One of my favorite quotes is “Leap and the net will appear!” by Octavio Paz. It’s how I try to live my life. It’s how I try to encourage others to live theirs. This means that in life you have to take a chance, you have to go for what you want and you have to do it with relentless passion.
It was this philosophy that got me started with riding motorcycles. I saw a woman rider and she intrigued me. I thought to myself, I can do that, so I did. I took to riding instantly and loved everything about it, so I did whatever I could to ensure that I could ride as much as possible.
The weekend I watched my first motorcycle race I was able to take my bike for a spin on the track and knew, just KNEW that I wanted to race, so I did. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t cheap but it was what I wanted to do, what I knew would make me happy, so I did it with gusto. I worked hard to pay for racing, saying no to other things in order to save my dollars. Those saved dollars all went into my riding/racing fund.
I put a lot of time and effort into finding good sponsors, asking for help, designing a website and writing race reports and thank you letters. One of my sponsors sent me to the California Superbike School as a student and while I was there I decided to try out to be a coach. They told me it would take 6 months to a year to get my riding up to speed but I was so determined to secure a job where I could get paid to ride that I did it in 3.
I turned down a great paying, local, secure, stable, regular Monday to Friday job before I knew I was accepted to be a coach, simply because I knew that I wouldn’t love it. Most people I knew thought it was a stupid move and said I should have taken the position. I was scared, it was risky, I could have failed but I leaped and the net appeared.
I started coaching full time. The track experience and rider training made me a better rider, which in turn made me a better and faster racer. With better racing results I secured better sponsorship, received more recognition and more doors opened. A publication took notice of my race reports and liked my writing style. They asked me to become a test rider and writer for their magazine. Pretty soon I was making a living out of riding and loving every minute of it.
I tell this story now because I see too many people, riders and non-riders alike, miss opportunities and live in a way that does not fuel their passion. They make excuses and put off following their dreams because they will do it later, when they have more money, when they have more time. Unfortunately, many of these people end up looking back on their lives with a little bit of regret, and wonder “what if?”
A lot of people tell me I’m lucky, but I don’t think luck much to do with it. As my husband says, “Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” When it came to riding and racing, I was prepared to go for it. I was prepared to risk all that I had to make my dreams a reality. I was prepared to leap, regardless of whether the net appeared or not and I believe when you are prepared like this, opportunity presents itself more often and it can look (and feel) like luck.
While speaking to a room full of BMW riders I was asked, “What kind of advice would you give new riders, or older riders wanting to get back into the sport of motorcycling.
I said something to the effect of, “Just do it. Take a riding class, refresh your skills, practice one thing at a time but most of all, just do it.”
If you want to learn to ride or get back into riding then do it, if you want to race or participate in your first track day then make it happen. If you have always dreamed of riding your bike across Canada, to California or to the tip of South America then put all your energy into making it happen and follow those dreams so you won’t look back with any regret.
Another favorite quote of mine is this, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic. Engage, and the mind grows heated. Begin, and the work will be completed. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe).