I still surprise myself when it comes to my passion with the TT and the Dunlops in particular.
I thrive on any excuse to talk to someone new about the TT, about the Isle of Man, about the riders, my experiences. And how it changed my life.
I find it can be a little intimidating. Being a woman who is into the sport, who isn't just about "oh, I like men in leathers" but to be someone who is actually passionate about the sport. Someone who will talk and talk and talk about it until someones ears are bleeding.
I hated bikes.
I wasn't interested at all at going to watch them. I knew the names of two riders, and their uncle and dad who died doing their passion, and that was it.
But the person I am today, knows a lot more.
I want to understand the sport. I feel passionate about it. When I'm on the island I don't want to miss a race.
I get slightly moody and grumpy if Michael or William retire and are no longer in the running. I still support other racers but my heart lies with the Dunlops. Because they unknowingly, changed my life.
Watching them, watching video footage of their father and their uncle, made me understand the sport. To forget about my initial thoughts of them being selfish and putting their lives at risk thinking only of themselves.
They made me understand that this is their life. This is what they want to do, and people around them support it.
And even more so...they have an amazing talent.
There is something about watching them throw themselves around a bike at a ridiculous speed on normal roads with lumps, bumps, hills and corners that makes you stand in awe. They seem almost super human.
This year I met other riders, I didn't want to meet Michael and William again (wait, I wanted to but chose not to because I met them last year and had a good experience) and it gave me the opportunity to widen my thoughts and to understand others passions and abilities a little more.
There are other riders I now support, other riders that in some races I supported and thought deserved to win, but heart will always belong to the Dunlops.
That family who changed my life for the better. Unknowingly.