The product of this project will be a book derived from blog posts, email blasts, Instagram photos / videos, interviews, and crappy illustrations detailing the progress of Gas Roots Racing and the friends they make along the way. Updates will roll out as they happen, with additional posts on a predetermined editorial calendar. See below.
In addition to regular interviews with new friends and updates on gear, training, and areas of racing emphasis, at least ten articles with broader ambitions will be produced. These “satellite articles” are listed in the outline section and will be staggered throughout the book.
At the end of the racing season, the regular blog posts will be condensed into chapters and the “satellite articles” will be combined into a beautiful book you can hold in your hand. Perhaps the first volume of many. Who knows.
In addition to posting updates as they take place, we’ll keep a regular editorial calendar based on the following topics. These may change as demand and inspiration dictate, but here’s our foundational structure.
Monday Morning Corner Marshall
After weekends at the track, we’ll break down what we did well and where we need to improve. Whether those improvements are in riding or writing technique, the van or the plan, or just basic self-confidence and smart choices, this is when we’ll get real with ourselves and try to sort things out.
Every time we travel, we’ll discuss the only two foods that anyone ever needed on the road: Combos and beef jerky. We’ll just leave the microphone running as we prattle on and on and on about how those two heavenly treats provide all the nourishment the human body demands. And honestly, if anyone’s body demands more, it’s just being greedy.
The only workouts Charlie believes in are for his right wrist, if you know what we mean. After all, what more do you need to operate a motorcycle? But just in case it turns out that some physical fitness might be a good idea, these articles will break down the workouts that the team designs to keep Charlie sharp and awake for long track sessions in the SoCal heat.
Our fifth posting bucket has nothing to do with anything. GRR is sure to take us into some weird desert towns and put us into contact with some weird desert people. Here’s where we discuss the unexpected.
The following articles will be researched primarily through interviews with riders, racers, and organizers during GRR travels. These “satellite” articles will be larger in scope than the regular updates. Some version of these articles will form the core of the published work. Please note that these are preliminary ideas — a lot of new concepts can happen in a year.
“Broken Bones and Broken Brains”
Is it especially true of motorcycle racers that we’re willing to accept potentially permanent injuries as a way of life? Do other athletes do this kind of risk assessment when they step into their various fields and arenas? If not, are motorcycle racers officially the most badass people on earth? Is the whole thing just willful ignorance or a deep case of “something to prove”? This article will more seriously look into what kind of “death drive” keeps us on two wheels, even when we keep falling off them.
“All-In, The Family”
We might be able to make an argument that vanity or the will to push ourselves is what brings us to the racetrack. Especially when we’re racing for naught but bragging rights at great expense and risk. But what argument do you make for the families who drop their suburban lifestyles and 9-to-5s to usher their children from track to track, bike to bike, and sometimes hospital to hospital while they advance as racers? Is it just vicarious ambition? Is it its own kind of vanity? Or is it pure love of child and passion for motorsport? This article will ask the families of racers why they do what they do, and what they expect in return.
“Motorcycle Racing and the Art of Tantra”
Riding a motorcycle fast has a lot in common with having sex slow. A lot of the time, we want to just wrench on the throttle and twist it into oblivion. But that kind of instant gratification isn’t the best way to get where you’re going. This article will explore the ways that patience, a cool head, and counterintuitive decision-making make us better at riding our partners, be they two-legged or two-wheeled.
“Cool Hand Charlie”
The fun controller, the go button, the spinny thing on the right. Whatever you want to call it, the majority of motorcycle control comes from good throttle control. But there are a variety of approaches and mnemonic devices that racers use to explain how they use their right wrist. Everyone seems to have their own technique. This article will focus exclusively on how we make the bike go — rubber side down, hard as nails and smooth as butter.
“Motorcycles and the People Who Don’t Give a Fuck”
Although they’re relatively mainstream forms of transportation, motorcycles and the people who ride them have always represented a kind of counterculture. Inside this counterculture, of course, are smaller cultures — your cruisers, racers, adventure enthusiasts, dirt riders, and so on. What they have in common seems to be a desire to forge an identity for themselves, even if that identity is of the kind of people who refuse to be assigned an identity. This article will explore our relationships with our motorcycles and the identities they help us create. In particular, it will focus on the backgrounds of semi-pro racers. They all have day jobs. So who are they when they’re not wearing their superhero uniforms?
“Robots and Aliens”
In music, we say a person who can reproduce a tone exactly has perfect pitch. The same kind of preternatural response makes the greatest motorcycle racers as good as they are. We call them “aliens” because they have the ability to reproduce the same sequences of muscle contractions and synapse responses so perfectly that if you laid a dime on the track, they’d hit it every lap at 200mph+. This article will explore the ways that modern technologies are encroaching on the riders who learned to ride by feel alone. Traction control, assisted braking and downshifting, and fuel mapping are changing the way the whole paddock rides. Will this all mean the playing field levels a bit more, or will the aliens have an even larger advantage?
“Martin Van Buren”
Part of the Gas Roots Racing project will be the production of a bike hauler as perfect as we can make it with the budget we have. So we’ll start by talking to the veterans about what they’ve learned they can’t live without inside their vans. We’ll also poll the GRR community to see what they would add. And then we’ll get to building. Will solar panels be more cost effective than a generator for trackside electricity? Would a hammock make the van more comfortable than a tent when we camp? What’s the easiest way for one guy and his dog to load and unload a bike? As we build, we’ll post progress updates and talk about what’s working, where we bloodied our knuckles, and what we screwed up. Or for the sake of brevity, we may focus on what we didn’t screw up.
Remember that scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas when the acid begins to take hold of Duke at Circus Circus and his entire surroundings become this nightmarish landscape of orgiastic lizard-creatures in pools of blood? Well, something similar sometimes happens on your motorcycle. When you let The Fear get under your skin, everything starts to take on the same ghoulish pallor. Suddenly, you’re aware of the danger you’ve put yourself into and you’re wondering why you ever got on this tottering contraption with its demonic source of power in the first place. And the more you think about it, the worse your riding gets. And the worse your riding gets, the more control The Fear has. Every rider has experienced it. In this article, we’ll learn more about how the fast guys keep The Fear at bay.
“The Enlightened Ones”
They say there are old racers, and there are brave racers. But there are no old brave racers. A lot of the folks who hang around the track have been into racing their whole lives. They’ve seen technology and attitudes change. And they’ve probably learned a thing or two we’d be wise to take to heart. This article will focus on the riders whose blood runs deep with racing heritage. We’ll ask how to stay in the game as long as possible. Or at least how to make sure we don’t go out faster than we’d like.