I swear I will start yapping soon…

and y’all will start bitching that I talk too much… But please indulge me one last non-racing related post before I kick off my racing season.

This just dropped into my inbox!

Image

This is my strappingly handsome nephew Dylan!
This is who I was running for last year, and the subject of my last two blog posts of the year in 2013. His journey has been my focus over the winter.
Last time I saw him in person he was bald, and weak, and pale, full of chemicals.
and now he is healthy, and happy, and follicularly filled out!!
This makes me so happy.

And I just wanted to share with all of you who supported me, and him, and SickKids Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Toronto.

And say thank you.

This is what your efforts went towards!
I am most humbly grateful.

Happy Easter everyone!

Dusts off the blogwebs….

I kept waiting for something to prompt me to step back into my “office” and put pen to paper fingers to keyboard… Not that I haven’t written a bunch of stuff lately, it’s just that it wasn’t for public consumption. (you can all thank me later)

Anyway, earlier this evening I grabbed a random pile of papers to sort through, and this fell out onto my laptop keyboard on my desk:

photo

Bizarre… I have no idea where it came from, or why it was in this nondescript pile of papers, but yet, there it was, like a little time capsule.

Even more odd, the fact that this weekend is the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Sadly, I’m not there this weekend. It just hasn’t been in the cards to get to a west coast race again (no money honey) But I was there for the final Champ Car race.
I remember everything about that race.
It was a big transitional weekend for all of us.
It was a weekend of goodbyes… to teams, to a series, even to friends and colleagues.

It was a weekend to make memories.
It was a weekend to move on.
It was a weekend of endings and new beginnings.

Things changed, people changed, I changed. For the most part, we all survived.

Funny, since the page turned on the new year, I’ve been struggling with a lot of the same things. Transitions, endings, beginnings, etc… etc…

anyway… finding this ticket, as melancholy as the memories are, gives me hope.
It lets me know that as dark as things may appear at times (and those were some dark days), it will all work out in the end, one way or another.

Calling all MOtorsports fans…

meeshstacheIt’s MOvember Bitches! And this year it’s personal! I’m on a mission to educate, motivate and eradicate! No one should have to deal with cancer. Especially a 15yr old boy with testicular cancer. It sucks. And It pisses me off.

Testicular cancer is the second most common cancer, behind skin cancers, in young men aged 15 – 29 years. It starts as an abnormal growth or tumour that develops in one or both testicles. It is a highly treatable type of cancer with a very good cure rate (over 95%) if found and treated early.

• Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 29
• Testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer
• Because treatment is so successful, the overall long term survival rate is about 96%
• 940 new cases of testicular cancer will be diagnosed in Canada in 2013.

My nephew is one of those statistics this year, which is why I mounting a personal charge for MOvember!

I wasn’t going to post about this here, but I have spent too many days over the last month watching clear plastic bags of poison drip into my nephew. I feel angry, and helpless and I just need to do something, anything, to feel like I’m helping in some way.

#fuckCancer

So back to MOvember. I can’t grow a mustache. (Ok, I actually probably can, but NO one needs to see a picture of that. But I will and will post one if that’s what it takes! ) But I’m coming up with things I can do, provide, auction off to raise funds for this cause.

First up: I’m running another 5K this weekend! If I get some pledges to my MO-space, I will run the entire race wearing a fake moustache. (my comrade in arm has pledged she will do the same!) AND I will post pics!
It is cold, it is NOVEMBER IN CANADA, it may even snow, and I will be out at the crack of dark EXERCISING!! That alone deserves a couple of bucks ;-)

If you’re so inclined, and would like to support the cause, you can do so here:
http://moteam.co/meeshbeer

OH, and if you’re participating in MOvember and want to join our wolfpack, we’d love to have you!! (we’re looking for some MEN to join our cause and grow some facial hair) That’s right, I’m looking for other MO-Bros and MO-Ho’s to join my team!

MOtivationNation

Grow a great stache!
Grow an awful stache!
Grow the hair on your legs, chin, mole(!), under your arms!
Whatever works!
Let’s DO this people! Join my team here:
http://moteam.co/motivation-nation

This is a month long effort. I will continue to post facts, videos, challenges, etc…

In the meantime, for all my male colleagues and friends, stick your hands down your pants and fondle your boys. Check em good. And if something doesn’t feel right down there, go get yourself checked by a medical professional.

http://testicularcancerawarenessfoundation.org/self-exam-how-to/

self-exam

A different kind of race…

Those that know me, know that I don’t run unless I’m being chased or there is bacon or a margarita waiting for me at the finish line. However something very personal is motivating me this month. (which is part of the reason my racing season ended in Baltimore) So instead of attending and shooting the season finale in Fontana, I will instead be hanging out with my nephew at Sick Kids Hospital next week then running a race of my own that weekend in his honour.

Team Cargill and myself take the green flag at the The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday Oct 20th to raise funds for charity of choice: Ronald McDonald House in Toronto.
As a group our goal is to raise enough to cover a family’s stay for 30 days at Ronald McDonald House. (As a team we are only $270 away from our goal!!!)
Each night in the house costs $125 (of which the family is charged $15 for, the rest is covered by donations from folks like us!)
My personal goal to $375* (a 3 night stay, a mere drop in the bucket for most families, and only a fraction of the stay my family has used/will use while my nephew gets treatment at Sick Kid’s Hospital just down the street.

In addition to running, Team Cargill also volunteers several times a year to participate in the “Home for Dinner” program, where we go to the house to provide and cook a meal for the families staying there. (Our next one is coming up soon!)
Click for more info on Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto
http://rmhtoronto.org/

If you’re so inclined, I would love your support of sponsorship (every little bit helps) towards raising funds for RMcD House, and I would be personally honoured if you would rally around my nephew Dylan as he courageously undertakes another round of chemo next week #FUCKCANCER
Just click the link to make a donation! (can be done online for US/International sponsorships too)
http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=2148812

All pledges will receive an official tax receipt (either electronic or in the mail.)

OH, and check out my “racing” shoes!! ->> Chrome Stripes baby!! #PT #ChromeHorn

2013-10-04 17.57.47-2

If you don’t want to toss a donation my way, please consider supporting your local children’s hospital or the fine folks over at Racing for Cancer

Thanks in advance on behalf of my own #ironman/#lionheart
I now return you to your regular racing talk…

EDIT: because I have awesome friends and colleagues, my personal goal was met, but we’re still shy on the group goal, so I’m upping my goal to $500 to put us over the top!

Mid-Ohio on Rewind…

For the first time in the 10 years I’ve been attending races, I actually thought/felt “Ugh… I don’t want to go”.

There were a multitude of reasons for this. One, I was tired (Very tired) and just getting over being very sick. Two, I was nursing a knee injury, and three, I feared with the absence of the ALMS this year that there would be an obvious and palpable decline in attendance, and I would spend the weekend warding off negativity.

But alas the hardcard dangling from my desk lamp reminded me of my obligations, and the hotel was paid for, so despite my lack of enthusiasm or energy, I tossed my gear in my ride for the weekend (a speedy little Honda CR-V) and set off for Ohio.

I decided that the only way to get myself out of the funk I was in was to go to the track, to my racing family, and stock up on hugs and companionship (the irony of this was that I was staying alone on this trip, about 45 mins from the track, which lead to solo commutes, uncomfortably lonely sleeps, and 3 of 4 nights dining alone… poor planning on my part)

Poor Tony diZinno was the first familiar face/warm body I came in contact with, and when he hugged me hello, I selfishly pulled him in and hugged him so tight. Being the lovely gentleman he is, he obliged the long hug from Auntie Meesh, and I apologized immediately for the over-share of affection.

Here’s the thing about my life in racing, and I’ve said this a million times, even the worst day at the track is better than most good days away from it, so I knew from that point on, my weekend would be awesome, and I had made the right decision to go.

Firstly, lets just put to rest the “decline in attendance” worry. The place was packed. Now granted, this was only my second year in attendance myself, so I only have 2012 to compare to personally, but from my view point, the crowd was as dense if not more so than last year. These are long time place/race fans. They know the series, they know the drivers, they know the history.

The new faces on pitlane also added to the buzz of the weekend. As sad as I may have felt for Tags, it was exhilarating to spend some time around Luca Filippe. Not for the obvious smoldering eyes/Italian accent reasons (ladies, am I right?)  but for the wide-eyed enthusiasm of someone experiencing something, their dream come true, for the first time. His energy drew you in, and you couldn’t help but root for him and the team. The same with James Davison. I’ve known James for many years. He’s a good kid, and fast. It was nice to see him get a chance after so many years on the sidelines.

I am constantly pulled in a million directions on race weekend, but this particular weekend, I selfishly allowed myself to “slack off” a little, and enjoy a little more socializing than I normally do. (all work and no play, yadda yadda) I’m so glad I did, because I was able to connect and reconnect with some of my “tweeps”. There are some pretty awesome people out there on the interwebs. If you are at a race (and why the FUCK aren’t you going to as many races as possible??) please make a “tweet up” part of your schedule. You won’t regret it. Some of the closest friends in my racing family stemmed from being twitter friends first, and meeting up at the track. I only wish, as in the case of having a race in a major city, that we were all closer in proximity off property, and were able to sit down to a meal and adult beverages together. (You are all on notice for Baltimore… there will be dining and drinking.)

As much as the internet SUCKED (really, this is the biggest bone of contention with these permanent road courses, and something that is UNacceptable in this day and age) (I have a colleague at Road America this weekend experiencing the same thing) I can’t say enough about how amazing the staff was at Mid-Ohio. I can honestly say I didn’t have ONE run in with anyone the whole weekend. This, if you travel with the circuit, is an anomaly. There is always one “rent-a-cop” or rogue volunteer who goes out of their way to make your weekend a living hell at some of the events on the circuit, but not here. If anything it was the opposite. Everyone went out of their way to make sure our days went as smooth as possible. If you were there and get a spare moment, please take a moment to give a shout out to the staff and volunteers. They deserve it.

The race… Well, you couldn’t have asked for a better, more exciting race. Green from flag to flag, passes for the lead, a first time winner, and racers driving the wheels off those cars, laying down lap after lap of at a qualifying pace. It’s what you want as a race fan. It’s what you want as someone who wants to see the series not only succeed but flourish in the years to come.

And then there is Charlie. Auntie Meesh had a moment in Victory circle, wiping the proud tears away, as Charlie made his way to the podium. I was called out on my affection for these drivers earlier this year. But it is something I won’t apologize for. One can’t help but personalize. I’ve known some of these kids since they were kids! I’ve watched them grow from boys to young men, excelling at their craft. I’ve cheered for their successes, and felt the tears sting the back of my eyes at their heart breaks. It has truly been an honour to be there this year as one by one each of them has achieved the ultimate success. The top step of the podium. I was in victory circle for James, and Simon, and now Charlie. The only one I missed was Taku. It is my hope to be there when the rest of the up and comers have their moment in the spotlight (Josef… I’m looking at you kid!)

Post Mortem/final thoughts:

As the week wrapped up, the talk quickly went from how amazing the race was, and what a terrific accomplishment it was for Charlie and his engineer, to “the sky is falling” when the final rating was shared on the interwebs.

Did the ratings reflect the weekend? No, not in the least. But you know what? So fucking what. (be warned, there has been a little consumption of alcohol this afternoon)

It is what it is, our TV package sucks, we know that, and a bunch of “We’re doomed!!” conversations about it after the fact from a bunch of arm-chair jockeys who probably pvr’d it, isn’t gonna make a fucking difference one way or another. So here’s my suggestion. If, in fact, we are “doomed”, then lets make the best of it. Let’s all get in our cars, or on a plane, and put our asses in the grandstands for the remaining races of the season. If, in fact, this is the death-knell (which I don’t believe for ONE fucking moment it is) then lets make the very best of these final events.
At the very least, try to be part of the solution.

I’m so sick of the negativity. (I know that may come off as disingenuous from someone known as the “rage’n Canadian”) But, and I will stand by this to the very end, I may be harsh with my criticisms at times, but it always comes from a place of love, and I ALWAYS provide a suggestion for improvement. I don’t just bitch for the sake of bitching.
Pointing out the obvious, and stirring the pot of petulance serves no purpose.

*steps off soapbox*

Bottomline is, if the owners are willing, and the drivers are willing and the sponsors are willing, then I’m willing to stick it out until the bitter end. If that’s a month from now, a year from now, or a decade from now, then I’m there dammit (barring any unforeseen illness or accident)

Now stop bitching about the ratings (which we have ZERO control over) and just wallow in how fucking amazing this season has been, and how lucky we are to be able to watch it unfold in front of us.

EDIT:
Oops! I forgot to link to my pics from the weekend: Mid-Ohio 2013

3 More Sleeps till the 2 in T.O.!

There I was, work done, feeling antsy, unpacking my suitcase from the weekend, thinking… “geesh, I won’t be driving to another race until Mid-Ohio”… then I remembered, THE CIRCUS COMES TO MY TOWN THIS WEEK! No travel required!!!

Still in possession of my sweet little CR-Z courtesy of Honda Canada, I decided to drive down to Exhibition Place on Monday see what was happening at that track.

When I got there, there was a lot of activity. Roads were closed, men were laying cable, building structures, directing workers… and I wandered around, camera in hand, trying to “blend in”
*note to self, keep hard hat in trunk* Continue reading

Poking around the Poconos

Wednesday night, the temperature in my apartment approximately eleventy billion fahrenheit, with 200% humidity, I decided that I would rather spend the next couple of days working and sleeping in air-conditioning, so I packed up my CR-Z (thank you Honda Canada) a couple of days early and hit the road at 4:30am headed towards Long Pond, PA.

I had forgotten how beautiful the drive through upstate New York is. I really miss my annual sojourn to Watkins Glen, mostly due to the gorgeous landscapes. I let Google choose my route, and quite enjoyed my drive through the mountains, as the sun was coming up. It took all my reserve not to side trip over the Glen. I’m actually still debating head to Seneca Lodge for dinner… maybe on the way home ;-) Continue reading