Pyrexia and Palpitations.

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There are things that I love about winter: Christmas cards, starlit morning jogs and wearing PJs all day. Kiddies snooze, raining outside. Daylight emerges and I’m snuggled up with Buddy the puppy. Guilt-ridden as usual: should be calling mother, washing Bianca, cleaning for houseguests… But, for the last 4 hours I’ve been thinking about …. Oh gee! What a surprise!

Ahem….. Now, I just really want winter to go away please so that I can concentrate on learning how to use the R888s.  How will she handle pulling out of turn 1 at VIR? What grip will I feel braking hard left into 4? Will I better manage tail exiting uphill to turn 14?

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Track junkies know this: you can stop yourself from going to track, but you cannot stop your mind from going there. (Any denial is just a polite untruth.) 148762_10204603104096182_2055781425093791747_n

Wondering: Is there any way on earth I can somehow sneak off to Road Atlanta with Vader and Tex without Big T or kids noticing? Agggghhh! It’s killing me. Tex posted a thread on the Hurricanes page. Talking about RA. Lots of good advice from Greenfrog, GillesV, and ProCoach along with some exciting videos by Randy Pobst being shared.  Answer: I cannot go. And I cannot stop thinking about turn 12.petit

For the past 6 months my water-cooled Porsche buddies have been in full cry: Your car is not right for track!  “Why?” I ask.

Unanimous reply: You’re spending so much energy battling the car you’ll never learn to drive!  It’s too difficult to handle!

Truth be told, I do have doubts about continuing to track Bianca, but for different reasons. Mostly related to worries about her safety. It is clear to me that Ron treated her with kid gloves.  The worldwide ummah of air-cooled Porsche lovers know the value: Bianca is entirely original. Many owners of these out-of-production bullet-proofed engine gems have had to restore their cars, splicing them with parts and vin numbers from others.

But am I going to pick an easier car? For my ego or speed? Will I take my dear friend Vader’s advice?

Duh. Guess again. I am FastDriverMom….Mom is code word for “I have no ego left, and because of that I am more powerful than I ever was before. Stubborn as heck.”

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I love that she is really a difficult car to drive, just like (someone I know) is a difficult woman to love.  I adore that Bianca’s torsion bar suspension makes turning the wheel at speed on track require all the strength of arms and torso, and every nerve impulse of my conscious thought. Her nervous 915 transmission requires that I delicately insinuate my way into 2nd gear via a sticky negotiation of sweet-talking the synchros into position. Her prodigious clutch demands my left leg take charge: smooth on, firmly in, smooth off.  Sometimes, because I am so short, I have to lift my rear off the seat to floor it in.

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By the end of a track day every sensation is sweating and alive. My musculature is reduced to a pulpy mush of creatine phosphokinase. For me, by far, the greatest joy in track driving is in learning how to manage this difficult car. Speed will come in time.

Because of the blood, sweat, and tears I put into driving Bianca, I drive as my authentic self. Stupid right? Yup. Every one of my instructors will prove witness to the gory mess I become.

I cannot go to Road Atlanta, or Roebling or Watkins or Cota or Mid-Ohio just now.  And, thankfully, I can’t stop my mind from going there. My brain is singing and tingling under the joy of the pre-frontal cortex dopamine rush! Yes, just by imagining it. My skin is warm, pyrexic. Feverish! Yes, and palpitations too.

8 thoughts on “Pyrexia and Palpitations.

  1. Please do not succumb to the well-intentioned advice of those who want you to bail on the old 911s. I say it because of my 11.5 year love affair with mine. It’s been a wonderful journey and I have learned both how to wring it’s neck and to treat it with finesse. The unfortunate part is that when I have made errors in either, everyone has seen it. Clouds of dust or screeching tires as I have run out of talent. The good part is I have learned to drive it quickly – I have found the limits and have become comfortable very near them.

    Another benefit is I can now get into a 944 or a Bimmer or a Boxster and drive it fairly quickly. I hope hat doesn’t sound conceited: it is just what I have experienced. I have heard that if you can drive an old 911 well, you can drive anything. I’m not sure if that is completely true (“anything” includes an F1 car), but I have found it to be true of the cars we normally see at DEs.

    So, stay the course. It’s a fun road you’re on.

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    1. Don, thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m fortunate my friends put up with my stubborn-ness because I have to follow my heart for now. When or if I prove to myself that I can’t do it, then I will be forced to change course. ‘Til then, as Agent 007 advised, I’m keeping the faith!

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  2. It is often said, it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow. Although I strongly agree with this, I find it is usually quoted by peeps with slow cars.

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    1. As you often do Tom, completely nailed it! Sour grapes perhaps for those who had no choice, but anyone who picks an old torsion bar suspension (after driving several other 911s, both water and air-cooled) knows what they are in for.

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  3. While it can be fun to drive a slow car fast (I should know). The true reason behind FDM being pushed into a different car has to do with her physical limitations as it pertains to the difficulties of driving such an archaic beast (whether it’s a cool car or not). I still hold to the idea that a physically easier car to drive would be a better and safer way to go (for all parties).
    On a side note. I can relate to the palpetations thing. Hadn’t ww he’d racing on TV in a while and this weekend I watched the Pirelli Challenge race from Road America (a bucket list track for me). My heart rate was up and I found myself on the edge of my recliner most of the time. Knowing I can do what they were ………..and have, it killed me to sit n my recliner. I wanted to be dicing it up with the field!! Come on Road Atlanta in two weeks!!!!

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  4. Vader, you are by definition a person who brings balance to the force. Again and again, you have been proven to be correct. I respect that. A realist to the core. I am fortunate to count you as my friend–you are a person who gives out the straight dope. I’m afraid you will be proven correct and I will have to admit it. One of a kind, bro. That’s you!
    Thanks hermano!

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