Written in 2001
Racing start at the border
When: October 2000
Where: at the Belarussian and Russian border
What: The police/military police ask me to do a racing start the border
As I have said before on this ride to Russia I was met with curiosity and friendliness by the police and the army. But I still expected crossing the border into Russia might be a pain, like it was when I crossed into Poland and Belarus. When I did reach the border I stopped right next to the Belarussian passport control, where there was a small currency booth. I changed all my money to Russian Rubles. There were also over a dozen border guards there, and as soon as I stopped I had a small crowd gather around the bike. It was stupid not even thinking about of taking a picture of this, it would have been cool. Anyways they were curious about it and asking questions, most didn't speak a word of English but still tried to get their meanings across. The surprise came when all the guards lined up and asked me to do a race start and blast off. This was a suprise since I was at a border of a post-communist country, next to police / army guards, and about to open it up. And thats what I did, I blasted off until maybe 60 km/hr. when I decided it would better not to go fast, especially since I still had the Russian border crossing ahead. Surprisingly I was never stopped or checked and just kept going. I was now in Rusky land. This interesting entry into Russia would later come to haunt me as my passport was never stamped. On leaving the country I was questioned on how I entered the country. I barely made it out alright.
Skiing history in Belgium
When: September 2000
What: I have to be the first person ever to ski down a slalom course in motorcycle gear
Back in Holland while I was working in construction, I started to search online for my next job after this one. One that would be fun until the ski season arrived was ski instruction in an indoor ski dome, in case you didn't know there are many of these in Europe. So one sunny day I jumped on my Ninja and rode to Belgium to meet with the first dome to start it all, Casablanca. Whatever the outcome it would be a nice ride anyways. And it was, the Dutch and Belgian countryside, forests, and towns were nice. When I got there I was surprised to find that the place was pretty small, though I expected it wouldn't be big. It was just slightly larger than your average giant superstore. But once inside it was still impressive to see a small indoor hill with a t-bar. I met the manager and he showed me around, told me how the place worked. He also mentioned a racing team was training in slalom, which got my attention right away. He offered me some ski equipment to try it out. So with my full motorcycle leathers and my baseball cap I took his offer, got the equipment, and headed out to ski. The second I walked into the ski chamber I froze up, but it was ok, I'm skiing. I did a few runs next to the slalom course and couldn't help trying it out. So I got back up and asked the coach if I could have a shot at it. He probably thought I was a mental case in moto gear that was going to break his neck, his racers just stared at me in surprise. I told him I was a racer so he said ok. I'm sure I made history by being the first person ever to go down a slalom course in motorcycle gear. The skis were dull and the bindings were loose so it made it difficult but I made it down twice. I was told the racers were screaming, "he's still in, he's still in there, heeeee!!! So that's my contribution to skiing history.