My first Yamaha Champions Riding School that I worked at was in April of 2008. Ten and a half years ago. One day, my friend and favorite optician Dr. David Benkle sent me a message and said “there’s this really cool school you should see if you can shoot in Las Vegas!” I contacted Nick Ienatsch, whoever the hell that was, and sought permission to shoot. I was given an apprehensive “o-o-o-o-okay.” I didn’t know it at the time, but Nick stutters sarcastically when he’s not entirely convinced of an idea. Afterall, the school was brand new at the time as well.

ycrs lvms las vegas

My detailed memories of the first school are pretty blurry, to be honest. I busted my ass the entire two days making sure to turn Nick’s stutter into something more confident when I asked to come back to the next school. I sat in during every classroom session, I was on track for every track session. Not only was I trying to capture every moment on camera so I can make sales, but I was devouring the information given by the instructors. They had a lot of things to say that made complete sense. They basically threw every fundamental you could think of at the students, and also backed it all up with the “why” and the “how” that I needed to hear to improve my own riding. I was very much a “but WHHHYYY, mom?” kinda kid.
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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.

shift racing redbull like a mofo

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The sun is out, and the thaw has begun. Its time to dust off your leathers, question the condition of the tires that sat all winter, change your oil, and for some…time to put their engines together again, and back in the frame.

I myself have plans. Big plans. For most of those that know me know that I have not had proper fairings on my motorcycle for a long long time. Not since I had discovered the joy… the ecstasy of riding a superbike with motocross handlebars (THANKS JOE!). Fun is as fun does, and fun got in the way of fairings; wouldn’t let me turn the bars all the way.

This is all changing this season. The bike—my bike—that silly little R1 that I have decided is too much hooligan for the street, is getting new-used custom painted fairings.

I can’t wait.

PaintPlans
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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!”
4theriders
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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.

We brought a travel buddy with us, thanks to Mike @ Ace Custom Graphics
pedo bear sticker

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