Spring Training

Football has experienced another failure in Booger Bottom, the Hawks' marketing department is working hard to make excuses for team failures, saying wait until we get all the players back. (Surely, Hawk's upper management realizes that even with 100% healthy players, they can't compete against the best teams. If they don't realize this and envision solutions, we are doomed for a long, long time.) But, this is a motorcycle column, so corrective measures aimed at solving the Hawks problems won't be discussed. March madness is upon us. Wow! College basketball has greatly improved over the years. Not at Tech and UGA, but look at the big picture.
    When I moved to Atlanta in 1966, I came from ACC country. Puzzlement would be a good description of the feeling experienced when  trying to understand the importance placed on football down here. Kentucky had put out good basketball teams, but the ACC was, and still is, a powerhouse. UNC's coach has put winning in the vocabulary of Kansas, Mr. Wooten had put UCLA on the basketball map, Michigan State's hoodlums (no offense intended-just a different method of playing) were adding an improved form of basketball up north. The sport has seen wonderfully talented athletes step up the show. I do confess never envisioning those little shuttle/shot put shots of today.
    Now we look forward to the crack of the bats (with Atlanta, it's how well will the pitching hold up), the spectacular plays on defense, stealing bases, the sound of the crowd: it's spring training. The athletes train almost year round now, but spring training brings the players together once again. Old and new faces blend to form this years TEAM. Every team in America just knows that this is the year to win it all. Hope springs eternal in our hearts. 
    Guess what? It's spring training for us motorcycle riders too. Some of us riders now have many, many, many years of experience, but now we are reaching that time of life when stretching and exercising are important. I have always been on and off with exercising. Youth included team and individual sports, so staying in shape was not a problem. Now exercising is a bit of a chore. I walk for 40 minutes on the tread mill, while burning at least 500 calories, then do another 20 minutes of resistant weights on the bow flex. The key is making self do it at least 3 days a week. None of this exercising helps in the stretch department. Cheryl has a stretch video that will now be added to the routine. 
    Watch me now!!!!  :) :) :)
    It's also time to get out the bike and give it some exercise. Last week we covered some maintenance, this week we cover some actual warmups. You and your bike--working together to make the riding season a great one. 
    Yesterday, I took a warmup ride down to Pine Mountain, across the ridge, to Manchester, up Ga. 85 and back to Peachtree City. Part of the beginning exercise is to remind self of how the bike performs, how quickly the brakes will stop the machine, how quickly the bike will accelerate, (without exceeding the posted speed limits for very long, you understand), how the old depth perception is working this year, how quickly the machine will pass a cager, all the while watching traffic and taking in the beauty of spring in the south. Oh yes, this is also a test of bladder control. We must exercise that too as we get "more mature."
    While we can watch videos of great riders, we must challenge ourselves to be better riders with each riding season. Take the lessons learned on the video and put it on the ground. We can even take rider training courses. I never have, but envision that the lessons learned would be valuable. 
    OK---trike is in the future, but not just yet. Cheryl might have another opinion on that!! Pride comes to mind too. We must all work hard at our riding skills and must also realize that the time will come when exercise will not take away the loss of bodily functions through the years. It has been said that pride goeth before the fall.
    I won't try to equate riding a motorcycle with being sanctified. Sanctify means to be set apart for God and His holy purposes. Just as we are sanctified by God, we can say that we must, to a lower extent, be sanctified in order to ride safely. Our skill sets are set apart from cage drivers. A stretch, true, but we must also stretch "self" in order to be a good rider. 
    John 17: 15-22: "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me, and the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one;" 
    Why does these messages always have a reference to Biblical truth? I'm not just interested in riding these roads with you today. I want to enjoy each one of you in eternity too. We will have the BIG bond of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but we might get a few million years of free time too.
    Be a blessing to someone today.