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21.7.15

There Is Nothing Like It

It still takes up a lot of space in my head. I think about it everyday, reliving the memories, wanting to keep them fresh, wanting to go back.
I send a message to my brother and ask him if this is normal. Surely everyone must feel like this? Looking back at photos and wanting to jump into them in a Mary Poppins/Bert-esque style.

Right now I am supposed to be writing something else. But it overwhelms me so much and when no one nearby gets it or understands then my only outlet is here.
I'm creating a custom laptop skin for a blog review. I open my photos and instead of going straight to one of my children I automatically open the SD card folder with my Isle of Man photos on. They are still on the SD card, I can't file them yet.
I wonder if I should feel guilty? Am I putting this experience over my children? And then I realise that it doesn't matter. I have a house with photos of them everywhere, and, I see their faces everyday.

The Isle of Man, the TT specifically, captured my heart and my head in a way nothing really has before. And that may sound awful, but it's true.
There is something about it.
There is nothing like it.

I look at the photos and I am reminded of those feelings. The excitement, the adrenaline.
The worry when you hear the race has been red flagged.
Sitting on the grass verge, somewhere you wouldn't sit on on a normal day with cars going at 50mph or 60mph but that you will happily sit on when bikes are going past at crazy speeds. No barrier, no wall, nothing to protect you.
It is scary, at first. But I think it is more the thought of what could happen, and not knowing what to expect. My brother had been down there before, a previous year, so knew what to expect. Yet at the same time, he seemed fearless. He wanted that experience, that thrill of being so dangerously close, and he wanted it for me. And I wanted it too.
There was a dip just behind us, and as I sat there I did wonder if I was stupid to sit on the verge, and to not put myself safely in the dip. I would just about be able to see because it was quite deep. But then, if a bike was going to crash, it would end up in the dip anyway.
I looked around and looked at how many other people were sat alongside us. I looked at the marshalls and realised that if this was as stupid crazy and dangerous as it felt, then we wouldn't be allowed to sit here.


I had promised myself and my brother that I would do whatever he told me to that week. I wouldn't complain about where we sat, I wouldn't complain about going out on the bike (I did a couple of times but he forced me to go and I loved it in the end). So I didn't move. I sat there. I held my breath at times, like when one of the riders, Bruce Anstey, got so close that he almost knocked my brothers phone out of his hand. (true story! See the video below...it's the second rider....obvs)

I look through my photos and everything comes back. Those feelings of adrenaline are almost uncontrollable and instead of being able to suppress them by having that experience happen all over again it manifests as tears. Uncontrollable, unstoppable, unexplainable tears.
I look at photos and the blurry ones that I would usually delete become a strong part of the memory. They remind me of the speed, and of how hard I tried to get a photo, and of how impressed my brother was if I got a good one...especially if it was in focus.
Like this one. The one I wish, so bad, was in focus because the one on the left, that's William Dunlop. Part of the reason I am there. One member of the family that started my passion for this sport.
But despite it being blurry I actually kind of love it. I love that, gosh please don't cringe, it "tells a story". It shows the competitiveness, the race, the speed.
And it's a memory for me to show how close I got to William (without getting to actually meet him). Seriously, Google him if you don't know who he is and you will see why I like him so much.


Then there is the helicopter photo. Where I just snapped as it came over. In that real kind of childlike "Oooooo helicopter. First time I've seen one kind of way".
The camera settings weren't right so the colours are duller than they were in real life, really it's an uninspiring and pretty meh photo.
But today, when I was looking through my photos, this one gave me goosebumps.
It reminded me of how we felt as we sat and waited. The bikes might start at a certain time but it can be something like 20 minutes until the first one goes past you. You can hear them as they get closer, and you see the crowds along the road in front of you lean over to get a better view and get their cameras ready. You see the bikes in the distance, depending on where you are stood/sitting.
But one of the best times, is when you see the helicopter in the distance. When you hear it and you watch as it follows one of the riders around the track. You know that this means it's one of the top riders too.
And as the bike gets closer, the helicopter follows, and those two sounds together.
There is nothing like it.


I didn't see the appeal of the TT before. I didn't understand why people would stand and wait to see bikes that ride past so quickly at times that you almost get whiplash. I didn't see why anyone would find that fun. I didn't see how it was better to be there than to watch it on tv where you could actually see the bikes and follow them and not need a radio tuned into the local station to keep up with who is in which position.

But now, I totally get it. It's not about seeing them clearly, and watching the riders go around the whole track. You realise just how fast they are going not only by the speed as they go past, but at how quickly they are passing you again.
It's not exactly a short and easy course. How they do it I do not know?! It's a wonderful skill and talent that they all have. One where you would love to know what it feels like, and to experience it, but at the same time, know that if you were on that bike or even on the back of the bike, you wouldn't cope at all.

It might be coming up to two months since I went. And this time last year it wasn't even a thought of mine to go. I wasn't interested, I didn't see the point, I didn't even like motorbikes, even the sound would annoy me.
But now...there is nothing like it.