Girl Meets World on FZ-07 Motorcycle - Chapter 2, Part 6

Viewing Colorado racing on track and mountainside, with a new travel buddy!

Tiff and I met at the track, where she races her Ninja 250 with more enjoyment and positivity than anyone else on the grid. When Tiffani got word that she’d be getting laid off from her job in Los Angeles, she didn’t fret. In typical ultra-optimistic Tiff style, she saw it as an opportunity to hit the road on her newly acquired Yamaha FZ-07. What follows are Tiffani’s reports from the road, albeit a bit delayed, originally posted for her friends on Facebook but shared here with her permission for all to enjoy. — Ari Henning

Colorado motorcycle track day
Officially ended up at a race track just about every weekend since I’ve gotten to this state. I swear I don’t have a problem!Photo by Tiffani Burkett

This might be my favorite write up yet for a lot of reasons. Looks like I might just be a little less solo for a while, so let's recap! After leaving the Rocky Mountain camp ground, I headed into town and checked my messages. Turns out it was another MRA weekend, this time at High Plains Raceway, a track maybe 60 miles east of Denver. My friend Dennis had forgotten his transponder at his shop (I choose not to mention how many times I've done that), and I obviously needed more excuses to go to race tracks, so I volunteered to pick it up and run it over. I hadn't been to this track in about three years. The last time I was here, I was with all the wrong people and I widely regard that as the worst race weekend of my life, but this time I had great company even if I was unfortunately not racing. I watched them run their four hour endurance race with envy and caught up with old friends.

After a hot weekend of great racing, I finally met up with Hollywood again, who had just found a buyer for his truck. Why, you ask? Because he wanted to pick up a motorcycle that he could take to all of the lower 48 states! I gave him a ride to buy a fully toured out FZ1 , and watched in disbelief as he handed the guy the money. He had talked about coming with me the last few weeks, but a lot of people talk about doing things without ever actually committing. There's always a million reasons it's decidedly not possible or a million reasons to delay to a tomorrow that never quite comes. Quite a few years back, Hollywood had planned a big trip to South America on an FZ1 not unlike the one he just bought, only to let people talk him out of it. He didn't want to let this opportunity pass him by again, and I enjoyed the company, so looks like I now, officially, have a long term travel buddy! I might lose a little street cred for this, but we proved to have pretty similar styles over the past few weeks, so I think it's gonna work out great!

Hollywood's FZ1 and Tiffani's FZ-07
Keeping it bLU cRU! I'm pretty sure I lost a few lives riding the road to get to this spotPhoto by Tiffani Burkett

As our first order of business, we headed south, visited Aaron again who had officially woken up from his coma (head injuries are the scariest, so it was pretty exciting), then headed toward La Veta. It was hot in the city, so we found some camping in the mountain near Blue Lake. Then the next day we headed toward Salida, where we camped near Monarch Pass. Hollywood is a great rider in the dirt, so he dragged me out on some pretty rough atv roads without hesitation. Having seen how much off-road the FZ can handle while being his passenger, I took a deep breath and followed him down some trails to some more dispersed camping. If he could handle it on an FZ1 with Pilot Roads, I'm sure I could handle it on my FZ-07 with Dual Sport Shinkos. But what’s nice about having a travel companion is I get to travel to spots I’d be way too afraid to traverse alone, which made for some gorgeous creek-side camping.

Early morning entering Pikes Peak Hill Climb
Pike's Peak! I think the anticipation and the craziness required to spectate was the best part.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

We stopped at a local bar in Salida called The Fritz and got to know some of the locals while we did some laundry. After chatting with the owner for a bit, we somehow ended up with some drinks on the house and some showers (Hollywood is much better at talking to people than I am, which has already gotten us in many weird situations). The people around here are just beyond friendly. The next day, we headed toward Colorado Springs, as the Pike's Peak Hill Climb was fast approaching. Camping was a bit difficult with the event, so we stayed with one of Hollywood's cousins who lives nearby.

Viewing Pikes Peak Hill Climb from Devil's Playground
Shame about the view.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

Spectating the Hill Climb was an interesting experience. As the road is shut down in order to run the race, spectators have to arrive before dawn to get a spot. We showed up at midnight, and parked our bikes in an already long line of cars. Being the only motorcycles in the entire line up had me questioning whether we were in the right place, but I guess a bike really isn’t a practical choice for viewing the Hill Climb. After meeting some other race fans, we passed out on the blacktop, using our backpacks as pillows, before my alarm woke us up at 2:32am with maybe a half hour's sleep. The gates opened at 3:00am, and we rode up the cold dark mountain to Devil's Playground, the highest and most scenic viewing point at nearly 13,000 feet. I set up camp on the side of the mountain, and we attempted to get another hour or two of sleep before the race started.

Motorcycles in the parking lot at Pikes Peak Hill Climb
We ran into riders from Michigan, Florida, California, Kansas, Texas, and several other states on everything from full dress tourers to stunt bikes. No matter the differences, motorcycles always do a good job of bringing people together.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

Now, if I'm being honest, while it was cool seeing our friends race up the mountain, and there were some pretty eclectic vehicles, being a spectator was kind of boring. There were no screens or anything set up to show timing, so unless you wanted to pay $10 for WiFi (which is way too rich for my blood), you're completely in the dark about what's happening or how each competitor is doing. And if you didn't know to have a radio on you, then the whole experience was basically just sitting on the side of a mountain while the occasional vehicle drove by. I think the coolest part of the whole experience was really just talking to all the riders who had ridden from far and wide to watch (many of whom were big fans of Motorcyclist, so that was pretty neat). We ducked under an awning for shelter from the random hail that ultimately ended the event early.

It was a good bucket list experience, but I doubt I'd go again. That said, I'm in Colorado Springs another day waiting on a new chain and sprocket to be installed, and then it's finally time to leave this beautiful state and head to Laguna Seca for World Superbike!

Hollywood and Tiffani at Pikes Peak Hill Climb
Hollywood and I enjoying our Pikes Peak Hill Climb spectating experience as best we can on only a few hours' sleep.Photo by Tiffani Burkett