2011-03-28

Another rainy weekend on track

It must please racing gods to see drivers and their trusty steeds swim through rivers and lakes on track, for water hath covered Infineon and there was much slickness.

This was the second event I got to run this season, and instead of getting dryer, the weather got much, much wetter and colder. I was very lucky to be part of the team with a trailer and a propane heater inside!

Both days, my students did not show up, so I had a weekend to myself.

Staying on the track and in control of the car was very challenging at times, and I could feel my tires hydroplaning almost on each lap. My times have plummeted of course, but so have most everyone else's (with a few exceptions). I have found that while I usually occupy the last or one-before-last position in the dry, I was able to place better in the wet. I guess my smooth-hands driving style helps me in the rain. In the dry however, I keep hearing that I'm not near aggressive enough. I decided that the deluge was not the right time to practice overdriving and drove as usual.

Having seen a number of cars end up in walls and tire barriers, and having felt the car step out a few times, I was getting a little nervous during my stints. I'm not big on white-knuckle grip when stressed, but noticed that slippery conditions made me hold my breath through challenging corners a lot, so once I figured out where the grip was around the line, I began concentrating on my breath. That helped me concentrate on the present and not hold my breath so much.

You'll be surprised to find out that the scariest moment of the weekend was NOT on the race track at all! I got to learn to tow a race car on a trailer, when my team needed help moving an extra car. When first asked whether I would help, I caught myself resisting and looking for excuses not to do that because I was afraid, having never towed anything before.

This is when I decided I should do it, because there is no better time to learn than now, and so I hopped into the truck and followed the big rig onto the highway, my heart pumping so furiously, I could feel it in my throat. Wouldn't you know it, once you are actually doing something, it becomes less scary, and soon I was much more comfortable with the situation.

I towed the same race car back to the garage after the weekend was over, and I felt a sudden surge of accomplishment that I learned something new, even though I was very afraid of that at first. I have been "planning" to learn to tow for months, but always found excuses to avoid it when opportunities were there.

All in all, a very fun, though drenched weekend. And the best part is, there's another one coming up in just a couple of weeks!