MotoGP 2008

Great trip to MotoGP this year. I was highly over ticketed for this event. First I purchased my own ticket for Sunday only. Then I entered a photo into a Yamaha photo contest and LOST, however by error of Yamaha I ended up getting two 3day passes to the event. Then I joined a friend of a friend's AMA pit crew and by doing also recieved a team pass to the event. Too funny. Anyway it was very cool to standby and watch Brad's friend Matt race in the AMA 600 superbike on the track with Ben Spies at the same time. Basically being in his pit crew consisted of trying to be helpful changing tires and pulling off tire warmers. It's an AMA rule we had to have matching shirts trackside, so Brad got team uniforms made up which was pretty funny. Then we slept overnight in Matt's trailer literally on the paddock (staging area for bike prep and race crew pit area near the track) and watched the MotoGP race on Sunday with Rossi and Stoner in an epic battle for the Laguna Seca title. What a great race. Highlights of the weekend were talking with Matt all weekend about his race aspirations and better understanding the economics of the sponsorship and privateer race crew realities, and learning some things about working on bikes.

Another great things about the weekend was seeing the RedBull Rookies cup kids load their bikes up and get out on the track in matching bikes and leathers. These are all kids 12 to 16 years old who sign a racing contract for six years. They are all on the same bikes, and they all have the (lack of) believe barriers that a kid has - it's great racing to watch.

Also great to see and really to participate in the Nascar-esque *ahem* honkey trackside camp out and watch the races. This guy in this picture with the tent has a personal dome to watch the races from - he literally can't event talk to the person in the "tent" next to him unless they both unzip their windows. Terribly funny and terribly... um... country.


Fascinated with Two Wheel

The best thing about Paris so far is the public bikes they have everywhere. I'm going to have to check one of these out tomorrow to scoot around for a while. This city has a fascination with the two
wheels. Man do they love their bikes and scooters and bicycles.
There's parking everywhere for scooters. It's great I love it. Business people formally dressed and middle aged people on dates with their spouse and kids ripping around on scooters - everyone is on two wheels. I guess you just check out a bicycle with a credit card and return it anywhere when you're at the end of your ride. This guy is checking his blackberry at a traffic light, just bicycling around. It's really a great traffic limiting solution and of course unlike London which for some strange reason was very light on sportbikes there's no shortage of Ducatis or MV Agustas or Japanese sportbikes here. Vespas and Piaggio's rule the road, there's certain small roads that only permit two-wheel traffic even. If only I spoke French it could be a big incentive to move here!

The Foot Race Disgrace

I found my way into a brief foot race yesterday morning with some of my HEC MBA classmates. Being someone who has run several marathons in the past, I consider myself to be a runner. Unfortunately, it was a sad day for me, the UCLA MBA group I was representing, and all of America. In my defense it's entirely a different thing to run 6km than 40km, apparently I'm much better at holding a slow pace indefinately. I came in seventh in this race which was about bottom of the first quartile, or seventh overall. Which wouldn't be too bad, in fact two of the guys who beat me were French military. Now say what you want about the French and their history of military dominance, these guys were champions in every sense of the word. It was actually an honor to be defeated by them. And really of the other four who out raced me I am okay with that too - they were better prepared and really didn't beat me by that much overall. No, what's really unfortunate about the whole affair was the guy who finished directly in front of me and somehow I could not pass. He was wearing - and I'm not kidding - black dress socks, green shorts circa 1970, and a J&B Whisky shirt. And still beat me. It's emarrassing - a disgrace really. I bow my head in shame and vow to train periodically at short distance. Ha, ha.


Little Brother

It's been widely publicized about the plethora of cameras (tens of thousands of closed circuit cameras blanket London and feed to central government automated and manual monitoring) but I tell you this: it does feel definatively creepy to feel these cameras swiveling around atop their several story perch refocusing like a robot zooming in on motion watching you. In addition to the cameras which cover some 80% of public space in downtown London, there are signs posted everywhere alerting the public to the fact that monitoring is happening, and otherwise alerting the public to watch your neighbor and report suspiscious behaviour. Traffic downtown London is taxed, and the cameras capture all license plates to run through computers and ensure payment for road tax has been paid. I wonder what databases I live in now that I've run around London for two days taking pictures at every available opportunity... It's an interesting read on Wikipedia on closed circuit cameras and monitoring and the history of the UK Data Protection Act (



I'm taking the next week to visit briefly London and Paris, taking a class in Paris at a French MBA school HEC and a few days in each city for tourism. Pretty excited, never been to either city before. Hopefully a few blog updates over the week to fill in some details of my adventuring.