Go Dogs, Go

Jun 11, 2007 | Uncategorized

This weekend went by in a complete blur. Partially because of the driving fast and partially because it really just went entirely too fast. It was a Porsche Club sponsored driver’s ed event.

Friday:
Went home after work, just hung around with my Mom and brother. Went to sleep early because I had be up by 5:00 to get ready and get to the track.

Saturday:
Up at 5:00, out the door at 5:45, at the track by 6:30. We had to go through registration and tech to make sure our cars and helmets were all up to the standards. Then, we set up our “camp” of chairs and tent and got to park right next to the grid, which made for easy outs when it was our turn. There was a driver’s meeting at 7:30, and then my Mom and I hung around until we got to do our track tour. We didn’t have anybody else in the car and the tourguide car was going about 60 mph. Which, believe me, I’m comfortable going 60, but in a huge line of cars (about 35?) around a track I wasn’t at all familiar with? Um, yeah. It was nice to see the track but it still wigged me out, especially because it was a track tour and I had a black Carrera on my tail the entire time. Thankfully, I found out later that he was a level 2 and I didn’t have to deal with him the rest of the weekend. Then, we had classroom time. I learned about the different flags (more than you’d think) and passing signals and how to properly take a fast turn, etc. Then, right before lunch we had our second track tour, which was a little different: smaller groups of 5 or 6 cars behind a “mother duck” car showing us the line of the track and so on. I wasn’t nearly as apprehensive. Lunch break was kinda long for the group oners, but afterwards, I got to meet my instructor.

She deserves a paragraph all to herself. She’s maybe an inch taller than I am, just as tiny, and an absolute firecracker. Short, silver hair, (I’m guessing late 50’s, she had her 35th wedding anniversary over the weekend) and so freaking cute. But once she got in the car with me, she knew exactly how to instruct me. She was easy to understand, wasn’t pushy, and looooved going fast. “Give it gas, c’mon, c’mon, give it gas! Alright!!!” Imagine your grandmother sitting next to you telling you to shift faster, take turns going 60 mph, and so on.

She was a freaking. blast.

Anyhow, group 1 had two afternoon sessions. I immediately realized that I needed gloves after the first session, being as h o t as it was over the weekend, and how lousy a grip I had because I was so sweaty. For safety, we had to wear long sleeves and jeans in the cars as well, so it was extra hot. My instructor was great, very supportive and gave me tons of good feedback. By the end of day one I had already managed to get a good, solid idea of the line of the track and was already much more comfortable gaining speed, even passing a few cars (older, mind you) on the back straightaway.

The track closed at 5:00, we went out for Mexican, my Mom went home to take care of the dog, my dad, brother and I went back to the hotel. After taking turns in the shower, I think we all passed out around 8:30. It was exhausting.

Sunday:
Up at 6:00, downstairs for complimentary breakfast. (sweet.) Over to the track by 7:00 because Dad’s on the track committee. Hung around outside before it got too blistering hot, reset up “camp,” waiting for day two to start. The higher groups had a driver’s meeting, then group 5 (where my Dad is) was the first to go out. I’ve actually never been out in the race car, and he took me out for a few laps. I think we got up to 120 or so, but he said it was misfiring and wasn’t going as fast as it could. Either way, I was quickly reminded that cars could stop so quickly. I mean, STOP. We’re going 120, going, going, STOP, downshift to 3rd, going 60. But I don’t even have words to describe it, it was that exhilarating.

Group one two early morning sessions back to back, which was nice. We went out the first time, came back in, they re-gridded us and we sat for about 10 minutes, then we were back out again. The morning went even better, I was taking turns much faster, gaining on more cars, passing a few more, and was just feeling like a little bit of a badass. I won’t lie, it feels good. Especially with all the positive feedback I was getting. I was still in great shape, taking the turns quicker, accelerating throughout the entire track, not just the straights, and shifting how she wanted me to. Afterwards was our lunch break, they did donations for charity track tours for any cars that wanted to go around the track. I was so exhausted and the weekend had caught up to me by that time, so I took a much needed nap during my break. Afterwards, my dad took me out again in group 3 (my brother’s group) only this time in my car to show me what it’s capable of. This was a good learning experience too, and he loved driving it because it’s completely different from the 944. I think we got to 115 on the back straight, and he passed up quite a few cars.

I had two more afternoon sessions Sunday afternoon. I was starting to get a headache, which sucked, because I didn’t want to be a party-pooper and just not go out. I think the heat was beginning to get to me, even though I was drinking water and Gatorade like it was my job. I did go out though, and I’m really glad I did. Both my last sessions went swimmingly, and I got nothing but positive feedback. The last session my instructor got out and gave me a hug and I thanked her for being so helpful. Her enthusiasm was intoxicating.

There’s another DE in August, but I think I’m gonna pass on that one and do it again in October. Hopefully it won’t be nearly as hot, plus, I’m on my own for the next one, and they’re not cheap. But so, so worth it. I came home last night and immediately showered. Got ready for work, made shells and cheese (my comfort food) and ate dinner in bed. I think I fell asleep at 8:00 again. Apologies for everyone that called, I was wiped.

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