Categories > Original > Horror0 Reviews
Why do they tell me I shouldn't try to keep up with the guy on the white Suzuki?
“Never mind,” Luca assured me. “You saw Ryan pull a wheelie yesterday – this is him. Daye, say hi. Dave drives a blue Ninja. And...” He looked around. “Eh, he's wandered off again. Come on.”
Luca led me up to a lanky guy wearing white leathers. I assumed he went with the white Suzuki GSX-R and Luca, like always reading my mind, confirmed that. “This here's Brad. We call him Gixxer Angel. He doesn't drive with us much anymore, but today he'll be leading the pack. Say hi, Angel.”
The guy nodded at me and murmured something. My held-out hand was ignored, which annoyed me until Luca steered me back to the other guys. “Come take a look at his bike. It's pretty special. So's he, as far as that goes.”
“He's pretty rude,” I muttered.
“Actually, he was polite to you. Maybe 'cause you're a girl. Mostly he doesn't say anything.”
I walked around the Suzuki. I'd taken it to be plain pearly white, but I realized now it reflected all sorts of colors, shimmering like a mirage. From some angles it didn't even seem to be there.
Luca answered my question before I could ask it. “I can't tell you how it's done. I can tell you that you really don't want that sort of color, though. It's expensive.”
“It can't cost the world,” I protested. “And I've already...”
Luca interrupted me with a laugh and hailed the others. “Let's be off before too much traffic gets on the road, boys! Saddle up!”
He started toward his own black and gold R1, then turned back to me. “I almost forgot. Whatever position you take, do not try to keep up with Brad. You will crash.”
That sure sounded like a challenge to me. I fastened my helmet, pulled on my gloves and swung a leg over my blue Buell 1125CR. Its V-Twin added a bass line to the tenors of the six Japanese four-cylinders.
Brad's white Gixxer flashed as he pulled out at the lead of our convoy. My favorite position was second. Luca knew that. Still, I'd never driven with all these guys at once before, so I let Luca go second and squeezed in behind him. I thought it was weird he gave me a thumbs up for that.
We headed for the Rockies, the guys popping wheelies every so often. I was more interested in noting landmarks and looking for curvy roads. I'd only recently moved to Colorado and was still unfamiliar with the routes.
Finally the road began to ascend and the serpentines started. Brad was off like a shot, and I'd have lost Luca too if I hadn't kicked the CR down a gear and hauled on the gas.
I knew Luca could move his bike through the curves with an easy eighty miles per hour; I'd driven with him before. But Brad astounded me. When he was in sight, which wasn't often, he was driving so fast I was sure his handlebars were scraping in every bend.
The longer I stayed behind Luca, the more I got the impression he was holding back. We came on a section of road that straightened out for about a mile. Brad was slowly rolling down it, waiting for us to catch up. I put up my visor and pulled alongside Luca's R1. He gave me another thumbs up and his eyes crinkled in a grin.
I indicated I wanted to take the second position. His grin disappeared and he leaned over. “Be careful!” he yelled, and I barely caught the words above the noise of our engines. “Hairpins ahead!”
I nodded, closed my visor and pulled in behind Brad. He was driving so slowly I could see his back tire was smoking. I'd never seen that on a moving bike before. This guy was good.
He twisted around to look at me for an oddly long time. I couldn't see his face behind his dark visor, but he seemed to be sizing me up. I could see curves again in the roads ahead and shifted a gear down. Brad nodded, turned around and took off in a power wheelie.
The one time I was able to glance at my speedometer showed me I was going 112 miles per hour. Luca was right on my tail; I'd known he could drive faster than what he'd been doing! But I had no time to think about it. Brad was flying ahead of both of us at speeds that would have been a match for Valentino Rossi on a clean racetrack, while we were driving over bumpy asphalt strewn with pine needles and pebbles.
The scenery was a blur; the mountains around us blended with the sky and I had no time to watch the road. I followed Brad's line. Twice the Buell's back tire slid on something and caught again. Both times my heart jumped into my mouth but I kept my focus on Brad's white form and my bike followed my line of sight.
A left curve opened up. It seemed to be fairly long and wide; Brad was out of sight so I couldn't be sure. Being uncertain, I let off the gas just a little and kept my foot on the back brake. It was the only thing that saved me when the curve suddenly closed, bending tightly around the mountainside. I slammed on the front brake and laid a thick black streak on the asphalt. I managed to bring the bike around the curve just on the edge of the road, but I was so shocked and shaky I tried to force it up to speed again from 5 mph in fifth gear and it stuttered and protested.
That brought me back to my senses. I geared down and waved for Luca to pass me. He did, shaking a hand at me in relief.
Brad was waiting for us around the bend, his bike standing still in the middle of the road. Seeing the two us come up – I can't even remember if the others were in sight – he bobbed his head and took off again.
The next set of the curves were wide and easy and my scare wore off. I obediently stayed behind Luca, even though I knew he was taking it rather easy and not anywhere near to maxing out his bike or his driving talent.
All at once he set his blinker and turned off onto a viewpoint parking lot on the right. I wondered why he was stopping, because I didn't see Brad anywhere.
He turned off his R1 and let it roll out; I did the same and parked my bike next to his. He got off and removed his helmet, beckoning me over to the railing. “Come here and watch.”
“Watch what?” I asked.
He pointed to the road where it followed the mountainside down into the valley.
“There's Brad!” I exclaimed, detecting a racing white spot against the mountain's gray.
For a moment I did, trying to guess how fast that GSX-R was going. “Does he know that curve closes into about forty degrees?” I asked. The Suzuki didn't slow down.
“Yup,” Luca replied.
I forced down a shriek dropped my helmet when the white dot flew off the road and floated silently down into the trees.
Luca patted my arm and handed me back my helmet. “It's okay. He crashed three years ago and he's done it every year since. You're the first person to come driving with us who wasn't trying to keep up with him when he runs off the road.”