Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 239 - MotoGP Appetizer

To start off finishing off the summer, I went total emersion... in MotoGP.

For those not in the know, MotoGP is the tippity-top level of motorcycle racing. It is also awesome.

These guys are blazing fast, and they go through turns with the bike on its side, their knee dragging the pavement, and the back wheel sliding out from underneath them.

[Apologies for the motorcycle heavy theme for the post. But it was a motorcycle heavy day.]

It started last night at my local Ducati dealership, hanging out with other... what's a nice word... enthusiasts.

Easily over a hundred Ducati's

Got to meet Ducati Moto GP rider and 2006 World Champion, Nicky Hayden.

Gotta dig the hair.

Today, I left the office early... really early... and went to watch practice.

I've been to the speedway a jillion times, and I've been just about everywhere there is to go. But before today, I'd never ridden on the actual race course.

I thought it was a mistake. I checked with 3 yellow shirts. They all pointed me toward the north chute. And they didn't seem mentally unstable.

Sure enough... before I knew it, I was going (the wrong way) into Indy's turn 3 and up the backstretch. I was stunned and thrilled and sure that I was either dreaming or about to be arrested.

Turns out, for MotoGP, the backstretch is one long-ass motorcycle parking lot.

But I wasn't parking here. Thanks to the good folks at Ducati, I had a spot waiting for me, and my bike, on Ducati Island.

I've owned several Toyotas since 1987. They've never invited me to anything like this.

Ducati Island is shock-and-awe marketing. Bikes, gear, accessories, banners, scantily-clad girls, stage, DJ/MC, all with the backdrop of racers flying by. Literally. At the fence I was 25 feet from where the riders enter the track. And they enter the track at SCREAMING-FLAMING-BOTH-BALLS-OUT! miles per hour. And they wave as they go by.

[Video captured and edited on iPhone 4. Too. Cool.]

When the action cooled, I got to hang out in the Ducati Cafe, which is essentially a lounge with espresso on tap and lots of water.

And aforementioned scantily-clad girls.

And foosball.

Half the fun of a gathering of motorcycles is walking around and checking out the bikes. I especially like the old bikes.

Ducati Indiana 650

Old-school Desmo

No idea, except that it's an old Ducati

On my way out, after having bought new shades and a t-shirt, I went passed the Ducati USA tent. In the corner, I spotted a really cooling looking bike. Turned out to be the same model as mine with an optional fuel tank that would make an excellent Christmas present. I'm just sayin'...

The first day of the end of my summer was, for this newly baptized motorcycle rider and longtime MotoGP fan, a total blast. The bikes were fast. The weather was perfect. And I got to ride my bike home.

I think tomorrow will be even better.

Good running,

Numbers: 1.4 miles on trails right before a much-needed stretch/torture session.