• TB Central

    The Taoist Biker FAQ

    The Taoist Biker Glossary

    Monday Music Index

    A Motorcycle Racing Primer

    Or you can click on the links across the top for a topical index.

  • Elsewhere And Otherwise

    I'm one of the Designated Dudes over at No Butts About It, a collaborative blog on health, fitness, and self-image.

    Is Monday Music not enough for you? Check out my Blip station:

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Brian on My subconscious is leakin…
    Jeannie on More music! More music!
    cure anxiety attacks on Asking a girl out – the…
    camille tannous on A day in the tobacco fiel…
    Johng783 on Asking a girl out – the…
  • You know you want to.

    taobikerblog at gmail dot com
  • Advertisements

MotoGP at Indy: Saturday morning

This is one of a series. At this point, I’m definitely going to whip up an index post that will pull all of the parts together! In the meantime, you can follow the lines backward by going to the Friday Afternoon post. There are more photos available on my Flickr set.

I woke up by the alarm on Saturday. No 4’s on the clock anywhere near the “hour” and “am” marks. Score! Of course, it took me about 2 solid minutes to figure out how to turn the alarm off – and that included having to finally give up and turn the light on. Which does not make Dys happy before anytime before…let’s say 10 or 11am. Not that I really enjoyed it that morning myself.

I showered while Dys checked the weather again, then threw on my spanking new Rossi jersey and hat and ran downstairs and grabbed breakfast to bring back up to our room. Dys says, “Bring me some of that sausage, or bacon or whatever they have with some protein in it!”

It is a recurring theme of my life that whatever my wife asks me to bring her will not be available.

No sausage, no bacon, no ham or anything. Where the sausage was yesterday, there are biscuits and white gravy today. So I stocked up with a few biscuits and doughnuts, grabbed a big cup of OJ for Dys, and headed back upstairs. She passed on the biscuits and had a couple of the doughnuts; I ate the biscuit and the doughnut she left. I made us PBJ’s for lunch – we decided to just put them in Dys’s purse and skip taking the cooler again today. Then we headed outside and out to the track.

We’d arrived a bit earlier than yesterday, but ended up in almost the exact same parking spot since a few more people were in that morning. In a display of the thought, planning, and effort put into this event by the IMS folks, the spots that were muddy in the afternoon on Friday were busily being covered with fresh mulch by grounds crews on Saturday morning. The IMS folks are thorough, efficient, and they believe in putting on a good show, folks. Very well done.

After another pass through the vendor area, Dys decided to buy our son a Nicky Hayden backpack (having gotten his enthusiastic “Yeah I’d like one!” the night before) and a Rossi shirt for herself. Sticking to our plan, we headed for the place Dys had picked out on the track map – the other side of Turn 2, on the far side of Ducati Island near the IMS Hall of Fame museum, where we could hopefully get some shots of the riders coming toward us instead of from the side or away from us like the day before. As the 125cc riders circulated around, we found a great spot there to get the riders coming right at us. “This is good!” I said. Dys said, “Hmm, I want to go look over there” as she pointed to the far side of the HoF museum. “Then I want to come back over here and look around a little more.” I checked my watch…we had time.

So we wandered over to the viewing mounds that overlooked Turn 5 on the banking – no good. You didn’t get a good view of the riders, and it was all behind the fencing anyway. “Let’s go over there,” she pointed. So we worked our way over to Turn 6a…where we found a light crowd of people, the same no-fence area with only a low wall as in Turn 10 the day before, and riders going by, leaning into the turn in our direction, about 35 feet away from the barricade. Perfection! I bellied up to the barricade, encouraged by a nice guy with an artificial leg who was carrying the gear bag for another (pro? Semi-pro?) photographer. Dys said, “I want to go back over there and look some more.” I said, “Fine, but I think I’m staying here!” We discussed it for a moment, and I really didn’t want us to split up, but Dys was really determined to find a better spot whereas I was convinced there’d be no better spot, and I was afraid to lose the one we had. So she agreed to go back over around Ducati Island to shoot, and then would come back and join me – at which point I’d give her my spot along the fence.

Standing right in front of the photogs at the barricade was a guy wearing the team shirt of one of the 125cc guys. I was really starting to get bummed, thinking this dude was going to be right in the line of sight of the bikes when the MotoGP riders came out, when I noticed him holding a little yellow object in one hand. A stopwatch. After a moment it was clear that he wasn’t paying attention to the riders in general, he was just timing his riders. That meant he might move along when the 125’s were done. This boded well – and proved to be true. The 125’s finished, he cleared out, and soon thereafter the GP boys could be heard roaring around the banking through Turn 5!

I was amazed at how close we were. (And again at how loud those things are under acceleration.) With the digital, it was sometimes a trial to re-focus between when I shot one rider and when the next came through. I would look to my right to try to get a glimpse through the crowd and the fence of who was coming in before they got right in front of me and it was too late, then try to photograph them as they went by, using Colorado guy’s advice. I even managed to get a video or two before it was all over.

Hayden on the throttle exiting turn 6a

Capirossi takes a quick glance at the crowd. I love that you can see his eyes!

Edwards heading for the apex

I shot and shot and shot and shot some more, and since Dys hadn’t shown up yet, I finally moved aside and let another guy in my spot to take photos. I figured Dys had seen where we were, she must have found a killer spot indeed to shoot from. Soon thereafter she came walking up and explained to me how she’d been right along pit road and could get beautiful pictures of the bikes coming along, and that Lorenzo had actually waved to all the fans there as he came out. She managed to get up to the barricade where I had been, and took some fantastic shots from that spot before joining me at turn 6.

Stoner getting the knee down

Rossi hits the apex

Video of bikes going by: (And yes, I did get a good shot of Dys’s ear.)

As she was shooting, a fellow came up behind me and as Lorenzo went by, asked, “Was that Rossi?” I said “Nah, it’s Lorenzo.” Dys spoke up: “Lorenzo has the gold helmet and red numbers; Rossi’s is more of a fluorescent yellow.” I heard the guy remark a little more, and I turned around: It was David Alan Grier, wearing a Fiat Yamaha team shirt that must have cost about $150. I spoke to him for just a minute or two. I’ve never really spoken to a celebrity before, and so I never know how much to bother them. He took a picture with a couple of fellows behind us, and just as Dys figured out who he was (she was busy facing the track) and suggested that I get a photo of him, he turned to leave and all I got was this partially occluded shot. Oh well. Nice guy, and quite a bit taller than I’d expected. (He must be 6’3″ or 6’4″.)

I didn’t recognize the two guys with him; Dys says one of them could have been one of the guys from “Entourage?” I dunno, neither of us watch the show. Anyway, by the time we left turn 6a we were hot, sweaty, and tired, but we were pretty sure that we had a buttload of great photos. We agreed in the end that it had really been a fantastic place not only to photograph the riders, but to watch them, close-up. So those of you who make it back to Indy next year, see you in 6a!

After the GP riders finished their practice, we were hot and a little sweaty – a first for this trip, since it’s the first day the sun was shining. I took the Nicky backpack (now carrying the film camera and equipment) from Dys and slung it on over the top of my own backpack, and we went back by the Hall of Fame museum to a little cafe that Dys had spotted earlier so we could sit down in the air conditioning for a few minutes. We bought a couple of Powerades and watched the 250 practice for a while. At one point there was a bad highside that ended with the rider’s landing on his back with his head whipping back to the pavement and him sliding to a stop…obviously unconscious. We never did see him move, and haven’t heard anything more about him since…which I assume is a good thing, but it was awfully scary at the time.

We left the café and eased our way back across the track. It was obvious that there were a lot more people there on Saturday than there had been on Friday. Ducati Island was hopping – they had an actual band playing under the tent, and fake potted plants hanging(!) inside. Wow. People were having their pictures taken with two of the (incredibly attractive) Ducati umbrella girls. Dys asked if I was interested, and I said, “Nah. Especially not with this Rossi gear on. And let’s face it, the Ducati girls are just bound to be hotter than the Yamaha girls.”

People were everywhere, and we slowly cattle-herded our way back to the pavilion near the paddock entrance. When we got there, we sat down for a few minutes in the shade, and sure enough, two of the Fiat Yamaha umbrella girls came strolling out from the paddock. They just hovered there for a few minutes. Dys and I looked. We looked at each other. We looked again. “Uh,” I cleared my throat, “I take it back. Those girls are as hot as the Ducati girls.” “Well, go get your picture taken with them!” she said. “You’re wearing all that Rossi stuff, it’ll be fun.” “Nah.” “C’mon! Look, that guy over there in the Rossi shirt is doing it.” “Oh, okay,” I said, and I handed her my backpack. Just then, they turned and headed back in toward the paddock. Opportunity lost. I wasn’t too broken up, but I was bummed that I didn’t get a better shot of the girls themselves than this one. (And the one with her back to the camera was the hotter one of the two.)

Next, Dys wanted to get several shots to use as potential header images for her blog. She wanted one of the IMS logo in the concrete, for example (we didn’t actually end up getting one of those until Sunday morning), and one with the famous Indy bricks. We ended up shooting several of these, but I only uploaded one to my Flickr page. She wanted her feet in the pic like her last header, and for this one, I got my feet into the show as well. (Hers at the bottom, mine at the top, and my ticket lying between us.)

Having rested out of the sun for a few, and having each (unbeknownst to us at the time) gathered a moderate sunburn, we crossed back under Tunnel 6 and made our way back up to our seats in Penthouse B. We were more than thrilled with the spectacular photos we’d shot. (Even more so when we saw them later!) All in all, this morning was our best time at the track so far.


15 Responses

  1. Looking at those pictures just shows that each of them are inches away from diaster on each turn…it would be much safer if they were in cars.

    At least you didn’t chase down the girls!

    Safer, true, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun!

    Inches away from disaster is true and it’s not. We actually saw a few bobbles – there was a bump just before the apex of 6a and it caused a few wiggles and adjustments depending on the angle it was crossed and the lean angle the rider was in at the time. But these guys are pros – they know how to handle their machinery. Considering the number of rider-hours, there were surprisingly few crashes, and most of those were on the smaller bikes with less experienced riders. I know one guy broke an arm and I think the 250 guy ended up with a significant concussion, but as far as I know those were the only injuries from the weekend.

    And no, my bombshell-chasing days are over. Ok, I’m lying, they were over before they ever began. 😉

  2. Your bombshell-chasing days never began? Is that because you skipped handsome and went right for cool?

    Another awesome story and one that made me happy. You see, up until just a minute ago, I thought I was the only one who always finds that whatever my girlfriend wants will not be available. She thinks I do it on purpose to piss her off (even if she looks herself and finds nothing).

    I tell her my breathing pisses her off why would I go out of my way to make it worse?

    Excellent pictures. I’m truly enjoying this series.

    More that I was married with a kid before I ever would have had the guts to chase a model.

    And hell yes, the more specific she describes it, the more fucked I am. If she asks me to get some crackers, the shelves will be overflowing. If she tells me to get a box of garlic-flavored unsalted reduced-fat Ritz, then the whole supermarket will be loaded except for the one bare-assed spot with a price tag that says “RITZ garlic unsalted red fat”.

  3. You guys are too cute, with the feet pic. For the shots of the riders, were you using a tripod? Great shots!

    Also, AYHEM, you don’t have to CHASE a model because you’re MARRIED to one (that one’s for you, Dys!).

    Nope, no tripod – just following the advice of the nice fellow from Colorado that we met on Friday morning. Focus on a spot in front of you, pick up the rider in the viewfinder/screen as soon as you can, and track them along until they hit your focus spot, then SNAP! We took literally hundreds of pictures (something like fourteen or fifteen rolls of 35mm and 1.2GB of digitals) and about 20% of those were good and 10% great.

    Actually Dys has done a teeny bit of modeling, but that was after we got married. She should tell that story, though, if she wants. Or she can leave it a mystery.

  4. I have no idea why, no wait yes I do, but the only comment I can come up with is this:

    You have girly shoes! 😛

    I gotcher girly shoes right here, lady…fixin’ to apply ’em to yer ass! 😛

    I told her I felt like a goober standing with my feet all daintily together and stuff.

  5. LOVE the shot of Stoner! Heck, the pics are all amazing.

    Sounds like breakfast was disgusting. What IS it that you guys mean by biscuit? Here, it means sweet, snap in two, eat with cup of tea…I think it must mean something else in the States if you’re eating it with gravy- I sincerely HOPE so anyway! 😛

    Sorry you missed your opportunity with the bunnies. I’d want Ian to get a pic like that as well, so that I could forever take the piss out of him about it!!! 😀

    Becca is right in her comment below – what we call a ‘biscuit’ is something similar to a scone, but softer…but still a little heavier than regular old bread. The gravy is a white sausage gravy, called “red-eye gravy” down south. I’m not a huge fan of the gravy, but I loves me some biscuits.

    As for me, it took me a second to figure out what you meant by “bunnies!”

  6. Suzy, a biscuit here is what the British call scones.

  7. THANK YOU Becca!!! I have never had a proper explanation before! 😀

    Scones and gravy doesn’t sound much better than biscuits and gravy- to each their own, though… 😛

    PS, TB, Ian was looking at your pics, and wants to know what you ride yourself?

    I rode a Suzuki SV650 for two years, but I crashed it in the fall of 2005 (almost exactly three years ago, now that you mention it – ugh) and haven’t replaced it yet for a variety of reasons, lack of money being the most prominent.

    There are several contenders for “TB’s Next Bike,” but as of the moment the frontrunners are the Yamaha FJR1300 sport-tourer, Yamaha FZ1 naked standard, Honda VFR800 Interceptor sport/sport-tourer, or just another SV650.

  8. Eh, no problem. 🙂

    We (meaning me and my mom) make them out of water, flour, salt and some baking powder, then roll them out and use a glass to cut them out with. I love me some biscuits and gravy.

    Here, the type of gravy we put on biscuits is white gravy made out of flour and milk and some bacon grease. Or at least that’s how my mama makes it.

    Without going into specifics, yep, that’s it. Beyond that and I’d have to get my grandmother’s recipe.

  9. Oh, yeah, and we put sausage in it. And from what I understand, our sausage is not your sausage. 🙂

    Hell, sausage differs so much from place to place anyway. When we made venison sausage after hunting season, we made three different varieties…Italian, breakfast, and spicy breakfast sausage. And that didn’t count the sticks, bologna rings, plain ground venison, roasts, steaks, etc etc.

  10. Those photos are fantastic! I love them.

    I often take pictures of my feet places…don’t know why. 🙂

    Dys whimsically took a photo of a flower in our backyard that had her feet in it, and liked it so much it became her blog header…and she liked the concept so much that she always wants a picture with her feet in it to be her header. So, now her header is the Indy bricks.

  11. **more confused than ever, but thanks Becca** 😛

    “Our sausage is not your sausage” 😀 😀

    *shrug* You’d just have to try it and see, I guess! Buy me a plane ticket and I’ll bring some. 😉

  12. For Suzy, I hope this helps a little:

    We have a winnah!

  13. I didn’t know David Alan Grier was that tall either…just like I’m sure I’d be shocked by how short Tom Cruise is in person.

    Cute brick/feet pics.

    Thanks! The brick shots were all Dys’s idea.

  14. HOW do they put their knee to the ground like that and not burn a hole through it!?!? Ahhh…that scares me, but great pics! 🙂 (you had an awesome spot! 🙂 )

    Okay, since there have been a couple of questions here (and I can’t post pics in comments) I’ll do a quick blog post on the subject.

  15. […] September 30, 2008 MotoGP at Indy: Saturday afternoon Posted by Taoist Biker under Life and other states of existence, Motorcycle Racing, Motorcycling, motorcycles   This is one of a series; read the previous installment here. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: