Aug 6th. Right, the day has arrived! Time to cover the last 30 or so miles to the Dragon, and enjoy the moto mecca I’ve been pilgrimaging towards up till now. Eric and I rise almost slowly, but reasonably early. He leads me the back way to the Dragon. We pass a gas station with premium fuel specifically for Harleys. I giggle. Finally, I see the sign warning semi’s to consider other routes and I know we’re there.
We start climbing into the mountain very quickly, and the switch backs become ever more relentless. Eric is very new to riding having only put 1,500 or so miles on his Ninja250 and the going is a very leisurely pace. This suites me just fine, as it gives me plenty of time to study the road and scenery. A few hundred more turns and we arrive at the resort not 35min since seeing the semi-truck warning sign.
That’s it? I mean, I know it’s only 11 miles, but 11 miles have never seemed so short before. Wow, I guess the mileage really does pass by quicker when you’re having fun. We pull into the resort, and as is my custom, learned from many group rides, I stop at the gas pump first thing. Apparently the gas at the Dragon resort is specially formulated for dragon slaying. Fantastic!
It better be at those prices… I saunter the bike over to the group of Ninja 250’s which are forming and my first task is to thank Eric for his fantastic leading! I’ve heard so many horror stories of either cops or gravity interrupting the dragon experience I was happy to just arrive unaffected by either hindrance. In addition, the pace gave me plenty of time to discover the dangerous corners and burn them into my mind. This mythical creature isn’t going to bite me today!
The group is very friendly and much more open than I have ever experienced a motorcycle group to be right off the bat. There are a few small egos here, but nothing to be worried about. The group chats, checking out this bike and that, for many, getting acquainted for the first time in real life. After about 45 minutes of yabbering we’re all starting to get a bit antsy, but after DaBlue says we have to wait a while still, Oroboros decides he wants to go and I jump in for an opportunity to follow a local through the dragon. Oroboros looks a little bummed because maybe he won’t be able to hit it at speed?
We take off and the pace is definitely up from the first time I did it with Eric. 3 corners in and Oroboros throws a wink over his shoulder and I’m still there. A nod. 6 more corners and another wink, and I’m still there. I get a thumbs up which either means I’m doing well or we’re going faster. Great! It’s the latter of the two and up we go another 5mph in the pace hovering right around properly illegal. This is glorious! I would go through another 5 bike fires for this! Well, maybe not, but you get my drift… We’re properly sailing through the corners and enjoying ourselves. I’m leaning off the bike to create a bigger buffer for myself and in doing so working quite hard.
This could be better, I think to myself. We spring upon an officer of the law around a blind corner. My heart hits my throat mid-corner but the group of people hanging around denotes the cop already has somebody pulled over. A guy in the group lowers and raises his hand in the “slow the F down, idiot” motion and having been a bit preoccupied with the terror of a coppa on the loose I didn’t realize how high my RPM’s were. I quiet the ninja down with a quickness and by the next apex my blood-pumper is back in my chest, comfortably situated between my sternum and spine. Right, everything is where it should be – the cop on the side of the road busy with somebody who is NOT me, me still with shiny side up and Oroboros increasing the pace back up to what it was. Fantastic!
We get to the pull-out and pull off for a bit of a discussion. I really like this Oroboros dude! He walks the line between honest and polite very well in his communication, and he’s fast! I can learn a lot from him! And so we return, this time even a bit faster. Half-way back to the resort I decide to just keep my butt parked in the seat and stop trying so hard, and oh what a revelation! It feels so much faster, so much more fun, and although we’re beyond the law, we’re not outside a healthy safety margin. Oh! The feelings… The joy! You know when you have that special someone in bed, with not a clock in the world, tantalizing each other? Yea, each bend, each curve, the dragon just sucks you in, holds you, and then lofts you back out ready for the next surge of prickling the senses. Never does the thought of possibly being devoured by the dragon stray far from my conscious, but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? Playing with fire? Oroboros and I get back to the dragon and oh, I’ve lived more in these last 30 minutes than I usually live in a year! Burt Monroe was right!
I’m all kinds of hyper, ready to rock and roll again, all the trials and tiresome miles forgotten. I’m with friends in a great place doing some spectacular things. The only way this would be better is if there were a lady faster than I who I could chase up and down the dragon, hour after hour…. But alas, it is a sausage fest and it’s time to get the boys in a line and head out for MOAR adventure! Nah, no more adventure, MOAR riding then!
With almost everybody ready, 22 some odd duckling line up and wait… and wait.. and wait.. What turned out to be about 3 minutes seemed for ever! And waiting on what? A duckling by the name of Nova has A LOT of gear to get into. Waiting on Nova would become a trend for the rest of the day, but never the less, he’s new, and is being safe, so just STFU all you impatient ducklings, he’s doing everything right.
Right, off we go, up and down, left and right, and even though the pace is not that which it was this morning, the Dragon and all its surrounding roads are beautiful! Every time I look in my rear-view mirror and see a ¼ mile long train of Ninja 250’s my heart does a double beat in mixed surprise and joy.
Eventually my already worn rear-end starts to smart, again, and so as is normal for me, I start rotating through all my various riding positions to tolerate the raw nerves. This caused some discussion through the day, and I’m glad to report some discovered new ways to mitigate being saddle-sore. A few stops along the way, and we pull into a gas station after a long straight road filled some shenanigans and hooliganism. Everybody is laughs, smiles, good humor and all that other good stuff. I kept saying “Yes, indeed it was all worth it!” and yes, indeed, it is. Some decide to go home or to their hotel for lunch, and some decide to go back to the Dragon and the eatery at the resort. Guess with which group I decided to go with?
Right, the eats at the resort weren’t half bad, although not quite up to their prices, but the riding after was hella fun! I can’t remember how many times we rode the Dragon, but each time was a little bit faster and a little bit harder, and each time the smile grew just a skoshe until I started fearing that the top of my head might fall off the bottom. But the day is not over yet!
We all regroup and head to a look-out point to watch the sun set. What a novel idea! Build a concrete structure above the tree canopy for a fantastic view. Weird really, having been privy to the Rockies for so long, where if you want to see above the trees you just keep going up… But alas, this was a completely different experience! I felt like I was sitting on top of the trees, and yes, the sunset was absolutely worth it!
After the sunset, Momaru and I head back to the hotel, him joining Eric and I for the night. I get us lost, as per the usual, and he straightens us out again. Thanks heavens there’s at least one functioning sense of direction between the two of us (this is important tomorrow). He gets us home and after a shower it’s time for pizza and beer! Over the vittles we tell our stories and grow fast friends! I really hope to see these guys again some day!