Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mid Season

We're now three events into the 2010 NASA time trial season, at the halfway mark. I was pretty down going into last weekend.

MSR Cresson was disappointing. There is a very fast BMW driver in my class now, and he thrashed everyone, by a couple of seconds. Hard to believe that he's that fast in a lightly modified M3, but the times do not lie. I ended up fourth or so, not any better than Houston. I was forced to buy two new tires too, when my old ones went bad. New tires are $300 per, so that was a big hit. However, they were very sticky, so I did what you should do with new tires: I ran one session on them and took them off. They season like that, and last longer.

I got some good news with the local Chrono X time trial though. I was first in "class" (they are still working out the class structure in this new series) with a 1:27 time at Harris Hill Road. That's not a bad time, but the car is capable of more, I'm sure.

On April 23rd, at around dusk, I rolled into TWS for the event. The car was unchanged from last event, but I was happy to finally get to run TWS counter clockwise again. It's the first track configuration I learned, and is thus a good benchmark.

Saturday was a short day, as there was a six hour enduro in the afternoon. We ran two morning sessions with the DE guys. I proved I was around a half second off my fastest time recorded at TWS (a 1:58) and so I switched the two new tires from Cresson back in.

My main competition in time trial A is Josh Hilts. He drives a C5 Z like mine, but with half the miles. He was a full second faster in both sessions. Thankfully, the BMW driver had never been to TWS and was still learning the track, so he was unlikely to be a threat.

In the lazy afternoon on Saturday, listening to the enduro race go on around me, I started to feel better. The car was running good, I was surrounded by friends, and the weather was terrific. The day was capped off by a real feast put together by Mike Zina and the rest of the time trial group. Great bunch of folks. Went to bed around 11, and slept like a rock.

Sunday, I posted my best time ever at TWS. 1:57 flat. Josh had put all four new tires on to my two, and so was 0.5 seconds faster. I came in second, and we were far and away the fastest drivers in the class. My depression was at an end. I remembered how to find the edge and skate along it and remain detached. I guess it took being at my home track and getting into a groove again to help me remember how to do that. I felt as if one part of me was driving, and another was planning where to pass the next car, and keeping track of where everyone was. I knew where I needed to be a full lap before I got there. It was great.

The lesson here is that I'm done with scrub tires. I need to have new rubber to be competitive, and so that's what I'll do. I won two this weekend (Hoosier contingency paid out for first and second place), and I'll buy two more to put on my lightweight wheels. That will be the edge I need to win the remaining events of the season. As my friend Sean pointed out "New tires are only expensive if you have to buy 'em. Just go win 'em."

Next event is Hallett in June, and there's another Chrono X trial in Austin at the end of this month. Looking forward to it.