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Old 03-18-2012, 10:52 AM   #1
FlySniper OP
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Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Here
Oddometer: 1,664
A minivan can be fast!

I probably should just keep this on to myself for several reasons, but it blew my mind so bad that I'll share and take whatever lumps get dished out.

And yeah, this involves way too much speed on a public road, poor judgement on my part and some of the stupidest riding I've done in years... Oh, I shouldn't leave out the freaking homicidal maniac in the minivan...

I was heading the backway home the other day. The route takes me around a fairly large lake, it's scenic, hilly, curvy and fairly low traffic. My first confession, I ride this route almost daily. Most of the time I'm fairly sedate and maintain a pace at or just above the limit. Today, however, things just seemed to line up and I'm riding kinda hard and having a blast. There had been no traffic anywhere and I was just railing along the little tertiary farm roads with abandon.

So I top the last hill on a particular road and roll up to the intersection. I'm turning right onto a faster secondary road. To my left and about 250 yards away, a gold minivan is heading my way... I figure they're doing about 50mph and I didn't want to get stuck behind them. Plenty of time! I turn right and get in it. I have a nice straight run for about 1/4 mile till I hit the far end of the bridge, a gentle left sweeper and another 1/4 mile or so before the curves and elevation changes take over. I can hold 60/65 mph all down this road with no issues, I do it often...

Any way, I pull out from my stop and pin the throttle. Third gear sees me doing around 70mph and closing in on the bridge. Mirror check.

The minivan is inches away from my bike. The only though I had was, "How?".

I snap it into fourth crossing the first joint of the bridge. I didn't let off the gas. Halfway across, I'm in 5th gear, throttle pinned and maxed out at an indicated 100mph. (DR650)

The fucking van was still right there. I'm fighting for acceptance of this fact, but I don't have time to try and understand. I have no room for mistakes. I'm riding way over my head with a minivan no further away than an honest 3 feet. If I make a mistake, it's really over for me.

I hit that gentle left sweeper faster than I ever dared. The area is wooded right to the road and I'm trying not to think about impacting a tree. The bike does well, but the van hangs with me all the way.

Now the road passes close to the lake, the trees thin and houses take over. This section always calls for being very alert and prudent, the sight distances shorten and there are three boat ramps and a marina in a small area. Under normal circumstances I'll only do around 40 mph through here but that van...

I risk easing off the gas, but the van driver about hits me when I drop below 80mph. Had I a decent place I would have shot to the far left of the road and grabbed the brakes in hopes of him slinging on past me. As it was though, there was no room to try something that risky and no room to just pull off.

As we move away from the lake, the road resumes it's mild twists and elevation changes. I'm thinking ahead. Apparently I am not going to outrun this asshole, I have no place to go, but I don't think I can maintain this pace without getting killed.

Then it dawned on me.

If I could make it another two miles there are two very hard 90 degree turns that might allow me to out brake and out accelerate this guy and gain enough distance to dive in someplace safe. Although I had no idea as to where that might be.

So I hold the bike at 85/90 mph, trying not to think about the things that could go wrong, trying not to look in the mirrors still filled with gold minivan.

My first 90 degree turn is in view. It goes to the left, right around the corner of an old brick church. There are guard rails on both sides, the pavement is worn and slick and as a complication, people coming the other way tend to get in the middle, leaving you about half a lane to play with.

A quick check, the van is still there. Heading for the turn, I open it up with what little throttle I have left.... and I hold it, and hold it some more.

I should be braking by now, crap.

The van driver blinks first and shears down on his brakes, opening a gap between us. Still, I delayed.

Last second, I grab the brakes and start shoving the shift pedal down repatedly. The bike baulks hard at this. The back tire skips and skitters, I can hear the drivechain slapping around and the forks feel like they are stuffed. I loose speed rapidly but am still moving too fast when it's time to let off the brakes. The brick corner of the church passes and reveals what I was dreading. An older F-150 coming my way, half in my lane.

I'm already commited, riding at 11/10ths and no time to formulate Plan "B"... I hug the rail to the right, dive hard to the left and gas it again. Luckily I had banged it into just the right gear, luckly the F-150 moved over, luckily no one was exiting the church parking lot, luckily luckily, luckily...
I pulled away.

100 yards and the next hard turn. To the right this time, banked, more open and a little better pavement. It's a faster, easier turn, but I'm already shaken. I accelerate the whole way, try to swallow in a dry throat and repeat the technique I used for the last corner. This time there's no oncoming traffic and I carry enough speed that I imagine I feel the big DR's suspension bottom from the g-force. I risk a glance, no van in my mirrors. I'm ready, I have room and options now. Here there are narrow spaces in between shops, there's wide open fields and construction sites and a busy four lane where I turn traffic into a rolling defensive shield.

But the van is gone.

Did that F-150 take him out? Maybe he rolled it on the first turn? Or did they pull into the church parking lot with a delivery of pies and cakes for a bake sale?

I have no freaking idea where they went. I'm just glad they are not near me!

It's sort of embarrassing; not being able to outrun a minivan. I had to grossly misjudge their speed when I pulled out in front of them, they had to have been carrying closer to 100mph than they were to 50mph... that or that van had some serious acceleration! Whatever the reason, the driver should not be on the road... but I wasn't really in a position to debate that point with him. I'm just glad to have gotten away!
A feeling of having made the same mistake before: Deja Foobar.

"Think about how stupid the average person is. Now, realise that half of them are dumber than that." - George Carlin

FlySniper screwed with this post 03-18-2012 at 10:59 AM
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