Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Up and Down

Sheri was supposed to attend a Driver's Edge event at MSR Cresson last weekend. She fell ill, and was not able to go. I was also scheduled to go, and thus I loaded up the truck and trailer and went to Cresson, south of Ft. Worth.

One of the reasons I wanted to go was I needed the practice. I lost at Cresson this year. Two guys were faster than me. That would not do at all. Also, my friend Roger was going to be there in his Exige.

When I got there, the Driver's Edge staff asked me to become an instructor. I was blown away. TDE is the premier school in this area. I was going to work up to even asking to instruct with this group, so when they asked me instead, I could not say no.

Their program is a full weekend of class to learn how to even approach students. Once past that, we'll have two students each, when we're called on to instruct. That's three times the normal track time, though 2/3 of it is in the right seat. It's grueling. Also, my track time with this group is comped now. That's the practical incentive.

The meta game is that in order to learn something really well, you have to learn to teach it. I firmly believe that, especially for students who come late to a discipline.

The staff really put time into the curriculum. TDE has been around for 15 years. This is a serious effort to standardize the manner of what they teach. I'm excited to be a part of that. The class was great, and very participatory. There were 10 of us in it. I'm honored to be in their company.

Roger did great. His exige is easily the best looking one at the track, in blue and orange. I believe he's a natural for driving.

I had a passenger in my last run, a guy named (honest) Human. Pronounced 'hoo man.' He's a young engineer and is looking at buying a corvette. Pretty sure I sold him. I put the new brake pads from Carbotech on, and the car is insane to stop now. It takes no effort. I feel like I have at least 30% more brakes, just from these pads. At the same time, I was restrained with my speed, and kept to a very sane 8/10s or so. No need to make a rider sick.

On the way home, I rear-ended a Ford Explorer carrying a family of three.

Totally my fault. The truck is ruined. Damage to the radiator, hood, grille, fender, door and the hitch in back. It was able to limp off the road, streaming fluids, tearing up a tire in the process. Thankfully, the folks in the Explorer were not injured (and said as much in front of the police) and neither was I. The bluecar was tied down well, and also escaped damage. At one stroke, I went from on top of the world to screwed.

Sheri got on the road in a borrowed truck from Austin. I organized getting Jefe to a body shop. Then I waited for three hours for my wife to arrive, and took the opportunity to berate myself for a fool. I think I've only ever felt that stupid once or twice before.

The worst part is that I decided long ago that since we'd paid $3000 for El Jefe, I would not carry collision insurance on him. This makes monetary sense, but at the time, we had not named the truck, and he was not yet our friend. Now, as I sat by the rear tire listening to him bleed into the Ft. Worth night, it all came home to me.

We spent the night in Granbury, and hooked up the trailer the next day and came home. Jefe is still there, waiting for a larger trailer to bring him home. After that, I don't know what I'll do. I've come down with a cold, so have some time to think. His frame is intact, and the only mechanical damage is the radiator and the condenser for the AC. I figure if I can spend $500 or so to fix him up for sale, it will be worth it. Selling him off for scrap is not an option, for many reasons.

I've sold three cars for $400. The Duster, the Camaro and the Ford convertible. All my old rides that I ran into the ground then threw away.

No more.

I felt bad each time, and it cost me something. I'm not doing that again. He may have body panels in different colors, but El Jefe is not done just yet.


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