It was only two weeks until the race started. Alison didn’t have much time to practise because she hadn’t got much spare time. In the little hours she did have leisure, she would train her ass off. At every training session she would try to drive a little faster, until she reached the limit. She would try to race at maximum speed through bends, without to fall. Alison got a better motorcyclist every time she sat down on the black saddle of her motor.
At the day of the race, she made sure Felix came to babysit Gemma and Oscar while Donnie was off to work. The race wouldn’t take long, just an hour, or maybe two. She just hoped Felix wouldn’t turn her kids into dragsters again… At least Gemma and Oscar seem to like him, and that’s all that really matters to Alison right now. She felt bad for leaving, so she at least could leave them with somebody they liked even though their mother wasn’t quite fond of the way he baby sit them.
She parked her red mini-van in front of Ramon’s garage and got out. Alison made sure the van was locked as the walked inside. She found her friend in his workplace, playing a game on his phone and drinking some coke while he waited for Alison to come. When she entered the garage, he looked up. A big grin could be seen on his face. His brown hair was shaggy and she doubted if he combed it this morning.
"Miss Hendrix! Ready for the race?" he asked as he shut off his phone and put it in the pocket of his pants. He offered her a sip of his coke but she refused by lifting her hand. Ramon shrugged and took a sip himself.
"You’ll come with me, right?" Alison asked, suddenly a little anxious. She counted on him. He was like her mentor, even though she knew more about riding a motorcycle at the moment. Ramon was her friend and she wanted him to be there, even if she’d loose. She probably would loose. This was her first race, her first try. It was barely a month ago since she first touched her motor. Her opponents probably had a lot of experience and she totally lacked experience. It would take a lot to win.
Ramon placed his glass on the messy desk and turned to her. His table was full of master prints of her type of motorcycle, a YZF-R1 or something like that. Pieces of other motorbikes were spread out on the ground. Yet, Ramon didn’t had to look down to the ground when he walked over her. He took her hands in his. His rough hands felt strangely familiar and it calmed her down a little bit. She needed him there on the tribune, waiting for her to finish. Ramon smiled reassuring to her, like he knew what she thought. Maybe he just guessed her thoughts by her nervous attitude. He had some stubbles around his lips and on his cheeks she hadn’t noticed before, showing he hadn’t been shaving for at least two days.
"Of course I’ll be there. I don’t want to miss your first race, do I?" he said. Ramon pinched in her hands and she pinched him back. This time she was also able to smile at him. If Ramon was going to be there, it would be fine.
"Now, the race starts in two hours. Better go to the start and make sure you can participate, okey?" he said as he let go of her hands. Ramon drank the last few sips of his coke all at once, took his jacket and put it on. It was a simple, brown leather jacket that suited his posture well. It made his shoulders look broader and his figure taller.
"Yes," Alison agreed. She took the keys of her motorcycle out of her pocket and threw them to her friend. Ramon started the motorcycle, since Alison still had some diffeculties handling the heavy, metal beast. Ramon still helped her to step on the motor without falling, just like he was about to do now. She really needed to work on that. But that probably meant she needed to get some extra muscles.
He took the motorbike outside and made sure it wouldn’t fall on the ground when Alison got on. Ramon hurried back inside to take two helmets. A black one for himself and a pink one for Alison. It looked kind of weird, a mat-black motorcycle with a pink helmet, but Alison was determinded to show something of herself at the race. She liked pink and she knew she the other participants would laugh at her, but she didn’t care. They wouldn’t laugh anymore if she kicked their filthy asses.
Ramon got on the motorcycle as well and wrapped his arms around Alison’s waist. They both put on their helmets. She made the engine roar enthousiastically. A grin, hidden behind the dark glass of the helmet, appeared on Alison’s face when she heard the familiar sound. She could feel the adrenaline being pumped through her veins.
"Ready?" she asked. Her voice was a little muffled because of her helmet, but Ramon still gave her a thumb up. Her grin grew even bigger as she throttled. The motorcycle raced forward and speeded up fast. Ramon had to tighten his grip around her waist if he didn’t want to fall off the motor and drag Ali with him. Wind rushed past her ears and made her deaf, unable to hear anything else but the rustle of the wind. Alison didn’t mind. She felt like she was one with her motorcycle now. Like it were her tyres that drove over the slightly wet road, still speeding up.
It only took Alison a minute or two to get out the ghetto in which Ramon lived. Once they got out, the small apartments, placed closely together, made place for the big houses of the suburbs. It took a little longer to get out of the suburbs. The streets were longer and the houses took more place with their huge gardens and big surface. Alison recognized some of the people. Charity who was about to take her children to figureskating. A grumpy looking man who was taking his dog for a walk. The woman who just came to live in Black Oak Drive, taking her mail out of her mailbox. Alison saw many different people with a lot of different lifes. It intrested her. They all lived in the same street, the same block, all in Scarborough, but still the daily life of her neighbour could be so much different than hers while she didn’t even know. Alison didn’t want to know all the details, since she knew how it felt when somebody wanted to know everything about you. Aynsley had been a pain in her ass. It just intrested her how other people lived their lifes.
As they rode through the suburbs the sun burned onto her bare lower-arms. It was still too cold to not wear any sleeves, especially if you drive with more than 80 mph at some straight stretches of the road. Yet it was too warm to wear much clothing. It was actually the perfect spring-temperature. Not too cold but neither too warm, even on a motorcycle.
When they left the suburbs, the big houses were replaced by huge, green fields. Some were just fielded with grass and a tree now and then. Sometimes farmers let sheep or cows graze at the fields, since there were sappy grasses enough for a whole flock. The long roads were abandoned for what it seemed like miles. Alison speeded up a little bit. Wind blew through her clothes and made her shiver, but it was a good shiver. The kind of shiver that made you grin with excitement. She loved this feeling.
After half an hour they arrived at the race. The start and the finish were located at the same huge, empty parkingspot. Iron fences were placed to keep the viewers from invating the finish line because the other participants were getting ready for the race there. Some of them were still busy fixing some little details, like a loose handgrip or they made sure their motorcycle had enough gas to run on. Others were showing off. They wore leather vests without sleeves. Huge biceps were shown and the men that owned those huge arms didn’t mind to show them to middle-aged women who stood behind the fences. Beautiful women stood besides them, clinging onto the arms of the huge men. They laughed hysterically and wore, to Alison’s opinion, too much make-up and too less clothes.
Alison gulped. There were quite some visitors. About 8 other participants and their crews, which already made 30 people. There were about 50 other viewers, the ones who just liked to see amateurs racing, the sports fans. Luckily, the other participants were really beginners. At least 5 of them were just teenage boys who liked to play with their motorcycles when they got some free time. Two others were the show-offs. Alison immediately knew she wouldn’t like those guys. It would be priceless to see their pissed off faces if she won the race. The last one was an old man. He still wore a blouse and beige trousers. It didn’t seem at all like he was going to ride the old Harvey he was standing next too, but Alison’s couldn’t find his grandson or something. It was more likely the senior would help one of his relatives, but it looked like was on his own.
She saw a lot of people coming from a few little food stalls. A lot of people bought there something to drink or something to eat while they waited for the race to start. Other people went up to the information desk. That was probably where the participants signed themselves up and that also probably was where the jury would announce the winner of the race when everyone was finished. All those people intertwined with eachother seemed a little chaotic. Alison was not sure where to park her motorcycle, distracted by all the people.
Ramon jumped off the motorcycle before she had even fully stopped.
"I’ll make sure they know you’re also a participant. I think the race is about to start, so go and make yourself ready, Mrs. Hendrix!" he shouted at her, while he ran to the information desk. Alison sighed. Get yourself together, Hendrix, she thought. You have to attempt this race with a clear mind, otherwise you’re never going to win. Do as Ramon told you and blend in with your contestants.
Alison took a deep breath and got off her motorcycle. She had trouble to hold the motor, but she couldn’t let it drop on the ground while the other participants were there. They would all laugh at her. Instead, she walked slowly to the start. Alison took off her helmet and placed it on her saddle. Directly a lot of eyes were fixed on her. It made her uncomfertable, but she couldn’t run back to Ramon now. She just had to prepare herself for the race, even though people were looking at her. Alison even thought to hear people whispering and talking about her gender.
A little axious she looked at the information desk. Ramon still was there and it didn’t seem like he was going to return to her anytime soon. And like this situation couldn’t get any worse, one of the show-offs walked over to them. The two girls on her side looked curiously at her, but the man looked rather mad.
"I’m Paul Dierden," the guy says. He looked at her like she was nothing more than dirt. Alison couldn’t help but to feel very defensive. "Where’s the motorcyclist?"
"You’re looking at her," Alison said aggressive. Her eyes locked with Paul’s, determined to keep staring at him until he looked away. He smirked and shook his head, grinning to himself.
"Sure," Paul said, as he turned around and walked back to his own motorcycle. Alison touched her face with her hands and sighed deeply.
A few minutes after Paul Dierden walked away, Ramon came running to her. He was a little out of breath when he spoke, and a few small drops of sweat were visible on his nose.
"Mrs. Hendrix, the race is about to start," her friend said hastily. "Just a minute or two. Make yourself ready. It’ll be okey, I’ll be right there at the start."
A big man, probably one of the secrurity, already walked over to Ramon and grabbed his arms roughly. The guy told Ramon to come with him and join the other viewers. Ramon smiled reassuring to her, before he walked with the guard. Alison watched him dissapear in the huge croud before she put on her pink helmet again. She swung her leg over the saddle and sat down. Her hands closed around the leather grips. The other participants got on their motorcycles too. The girls of Paul Dierden and the other show-off had left. Now only their huge biceps made impact on her. All the people at the sideline lost importance. She only was fixed on was the huge timer, hung up above the finishline, that slowly counted down.