Last night was amusing to me. I decided that before I spend 4-6 hours riding around coastal and mountain roads that I should make sure the suit fits right and get it broken in a bit. So I just rode around SF for a two hours. While it should come as no surprise to anyone, it really felt like I now was the rabbit that every street racer on two or four wheels wanted to chase. Instead of giving them what they wanted, I just didn’t give a fuck and cruised around at my own pace. I didn’t even care when a scooter rider tried to race me down Oak (and seriously, who does that – the lights are fucking timed for 30!). To me I was just amused.
I am sure I amused some people as well, the guy in race gear cruising around at the speed limit and just taking it chill. When I started riding, my sane friends told me to just not worry about anyone else on the road and do things at my own pace. This might be the best advice one can follow.
Now I can see why people with less self control can get themselves in trouble wearing race suits. I’ve read several articles about it, and now I understand why. My body just clicks into place on the motorcycle in a very controlling, aggressive, and confident position – that was just upright. Once I was able to get some clear roads, I found out how much it made a difference. Going around some of the twisty roads, I found myself going much faster through the corners than I have in the past. Some of this is the new tires on Matte, but the new gear also had an effect.
I also found it much easier to hang my body off to the sides in the suit. To me this is interesting, since the gear I normally wear is pretty much track level gear as well. Since they are zipped together it is not like there is a firm connection between the butt and back. In the suit, it that firm connection meant wiggling my butt forced my back over a bit. That feedback to me is rather paramount – and I think it is the reason why I took some of the turns on O’ Shaughnessy at the speeds I took. I am not going to say how fast I took this turn, but I still had nearly a foot before my knee would make contact with the road and I was already doing a good pace. Off the back of an envelope, I would have to be doing at least 100 mph to be leaned over far enough to where my knees where scraping.
I will continue to say this – if I am ever putting my knee down on purpose on the streets, someone take my motorcycle keys away from me. Conversely, I need to get myself some track lessons and do some track days over the summer. There is something rather additive about all of this as I get more comfortable – just need to do it in a safe and controlled environment.
For me, this suit is that it feels like there are clicks on the positions for me. There is the mostly upright position which for me and my bike is somewhere about a 20 degree forward lean. Then the halfway tuck where my helmet is just getting protection from the windscreen – this is typically where my body ends up on the freeway when there is no traffic. So far so good and going between them was easy. While I could stay between the two – it was clear to me that the suit was designed to be worn in certain body positions and my natural positions fit are there.
Once I found some clear roads, it was time to go down on Matte and I went into a full tuck. It was like I had someone force my back and body down. My belly slapped down fully on the tank, elbows resting on my legs, helmet bouncing on my cell phone mount. Do’h – the phone mount is right were my helmet wanted to go! But there was no middle ground, this suit was forcing me into the correct tuck position and keeping me there. Now keep in mind, my bike is not a race bred super sport and is a bit more upright and takes some effort to go down like this in my normal gear, but it was was effortless.
Being in that position, it felt like I was on the hunt. Now I see why people get in trouble. that was a very primal feeling.
Earlier this week, I found a deal on the Dainese Aero Evo suit that was too hard to pass up as a gear head. So I jumped on it and it arrived this morning. During an all hands call I was listening to, I decided to try and get in. It was an experience getting the suit zipped up the first time. At first I feared that I would have to return it since it was not zipping up. Then I remembered you have to bend over like you are in a full tuck on the bike.
Got one side up, success! Now the other zip was fighting me. After finding some cord to use as a zipper pull, I got the it all zipped up. I was thinking to myself, I really hope this works since the next size up was out of stock and I would have to return and pass up on the deal if it didn’t fit. Next step was to zip up the calf zippers and put my boots on. Somehow I managed to get it on while the chatter of corporate goals and visions continued on in the background.
The sensation of the skin tight leather and armor was just amazing. I knew it would be a tight fit, but I felt like I could take anything that could happen to me. But walking and standing was hard. I know this is an aggressively cut motorcycle race suit, but it really was starting to feel like a bondage experience just trying to move around. But once I sat down and put myself in a position that I would be in on the bike, and it started to feel better.
I know from my other Dainese gear that it will break in a bit and the leather will stretch. The bottom half feels like the Delta Pro pants I bought after losing weight, and those were nearly impossible to get on at first. Now, they fit just perfectly. So my fear in ordering the wrong size was misplaced. Now I just sat around listening in to the corporate chatter while covered in this.
Eventually I decided I needed to make sure things fit with the back protector in, and had to get out. And this is were panic strikes, I didn’t think I could wiggle my way out alone. Uhoh. My left arm is stuck and I am just trying to shake it free. I wish I had a camera running since it must have looked funny, but then my left arm frees up and I am out! I realized I will need to wear some compression gear under it until it breaks in.
Once the call ends, I take care of some odds and ends for work, install the back protector, put on some leggings and a compression shirt, and get back in. It was much easier the second time after spending an hour in it. It was clear that it was starting to mould to my body. At this point I take some selfies. I know, a shock, right?
I head downstairs, setup the camera to take some shots with me on the bike to make sure things fit right when used for it it was meant for. The literal second after my leg was thrown over Matte, everything just hit right and felt natural. Then I put myself in a tuck. Even though this is an aggressive suit, any normal position on my bike was at home for it. While it may be a bondage like experience off the bike, it was worth it. And looking at the selfies of myself, I really felt like me.
Now it is lunch time, so I get out of it, change into jeans, then head out to hunt and kill something. While thinking about it over lunch, it feels like I have gotten both a physical and spiritual second skin. I know over time it will physically form around my body. I can’t explain why, but this piece of gear was already starting to make a spiritual connection with me and I want to explore it more.
I really want to know, what is different about this one piece suit vs my pants and jacket that zip together to form a two piece suit?
Now I can’t wait until Saturday when I am going to ride around the North Bay and break in the suit along Highway 1 and other twisty roads. Let’s start forming these connections close and expand them further. I bought Matte to go explore, I didn’t think it was going to make me start exploring my spiritual side again – that will be a topic of a different post.
There is a part of me wondering why I stopped being myself for a bit. After the fracture, I stopped being myself for a bit and didn’t wear leggings or my other gear out and about as I normally do. Even once I recovered, I noticed I tended to be wearing jeans instead of leggings. Subconsciously, I think this was leading me to a state of disassociation since I no longer felt like who I was.
Last night I said fuck it and let’s get back on track with life. Once I got home and changed out of my leathers I put on the Blackmilk coffee bean leggings and then headed out to Trader Joe’s to grab stuff for dinner. As I was walking up, I was thinking to myself, why was I hiding form the world?
It took me walking past a group of stereotypical hipsters looking all awkward tight skinny jeans, plaid, and the fur hats to realize a big thing. I feel like myself and I am confident dressed the way I am. I never want to be that person who is not comfortable in their own skin, even if it is just walking up the road to grab groceries.
However, Leggings and Motorcycles don’t mix. I’d like to keep my skin intact, thank you very much. It is going to be interesting to see how my wardrobe evolves from here. While I never have issue wearing leather out and about, I did break down and buy a pair of Bull-It SR6 Riding Jeans to avoid looking like a complete alien for short trips around town. On the other hand, I have found walking into a store in a two piece race suit does get you the quickest service.
As I reflect back over the last three months, one of the reasons I cut back on the selfies was I started riding the motorcycle into the office. Since I was getting comfortable dealing with traffic, I shifted my schedule to be earlier. As a result, I didn’t even notice when that I stopped writing and cutting back on the selfies since I was trying to hit the road early. Now that I am comfortable in traffic I have been shifting my schedule more or less back to where it used to be. Now I am having time again to relax a bit and get back to this selfie addiction.
One of the goals I am giving myself for the month of June is I won’t commute to the office without taking at least a 5k run before throwing my legs over Matte. Caltrain has since redone the morning schedule and effectively added 10 minute to my morning train ride. I feel like I have less motivation to ride the bicycle into the office since riding Matte in is an hour quicker and just as fun. But I don’t get the same physical benefit, so I need to ensure that I continue to run every day that I commute to the office.
One of the advantages to doing a decent run is that I need time to cool down. This gives me time to take the selfies and write.
As part of the selfie addiction, I have also been doing spandex clad ass shots before I go out for a run and I post them up on to Instagram. And I fully admit, I do this because I still have self doubt in myself. There is an endorphin rush when guys who I think are hot as hell like my photos on IG – it reminds myself that I really have made progress.
While there are still days I go, do I really look like that? But those thoughts are fading each month. And I have a good idea why – I have pushed myself in ways lately that literally require to have confidence in myself to survive.
Over the past three months I have made a lot of changes to my life. Between buying a motorcycle and fracturing my clavicle, my life has reshaped. And these new experiences are distracting me from other healthy habits that I was starting to form last year. One of the unfortunate things has been that I have not been writing as much, which is something I really didn’t want to drop off.
In the past three months, even with the fact that I not on Matte (the motorcycle) for over a month while the fracture recovered, I put on 4,000 miles on him. As I put on the miles on the bike, I continue to learn more about myself. But getting this on paper has been really hard for me, since I have not been able to come up with the right words to explain the changes and feelings I have. All I know is that I feel more or less myself when on Matte and I arrive at my destination refreshed.
I also stopped taking as many selfies despite my continued weight loss from my diet changes. Part of this has been a crunch for time in my day. But it really started to wane while I was recovering from the fracture. The strange thing is I kept my weight loss on track during that period, and I am down nearly 30 lbs since the beginning of the year.
This brings me to what my goals are for June. I want to get back in the habit of posting gear selfies and thoughts on a regular basis – and today seems like a good way to start it back up. I also want to write down all of the thoughts that I have been failing to get down on paper or online.
Still confused on how I can truly enjoy coffee while in a helmet.