So here I am on my comfy couch that I have reclaimed from my couchsurfers after 5 days, sipping my hot Lemsip while listening, not to streams of motorbikes passing by outside my window, but the sound of the waves rolling into the bay.
The Tourist Trophy (TT) 2014 is over. Only 50 weeks till TT 2015…
This exciting fortnight in the Isle of Man is almost all we have. We wait for it a whole year – more eagerly than for Christmas – and once it’s done we sigh in relief with the same breath that we take to gasp in horror that it’s all over.
Now they are all leaving us again. The amount of people clinging to this rock in the Irish Sea had doubled over the past two weeks and now only a few tourists remain to buy their last Isle of Man trinkets, Manx flags and t-shirts that say “I survived Mad Sunday 2014” or “Supermanx”.
For those of us left behind on the island it is now time to return to normal, cure our hangovers, sunburns, chest infections and turn our guest rooms back into storage space. And while so many complain about “the normal” we wouldn’t appreciate the TT as we do if it was any different. The big contrast from ultra-quiet to ultra-crazy is what excites us and we wouldn’t want it any other way, I am sure.
My personal TT 2014
This was my 5th TT – I had moved to the island in 2010. I was never a bike fan. But I like bikers, I like rock music, leathers and everything that comes with it really (…like beards and tattoos). So it only took that first experience in 2010 to get me hooked. Now I know many of the riders by name, I can show tourists around the island and I host guests in my apartment…I still don’t have a clue about bikes.
While I had taken off last year for race week I decided this year to save the days for my upcoming Vegas trip. If I had known that this would turn into a beast of an event I would have taken unpaid leave. But… a few days with nights of only 3-4 hours of sleep can also get you an unforgettable experience.
I will spare you the first week – Practice Week – as this wasn’t too exciting. My main drama was that I had just changed jobs and also joined a band so my time was sparse. I spent almost any extra minute I had either practising songs or in the office at my desk trying to wrap my head around new exciting tasks. I wasn’t visiting the gym with the same frequency as the past year and I didn’t play a single hand of poker. My “life dials” had been flipped up and down and around.
Now for Race Week things got wild. Monday everything was still fine…office, gym, band rehearsal – the usual. But then…
Tuesday brought the arrival of my couchsurfers, two friends of a friend from Canada and England that were both military. We hit it off straight away and partied that night watching the Red Arrows flight show and a Pink Floyd cover band at the Villa Marina.
Wednesday I became part of the TT entertainment myself by having my first ever gig as the front singer in a band. We (8 Bit Empire) played at Amber Bar and I had an amazing time singing for friends and strangers alike.
Never thought I’d be a TT performer…
Thursday was the PokerStars summer party. I dolled up with a bunch of girls in my apartment while my couchsurfing friends got the amazing opportunity for a Meet & Greet with Conor Cummins who was a special guest at the party. Later I watched the fireworks in the bay with my guests from my balcony and also the “Closer to the Edge” movie on my flatscreen TV.
All dolled up with my 2 female dates… 😉
Friday is traditionally a national holiday in the Isle of Man as it’s Senior Race day. Yes, you read this right: A holiday for a motorbike race! I had a small glimpse of hope to catch up with some sleep when my guests woke me up at 9am to let me know that my breakfast was plated and getting cold. I had promised them to drive them out to a good spot at the TT course to watch the races up close. They had made me breakfast and been real gentlemen all week, so how could I refuse? I drove them to Ballacraine where we ended up so close to the bikes that you could have had your arm driven off by them, if that’s what you’re into.
View from behind the £10 seats in Ballacraine
It was an amazing experience, but we made sure to get back to the Grandstand in Douglas for the finish of the Senior Race. In the evening we attended the PokerStars closing party with trophy ceremony and live music. It wasn’t just any live music, but one of my favourite bands from the island – a ska band called Buncha Skankers. For 90 minutes we danced our asses off and then we made it to town but didn’t stay all that long.
Saturday was the day I drove my guests around the island. Unfortunately it was raining a lot (but hey, better this day than the day before), but we got to see a lot and I drove them all around the TT Course. In the evening the boys continued feeding me. This time in the best restaurant on the island at the Regency Hotel and on Sunday morning I had to let them go.
My TT guests with the Joey Dunlop statue on top of the mountain
It was hard to wake up all alone in my quiet apartment, being left with some dirty dishes, bed sheets to be washed and the distinct smell of men’s shower gel and aftershave.
So there I am, curing my cold, looking out the window, watching the Ben My Chree sail out that won’t bring any more floods of bikes in for another 50 weeks.
But at least I have Vegas to look forward to. A big adventure coming up that I will definitely write a lot about. Keep your eyes peeled. And let me know how you like the new design of NiceAndSunny.com.