This is the 125 I need to make my life complete. I’ve been somewhat horrified at the level of consumption in this city, especially downtown, as it seems that everyone is shopping every day. you would not believe the crowds! First it was shopping for King’s Day gifts, and everyone was still on holiday. Now it’s the January sales.
OK, so I like to shop as much as the next Valley Girl, but really. I’m trying to consume more responsibly, for example- choosing things not made in China, so the rest of the world can have jobs too. But here it seems like the culture is all about consumption, whether it be food, drink, or stuff. Consuming a bike is different, though. A bike is a key to hours and hours of amazing experiences. And of course, it’s my lifestyle, so I must live it. 🙂
this is one bad-ass 125! If it weren’t for the awesome Rossi replica 125 Yamaha I’m gonna buy, (pic forthcoming, I shot it with my phone), I’d even consider moving to the dark side. I simply adore black and white.
It’s been torture here. As much as I love walking, and am so happy to finally be back in a city where I can walk and walk, every time a motorcycle zooms by my heart races after it. This is Motorcycle Country, so to not have one here is simply inconceivable! About as inconceivable to me and Britt as “female racers” are to the Spanish. I can’t wait till our first track day!
Tomorrow is orientation at school, so it’s the first day of what I came here to do. I’ve been having so much fun walking around, getting settled, etc. I was lucky enough to find a great apartment share on the 2nd try, pix of that are coming too.
So in the past month, I’ve ridden three other bikes. A 2000ish Suzuki Katana, a 2000+ish Ducati 750SS and a 2008 Suzuki GSXR600. My sister in law’s Ducati, I swear, has imbued a little piece of Hunter S Thompson’s eternal soul. It felt scary and dangerous the whole time. That bike was trouble looking to happen. Plus it’s been 6 years since I owned a Ducati, and damn if I’m not too old and arthritic to deal with that ridiculous clutch. It felt exciting and certainly impressed the boys.
Whereas the Katana I was lucky enough to borrow for Laguna was so sad and hideous. Why Suzuki would let the blind design motorcycles is beyond me. It’s also gutless and innocent, the perfect starter bike for the 16 yo boy who’s gonna do his best to get himself killed. It’d be much harder for him to do it on this lil’ beastie. But hey, it kept me from having to take a cage to a motorcycle event!
The GSXR600, however, was a different story… Ridiculously easy to ride and more forgiving of bad riding habits than any other bike I’ve ridden. This bad boy got me from SF to LA via Big Sur and even let me stab the brakes mid-corner a few times without getting upset and trying to sit upright. I don’t know how they do it. The brakes did feel softer than my R1, but not in a bad way. Just in a “I’ll scrub as much speed as you want, even more, as unobtrusively as possible” kinda way. I felt completely unworthy, as I couldn’t bring myself to charge through the corners as fast as the bike wanted to go.
I used up one of my nine lives when some yahoo in an economy car set out to pass a large camper, with me right behind him, as there was a plenty long passing zone for both of us. Then some oncoming cars appeared over the horizon. Now, I’m sure the car itself was gutless too, but what kind of moron slows way down MID-PASS to get BACK behind the camper? Insane. Anyone with a brain would’ve either known the limits of their car and postponed passing until they knew they could make it even if Michael Schumacher was about to come around the bend! So to avoid plowing into this fool and then being hit head on, I had to lane split between the car and the camper.
Jeesh. This is why I never take highway 1, it’s nothing but morons. Why anyone would travel with an entire house, and clog up one of the twistiest roads in the world, especially when it’s too foggy to even see the ocean, is beyond me. So the GSXR and I made it to LA unscathed, and it even survived a night in Echo Park without being stolen. Of course it helps that it was behind a locked gate, but that didn’t help my 1st R1.
Tonight I am returning the GSXR to Sportbike Rentals (.com) and picking up a Monster from a friend who actually has my old Monster, although it’s not running. I just got the estimate for the work my R1 will need, and it’s steep, but it’ll be so nice to ride it in top condition!
I saw this as I left the office today, down in the Arts District. It’s proud papa is Marcus from ZVO, they make these gorgeous HYBRID!!! bikes! It’s gas/electric, not gas/pushbike, so cool!!! He said it’s rumored to be capable of 60 mph, which on those tires (assuming the front tire is as skinny as that back one) must be crazy!!! I so want one. It’s the perfect antidote to my dirty little habit. Yes, the sustainability consultant has a penchant for fast and dirty high-powered race bikes with unfettered exhaust systems…
finally got around to getting this from the photographer, Jonathan Skow, who shot me with AC Farias (major stunt rider, like I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for a guy who can do circle wheelies…) at Ducati Revs America in October 2001. The main purpose of the shoot was to have female racers modeling accessories for Sports Illustrated Women, a now-defunct magazine and the only one I’ve officially modeled for. That was an awesome weekend, to say the least.
oooh, and the timing couldn’t be better. Speaking of protection, National Condom Week starts February 14th! Here’s some nifty factoids from http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/factsheet/fscondom.htm for details and references, click on the link.
Condoms Are Highly Effective in Preventing HIV Infection.
Condoms Are Effective in Preventing Some STIs.
Condoms Are Effective in Reducing Risk for HPV and Cervical Cancer.
Condoms Are Effective in Preventing Unintended or Unwanted Pregnancy.
Condoms Are Effective Barriers.
Condom Availability Programs Increase Condom Use among Sexually Active Teens.
Yesterday I got an e-mail from Nathaniel, rounding up some troops for a Mutaytor show. I’ve been curious about this group, as they seem to have a cult following. So I called Heather, and she didn’t want to deal with parking yet again. So I scooped her up on my urban assault vehicle with magic parking status and express lane privileges all over town. I was shocked to discover Heather even still owns a helmet. Amazing. Maybe one day she will own a bike again. So off we went to the Knitting Factory, where we saw Nathaniel careening in reverse down Sycamore to put his cage into a spot that had just opened up. Why he was looking in the rear-view mirror for parking I do not know.
Mutaytor….wow. holy f-in shit. Normally, I hate live music, it bores me to tears. All that standing around, staring at a bunch of poseurs. Boring. But this was no ordinary band. This was DANCE music. I can’t even describe it, really. Kind of Jamiroquai but more tribal and jazzy and definitely with that Playa flava. But they were so tight I could totally picture them rocking some big stage in Vegas with real fireworks and costumes. Here’s a nice video I shot…
As if that wasn’t enough, we got a call earlier from George, informing us of the new 1098 launch party. That’s right kids, just in time for tax season, there’s a new 1098 and the IRS threw a party for it at one of the most hoity-toity clubs in Hollywood. We showed up and had JJ, the local 1098 dealer, tell the doorman to let us in. We were escorted past the velvet ropes into that rarified world of the beautiful people. The new 1098:
remember, the sooner you file for your refund, the sooner you can march down to Ducati Beverly Hills and pick up yours. Unless you’re like me, and don’t loan money to people who abuse it. I can handle paying (as little as legally possible) taxes, but the idea of giving W an interest-free loan makes me naseous.
Anyway, the music at Mood was decent, and after such an awesome time at Mutaytor, we were already very warmed up. It was a wonderful evening all around, a great end to a fabulous mental health day. Which was just what I needed to survive another day at the job I can no longer do. I used to be one of the best patternmakers in the biz, and now that I am moving on to greater things and completely burnt out, I simply cannot do it anymore. I try my best, but no matter what, either I fuck up, or someone else does, and damn near everything I’ve done this season has been wrong. It’s been absolute hell. Thus, the mental health day. Seriously, I had to stay home to protect the world and myself from me. But I think it’s over. Tomorrow I go collect my money and do my math homework and look for something completely different to do in order to attract money.
Tonight was cool, because I finished work early and actually got up off my lazy ass and went to yoga!!!!! Big accomplishment for someone who exercises when the alternative is to go on a tri-state killing spree. I really must go more often. First time with this teacher and he complimented me on my style which of course makes me want to go back. Plus my favorite teacher is back at Still, so I may just have to get up early enough to catch her 9 am class next week…
So I had some more entertaining dreams last night, but they were eclipsed by the glory of the day’s events. It was like that soothing, pervasive sense of peace that comes shortly after one’s very first taste of liquor. I feel like all is right with the world, the planets are in alignment, and we can all rest peacefully tonight. Nicky Hayden won the MotoGP championship today. OK, so Rossi crashing made it easier. But thank f-in god he got back in it. Nothing would have been more boring and disappointing than for Rossi to DNF. Yes, I love Rossi and always will, but really, with 3 DNF’s and all kinds of other horrendously bad luck this season, someone else had to win the championship, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Obviously he was the better rider over Melandri and Capirossi, and of course that turd who thought he had a chance. It may have dampened the excitement of Rossi’s comeback, but it is still the season which proves just how much greater than the rest Rossi really is. I wonder what Rossi will do with all the championship commemoration tees he had made up this year. Save ’em for next year, I guess.
Nathaniel and I rounded up a nice sized group, and we rode the fun way to Newcomb’s to check out their new plasma screen. It was like 70″ or something! Now if only Speed channel would stop being such cheap bastards and buy the high-quality feed from MotoGP so we could actually be able to tell the damn bikes apart, that would be something! I swear, the MotoGP coverage was better in East Africa than here. So, the minute I pull out of the parking lot, to ride home alone, a cop happens to round the bend and be on my ass immediately. It’s like they all have some R1 magnet built into the cars. So I pulled off into some camping road and he kept going. He was waiting for me further down the road, but I knew he would, even though the cruiser riders ahead of me were probably drunk. Grrr. So he didn’t try to follow me, as there were a couple bikes with me at the time. Then we caught up to a slow line of bikes. It was OK, but when they all went straight at 90 mile road, I simply had to turn and go my own way. It was a lovely ride home, no stupid cops trying to mess with me, no traffic, just the gorgeous mountains, awesome roads and the greatest bike a girl could want.
We sportbikers occasionally wonder if watching professional races right before a ride drastically affects our riding style or not. On monday I discovered that, at least for my best friend George, it does. It all started when Dani Pedrosa, this snot-nosed anorexic dwarf, also known as “Asimo”, made the absolute most boneheaded mistake EVER made in GP history. Never before in a world championship series has anyone done something so stupid (don’t ask me, ask the pros at www.crash.net). On the penultimate race of the series, with only a 12 point advantage over his rival, Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden was doing his best to win that race. As were Rossi and Edwards, too. Pedrosa had a chance at the championship, if say, Rossi and Hayden and Melandri and Capirossi all DNF’ed a race or two, so yeah, he had a shot. Not. But something else he lacked was team orders. Normally, if one rider on the team has a REAL shot (as in leading almost the whole season) for the championship, the other team riders are instructed to do whatever they can to make sure their teammate wins. Not them, their teammate. Colin Edwards had team orders, and did a great job trying his damndest to keep the wolves off Rossi. Go Colin!!! Pedrosa, lacking official instruction, decided the championship would be his. Perhaps he thought he could make Hayden crash without crashing himself. Or something. Anyway, the damn fool did this, and I want to send a shout out to youtube, and an f-u to all the corporate vultures who want to sue them over stupid little clips like this. fer chrissake, we still watched it on TV or at motogp.com, so don’t even start.
I wasn’t even rooting for Hayden, you all know how much I love and adore Rossi, and have been gunning for him to win this championship. But not like this. This was the worst possible way for Hayden to DNF, being taken out by his very own teammate. I swear if it was me, there’d be little Pedrosa bits all over that gravel trap. Hayden earned even more respect by not reacting the way so many of us (especially Yates, eh?) would have. He took his anger out on the ground, then kept his abuse to a mere verbal barrage. Amazing show of restraint considering his chances of winning his first MotoGP title were damn near completely annihalated. By his teammate. That’s almost as bad as getting a nasty STD from your best friend via your spouse. And what was up with all those sattelite Hondas suddenly getting so fast? Roberts even boasted of how much faster his bike was with the new Honda motor. Wouldn’t it be nice if all the bikes were truly equal, and we could see just how good each rider is?
I’m never buying a Honda and will take this opportunity to encourage everyone (the handful of friends and family) reading this to do the same. They are a horrible company, and will most likely be the one responsible for inventing the robots that take over the world a la “Matrix”.
So, with that in mind, George and I went to Buttonwillow to do a track day in celebration of our friend Mark’s birthday. It was a wonderful day, we all had loads of fun. At one point George was complaining about how slow people were going into turn 1, and I replied with a “Yeah, I always panic at that turn, and go in too slow…” So in a subsequent session, who comes charging up the inside like he’s Dani Pedrosa….none other than George! Lucky for me, he cared enough to straighten it up and go off track in order to avoid hitting me! It was a bit too deja-vu, though. I kept thinking of the time he did that on 58, right in front of me, but not after a pass. He just thought it was a faster turn than it really was. At least this time there was no water tank to ride into, and he kept it upright. Phew! I didn’t make the Dani connection, though, that was George who pointed out that it was pretty much the same move, just with a more concientious outcome. Which was, of course, also far less disastrous.
Started out with a night in a skanky fleabag motel in Buttonwillow, CA. You haven’t heard of this town because the only attraction it boasts is a halfway decent racetrack. Not the sort of racetrack that makes any pro circuits, but a track nonetheless. I’d been having second thoughts about this track day, and was a little nervous, because my bike had been occasionally acting weird in a dangerous kinda way. While accelerating, occasionally it’d almost cut out, as if it were running out of gas. Scary and annoying on the street, potentially fatal to multiple riders on the track. Especially when you happen to be the slowest rider in the fast group, which means that in any given corner there could be a stack of bikes on your ass. So rather than risk it getting worse, I packed it in after two sessions. Happy to be getting an early start on the Labor Day traffic into town, I merrily turned onto I-5. Many miles later, well past the alternate routes, the sign said the grapevine was closed. Again. This happened last time. fucking smokers throwing their cigs out the window again, most likely. So I went to the truck stop and pulled out my computer, saw that CHP had re-opened it, but that traffic was moving slowly.
Rather than go 60+ miles out of my way, I took my chances with the traffic. Took 3 hours to make the remaining 90 miles to LA. Grrr. Tried to stay calm, didn’t do much yelling once I ate lunch and the red bull had finally worn off. As my mood swung from psychotic to suicidal, I just kept telling myself “It’s just the red bull, you will feel fine once it’s out of your system.” Then I dropped my iPod (for the 2nd time that day) and just as I got a grasp on it, deep under my seat…..BOOM! I hit the car in front of me. Dammit. Luckily I was only going about 2 mph when it happened, but it still scared me. So we exchanged information, I apologized profusely, took a picture of the dent in his bumper, unearthed the iPod and got back in line. The experience of sitting three hours, alone in a cage, surrounded by cages, is not one I ever want to experience again. Next time I’m riding to the track, like I did back in the day when I was living in NYC and renting a truck was not worth the hassle. And of course owning one was a ridiculous folly.
It was such a relief to finally make it home. As for the rest of the weekend, Saturday night was great, the guest DJ ComaR and the regulars Paul V and Party Ben played all my favorite mashups I never even knew existed. It was AWESOME! Drank Red Bull from a champagne fountain at Shannon’s birthday party before that, which was so fabulous. Sunday was chill and wonderful. If only I’d stayed home monday….
Well, OK, so it’s not like we ran off to Vegas and got married or anything, but I did get to touch him. Last year, in spite of the fabulous Red Bull VIP access I had, I never actually SAW the man. I left thinking perhaps he doesn’t actually exist, and maybe it really is just the bike. So this year, I was determined to see him, face to face. Having a Pit Suite ticket meant I could stare down at him as he got on his bike, even though I was supposed to be in a suite at the opposite end of pit lane. Walking in behind George ensured the guard didn’t bother checking my pass, so I got to hang with my homies. Over the garage next to Rossi and Edwards’!!! We could stare down at the madding throngs vying for his autograph as he made his way to the trailer, or watch from above as he got on his bike. But that’s not how I got to meet him. I ran into Britt and Jean Marc just outside the GP paddock area, and we chatted for awhile. I saw someone walk by the window of the Clinica Mobile who looked like him, and figured the best thing to do would be to stay put until he came out. Which was easy, as there was a golf cart for us to sit in, and plenty of people watching to do. I offered Loris Capirossi a ride, but he just smiled and kept walking. Eventually, one of Rossi’s people arrived on a scooter to escort him to another place. So I grabbed Britt and we followed him to a nearby building. By the time we arrived, he’d finished signing some autographs and was being escorted into another building next door. I stood in his path and his escort tried to push me aside as I asked if I could get my picure with him. He cheerfully stopped and obliged, even though there were some technical difficulties with the camera.
This is a still from the short video Britt took, the video is at: http://pinkyracer.buzznet.com/user/video/
So even Jean Marc, who had not been listening to me blather on about him for the past few years, was surprised that I didn’t just start kissing him. All I can say to explain my enormous restraint, is that my momma raised me too well. I seriously thought that if I saw him this weekend I would do something along those lines, then be carted off to Monterey county jail. Or not, maybe he would have liked it. Anyway, it’s a good thing I didn’t do anything to scare him, because I got to see him the next morning. There I was, walking to Jamba Juice for my morning smoothie when this nasty yellow H3 assaults my eyes. Sitting at the red light in that C02-belching monstrosity is none other than Rossi himself!!! I despise Hummers, and well, seeing my hero in one certainly brought him down a notch. His sidekick Ullio (sp.) was in the passenger seat, as one would expect. I stopped dead in my tracks and stared, smiling at him as I put my hand on my heart. He smiled and waved back, looking kinda nervous. The light was red long enough, I could have bum-rushed the car, but that’s not my style. I just stood there and tried to look cute, smiling mutely like some kind of retarded mime. Knowing his car, it was easy to spot, as it was the only yellow H3 in the paddock, and the only one with an autograph on the driver’s window. I thought about breaking in and hiding in the back, but figured that had been done before. So I chose a more polite approach. On my fun “I didn’t realize you were cool until” post-its I wrote him a little note. I slipped it into a folded piece of paper and stuck it in his windshield wiper. I thought about removing the other girls’ phone number that were stuck in the window jamb, but figured it’d be bad karma. Even if he never calls or reads this, I can rest soundly with the knowledge that I did what I could and I did it without compromising myself.