Friday, July 19, 2024
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My track day Cinderella experience

I stood at the baggage claim, struggling to comprehend what was happening. “They lost it,” I thought to myself. I came all this way, over 2,000 miles (3200 kms) and literally across the country, and they had lost the one and only thing I needed for this trip – my track day leathers. 

Setting the Scene

I had just flown from Northern Kentucky to Los Angeles, California to rent a track bike and ride it at an all-female track day, hosted by HER Track Days. I carried on my precious Bell Race Star Helmet and my clothes, but I had checked-in a bag with my leathers, gloves and boots. 

My first flight was delayed… then canceled. Then I struggled to find a connecting flight that got me to LA any earlier than midnight. With a two-hour drive to the hotel, a 7am start time at the track the next day, and a three-hour time difference (in the wrong direction) this delay was really working against me. 

Saving the Day… or So I Thought

After some stressful negotiations, at literally the last second, I managed to secure the last seat on a flight. I was excited. I would now make it to my destination only a couple of hours later than the original plan. My friend Ashley, who flew in on a different flight, was waiting on me with the rental car. We planned to see some of the city before heading to our hotel in Rosamond. 

But there I stood, leather-less at the baggage claim. Somehow amongst the delays, cancellations and flight-hopping, my luggage was still back at the Cincinnati airport. 

The Wait

What in the WORLD was I going to do? I had already paid for my track ticket and rental bike. I couldn’t afford to buy a new suit. Besides, have you ever tried to find a woman’s suit in person anywhere?! They hardly exist, and if one did, I can guarantee it wouldn’t have fit. 

The airport said my luggage might be there at 11pm. Ashley, being the amazing sport she is, offered to stay with me in the city all day and wait for it.

So, to distract myself, I proceeded to eat the most authentic Mexican food I’ve ever had, dip my toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time, and generally have a wonderful experience.

That was, until the time change and the stress of the day finally caught up to us. We were exhausted. 

HER Doing Their Best to Help

Luckily, in the meantime I had texted Sara Zomo, owner of HER Track Days, about my predicament. She and her other track girls had been scrambling through their extra gear to find leathers, boots and gloves for me borrow. 

When Sara told me they had found everything and thought it might fit, Ashley and I decided to call it quits on waiting for the airline and pray that the gear the girls had found would fit me. 

It All Came Down to Some Track Boots

Early the next morning, Ashley and I arrived at the Streets of Willow Springs track in Rosamond, California. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a more nerve-wracking situation. I had spent thousands of dollars, I had gotten myself hyped over the course of months beforehand, and flown all the way here. All the while, dragging Ashley with me. But now my chances of actually riding on the track came down to whether these girls were the same size as me. 

After an extremely warm welcome from the HER Track Days crew, we got down to business – trying on the gear. First, I hopped into the suit, and it was a solid fit, despite the sleeves being a bit long. “Alright, I can work with this,” I thought.

I tried on the gloves next, and they, too, were a winner!

Turning my attention towards the boots, I realized it all came down to this.

Feeling like Cinderella at the ball, where my future at the track depended on whether this damn shoe fit, I reached for the first one. They looked a little small…

Carly Becker

My foot slid into it! I struggled with the zipper, however, and three of us girls – newly united by this desire to get me on the track – stretched and pulled and got that zipper up. It hit me that this was it. I would be riding today!

These old, beat up boots meant the difference between riding that day or sitting in the paddock.

What I Will Never Forget – and It Might Not Be What You Think 

The rest of the day consisted of time spent with new friends and my old friend Ashley alike. I enjoyed every second I spent on my badass, race-ready Yamaha R3 track bike on those fun and flowing Streets of Willow Springs. 

I will never forget that trip. Not because of the riding. Not because of the unique bike. Not even because of the sense of accomplishment I felt having done it all.

No. I will forever remember the camaraderie of a group of women who, despite having never met me, showed their determination to make sure this little Kentucky girl succeeded at fulfilling her dream to ride Willow Springs. And succeed they did. 

Riding this race-ready modified Yamaha R3 (which has more horsepower than my Kawasaki Ninja 400, despite 100 fewer CCs!) on a track on the other side of the country was a dream come true.

Have you had any close calls during your moto-travels? Or have you been saved by your female tribe? Let me know in the comments.

Carly never gave motorcycles a glance until she rode a scooter for the first time in 2019. Now, she looks at practically nothing else! Motorcycles are life for her, and if she’s not actively riding, she’s working on her business, 2 Wheels 1 Girl. Her website was founded after Carly traveled long-distance for the first time, as that trip started a quest for more motorcycle tours and moto camping trips. As she learned from her experiences and pushed the limits from each previous trip, Carly wanted to help other riders who are just starting out with their motorcycle travels or who have experience but want to improve. Her day job as an Instructional Designer offers her the perfect skill set to share her passion of motorcycle riding with others. She loves writing almost as much as riding, and never leaves home without her notebook and favorite pen. If Carly’s not out moto camping on her Kawasaki Versys-x 300, you might find her tracing the raceline at the track on her Kawasaki Ninja 400, or just enjoying time spent with her Goldendoodle, named Toast, and husband at home.



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