Some bad luck plus some good luck equals a bruised knee, some lightly scratched fairings, and misaligned steering. Here's what happened:
I went down to Malibu with some friends, and we decided to hit up Latigo Canyon Rd off of Pacific Coast Hwy. We got on it, and stopped at the very base. The guy that was organising the whole thing set us up into groups. Total noobs in front, and those who'd been in canyons before in the back. I was put into second-to-last place in line (I successfully scraped pegs [unintentionally] at Pallomar and survived, so I guess my ego was a bit bloated). And so we were off! We were going pretty slow, and the road was VERY mildly twisty. I thought we were there because the roads were like that, due to the new people. When the first sharp turn comes around, it catches me totally off guard. I guess the guy in front of me slowed down to let the others get ahead so we could have some space to twist the throttle a little bit. He went through the turn fine, but I went in way too fast for my own good. I lift my ass off the seat, scoot it over as far as I can, lean my body in the same direction, and start scraping my pegs. I'm still however going off the road. The scraping doesn't help, because that just scares me and I turn less to not scrape (natural reaction). By that time, I realise that I'm gonna go off, and I don't really know what did then. So that's the bad luck part. Here's the good luck part: the outside of the turn was a steep hill (going upwards, not a cliff) covered in soft dirt and green vegitation. so I kinda slam into the softness and the bike on top of me. The guy in front and the guy in back of me both stop to come help me out. We pick the bike off of me, make sure I'm alright, look the bike over (the front turn signal looked broken, but it turns out it was just popped out of place and could easily be popped back in; lightly scratched fairings and clutch cover; and dirt and grass all over the place. After a surprisingly small bit of cranking, the bike fires right up, and we get going. The thing I immediately notice is that the steering is off. the handle bars have to be turned slightly to the right for the bike to go straight. The forks looks straight and compress normally, so I guess they just got misaligned somehow in the whole ordeal. I'll check that out later on today. Besides that, everything looks fine. When I come home later on, I notice that there's a small bruise on left side (the inside) of my right knee, and that's about it. Today I'm sore all over the place, but I think that was just from all the riding done that day, and not the crash.
I got lucky in many ways. Once we started riding again, we passed a bunch of stopped, worried looking bikers. We didn't know what was going on. Later on we found out that some dude took the turn too fast (hmm... seems to be a trend), but unfortunately, there wasn't a soft hill to cushion his fall, but rather a steep cliff, going down pretty damn far. Not sure what happened, but we think the guy jumped off the bike and saved himeself before going over, but the bike is a gonner.
This was a damn gentle first crash, and it sure as hell slapped some sense into me. I shall from now on take it slow when going on a road I've never been on the first time. That, and it kinda hit me with how vulnerable we really are (I already knew, but this was a strong illustration that really drove the point home).
I feel bad, because it was a new bike (funny how everyone warned me about that) and now I can't say that it was never dropped or crashed. Weird, because now that I'm over the shaky feeling of the crash, I wanna go fix my bike and hit up more canyons, practice, get better. The bike now has character, and more character won't hurt as much
So what do you guys think... does crashing 3.5 months into the sport make me a squid or something?
Bah, I'm probably making too big of a deal out of all this, and this post is way too long as it is. But thanks for reading