Wednesday, July 26, 2006

You Should Be Dancing

Whew! My weekend in Edmonton was fabulous! Fabulously hot! And fabulously cool! They broke a 69 year old record on Saturday for highest temperature. Isn't that fun? And it reached 100˚F on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. (thankfully we had left the track by them, so we were probably only out in 98˚F. The air conditioning in our hotel was most definitely not up to the task. It never got cool in there and with the humidity from the shower and from overlooking the pool room (it sucked), the room was just always humid. My apt. with fans and open windows was cooler!

Did anybody know that Edmonton has the largest Mall in North America? (Possibly the world) Yup, it's bigger than the Mall of America and on Sunday afternoon it was JAMMED! You would have thought it was a Saturday in December with everybody doing their Christmas shopping. It has the requisite amusement park with roller coaster, but since it was Canada it also had an ice rink right in the center og the mall. The mall closest to me had an ice rink in it when it first opened, but it was just a normal ice rink, not out in the center of the mall where everybody walked past it. I have to say that it was the first time I had been somewhat cool all freaking weekend long!

Saturday night we went to the Inner Circle Fan Club dinner and it was held OUTSIDE!! It was 90-fucking-some degrees outside, all of us had been at the race track all day long sweltering, and they decided to have dinner on the veranda. Even I, normally a huge fan of the outdoor eating, wasn't pleased. In the end it was all worth it though, because HRH won a pace car ride. (It's a frame set-up, so to view a lap at Edmonton, go Experience, then Take A Lap, and then click on Edmonton, Alberta. It'll take you less than 2 minutes.) Dave & Linda, the couple that runs the fan club, were selling Inner Circle hats for $20 (CDN) for a chance to win the pace car ride. He had about five left at some point and said, "If I sell all the hats, I'll give away THREE pace car rides." Eventually, he said, "I have one hat left, but will still give away three rides." HRH spoke up and said, "If you sell all of them, will you throw in one more ride?" Dave said, "Yes" so HRH bought a second hat which gave her two chances. She ended up winning the 3rd ride. She was on Cloud Nine for the rest of Saturday and all day Sunday, even after the ride. As she went through our turn (hairpin), Allison, the driver, honked the horn and HRH waved. I was trying to video it on Roadrunner's camera (as HRH had my camera), but, of course, the jackass in front of me stood up just as HRH went by so I got a nice view of his back. And I didn't see her waving. He's lucky I didn't smack him.

Roadrunner and I are seriously contemplating buying a pace car ride at Road America. HRH said it was the coolest thing ever and she's definitely going to buy a ride at RA. The track map of Road America doesn’t show you the elevation changes, the way the front straight goes straight up into the sky. And even on television you can't see how steep that hill is. My first visit to RA was incredible. Actually all first visits to race tracks are incredible. Watching on TV makes so much more sense when you've seen how the track is laid out, in person. It's hard to appreciate The Corkscrew and Rainey Curve at Laguna Seca until you've stood there and seen the cars go screaming past as they make that blind turn from Turn 7 into The Corkscrew where the track falls away and all you can see is blue sky. My dream pace car ride would happen at Laguna Seca, but since we no longer run there, I'll content myself with seriously considering buying the ride at Road America. I can't even imagine the spell the race track will have on my soul after that experience.

I've found that over the winter I get to thinking that I don't need racing in my life, but then I get to a race and the sights and sounds and smells are so familiar, so beloved. I'm just so happy and content with life when I'm at the track – even when it's 100 freaking degrees Fahrenheit and getting a sunburn through my SPF 55 because the sun is just brutally beating down on us. Even when it's raining and cold and I'm shivering through my rain gear. I simply love racing and am so lucky that I have friends who feel the same way. I don't know that I would be venturing out to all these different race tracks (In fact, I would bet money that I wouldn't be) if I hadn't discovered the ESPN Racing Chat over eleven years ago and found so many like-minded folk who have turned out to be my best friends. From Paula in NC whom we can never get to join us at the races because her life is so crazy busy to HRH in Toronto who is my regular race going buddy to Roadrunner in NM who is going to more races with HRH & me to DH1 and The Boys who introduced us to Cleveland (the race every race fan, open wheel or NASCAR or even neophyte, should attend because it's always brilliant) and for that we'll always love him to Silmo (Silver3 & emmo2) who met because of Cleveland and got married (RIP emmo2, I'll love you always) to Griz (my dear adopted Dad who was supposed to give me away if I ever got married, but God had other plans for him) to Spike & Rowlin', another couple who got together essentially because of Cleveland. Going to races isn't just about the racing, although that's what brought us all together, it's about seeing everybody, catching up in person on what's happening in everybody's life (e-mail isn't always sufficient) and sharing our passion for turbocharged, open wheel, open cockpit, carbon fibre, methanol-burning race cars. It's a beautiful thing.


At Wednesday, 26 July, 2006, Blogger mr. schprock said...

If I read any more posts like this, I think I'll finally head up to Loudon, NH, to watch some stock car racing. It just might be fun.

At Wednesday, 26 July, 2006, Blogger trinamick said...

I have enjoyed the races I've been to, but I'd rather be the one behind the one. My cousin races the sprint cars her brother builds, and I am ridiculously jealous.

At Wednesday, 26 July, 2006, Blogger Beth said...

I used to watch the races with my dad as a kid, but I can't warm up to it anymore. They just go round and round and round. I'm too high strung for that. I need action.

At Wednesday, 26 July, 2006, Anonymous Rick in CT said...

It's such a pity that your passion doesn't come through on the page ;^) Glad Edmonton was fun (but hot) - have you heard that Milwaukee might get dropped next year?


At Wednesday, 26 July, 2006, Blogger Kathleen said...

Schprockie - Just Say No to stock cars!!! Real race cars don't have doors. They have turbo-charged engines and pointy-noses! ;-)

Trina - Driving would be cool, but I think I'm better off watching.

Beth - Real race cars turn left & right! ;-)

Rick in CT - You're partially to blame you know.

At Wednesday, 26 July, 2006, Blogger Sal said...

You made races sound beautiful to me and I'm mildly amaxophobic.

At Thursday, 27 July, 2006, Blogger Scott said...

I never really got into racing, but maybe that's because I always went to see stock cars. A friend in North Carolina gave up football for Nascar. That is huge.

At Thursday, 27 July, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

I haven't been to the races in so long - and I've never been to Edmonton so maybe I should do both sometime!! Sounds like a lot of fun!

At Thursday, 27 July, 2006, Blogger Kathleen said...

Sal - You don't have to ride in one, just watch. Next year I'm going to Belgium, but the following year I'll come out for San Jose and take you. You'll love it! ;-)

Scott - I don't even like football and that's a travesty.

Heather - Denver is August 13. Check it out!

At Friday, 28 July, 2006, Anonymous Woof said...

Yes, I knew about Edmonton being the largest mall, wouldn't mind going there once - although it sounds like they need help with the air conditioning. ack.

The dream lap would have to be the Nordschleife, no doubt. Laguna Seca would be the best for me stateside, though.

And yes, I miss the chat, too - sadly I haven't been able to hit a race for a while, especially Cleveland.


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