Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rollin' Along

Sunday 5/2/10 8:10AM
I might jinx things if I do my "Mission Accomplished" speech too soon, but I did sleep through the night again last night! The alarm jangled me awake at 0600...just in time to watch the DVR turn itself off after recording the Spanish GP for MotoGP Motorcycles...formerly known as "Formula One Motorcycles"

For me, Spring really begins when my two favorite Motorsports Series begin their European Swings. F1 and MotoGP begin their respective seasons in Asia before returning to Europe for the Summer. Today the motorcycles raced in Jerez Spain, next Sunday Formula One visits Catalunya in Spain as well.

The cars race nearly every weekend through October, save for a breather in August, before taking their show to Singapore, Japan, Korea, Brazil, and finishing the season in Abu Dhabi.

Formula One's European Swing is where Bleeding Edge Technology meets Motorsports History and Tradition. Monte Carlo, Spa-Francorchamps, Monza...all names from motor racing's Mt Olympus.

In American Motorsports, May means Indy. The Month Of May at the Brickyard was The motorsports Event of Summer ever since I got infected with Gearhead's Syndrome via the Slot Car Racing mania of the early Sixties. Every day news would emanate from the track...stories of daring-do, new speed records, setbacks and sometimes tragedy. The Indianapolis 500 used to be so big that it took two weekends to set the field in qualifying...four days filled with thrills and drama.

Indy still has it's hold on The Month Of May, but it's not a stranglehold these days. Economic Reality, the rise of NASCAR, and the Split in American Open Wheel Racing have taken their toll, but I still give myself totally to May and Indy.

Sadly, this year Race Day is gonna seem a little thin...Formula One, adjusting to their new economic reality, have moved the Monaco Grand Prix (Monte Carlo) to a different weekend than Indy...destroying my Memorial Day Motorsports Marathon!

It used to go something like this:
1) Alarm goes off at up TV and watch the Monte Carlo PreRace and then the Race, LIVE. Next, more coffee and/or Bloody Marys and breakfast while watching the Indy PreRace Hype.
2) Ladies and Gentlemen, START...YOUR...ENGINES! The biggest spectacle in sports from where IndyCars got their name.
3) Stock Cars finish the day at Charlotte, NC...NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600
4) SpeedTV's Windtunnel Racing Highlights, Race Talk and Interviews

For a couple of years back in the 90's I hosted a small Ice Cream Social...cocktails and a couple of batches of Homemade Ice Cream...mmm, mmm, mmm! And plenty of racing on TV!

As May marches on, my other Wheeled Passion takes center stage: Bicycle Racing! I may get to take in a stage of Amgen's Tour of California. With a little luck, I'll find myself on the coast at Pacifica to watch Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and the rest contend for the Herbalife Sprint during Stage 3, before retiring to Pacifica Pier to angle for Dungeness Crabs...tides do look a little severe for crabbing though...maybe Striped Bass from the beach?

Summer proper means one thing in bike racing, The Grand Tours! 4th of July Weekend heralds the start of le Tour de France. Three weeks of racing, jaw dropping scenery, suffering, teamwork and triumph...throw in a finish in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe on Paris' Champs-Élysées, and you've got your Epic Sporting Event, much more Human than Indy or Monte Carlo, but just as exciting!

I'm sure my newly arrived replacement camera will be comfortable in my hands by the time the Amgen ToC peloton breezes by me out at Pacifica... It still irks me that I broke the camera's screen at work. A simple screw-up when a one quart stainless steel thermos full of coffee pile-drives a delicate camera in it's padded case as their Backpack home drops onto the floor of my BR350. I'm still feeling the loss of all those Photo-Ops on My Mountain.

Flip Side? I've already got plenty of photography to look forward to!


  1. It dawned on me the other day that the current state of my eyesight has given me a world filled with my favorite painting art -- Impressionism!

    Going out into a sunlit field of California wildflowers nailed it. The soft blur of a myriad-million intense colors and hues was absolutely enchanting. I almost cried.

    Having been there before, I imagine this year's thaw will yield the usual outstanding, jaw dropping, abundance of native flora up there on Your Mountain. Damn, I wish I could be there to see it. There is a photo project for you Dave. Capture it and GIMP it.

  2. A week or so after we took that wildflower walk, I happened by that tall bank of lupines again...they looked very different than they had during our walk.

    They now had millions of aphids on them, their stems looked to be three times a thick-all aphids!

    That year I rode my MTB up to Mt Rose (I wanted to summit it, but that meant I'd have to poach the Wilderness Area) As I crossed Mt Rose Saddle, there was a couple of acres of lupines in bloom (this was the last week of August at 9300ft) They were a foot over my head...even on my bike! Stunning!

  3. I remember the lupines. They were thick with aphids even then. Two weeks later they were thick with fat and happy aphids. No doubt about it, mountain aphids are huge suckers.

    What really sticks in my mind were several seeps. They were packed with around a half a dozen native lily species (including the stunning Lilium pardalinum, Tiger Lily) and dozens of other flowering plants and small shrubs. It was absolutely awesome.

  4. Just a little lower, say Kingvale, those Tiger Lillies are abundant. They grow all along the S Yuba River.