1k to Born Free 7

June 26, 2015


After my year of rambling on two wheels I landed in Portland OR with only $40 in my pocket. I hit the road from Boston, going for broke, and that became more true than I intended for it to be. But when my good friend Bear (Old Bike Barn) caught wind of my financial situation he made sure to get me back on the road, at least for Born Free 7.


It was a Thursday night when he dropped some money into my PayPal, and the show was Saturday, that left me with only Friday to get there. I got geared up right away and hit the road just long enough to get a head start out of Portland, and slept at a rest stop between my bike and a picnic table. I woke up with the sun and was gone with the wind, beginning my 1k trek to the DLMC Compound in LA.


It was a beautiful ride through Southern Oregon and Northern California that morning, twisting through the mountain passes of I-5, but it wasn't long before I hit the blistering heat of Central California, and nothing to see but the mind numbing road.


I was hauling ass, doing 95-105 the entire way. My phones GPS says "time of arrival" but I see "time to beat".  At one gas stop I didn't even get off my bike, and did 150 miles back to back. It seemed more painful to throw my leg off my bike than to just stay there, as if my muscles were atrophied into that riding position. At another gas stop I checked my phone and saw a selfie sent to me from my best friend. I'm glad he did that because I otherwise might not have sent one in return, and I wouldn't have this visual record of pain in a portrait, 700 miles into my 1k day.


As I got further south, and the scorching heat got even hotter, I threw on a long sleeve shirt just to protect my skin from the sun. Sunblock just seemed laughable for the conditions I was riding in, because it was actually hotter while I was moving, as if there was an industrial sized hair dryer pointed right at me. A full face helmet would have been nice.


I stopped in Bakersfield for my last tank of gas, and the only photograph I took the time to make during my trip, then continued on into LA for the home stretch. At a point the pain reaches a plateau, and doesn't really hurt any more than it has been, but what does get worse is the hypnotizing effect the road has on your straining eyes. This was especially difficult as I made my way through the high speed winding traffic of the San Gabriel Mountains into Los Angeles at dark, where I've never been before.


I knew when I left Portland that this ride would come close to being 1k in a day, so I was committed to doing that just for kicks. I was even thinking I may have to do a few laps around my destination before stopping, but there was no need for that,


I landed at the DLMC compound, roaring of motorcycles and dozens of drunk bikers having a great time, as my trip odometer rolled over to 1,007.1 miles. I stumbled off my bike, barely able to kick the stand, and was immediately greeted with a hard slap to the helmet, a big hug, and beers in my chest. It was a warm welcome from Bear, and many more eager to see me again, or meet me for the first time. All said and done the ride took me over 15 hours, with roughly 3 hours of break factored in.

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© 2016 RIDE 1K IN A DAY by Curtis Morgan

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