Friday, August 18, 2006

Rained Out

I put my wife on the plane to her speaking engagement, and loaded up to head for Dallas and the TMS night event. It was a leisurely load, since I didn't have to be there until late in the afternoon.

I drove up I-35, and made good time. It's not as pretty a drive as the more westerly route through Hico, but when going to Dallas and not Ft. Worth, I-35 is often faster.

As I drove and relaxed, I managed to outrun the tensions of the week. This is how I know I'm doing the right sort of recreation. I've had hobbies that felt like work, so that after a weekend of them, you don't feel relaxed or rested, but rather keyed up. Driving is not like that. By the time I got to Dallas, I was refreshed, relaxed and ready for a snack before changing tires and getting on-track.

At 1600 they let us in to the track. Saw many friends, talked new mods, new kids, relationships, politics, and food. The usual. I also started drinking water, as it was around 102F.

Around 1630, my tires arrived, but I waited to change them until after the driver's meeting. The track was occupied by one of the high-end driving schools. They were turning laps in what looked and sounded like a NASCAR vehicle. Must have cost a great deal.

The Blue Goose Cantina catered the dinner. Very, very good fajitas! If you're in Dallas, I'll recommend them on the Fajits alone. As we ate, Rick explained the track and the rules of the event, and it was a scary talk. No passengers, because no instructor would ride in the outside seat next to the wall. Talk of going 150-160 into the banked turns, as the chicane was not really much of a slowdown. How the track didn't give your brakes time to cool, since though the straight was long, the braking was very hard at the end. Then Steve Hill took over.

Rick was mild compared to Steve. He described, in some detail, how to fuck up on this track. You could come off the 26 degree banking onto the 14 degree, think it's flat and spin the car. If you try to catch it, you'll flip the back end around and smack the wall backwards. How to minimize impact, if you can, hitting the wall at less than 15 degrees, because more was very dangerous. How a brand new C6 had been destoyed at this track. Who had died at this track. And on.

It froze the room. I began to think about why I was here at all, if this was a hobby, or something else. I put that aside and threw away my plate and went to change tires when Steve was done scaring us. I think it's sane to be cautious, but too much caution can also lead to accidents, so I thought to drive as I always do and see how it worked out.

When I was all set up, I noted clouds on the horizon, over the top of the stands. There was a magnificent rainbow too; I could see both ends. I watched until I was sure, then found a computer to check the weather. The coulds were coming up towards the track.

Three hours later, I was changing tires again, in the rain. I run on street tires for rainy conditions. No one had been on track, and it was dark already. The problem was the lightning. You can't station corner workers out in the rain and the lightning. An hour later, we called the event because of weather, so I got to go get some sleep. I was very disappointed, but hopefully we can reschedule. No rain for 45 days, until this storm.


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