Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Umbrella girls and bikes from Indy

Obligatory bike photo....
Obligatory photo of Rob and the two dudes who do the play by play for GP. He knows who they are: I don't.

Tim and Paul with Ducati girls

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Trials competition, a ride and a race....

Packed a lot into a Sunday. It started with a cup a joe at Caribou, and off to Pierce County Road O for the Upper Midwest Trials Association meet near the Trimbelle Creek recreation area. I'd never been to one of these before and it was interesting and fun to watch. Trials is not about grinding speed, squiggly corners, or whoop-de-whoops. It's about motorcycle dexterity: laying out a plan of attack, being patient and riding over obstacles with a huge dose of balance. All this on a motorcycle with no seat. After a couple of hours knocking around the competition site, I managed to get a few miles on the backroads before meeting Christian for afternoon coffee in Pepin.  After visiting a while, backroads to Red Wing and to Rob's for Moto GP-Brno. Exciting race; Pedrosa again. Not an entirely bad way to spend a later summer Sunday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Random Indy photos....

Ducati models through the years on display

Some dude, self-portrait with umbrella girls who have sense of humor.

The racing helmets of Collin Edwards and Nicky Hayden, being prepped at the Arai Helmet service area

Expresso and Ducati, both available at Ducati Island

Nicky Hayden at the track a day after his crash during qualifying; broken hand and concussion

Indy by the numbers: part 2

Facts and figures:

GP Winner - Dani Pedrosa

Aging-tarted-up hookers encountered - 4

traveling insurance adjusters partied with - 1

Airline pilots partied with - 1 (he, too, was attending the race)

Indian hotel magnets introduced to: 1 (and he was from either Florida or New Jeresey. He talked fast.)

Expressos consumed at Ducati Island by four people over three days - 953

People Rob talked to: 17,438

Italian Super Models spotted - 1

Gin and Tonics consumed - 953

American racers entered in the GP - 5

Predominent color of Ducati motorcycle - red

Free t-shirts scammed - 0

People who got sick from eating at the Indianapolis Denny's - 1 out of 4

Hotel water glasses accidently broken - 0

Hotel water glasses accidently brought home - 1

Buckets of ice used to keep beer cold - 38

Italians who ignored us - 54

People from our group smuggled into the paddock area - 1

Cost of a Foster's Lager at the track - $7

Monday, August 20, 2012

We survived Indy, and we're here to tell you about it.

It appeared to be an omninous start to the Ironworks GP weekend when a wheel bearing on the transport vehicle decided that it had enough; loose and wonky was not part of deal for this trip. Thank God there was an Acura dealer on the outskirts of Rockford, Ill., because it otherwise could have been a long walk through corn country searching for an elusive Honda dealer (Hey, boy, we don't drive no Japanese cars here, you understand? Cue banjo music in background.) Three fun-filled hours later, thanks to an entertaining stroll through the local farm and fleet store where one plastic gorilla was purchased, we were on our way none the worse for wear; the exception being Rob's wallet.
     But we made Indy in good measure and discovered our home for the weekend to be an aging Radisson right next to Runway 7 of Indianapolis International.Once comfortably settled into room 657, it twas not long before discovering the Pilot Skyway Lounge at the end of the hall. Hmmmm, this could be of interest. Unlocked, we entered and discovered it to be empy of pilots and home to a nice set of sofas, fridge, giant TV and other ammenities. After determining that no pilot  worth his wings would ever enter the lounge to actually use it, we commandered the facilities as our Ironworks Party HQ. We settled in so much so that Paul spent three nights sleeping generally uninterupted until the third night when some dude, not a pilot judging by his incredibly mismatched clothing, dared to enter. He was some airline lacky who quickly retreated. In the event any true airline staff questioned our presence in the lounge, we all had cover stories;  the best being Paul's: a DC-3 pilot.
     Our luck only got better on Friday morning, when Rob, who says "Hi" to damn near everyone, was getting nowhere in conversation with the mechanic on an Italian GP team as he waited in the lobby for his ride to the track. After the team cleared out on a thoroughly dented hotel shuttle van, Rob homed in on the remaining guy sitting in the lobby, working a cell phone and laptop. Fate turned when Rob asked, "You speak English?" A positive response.
The Skyway Pilot Lounge.....

   We introduced ourselves to Darren, the guy who works travel logistics for GP bigwigs and such. After a brief, "How ya doing?" conversation, we went our way for the day, but invited him to join us later that night for our traditional beer slurping; smart-talk; curse words  and all-round sloppy doings on the hotel's front lawn. Darren joined us around 7 p.m., and then Rob, always working the angle, said, "Hey, can you get us paddock passes?" By Saturday afternoon we had passes in hand and access to the inner workings of the show that is Moto GP...... (to be continued)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Speedfreaks, umbrella girls, gin&tonics and total mayhem await

Tighten your socks and batten down the hatches, because as of Thursday, it's on. A delegation of representatives from the Red Wing Ironworks Motorbike Club will be sent to the Redbull Moto GP weekend in fabulous Indianapolis, Ind., which by the way, hosts the finest array of used tire stores across the fruited plains. (It's also HQ to the Pork Fritter Association of America). As it stands, we have yet to see anything on two wheels move faster than a Moto GP bike shooting down the front stretch of America's most fabled racing venue. It'll make your hair stand on end; it's like watching the devil hisself chasing down sinners. Not kidding, neither. No sir.  Days at the track will be capped off by the usual suspects causing the usual mayhem under the sloppy spell of Schlitz tallboys; disproportionately mixed G&T's and crappy bourbon. Tim will be making a new dance video for sure; just key in the buzz phrase,"Wud up with dat?" Though we're staying at another hotel due to booking "issues" and the restraint order still being in effect, we're looking forward to meeting up with our old friends from Missouri/Kansas, and meeting new ones.

What? Umbrella girls at Indy?

Ok, here is the obligatory motorcycle picture.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The last burrito....

Today marks an end of an era for the IronWorks Motorbike Club; our pre-ride gathering breakfast/coffee haunt, Smokey Row Cafe, closed today. We ritualistically gathered here generally before every weekend ride to get fueled up on high octane coffee (Smokey Row Blend could give you a good case of the shakes after three cups on an empty stomach) and the world's best breakfast burrito. Today, I had my last of both. And though Smokey Row will re-open in some new guise on Aug. 27, we're sad to see the present incarnation go. It's meant a lot to us to sit there and talk shop, politics, the latest and greatest bike or riding gadget for countless hours in an environment that was laid-back, and open to all walks of life; especially the motley group from the IronWorks Motorbike Club. General Manager Ruth did an admiral job of running Red Wing's best place to go for breakfast and lunch. We will especially miss her baked goods (killer Norwegian health bread. And Christian couldn't keep his hands off the oatmeal bars....) But, as true with everything in life, things change. By the sound of it Ruth wants to move ahead in a new direction taking a much deserved break from the restaurant biz that saw countless early mornings that were followed by long days. It takes a special person who can do this day-in, day-out. And we'd like to give credit to all that worked there as well.   On behalf of the Red Wing Ironworks Motorbike Club, we give Ruth and the crew a  nod for making Smokey Row a great place to be. We'll see you in two weeks, and we look forward to a new relationship.

Random Motorcycle Picture of the Day

It's the annual flood run this weekend. Knock yerself out. If you simply like to ride twisty roads on an agile bike, it will otherwise...