World Motocross 2010 – My trip to Bulgaria for the MX Grand Prix opener
The real activity started on Tuesday. Packing. Literally packing 150 lbs of #$%^ into a 40 lb. bag. Exactly how DO you fit 150 lbs. of stuff I’ve deemed necessary into my luggage that on the last leg of the journey the airline said cannot exceed 40 lbs.???
I spent all day trying to get it right. And it never turned out right, but there came a time when I just had to wing it – go with what I got, see what trouble I would (or would not) get into, and get on with it.
The first Motocross Grand Prix of 2010 is in Sevlievo, Bulgaria. A place I’ve never been to. But over just the past few years, the Sevlievo race track has become the favorite destination of so many riders, teams, fans, sponsors and more. Why?
And once I got there (later on) I can see why – it’s a beautiful race track, laid out perfectly so everyone can see every part of a hilly track that is simply beautiful. And, the press facilities are comparable to F1. You can also see the entire race track from the actual press room as well. Very nice.
I had to check in for my flight out of San Diego at 5am. Let’s just say – check in took a lot longer than usual. I probably broke every baggage rule they have. Comparatively, besides having to carry along a lot of stuff on what would be a very long trip, my extra baggage cost was $150 just boarding the flight in San Diego. Good start!
I’m going to fly first to New York. Then I’m going to sit for about five hours until the next flight, which is going to Geneva, Switzerland. I wasted as much time as possible once I landed in NY. Went to Starbucks. Ate. (Twice.) Checked my e-mail. Walked around. Exchanged money for Euros and Swiss Francs … but they had no Bulgarian money. (If you can guess the name of the Bulgarian currently, you’ll win … nothing!)
Back to my flight from San Diego to NY. It was interesting. I sat next to a 12 year old boy that was traveling all by himself. We talked about all kinds of stuff. NFL football, the economy, Ronald Reagan, Barrack Obama, Health Care, Michael Jackson. This kid was impressive – he knew so much, was so well spoken and so well mannered. He was articulate, well-rounded, smart, polite. I told him ‘Keep doing what you are doing as a successful kid, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful adult.”
Now I’m boarding for the next leg of the journey to get to Bulgaria – fly from NY to Geneva. Boarding is a good word, because this flight was just plain ol’ boredom. Boring. Couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t work. Couldn’t stretch out. And of course, there was a crying baby in the row behind me.
Arrived in Geneva almost eight hours later. I love Europe, and I especially love Switzerland. But now I have seven hours to sit in this airport before boarding my next flight to Frankfurt, Germany.
But I got a little bit lucky – I got to go into the President’s Club Lounge, and live it up like the big shot they thought I was. I ate as much food as possible. I drank as much as I could. (I stopped counting the cappuccinos at four.) I even had a couple of beers. Strong beers. And it was only about 9am in the morning : ) I took advantage of every perk they had available.
Time for the next flight. So, I’m in ‘line’ to board at gate A5 in the Geneva airport, which is going to take me to the Frankfurt airport.
What a chaotic mess. They have a system of boarding – a system that normally works very well. Call a few rows in the back of the plane, let them get on board, then call the next five rows, etc. etc.
I don’t want to disparage any ethnic group. or people …. but there was a group of people there in ‘line’ that paid no attention to the rules, were not nice, were not friendly, and, pushed and shoved their way into line as if the rest of us were not in line, or boarding as we were called. They trampled little kids, old ladies …. In a word, they were animals. And they smelled, they were rude, and …. in my opinion – ignorant. Travel is so great!
So, now I’m in the Frankfurt airport. Now I have about another five hours to kill before I take the final flight – Frankfurt to Sofia, Bulgaria.
Time to board the next flight – going to Frankfurt. That was about a 2.5 hour flight. And the Frankfurt airport is huge. Multi layer level for cars to enter and exit the airport. Multiple levels of shuttles on rails just to go to different terminals. Not because it’s convenient, but because it’s huge!
So, gate 33, we are called. I think we are being called to board the plane. Nope. We are being called to walk down to the tarmac and board a bus that will take us way out onto the tarmac to board the plane.
This bus shuttles you about 2 miles out onto the tarmac, all the while jets are landing nearby you, taking off, and taxi-ing. And you wouldn’t believe the auto and truck traffic out on the tarmac – all kinds of vehicles going in all kinds of different directions!t Very busy, very hectic.
As we are preparing to leave Frankfurt to finally land in the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia, the pilot first speaks in German, then English, then Bulgarian. I’m going to have to learn about the history of the Bulgarian language – it sounds very similar to Russian.
Take the flight to Frankfurt. The served a tremendous meal on this flight. If you call two crackers with a piece of old cheese in the middle a ‘tremendous’ meal.
And, we had a ‘crazy’ person on this 3 hour flight. I get up to go to the bathroom about an hour in – and I came back from the bathroom and there is a man sitting in my seat. And he is going thru my computer bag. Hmmmm …. strange I thought : ) I said ‘Sir, that is my seat, that is my computer.” He yelled something in German to me, then got up and went to another seat. Strange.
But this guy wasn’t done.
The plane lands, but we have about five minutes of taxi-ing to the terminal. The flight attendant even came on the PA and said ‘Please stay in your seats with your set belts buckled until we have come to a complete and final stop, and the pilot has put on the sign that you may depart’. This guy gets up as the plane is literally still going about 100 mph on the runaway right after the wheels of the jet have touched down.
The flight attendant asked him nicely to please sit down. He wouldn’t. Then she got on the PA and yelled at him to please sit down. Evidently, the pilot can hear the PA, because about 10 second later he hits the brakes as hard as possible, the plane almost starts to skid, and, most importantly, it knocked this guy to the ground. Everyone started cheering : )
I get inside the Sofia terminal to pick up my bags and go thru Customs. It is a very nice, very clean, very big, very modern airport. The plane that landed after me had a big group of racers from Belgium, including a lot of riders and team members from Suzuki and KTM.
My friends arrive from Belgium on this flight as well, and we take a taxi to the hotel in Sofia where we will spend the night before driving in the morning to Sevlievo. It’s now 1:30am. The hotel receptionist suggest I go to PR. Piano Room. It’s on the top floor of the hotel (24th floor) and overlooks the entire city of Sofia. I learned a lot from the singer there named Alessa. She told me that:
Bulgaria is very Orthodox Christian, and celebrates Easter for almost three days – Saturday, Sunday, Monday. She told me that Bulgaria actually invented Feta cheese, but the Greeks are the ones that made it famous. And she also told me Bulgaria invented yogurt. Bulgaria also invented the Cyrillic alphabet. It was really neat to see a country that was so devoted to Easter, and what it means. The country almost shuts down so that families can celebrate Easter together.
Friday morning. Wake up. Eat breakfast. Drive three hours to race track. And there it is – the Sevlievo race track. There is nothing like a Grand Prix environment in motocross. The ‘vibe’ starts on Friday and goes until at least Sunday night. I got to see so many friends that I haven’t seen in such a long time. It was great.
This coming weekend you’ll see coverage of the Bulgarian Grand Prix, MX1, MX2, and the Womens World Motocross Champion in our Race Results coverage, and on the home page of Supercross.com
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