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Spring is in the air, Daytona is in the books and my Mac is coming out of the closet.

The biggest misconception I have to deal with in my job is that people mistakenly believe that I live in California. Most US motorcycle magazines are located and or based in California, so I get a strange look now and then when I tell people that I donít live in California.

I actually live in Minnesota. 

Yep, the great white frozen north, home of Fargo (ya know?) and ten thousand lakes. I do get to California like eight or so times a year (okay, five, but it seems like eight) so it's not like I never see the 101 or the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Anyway, back to Minnesota. Has the weather there been as weird as the weather here has been? Jeez, it's like Ö I donít know, kinda almost livable here this winter, which for Minnesota is really saying something. Believe it or not, I was riding my GSX-R750 on February fifth this year.

It wasn't one of those Ďmy hands are blue and I canít feel my feetí kind of winter rides where youíre so afraid of crashing, not because youíll damage the bike but because your limbs are so cold youíre afraid theyíll break off if they hit the ground.

It was warm! It was in the fifties! In February! In Minnesota! Iíve lived here since, well, forever and thatís never happened before that I can remember. Itís usually so cold in February that you have to leave your car running 24 hours a day just so that the engine won't freeze, and not covering your skin on crisp days will mean the flesh will soon die (seriously).

Spring has been in the air since about, oh, November, and hell, if a guy was demented enough he could have ridden almost every day this winter. I'll tell you what : the 98 Suzuki GSXR750 really rips and it runs better than any carburetor-equipped bike I've ever owned. But the true beauty of that bike is wandering out to the garage on a slow-moving yet chilly Saturday afternoon, sticking the key in the ignition, pushing the button and it starts. Did I mention it was five below, and at five below not too many bikes will start? Sorry. The fuel injected Suzuki purrs like a kitten at five below, when the other modern Japanese motorcycle in my garage, which will remain nameless (okay, it's the Daytona-winning 97 YZF750) wouldnít even fire the headlight. Fuel injection rules!

I'm almost over my post-Daytona depression and simulated physical dismemberment. Daytona is incredibly draining, you know what I mean? Thereís just a price to be paid for going non-stop for fourteen hours a day in the sun, with Daytona pit guards yelling at you, and your ears being traumatized by 800,000 of the loudest Harley-Davidson motorcycles you've ever heard. For the whole week after Daytona I stumble through life in a half-stupor, my nose peeling and ears making cool popping sounds when theyíre not ringing. Could be worse though, I could be Aaron 'Jaws' Yates.

Scott Russel was in typical form this year, meaning he waxed the field in a way most riders donít really like to talk about. He is Mr. Daytona, isnít he? He was cruising around the paddock one afternoon, riding that FatBoy (say, doesnít Yamaha make a cruiser?), in shorts, with his only head protection being one of those one flap up, other flap down Australian cowboy hats. Scottís legs have not gotten any tanner for those who care to know. Yamaha gave him one of those cool 1998 YZ400 four-strokes for winning the race so expect that in a year or so youíll see photos of it rusting away in an Atlanta storage garage next to that trick ZX4 (that has not had a wheel turned on it since I rode it at the old Road Atlanta) and his old Muzzy Superbike.

I did find the smokiní-est coffee spot in Daytona this year. Itís at the Barnes and Nobles across from the track and down a stretch on Speedway. Books, bikes and coffee, what else could a guy ask for? Well, for the Honda team not to bogart in on my new cool coffee spot for one,  as they followed me there one night and then proceeded to ruin it by actually tipping the counterpersons and making the usual Ďyou find the nicest people on a Hondaí small-talk that garnered them free coffee and the absolute devotion of the aforementioned counterpersons who tended to feel from that point on that I was the invisible man. I had to beg for a hot chocolate. Steve Crevier went there on race day morning for a little caffinated pick-me-up and he had his race face on so he didnít have the inclination to say even hello to poor old Dean. Iím sure itís a karma thing and thatís why his chain fell off in the race.

Kenny Roberts and Kel Carruthers were at Daytona this year. They both looked up in the stands on race day and were pretty surprised at the number of people who forgot to show up. At least thatís what the expression on the faces told me. I might be wrong. But I doubt it.

WERA went to Road Atlanta last weekend and I guess the track has been slowed down quite a bit in its new configuration since the last time the A-crowd went there. I donít care what they do with it as long as they donít make it into another hillbilly redneck oval with stadium and front teeth optional seating sections. Nobody is building any long roadcourses anymore, notice that? Nobody is asking for tax-increment financing to build another Road America or Mid-Ohio or Laguna Seca, not even a Brainerd. Scary times for guys who like to turn right on a racetrack.

Computers are pretty wonderful things in the right hands, we all know this, right? That means they should be forcibly taken away from those dolts on some un-named newsgroups who are always popping off about ďclipping the anti-wheelie wire in my bikeĒ; but hey, thatís another story. Anyway, Iíve always been a PC guy. An IBM/Clone/Win95 guy, if you know what I mean. I did spend one anguish filled year with a Macintosh PowerBook as my portable but God, that computer infuriated me. It refused to work well and on a couple of occasions it just turned itself off, right in the middle of a story I had been writing. Sorry, the little apple said, the six thousand words youíve spent the weekend writing are gone to some Mac cloud in the sky.

Where I come from themís a fightiní offense and that Mac received a very painful and well-deserved beating at my hands. I was bragging to AMAuperbike.c's test rider in residence John Ivy about the thrashing that Iíd given that Mac last year at Sears Point and he looked at me and said, ďDean, itís a machine.Ē Like that had anything to do with the subject. 

And then he really slid the knife in by saying, ďIíd have bought that thing from you if I knew you didnít want it.Ē Heís a bastard that John Ivy, for the simple reason that most are bastards: because he is 100% correct all the time. Itís a gift from God.

Like a $3000 anvil, the Mac has since been a doorstop and its been a fairly interesting toy for my son to cart around when he pretends to be a writer like his pop. I always gave a big chuckle when heíd drop it on the kitchen floor and parts would scatter. ďFrigginí tree hugging computersĒ Iíd say as I searched for the Mac parts under the table.

But now, as I grow older and more patient, something is coming over me. I now have some kind of Mac sympathy gland in my brain that has been pierced and the venom is trickling down my brain stem, sending Mac-soothing vibes throughout my whole body. For some inexplicable reason I have the near uncontrollable urge to fix the Mac, to make it whole again. I own two perfectly good clone-type IBM models that I use every day. I have scads of back-up parts for both. I can handle anything short of Armageddon and still be able to transfer PhotoShop files with the office.

Iíll confess: Iím one step away from becoming a Macintosh-loving tree-hugger if some guy in Colorado will sell me the Duo parts I need. Iím going to put that 270c back to itís former hopefully useable greatness. Why? Well, I watched Microsoft CEO Bill Gatesí testimony on C-Span last week and his testimony kind of made me sick to my stomach. Iím not sure, after seeing him talk his pompous talk and with his smug grins when he talks in kind about stomping out competitors lives, that I want to be part of this PC revolution any more.

Plus, that new Apple G4 is the desktop equivalent of a fuel injected GSX-R750, smokiní the competition.  

Just hope it starts when its cold out. Ė Dean Adams
 


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