Thursday, August 03, 2006

Getting in Shape

Went back to the gym recently. The only time I have to work out is in the early morning. That sucked at first, but now I'm getting used to it. The hardest part is going to bed early enough.

Driving subjects you to heat. My car is actually pretty well insulated against engine and transmission heat, but cockpit temps get into the 110-120F range. You don't notice it, but it's plenty hot. Race cars, with all the insulation pulled out, are 130-ish. Then there's the elevated heart rate. Going fast is pretty intense, and your heart responds and speeds up. Then there's the Gs. It's not alot, but for those of us that are not pilots, we're not used to 2G, over and over again. That causes muscle fatigue and makes you tired, which slows you down. That must not happen, so to the gym I went.

I'm doing aerobic exercise on an eliptical trainer. It's low impact, and I can hold my heart rate (the wonderful device has a heart rate monitor built in) around 135-150 for 30 minutes. It also helps breath control and my legs (which mysteriously turned into rubbery odd-looking things when I wasn't looking). I then do some core work (that's what's sore when I get off track, so I must need work there) and that's what I have time for.

I need to find a good neck exercise. My head isn't secured too well, and carries a helmet. You also have to maintain good flexibility in your neck so that you can maintain situational awareness and vision. And a stronger neck helps if you ever get in a pile up, or so I'm told. BestI can do so far is looping a towel around my head and pulling this way and that. It has the added bonus of looking REALLY stupid, so that's a good thing.

Weight. I've struggled with it all my life. Well, now, every six pounds is about 1 HP at the wheels. That's some powerful incentive. Dropping from 250 to 238 would be nice, make me more heat tolerant and faster. Sounds like a winner.

Driving fast is a sport. Have to train for track days with more respect.


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