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My excessive energy, extreme narcissism, and intense love of neon-colored spandex is both managed and fueled by my addiction to fitness. I push myself to extremes and I push other people's buttons. Obviously I needed my own blog.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Race Car Driving

So last Wednesday, I was sitting at the bar by my apartment in my soccer clothes, when a guy sits down next to me. Neither of us had eaten yet and after asking for dinner menus, we decided to be adventurous and share one of Jones Wood Foundry's eel pies. It was pretty bland, but what do you expect from British food? Anyway, we got to talking and I happened to mention that I really miss driving, and then my new dinner companion asked if I would like to go race car driving. Yes, this is my real life.

My good fortune meant an invitation to Monticello Motor Club yesterday. MMC is an automotive resort and private race track, and maybe the coolest place I've ever been. I mean honestly, I got to DRIVE A RACE CAR ON A RACE TRACK!

We left Manhattan at 7 AM to drive up to Monticello, which is about 90 minutes north of the city. The drive was pretty if uneventful. We made it to the club, got me signed in, and then I was sitting in my novice driver instruction course. Once we covered safety protocol and the meaning of the different flags, I met my instructor Arlene and we headed over to the cars.

I cannot drive stick (yet) so I got to drive a Jaguar F-Type S. I love Jaguars for many reasons, including that I was brought home from the hospital in one when I was born. I also just love cars in general. The man formerly known as my uncle was really into cars and I thought he was fascinating and therefore found cars fascinating. Out of his many cars, my favorite was the aluminum Shelby Cobra.

Arlene drove two laps with me in the passenger seat to give me a feel for the course. At 3.5 miles and 18 turns, it's a pretty long track to learn on, or so they tell me. My first session was a little nerve-wracking because it felt weird to drive on the entire road. I was hesitant to drive very fast and a few of the drivers were passing without permission. You don't use your blinkers to signal to other drivers, but instead use hand signals. Your arm out the window means pass on the left, your arm out the window pointing over the car means pass on the right, and your arm out the window in a fist means going into the pit. If you're not signaling to the car behind you, they really shouldn't be passing.

borrowing a personalized helmet required me to picmonkey out some identifying details
When I wasn't driving, I was sitting shotgun in a tangerine Corvette. I'm not usually a fan of the color orange, but the tangerine hue really grew on me. The only thing that might be as fun as driving on a race track, is being the passenger in a car on a race track with a driver who really knows what he's doing.

We stopped for lunch and the midday break. Driving takes a lot out of you because you have to be hyper focused so I appreciated the chance to just hang out, enjoy the weather, enjoy the company, and stare at the cars.

I normally drive with my seat so far back that I'm practically in my backseat, so this felt a little strange.
I sat one session out and then got back on the track. My date and I had spent time going over the map to figure out where I needed to improve, and it definitely made a difference when Arlene and I got back out there. My last two laps were incredible. It finally clicked that I need to look at the farthest cone I could see and by doing that, I would be able to smoothly transition between each section.

The day was obviously amazing and I had a great time. Driving 110 mph in a suped up Jag on a beautiful day was a pretty decent way to spend a Sunday.

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