Man… I need to get better at this… almost 3 years since my last post, that needs to change soon. I have to try and make more time to update this at the very least once a week 😉
So a week ago I had my first ever track day over at Harris Hill Road in San Marcos, TX. It was a great experience and I definitely hope to do it again. Joining me were my friends Kasey, Mario, Paul, Jason, Omar, Mase, Harry, Truman, Ricardo, and Jason’s dad. The trip there was interesting to say the least as it rained on us hardcore on the way there the night before and not only that but we had two close calls with the motorcycles on the trailer. One strap broke loose and Mario’s bike came within inches of hitting my bike and then just less than a mile from the track another strap broke free and Mario’s bike came loose and again almost hit my bike. Talk about tense!
We got to the track on Sunday as Moira (the lady that owns and operates Elite Track Days) did us the favor of allowing us to unload the bikes and leaving them locked up at the track the day before the event. We unloaded in the rain and then proceeded to go and get some dinner while we caught the last race of the MotoGP season and then we turned in for the night.
Our day started around 5:30 in the morning to get ready, get some breakfast, and get to the track by the time the gates opened at 7:00 am. Freaking rain hadn’t stopped all night and the roads were wet and slippery. The sun decided to peek out for a couple of minutes and mock us as it stayed cloudy until after lunch time. We ran our bikes and gear through tech and got the go ahead.
I was a bit apprehensive as the track had several spots with both standing and running water on it and I really did not look forward to wadding up my bike on my first track day, but the instructors were very helpful and they helped put us all at ease. So we got suited up and we headed to the rider meeting at the beginning of the event to talk about safety, lights on the track, signals and what to do in the event of an accident. We then proceeded to go into our first of several classroom sessions while the guys in group 2 (the fast guys) took to the track. We were told that our first session was going to be a “round-robin” which meant that they were going to divide us into several groups and each group was going to follow an instructor around the track going fast, around 40-50 mph, just to get the layout of the track and so that the instructors could show us what were the better lines to take.
Kasey and I where in the same group and we proceeded to take a couple of laps around the track, I was nervous as hell and the fact that the track was super wet did not help calm my nerves either, after two or three laps we went through the “Santa Rita” turn (my favorite of the track) and as we hit the straight right after we saw Oscar riding on the outside giving the signal that he was going out to pit row. I thought it curious as he wasn’t with the rest of his group and as we passed him we could see why…. the whole left side of his bike was covered in mud, he had lowsided going into Santa Rita. After round robin as done and we all exited to the pit area, we went to survey the carnage…. luckily it was mostly cosmetic damage: rashed fairings, bent clutch lever, and a broken foot peg. Oscar was uninjured and that’s all that mattered. Truman started working on the bike and got it ready to continue. The man’s got skills, that’s all I’m going to say about that.
After the round robin all of our track sessions were going to be open which meant “you are on your own” just make sure that you pass only on the passing areas (when available) and be courteous to the other riders (this isn’t a race). I rode out a couple of sessions but was still leery of the water so I took it easy and decided to come out a little early on the second session so I went to hang out with Truman at the clubhouse overlooking the track and as we are watching Kasey and Paul going at it… right after they passed “Damm turn” (where the biggest concentration of water was) we saw Kasey take the next turn (“Mustang”) but as Paul came to it we saw that he wasn’t going to make it and was coming in too hot. We say as Paul took his bike for a little “yard work” and luckily he managed to keep the bike upright. He came out so that he could wash the mud off and get the bike ok’d by the track marshals to continue and back he went on the next session.
As the day progressed and the track got dryer, I gained a lot more confidence and was more at ease and began to pick up the speed a little bit more. There were only two sections on the track that made me a little nervous and those were the “Hairpin turn” because of its decreasing radius and “Damn turn” because of the small lake sitting right smack in the middle of it. It didn’t help my distrust of the hairpin that as I took the turn once I saw Jason’s dad on the weeds by the side with his bike laid over in the mud. His was the third incident from one of our guys at the track, luckily his damage was also only cosmetic and Truman a.k.a the “Mad Scientist” was able to get it going again. Moira had been sitting on the inside of the turn snapping pictures as the incident happened and she managed to snap some good pictures.
Everyone had a good time, even the guys that went down, and we where happy by the afternoon as the sun finally came out and helped dry the track almost entirely (except for damn turn, it stayed wet all day). I had an awesome time, the Ducati ran great and I could tell that it wanted to go faster that what I was pushing her. I got some great tips from Roger and Ty (two of the instructors from Elite Track Days) and I saw what areas I need to work the most in (body positioning and relaxing).
I am hooked on the track experience and will definitely come back next year to do more events with Elite Track Days and Harris Hill Road. Here are a couple of pictures from H2H:
Man, I really need to get better about updating this darn thing, almost two months since the last post!!! As my wife would say “that’s not ok”….. These coming months are going to be hectic with the holidays and what not comming. I have at least 3 trips next month so it’s going to be a busy one. Two are for fun and one is work related so we’ll see 😉
Looking forward to my first track day ever!! Going to take the Duc to Harris Hill in San Marcos to ride the track and learn to be a better rider. Several of my fellow TSBA friends will be going along so it should be a fun event for all of us
Second trip is Mexico City!! Haven’t been there in ages!! My lovely wife and I will be attending our friends Marcos and Ericka’s wedding. We are both super excited about it.
Third trip is to Tulsa, OK. this one is for work, we are going to some random community college to demo some software for student assesment. Don’t know any more specifics other that that at the moment, apparently I’m part of some committe now and we have a meeting this Friday.
On some other un-related news, Rupert is finally healled!!! The vet ok’ed the removal of his splint and the consequent bandage that he had to wear. We are happy to have him running around the house once again and he can be his normal crazy self =]
So it’s been forever since I threw an update here, need to get better about that. It has been a hectic couple of months since my last post. My wife and I have decided to give it a go at owning our own business. We’ve opened a marketing firm called “Pink Cactus” and we are currently focusing on our website http://www.ilovemcallen.com. So far it’s been a lot of fun, but it has also been a lot of work.
Lizzy is handling the customer service and sales part of the business while I tackle the technical and financial part. I’ve got to hand it to Lizzy, she’s been hustling around trying to get clients for us. I’m really proud of her for all the hard work that she has done and I know we’ll do great with all the enthusiasm that she puts towards this. Wish us luck!!
Last week was a rough one, we lost our Siamese cat Sashimi and all 5 of her week and a half old kittens. It was Sashimi’s first litter and after she gave birth, she began refusing to eat or take care of herself. We noticed that she was beginning to be to weak to even walk sometime, so we began to try and force feed her NutriCal several times a day and even resorted to bottle feeding her to try and see if she would gain her strength back. The vet told us to begin to give her kitten food and or milk but she refused to touch any of it and last Tuesday she finally gave up and passed on…
Sashimi had been ours since my wife found her one morning on April 2008 as she got out of class and she saw this little skinny kitten next to a dead one. My wife decided that she wasn’t going to leave her to die like her sibling and brought her home to nurse her so that she could grow strong and we could find a good house for her. At first I bitched and moaned about how we didn’t need another cat in the house (we had 3) and she then told me that it was only a temporary thing so I agreed. Little by little as we held her and bottle-fed her she began to get into our hearts and we began to get attached to her.
As she grew older, Sashimi began to show her sassy personality around the house, she became the ruler of all the other cats (even though she was the youngest) she would be the first one at the food bowl during dinner time and all of the other cats would have to wait until her highness was done eating. Sashimi would play with you, but under her terms only, and me and my wife had the scratches to prove it!! She would be all-loving one second and the next she would be a flurry of claws trying to run away, but she never hurt either me or my wife intentionally.
My wife would tell me “I’m going to get rid of her, she keeps on scratching me when I pet her, I’m done with her!!” and everytime, Sashimi would come up to her and nuzzle up to her so that she forgave her (until her next scratching episode). As Sashimi grew older, she began to calm down a little more, she was a little more gentle and caring. She began to grow a special bond with our Persian cat “Snowballs” and the two of them would often times take cat-naps together and she would clean him and he would do the same to her. Eventually she became ready to reproduce and Snowballs didn’t waste a minute getting her pregnant.
The close that she came to give birth, we saw a dramatic change in her personality, she became more affectionate and less “crazy”. The moment she gave birth, her maternal instinct kicked in and she was always with her babies, taking care of them and feeding them. Our little kitten had grown up….
We have speculated a lot about what might have gone wrong and what we could have done to prevent it, but the fact of the matter is that she is gone now, and she left a rather large hole in our hearts with her passing. We had only had her for a little over a year but in reality in only took us a couple of seconds to fall in love with her completely. As I sit her crying as I type this, I want to say goodbye to Sashimi. We love you with all our hearts and there will never be another kitty like you ever, we miss you.
If there is a heaven and I go there when I die, I’ll know I am there because you will be there to greet me…. Take care Shimers.
Well… we’ve been back from our Italy vacation/honeymoon/wedding about a week ago. I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things and actually be productive at work…. maybe by next week ;] My wife and I had a magnificent trip and we shared the most amazing memories. One thing is for sure, we will definetly go back to Tuscany and to Cortona. That little town is soooo cute and quaint, we fell in love with it.
On our trip we went to Milan, Venice, Bologna, Rome, Florence, Mugello and Cortona. Each city had its own unique flavor and we had a lot of fun everywhere we went. The food there is delicious (nothing like what we believe to me Italian food here in the states) and the wines are equally as good.
We took tons of pictures, close to 2000 between both of us, but for the sake of not inundating this entry with an insane amount, I’ll just post one from each city….
So we finished packing last night… amazingly everything fit into our 1 large roller-case and we’re taking the small one just in case. We have just a couple of loose ends to finish taking care off, but we are mostly done….. We are both super excited about the trip to Italy and more importantly our Wedding on June 3rd!!!!
Don’t think I’ll have much time to update the blog while we are abroad, just like last week in L.A., but I should be able to catch up once we come back. Plus, I have to begin working on Mositas’ and my joint venture as well 🙂
Next post will be done as a happily married man!!!