Posted by: mckenzie68 | August 29, 2010

MotoGP Practice day and Meridian Mile…August 27 or Day 131

We were up early, had breakfast and were off to the Indianapolis Speedway just after the morning rush hour.  The weather was perfect, sunny, and cool enough to make the ride very nice.  Having rode around the Speedway yesterday, I knew where I was going and that made navigation with my possessed GPS tolerable, although I still think it is worth having it as it allows me to see streets/turns well in advance.

We got to the north entrance of the speedway and were ushered right in by track staff, and we got to drive on the north east portion of the actual race track!  We rode around the famous brickyard to the east straight away which had been turned into a complimentary motorcycle only parking area.  There were parking guides who quickly and efficiently placed each motorcycle in a parking spot and provided you with a 2010 MotoGP side-stand plate.  This was done for every single machine to prevent the side stands from sinking into the very expensive track!

I was amazed as there was already easily over 1,000 motorcycles already parked and at that time more were coming in every second.  We jumped off the bikes,  giddy with excitement and packed our helmets, jackets in the saddlebags, unzipped the leggings on our dual purpose pants, (nice to have the choice of shorts or long pants in hot weather!) and headed toward the entry gate about 300 meters away.

As we walked along the east straight away we noticed very fine groves in track making  the surface very grippy for race motorcycles and cars, something you would never see unless you were right on the track!  It was a very, very cool feeling to be on the track where I have watched so many races on  TV, and that excitement was quite euphoric!

We walked around the track infield and then the perimeter which makes you appreciate good footwear and provides insight into just how big the Indianapolis Speedway is.

As we walked around we got to see multi time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi on the Speed Channel Stage, and then we checked out all of the vendors throughout the infield.  I managed to find a couple of spots around the track to take decent pictures of the race bikes, but the setup makes it very hard to get an unobstructed photograph close to the track.  This is mainly due to the high catch fence which completely surrounds the oval and road race courses.   So I was a little disappointed, but did manage to get some pictures throughout the day.

We stayed for the MotoGP practice session and then decided to head back to the hotel to hot tub and rest a little.  The ride out of the track was just as easy as the entry, with very a efficient route, traffic control points and police manning intersections outside the Speedway, WOW that was a lesson in traffic management.

We managed to avoid the afternoon rush hour and made it back to our hotel without incident despite the GPS giving me poor route advice.  Lucky for us there was a hot tub waiting for us!

We had an awesome late afternoon chat and came to the conclusion that we should head to the downtown area to enjoy the Meridian Mile, which is basically a stretch of Meridian Road in the core of Indianapolis that is open only to motorcycles during the MotoGP weekend.  So we had a quick bite to eat and then hoped on the motorcycles and set course for the downtown area.

There was no shortage of motorcycles on the road, and the closer we got to Meridian Road the more apparent it became that finding a parking spot was going to be a challenge.  We ventured past a police road block designed to stop car drivers, and ventured onto the Meridian Mile, and then along with many other motorcyclists we took the loop around the civil war memorial round about.  Shockingly enough there was a couple of spots to park our bikes, and we immediately took advantage of our good fortune, parking as quickly as we could.

There was a huge variety of people and motorcycles throughout the area, and we walked around taking it all in, to say it was “interesting” would be a massive understatement.  When returned to our motorcycles we ended up speaking with person after person about our bikes, the trip and the MotoGP races.  We then ran into a couple from Ontario, Tim and Sharon, who took us under their wing showing us the ways of the Indy MotoGP.  Tim is an avid racing fan (and racer from back in the day) and a Ducati enthusiast who turned out to be more of a motorcycle maniac than myself.   We laughed and chatted until around 1100pm when my shoulder pain became unbearable, and unfortunately that brought our night out to an early close.  We did make plans to link up with Tim and Sharon at the track the next day and headed back to the hotel, riding in the dark.  The ride was a night time version of the gum ball rally, with cars, trucks and motorcycles jockeying  for positions all the way to the next red light.

Very entertaining, but most assuredly dangerous for other road users, lucky for us we survived the insanity,  and made it to our hotel room in one piece.

I immediately took some pain medication and headed off to bed with the sound of MotoGP motorcycles dancing around in my head.

Tomorrow is going to be a good day!

Ray

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