Brief summary on what led up to this last chapter.
This ride report began with an idea, an idea relating to the world not working the way it’s supposed to. Through a series of events it became clear that hard work, dedication, logical planning and sacrifice don’t always deliver expected results. And even when everything ‘works out’, happiness is anything but guaranteed. That’s where I was a year ago. My response: Hit the reset button. Submit to desire. Live and be exposed. Plan nothing. Experience. Discover. Ignore habit. Indulge compulsions. Do things that excite. Play.
It’s easier said than done. The collective body of thought that forms the basis for the decisions that led us to a point in our lives we want to escape is, ironically, the same collective body of thought (the only body of thought?) that we are forced to rely on to plan our escape. We’re our own biggest problem! How are we supposed to escape when the only tool we have to escape is the tool that built the prison we’re in? If the only thing we know is how to build walls, then how can building walls lead to anything but a harder prison to escape? (Anyone who’s ever had a kid to save a marriage or taken MORE responsibilities on to help increase their satisfaction with their job knows what I’m talking about.) The neural networks that make us who we are the neural networks that hold us captive to who we are.
But there is an solution, albeit a little berserker.
There’s an intrusive and ever-present class of ideas, a category of thought distinct from all of the other concepts firing away in our heads and it’s there nearly all the time. These are the types of thoughts that are innocent (but malicious), impractical, impulsive; the type of thoughts that get us into a lot of trouble if we act on them. These are the whims we often acted on when we were children, which led to the sinister satisfaction that can only come from activities involving breaking windows, peeing on school bathroom floors, shooting strangers floating on inner tubes with pellet guns, throwing rocks at moving trains, etc. Years later, when reminiscing about frogs in the neighbors car or the expression of the old man next door upon seeing his lawnmower on fire, our response is often to grin mischievously while lowering our head in a bit of shame. We learn quickly not to act like this through punishment or injury, but getting away with it leads to good-conscienced-perniciousness. I’m not exactly sure why curiosity taken to the limits of insubordination is so entertaining, but it is. Perhaps it’s control over the world, despite consequences. Perhaps it’s the inevitable result of living in a world with so many rules and so much order that the need to express yourself in a manner that’s uniquely one’s own is damned to be rebellious. For whatever reason, singing in the choir at church just doesn’t satisfy the same way as scribbling, “Spoiler Alert: He Dies At the End” on the title page of a hotel bible.
Fast forward a couple decades from the days of swapping everyone’s doormats in the neighborhood and I realized that it was the brutish, damn-the-consequences voice in my head that I was listening to. And instead of ending up in the principals office I ended up on a Panigale in the middle of nowhere, on an open-ended, unplanned adventure, experimenting, taking risks and taking pictures, doing what scared me (which included writing publicly). I wasn’t sure what would happen, but I knew that I was unhappy because of me. I was in a place in my life because of my decisions. My trip was my method of discovering everything I’d been wrong about, (including ideas about myself and others). It also lead to discovering all kinds of things I never knew existed, never would have discovered otherwise. And just when I thought the journey and all of the rewards of revelation were over, Ducati called.
A few weeks after Tim Collins (North American PR Manager for Ducati) and I spoke, I was standing in the paddock at the Circuit of the Americas, surrounded by a fleet of 1199 Rs talking to Claudio Domenicali, Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden. I met some coolest moto-journalists in the business and spent an hour wringing out an 1199 R (which is happy to kill you if you have the slightest doubt about your abilities). A year ago if someone told me, “ok, somehow, someway you need to get yourself into Ducati’s International Press Launch for the Panigale R,” my only solution would be to break in or steal someone’s identity. I could never have thought, “feed your desire, Dennis, and you’ll get there.” But that’s exactly what I did and that’s exactly what happened. Instead of spending another year doing what I was supposed to be doing (organizing my future), I gave into my passion (unknowingly aligning myself with the same philosophical ideals that drive Ducati) and all kinds of amazing shit happened.
With that said, here’s my CotA experience, compliments of Ducati:
Rolled out the door at some ungodly hour, with track gear taking up more space than I needed during my trip around the country on the bike!
An 1199 feels extremely roomy compared to this:
Touchdown. Dry desert air:
Exiting the plane would be the last normal thing that happened to me the entire event. Once I exited the secure area of the terminal I was greeted by Tim Collins, Ducati’s PR Manager for North America, and, err, a film crew. I’d been asked a few days before if it was cool if they shot some footage, but I didn’t quite know what to expect. I received a first-hand look into what goes into all those cool videos we see on youtube….I’ll comment more on the details once the clip is released, but the film dudes Ducati hired (‘sup Gabe, Matt and Ryan!) were top notch.
Here’s their first film of the event:
Setting up for my getaway scene in the Audi, while trying to avoid security: