2015 Chevrolet Colorado: The Right Truck for a Wrong Day
April 21, 2015
At the end of March, I signed up for a motorcycle track day at Willow Springs Raceway. I'm deathly afraid of loading my bike into a pickup with a ramp, so I rented a U-Haul trailer instead. Ah, the best laid plans...
I spent a few days beforehand prepping the bike and dreaming of unleashing my 2012 Yamaha R1. The day before leaving, I loaded our 2015 Chevrolet Colorado with my riding gear, spare tires, toolboxes and stands. I was a little disappointed that the rear seats couldn't hold everything, even with the cushions folded out of the way, but no biggie. That just meant the stands and tires had to go in the bed. I swung by the local U-Haul for a 5' x 9' ramp trailer, then loaded the bike and cinched it down.
The 90-plus-mile trek to Rosamond was a piece of cake. The Colorado was more than capable of pulling the light trailer and bike. In tow mode, the revs run a little higher and I noticed a bit more engine braking under deceleration. There were moments where I wasn't even really aware I was towing something.
I arrived at the track right on time to unload, register and get tech'd with plenty of time to spare. When the riders meeting wrapped, I started to get into character. Suited up, stretched and mentally preparing, the call went out that the track was going hot. I swung a leg over the bike and rolled out cautiously for the open session.
Then this happened...
My shoulder hit the pavement at 60 mph. I slid belly down on my forearms and boots until I stopped on the pavement. My bike kept going into the dirt. Cold tires and a dusty track brought my long-anticipated track day to an abrupt end.
Within a couple of minutes, the recovery truck had me and my bike back in the pits. That's about when the adrenaline started wearing off and then, pain. It started building in my shoulder and fingers, but I was hoping it was just a bad sprain. The weird bend in my fingers suggested otherwise.
Physically unable to load my bike, the track day organizers were gracious enough to do it for me until they got another recovery call for bikes that went down in the same section. Misery loves company.
I ended up splinting my fingers with a couple of mini wrenches and electrical tape. Good enough for the 90-mile trek back home. The Colorado proved easy enough to drive home in my condition. The tall upright seating and light steering effort, in particular, were welcome relief.
I parked the truck and trailer at the end of my driveway. Had I taken our long-term F-150, which is too wide to get down the driveway, I would have needed to leave the trailer and bike out on the street. Not ideal, and far more secure in my backyard. I grabbed an Uber to the hospital to confirm that I was indeed broken, with two fractured fingers and a fractured clavicle.
With the friendship and generosity of Jay Kavanagh and Kurt Niebuhr, we unloaded the bike carcass in the backyard and turned around the trailer and truck so I could easily get back to U-Haul. When I returned the trailer, they must've taken pity on my arm sling and finger splints. They only charged me for one day instead of three.
A few weeks later, I'm on the mend and buying parts for the bike. Hopefully I'll be back on track this summer.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 8,023 Miles