Tuesday, April 15, 2014

All Chicks Ride to Ramona, CA

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Coordinating a motorcycle ride with a few chicks was the best idea I've had in months. I talked to a couple of ladies I know that ride, all of whom don't know one another, and figured out the best day. I set up a Facebook Event and hoped for the best. All 5 of us were set to take off from the Mobil station in Fallbrook at 10am on a sun-sparkling Friday morning, but unfortunately Jennifer couldn't make it.

"The person who was supposed to pick up her kids had to cancel," Barb told me.

She had read this on the Facebook Event page that I hadn't remembered to check the morning of the ride.

"I'm in no hurry to get back," Barb went on to say. "The only thing I have to do after this is bake cookies for the Bake Sale at the Temecula Harley Dealership tomorrow."

Barb was so excited to ride with some other women. Being single and just learning to ride last year, she has trouble finding ladies to ride with.

"I got my license when a couple of friends got theirs, but they decided to keep riding bitch and not ride their own bikes. I got my license and all I want to do is ride!"

Barb oogled and awed over the jacket I had brought for Diane. I had received the jacket from Motorcycle House for a review, but since I knew Diane was in the market for a great jacket, I brought it as a gift for her to wear, review, and keep. Diane loved her current jacket, but like any woman, she was in the market for something new.

Only a chick ride would start out with talk of picking up kids, bake sales and biker fashion.

When Diane arrived Barb and I began laughing at Diane's jacket.

"You have the EXACT IDENTICAL JACKET ALREADY!"

It turns out that the jacket I ordered from Motorcycle House was identical to the jacket Diane already owned! So Barb was the big winner as I handed her the leather jacket to review. As Madhavi pulled in, our foursome was complete and we all hopped on and took off.

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I had asked Diane to lead the ride the first half because I realized I have very little experience leading. I can look at a map and remember one or two turns, but I don't usually have the presence of mind that my hubs does to lead for hours on end. Diane refers to my hubs as the Human GPS, the big joke being we can be in the middle of the desert and he remembers which unmarked side road to take to go see the hidden ghost town 10 miles from the highway.

"Just turn left at the 4th cactus. . ."

Diane giggled when we all wanted her to lead. She was surprised to find that with 4 years of experience and about 20,000 miles of seat time, she was the most experienced rider in our group.

"Well, you've ridden across the country twice!" she giggled.

"You've been riding longer than all of us," I told her.

"OK, well, as long as no one minds where we end up, I'll lead."

"You know that they say Diane. You're never lost on a motorcycle."



The route was beautiful and being that it was a Friday, traffic was nearly non-existent. The weather was perfect as we rolled along the graceful sweepers into Ramona for lunch at the Ramona Cafe. From there Madhavi had to head south back to San Diego to get to work, but we were all pleased she was able to get out for half the day to ride. Madhavi rides everyday, everywhere, even though she's only been riding for a year now. Before she met her boyfriend Louis, she wasn't really interested in another relationship. She turned him down the first time he asked her out.

"I said, 'No, I think I'll just keep dating my motorcycle. . .'"

But being persistent paid off for Louis and now they are not only dating, but ride together often.

As we rolled out of Ramona, I felt confident enough to take the lead and give Diane a break. The roads were even more beautiful than the first half of the ride, and I was in pure heaven. Riding my motorcycle with my friends riding theirs, watching the world unfold before me with the grace of springtime, and feeling the warm sunshine on my back and the wind pushing against my chest, I felt a serenity that only comes to me in the pew of two wheels.

In Temecula we waved goodbye to Barb as she headed off to bake cookies. Diane and I went to a local pub and talked for a couple of hours before I headed off to San Diego alone. When I came in the door that evening, I remembered my hubs coming home from a day-ride with friends a few years ago. I remembered his tired, dirty face, huge smile and slow, dragging posture of a day well spent. When I went into the bedroom to undress I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and saw that same rider in myself.



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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Guest Post: Nadine Lajoie, Motorcycle Racer

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Recently I met and worked with Nadine Lajoie, a former motorcycle racer and self-made, successful woman. Initially I was attracted to Nadine because of our shared passion, motorcycling. But I found she was truly so much more ~ Success Acceleration Coach, International Speaker, Award-Winning Entrepreneur &
Best-Selling Author known as the “Champion Motorcycle Racer who Sings like an Angel”. I asked her to contribute to Sash Mouth to share her insight and story about taking her passion and turning into a career.
Thanks for the opportunity to contribute to this blog because for me, passion is really important and that is why I'm still alive and here. We all share the same passion: motorcycle riding. I guess for most of us, riding a motorcycle means freedom, calmness and peace when we in the zone. It is kind of an escape from our day-to-day problems, challenges, at work or at home. It relieves stress and I even have one friend who is a psychologist and she prescribes riding on a motorcycle to her clients who are dealing with a lot of stress... It is too bad that too many people are against motorcycles because the media just shows the negative side.

Let me share a little bit of my story, before I became a female champion motorcycle racer and also finished 3rd at Daytona against 75 men! I want to encourage anyone, especially women, who are still on the fence about buying a motorcycle. I bought my first motorcycle at the age of 31 (so, it's never too late to start!) and no dealership wanted to sell me a sport bike because I didn't even touch the ground (I'm only 5'1") and I was not able to lift the 400 pound "beast" straight up properly. I finally found a used YZF 600 online and I asked the guy to bring the bike to my home with one of his friends and to park it in the living room for the winter. The next summer, I failed my first driver's license and almost failed a second time; supposedly I was not fast enough! But I was really careful not to go over the speed limits.
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With the bike in the living room, I had no place for the Christmas Tree, so I put lights all over my bike and this still brings me great memories. This was my gift to myself because I had a surgery on my knee the day after and I was not sure if I could still play volleyball at the Canadian Championship level again. I was already old and after my 5th knee injury, chances were not so good. So I had to find another passion and focus on something else.

As in life, when you are driving, you need to focus on your path, being attentive to all your surroundings, drive and anticipate all other unconscious or "motorcycle hater" car drivers around you. Your eyes need to be everywhere at the same time, on your peripheral vision, and not just focused on your next corner or next detour that life brings to you or your business.

Motorcycle Tip - Adjusting Your Chain: to make your chain last longer, adjustment is really important, so it's best to do it frequently. To find the right tension, you can put your screwdriver between your sprocket and your chain to tighten the big axel bolt. With this technique, you will avoid the back and forth between adjustments after you tighten the bolt.

Focus on your path, your goals, your motorcycle passion and use the same analogy for your life and business. I will share with you in my next article why passion saved my life. This is also why I became an international renowned leadership trainer and you can experience the ultimate breakthrough of your life at my 2-day business training events at the racetrack. You will have the opportunity to be on the back of a race bike up to 150 mph and ride in tandem with a professional motorcycle racer! Your riding skills will improve while you are having a breakthrough for your life and business.

Get more information about our next dates and reserve now for a special offer for Sash's readers by clicking  here. 

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Motorcycling Pressure

"Riding my motorcycle in the wind doesn't bother me. Every time I ride, the wind blows at least 80 mph." ~ Arizona Harley Dude, Paul

Climbing up from Downtown onto the mesas of San Diego, the tangle of highways and interstates cross over one another in a weave of commuters. The mass exodus begins daily around 3pm, culminating into a nightmarish parking lot of tired cagers, paying little attention to the drive, checking their phones, exhausted from another cubical-bound-shitty-day, wanting to be anywhere but in this God forsaken metal and asphalt turmoil. The pressure is on to get home to suburbia and attend to their suburban-lifestyle-duties so they can get back Downtown in the morning to do it again. That pressure lingers in the air, a stench so thick a rider can taste it through the cage exhaust.

Ride those same roads at 10am any day and while the lanes are nearly clear, the pressure remains. The slight change in the altitude, perhaps through some barometric principal, creates a pressure that blows into me as I try to reach the 'burbs. Climbing up the mesa, my Yamaha V*Star lags, not from the grade of the hill, but from an undeniable wind that blows against me.

"You don't belong up here. Go back. Go back. . . "

I hear a voice within me pushing me away from my destination on the mesa.

The wind blows hard against me, pressing upon my chest, tossing my head from side-to-side, forcing me to work for every inch of Interstate. After losing momentum, I roll the throttle forward, yank in my clutch and kick Tatonka down into 4th gear. Rolling back the throttle I feel the power pick up, and we grab our place in lanes. The struggle is short lived as we level out in Clairemont Mesa, home of Korean B.B.Q., Mitsuwa Marketplace, Target and Cycle Gear. The air shifts, giving Tatonka room to catch her breath and kick up into 5th again.

It's at this point that Downtown is surely behind me.

I love Downtown. The bustle of too many people in such a small place, the crazy homeless people who dance for money or beg silently with cardboard signs, the dark, loud bars, the drunken college kids, the out-of-towners who have no idea how to drive a city street; I love all of the energy they bring. If you don't live there you don't know how very quiet the streets are at sunrise, or where you can score free appetizers, pizza and tater tots on a weeknight, or where the best parking can be found.

Living Downtown means walking most everywhere; the market, barbershop, drug store, dry cleaners, post office, bank, library and of course, out to dinner. Before I lived Downtown I was afraid of the homeless, had never heard of a döner, and had never had a private theater in my apartment building.

No matter how beautiful or ugly the past be, moving forward can be hard if one keeps looking back. As the pressure of the climb up the mesa blows against me, it gives me one more reason to long for what I've left behind.

Motorcycling is about the road ahead. I just need to remind myself that I'm not losing my past. I always carry my memories. It's a good thing they are small and easy to pack for the ride.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ortega Highway: Overcoming The Fear

Motorcycle Miles. 198 miles to be exact. Along the ocean, over the mountains, lane splitting traffic, through familiar roads and a few unfamiliar ones. . . we rode. For me though, today was an incredible milestone.

When I started dating Highway in 2011 I found myself afraid as a motorcycle passenger. I had ridden with others many times over my life but after so many years away from it, I was surprised that it frightened me so much. On the short jaunts about town I clutched him tightly, terrified something bad would happen.

Our first full-day ride we headed to the Ortega Highway, California Highway 74. It's a clamoring string of twisties, always riddled with cars and motorcycles, famed for the many lives it's turns have claimed over the years. I had only been on the highway a few times, by car of course, and I dreaded it. As we headed towards "The Ortegas" that sunny day, I made a decision.

Either I would push myself to find the joy in motorcycling or tell Highway that I was too afraid, and not ride with him again. I knew this would probably put a real dent in our budding relationship, but I had to make a choice for my own sanity.

As soon as we hit the first turn, I told myself that wasn't fear I was feeling, it was a thrill. I embraced the thought, and it only took a little convincing for me to believe this was fun, this was really living, and that I had only mislabeled these feelings as fear all of this time. Once I crossed that threshold, motorcycling was in my blood and I couldn't get enough! The euphoria I felt on every ride became addictive and to this day, I'm always looking for my next "fix".

Fast forward to this afternoon and I was facing that same fear again. Since we had returned to California I had been thinking about riding The Ortegas on my own motorcycle (not as a passenger), for the first time, but not until today did the chance present itself. After miles and miles of lane splitting northbound on Interstate 5 from Oceanside to San Juan Capistrano, and pulling off at an exit to decompress from stress of lane splitting for so long, we finally reached the mouth of the infamous road.

Motorcyclists crave the opportunity to ride this stretch; Gary France rode this same asphalt with Highway back in November 2010 after coming to America and riding 5-months across the country. He even wrote about it in his book France In America! Unfortunately I had thought about this road so much that it had gained mythical status in my fantasies, now filling me with the same terror I had once felt as a passenger.

"Maybe I'm not skilled enough to ride this yet. Maybe I'm not ready. . ." I wondered.

I know I have ridden across the country twice, but still wondered if I had the skills necessary to tackle this monster. I logically knew it was only a monster in my mind and I only need respect the road for what it was and take it one turn at a time to get to the other side. But at the mouth of the beast, I let that terror take hold of me.

"Time to Sash Up or Shut Up!" I decided.

I roared past Highway, taking the lead, and made that road my bitch.

The truth is I rode pretty slow, but I did get to the other side without incident. Each turn I focused, repeated my training in my mind over and over, and reminded myself to breathe. I can't say I really enjoyed the ride, but I am enjoying the accomplishment now. With this first challenge overcome, next time I can push a little harder and perhaps, ride a little faster. Had this been any other road in any other place, I wouldn't have stressed. But because of my own mental poison, I had built this up as the unslayable dragon, the demon that would take my soul.

It was a great technical ride, requiring all of my attention and skills.

But truth be told, it's no dragon. . .

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About Sash


People call me "Sash" because I'm a former beauty queen in my old home town. My father used to ride in an MC which got me interested in the culture. After my last divorce I said "goodbye" to Susie Homemaker and became the rude biker chick I always felt inside. (Read more...)