Big thanks to MC who is working like crazy and still managed to get this to me! I love you darling!
Ride or Die
My foot comes down hard and fast, bringing my bike roaring to life. It shakes beneath me. I slide my familiar helmet on and take a deep breath. The smell, the sounds, it's all the same. But I can't waste precious moments reminiscing because it's time to get dirty.
Gotta love a job when you are endorsed to get soaked and muddy for money. There's nothing else like it out there in the real world. I've just never been the suit and tie kind of guy, and working nine to five is not nearly as appealing as getting out there and tearing up a track. So I thank God every day for this opportunity. I don't know what I would do without it.
The first race may not be until May, but the track is open and I need to get my times up. My life depends on it. Literally.
And with that little piece of information swirling away in the back of my brain, I get ready, pump myself up. Because I need that boost. I need the adrenaline to fire me up.
I slide my goggles down and do one last adjustment on everything before letting it rip.
My bike leaves a roost at least ten feet high as I get in to the groove on the fresh track.
It feels so fucking good.
The whine of the engine fills my head and helps to tune out everything else in the world. But reality hits when other riders get their asses out on the track. And soon my clean gear is speckled and the colors all blend to brown and tan.
My pretty yellow plastics are now filthy, but that's just proof of how amazing the track is today.
That's what Moto-ing is all about, going out clean and coming home looking like a warrior.
There's nothing else on my mind except the track and the bike. I feel every bump, every curve; it's all being memorized.
I'm in the lead, I don't know if it's out of respect or if it's because I'm just that good. But it's the first run of the season, so something tells me it's out of respect and that everyone is still dusting off the cobwebs.
I lean in to the turns, watching my goggles get caked and loving every second of it. There goes a tear off and now I have a clean view.
While I have my ultimatum, it doesn't mean I still don't love everything I do. I love racing, nothing will change that…ever. It's my body that doesn't love it as much as I do.
But just as I'm about to reel it in and behave myself, this little shit passes me. He's tiny, and what's he trying to do? Take me on? I laugh and blow past him, covering him in the muck that's piling up on the outer edge of the track.
When I look back and see him shaking his head, wiping the mud off his helmet, I know he's pissed, but I don't give a shit. These are my times he's trying to fuck with, and I'm not going to let that happen. Not when there's so much on the line.
Thirty minutes is over pretty quick and my body is grateful. The soreness begins to seep into my back, but I know I have a rest. I plan to use it to my advantage while my team gets to work tuning my bike.
I roll over to Emmett, who's waiting by our tent and semi.
And that's the moment I usually take in the newest artwork Aro has shelled out big bucks to have scrolled across the side of the semi. No matter how old I get, I don't think I will ever tire of seeing one of my wild jumps on the side of a giant tractor trailer. It's pretty cool.
Fucking awesome is more like it.
That's the teenager in me, I can't help it. Even though I'm twenty-eight, the teenager still living within me roars his head every once in a while.
Dreams come true are the best feeling in the world. There's no denying that.
"Good job man; that was a pretty sweet run for you, especially since it's the first time out since October."
I raise my chin. "Thanks, it's a good track," I admit. It's true, there are some tracks you can exploit and this is one of them. I love it.
Not everything in the sport is skill, though most of it is. That and fitness. Most spectators think Motocross consists of riding a dirt bike for a while, but anyone who tries will tell you that Motocross is like running as fast as your body will allow for a half hour straight. So when you can get a little advantage from the track, then by all means, I say, take it.
"How's the bike?" Emmett asks, like the great mechanic he is. We're friends first and foremost, but he'll always be an amazing mechanic, that's the reason I hired him.
It's one of the few things Aro has done right in his career. If he didn't let me hire my team, he'd be up shit creek.
I strip off my gear up top and throw my jersey to the side, it's too fucking hot out. I grab a water and slam down into an empty chair. My body's tired.
"The bike's good; it needs to be tuned though, and the front tire is wobbling a little. I can't make a jump with it."
Emmett nods and rattles off a list of shit for Jasper, the new kid, to start looking at. Jasper's straight out of school, but Emmett needed some help and he was the only one who would work for what Aro was willing to pay.
Emmett likes him though, which means I will, too.
I just haven't had a chance to get to know him yet. There hasn't been much time. Aro didn't announce we were getting a new crew member until March, and finding someone and hiring them took time. So now that it's the middle of April, Em and I still haven't had time to really hang out with him, but that will all change soon enough. Because before we know it, we'll all be together for the season.
Jasper gets to work, making me feel proud of my team, and Emmett takes time between overseeing to talk to me about handling and little ticks with the bike. I give my input and let them do their thing. Emmett's great and he knows when something's up just by watching me.
"Hey, Cullen," I hear and turn in my seat. It's some chick. She may be pretty, but I don't recognize her. I wave, because I'm not rude and I love my fans no matter what.
I don't ask her to come over either, though. There are plenty of guys out there, who are in this sport for the groupies, and plenty of them take any chance they can get for that shit, but I'm old enough to know it's not worth losing focus.
Especially this season.
Especially when I have everything that I do on the line.
Especially when I have so much to lose.
"Hey man, I fixed the wheel for you and made some adjustments, let me know what you think after you give it a few laps around," Jasper says, pushing his long, messy, blond hair out of his eyes.
When he does this he looks even younger than he already is—early teens, even though I'm sure he's not more than twenty.
I wipe the sweat from my brow and give him a nod. Hope he doesn't want a pat on the back, I don't do that shit. I'm not that kind of guy. In my eyes, we're all equals. This team wouldn't work without all of us being here.
"What do you think of the bike overall?" I ask randomly. The kid's been in school, drooling over a position like this, so I'm sure he's got some preconceived notions about what the bike should have...or at least what it should be like. I'm sure he's memorized some fantasy build of his own, waiting for the day he gets to make it come true.
"Honestly?" he asks, looking a little worried.
I nod, because what the hell… I want to hear him out. And besides, there's no room on this team for anything but honesty.
"I like it. The fork is amazing; I've never even seen something like that before, and of course you had to change out the stock header, the MegaBomb replacement was a great choice, and who doesn't love D.I.D.?" He rushes it all out in one breath.
"Calm down, will ya?" I say with a chuckle. It's clear he's a little flustered about me asking his opinion.
"Sorry," he apologizes.
"Come on man, I really want your opinion. Your real feelings on the bike."
"I really like the combination," he comments seriously. "It's a great bike, and clearly a winner. But I wouldn't run those tires on it. I'm not a Dunlop kind of guy. But that's your choice, not mine. "
"So where's the beer?" Emmett interrupts with his big, goofy smile.
"Shut up man, I was just trying to get a feel for the new one," I say, chuckling.
"Well, why don't we light a fire and sing Kumbaya?" Emmett jokes sarcastically. He's a dick sometimes, ya know?
I roll my eyes and smirk, I know Emmett's sense of humor, but I'm not sure Jasper does, he looks a little gun-shy. And there's no need for that. We're a fun loving group around here, well, as long as we win we are.
"Come on Jas, let's see you take the lady for a spin around the track," I say as a peace offering. "We have another ten minutes until I really have to be out there. And besides, if you're going to work on the bike, you should know how it rides."
"You…sure?" he asks, not believing me.
"Yeah, I'm serious, go."
"You really should have some experience out on the course with her," Emmett agrees, backing off his sarcasm.
Jasper's blue eyes light up; he makes a weird face, but there's a smile in there, so I think he's happy. He cautiously picks up my helmet. I nod and hand him my neck protector, as well. You can't ride without them. I watch as he manages to stuff all his shaggy, blonde hair inside the helmet and shake my head. If this kid's Texas accent wasn't so damn thick I'd wonder if he was from California.
Once he's suited up he roars the bike to life and eases her in to gear.
Emmett and I just stand back and watch.
"This is good for him, you know?" I comment, nodding my head.
"Yeah, I know. But you're getting awfully chummy with him."
"So, what if he's one of Aro's shitheads?"
"If he was he'd be way more confident. He's not a lackey. I know it. He's just a mechanic looking for a job. He's way too nice for that bullshit."
He shrugs and seems to agree with me.
"Good kid, right?"
"Yeah, he knows what he's doing too, that's for sure."
"So then, let's play nice until we find out otherwise."
"All right," he says with a sigh.
Jasper makes his way around the track. He's ridden before, that much is clear. But he's not a racer. There's nothing wrong with that, though. As long as he's familiar with the bike that's all I care about.
After Jasper comes in, I get back out on the track and try to strut my stuff. It's more difficult after the rest. My bones are tired and my muscles are sore, but I get going and try to give it my all.
There's dirt flying, tires spinning and the whine of engines everywhere. It's a good day. Hot, but good.
I work through the pain, finishing every lap with a smile.
But then the fucking twerp is back. He's trying to pass me. He's doing all he can to screw around me, but I'm blocking like a champ, since I know this track so well.
But the prick won't let it go. He just keeps on it. And he's pissing me the fuck off. Finally though, I throw a roost, splatter him and take the lead 'til the end of practice.
I roll off the track, worn and tired. I shake my head thinking about how I have the entire season of this shit. I'm not even sure how my body is going to deal with that, let alone survive it.
Emmett's waiting for me. I can see the pity in his brown eyes, so I must be showing my pain. Something I never like to do.
"Go have a seat, man. Me and Jas will pick up the shit, then we'll grab us some cold ones, sound good?" he asks, helping me over to a chair.
"Yeah, yeah," I say with a sigh. "Thanks." I'm not annoyed at him, not by any means; I'm annoyed at myself. I can't stand the fact that I'm unable to stay out there for more than a half hour without feeling like I'm going to fall apart.
I must've been in my head space a lot longer than I thought, because when I come to Emmett's rolling down the door and we're heading out on our way.
"Let's go get us something to drink," Em says, grabbing my shoulder in a friendly gesture.
I raise an eyebrow and turn to Jasper. "Are you even old enough to drink, bud?"
He scrunches up his face, looking puzzled. "Yeah, of course, come on now. I ain't no kid."
I chuckle and look from Em to Jasper. "All righty then, boys, let's drink."
What do you think of EM and Jas, so far?
How about that little twerp?
And of course, Riderward?
Love you guys, see you soon! ;)