2 Years In
This weekend marks the Two Year Anniversary of my having left the Bay Area and relocated to Barcelona, Europe, and the World.
In that time I've seen so much, experienced a lot of personal and professional growth, and consciously tried to keep my feet on the ground (not literally) and stay in touch with the friends I left in California and Hawaii, and also the many new friends that I've made at the races around the world.
I spent parts of Friday and Saturday reviewing my travels and photos, both from this website and also from the Bay Area Rider's Forum (Barf) , and I find it simply incredible that the motorcycle community as a whole has been deeply supportive of me and my dreams. It doesn't matter which kind of bike people ride, or which country they're from, it's a simple bond that connects all people that put themselves out there, in the wind. Whether they're into laying it all on the line, casual commuters, or just making their bike unique and different from the rest, we all share this link, and it's this spirit of motorcycling that has helped keep me motivated when times weren't so good and I didn't have a job. The period from September '05 through January '06 marks the longest period that I have been out of work since my earlier days in highschool, and as you're all aware, it was in June of '06 that I joined Pramac D'antin and began my career in MotoGP. Things happened faster than I could have imagined since that fantastic Mugello race, and while it feels like a lifetime has passed, I know deep down that this is only just the beginning. The start.
2007 brought about a new job for me within the Team structure, and I eagerly stepped up to learn as much as I could, and provide for my Team as best I could - because at the end of the day, we're a small group of racing fanatics and each and every one of us is critical. In a way, I no longer view us as only supporting the rider, or the sponsors, but instead I think that we're all living a dream, chasing the Big Speed, the Big Dream. The rider dreams of winning, the mechanics dream of winning, the staff dream of winning, the sponsor dreams of winning. It all boils down to this idea, this dream, this spirit of competition that is so vital to humanity.
2007 also brought me to a new apartment in Barcelona, with new roomates and a new area. It was a fresh start and it helped reinvigorate me and put some of the sparkle back in living in Barcelona (if you can imagine that!). I'm still in contact with my old flatmates, though, and we all had a fantastic birthday dinner last night for Hiro (three years running now, haha).
And for 2008? Well, traditionally with the D'antin Team, plans for next season are finalized in Valencia at the final race, and oftentimes agreements aren't met until early December. For myself, I envision another year of learning, and hopefully with more responsibility and a greater understanding of what it takes to be part of a successful team. I don't want to stop, I don't want to quit. I can't.
For my anniversary dinner, I prepared a simple Chinese egg noodle dish with black mushrooms, bamboo, and beef for my roomates, Carla and Aina. They take good care of the apartment when I'm away at the races, and always welcome me back with a smile. We watched a few movies over dinner and a bottle of Champagne, and then it was time to get out and celebrate in style!
The next night, I met up with Hiro for his 26th birthday celebration, and it was more good food, laughter, and good times. Happy Birthday, Hiro!
Looking back through all my photos (more than 3 thousand at this point), I think that one of my absolute favorites comes from a day trip I took with a great friend to the Sintra Castle a few hours outside of Lisbon in early '06. The future was uncertain, the skies were simply ominous, and as we trekked higher and higher up the mountain, things began to fall into focus, and soon I was on top of the world looking out at everything around me. The whole time the wind continued to blow, strong and fierce. The winds of change are never still.
More photos of Sintra HERE