I’ve come full circle-I’m leaving my job.

Contrary to the current lifestyle rage of quitting your blood sucking job for a life of adventure, after (and actually during) college, I pursued and accomplished all my dreams of adventure before the age of 25-I swam with wild dolphins, climbed glaciers, spent a year surfing the south pacific, show jumped horses, snowboarded all over the world, lived in three different countries, learned a foreign language (German) and supported it all by living a total minimalist lifestyle working on boats and ships, in restaurants, in youth hostels, as a SCUBA diver, as a dressage instructor or whatever worked at the time and fit into my travel schedule to support myself. I read a ton of books and never had a TV–to this day I have never seen an episode of Friends–nonetheless, after a while I felt like my brain was disintegrating.

So in a really backward move, in view of others’ dreams of chucking it all and moving to an island, I moved from the island I was living on at the time (Maui) back to my roots (California) to pursue more difficult ventures than vagabonding around the world on nearly nothing: I went to graduate school and pursued a professional life, something I had never had. I had never even worked in an office before. The usual stuff followed-I bought a house, adopted pets, had a successful career, and got married. Which were all dreams of mine (actually the marriage thing was optional), and gave me more purpose than just trying to live an easy and carefree and sometimes meaningless life.

But also during that time, and this is kind of where this long story begins, I started racing motorcycles. And this changed my life more than anything–More than home ownership or money or marriage.

Racing became the center of my and my husband John-Mark’s life. All of our goals, travel, money,
focus, effort, sweat and tears went into racing. It brought me the highest highs and lowest lows I had ever felt in my life. Even spectating was exciting I discovered- being up close to the bikes and the noise and the competition was something surprisingly moving and emotional, with an added bonus of it being something I could share with my dad. He and I attended every World Superbike and later MotoGP race at Laguna every year for ten years.

I even attribute racing to pulling me out of the fog of shock and trauma I was in for months–after racing took the life of my husband. Somehow, two months after his death, I landed a gig at the annual MotoGP round at Laguna Seca in 2008, working as a tire and fuel tester in the Fiat Yamaha garage of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. The bikes and the excitment and the newness of the experience pulled me out of my autopilot survival mode and into the moment. I did it again at the Indianapolis GP, in the same garages, and again – I felt totally alive.

I had already been forced to see that very, very few problems or stresses in life truly matter, and so in a move that also allowed me to escape dealing with others who would not, or more probably did not know how to, acknowledge my loss and sadness, I left the US to pursue my new dream career–to work in MotoGP.

After several false starts, flash forward to last year when I was offered a job as a journalist at the MotoGP headquaters in Barcelona, my home for the last three and a half years. It was my second try for the job, so of course I took it. And it has been exciting and interesting and also a lot of hard work with some very long days and nights in the office. But I have gotten to experience things like today–Participating in a dirttrack race with Jorge Lorenzo, fans, journalists and pro riders at the ex-Kenny Roberts track after my cameraman and I first interviewed him for a story. Awesome opportunity and great experience–which may, though I hope it won’t be, be my last like it.

interview with Jorge Lorenzo

This is my final week at Dorna. It was a tough decision and I’m quite sad about it, but I am leaving. After learning there would be almost no work at the races for me this year, and the fact that I am already burning out on office hours and a daily commute, I gave notice. (Missing the first race in ten years in 2011 because I was working in the office in Spain didn’t sway me the side of staying either. I don’t want to miss another year of being with my father and brother and friends for our annual summer ride together to and from the races in Monterey.)

I am so grateful to have had this experience, though I have now come full circle and want to leave office life, even if it means leaving the most popular, exciting and pretigious motorcycle racing organization in the world. Though I’m not leaving my dream job to laze around on beaches or travel the world-I’ve already done that. What this move means is that I can go back to being directly involved with what I love and not just writing about it from an office. And that is the thing that has turned my life around so many times-  racing.

California Love, continued.

So where were we?

Oh yeah. Suz and I hit the town Friday night.

We caught up with our Catalan friends at the Mucky Duck in Monterey. It was pretty gangsta on a Friday night and at first we were wondering why the hell they would want to stay, what with all the sideways ball caps, 4ft x 4ft 22 year old single mothers of 3, and pop-inflected rap tunes. But then we figured it out. It was where they picked up all their dance moves for the year.

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Suz gets a lift, though I am not sure why. Usually you pick up cute, little people, right? Not the six footers?
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Though I don’t recall this photo being taken, I guess it was my turn for a lift.

After goofing off outside the club for an hour after closing,  I found a cab and immediately upon climbing in, my brother called.  He insisted that I have the cab go to the Carl’s Jr. drive through and that I buy 20 dollars worth of burgers and fries, because he and Jeff and another friend were in the room withering from hunger, and too much beer. THEIR cabbie wouldn’t go through the drive through at 3am, so I was their only hope.

Not wanting to allow my kin to suffer unnecessarily, I obliged and directed the cab to the drive through. Three guys behind the cab walked through the drive through behind me, making car noises. They honked at my cab a lot. Surprisingly, they got served.

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I made it back with the bag full o’ burgers and three noisy guys with many drinks inside them cheered me like a hero. One of those guys was none other than Christian Fletcher. Shawn met him on one of his many extended surf trips to Bali, where Christian was residing at the time. I guess CF is back in California now, and digs motorcycles so he went to the GP. My brother met up with him and he hung out with us all weekend. He was funny and honest and not not nearly as intimidating as I always heard him described as.

Side Note: If you surf, you know that this guy is one of the most influential surfers of all time. I remember hearing about the crazy things he was doing 15 years ago on a surfboard – he was a living legend at 25 year old and his name struck fear in people who had to compete against him or even paddle up next to him in the surf line up. Descriptions of his personality used words like dangerous and wild, and people who knew him said he was crazy and out of control.

Jeff, who was staying in the house, had a man crush on Christian since he was a kid. So hanging with him Friday night made him school girlishly giddy, and the next day he made me take a nonchalant photo of him and his hero.

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Jeff and his man-crush, Christian.

The rest of Saturday was a long day of meeting up with friends and eatin Ducati Island hospitality food.

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Breakfast of champs – tall boys and doughnuts.
I ran into some folks from the US offices and they corralled me into a garage tour with Randy Mamola. We ended up standing outside of the Tech 3 garages while Randy talked.And surprisingly, two designers from the Italy office were there. It was a shock to run into them as I had no idea they would be there. Incidentally it was the first MotoGP race one of them had  ever been to.
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The Italians listen to Randy.

Did I mention there were a lot of people in the house? Well there were and I was the only girl. Fabio proclaimed the living room smelled like wet dog. I agreed.

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Every evening we had a nice dinner somewhere, our big group give or take a few, and usually some other stragglers.  Then I would head out with my brother, Susanna, and occasionally some of the other guys. But sometimes they weren’t up for going out, and Jeff let us know.

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California Love

My visit home was two weeks long and two weeks too short. It seems I required double the amount of time I had, which is not unusual for most of the things I undertake. For one, I did not have time to attend to certain important tasks, such as meeting with my accountant to do my taxes. Yep, didn’t do that. But I did make time to see a few good friends in Camarillo and San Diego. I also picked up replacements for all of the sorry, broken down electronics I have been using like my computer, phones, earphones, and chargers. I finally picked up a Garmin Nuvi GPS, since the navigation system in my head has never functioned. However, I have discovered that I cannot download European maps, I have to order some kind of chip, which I can tell you I will never do. So that was kind of a bust.

The trip started with me arriving in LA and going to my dads. I had one day to recover, unwrap all my electronics waiting for me and to visit with my dogs, which = completely awesome. Oh the guilt was there all right, don’t get me wrong. But I put it aside and enjoyed the unconditional love. Nothing like a creature who is so happy to see you they could pee to get the spirits up.

My co-joined babaies
My co-joined babies

On day two, around 12 of us rode up to the Laguna Seca MotoGP, including Alonso Bodden (if you don’t know who that is then Google, watch, laugh, and repeat), the Cafe Firenze restaurant owners Jacopo and Fabio – Fabio was on Top Chef season 5 and will have his own show soon – Will “Hollywill” Kenefick who is also on some show to do with motorcycles and builds spanky bikes for the movis, a camera crew in a chase van, other assorted riff-raff, and Francesco Quinn with his girlfriend on a 250 Vespa. That scooter cranked at 90 MPH, two up.  Turns out Frankie is good friends with the owner of my company and had plans to have lunch with him on Friday. Small world.

Frankie and the horse he rode in on

Frankie and the horse he rode in on

Mike Foxworthy, My dad, Alonso E Coyote

Mike Foxworthy, My dad, Alonso E Coyote

HollyWill gives good face

HollyWill gives good face

Don't forget the riff-raff

Don't forget the riff-raff

A stop mid morning. Only 100 degrees out.

A stop mid morning. Check the Vespa en route. He got lost shortly after this photo was taken.

The Italians devour a mess o' nachos in Morro Bay

The Italians devour a mess o' nachos in Morro Bay

We arrived Thursday evening to our apartment/hotel after a fun but boiling hot ride. This is a huge vacation hotel with with a kitchen, two bedrooms, a huge master bath with a jacuzzi tub, living room, dining room and a balcony. My dad rented it last year and it served as such a great crash pad for any and everyone that he immediately reserved it upon checking out last July for this year. Pops ain’t no dummy! There were beds piled everywhere and my brother and I ended up sharing the double wide California King bed in the master bedroom. It could be the first time we have ever shared a bed. Fortunately.

Bridgestone really came through for me and gave me four three day tickets and 4 AMA paddock passes (they were not much different than the GP paddock passes this year). My friend at Dorna gave me an all access pass of Friday so I spent the entire day visiting with any and everyone. I did not even look at the track once.

My dad and my brother in the Ducati hospitality. Dad's friend John is flipping him the bird behind me, hence the glee on dads face.

My dad and my brother in the Ducati hospitality. Dad's friend John is flipping him the bird behind me, hence the glee on dads face.

SpeedyMoto boys = more riff raff

SpeedyMoto boys = more riff raff

Ducati hospitality comes with attitude

Ducati hospitality comes with attitude

Susanna and my brother Shawn. Susanna is on the right.

Shawn and Suz.

And of course, I found Susanna!  My fellow wayfaring moto fanatic friend. She and I hit the town later with the Spanish boys – which deserves a post of it’s own. And with that, I leave you.

To be continued…