Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Dedication: The Stampede
The Stampede: An infamous and grueling chopper race across the breadth of this great nation of ours. Over 3,000 miles with only a handful of very basic rules.
The rules are simple:
1. All bikes must be rigid framed (no rear suspension)
2. All motors must be solidly mounted (no rubber mounting bushings of any kind)
3. No hard saddlebags
4. No windshields
5. No chase vehicle of any kind (other than another participant in The Stampede)
Basically that's the rulebook. Although this year, the powers that be were so impressed by a couple of small displacement bikes making the entire route that it was decided to limit the size of the motors. Just to make this grueling trek that much more difficult, there are (for this year at any rate) the bikes have to be 550cc or smaller to compete. The only exceptions to this rule are; if you are riding either a British vertical twin then you can run with up to a 650cc motor (Which still limits you to pretty much mid 60's or older Limey bikes), and old Harley flathead 45 cubic inch 'V' twins (so again, at least 40 plus year old motors to begin with).
To make it across the US to North Carolina is a major trek on its own. But to do it on homebuilt or modified choppers of such limited displacement takes ture dedication. Plus I am sure more than a bit of just plain ass hard core attitude. I tip my hat in deep respect to anyone who makes a serious attempt in The Stampede.
This year, they are also changing the starting point. Normally it is somewhere in the California area, but this year, I have learned it will be on the Washington Coast. They'll be leaving the start at 6:00 AM on June 16th and hauling ass like the "high speed, low drag mother fuckers" that they are.
I probably wont have a better chance to have a face to face with some folks I admire, and have wanted to meet for quite a while. The problem is, I am leading a memorial ride for a friend on the 15th that will be about 175 miles long. So to be able to make it to the start point before everyone heads to bed the night before, I'll have to leave as soon as the Dan George Memorial Run is finished. Then make the two and a half hour ride to the start point of The Stampede. I figure if they have the dedication to make this years Stampede, I shouldn't have a problem with dedicating myself to see off the lunatic men and women who proudly call themselves "Stampeders". They'll be looking at well over 3,000 miles...I shouldn't have a problem with about a 500 mile day. Maybe someday I'll actually be riding amongst their crazy asses.
Catch ya on the road sometime...