Some of you may remember my previous blogs on Electric Bikes… The first one I wrote was 4 years ago and I had some not nice things to say about the electric bike market. I mean, who the hell cares, right?
Holy crap, times have changed in 4 years. Pure electric vehicles are coming out of the woodwork for consumers left and right these days. The Nissan Leaf. The Chevy Spark. The TESLA (insert dramatic theme music).
It IS a damned good looking car… Images credit: Tesla Motors
So, this year has been pretty slow in the riding realm for me so far… Normally, I’d have done at least a dozen or so trackdays by now…at LEAST. But not this year. So far, I’ve ridden exactly THREE trackdays. A Saturday/Sunday at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans back in February, and now last Monday at Thunderhill.
Well…I don’t really know what to say here. I hadn’t planned on writing this blog..hadn’t really even planned on talking about this at all but to a few friends…but I guess, for lack of better words, I’m feeling a bit inspired by a friend of mine right now.
He said to me “What’s up with 4theriders? It seems like the site has crawled to a halt” (or something like that…just with a lot more bad words).
For those of you that know me know that I’ve had a fear of Infineon for the longest time. Being a trackside photographer, I see really bad stuff happen sometimes…Infineon has always been the worst of the worst.
I’ve seen people die at this track. I’ve seen peoples’ lives forever changed at this track… and for that reason, I’d only ever ridden once there before, about a year ago. I did 4 sessions at a Zoom Zoom day.
Well, we were invited to come ride with Pacific Track Time last week, and I said “fuck it, I’ll ride.” and I did. I wanted to get over this fear that I’ve had… Toe was my wingman for the day.
I can’t really say that I’m “over it.” I mean, the track is fun. It’s certainly a workout as well…but I don’t think I could ever bring myself to try and go fast at Infineon. There’s just too many dangers! It’s like Skaggs Springs Road…but instead of guard rails, there’s k-walls.
It’s a lot of fun to just go horse around with the homies tho…I’ll give it that much.
Here’s some footage of me, Toe, Chris from CT Racing, Darius, Tim, and a few other people from the very last session of the day.
Six days it took us, six days to travel over 2400 miles and to the far side of Arizona.
Six days of course is not counting any time used to prep for the trip, in this case making sure we replaced our tires. Mine because I had a tire that had carried me to Montana and back (and was the appropriate hardness to do so), and Joe’s because his previous attempt to ride this particular tire had ended with him growing a large hematoma on his buttocks. We took full advantage of a friend, Blaise, raiding his garage in the middle of what could have been for him a pleasant date, and commandeering his tire machine.
Oh well; better forgiveness than permission… and better surprise than dread. In retrospect it was well worth it, as neither my or Joe’s ham-fisted-throttle-happy-asses were tossed high and to the butchers.
The first leg was set at a 16 hour drive, which was quickly adjusted to 16:45 because we forgot Joe’s wheel at my house at the first attempt. The essentials of course were coffee for myself. A good strong kind with an exotic name like Kama Sutra or something of the sort. And for Joe, can upon can of Redbull.
Everyone else is doing it…I guess that means I gotta do it too. ‘Cept…I’mma do it in typical Joe-Fashion, and totally OVER do it. I’m not just gonna pick my top 10 images from the year. I’m gonna go through the year and pick whatever the hell I think represents 2010. Anything memorable; From our zany adventures around the Western United States to our unspeakable acts in other countries. *shhh!*
So hide yo kids, hide yo wife, cause I posted up at least thirty seven thousand pictures up in here.
“Whoo hoo! to 2010. The good times, the bad. The ups and downs. Whoo hoo, I say! Whoo hoo!”
In preparation for our ~2000 mile long journey, Toe and I loaded up the shiney Nissan with all our shiney camera gear, 5 days worth of shiney clothes, and a shiney black and red GSXR 600. None of it would stay shiney for long as we would find out.
We’ve been shooting the same tracks for a few years now. The first was Buttonwillow in 2006. The last new track we’ve shot was Reno Fernley, in 2007. It was time to see, shoot, and ride something new.
The trip started out on Thursday around noon with me realizing that I’d forgotten to unpack some things from the Element, which Melissa had taken to work in downtown Sacramento…20 minutes the opposite way in which we needed to go. I’d left my emergency roadside pump and my GPS in there, and I like to always have both with me. We headed north around noon to meet Melissa and get what we needed, then set out on a slightly augmented travel plan… roughly: hwy 50 > 95 > 93 > 10.
Well, me and Infineon Raceway go back a few years. I’ve been shooting there since 2006. I’ve watched at least eleventy trillion bikes pass by me in every corner of that track. Fast guys, slow guys…whatever. I’ve seen and documented probably around 100 crashes at Infineon alone. Most in turns 2 and 9, for sure, but with turn 3 having a ton of crashes as well.
Three years ago, it wasn’t even in a turn that had me spooked. Three years ago, Allen Rice crashed into the k-wall as he was exiting the track and tragically, he passed away as a result of that crash. This had all happened just in front of me, as I was making my way back to the pits to get geared up to ride Infineon for the first time. Needless to say, I didn’t ride that day. In fact, I’d decided that day, after what I’d just seen, that I had no desire to EVER ride Infineon. “It’s too damned dangerous,” I’d tell myself.
And I didn’t.
For three years, I never even had the inclination to ride. I’ve seen some people make mistakes and have incidents sometimes out of their control at Infineon causing life-changing crashes. From Shawnery having come together with Brian in turn 8 some years ago, to Eric Arnold at the start of a race before turn 1. Infineon scared me. I was genuinely fearful of riding the track.
Yesterday was a Zoom Zoom day at Infineon. The conditions were absolutely perfect. The weather simply could not have been any better for a day of riding. I’d made up my mind: I was going to ride.
So, a couple of us went up onto Mosquito Ridge Road the other day and decided to roach up some perfectly good Diablo Supercorsa Pros…and get it all on film. Toe, Mike J, Kev, and myself wanted to shoot some street footage with the new Sony HD cam along with some more GoPro HD footage. We still want to get more footage before actually editing up any videos right now, but I figured I may as well tease you guys with a few still frames from the video. :D