It was 1am. My wife and I had just returned from Austin, Texas where we’d attended our very first Formula 1 Grand Prix. Still brimming from the adrenaline, the spectacle, the noise of the V8s, and the smell of race gas, I sat down at my computer and started typing. 

An empty craft beer bottle—all the rage at the time—sat next to me as I clumsily plowed through my thoughts having never before written anything other than term papers or my dissertation. I didn’t read it out loud, put it through grammar checks, thought of flow, and second passes. I just hit “Submit” and was done. 

I threw in jokes, insane photography—a banana sat cooling along a vent of a Kia Soul—and I put in every ounce of joy I felt attending COTA. It was fun, stupid, and beyond cathartic. 

My wife had surprised me with the tickets two weeks before as, the way she puts it, “I was beyond grumpy and depressed” at the time. I’d done all the stuff a good millennial was told to do. I went to college and got degrees. I went back home to find work and went out with friends and family most weekends. But everything rang hollow and boring. I was listless. 

I couldn’t have imagined that this incredibly dumb, half-drunken article would’ve led me back to COTA again, let alone give me a life writing every day for over 10 years, but this time as the executive editor of my own site. 

MotoGP 2024 COTA
MotoGP 2024 COTA
MotoGP 2024 COTA

Around 2:30 am, I posted my story on Jalopnik’s old Opposite Lock blog, and then went to bed. I didn’t care if anyone saw it, I just wanted the story out of my head and on (digital) paper. It needed to get out. And, honestly, I thought that was that. A fun dalliance to ease my ADHD and adrenaline after a wild experience watching V8 Formula 1 cars fly past, knock me in the chest, and smash my eardrums. 

But it wasn’t. 

When I woke up the next day and started getting ready for work, I heard my phone’s text ring. Then it rang again. And then again. And then many more. They all read the same excited words: You’re on the front page of Jalopnik! I scrambled to my computer and pulled up the site I loved reading so dearly, and there was my name and stupid story on the front page. I may have said “Holy shit,” out loud. 

For those too young to remember the good ole days of Jalopnik, Opposite Lock acted almost like a feeder blog (think Moto2 for MotoGP), a place where young writers could theoretically write something good enough for the main crew to yank it out of obscurity and throw it onto the front page. Most of your favorite automotive writers likely started that way. And that very same main crew had just taken the Formula 1 scribbles of an idiot and thrown it onto the front page. 

Klein at MotoGP
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I didn’t really know what to do at the time, as I was gobsmacked. People were reading and liking my words. They were commenting and, if I recall correctly, they weren’t being assholes to me about my lacking syntax, grammar, or truly abysmal editing prowess. They were supportive of the adventure my wife and I had gone on. 

At the time, I was still on Twitter (RIP), and I was following the then Editor-in-Chief Patrick George. And so to answer the only burning question in my brain, I messaged him and, paraphrasing, asked “Why the fuck did you post this?!” To which I seem to remember him saying, “It was funny and I liked it. You should write more.” 

Maybe my memory is wrong on that last part, but Patrick and I have now worked together off and on for a while, first at The Drive and now here at Motorsport Network. We’ve become friends, so if my recollection is trash and I’m lying, I trust he’ll call me out on it in Slack. 

But the seed his posting of my story planted something in me that I couldn’t shake over the coming months. After that first post, I wrote and wrote and wrote. I wrote on Opposite Lock, I emailed Matt Farah and wrote for The Smoking Tire, and I wrote for nearly every forum I could over at Internet Brands. And all of it was because of a trip to Circuit of the Americas and the half-drunken inane writing of someone bored with his life. 

I, honestly, cannot believe where that dumb writing took me. 

It’s been so long since that article but its legacy has taken me to places I couldn’t have dreamt. I’ve been all over the world, rode or driven every car and bike imaginable, met great friends, and interviewed the coolest people around. I moved to California and then to Utah. I adopted my kids—a saga in itself—and grew a life that others find enviable. And now, after all those years, I’m back again sitting in COTA’s paddock writing this story and watching a MotoGP race with Red Bull. 

But I’m not the regular spectator who wrote that first blog or even just the writer I became after. I’m the boss of RideApart

If you would’ve told me 10+ years ago that my silly story written in the wee hours of the morning would’ve propelled me to where I am now, I would’ve laughed. That Jonathon would've been incapable of imagining what I’ve done. He wouldn’t have believed the stories I now cherish. He wouldn’t believe the life I’ve now built. 

I’m beyond proud of what I’ve achieved. Proud of all the things I’ve done. And I’m beyond stoked to continue RideApart’s awesome legacy with the team I have. 

I can’t wait to show you what we’ve been planning, so stay tuned, because though I've done a metric ton in the last decade, I’ve just got into the groove and I’m preparing to go harder than I ever have.

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