2010 – A new era of motorcycle road racing

May 27, 2010

Almost two weeks ago on May 16 I made it out to visit the northern California Infineon Raceway in Sonoma County to catch up with the vibe of contemporary motorcycle road racing.

Not only was I informed that a girl had won the first leg of the 600 ccm Super Sport class but that there was also the first TTXGP (zero carbon, clean emission Grand Prix) scheduled. The event for electric motorcycles based on the technology of tomorrow.

Let’s talk about the girl first.

 Elena Myers is 16 years old and the first female motorcycle racer to win a race in the 76 year history of American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Pro Racing. She cleaned up in the 600 ccm Super Sport series. 25 wild guys were chasing her around the track but she did not cave in.  I was surprised to see that there are still only two women involved with pro-motorcycle road racing, something I would have expected to have changed over the past 25 years. Granted their materials, bikes and equipment is fundamentally different and a lot more expensive in comparison to what we had in the eighties but nevertheless: there are still no girls involved in this sport! Therefore Elena’s win in this class is a milestone in the history of motorcycle road racing and maybe she will be able to break into the Moto Grand Prix scene to give Valentino Rossi a run for his money.  She is young enough to follow her dreams. I cross my fingers for her.    

 

 

Another interesting event that weekend was the first TTXGP race with electric motorcycles. The first  zero carbon, emission free GP was carried  out in 2009 on the Isle of Man.            

What was strange to me in this event was that there was no noise, only a high frequency humming which goes a little under the skin after a while.  A motorcycle race without sound, the spectators carrying on with their conversations in the Grand Stands and watching the bikes almost silently go by. Before the race I visited the manufacturers of these electric bikes in the paddock. All I saw was a mess of cable and computers sticking out as you can see in the pictures. The mechanics are computer geeks, there is no oil anymore, there is no gearing – there are no carburetors. One day I go deeper into the technology of electric bikes but for right now I just stick with the pictures worth more than a thousand words...

In conclusion I can say that my weekend was good. It gave me new ideas and inspiration to move forward. Maybe I can organize a ride on one of these electric race bikes and zip around out there on the Infineon Raceway to get a taste of the wild air of the future.


Chapter 7: Passionate Intuition

May 20, 2010

Today I was working on chapter 7 of the manuscript of ” To Drink the Wild Air”  to finish the last round of editing.                                                                              

Passionate Intuition”

All human actions have one or more of these seven causes:

chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, passion and desire

~ Aristotle ~

 

In my case it was passion and desire. Here is an excerpt from a story of early 1984. I was still in the firm grip of a raging racing fever. I still can feel the thrill and emotions of this ride in the mountains…

It was cold riding through the glorious scenery in the high Alps, and we rode in both clear skies and snowstorms on that trip. I wasn’t foolish enough to try and show Robert up on snowy, icy roads, but we had some warmer days and dry roads at one point, and I finally saw my chance; I started to race him. He was expecting this and naturally couldn’t let his ego down—he accepted my challenge. Immediately, we both forgot about the scenery, forgot about the fact that we were at an altitude of seven thousand feet on narrow, winding, two-way mountain roads without any protecting guardrails to shield us from sliding down the steep long slopes into the valleys below us, and that there were a number of annoying cars on the road.

Gradually, we increased our speed and went faster and faster, the stunning landscapes passing by in a blur. We had long lost our friends when we finally hit a stretch of road with little opposing traffic. By this time we were fully engaged in our nice “friendly” street race, traveling at speeds around 80 mph (130 km/h). Robert had been leading slightly. I was already pumped up by an incredible adrenaline rush and promptly forgot all about my resolution not to use racing techniques on public roads, but this opportunity was too good to ignore; We were coming up onto a sharp, left-hand curve, and I took my shot. The roads were very tiny, and there was clearly not enough room for both of us, at least not for the maneuver I was just about to pull off. We were going far too fast to stay on the road if we failed to make the necessary split-second decisions. Robert had already hit the brakes to prepare for this turn up ahead of us. The point at which he chose to brake, I used to downshift, giving me much more momentum; I had to react quickly since speed is an unforgiving opponent, and so I slid by him on his left side. I actually grazed him with my right shoulder, knee, and elbow when I finally hit the brakes; was he ever shocked! We were going head-to-head into this left turn. I leaned the bike over and cut the turn crossing onto the other side of the road dedicated for oncoming traffic, in the hope that there was no car coming up the hill. I took my chance, accelerated quickly out of the turn, went back to my side of the road, and was triumphantly in the lead. Robert had lost his momentum after I cut him off, or as we say when we talk shop, “closed the door on him.” I was on a furious run now and kept on going in total and utter race mode to the end of the mountain road. Finally, I realized I didn’t even see Robert in my rearview mirror anymore, and so I stopped and waited for everyone else to catch up with me. Story of my life.

 

                                                                                                                                                           


The manuscript

May 13, 2010

Writing a book is a journey. It is a long journey leading thru many different creative stages and frustrations and it is a journey which definitely leaves a paper trail.

In the beginning there is nothing.  Quickly one page after another is growing in front of the writers eyes and put in sequential order into a convenient Word document. Suddenly all the originally white pages are populated with meaningful letters forming comprehensible words, begging for understanding.  

Let’s face it – we do absolutely everything with computers, our adopted best buddies and constant companions within the species of artificial intelligence. We store our manuscript in our individual folders, regardless of size length or complexity, where they stay invisible and dormant until we fire up the machine and access it. We love to overuse our tendons with our bubbling enthusiasm for typing. We develop tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome, we need glasses because we stare relentlessly for many hours into the computer screen and we develop back problems because we are just sitting there utterly fascinated by the wonders of technology, not realizing anymore how fast time is passing by.

As convenient as all of this is – let’s go back to the time when hand writing was still an art form and let’s take a look into the 18th or 19th century.  Every single word floating out of the big thinkers mind was indeed hand written and book manuscripts were produced in the weak ray of flickering candle light.  Hundreds or maybe even thousands of pages were produced manually. Hand writing was a craft. It was art.  Henry David Thoreau wrote the manuscript of Walden by H A N D. I am sure he did not use a convenient BIC ball pen either or even a modernized fountain pen. The only way to write was with a quill pen and ink set, next to flickering candle light.  

What a drag….. that’s all I can say looking at my 591 pages of manuscript I have produced  for “To Drink the Wild Air” with easy floating key strokes.

Thoreau is only one example. We don’t even have to travel back that far. Look at Einstein’s theory of relativity. Important thoughts, formulas, diagrams, text and scribble over a time period of 10 years, hand written into journals and loose sheets of paper, before his theory found official acceptance. Maybe he already had a mechanical typewriter in 1905 by the time the papers were submitted but I am sure he would have had a blast with a trendy Notebook and a 16 G flash drive on his side.  Hmmm – and he probably also would have been delighted by the fact that such a “machine” does  incorporate his groundbreaking theory and overthrowing thought entailing that relative to the observer both space and time are altered near speed of light. With a laptop he could have finished his studies in a short five years– I am sure.  

Time definitely has changed but there is no doubt that there is still one and the same ingredient needed to produce a manuscript- and this ingredient is called Inspiration .         


Tao of Inspiration

May 6, 2010

Ok – so I don’t officially work right now.  As a matter of fact I am working all day long independently but don’t “enjoy” a regular employee status. This is a nice change of pace.  A life style where contemplation and inspiration is a basic ingredient and the predominant factor of existence. I just let go – going with the flow – don’t sweat it – no worries and most importantly no fear.  What is most important though to lead a creative and inspirational lifestyle? Correct, it is inspiration itself.  The only absolute component for creative productivity.   

In the past I spent considerable time up in the sky. Traveling by airplane in 33.000 feet above the earth. A window seat was always a must. Why? Because I need to see the clouds. I took many pictures of different constellations and types of clouds over the years. Clouds are masters in disguise and usually well aligned in accordance to nature’s theater. Sunrises – sunsets –sunshine-rain- fog-smog- daylight and night time, sometimes they are even gone. The horizon presenting itself in different glows and shades  to reflect the  spirit of current ambience produced by the mechanical precision between the planets, stars and the universe.

Yes, the window seat. I always had a pen and paper handy when sitting there. It didn’t take me long to be inspired with the most abstract thoughts and concepts when hovering over the clouds beneath me.

The most brilliant thoughts and understanding came to me while up in the air. Reading a good book of  philosophy and being able to take breaks to stare out the window  fueled my immediate understanding of everything the big thinkers brought to paper – regardless if it were the early Greeks, the Egyptians ,  18th century Europe or the intellectual revolution of the renaissance, the clouds immediately delivered the most needed explanations and translations.

My new life style currently doesn’t provide me with the luxury of frequent flying. So, the alternative to deliver my inspirational rationale lies in the waves of the Pacific Ocean and in the eyes of the birds.       

Without inspiration there is no creativity. Without creativity there is no idea. Without an idea there is no motivation.  

I just discovered a Zen proverb the other day I took to heart to solidify my decisions based on inspirations, ideas and motivation.

                            “LEAP AND THE NET WILL APPEAR”