The End Where I Begin...

The End Where I Begin...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Jet Lag...

So after being in Brazil last weekend we get a nice weekend off before the GP in Holland at Llerop. I thought I was getting pretty adapted to dealing with all the different time zones but being in Brazil for almost a week hit me pretty good and I am well in need of some recovering time after a nice 30 hour traveling day. Anyway, Friday, Jacky my trainer, his girlfriend Manola, and I drove up here to the training house in Belgium and it has been quite a weather change. It has gone from 90 degrees with 100% humidity to 40 degrees with pouring rain and winds that are bone chilling. Friday night we got here at about 8pm after 1,200 miles of driving and had the weekend off to recover. My girlfriend Haley has been at her family's house in Holland so I decided to drive another 300k as soon as I got to Belgium to go have some relaxing time.

I was really excited to see her after being away for the entire month of August and also got to meet some more of her family which was really fun. I got there at about midnight and since I spent my birthday away they had a nice birthday cake waiting for me. I was so stoked! Haha. Saturday I got to sleep in for about 11 hours and it was well needed. Haley gave me the grand tour of where they are in Holland and it is a very nice country although the rain was a bit annoying. We got to feed some sheep, walk around town, and ride bicycles through some pretty tall corn fields. Being on the road a lot of the time is a bit tiring and a day with Haley and her family was really nice to just relax and recharge the batteries a little bit before heading into the last 2 GP’s and then heading home in late September.

Sunday morning it was time to get back to Belgium for some sand riding on Sunday afternoon whitch is well needed for me. Haha. We all know how “good” I am in sand. For this weekend we are making some good bike changes that should really help me for this weekend in Holland but most of all the last GP in Italy September 11th and 12th. As far as preparing for this weekend my main focus is riding sand, sand, and more sand. I want to improve as much as I can from the last sand race on August 1st here in Belgium. I am used to adapting to tracks quite well but this sand stuff is just a little bit different for me. Although it is different it is something new and another challenge for me to accomplish.

My main goal the next 2 weekends is to have some fun and enjoy myself on the bike. I know when these things come together with my racing there is always a good result and with a new bike setup and a bit more confidence in that… I am expecting to have some better speed.

Well that is about it for this week. Next week should be interesting after the Holland sand this weekend so be sure to check back! Thanks for reading and will be posting again next week. Cheers!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Doesn't Kill Us Can Only Make Us Stronger...If We Let It.

This past weekend we raced in Brazil for the World GP circuit. We flew into Brazil Wednesday night with a 9 hour layover in San Poulo before flying into Campo Grande where the GP would be held.  We met up with my trainer Jacky's friend Patrick for dinner before catching the next flight.  My first impression of Brazil was pretty shocking since I had always heard of Brazil being super nice and to be honest, I was a little surprised with what I saw to be their way of life.  It was a very poor country but hey, I am not here for vacation right?  LOL. Food in Brazil is not so bad with some of the best meat I have ever had.

The first night at the hotel was pretty interesting, as it turns out Campo Grande is a big military town which I did not know at the time.  I guess you can say that the automatic machine guns at 2 am were shocking at first. Pretty scary stuff for sure.  With little sleep the following morning we were off to the track for a track walk along with my mechanic Jeremy who put my bike together from a 3 x 6 box. LOL. So we waited until Saturday and I was really excited to ride the weekend in Brazil.

Saturday we got out to the track and it was go time. My American buddy Scott Simon made the trip out to be with me since he races the Brazilian championship and is leading the points in both MX1 and MX2. So starting the day off I went into the first practice ready to go.  The track was pretty muddy from all of the water from the days before but I was riding with a smile on my face.  A few laps later we had a bike problem and had to cut it out early.  In the timed practice for the qualifying race gate pick we also had another problem.  So we went into that with a 19th gate pick.  It was pretty questionable to why the bike was having issues but I remained focused on my job, to do the best I can with whatever the situation may be.  During the sighting lap of the qualifying race the bike quit 3 turns from the finish.  Luckily, I was close to the starting line and ran the bike there before we had to load into the gate.  My bike was pouring fuel out of the carburetor and I was getting a little frustrated as to why there were so many things going wrong. I was unable to start that moto leaving me with last gate pick for both motos on Sunday.  My mechanic Jeremy worked really hard to make sure the bike was good for the following race day so that we could do what we came to do.

Race day Sunday...Woke up in a positive mood and was ready to get the job done.  During practice the bike ran just fine and we were back on track.  First moto, I got out to a 25th place start and quickly worked my way into the top 10.  I started to experience more bike problems around half way through so I started to ride conservatively to save the bike along with another top 10 finish.  I came across the line in 9th but I was not so happy with what we had going on.  We switched the complete motor around for the next race and it sounded fine afterward and once again I was ready to go to work.  I lined about on the far outside with a good staring landing me into the top 10 just behind fellow American, Zach Osborne.  I started to improve my lap times and make some ground between us ans was shaping up to move forward into the top 6 or maybe even top 5 as my bike began to quit once again.  5 laps in I pulled off and we packed up.  I had a lot of potential last weekend to do well but I guess it just was not meant to be.  All I can do is focus on the remaining races here in Europe for this year and hope for the best.

Right now I am in France and getting ready to head back to Belgium this Friday for some sand on the 4th and 5th of September.  The race is held in Holland and I get a chance to redeem myself after my performance in the Belgian GP in the beginning of August.  I am looking forward to that and I want to improve the most I can to show myself that I can adapt to all conditions.  The sand here is much deeper than home and honestly it is something I would be wasting my time trying to explain, it is something that you would have to see to really understand.  I have a new motor set up and ready for the next GP in Holland so it should be a fun weekend.  Another good note I will get my girlfriend back who has been staying with family in Holland for the last several weeks. So it should be a fun weekend although for now I am off to Belgium...

Catch up with me next week to hear about my weekend off and training in Belgium!  Ar'voir!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mission: Visa Needed to Race Brazil!

About nine days ago, the team and I realized I didn't have a visa and would not be able to race in Brazil this weekend unless I got one in a hurry. As I write this I am on my way to Brazil and how I got here is nothing short of a miracle.
Living in France made traveling to Paris the only option for getting this mission accomplished. To get a Visa usually takes 10 days if you are lucky, at this point I had only 7 and you must leave your passport at the consulate office while it is being processed, which means you cannot leave the country.  Luckily the schedule accommodated this plan.
After the GP in Czech, I hopped on a plane and headed for Paris only we didn't land in Paris since there was too much fog to land, instead we landed in Czech and were bussed over 6 hours to a location outside of Paris where my team had a limo waiting for me. I found myself sharing this ride with two guys from my own backyard,Temecula! When I asked if they were brothers, they let me know they were not but instead said proudly that they were together...alrighty then. haha.   I was dropped off at the American-Brazilian consulate office and because of the 8 hour delay I missed my window of opportunity and decided to spend the night and try again in the morning. Now this mission had to be done in 6 days of less.
There I was walking around Paris pulling my suitcase looking for a place to stay in this high-end part of town. What to do? I called Mom who got on her computer and guided me through the streets to a cheap hotel only to find a naked lady waving at me through the window and rocks thrown into the falling hotel sign. This was only a couple blocks away and it was ghetto-style. Mom talked me into spending more money and being safe by staying closer to the consulate office so I could get a jump on the day in the morning, she also talked me into getting a massage, which we joked about.

After I settled in I had an awesome dinner, listened to musicians under the Eiffel Tower, treated myself to a Nutella crepe, and yes I did get a killer massage at the hotel and then slept a good 8 hours.  When I got back to the consulate office an hour early, I was 8th in line and found out they only take in 20 applicants and I watched them send over 100 people away that day.  When I met with my representative, she did not speak a word of English and I was not sure if I was even in the right place after all I had been through. After some sign language, pointing to calendars, and laughing till my side hurt, I left my passport with this lady hoping that when I came back on Monday (2 days ago!!! ) I would have a Visa. I think she was trying to tell me that I would have to wait until today...I pleaded and showed her the calendar again and pointed to the 17th and said a prayer as I left.
After The French Championship I got a ride with the video crew to Paris.  It was a 6 hour hair ball ride including e-brake corners around cliffs and some serious speed, these guys were insane. I arrived in Paris at 4 am and only got about 3 hours sleep before getting back in line at the consulate's office.  I was first in line, the doors opened at 9:30 and I didn't know what to expect.  The team's plan payed off as only an hour later I was headed to the airport with a Visa in hand. After waiting 6 hours at the airport I was on my way to my home away from home, Hossegor, France. Basically, ate dinner, washed gear, packed and at 2:00 am headed to the airport and on my way to Brazil looking forward to a good weekend of racing.
All in all things are working out for me. The Rockstar Energy Bud Racing team continues to support me, my trainer Jacky believes I have what it takes, and my family, friends, and girl Haley are all there in my corner. As I write this my "Big Brother" Scottie Simon is waiting for me in Brazil to cheer me on this weekend and I am psyched to see him for sure.
Mission accomplished...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Czech Republic

This weekend we had the GP in Czech Republic, and where to begin. Haha. We flew in Friday night and landed on to a frozen runway with the most rain fall I have ever seen. That isn’t much to most people, seeming as though I am from California, it was a downpour. We ended up getting to the hotel around 9pm and went straight to dinner. I thought people smoked a lot on France, but I was sadly mistaken. It was unbelievable how much smoke was in the room. I could hardly breath and my eyes were leaking… Yes, LEAKING. Lol

Saturday finally arrived and I was looking forward to the weekend in Czech since I was told that the track suited my conditions unlike the week before in the Belgium sand. We arrived at the track that morning to non-stop rain and a track I could literally ride a jet ski on. I am not exactly the professional mud rider at the moment along with sand, but I was ready to have some fun in the mud. So despite the rain and everything else that was going on the FIM decided to cancel the 25+2 lap race and we would take our chronological time for gate pick. One thing about these Euros is they can do a sprint lap like no other, something I am not used to at all. So I qualified a whopping 24th. I was pretty disappointed but I figured Sunday would be better with no rain in the forecast.          

Sunday rolls around with the sun shinning and just a few clouds in the sky, along with a smile on my face. I showed up to the track for practice and they did not even touch the track from the day before. To say the least the track was pretty gnarly. All of the tracks here are much rougher then the ones in the states and that is another thing I had not expected. In practice I figured out some issues with my riding and learning the mud and ran 15th fastest time. Still not anything close to where I should be but it was a start. With 5 minutes left on the practice clock, I found myself on the side of the track a little dazed and confused while people were standing over me yelling in some odd language. My trainer Jacky told me someone crossed into my line off a jump and I hit the ground without my motorcycle.

I was pretty bummed that I found myself in question of what I did but that is the price we pay sometimes. I wanted to ride the first moto and see what would happen. I got out to a mid pack start and 1 lap later I decided that it was not the right time to be on a motorcycle and put myself at even more risk. The near future will take me to Brazil, Holland, and also Italy. I would rather focus on those things and give it everything I have. I just got my Brazilian visa and am heading back home now to Hossegor, France. Starting to feel better and just waiting till next weekend as I travel to northern France for another French championship. As I write blog #3 I am on a train headed home from Paris relaxing. So for now I will say goodbye and look forward to the weekend to arrive. See you next week!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

July 25th we made our way up to Belgium from a little bit of time in the sand before the Lommel Grand Prix last week. All the guys out here have been telling me how crazy this sand race is and to be honest… I had no idea on what I was really getting myself into this past weekend. During the week practicing at some local sand tracks I was riding pretty well and on the clock I was pretty close to the top guys here in the sand, yet did I know that what we were riding was pretty much hard packed compared to this weekend.

It all hit me after my second practice that this weekend was not exactly going to be a fun one for me. It was quite strange for me to not adapt quickly to a track like I have been doing since May when I first got here. Every time I swing a leg over a bike here I have been forced to learn different terrain and have been doing well with that. In my 10 years of racing I have never seen anything like what I saw this weekend. By far it was the roughest track I have ever been on, the most difficult sand I have seen, and the first time I felt like I forgot how to ride a motorcycle. Ha ha. Me and a few others coming from America have the same opinion.

So with that said my results were 24-23 and I was pretty disappointed in that. I struggled all weekend long but I will say that I once again learned so much in the 2 days of racing this past weekend. I plan on spending most of my winter learning how to ride sand so this never happens again and am really focused on doing well in the 3 sand GP’s of next year. I am really hoping to stay here next year and learn as much as possible. I am learning all of my weak points and I am happy to learn them now instead of further in my career.

Right now I am just getting back into Hossegor, France where I am living and I am looking forward to this weekend while we head to Czech Republic for the Locket Grand Prix which is much more my riding style and terrain. I am feeling confident for the weeks to come and feeling more focused and determined then I have been in a long time.