Heading Out - LeMans, France - Watch out now!
Just a few days after arriving back to Europe, the circus heads (appropriately) to LeMans, France, to kick start an avalanche of racing that will see us line up for 7 races in just 10 weeks. For those of us who travel by plane to each race, this means we will have some small breaks to go home, see family, do laundry, decompress, refocus, and come back stronger. For the mechanics and hospitality people who also drive the semi-trucks (the cambions) to each racetrack before and after every event, this means they will not see their loved ones for two and a half months. That's a long time to be constantly on the road, always working at the edge, and never making a mistake. Whereas the people can go back to the raceshop between races, it's just not practical to bring the bikes and equipment home after every race, and not to mention that moving that many tons of equipment is expensive! As soon as one race is over, the trucks will be loaded and then they're off, driving to the next venue almost immediately. A secondary duty of the drivers is to guard the supplies, so there will be as few stops as possible until the trucks are safely in the next racetrack's compounds. Two and a half months to sleep in hotels and the back of a semi-truck is a solid commitment, and just serves to confirm the commitment that we all have to racing. It's never been about the money.
Please enjoy this smart little tune, GP07 LeMans! "Take it slow, take it easy . . . "
After LeMans, I'll have a one week break to finalize some of the structure that will hopefully see the Team prepared and ready for the three sets of back-to-back race weeks, with a smooth flow of new pieces coming in from Ducati Corse, and a minimum of fuss. People often overlook how many minute details go into a Team, because half of the challenge/fun is getting everything to each circuit, and that includes all the personnel and their baggage! My Team, for example, is made up of people from all parts of Spain and Italy. I am based in Barcelona along with two other team members this year, and other's will fly out from Valencia, Mallorca, Galicia, the Basque country, Madrid, and more. Add in flights from Italy, and the language barriers each individual country and destination pose, and it gets trickier than you would think to arrange not only the meeting places, meeting times, hotel rooms (on crowded race weekends!), and rentacars. And finding a place to eat that a whole mess of people can agree on? It's no wonder we always eat Italian, hahaha. Good, simple food, and everyone's stomach can handle it. But watch out for that Rice, bwahahahahah!
You may have noticed the website getting a little more crowded lately, and this is for a couple reasons. I added Google Adsense ads to the left, more of an experiment really, to see if it would provide a way to cover the bandwidth for the site and leave one less detail for me to think about. I really like the idea of a self-sufficient website that takes care of itself, and when I have time, I can pop over and add a new post and some photos or music. If you see anything that sparks your interest, it doesn't hurt to click and check it out. The Internet, much like Digital Photos, is free once you've gotten ahold of the hardware - so use it!
Also, to satisfy my horological bug, I added a Bell & Ross chronometer which should work to show you whatever time your computer is set to. Personally, I like their simpler designs (like the BR01 Orange Hand, or BR01-96 Big Date), but as this is a racing site, I thought the chronograph feature was a nice touch and I like to watch the dual second hand sweeps. Big thanks to Evan, for helping me source the code for this. I really like it! A nice thing about Bell & Ross is their connection to the French Police and Military. Their watches reflect the austerity of a simple aviation instrument, and they've made special, commemorative models for the RAID (French National Police), are the official suppliers to the French Navy Pilots, and more. It's funny, though, because Bell & Ross used to rely on German movements and cases made by the Sinn company, but as B&R are based in Switzerland (the French connection coming through yet?), they've since started producing their own Swiss made stuff.
I confess to being a total gearhead, and one of the ways I relax and continue to dump more information into my head is to research watches and their movements. Much like a MotoGP bike is a combination of everything working together in perfect harmony and synchronization, an automatic watch is the same way - only smaller, haha. A watch is the only thing you can keep at your side at all times, and it's our closest connection to a living machine that we've developed. I've always think back to Harleys or Ducatis when I think about watches, because each watch, although manufactured to the same design specifications, works differently, and sounds differently, too. I've found a person who appreciates fine mechanisms, like high end automobiles or motorbikes, is usually into nice watches.
Automatics have a fine history, and the developments that took manual winding pocket watches to fully-auto wristwatches is a fascinating story. I really get a kick out of poking around to learn more about a certain manufacturer, or a Grand Complication. As trick as an automatic watch can be, though, it will never match the accuracy of a simple quartz (battery-powered) watch. Circuit boards and computer chips will always out perform something made up of hundreds of gears and spinning pieces - especially because these pieces suffer frictional losses and vibration induced failures. Nowadays, we even have watches that set their time by communicating with the giant atomic clocks via radio signal! WOW! How cool is that? I've used a G-Shock for years, and here's a great article about the History of the Casio G-Shock . It's a few years old, but it is great, nonetheless.
It all boils down to TIME, and how we are constantly losing it. Time is the most important thing to me, and I hope everyone is fully aware that they need to make the most of it. It's a nice thing to be able to celebrate the passage of time with a quality timepiece, no matter if it's cheap or expensive, quartz or automatic, as long as it works! I could never survive without my watch on a daily basis (who looks at their celphone for that, anyway?!?), and I've had the pleasure of wearing this Swiss Army tank-style watch since 1998. It is as battered and scratched up as I am, and is a working testimony to my life's travels and adventures, crashes, and triumphs. When we win a race this year, I'm going to treat myself to something really special . . . . .
I wrote this for someone I know who's on the fence about getting a new watch, and I hope this helps. It's all about having the time of your life - now let's get moving to LeMans!
Bonus Link from this post takes you to a strange French song that Lena, of France's Moto-Magazine, introduced me to earlier this week. She writes, "I wanted to make you discover a song that would be perfect (!!) for your site, as I love when you put a song to introduce the GPs.
It’s a really crazy song, sang by a guy who loves pink panties :-)))) It’s about a DJ who loves to stop the music, put it again, stop again, and so on…. you couldn’t find a frencher song!!!!"
P.S. Congrats on the new girl, Toby!
P.P.S. If anyone is coming out to one of the next 6 races and can bring a special package from San Francisco, it would be much appreciated! Thanks everyone, see you at the races!