GP08 Catalunya, Race 7, "Back in the Saddle Again"
I got in from Bologna, Italy, late on a Monday afternoon, tired from the work week and looking for some serious recuperation time. Life had other plans for me, though, because since I stepped foot into Barcelona, the virtua-phone has been ringing off the hook and there's so much to do and see, so much life to delve into, I haven't been able to relax like I'm accustomed to. Which is great!
Some friends of mine from California gave me a buzz that they were in town for one night . . . so a pizza meeting was scheduled to discuss the latest project from MotoMorphic, a small custom build shop based out of San Raphael. Jim's a friend of mine (and mutual friend of B. Bostrom), who was here for the night after a small accident with his latest steed ended his European tour with JaFM. We were joined by an old Zeitgeister some of you may know from the old days in SF, Eugene Mosier. Dinner was great, with varied discussions ranging from motorcycle dynamics to Wired magazine, and beyond. Really, it was a great way to be welcomed back to my city, and I would see Eugene and his family later in the week in Montmelo at the race, which was cool. On Tuesday, I had a fantastic lunch with my old friend, Joe, and we talked for hours about life and racing. I feel really blessed at times, because not everyone has the same opportunities and world view that I have. Joe is fighting courageously with Parkinson's disease, and several other of my close friends are also dealing with life long challenges, like Diabetes.
JaFM is an Aprilia Mille based destroyer-of-perceptions. You can almost think you've seen it all, but there's always more out there, which is the beauty of life.
I was to stay in my apartment in the city during the race week, taking off early in the mornings to make it to the track in time to get everything final prepped before the free practices. I was a little disappointed, because it complicated things having to work around rush hour traffic and missing the standard fare hotel breakfasts that I was used to before hitting the track, but it also meant that I was home, sleeping in my own bed, every night. I could take a few hours to go out to eat where I wanted, check in with my friends, go out with my friends, and it made for more of a break, a disconnect, from the race. The sun was finally shining in Barcelona on Wednesday morning, so I opted to pitch in and help wash the race trucks. I don't remember the last time I did this, probably in late '06, but it felt so healthy, so warm, to be standing in the sun feeling my blood pumping, and actually seeing results from my hard work! Typically, my job entails putting out fires and targeting future dates, and because it's a labyrinth of details, sometimes results don't come easy. Nothing comes easy in this life.
Motorcycling, I love you.
We worked hard setting up the garage, changing engines, and going through the normal routine before a big race. A lot of sponsors and important people would be joining us for this event, and we wanted everything to go off without a hitch. One evening after work, Felix and I ended up in the most fashionable and popular area in the city, Passeo de Gracia, and we were stuck wearing our uniforms. I felt so out of place, walking around like that, but we quickly sourced the material we needed to buy, bought it, and got the heck out of dodge!
I found a new sushi place near my house this past week, and although it's pricey, some things in life are just worth it. If only they had more Saba . . . . but the sake made up for that a tiny bit, haha.
Over the weekend, I was joined at the racetrack by Bay Area Rider's Forum's web guru, Valgar, and his fiance, Janelle. We managed to have dinner during the week (again, SUSHI!!!!!), and it was cool to catch up and share stories since we'd first met in late '02.
The race week kind of got away from me a little bit, with a tremendous crash by TE24 that occupied my full attention throughout Friday and Saturday. I barely remember anything that happened on those two days, as myself and the mechanics were so busy rebuilding a complete bike that I wouldn't have noticed if the sun had fallen out of the sky.
About the only thing that really caught my eye over the weekend was a gorgeous display of vintage BMW's in the MotoGP hospitality area.
Lots of great history and a genetic heritage that is obvious. Really makes me like the new HP2 Sport that much more . . . .
The mood through qualifying was tense, and we exceeded the pit lane speed limit just before our last hot lap . . . . making it through the timing lights with three seconds to spare before the end of the session. Every second counts. Of course, we had to pay a significant penalty (more than once, haha), but it was well worth it to give ourselves a shot to improve our position.
Instead of studying up on Kawasaki this time, Manuel went straight for this Brazilian, hahaha.
Never loan your camera to someone else, or you might end up getting it back with pictures like this one!
The race started, and man, I really wish there were more riders who could see us from this angle . . . but the season is long and it's a hard one. I intend to do my best to give my guys the best shot they can to get some good results.
Oliver Jacque looks on at the bike he is primarily responsible for developing. He wears a Chopard Gran Turismo XL Chrono, fitting for its French/Swiss roots.
By the time Sunday night rolled around, all I wanted to do was sleep. We were lined up for two days of testing at the track after the race, which meant that many more hours to put on the machines and the equipment. Daft Punk decided to join us.
I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt . . . bwahahahahaha!
Actually, not that sexy, especially with the return of evil mustachio'd Liam!
Finally the work week plus testing came to an end, and what a pleasant surprise it was to be told I would be delivering this new Kawi Z750 from the racetrack to a dealer in BCN. Once I got onto clear roads, the wind holding me in her embrace, my head became even clearer, the colors brighter, and I knew I was back.