

Well, back in the real world again, at least. Time-check: I had hoped to be back home 15 minutes ago. It's dark. Getting cold. ...No rain, please.

Traffic is light on 66 East. The same can not be said for 66 West, which appears to be bumper to bumper much of the way back to Rt.28. But average speed for traffic my direction (east) is 75 to 85 mph! 80 to 90 mph in the dark; not high on my list of favorite ways to return home.

An accident on Waxpool (west of the Loudoun County Parkway) has traffic backed up a mile or two south on Rt.28 in the left lane, over the fly-over, and all the way down Waxpool. Taking another "short cut" via Rt.7 reminds me that NVA rush-hour traffic sucks! Loudoun County Parkway is clear, except that the Waxpool traffic is bumper-to-bumper through the intersection. ...Being thin has its advantages.

Home at last! ...It gets really dark at 7:30PM these days.

Oh, and, Skyline Drive is not a short cut!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


So, a few days ago I came across a site that offers a bit of perspective on the GSX-R1000. It's well known that motorcycles are dramatically faster than cars, even fast cars. But the fastest cars can outrun many bikes, as many of the exotics (cars) are now hitting the 2.8s to 3.5s range for zero to 60; same as sport bikes. But the gixer is a fast sport bike... fast acceleration, and really fast braking. Testing from 0 to 100 and back to 0, here's how they stacked up:

A1 GP - 8.40sec
Bugatti Veyron - 9.90sec
Suzuki GSX-R1000 - 10.70sec
Ariel Atom - 11.00sec
Ariel Atom 450 - 11.05sec
Ariel Atom - 11.05sec
Caterham CSR260 - 11.95sec
Brooke Double R - 12.50sec
Porsche 911 Turbo - 12.50sec
Ford Focus WRC - 13.57sec
Lamborghini Gallardo - 13.65sec
Ascari KZ1 - 13.80sec
Corvette Z06 - 13.80sec
Alpina B6 - 14.80sec
BMW M6 - 14.95sec
TVR Tuscan 2 - 15.00sec
BMW M5 - 15.20sec
Audi RS4 - 15.80sec
Aston Martin V8 Vantage - 15.81sec
BMW Z4M Roadster - 15.95sec
Porsche Cayman S - 16.46sec
Lotus Exige S - 16.60sec
Nissan 350Z - 18.80sec
Vauxhall Astra Sprint - 18.85sec
Vauxhall Astra VXR - 19.05sec
Renault Megane F1 - 20.55sec
Mazda 6 MPS - 21.00sec
Ford Focus ST - 21.35sec
Vauxhall Vectra - VXR - 22.35sec
Vauxhall Astra Thurlby - 22.65sec

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Motorcycle Diaries 2007

Wednesday, 9/26, GSX ODO 4298
To work and back, via the gym.
Notable: Car in the shop, so I had to ride! ;-) The scents on the road: flowers, fresh water on the pavement, cooking food, and the fresh cool air.

Saturday, 9/22, GSX ODO 4268
Riding with Greg.
Notable: The trip to meet up was great until the last mile -- oily-slick wet roads are no fun! I stayed up, but only by being hyper-over-cautious. I'm in awe of the MotoGP guys who race in the rain. The ride back was perfect -- light traffic, dry roads, and a few wide winding roads (West Ox) I haven't been on in a long while. Great riding.

Thursday, 9/13, GSX ODO 4194
To work and back, with detours to the bank and for air in the tires.
Notable: Beautiful weather.... 60s and sunny in the morning, 70s and sunny during the ride home. (Not entirely sure how the detours added up to 20 miles!)

Wednesday, 9/12, GSX ODO 4174
To work and back.
Notable: Short but sweet.

Sunday, 9/9, GSX ODO 4160
To Target, the office, and back.
Notable: How incongruous can you get?? A GSX-R riding into Target!? Still, makes picking up a spiral three-subject notebook a whole lot more fun, and I saved gas on the trip! ;-)

Friday, 9/6, GSX ODO 4143
To get my hair cut, work, and then home.
Notable: Accidental wheelie after popping the clutch going into second on the way home... uneventful riding otherwise.

Thursday, 9/5, GSX ODO 4111
To work and back.
Notable: After being out of town for a couple of weeks, it was good to be back in the saddle again.

Sunday, 8/19, GSX ODO 4097
Out after noon.
Notable: Just a quick run around the block to catch a few spots of sun between the clouds. Humid, but cool.

Saturday, 8/18, GSX ODO 4073
To Loudoun Motorsports and back (4,000 mile maintenance), and then out for a run by Best Buy.
Notable: My baby is clean again.... What a day! 70s and sunny, all day! After visiting Loudoun Motorsports, my plans for the garage include: Red Ducati 1098S, Green Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, Yellow Yamaha YZF-R1 (maybe black and red, too), and a Yellow 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000. ...someday. ;-) I'm gonna need a bigger garage!

Friday, 8/17, GSX ODO 4018
To work and back.
Notable: Not much...

Wednesday, 8/15, GSX ODO 4006
To work and back.
Notable: Seems like forever since I last rode... but in this case, absence does make the heart grow fonder, and it was great to back in the saddle (even if it was only four days). What started as a perfect 70 degree morning was warming up fast, but it was still cool enough to feel the breeze as I rode in. Riding home in rush-hour traffic wasn't much of a treat, but I'm home. With everyone driving with a cell phone to their ear, sometimes just getting home intact is all you can ask.

Saturday, 8/11, GSX ODO 3991
To gym and back.
Notable: A great way to start the day! Riding and workout, all in one. :-)

Friday, 8/3, GSX ODO 3972
To Summit Point Raceway and back.
Notable: No... not to race, yet. Just watching. But, watching made me want to get out on the track too, even after watching one of the riders being driven away in an ambulance. Hot! Not the most pleasant ride, ever. But, I accomplished my goal for the day to ride out for the races and back.

Wednesday, 8/1, GSX ODO 3834
To work and back, twice, with a stop for gas.
Notable: It's August!! Oops... left badge and drivers license at home. Nice rides. Same problem as yesterday with the down-shift from sixth to fifth. Clutch lever play seems excessive. Time for 4,000 mile check-up!

Tuesday, 7/31, GSX ODO 3805
To work and back.
Notable: Problem with shift from sixth into fifth going out of gear; chain rattling sound. At 60 mph, not a good sound.

Monday, 7/30, GSX ODO 3792
Out for air in the tires, and back.
Notable: It's getting dark by 8:30PM... lots of bugs and joggers out. Fortunately, ran into more bugs than joggers.

Sunday, 7/29, GSX ODO 3783
To gym and back.
Notable: Biking and done working out before 10AM. Nice!

Friday, 7/27, GSX ODO 3762
To work and back.
Notable: Nice finish to the week. Crazy drivers, gone.

Thursday, 7/26, GSX ODO 3749
To work and back, the long way around... the opposite direction.
Notable: What the hell!? Did half the drivers out there today take Stupid-Pills this morning!? Pulled over by a cop, the woman finishes getting her ticket, pulls away and then 20 yards later comes to a complete stop the middle of the one lane road. WTF? Everyone drives around her... whatever. On the way home, SDEs (Stupid Driver Events) are too numerous to recount, from minivans driven by maniacal Mario Andretti wannabes, to the girl who decides that rapidly dodging half way into the adjacent lane is smarter than merely slowing for the traffic in front of her as they move into the left-turn lane. Must be the summer heat....

Wednesday, 7/25, GSX ODO 3728
To work and back, the long way around.
Notable: The "not good" riding weather has been perfect (60s in the morning, 70s and low 80s during the day, partly cloudy) three days running. Tomorrow's forecast is iffy, but it could be a beautiful day, too.

Tuesday, 7/24, GSX ODO 3707
To work and back.
Notable: Not much, which, I suppose, is good.

Sunday, 7/22, GSX ODO 3693
Out. Next week will not be good riding weather, The-Best-Wife-Ever(tm) tells me.
Notable: Not out long enough to go anywhere new.

Saturday, 7/21, GSX ODO 3636/3654
Home again. And later, back out for a trip to AAA to get my International Driving Permit.
Notable: Swapped the 330i for the bike. Cold tires made me ancy about riding anywhere but home. Lame. But, what a day -- is this July!? 70s and blue skies with light clouds. Nice!

Thursday, 7/19, GSX ODO 3628

To work.
Notable: Left the bike at work, picked up 330i from autobody shop. Dent-be-gone!

Wednesday, 7/18, GSX ODO 3622
To work and back.
Notable: Not much.

Tuesday, 7/17, GSX ODO 3608
To work and back.
Notable: Took the long way in the morning to avoid rush-hour traffic.

Sunday, 7/15, GSX ODO 3588
To gas station and back.
Notable: Lifted the front wheel going into 2nd!

Thursday, 7/12, GSX ODO 3573
To work and back.

Wednesday, 7/11, GSX ODO 3569

To work and back.

Sunday, 7/8, GSX ODO 3555
Around, just after sunset.
Notable: A quick ride, just to get out.

Friday, 7/6, GSX ODO 3549
From Dayton, OH home.
Notable: Perfect weather! 70s, partially cloudy and light traffic the whole way until I-70. Good advice from an elderly couple at an I-70 gas station to stay in town, enjoy a late lunch, and let the parking lot on I-70 clear. Good plan! An hour later, I-70 was mostly clear again... caught just the tail end of the echos of the earlier blockage. Now my neck is really sore.

Thursday, 7/5, GSX ODO 3055
A quick lap around the block.
Notable: Escort for new rider just before sundown. Success!

Sunday, 7/1, GSX ODO 3046
To Dayton, OH
Notable: Speeds of 80 to 95 mph through the mountains (keeping up with all the SUVs and pickups). Ouch, my neck is sore! Breaks every 50 miles to stretch. 525 miles today.

Saturday, 6/30, GSX ODO 2521
Who knows?! I had to make up the last four days to account for the mileage.

Friday, 6/29, GSX ODO 2478
To work and back.

Thursday, 6/28, GSX ODO 2464
To work and back.

Tuesday, 6/26, GSX ODO 2450
To work and back.

Monday, 6/25, GSX ODO 2436
To work, gym and back.
Notable: Left my car at work, so the bike was all I had... crap weather, with drizzle about a mile from home. After the gym, it was better -- mostly dry roads. A quick ride home to sell the SV!

Sunday, 6/17, GSX ODO 2411
Following my afternoon walk path -- 2.8 miles.
Notable: Not the ride I'd planned... but better than nothing.

Saturday, 6/16, GSX ODO 2378/2408
To Loudoun Motorsports to check out the new bikes. Later, around the area.
Notable: Beautiful weather, nice bikes at Loudoun Motorsports. Couldn't resist going out again in the afternoon.

Friday, 6/15, GSX ODO 2345
To work and back.

Tuesday, 6/12, GSX ODO 2331
To work and back.

...missing time... wrote it down, then lost the note...

Tuesday, 5/29, GSX ODO 2165

To work and back via 28.
Notable: Bad karma on the way home.... (no crash, tho)

Sunday, 5/27, GSX ODO 2138
Visit with family and back.
Notable: Warm and humid, uck.

Saturday, 5/26, GSX ODO 2103
To get my hair cut, and back.
Notable: Hot!

Friday, 5/25, GSX ODO 2079
To work, home late!
Notable: Home in the dark! What a great week for riding!

Thursday, 5/24, GSX ODO 2065
Work, home for lunch, GW for football, dinner at Not Your Average Joes, then home.
Notable: 70s and sunny, and great riding all over. Best day of riding this year!

Wednesday, 5/23, GSX ODO 2017
To gym, work, bookstore, and home.
Notable: Couldn't find BIKE magazine (a great UK biker mag I started reading a few months back) so I picked up the latest WIRED and the UK edition of Stuff (...the UK version has more gadgets than girls....) Did I mention that I LOVE spring!? 70s amd sunny... ahhhh!

Tuesday, 5/22, GSX ODO 1985
To work, VW dealer, and home.
Notable: I love spring! Finally here, for real!

Monday, 5/21, GSX ODO 1967
To work, final post-op check-up, back to work, and home.
Notable: All clear after my 1/10/07 crash. Thanks to Dr Allen, my grade 3 AC separation is mostly as good as new. And, I'm well on my way toward my goal for 2007 of getting into shape. Yeah, starting off the hard way... but that seems to be how things work out sometimes. Be careful what you wish for! Anyway, a perfect day for riding -- but wow, lots of cops out!

Saturday, 5/19, GSX ODO 1934
To Andrews Air Force Base, and back -- on 28, 495 and 66.
Notable: Hell yeah -- 495 was absolutely crazy, but I'm still alive. Can't imagine commuting on the 5 in California, which has faster traffic and is a much rougher highway. Passed by bikers doing 100+ (and cars doing 90+). Forgot that I had to have a military id / motorcycle license to get on base, so ended up taking the bus from FedEx field. But it was all worth it in the end; the F-18 demo was awesome, and the F-22 demo was unbelievable. Check this out: The ride home was a little more serene -- especially after getting off 495 and right into the bumper-to-bumper traffic on 66. Maybe lane-splitting should be legalized in Virginia! ;-)

Thursday, 5/17, GSX ODO 1812
Just a quick trip for air in the tires, and excuse to get out, really.
Notable: 68, but not much else.

Wednesday, 5/16, GSX ODO 1807
To work and back.
Notable: Nothing.

Tuesday, 5/15, GSX ODO 1792
Back from the WWW2007 conference in Banff -- now, there's a place to ride a motorcycle! But, today was just to work and back.
Notable: Nasty traffic. :-(

Tuesday, 5/8, GSX ODO 1777
To work and back.
Notable: 70s and sunny - I could ride all day!

Monday, 5/7, GSX ODO 1761
To work and back.
Notable: 68 and sunny, but leaving work during rush-hour sucks. I hate traffic.

Sunday, 5/6, GSX ODO 1747
To the gym and back.
Notable: 60s and sunny -- but it's really chilly!

Friday, 5/4, GSX ODO 1722
To the gym, work, and home.
Notable: Workout out by myself today, not so bad. High 60s and sunny -- that's more like it!

Thursday, 5/3, GSX ODO 1706
To gym, work, and home.
Notable: Working out and riding don't mix - ouch! (Didn't crash... but it has got to be worse than drinking and riding.) 60s and overcast too. But, it's spring! Riding is required!

Monday, 4/30, GSX ODO 1661
To the gym, work, and home.
Notable: Spring is here at last!? 70s and sunny.

Sunday, 4/29, GSX ODO 1624
To gym and back (indirectly, I think....)
Notable: 69 and sunny - absolutely perfect. Crazy to be running indoors when the weather is perfect, but going to the gym is a great excuse to go riding.

Friday, 4/27, GSX ODO 1604
Notable: Too long ago to remember (finally blogging again, 5/24). Had a great Friday night out, afterward.

Sunday, 4/22, GSX ODO 1585
To GW and back.
Notable: Nowhere to go, but after an entire day of perfect weather, it'd just be wrong not to go out.
Saturday, 4/21, GSX ODO 1561
Air in the tires, and GW and back.
Notable: A later departure than planned, after getting air, meant only a short ride.

Friday, 4/20, GSX ODO 1539
To work, lunch at Reston Town Center, and home again.
Notable: Perfect weather! Nice to feel like the tires might be gripping again.

Thursday, 4/19, GSX ODO 1482
Around. Briefly.
Notable: Halaluea! Warm weather is finally back. Only high 50s today, but the sun is out, and it's warming up! But, the cold tires leave me feeling like I'm riding on ice.

Wednesday, 4/4, GSX ODO 1479
To Best Buy and back.
Notable: The weather is unusually cool this week, but it warmed up this afternoon just long enough for a quick round-trip to pick up God of War II and Command & Conquer 3. C&C3 rocks!

Thursday, 3/29, GSX ODO 1458
To work and back.

Wednesday, 3/28, GSX ODO 1444
To work, Bungalo Billiards, and home.

Sunday, 3/25, GSX ODO 1411
To Coleman Powersports and back, via 28, Fairfax County Parkway, 66, 123, 50, 29, and others... with a brief spin through the George Mason campus.
Notable: Sunny and 60s -- everyone is out; too many sportbikes to count. Of course, Coleman was closed today (oops!) so my trip was in vain. But, good riding practice nonetheless.

Sunday, 3/25, SV ODO 1889
The SV also gets a weekly warm-up to keep the battery charged, but most weeks only gets to roll a few feet. At 1,889 miles, and never been dropped!
Notable: The SV is still for sale -- all reasonable offers considered!

Friday, 3/23, GSX ODO 1332
To skyline drive (north to mid) and back, via 7, 15, 66 and back on 211/29, 66 and 28.
Notable: Chilly and overcast, and way too much sand on the turns. Dropped the bike in the grass near the guard gate at the mid entrance (just on the way out, after 90 relatively uneventful miles) -- locked both the breaks on the sand, slid out of the turn. Fortunately, it was a soft landing, and the guard helped me upright the bike. Sigh. The sand on the road down the mountains was even worse, so perhaps learning the hard way on that turn saved me from a worse lesson on 211. It's not riding season till the sand is gone!

Thursday, 3/22, GSX ODO 1145
Air in the tires, and around for a bit.

Tuesday, 3/20, GSX ODO 1132
To work and back.

Tuesday, 3/13, GSX ODO 1118
70s and sunny today -- finally! Another brief run around the block.
Notable: Clutchless up-shifts. Read about it in Sport Rider and a UK biker magazine a couple of weeks ago, tried it a bit on Sunday and a bunch more today. Lift, blip the throttle, and the transmission slides into the next gear... nice!

Sunday, 3/11, GSX ODO 1105
Another beautiful day. A few more miles to let the gixer strech her legs. A couple of 100+ runs confirm everything is running smoothly, and the bike is still well balanced (fortunately).
Notable: Still cautious (mostly), and especially wary of sand on turns, but feeling none of the fear than Kevin suggested might pop up.

Saturday, 3/10, GSX ODO 1083
The gixer needed a turn, too.
Notable: Repaired, except it feels as though the right handlebar may have been torqued a bit more than I thought. At first, I thought it was pulling to the left, but then realized it was just my right-hand position that was forward a fraction of an inch.

Saturday, 3/10, SV ODO 1889
Quick warm-up run.
Notable: Beautiful weather in the 60s. Time to let the SV stretch a bit.

Friday, 3/2, GSX ODO 1077
...and home.
Notable: The bike is doing better than my shoulder, but both should be in good shape by the time Spring rolls around!

Wednesday, 1/10, GSX ODO 1071
To work and er....
Notable: First crash. Oops.

Wednesday, 1/10, SV ODO 1883
From Loudoun Motorsports to home. Oil and filter changed.
Notable: Gloves work nicely - even at freezing temps!

Saturday, 1/6, GSX ODO 1064
Around the neighborhood, then to Coleman Powersports.
Notable: First ride with a passenger. Heavy traffic on Rt.7. Great smells from all the restaurants along Rt.7 in Alexandria. More bumper-to-bumper traffic on 66! :-( Now have alpinestars gloves for winter!

Wednesday, 1/3, SV ODO 1871
To home and back from Loudoun Motorsports, to trade with the gixer.
Notable: Anyone want to buy a like-new 2006 Suzuki SV650S with only 1,871 miles?

Wednesday, 1/3, GSX ODO 969
To Loudoun Motorsports and back for 600 mile service. Only a little behind schedule.
Notable: Cold! Need winter riding gloves!

Tuesday, 1/2, SV ODO 1847e
To Loudoun Motorsports, again.
Notable: Bright sunny morning, but at 10AM, it's still really cold.

Monday, 1/1/2007, SV ODO 1834
To Loudoun Motorsports and back. Intending to drop off for service the next day, but discovered they're not really set up for drop-off.
Notable: Chilly and the streets are wet. But, nice to get out.

Friday, 12/29, GSX ODO 945
Out and back. To pick up a 9' xmas tree.
Notable: Best laid plans... no more trees.

Wednesday, 12/27, SV ODO 1810
Out and back. To air out the SV.
Notable: Chilly temps (40s and sunny) make for a short ride.

Monday, 12/18, GSX ODO 932
To work and back. To Skyline Drive, and back... barely.
Notable: A 2006 GSX-R1000 easily outruns a 2007 Corvette Z06 to 120 mph. 74 degrees in December!! South on Rt.28, a guy shuffling CDs in/out of a multi-CD carrier while (mostly) steering with his pinkies... at 70 mph. Approaching Skyline Drive at sunset - where's my helmet-cam! How twisty 211 gets on the last five miles approaching Skyline Drive. Too many deer to count on Skyline Drive. Low gas light blinking for 15 miles down Skyline Drive. 7-11 gas station at the North entrace to Skyline Drive - woohoo! 80-90 mph in the dark on I-66. Rush-hour traffic on Rt.28 and Rt.7 at 7PM.

Sunday, 12/17, GSX ODO 707
To Home Depot and back. Then, Leesburg and back.
Notable: Loving the "warm" (60s and sunny) weather!

Friday, 12/15, GSX ODO 656
To work and back via Dulles Town Center.
Notable: The roads aren't long enough, and there's too much traffic. But, no run-ins with "black and whites", anyway.

Thursday, 12/14, SV ODO 1804
Around. Just to shake off the cobwebs on the SV.
Notable: Sad. I am officially spoiled by the GSX-R. The SV is way too buzzy, "lacks" power and smoothness, and the breaking is squishy and not as sharp... It only took me about 500 miles on the gixer to realize that about the SV. ;-)

Thursday, 12/14, GSX-R ODO 626
To work and back via Loudoun Motorsports.
Notable: 50s and 60s and sunny for the next several days!

Tuesday, 12/12, GSX-R ODO 594
To work and back.
Notable: Merging onto Loudoun County Parkway, overtook at BMW M3 at 60 mph -- pushing it, could have passed him doing 120 mph in second gear. (Not so notable.) Showing restraint while passing two cops at 55 mph: Priceless!

Monday, 12/11, GSX-R ODO 579
To work and back, with an extra detour or two.

Notable: 10,000 RPM rocks! 70 MPH+, in first gear.

Sunday, 12/10, GSX-R ODO 564
To CostCo and back, the fun way.
Notable: Now past 500 miles, I can crank it to 10,000 RPM. The additional power is intoxicating -- but I only wheelied once (barely) moving from 1st to 2nd gear. Nice!

Saturday, 12/9, GSX-R ODO 504
To Wendy's and back for lunch. It's pretty cold -- 40s, but with the sun out and no wind, it feels warm. Can't wait till tomorrow (50s - 60s and sunny).
Notable: The ride out was nice, but the ride back was pretty cold - I need warmer gloves!

Friday, 12/1, GSX-R ODO 480
Gas and air, Waxpool and Loudoun County Parkway.
Notable: Instead of the cold rainy weather that was promised, we got windy cloud-filled skies and temps in the 70s with sun! Beautiful sunset. Rode for a mile or two down Waxpool with a fellow gixer rider on a GSX-R750. Oh! And, picked up my permanent plates -- lucky the weather turned around so that I could take them for a spin. ;-)

Thursday, 11/30, GSX-R ODO 462
Dead battery in my BMW -- following the tow truck to the shop, then to work. Low humidity and relatively high temps called for taking the long way home via the Dulles Town Center parkways, Best Buy and GW campus.
Notable: Impossible to believe that the riding weather is even better tonight; even past sundown. Too long off the gixer; felt great. And, she's almost to the first break-in threshhold: I'll be able to go to 10,000 RPM soon! At 1,000 miles I'll be able to use the full 13,500 - yeah baby!!

Friday, 11/17, GSX-R ODO 377, 428
To eye doctor and back. Fortunately, results at the eye doctor were good. Working from home while waiting for my (car) windshield to be repaired. And then to work and back because the windshield needed to cure for another hour.
Notable: A beautiful sunny day. 51 degrees on the way out didn't feel too bad, but my core temperature must have dropped, because 55 degrees felt really kinda cold on the way back. But not too cold to head out again - the ride to work felt great.

Wednesday, 11/15, GSX-R ODO 364
To work and back.
Notable: Ah, I'm officially spoiled; the breaking, the shifting, the acceleration... perfect. The morning weather was chilly but nice, but the afternoon was a dismal and cold gray.

Tuesday, 11/14, SV ODO 1798
Time to air out the SV - to work and back under gray skies in chilly 57 degree weather. The forecast promised 63 and partially cloudy, but that wasn't until mid-day.
Notable: Braking the SV for the first time was a shock; nowhere near as much grip as the GSX-R (not surprisingly). Ditto on the acceleration, although the SV has some advantage in being able to hit 12,000 RPM; the GSX-R is limited to 6,000 for another 650 miles. Lighter feel (less inertia) too. But, it's easy enough to transition between the two; inspiring a renewed respect for the power and braking on the GSX-R. Just a matter of perspective.

Saturday, 11/11, GSX-R ODO 351
To Eleanor C. Lawrence Park and back, and Broad Run Highschool and back.
Notable: Yes! Sunny and in the 70s -- almost too warm in the sun. The clutch is causing me trouble in first gear; one out of every ten starts has been grinding badly for the past couple of days....

Friday, 11/10, GSX-R ODO 279
To the bank and back for cash; hey, I'm saving gas! ;-) To Best Buy and back, and then Uno's and back for dinner.
Notable: Could the weather be any more perfect for riding!?

Thursday, 11/9, GSX-R ODO 239
To work and back, to Loudoun County Motorsports to pick up my rear seat, and on to Snickersville Turnpike.
Notable: After a number of rainy and cool days, it's back in the high 60s with cloudless skies. Snickersville Turnpike was even more narrow than I'd imagined, but traffic was light, and it was a very scenic ride. It'd be even more beautiful as a passenger, or with a few stops along the way.

Wednesday, 11/1, GSX-R ODO 148
To work, Borders, and back.
Notable: Beautiful weather: in the high 60s and just touching 70, with partially cloudy skies. Could have ridden much longer, but my low speed riding was feeling sloppy, and I didn't want that to translate into a high-speed crash. My cold wins -- time to rest. :-(

Tuesday, 10/31, GSX-R ODO 124
To work Best Buy, and back. 3.569 gallons of gas at 122 miles -- effective mileage: 35 mpg. Save gas and outrun Ferarri's! ;-)
Notable: Humidity makes as big a difference to effective temperature as wind chill. The weekend was surprisingly warm -- even below 60 -- due to low humidity. High 60s today, and it's chilly. But, adrenaline does a lot to take the edge off! ;-)

Tuesday, 10/31, SV ODO 1785
To Fair Oaks Hospital and back to pick up MRI films.
Notable: The SV feels a bit lighter and softer, but still lots of fun to ride; I haven't been spoiled by the gixer!

Monday, 10/30, GSX-R ODO 097
To work and back.
Notable: Surprisingly, not much -- there and back too quickly.

Sunday, 10/29, GSX-R ODO 078
To Sears and back for a water filter for the fridge. To Belmont Ridge for football via Harris Teater, for chicken-salad sandwiches.
Notable: If all weekend chores involved riding, they'd be much more motivating; I've never had so much fun replacing a water filter. ;-) Very windy yesterday and today, but with increasingly sunny skies, and temps around 60, it's perfect riding weather.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

You Don't Have To Be Crazy, But It Helps

Saturday, 10/28, ODO 024
From Loudoun Motorsports to home. After riding over 1,700 miles over the past three months, how could the ODO be only 00024?? Well....

We just stopped by the dealer to "look" - but there it was, right by the door on the way in.... sat down; it felt light, familiar, comfortable... no longer intimidating. Uh oh.

$100 over cost!? Uh oh. Weather check, 60 degrees and partially cloudy... but also partially sunny. Uh oh.

With encouragement from the best-wife-ever(tm), went home, picked up my jacket, helmet, and gloves, and she gave me a ride back to the dealer to pick up the new bike. It was my one of my goals from January 2006; a picture posted to the wall since spotting it in the February 2006 Sport Rider. Next.

Oh... Notable: I was a little concerned about the sensitivity of the throttle response - 100 mph in first gear, and 0-60 in under 3.0 seconds sounds tricky to hang onto. How mistaken I was... the control is smooth as silk, the bike is light and quick, and throttle control feels, for lack of a better analogy, like a hot knife through butter. ...actually, a hot samurai sword through butter. Oh, and the sound of a 1000cc inline four: Lamborghini meets Ferrari, on two wheels. My wife says that the rumble at 4,000 rpm is audible more than a block away.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Motorcycle Diaries 2006

Blogger edit performance has become abysmal - time for a new page; continued from Motorcycle Diaries.

Wednesday, 9/27, ODO 1224
To work and back (the long way) - still used less gas! ;-)
Notable: Comfortable riding a bit faster than before - but now back in sync with the bike and the speed. Absolutely perfect weather - hated to stop riding in the morning.

Thursday, 9/28, ODO 1281
To Borders for the next issue of Fast Bikes, to work, to Loudoun Motorsports and home.
Notable: Loudoun County Parkway 9x.

Sunday, 10/1, ODO 1310
To Dulles Town Center and back.
Notable: Loudoun County Parkway 1xx.

Monday, 10/2, ODO 1324
To work and back.
Notable: Another beautiful day for riding.

Tuesday, 10/3, ODO 1370
To work and back; to Countryside and back.
Notable: After reading further in a recent issue of Sport Rider, experimented with counter-steer - it really is like power steering for a bike. I've been using it intuitively / subconsciously since studying and practicing turning during Basic RiderCourse training, but to consciously use only counter-steering to turn is a fascinating experience.

Wednesday, 10/4, ODO 1422
To work, south on Rt.28 to Legend's old office, home for lunch, and then home via Fairfax County Parkway, Rt.7, and Loudoun County Parkway.
Notable: Just shy of 120.

Sunday, 10/8, ODO 1455
Out to Leesburg and back on Claiborne and Rt.7.
Notable: After three very gray and rainy days, the sun and blue sky were out again - 69 and sunny, just about perfect riding weather. Wheelies in first and second gear. (Not entirely on purpose....) And, tank in the chest. Refueling next to an SUV again -- his bill $44.38, for 20 gallons (280 miles) -- my bill $6.70, for 3.034 gallons (120 miles).

Monday, 10/9, ODO 1561
That's right - 106 miles! Longest (and most comfortable) ride yet. Perfect weather, relatively little traffic, and beautiful country (sortof) roads: Rt.7 to Winchester and back.
Notable: Travelling 106 miles in less than 80 minutes... safely.

Tuesday, 10/10, ODO 1591
To work and back, with a detour to grab my sunglasses from my car in the shop (break warning light repair and oil change).
Notable: Near head-on collision with van going straight from the right turn lane out of Home Depot. I stopped fast enough, but was close enough to wash his windows when he stopped.

Thursday, 10/12, ODO 1609
To work and back, with no detour.
Notable: In spite of a crap weather report, it was a warm sunny morning, and a beatiful day. Overcast weather in the afternoon made for a chilly ride home.

Sunday, 10/15, ODO 1659
To mom's, and Borders on the way home via Rt.7, Fairfax County Parkway, and Reston Parkway.
Notable: Chilly (61), but cloudless sunny skies. Three months, 1,600+ miles, no crashes, knock on wood.

Sunday, 10/22, ODO 1724
Three separate rides, but I lost my notes, and after a crazy week at work [10/23-10/27], they've begun to blur together a bit.
Notable: On the way to work this week, during one of the rides, noticed that I was no longer paying attention to every little detail of my riding. Good, because it meant that riding was coming naturally. Bad, because it meant that I could easily shift gears and day-dream... not a good idea on a bike!

Friday, 10/27, ODO 1726
Super-cold for riding (46 degrees)... for me. But, I had a few minutes to kill, and figured the tires and engine could use a warm up.
Notable: 46 is not so bad below 35 mph. But, two miles around the neighborhood was enough.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fun on Four Wheels

Since test-driving a Porsche Boxter S on a beautiful spring day in 2001, I've been counting my pennies and waiting for the day when I was willing to spend $55K just for fun. Not quite there, yet! But, the 2007 Boxters are tempting (0 - 60 in 5.2 seconds, top speed 169 mph):

Still, for about a tenth of the price (0 to 60 in 4.0 seconds, top speed 130 mph) I have:

Or, for a fifth of the price (0 to 60 in 2.56 seconds, top speed 177 mph), could have:

And, even with both bikes, there's room in the garage for a car with room for five -- how about the 2007 BMW 335i Twin Turbo (0 to 60 in 5.3 seconds, top speed 150 mph)?

Monday, September 25, 2006


The weather was nice today -- OK, really nice -- 75 degrees, low humidity, and sunny. But, what the heck!? 35 mph felt like 25, 55 felt like 35, and 75 felt like 50 (or would have, if I'd been that fast). And, ranging from 8,000 to 11,000 RPM, acceleration still seemed "slow."

I have a theory....

On Saturday, I watched Faster. It wasn't the first time, I'd watched it the weekend before, and held onto the DVD (before returning to NetFlix today). Something about the music, the filming, the history, the rivalry, the bikes... and the speed. I had to do it again; watching high-sides frame by frame to see where it all went wrong. Ouch. And the music...

Whatever Happened To My Rock 'n' Roll
by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Spoken: 1...2...3...4!

You want a part of me
You want the whole thing
You want to feel something more than I could ever bring
You want it badly
You want it tangled
I want to feel something more than I was strangled

I fell in love with the sweet sensation
I gave my heart to a simple chord
I gave my soul to a new religion
Whatever happened to you?
Whatever happened to our rock'n'roll?
Whatever happened to my rock'n'roll?

She wants it hallow
She wants it tainted
She wants to feel something more than she was naked
You want to hide away
You're scared to touch it
I want to feel something more than I care to take

I fell in love with the sweet sensation
I gave my heart to a simple chord
I gave my soul to a new religion
Whatever happened to you?
Whatever happened to our rock'n'roll?
Whatever happened to my rock'n'roll?

She wants your image
She wants your kiss
She wants to get inside your head and tell it like it is
You want it badly
You want it so completele
I want to feel something more cos I can't f***in' breathe

I fell in love with the sweet sensation
I gave my heart to a simple chord
I gave my soul to a new religion
Whatever happened to you?
Whatever happened to our rock'n'roll?
Whatever happened to my rock'n'roll?

In my Motorcycle Diary a while back, I wondered if anyone has written about "rider's high" -- the answer in this song is "yes!" And, while "I fell in love with the sweet sensation" could have a lot of interpretations, all bikers will agree on what this is all about. Harley riders may have first coined the phrase, but motorcyclists of all sorts have adopted it... "if I had to explain it, you wouldn't understand." This sensation is part of the reason why.

So, my theory is that watching MotoGP racers at 200 mph, blowing through turns at 120 mph+, over and over again, reset my expectations for what "fast" is.

Your theories welcome....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Top 10 ...err... 11 Game Soundtracks

I picked up The Command & Conquer Collection the other day, in part, because I remember the soundtrack from Red Alert as one of the great soundtracks of all time; the driving rock/military combination of a few of the tracks perfectly set the mood for one of the great RTS experiences that kicked the genre into high gear.

It's been said over and over again that the aural experience is as important to games as the visual and gameplay experiences. I totally agree. Some of my favorite games also have some of my favorite soundtracks. Is it that great games are produced by teams that also recognize the value of producing great soundtracks, or is that great soundtracks make great games? Maybe both?

So, without further ado... my top 11 game soundtracks:

11: Halo
Hardcore Halo fans will probably hate me for only putting this at #10 (or 11), but for me, the music beyond the opening sequence isn't memorable enough to drive the rating for this one to the top. If the entire game had the impact of the score for opening sequence, it'd be #1.

10: Quake II
For the same reason I loved the Red Alert soundtrack, the Quake II audio tracks bring the FPS battle with the Strogg to life with angry guitars and a driving electronica beat. Ripping the CD and listening to the "Operation Overlord" track, I'm reminded of the Rage Against the Machine's "Wake Up" from The Matrix soundtrack.

9: Lemmings
The music technology of the era wasn't quite up to CD standards, and not all the pieces were original, but they brought the lemmings' personalities to life -- and gave the game a personality. This one is a classic with a per-level score that is pure Lemmings, and earns it a place at #9.

8: Project Gotham Racing
Aside from being the place where I first saw the Mini Cooper (and many other cars I never knew existed), this is where I was introduced to the Chemical Brothers' Galaxy Bounce, and the Doves Catch the Sun; two of a slew of songs that set the tone (no pun intended) for this awesome title for the Xbox.

7: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
I remember a summer day, driving through Miami in my Ferrari, switching radio stations and listening to classic hits from the 80s from Roxy Music, Foreigner, Judas Priest, Cutting Crew, Toto, Jan Hammer, Mr. Mister, and many more. Miami and the Ferrari were simulated by my laptop, but the summer weather was real, and the songs were so perfectly matched to the experience that it was like stepping back in time.

6: Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
LucasArts does it again in 2001! Best use of scripted music sequences in a game. The implementation of the soundtrack plays like a movie, with the interactivity of a game. Some of the "ah ha!" sequences are simply breathtaking. With John Williams' inspired orchestration from the Indiana Jones movies as the starting point, this one was already well on the path to success, and the implementation resulted in one of the first truly successful "realtime movies."

5: Warcraft II

Just say "Warcraft II" to any fan, and it's either the awesome voices ("Ready to work!" or "Zug zug!") or the music that will immediately come to mind. Warcraft II would have been a great game with no music at all - but with this soundtrack, it is one of the best ever.

4: Command & Conquer: Red Alert
Taking the gameplay born in Dune II to the next level, Westwood put together Command & Conquer: Red Alert. And, once again the score completed the game. Check out CnC Series, Hell March at the bottom of as a great example. One of my favorite moments during the game awards ceremony at the Computer Game Developers Conference in 1996 was watching the gameplay footage from Red Alert - the gameplay, the visuals, and the soundtrack!

3: Jedi Knight
Although the soundtrack owes much to the movies, it's the way the pieces are integrated with the game that really resonates perfectly with this title. Each track is perfectly selected to match -- or set? -- the mood of the environment. In 1977 (or shortly thereafter) I dreamed of being able to play a computer game that captured the feel of the movie - Jedi Knight succeeded spectacularly, in large part, because the music completed the experience. Released in 1997, this is another game I'd call a "realtime movie" -- you're in control every step of the way, but it feels like you're watching...err...playing a movie. But, is it any surprise, given their heretage, that LucasArts Entertainment would be one of the first companies to successfully repeat this gameplay experience?

2: Unreal

In my original 9/12 post, I left Unreal off the list. Driving home last night, one of the Unreal tracks on my iPod played, reminding me that I'd missed one of the most important games on my list. This is a game that is perfectly three parts - visual experience (best environments and characters of it's time, gameplay experience (FPS all the way, with great mix of story, combat and exploration), and aural experience: full 3D sound effects to create a truly immersive environment -- and a music soundtrack that was second to only one.

1: Outlaws
And, yet another from the LucasArts folks - a FPS western / sleeper hit released in 1997. I ignored the reviews, and passed it by on store shelves, but was fortunate to eventually pick it up for free as part of a bundle included in a SoundBlaster Audigy(?) sample the Creative Labs guys sent us. I loved the story, the gameplay, and the levels - and even came to appreciate the art style - but the thing that totally nailed the game for me was the spectacular The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly-inspired soundtrack by Clint Bajakian. I loved it so much that after playing the game for several weeks I headed to Best Buy to pick up a boxed copy of the game. Brilliant!

So, there you have it.... what's your Top 10 ...err... 11 List?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Most Played

I just updated my iPod, including my Top 25 Most Played list. A few surprises in here, but generally in line with my "Favorite Music" list:

Par Avion - Mike + The Mechanics - Mike + The Mechanics
Erase-Rewind - The Cardigans - Gran Turismo
You Look So Fine - Garbage - Garbage Version 2.0
Catch the Sun - Doves - Lost Souls
Burnin' For You - Blue Öyster Cult - Don't Fear The Reaper: The Best Of Blue Oyster Cult
You And Your Friend - Snake River Conspiracy - Sonic Jihad
Milk - Garbage - Garbage
The Trick Is To Keep Breathing - Garbage - Garbage Version 2.0
All We Need Is A Dream - Cheap Trick - Lap Of Luxury
More Than This - The Cure - The X-Files: The Album
Hysteria - Def Leppard - Hysteria
Claire De Lune - Philadelphia Orchestra - Ocean's 11 Soundtrack
Casualty - Snake River Conspiracy - Sonic Jihad
Atomic - Blondie - Best Of Blondie
My Elastic Eye - The Chemical Brothers - Come With Us
A Day Without Rain - Enya - A Day Without Rain
More Than Love - Snake River Conspiracy - Sonic Jihad
Let Me Be The One - Def Leppard - X
Muzik - Knoc-Turn'al - The Transporter Soundtrack
Hella Good - No Doubt - Rock Steady
When You Kiss Me - Shania Twain - Shania Twain Up! (Red Disc)
How Soon Is Now? - t.A.T.u. - 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane
Falling Into You - Celine Dion - Falling Into You
Stillness Of Heart - Lenny Kravitz - Lenny
It's My Life - No Doubt - The Singles 1992-2003

Thursday, August 03, 2006

101 Things to Do

Years ago, my dad used to drag the family through a tortured drill of planning our goals for the year. For some reason, the effort always seemed more like "work" than fun. But, we went through the exercise, and over the years, many of our individual and family goals were realized: two trips to Hawaii, annual trips to Hilton Head, stereos, cars, and much more.

As time wore on, I found myself working on my own goals, gradually evolving from places and things, to include hobbies, exercise/heath, investments, personal development, reading, entertainment (TV, movies, PC/video games), and relationships. totally changed the tracking of movies. With an endless queue, and eight movies at a time, once I got started in 1999 there has always been something to watch. And their rating system has made it easy to track what I've seen; almost too easy. With over 1,553 movies rated, it's safe to say that "Movies" have moved from status as a "goal" to merely one of many sources of entertainment available to us in the 21st Century.

At Legend, we adopted OpenWiki as our standard for tracking project information, including task lists. This led to the usage of "ToDo" lists - so named, because the use of two uppercase letters causing the "ToDo" tag to be interpreted as a link to a subordinate page. As you may have guessed from my book list, I've always been a big fan of lists, so the Wiki ToDo list was a natural for me.

Ted Leonsis's blog's "My 101 List" has a depth and breadth that are amazing to behold. Few can aspire to such lofty goals, and even fewer will ever check off even a fraction of the goals listed. But, whether Ted's goals are attainable by average folk, they're certainly worth examining to encourage stretching one's horizons: Own a restaurant or club? Change someone's life via a charity? Go to White House / Meet President? Why not!?

My wife recently gave me a book "101 Things To Do Before You Die." It includes such gems as Swim With... Sharks, Whales, Dolphins, Tropical Fish. (readers choice) and warns under Tropical Fish, "be wary of piranha." Others include: "Meet Your Idol", "Experience Weightlessness", "Read the Greatest Books Ever Written", "Live in the Place You Love", "Take Part in a Police Line-up", "Have Adventurous Sex", "Answer a Personal Ad". (Maybe you could kill two birds with one stone, there. ;-))

In any case, the combination of a habit of making lists, Ted's blog, the book, and contemplating dream-homes while watching the sun set got me started on a new goals list of my own. And, as suggested by the book and Ted's list, rather than focusing on the year, I expanded my list to life-long, including past, present, and future. It's a fun exercise. Try it, you might surprise yourself with how much you've accomplished already - I did! But, more importantly, you'll develop a clearer vision of what you're seeking from life, and improve your chances of seeing opportunities to achieve your goals when they come along.

Next up... My Goals.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Motorcycle Diaries, The Beginning

Saturday, 7/15, ODO 28
Burn-in Noon to 4PM: three cycles of 200 degrees to cool.
Practice rides (2); ride to Home Depot; ride to Waxpool.
Notable: Being tail-gated by an SUV at 60 mph in a 40 mph zone.

Monday, 7/17, ODO 69
Practice ride; south on Loudoun County Parkway to shopping center; north on Loudoun County Parkway to GW campus and soccer fields beyond.
Notable: A flock of 10-20 geese crossing the road on the way to the Parkway. Density of bugs on Loudoun County Parkway at 9PM. Cleaning up the bike, helmet, and jacket, after.

Wednesday, 7/19, ODO 84
Emergency breaking practice and warm-up; south on Loudoun County Parkway to Belmont Ridge Road.
Notable: Dramatically better overall control, improved shifting, and riding with authority. First "wave" to fellow rider -- simultaneously upsetting my balance during the entry into the turn.

Thursday, 7/20, ODO 90
Trip to Safeway for B-day card; 20 psi in front tire increased to 35 psi (warm).
Notable: Warming up 7/19 made a difference -- control tonight was not as smooth / precise. Saved gas!

Friday, 7/21, ODO 109
Air in rear tire to 37 psi (warm); Wendy's for lunch, mentioned Apex to the cashier; first ride to work; ride home just before 4PM to avoid rush-hour traffic.
Notable: Second, third, and fourth waves to other riders, without upsetting balance. Riding with increased confidence: better control, smooth shifting and speed.

Saturday, 7/22, ODO 126
Rear 35 psi (cold), front 33 psi (cold). Claiborne to Lansdowne to Ashburn Village Blvd.
Notable: Home too soon. But, ready for TopCoder SRM 312 chat at 11AM.

Sunday, 7/23, ODO 171
Rear 35 psi (cold), front 31 psi (cold). Gas: 3.133 gallons (i.e., 40 mpg). Claiborne to Ashburn Rd to Loudoun County Parkway to Rt.7 to Fairfax County Parkway to 50 to Rt.28 to Waxpool.
Notable: Longest ride yet (45 miles), average speed 40 mph, top speed (with traffic) 75 mph+. Followed cars (at 4s+ distance) on Fairfax County Parkway at 65 mph, and on parts of Rt.28 at 75 mph+. Is me, or do cars just go faster when they're in proximity of motorcycles?

Monday, 7/24, ODO 186
Rear 35 psi (cold), front 31 psi (cold). Work and back.
Notable: At least for the ride to work, time seems to pass much more quickly on a motorcycle.

Tuesday, 7/25, ODO 199
Rear 34 psi (cold), front 31 psi (cold). Work and back, again.
Notable: The ride home... I was slowing, approaching the intersection watching for traffic as the light turned green. I'd learned my lesson years ago about entering intersections immediately after the green: two cars running the red light, I hit the second. So, perhaps I was more focused on the road than I the bike... I accidentally reved the engine and popped the clutch following the green. I wouldn't call it a wheelie as much as a squirlie... the front end got extra-twitchy, and I just about swerved into the adjacent lane. Fortunately, I'll never know how close I got to dropping the bike, cause getting back on the clutch and off the throttle brought the bike under control. To think... I'm still working hard to keep it under 6,000 rpm (red-line at 11,000 rpm). The break-in period has been good for the bike, and it has been good for me!

Wednesday, 7/26, ODO 226
Evening, Loudoun County Parkway.

Thursday, 7/27, ODO 242
Work. At lunch, Giant, McDonald's, home to avoid the rain.

Sunday, 7/30, ODO 279
Rear 36 psi (cold), front 33 psi (cold). Belmont Ridge to Loundoun County Parkway, to Rt.28 to 606 to Waxpool to GW to Claiborne. Gas: 3.143 gallons (i.e., 48.7 mpg).

Monday, 7/31, ODO 295
Work and back.

Tuesday, 8/1, ODO 315
Work and back.

Saturday, 8/5, ODO 366
Rear 35 psi (cold), front 32 psi (cold). Work briefly for a couple emails, then around.
Notable: A bright yellow bird (of caution?) flying directly at my head on Loudoun County Parkway as I hit 73 mph... or something like that. I ducked, he veered.
More notable: A guy leaving Home Depot with a 2x4 out his left rear window -- without a flag... protruding three or four feet from the side of the car ...into my lane as we passed.

Sunday, 8/6, ODO 394
To Best Buy to pick up a new camera, and Loudoun County Parkway.
Notable: At a four way stop, a girl in a Z4, cell phone in one hand, the other hand wrestling with the small dog on her lap as she turned left. A rough standing start onto Rt.28 with two stalls.... it's hard to get a bike moving in 4th. Passing a GSX-R1000 on Loudoun County Parkway (going opposite directions).

Monday, 8/7, ODO 407:
To work and back, in the wind and rain.
Notable: Rushing home at 4PM to avoid the storm, and instead hitting the weather at it's peak, winds gusting to 40 mph (fun on a bike), and rain for the last mile or two. Many lightening strikes. But, no hail, fortunately. After I finished cleaning and drying off the bike, the sky cleared and the sun came out. Nice. Ride to/from work was smooth, quick, and exact - even in the rain (although, less quick).

Tuesday, 8/8, ODO 425
To work and back.
Notable: 600 mile service scheduled for next week. Weather was iffy in the morning, but by 3PM was taunting me with sunny skys, low humidity, and reasonable temps, so I drove home to pick up the bike. Got my hair cut on the way home (after stopping at the barber shop, and removing my helmet ;-)). Ride to/from work was good, although shifts were a bit abrupt.

Wednesday, 8/9, ODO 438
To work and back.

Friday, 8/11, ODO 474
To work, Loudoun Motorsports for plates, home.
Notable: Beautiful weather. And, everyone is in a hurry to get home on Rt.7 on Friday afternoons. ;-)

Saturday, 8/12, ODO 521
Belmont Ridge, Loudoun County Parkway, Rt.28 South, Dulles Air & Space Museum, Rt.28 North, George Washington University, Loudoun County Parkway.
Notable: Absolutely perfect weather (high 60s, low 70s), at 25 mph mesh jacket was too cold, returned home for lether jacket - perfect! Warm even at 80 mph on Rt.28 North (following traffic). Everyone is in a hurry on Saturday mornings, too. In crouched position at 80 mph, the sound of the wind on the helmet is like a shuttle lift-off; an amazing sound, actually.

Sunday, 8/13, ODO 521
The morning weather is absolutely perfect once more... but I'm too tired to ride safely. Sleep in and have coffee with our exchange students visiting from Japan. Then, take them to Summit Point Raceway to watch Superstock and Superbike, Heavy, 750cc, and 600cc expert and novice races. One of the top Superbike lap times: 1 minute, 17 seconds. 2 miles. Average speed: 93.5 mph!

Monday, 8/14, ODO 548
Morning temps started at 72 but rapidly climbed to 84. After a day in DC with friends from Japan, out for a "quick" ride: Belmont Ridge, Loudoun County Parkway, Waxpool to Claiborne Parkway.
Notable: Small deer in the forest on Belmont Ridge at twighlight; fortunately, they stayed in the forest. Practice evasive riding. Increased poise and control - better sense of balance and comfort at 50+ mph.

Wednesday, 8/16, ODO 586
To Loudoun Motorsports for 600 mile service.
Notable: Adrenaline rush from riding on Belmont Ridge and Rt.7. Rider's High? I'm particularly surprised to see no references to the term (for motorcyclists) on the web.

Thursday, 8/17, ODO 605/618
From Loudoun Motorsports to work, and then home. And, a late-night ride after dinner - ostensibly, to pick up razors from the grocery store. Hey!? I was out.
Notable: Visibility on turns in the dark is very limited.

Tuesday, 8/21, ODO 638
A nice day - to work and back.
Notable: Nice to be able to rev beyond 6,000 RPM.

Wednesday, 8/22, ODO 677
To work and back, and to/from lunch at Pacific.

Thursday, 8/23, ODO 693
To work and back.

Tuesday, 8/28, ODO 697
Evening ride, football practice, the pet store.
Notable: A whole weekend without riding!?

Wednesday, 8/30, ODO 707
To work and back.
Notable: Riding in the rain with rush-hour traffic. The theory among rush-hour drivers in the rain must go: the closer I follow, the less chance the driver will have had to slow down when I run into him.

Thursday, 8/31, ODO 722
To work and back.
Notable: Weather was cool: 71 degrees, overcast, and breezy. But, my riding was not at all smooth, and eratic drivers were everywhere.

Monday, 9/4, ODO 762
Labor Day, to Legend's old office, McDonald's and back.
Notable: 60s, light traffic.

Friday, 9/8, ODO 787
To work, and home via 606, Rt.50 and Belmont Ridge with Kevin.
Notable: Beautiful weather, stuck on Belmont Ridge behind two cement mixers and a school bus.

Sunday, 9/10, ODO 816
Local test rides, followed by a trip to Best Buy via Loudoun County Parkway and Rt.28, then to GW soccer fields, and home.
Notable: Carrying "The Command & Conquer Collection" on my back under my riding jacket ("Cool geek?") And, upon returning home, being told by a female neighbor that I'm the "rock star of the neighborhood." LOL

Monday, 9/11, ODO 830
To work, and home.

Wednesday, 9/13, ODO 860
To work, to Unos (diet coke, only), to back to school night (sport-biker jackets get a lot of different looks at back to school night), and home in the dark.
Notable: The morning weather is chilly: 64 degrees at 50 mph is surprisingly cold -- effectively about 45 degrees. Rt.7 traffic was horrible, but the route through GW and across to the Loudoun County Parkway may actually have been quicker -- certainly, more fun. Back to school night made me want to go back to school (for the first time, ever).

Friday, 9/15, ODO 886
To work, to Unos (again, but still only diet coke), and home.
Notable: Rt.7 traffic was surprisingly light, but the route through GW was still more fun. Every now and then I'll see crazy-fast bikers blowing through there; I work to avoid being one of them.

Saturday, 9/16, ODO 1030
To Belmont Ridge Middle School, toward Tysons Corner, and then home via Reston Parkway and Rt.28 (in the rain). Second trip in the afternoon to Coleman Powersports in Woodbridge.
Notable: On the chain gang for football - and, we won 21-0. Moto Fair and Midnight Madness Sale was awesome - wheelie machine, 540 boyz stunts, dyno tests of several wild bikes, and a slew of bikes of all shapes and sizes. The Ducati 999 and Suzuki GSX-R1000 both look much more approachable now, than they did last time I visited Coleman (in early July).

Sunday, 9/17, ODO 1078
To Purcellville on Rt.7 then back on the Rt.7 Bypass.
Notable: Beautiful weather - impossible to stay in. Saw McDonald's sign on the Purcellville exit, and after turning toward Purcellville -- but missed it. Lunch later. Saw 89 mph on the way back.

Monday, 9/18, ODO 1088
To back to school-night and back.
Notable: Parking a motorcycle is a lot easier -- getting out through all the traffic was a little easier, but not as easy as it should have been; lane splitting is legal in California.

Tuesday, 9/20, ODO 1116
To work, to Bungalow Billiards via Rt.28 in rush-hour traffic, and home (in even more rush-hour traffic) via Rt.28 and the Greenway.
Notable: Fortunately, not much. ;-) Nice weather. Paid cash to get on the Greenway.

Wednesday, 9/21, ODO 1133
To work, to VW dealership to look at Eos (for the third time), and home.
Notable: $2,000 cash down and $499 / month, four year lease. Hmm... Sounds like a Ducati 999 and a Suzuki GSX-R1000, with cash left over for maintenance and tires.

Thursday, 9/22, ODO 1156
To work, to Countryside, and home.

Sunday, 9/24, ODO 1175
Notable: Clearly, winter is going to be torture; 60 degrees is about my limit in my current gear.

Monday, 9/25, ODO 1195
To work and back.
Notable: After noon, the weather is perfect - blue skies and 75 degrees. But, what the heck!? See Faster...

Wednesday, 9/27, ODO 1224
To work and back (the long way) - still used less gas! ;-)
Notable: Comfortable riding a bit faster than before - but now back in sync with the bike and the speed. Absolutely perfect weather - hated to stop riding in the morning.

Thursday, 9/28, ODO 1281
To Borders for the next issue of Fast Bikes, to work, to Loudoun Motorsports and home.
Notable: Loudoun County Parkway.