July 31, 2006
MotoLiam rocks the Super-Moto with Motostrano!
Yesterday I managed to get in a little bit of riding - and managed to get in a little bit of everything else, too!
Sunday welcomed me with sunny skies and beautiful clouds, and although I had something of a late start, once I got my head in the game it was go time! Immediately, I went to pick up my web-guru and all around video genius, Evan.
Golden Gate Bridge always looks majestic, and the route to Evan's place takes you through the Presidio, a decommissioned Military area with a huge park amidst rolling hills and lush forestry.
As with all things in life, you must cross over and under bridges to get anywhere.
To get to the racetrack, you have to cross the Bay Bridge over to the Oakland side, then head inland towards the hot, hot expanse of nothingness. I was headed to the land that birthed the Roberts' clan - near Modesto, California.
Ahhhh, the shipping docks at Oaktown. This is actually very little, nothing really, of the huge area that receives shipments from the world over. I like large industrial structures, so as we zipped past on the freeway I managed to snag one shot.
Success! Evan and I reached the track with all our equipment intact and with some American sized road drinks.
We drove quite a while to get to Stockton Motorplex, and despite the boring scenery along the way, once you're there it's always worth it. You get to see action like this!
I was here to check out Paul Giani's new ride! Pauly is an old friend of mine who used to race with me on mini's in Fremont. He's been working with Motostrano for the last few years and we've always stayed in touch to go riding, check out the SF Supercross, or just hang out and play Gran Turismo. Because of my involvement in so many different types of motorcycling, I naturally spent a lot of time kicking it with the guys from 'Strano, and we've all become good friends now. When they mentioned they were doing a SM Hooligans Trackday at Stockton, I just had to go!
Paul's new KTM SMR 450 has all the right parts, starting with the obligatory Red Bull radiator overflow bottle!
And it's got some wicked cool stickers, too.
"My Pants are Tight."
Naturally, I rolled up to the track in shorts and slippers, and had no intention of doing anything but eating and watching some great ontrack action. I even brought out my big gun (the Canon 350 XT) to take some action shots. But after watching a couple sessions, I had no choice but to find some gear and get to riding! This awesome girl loaned me her Axo suit, gloves, helmet, and pink googles. PINK! I was surprised I fit the suit (apparently I'm a women's size 6/8) and although I had some masculine concerns, once I hopped aboard the bike nothing else mattered by the tires and the track.
Huge thanks to Mike for loaning me his clean Suzuki DRZ 400, converted. The Pirelli Diablo's were shagged and ragged, but I figured at my rusty level I wouldn't be pushing it very hard. Boy, was I wrong! Since I was incognito (no signature helmet or gear) I thought I could just sneak out onto the track and spin a few laps. Naturally, people had to give me a hard time about wearing a girl's suit and pink googles - but you know what? It rocked anyway! If there was a little more room in the crotch, the suit would've been perfect, and if the front end was a little firmer and lowered two inches, I might have actually ridden well. Hahaha, actually, I was rusty as heck, and it showed. There were corners I used to kill at Stockton, but today I was a total goober on the track. There was only one section where I felt comfortable pushing it, and it's the long left-hander that I always find a way to crash in.
Look at him go!!!!
I'd know that hunchback anywhere! Even ripping around the track it's pretty evident my body was built for one thing only. Motorcycling.
There's nothing I love more than pushing the rear of a bike, unless it's that perfect combination of front/rear push. I couldn't get a handle on the front end of the bike, so I was content to repeatedly back the rear out coming out of the left hander, lap after lap. Eventually, I knew it would step out a little too far, and this time, it did. Thankfully, someone got it on camera and emailed me the pics. Thanks Tim!
Oh, and the best thing about Super-moto? Even laying it down is a good time! I took a great slide on my hands and knees, 180 degrees, and the whole time I was thinking, "WOW! This crash is going awesome!".
Nothing like a day at the track to build up some Man-Hunger! What's the nicest way to wind down after a hot day? See for yourself!
Strawberry Blintzeses, yo!
Oh, heck yes. Pecan pie with ice cream drenched in espresso. Perfect-o!
I have a bunch of action shots I'll be sorting through and adding later in the week, but for now, I'm getting ready to take yet another fantastic voyage. It's all part of Liam's Wild Ride!
July 29, 2006
I spent a few hours today with one of my oldest friends. . . . and her new baby! Kinley was born when I was out of town, and this was the first chance I had to catch up and meet with my newest friend! It was a beautiful day in downtown Burlingame, and the company was wonderful. It's amazing to see the circle of life up close, and as I'm a firm believer in life being a cycle, this hits home. Welcome to this amazing world, Kinley!
Busy Week so far!
It's been a busy week, and I'm still trying to take care of some important business before I leave the U.S. and head back to Europe. First on the list of things to do is talk to my bank and credit card companies and get that stuff squared away once and for all! Ever since I had my wallet stolen, I've been getting by stuffing things into my pockets and hoping nothing fell out. Fortunately, I stopped by my old friend's place, Motostrano, and managed to start getting things right again. I haven't really had time or money to do any shopping in Europe, but the guys at 'Strano always take care of me, and they have a ton of quality gear in stock at any time. I can't tell you how happy I was when I picked up this:
I also had a final, farewell dinner with the team at one of my favorite places in the city, Q Restaurant on Clement St., between 3rd and 4th. The specials are always top notch and hit the spot, and the prices are right on, too. About 20 USD will get you something fantastic (with drink!).
I eat out almost every meal, partially due to travelling so much, and partially due to time constraints, so it was really nice to finally sit down last night and have a genuine meal. Thanks JoAnn!
July 27, 2006
Nothing like a Solid Meal
I had wanted to take out some of my team to a nicer place (than Denny's) since we'd been in California. While the Stinking Rose was decidedly a step up, the service wasn't up to par, or rather, I would just say that the man was rude. Nonetheless, the food was good, and everyone had some serious Garlic Breath as we headed out to Pink, a euro-trashy nightclub in the Mission. Everyone was propositioned for spare change and more, and it was a fun night managing everything and everyone, including those who left the fiesta to go sleep in the van! Tonight? We're off to one of my secret spots in the city - in the Richmond area - and I'm confident that it will be another fantastic night. Represented here at the table are over 50 years combined experience in Grand Prix racing, with the stories to make even a short talk informative and entertaining! Ahhhhh, one day I'll be an "old-timer".
The Italians got a kick out of this. Apparently, they stopped selling World Championships this year (in motorcycle racing - World Cup Futbol? That's another story). However, they are offering even more exciting racing. Racing Without Pressure! I know the rest of this season will be filled with some phenomenal passes and everyone is sure to lay their hearts out on the track.
July 26, 2006
USGP 06 Rocked!
What an incredible week! I'm still recovering but I expect to upload some cool photos and experiences soon. Thanks everyone for being a part of this fantastic journey with me.
To be honest, I didn't really take as many pictures as I would have liked, but I knew that there would be hundreds, if not thousands of American race fans taking snaps and I don't feel like my experience should outshine theirs in any way. Another reason I didn't go hog wild on the photos was because everything felt like "home" to me, in that everyone spoke my language, and I knew the culture almost inside and out. I wanted to relax and enjoy it all - soak it all in! There were other factors that also kept my camera in the bag, and one of them was a team member who didn't make it into the United States directly after the German round. Due to some unforseen Passport issues, he stayed back in Europe, and two days after I arrived, I was tasked with finding a replacement for him, and then teaching him what to do at the biggest motorcycling event in Northern California! What a mission. In the end, everything worked out better than I hoped, and I was able to put everything together and show my team a fantastic time, both on and off the track! Give me a couple days to finalize some plans that I'm working on, and you'll be pleasantly surprised with what you get. . . .
July 20, 2006
The Shirts are here! But where are the bikes?
It's 6PM, Wednesday, and every team is waiting for our shipping containers to arrive. . . . several days late! We expected them to be here already, but it looks like we're all working through the night and into Thursday. Sounds like fun. Great. Another sleepless time. Hahahaha, and you thought this was easy? I had to take everyone shopping today, and believe me, it's harder than it looks. I give all you girls credit. Actually, I guess it's more accurate to point out that it's only Pramac D'Antin Ducati, Marlboro Ducati, and Team Kawasaki Eckl who are waiting on their equipment. Rats. I'd feel better about it if it was everybody.
July 18, 2006
I'm back in the Bay Area, after a good, long flight from Germany, via Dresden and Munich. Deustchland was an unforgettable experience, and I have tons of photos and good stuff to share. I'm pressed for time, due to arrive in Monterey this afternoon, but I wanted to drop a line and say, "Hey! I'm Back!". See you guys soon. Actually, here's a bunch of photos about the journey - but not all of them!
On the flight. . . Marlboro Ducati, Factory Kawasaki, half of Dorna's crew, Pramac D'Antin Ducati, and many more from the GP community. It was fun sorting through the luggage at SFO, but for the only time, I was able to breeze through Customs with my US passport! Gotcha!
Although the sun was still shining, I was pretty wiped out from the hectic and long week in Germany, and also from the flight. I made a point of staying awake so that I wouldn't be super jet-lagged, but that might have back-fired on me because later I would discover I would work over-night at the circuit on Wednesday. . . . Anyway, if you know this house you know what it looks like across the street from where I stayed on my first night back in the States.
Step One was to drop off the luggage (and funnily enough, I was already travelling with one broken suitcase, and picking up my other one to put it into the car at the airport - well, the handle snapped right off! Score! Two broken bags!), and then get some food. A late night noodle place - Thai - fit the bill, and also provided enough food for me to have a totally kick-ass breakfast the next day.
Step Two was to hoof it around the city until I found one of [I]these[/I] so that I could start putting the pieces back together of my lost wallet. It felt so good to be walking around in the California Sunshine, that I didn't mind the heat so much. It was fun watching the cars and listening to the bass of the kids trying to show off. I didn't end up doing much except getting some cash, thank god. But in the immortal words of our state's leader, "I'll Be Back."
Step Two allowed me to get ahold of Step Three.
Step Four: Oh yes, who's a happy guy?!?
It's soooooo good to be back. On the way to Monterey, I had to stop and see Big Red.
Headed over the 17, we passed God's gift to four wheelers.
Because we flew in as early as possible, much of Tuesday was spent recovering from Jet-lag and getting ready for the work ahead. For most, that meant driving around to Gilroy's outlet mall, shopping in Salinas, and just shopping in general. The dollar is so weak right now. Sucks to be us. But the beaches are still free. For now.
On Wednesday, we were geared up to work in the morning, but learned our shipping containers had not arrived at the track yet. That meant waiting until 1:30, and before that we ate at the most incredible place (insert sarcasm here).
This should be enough of a hint to figure it out. I really wanted this US trip to be special, because for much of my team, it's their first time in the USA. This is definitely not where I wanted to go, but I'm not the boss - yet!
Bah, still waiting to get it going, and the more time we waste not working at the track. . . . . well, it just comes out of my sleep reserve.
July 16, 2006
Sachsenring, the wrap-up. part 3
As you could see from the video I posted earlier , Sachsenring is located at the top of a beautiful group of natural hills. The scenery outside of the track is very rustic, and I saw a lot of hawks cruising around.
More of the track area. I tried to link these photos up, but I ran out of time and I'm still getting used to using a different version of Photoshop that I picked up in California.
After the grand drop down onto the back straight, you fly through the trees, literally, on your way up the penultimate left-hander. I've marked this photo with green to show where the track runs (under the marks).
One night I woke up around 3AM, because I kept hearing an erratic "banging/slapping" sound. I don't even know why I was sleeping so close to my camera, but I snapped a picture of this humongous grass-hopper, which was trying to find the room window. This thing was at least three inches long, and looked very strong. I didn't even bother trying to chase him out, I just rolled over and went back to sleep.
I also had a chance at the racetrack to spend a couple minutes with this knowledgeable MotoGPod listener. Always nice to meet people who have followed the story.
Some of the hotel food was good, like the salads and the big, breakfast buffet, but many of the dinner items were deep fried.
When it was time to leave Germany, and head to the states, we left Dresden and flew to Munich. I learned you cannot bring handcuffs on a plane. Several of the airports I've been to have small areas where people can sleep, or play games. A couple guys from the team go to town! It got a little heated, and old age and treachery won the day.
I couldn't leave Germany without trying a brautwurst, so I had one in Munich.
A couple of the pretty boys got some sleep on the flight (which was packed with MotoGP personnel, like Marlboro Ducati, us, some of Dorna's guys, some Camel Yamaha guys, and even some Kawasaki members).
I spent a couple hours working on things on the plane. I tried to connect to Lufthansa's new system (you can pay and get connected to the internet while flying), but there was some sort of server issue over Greenland and Canada, and by that time I was ready to get some sleep myself. At this point, I was having drinks with people from a couple teams, and the atmosphere on the flight was incredibly relaxed. So different from the paddock, and it was really neat to spend time with everyone, because they were all so excited to by coming to the United States. I couldn't agree more.
July 15, 2006
Sachsenring, Antica Roma, part 2.
The entire team met downstairs in the lobby, and we went walking. Naturally, we were looking for an Italian restaurant, and we sure found one! Antica Roma is another place that is just filled with motorcycles.
Such a gorgeous bike!
And the waitstaff appeared to be genuinely Italian - which was obvious from their small, square glasses, and hip little goatees and soul-patches. I could never compete, haha.
The Italian Harley-Davidson. There was a nice police bike at the restaurant entrance, with a mannequin dressed up in authentic period gear.
At last! Now this is a machine! If you guess which make it is, you'll have a headstart on knowing what company is considering putting together an effort in WSBK within two years. . . .
V-twin? Check. Beautiful and unique chassis? Yep! Lots of trick parts, and rotating goodies? Hell Yeah!
And lest you think this is just a showpiece, and heirloom, allow me to present you with the Veglia Borletti clocks, which show this bike to have roughly 20K miles on it.
Speaking of cool clocks, I really like the way those were set up. One of my old bikes was set up in a similar fashion. You cannot beat aluminum coolness.
Ahh, heck. Might as well throw up a picture of the whole bike while I'm at it. This was stage two of this bike's evolution. Later, it went to a 630 chain drive (23 and 54 (!) tooth sprockets) after I snapped the belt goofing off in a parking lot. More carbon, more suspension mods, and countless new parts - including a very built motor. Grunty? Yes. 110 MPH maximum? You bet, but who cares when you can get there sliding and riding with a huge smile the whole time?!? Maybe one day I'll put up some more photos of one of my favorite machines.
Sachsenring! Chemnitz, part 1.
I stayed in Chemnitz for the Sachsenring GP. It's a small town about 25 minutes from the circuit, and it has an interesting history that I'll delve into later. What really impressed me was the hotel lobby decorations! In fact, the lobby was littered with old machines in great condition. Several DKW's, and even an old gangster looking car, were there, and the rotating doors of the building had small, glass enclosed spaces filled with ancient engines. Very odd, but very cool.
Check out the carburetor on this vintage bicycle towing machine. That's right, this motorcycle used to tow bicycles out onto the boardtracks and help get them up to speed. Very, very, unique machine.
Another shot of the engine. A twin provides a nice, smooth, and linear power delivery - but how to make it soft enough to keep the bicycle behind it under acceleration?
This "belt" provides some clue. Note the giant sand-cast sprocket in the rear. So many neat features on the bike.
The view from my hotel room (which was abnormally small) showed that there was some statue nearby. I made it a priority to check it out.
Closer inspection revealed it was none other than Karl Marx .
So influential was he that the town of Chemnitz was renamed after him in 1953 by the East German government, to Karl-Marx-Stadt.
Another cool thing about Chemnitz? I found Paul's Boutique!
I thought there was only one, in New York City!
July 14, 2006
Just Ordinary People.
We're just ordinary, normal people. We wear t-shirts, too. We like to goof-off and have a good time after work like everybody else. Did I mention that I'm working at Sachsenring?
Headed to Germany, for Sachsenring!
After breakfast on Tuesday, there was a slight change in my normal routine of catching the Aeropuerto Bus to the airport. Because I was travelling with two suitcases (and my helmet!!), I needed to catch a cab. It's always a bad sign when the driver needs your help to pick up your bags and put them in the trunk, but somehow I survived the geriatric ride and made it to the airport with time to spare. That's when it got interesting. Check in? No problem! Just put the suitcases on the scale and find out that I'm 30 kilo's overweight for the economy class travel in Europe! The travel agent whispered that he'd always wanted to visit Hawaii, so he said he'd cut me some slack and only charge me for ten kilo's extra baggage fee. Phew, I was a little worried for a second. . . . . until they told me it was ten Euros per kilo! That's a 120 USD!! Who walks around with that much cash? Not me. Anymore, haha. Anyways, go to a different counter to pay, and discover that my credit card has apparently stopped working. Big thank you to Citibank Mastercard for realizing that my card was stolen, freezing my account, sending me a new card, not sending me a new PIN number at the same time, and then locking out my card because I didn't make the payment on time (thanks to the account being frozen). Big, big thanks. A couple frantic phone calls, and thirty minutes later I was still S.O.L, and now gradually running out of time. I'm thinking, there's no way I'm going to miss this flight, because I AM GOING HOME afterwards! Long story short, I go to a different counter guy, this time an english speaker, and we try again. And it works. Phew.
Just about the best thing that can happen on a flight, happenned. Yay for me! WAHHHHHHHH WAHHHHH!
What was really bugging me on the plane was the prospect of paying an overweight luggage fee again, on the way to the States. Overage charges for "international" travel on Lufthansa are 30 Euros per kilo, so I was looking at a grand! For a freaking suitcase filled with souvenirs. Man, oh man. I'm still working on a couple options, like handing every member of my team a plastic bag filled with clothes, but I can see that causing a massive problem at Customs. Did anyone give you anything to carry for them? Oh man. But, solutions are the name of the game, and I think I'll be ok. One way or another.
Here's a shot of Frankfurt airport, where I transferred to a flight for Dresden. Then, a bit of a drive to get to Chemnitz, where I'd be staying for the race week. The Germans like their industrial design.
But in a lot of ways, they're still enamored with the eighties. Would you like some Michael Knight with that?
Some of my team mates are exhausted, since they've not had a week off in almsot two months. D'antin competes in both the MotoGP and Spanish Championships, and it's an impossible schedule.
Once in the air. . . . it all becomes a blur. I only ask that I be woken up for food or drink. I managed to stay awake for lift-off, and had some nice tomato juice when I took this photo.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Germans like their industrial design.
That's it for now, see you guys later!
July 13, 2006
Hasta Pronto, Barcelona
Earlier this week, I left my apartment in Barcelona. I was really surprised at how bummed I was, because I honestly don't feel like this is "home" yet. I don't know if it ever will (as nothing has ever been able to replace my childhood and college years in Hawaii), but after a half hour having coffee and breakfast at a Catalan joint across the street and watching my apartment building, I came to the realization that aside from the two suitcases I had packed for my trips to Germany and California, all my worldly possessions were in that tiny, little room on the second floor. Actually, not even the second floor, but the Entresuelo level (I still haven't figured that one out - but I'm guessing it's for people to lazy to get all the way up a full level, haha). Notheless, I was packed and ready to spend a week racing at Sachsenring, and then almost four weeks total in California. Since I left for Europe in late October, I've bounced around quite a bit, and never really put in a long period of constant contact with the peoples of BCN. I think that's another reason as to why it always feels like just another place I'm spending time at. Only once has BCN felt like "home", and that's when I returned from the Italian GP at Mugello. After not sleeping for almost a week, the place looked good! Here's a shot of my apartment building, looking so much better after six months of noisy construction out front to build up a nice big sidewalk.
Might as well show off the fat breakfast I had. I'm still on limited funds since my wallet got knicked, so this was something of a splurge. Not that I'm having a ton of trouble buying coffee. It's just that I wanted to say a personal goodbye to BCN, and what better way than to sit outside at a cafe . . . . having a cafe!
Technically, I'll be back in five weeks. But only for a day and a half. Then it's off to Brno, Czech Republic, for their GP. Sweet!
July 10, 2006
In honor of Italy's World Cup Victory, may I present you with this.
Sorry Zidane, looks like you'll have to come back in four more years.
There's no way I could avoid this game, and no matter how much work and how much packing I had to do, there's no way to get away from World Cup fever here in Europe. Running alongside the Grand Prix circus, there's something very cool about having been in Holland for their game with Argentina, or being in England, surrounded by Brits and watching the match when England was knocked out of the running. Or, being on a multinational team (Spanish, Italian, French, Brazilian, Argentinean, and a Hawaiian!) and watching France beat Spain. Too many memories - too much ribbing after the matches - and it was very cool to see how every country came alive during this time. I'm always a bit sad when it's over, but it's fun to think of where I might be in four years. . . . . .
July 09, 2006
Excited? You bet! Packing for the post-USGP stay!
I'm scrambling and getting ready for the German GP next week, and besides getting psyched for a week's worth of working and German electro-synthpop/dub/trance/house/disko (yee-haa!), I'm also preparing for an extended vacation in the USA after the USGP on July 23rd. This means I'm bringing back more than the bare essentials with me, and item numero uno is my trusty Arai , custom painted by Mike Taylor Designs in Redwood City. I'm anxious to return to the roads I love, and perhaps even more anxious to get back for the food! I weighed in at 72 Kilos (158 lbs) the last time I saw a scale, and granted, I have been excercising slightly more here in Europe, but that represents a significant weight loss for me since I moved out here. What can I say? The Euro-life encourages a healthier lifestyle, from the simple foods and salads, walking everywhere, and constant influx of nicotine!
Keep an eye out on the roads around the Bay Area, and if you see this helmet, give a little honk and a wave.
I plan to spend as much of my free time as possible roving about, because I sure as hell don't want to spend my life in front of a tv. I wish I could say that I'm super-stoked to be visiting Germany again, but to be frank (furt, haha), I didn't really enjoy it the last time around. This would be due to the hellacious time I had dealing with the Deutsch Customs personnel and their style. Also, I don't really have any friends in Germany, so other than the music and the World Cup fever, I'm not really anticipating finding too much trouble to get in to. Who knows? Maybe I'll be in for a treat. You never know what's just around the corner, and it's the joy of learning about something previously unknown that stimulates me. I took a moment yesterday to visit a hardware store, or Ferreteria, to get a hold of some supplies. Supplies for what? MotoLiam is making some super secret souvenirs for a few of his friends back in the USA.
Time to get back to packing, and trying to figure out how I'm going to get everything into my bags, and to and from the airport. Because I'll have more than just light luggage, I think I'll end up taking a taxi to the airport, and although it's expensive, it's going to be worth it. I suppose I should start making a list:
Clothes? What for? Oh, right . . . . . . a place to hold the food money!
July 08, 2006
Work Continues on Motoliam.com - Plus, Treasures on the Web!
Incredibly, this one week break between race weekends is almost over, and I'm putting some of the final touches on MotoLiam.com with the help of some good friends, notably Endo and Mr. M. We're going after a couple bugs, and it's just a matter of time before everything is ironed out and we'll be WFO!
In three short days I head out to Sachsenring, Germany, for round 10 in the MotoGP World Championship, and immediately following the race, my team and I will be airborne and headed to San Francisco - to prepare for the USGP! I'm juggling several projects at once, and am more excited and enthusiastic than ever. It's a great weekend to be on the internet. For one, I have a chance to work on my website, and secondly, there's a fantastic benefit auction going on in Spain at the moment, courtesy of the Pilotos Por Africa. Amazingly, (and I believe in conjunction with Rider's For Health) they have managed to acquire 74 (Kato's number) items to be auctioned off on Spanish Ebay, with the proceeds going to a very, very worthy cause. Items include special pilot's helmets (like a custom Alex Criville helmet that is one of three), a ton of rider items, like autographed knee pucks, boots, gloves, and complete leather suits. Not to mention the helmets. What makes this even more unique is the fact that many of the items are from special races, where people won the race! Pedrosa's race winning suit? Dovisioso's race winning boots? Bautista's race winning Piston? You name it! You can find this auction here - but it's a tiny bit complicated - because it's all in Spanish! If this doesn't deter you, you're going to have a great time surfing through Ebay Espana. Even better, there's also some F1 gear, and an actual used Michelin F1 tire - what I wouldn't mind having for a glass coffee table base. You can find the Auction Items for Pilotos Por Africa here:
Auction on Ebay.es
I can't wait to be back in the Bay Area, and the members of B.A.R.F. (the Bay Area Rider's Forum) are hosting a special, welcome home party for me at the Blue Fin cafe on Cannery Row the Friday Night of the USGP weekend. It should be a blast, and no doubt I'll have some Grand Prix guests along with me. I just hope we don't get stuck working at the track too late that night! You can read more about the upcoming festivities here:
MotoLiam's Welcome Home Party!
Time to start getting packed up, because this time I'll be on the road for about a month. I hope to see you all at the USGP, and if not there, I'll see you in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains or at the beach!
July 05, 2006
MotoLiam is going public!
It's Official! After months of careful planning, unbridled optimism, and the help of some amazing, talented, and patient people, MotoLiam.com has become a reality! I'm still working out a few bugs, but I expect to be fully operational within a few days.
I'm proud to say that this will be the platform for all my future chronicles, and you can look forward to seeing more cool pictures, reading about more races and racers - as well as a few of my own insights concerning MotoGP - and most of all, having fun riding alongside *Liam's Wild Ride*!
While I will remain an active member of the Bay Area Rider's Forum (Barf), due to time constraints many of my updates from this point on will be posted on Motoliam.com first.
We are in the peak of the MotoGP season - time is flying by - and with my hectic travel schedule and sporadic internet access around the world, there will be delays from time to time. Rest assured, the adventure continues! I am constantly updating (and back-updating), and it's an ongoing process. With the addition of links, extras, and more, I hope to flush out this site into something truly special on the internet, and give everyone a taste of this incredible life.
I have done some work in the past with Road Racer X Magazine , and in this month's USGP: Laguna Seca build-up/preview issue, I'm proud to be listed as a contributor. Awesome! I am a huge fan of the magazine and delighted to be included. Look for more great things to come.
See you at the races!
Here I am in my limited edition (read custom) RRX hat, one of only two in existence! Actually, the other one is black, and since I work for that great Italian marque, I think red suits me better anyway.
World Cup Time? Shoe Substitution!
I've always been a huge fan of the World Cup. Last time around I would stay up to watch the midnight matches in California, and then wake up at 4AM to watch the second match of the night. . . . and this went on for weeks. Growing up, I played AYSO soccer in Hawaii for the McCully BlueJays, and I ran around with the best of them. As an adult, I've always been partial to soccer sneaks, and I'm proud to say I've had these since the last World Cup! It kind of snuck up on me, but that means I've rocked these Nike's for four years now, and it's time to retire them. I'm not sure how I lucked out into finding them, but the original retail was well north of two hundred dollars. I'm not that crazy about shoes (show me a bike part and I'm all in, haha), but these were on close out in Menlo Park for forty bucks. How could you go wrong with that? Despite the funky outsides, the insides proved to be the most comfortable pair of shoes I've owned in my life. Dual, independant air cushions, front and rear, contributed to the sweetest ride imaginable. I've worn these shoes everywhere I've been around the world, and I have some great memories with them. Man, I wish I'd been able to buy a couple pairs - I'd wear these til feet went out of style!
I couldn't just settle for any old pair of shoes after these bad boys, so I spent a couple weeks hunting for just the right pair. With the limited amount of time, money, and selection here in Spain, I ended up with what I think are worthy successors. However, a couple months of light use are showing that these won't last - so the search continues!
Ah, what the heck. Might as well show off my work shoes by Adio! Not only are we all in matching uniforms - complete with matching Viceroy watches - but we all wear the same kicks. K-Swiss, where are you? Bwahahaha (read about Holland for the K-Swiss comment)
And to the person who said I'd never post about my shoes - Booyah!
July 04, 2006
Tuesday morning, early, I was off to another place. Birmingham, England, for the Donington Park GP!
As is normal, I flew to another airport to wait a couple hours before connecting with a flight to England. Who knows what airport this is? Travel days aren't easy, even if you're only going as far as one hour away (GMT time). Looking on a map, BCN and England aren't that far apart, but travelling anywhere takes time and effort, and this can wear people out as much as working. Example? Travelling to England made it more than 13 hours door to door, from leaving my house to arriving at the hotel. Coming home? Same thing. So imagine working 5-6 days, day and night, then having to travel that long as book-ends to your work week.
Anway, I flew on this fat, stumpy little airplane, and recieved the worst tongue lashing ever because I fell asleep with my iPod on. Did you know you have to turn off all your electronics during take-off and landing, because dammit, my iPod is going to make the plane fly upside down and do loops! I just don't get it.
Always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local constabulary. After all, wouldn't want to get in trouble and then think someone's playing a prank by sending these guys after you!
Do they make you feel safe?
Do they make you feel randy?
Speaking of feeling randy, keep your pants on!
Made me real nervous driving around in England. These people are backwards! Or at least, they drive on the wrong side of the road.
We went from Birmingham to Nottingham (Robin 'Ood anyone?) and then into Derby (Dahrby).
Every little small town in Europe has some ancient building, some special place that has survived the centuries. The special place in Derby? This football stadium across from the Hotel. Do NOT stay at the Sleep Inn in Derby. The staff is atrocious, and we're talking about something particularly bad in order to receive a bad review from me. I've never met such rude people in my life, and heard some of the things they've said. Granted, I'm not staying in some fantastic 4 or 5 star joint, but c'mon! I won't go into too much detail here, other than don't go there.
Ok, ok, one last thing from the disgruntled MotoLiam. The food from "Paradise Island" leaves a little room for improvement. And in general, I really must say that my favorite English are the ex-pats, those who were willing to leave the motherland and strike out on their own. I've got a lot of views about the culture and mentality here, and maybe I'm way off base, so I'll keep them to myself.
Who eats this stuff?!?
Here's a nice V-dub van we used. Actually, we used three of them, and a couple rent a cars. Neat this is, there's a Harley-Davidson edition in England, with a trick interior and rims, you name it. It's like the big, black Ford HD truck, except the Brits get a vanagon, or should I say, a Safari.
Since we all know what the riders and bikes look like, I've stopped taking photos of stuff that's available through the normal channels of motorcycle news. I like taking pictures of interesting things, like this cool '33 I found in the parking lot at Donington. While that's not a big deal in the states, here in Europe this thing is the bomb! They don't even have choppers out here? Do I hear a side business calling?
BTW, What's that in the window?
All the way from Andorra, Spain. Very cool.
John Hopkin's ride?
Jonh - if you get this, email me with some photos of your toys.
This area of England is pretty green, also, and because it was blisteringly hot the first couple days we were there, everyone thought that this might be the first GP of the year to be rain free for all three days of practice, qualifying, and racing. Not! The morning of the race we had a torrential downpour that soaked the track - and everyone running from the parking areas (too far away!) to the garages. It was huge, but finished up fairly quickly. It was not unlike a flash storm in Hawaii, and fortunately (or unfortunately - depending on how you look at it) it dried up before the big race. The most serious industrialized thing I found while going to and from the track was this set of smokestacks.
EDIT! Just to show you the power of the internet, and how accessible it makes connecting with other cool people, how's this for a bitchin email I recieved a few hours after this post!
"these are not smoke stacks but cooling towers for the Ratcliffe nuclear power station. Sort of like the "radiator" of a power plant, not the exhaust system as "smokestack" would imply. Here's a link:
Yes I'm xnxl, but I'm in the power plant business so it caught my eye.
Take care! Maybe I'll run into you at Laguna.
Big props to Kevin for catching that! See you at Laguna!
Darby has some fun nightlife, if not very interesting. The normal college bars/pubs, and some dance clubs, and the girls can really put the drinks away. Seriously. I've never seen women drink so much and so fast. It was like a weird kind of race. They're definitely a different breed out here. As always, I try to support those who support the sport I love.
Ran into Defraine while I was hustling about. He's the Barfer from England who's got the largest and most complete collection of Schwantz helmets in the world - to the point of having them custom painted if there are none in existence anymore! Arai found out about his hobby and will be doing something very special for him in the future. I'm not sure how he did it, but he must have used some special "Goofy" setting on his camera, because I came out allll wrong in these spyshots he got of me here.
I mean, I look like I'm rollerblading in one of them, hahaha.
*EDIT* Just wanted to let everyone know how funny it is when someone looks are you, and then blurts out, "BARF!". Believe me, it's happened more than once, and it's really fun. Woot for Barf! The world is a far smaller place than everyone realizes. Get out there and get some of it!
I also met Jon Goodwin (I think it's Jon). He just might be the biggest race fan in England. For Sure! He's been a corner marshall at Donington Park for more than 30 years, and since 1949 - 2004 has only missed 4 Isle of Man TT's. That's 51 years of trekking to the Isle for that race. 51! Some of his Barry Sheene stories were hilarious! Super nice guy and I wish him well. He's suffering from a serious type of cancer and my very best wishes go out to him.
Then I bumped into this guy ----->
Thursday afternoon saw us enjoying some special Spanish cuisine. And the funny thing is, I'm starting to like it!
Rizla brought out this neat little ride.
Please note the Bridgestone sticker. . . .