The first time we met!
I’ve been a fan of the series since Rossi was racing 250’s. In fact, when I started racing in 1998, I couldn’t race an EX500 like all the sensible kids. No, I had to race an Aprilia RS250 like that adorable Rossi kid. Plus it’s a much prettier bike and everyone knows 2 strokes > 4 strokes.
In the 15 years since I first attended a GP, at Assen, I’ve been to 22 rounds in 5 countries. I’ve been to every US round except 2. All of my vacations revolve around motorcycle races. If there isn’t a race there, it’s not worth visiting. As a race fan, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on airfare, hotels, transportation, dining, museums, and shopping. But when Rossi retires, there’ll be nobody left to root for. I was really hoping Marquez could take his place. Sure, nobody can compare to the G.O.A.T., but Marquez at least had spunk and incredible talent. Pedrosa is proving himself now that he’s healed, and he’s a lot more comfortable in front of the cameras than he used to be, but he’s not a powerhouse. Lorenzo is incredibly talented, but he’s like our pet Greyhound- an absolute machine on the track, capable of winning races with ease and grace, but has the personality of someone who spends all their free time in a cage.
Continue reading The Death Of MotoGP
Someone’s long-haired son gets bored posing with the Red Bull Girls, COTA 2013.
Sure, pretty much everyone at the track loves motorcycle racing. We wouldn’t be there if we didn’t. Some love racing more than others. But some love more than racing. Some, like me, love feeling special. I like feeling like I’m in the inner circle, not just a fan among fans. I was feeling very introspective this weekend, being at a GP without the press pass I’d grown accustomed to wearing. I had to think about where I most wanted to watch the races. Not just this weekend, but in the future. Everything has a price, or a trade off, and race spectating is no exception. Everyone at the track has a role, and is helping keep the sport alive through their passion.
Some of the roles I’ve held are:
Fan (general admission or varying levels of ticket access)
Guest (well, usually not for the entire weekend, as sponsor guest passes are really for the sponsors)
Volunteer worker (riders for health)
Roles I’d like to hold, in order of awesomeness:
Team Press Officer
Grid Girl (not just for the access but for the validation)
Racer’s wife (less of an option now as most racers are young enough to be my kids!)
Sure, I’d love to be a racer, but I discovered in my club racing days that I really didn’t have it in me. So I’m content to watch the talented ones do their thing.
Continue reading Pinkyracer on the various strata at MotoGP races
Enjoy this video of my booty working it around the track on Saturday…
The weekend of October 12th and 13th, Yamaha sponsored their annual Owners Appreciation Event at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway. The track days were conducted by Zoom Zoom, and awesome as always. Zoom Zoom does a great job, and Yamaha kicks down some money to make it free (if you’ve got a newer Yamaha) or $100 for the rest of us. This is a brilliant strategy from a company that prides itself on making kick-ass sportbikes.
$100/day is a quarter of the cost of a typical track day at my favorite race track. It was so fun to be back out there, and on my big boy. The Refuel event was fun, but my Zero FX tops out at about 80mph, which makes for a very boring run up the front straight. I trained a little to try and build my strength, as I knew two days on the R1 at Laguna would be a serious workout. But it wasn’t enough, so my lazy ass could barely walk by the middle of the second day. So I packed it in early, as did quite a few others. Track days are a great way to appease the need for speed, and Laguna is my favorite track to ride. You can see pictures of me on-track at gotbluemilk.com
Continue reading Yamaha Knows How To Treat Customers!
Marquez making history
But I’d do it every weekend of the year if I could. I’d even do it on a higher level if I could. But I’m just not that fast. I’m fast enough to get to the racetrack in a reasonable amount of time, but can’t get around the track nearly as fast as the pros. So I watch them, and enjoy the show. Making it even more enjoyable, I write about what I see for Gas2 and when there’s no electric races to cover, RideApart. Or even Jalopnik. Sometimes I also write for CleanTechnica, like this piece about the rad solar farms I saw being built on my favorite back road en route to Laguna Seca.
Continue reading What I Did Last Weekend Is Addictive and Dangerous
My 2009 R1 right after I added a gel seat pad and gave it the custom heart-shaped seat cover I’d also done for my 2004.
I’ve been riding Yamaha R1’s since 2002. Even I find it hard to believe that over a decade has passed since I first discovered that absolute power does indeed corrupt absolutely. I love my big boys, but they’ve never had names. They certainly have more personality than the Honda’s I’ve ridden, but not as much as the Ducati I owned, which almost immediately told me his name was Fred. Making the annual pilgrimage to Laguna Seca, our favorite way to bond, he told me his name, Big Will. What’s interesting is that this didn’t come until after living together just over 3 years, and him tossing me off in December because I made the slightest error on the wrong tires. Lesson learned, I switched back to Pirellis and had him fixed up.
But now he has the scars of a crash, something none of my R1’s have endured. It’s weird to think I haven’t crashed a single R1 in all these years. I’ve crashed other bikes, developing a theory that I only crash bikes I don’t like. I wasn’t thrilled with my 09, I loved my 04 better. But she had 50,000 miles, and when the stator & rotor melted together I decided it was time for something new and shiny. That new & shiny R1 happens to be a lot heavier, and seriously thirsty. Then right after our 3rd anniversary, I abandoned him for Shaq, a Zero FX which is perfect for everyday riding, as I reported here. Big Will sat and collected dust until the time came to get that starting issue sorted before the sabbatical. $1300 later, he was ready to go anywhere, as fast as I dared. Yet I discovered on this year’s ride I just didn’t want to go as fast. It’s really unnerving, and something I hope to work through in Level 4 of California Superbike School sometime soon. Continue reading My R1 Has a Name
My bike emits butterflies!!! Reflective stickers from RydeSafe
When my friend Jenny said “I’d like to visit Portland for my birthday” I said “Let’s go!” I’d only been once before for the Net Impact Conference, and had a great time. Since then I’d gotten deeper into pedal-powered bikes, so I wanted to explore the country’s Bicycling Capital. We made a stab at getting bikes from friends, but wound up just renting these single speed hooptie city bikes. They were painfully slow, geared to handle most riding for most people, so we didn’t really get much of a workout. But we rode all over Portland for a few days! It was rad.
Continue reading I Went To Bicycle Heaven And All I Got Were These Stickers
Like I am with bikes, I dove right back in the deep end. I’ve been a fairly good patient these past 9 weeks, following doctor’s orders, babying that pelvic fracture to the point where I’m overusing the cane. But today I couldn’t take another minute of it. London had dried out, and I had to get from the Waterloo tube station to the Tate modern- a considerable distance for someone who’s supposed to be “taking it easy”.
There they were, proudly waiting right outside the station, whispering “take me! I’m yours! I’ll get you there swiftly, safely, and with far more pleasure than any other mode. take me, I’m free!” So I did. Got on a bicycle for the first time since April 6th. Wearing the same pants I wore that night too. In London, a city I was so terrified to ride my motorcycle in I’d only ride on weekends and usually at night or in the burbs. I’ve ridden in lots of cities, American and European, but the whole left side traffic thing makes it a little too exciting. Especially on a bicycle. One which I can’t be bothered to figure out how to change gears. And without a helmet. I felt safe enough cruising around Barcelona without a helmet, but there’s a lot less traffic there than London and it’s all on the right side. Perhaps it’s also that I drive/ride more like a Spaniard or an Italian than a Brit. It felt so wrong to be riding without a helmet and with only my purse for hi-viz, but London was good to me, and I also rode slowly on the sidewalks when traffic was too scary. Looking forward to getting the official go-ahead! from the Doc June 20th…
Now I’m near Silverstone, looking forward to volunteering with Riders for Health this weekend. More about that later…
Just like the first time I rode on the back of a motorcycle, it’s not so much that I want to be around people who have them, but that I want one for myself. Same goes for the TT, even though I’m here for the first time. I’m going as a tourist and journalist, to witness the electric bikes make history, and help my brother celebrate his birthday. But I’d rather be flying through the air, 200 ponies between my legs, slamming back down to earth only to tip the bike into a sharp bend up ahead, then to fly along the Mountain as fast as I possibly dare. This all-out speed on the world’s deadliest racetrack is my idea of a good time.
But that’s not gonna happen this year, and honestly, I’ll probably never be fast enough to qualify for a TT race. Someday I will ride the TT course, but likely not in competition. This really shouldn’t be the year for that even, as my collarbone persists in being detached and the doc persists in forcing me to use this infernal cane. Because I’d rather be a gimp a little longer than suffer crippling arthritis the rest of my days, I’m following doctors orders. Well, as best I can…
Continue reading Adventures Of a TT Groupie
Thanks Kevin Rothwell for capturing the photo most like my dream, and sharing it!
Photo courtesy Kevin Rothwell via Creative Commons License
This morning I had the best dream- I was at the Isle of Man TT, which I’m finally going to in 2012. The only downside of the dream is I was also preparing my next project for the class I’m currently teaching on garment construction. But when I wasn’t doing that…
In the dream, there was also a MotoGP paddock, as if the TT were back on the schedule. Somehow I had access to Colin Edwards’ bike. Somehow I knew that if I disconnected the CPU, the bike would run solely on electric power. So I did, then later returned to Colin’s garage and rode off. I wasn’t even dressed to ride, and of course the streets were open to all traffic. But the bike was FAST and so much fun. I careened through the crowded streets and in my dream I was really in some mall (of course), so parts of my short laps were through a clothing store. It was pandemonium but the crowd loved it (as TT fans would). I loved showing them that a GP bike could be fast and fun even without gas. I did 3 “laps” around this little city block, then rode around some real streets.
Continue reading Dreaming of Mecca, aka The Isle of Man TT
Or rather, days. Just to clarify, here’s what I’ve been up to…