Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Weekend at the Races

If any of you are like me you probably just skip through the t.v. channels that show things like motorcycle racing, fishing, extreme fighting, etc., but not Brian. He is into all that stuff - especially if it requires focus, skill and danger. It's kinda sexy, actually. ;-) Well, Mr. B. has been racing motorcycles all year and, I gotta tell ya, it's really cool. The final race of this season was at Barber Motorsports Raceway in Birmingham (Al-uh-BAM-uh!) and it is probably one of the finest raceways in the country. They have a huge motorcycle museum, giant animal sculptures all over the park - indeed, one of the tightest curves on the track lies next to a giant spider sculpture and is therefore called "The Spider" - but more on that later. The track park is very lovely, nice rolling hills all around, beautiful landscaping, very professional looking place that would indeed be television quality. And another thing I gotta tell ya - I really had no idea there was such an audience for this kind of thing, the place was packed with racers and spectators alike. Guess I've been living under a rock.

Anyhoo, like I mentioned in the previous post, Brian had a practice day on Friday, nothing special. Practice day is the day all the racers get to preview the track, practice their lines (not like acting lines - the lines they visualize on the track for the optimum speed and control of curves) and see who they'll be up against on race day. This is the day I took the kids to the zoo.

Saturday was the first race day and the park was packed! Brian and his crew were lined up to race near the end of the day so I took Tyler & AJ to a bounce house in the morning and we came out to the track right after lunch, after picking up our friend Lea from the hotel parking lot. She came down from Columbus to see Brian race and hang out with us. Daddy was psyched up for his race and we all walked down to the viewing area to watch the show. AJ tried really hard to sleep in the Snugli pack but the motorcycles were so loud it was really impossible. We watched Brian go around the loops one time and then on his second run he crashed on The Spider - scared the crap out of me. But it was a low-side crash, meaning the bike just slid out from under him and he spun like a turtle on his back right into the grass. As soon as he stopped spinning he was able to jump up and give the OK sign and I knew he was fine. That's when I was able to breathe again. I think it only took about 30 seconds but it seemed like an eternity. Here's some pictures:

He wasn't hurt in this last picture, he was just looking at all the broken parts on his bike and grumbling to himself.

So because of the crash he was out of the race and had to wait on the side of the track for the race to finish and get picked up by the tow trailer and ride back on the "Ride of Shame." Way better than the "Ride of Pain" in the ambulance though, and we saw a few of those over the weekend as well. In fact, one rider actually died on the track on Sunday - he was an older rider in his 70s and he just lost control of his bike and his helmet came off, pretty much killing him instantly. They didn't announce it at the track but the news spread through the pits pretty quickly. Everybody said "At least he died doing what he loved..." - God I hope I never have to say those words about Brian - but you know what, I just want Brian to be happy and if driving like a maniac on a motorcycle around a racetrack makes him happy, then, by God, I'll let him do it. Anyone who has lived with Brian knows life is much better when Brian is happy than when he's not. ;-)

So Saturday was a wash for Brian but his teammates placed second and third in their races that day so all was not lost. Sunday was a better day for him - he placed second in his race and we watched the whole thing. Every time Tyler saw her daddy go by on his motorcycle she did the "Daddy Dance" which Lea was able to capture on her cell phone and I'll post it here when she sends me a copy.

The trophies they made for this event are the ugliest things I have ever seen in my life. They are these rusty looking greek urns lying sideways on top of a little crinkled gold colored ball of aluminum foil, planted on top of a plaque. Completely hideous and I can't figure out what they have to do with motorcycle racing. The other trophies he's won this year at least have statues of motorcycle racers on top or an etching or something - this is just godawful. But at least he won one!

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Birmingham Zoo and Motorcycle Racing

Ok so we just got back from a long weekend in Birmingham, Alabama (or as Brian insists on saying it, every single time he says it, ala Forrest Gump: Al-uh-BAM-uh!) where Brian competed in a weekend vintage motorcycle racing event ( and the kids and I hung out and amused ourselves in various ways. We left on Thursday afternoon and basically went straight to the track, checking in and getting our weekend passes, etc., and met up with the other guys from the bike shop before going to eat dinner & check in at the hotel. Friday Brian had to get up early for a practice day at the track - well, he had to get up early every day there to be at the track by 7am for tech checks, etc. - but the kids and I went down to the Birmingham Zoo for the better part of the day instead of watching them practice all day. We saw hippos, giraffes, zebras, gorillas, orangutans, pygmy marmosets, lions, tigers, monkeys, you name it. All good fun and even got to ride a carousel - backwards, for Halloween, they said - and a train that went through a spooked-up forest for Halloween as well.
I took a very funny picture of Tyler, right after I told her that this tiger-
would eat us all up if he was given the chance...

and this was her reaction: -Gulp.

Some of the animals were lively and photogenic.. ..others were just plain tuckered out.

The kids had fun:
and it was a good day.

I have to say, though, I feel awfully guilty and sad looking at all the animals in zoos who really should be out roaming their natural habitats and not locked up in a small zoo pen where people ogle and irritate them day in and day out, but, as Scott would probably say, those animals just shouldn't have left home that day they got captured by the zoo people. Ah, Scott, thy middle name is Sardonic Sarcasm.

Anyway, I only have a couple of pics right now of the race so I'll post them now & more on the races next blog.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

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OK! Melanie, I'm copy-catting your copy-cat-ness and embarking on a blog. My life is consumed by child care, cooking and cleaning (ok, cooking) so these days anything I have to say for myself, my real self, feels like I'm tapping out morse code from deep inside some dark, remote, and really not much seen or heard from place, much like a mine shaft I suppose. And since typing on a keyboard is kind of "tapping,"... well, you get the idea. Still, don't expect much more here than updates on the kids, the hubby, or a good recipe I find or create; time at the computer is in short doses and usually accompanied by a baby on my lap and/or a preschooler jockeying for her "turn."

Here's to low expectations!