Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Somewhere in the Middle

The event previous to this one was a good day. I blew up my statistics doubling everything and just generally showing a tremendous improvement over the all my preceding events. I knew it would be hard to match that one... not that I was all that fast in the grand scheme of things last event, but the road of life is never that smooth.

Enter the next bump. It rained. The last rainy event on 5/17 was pretty discouraging for me. I had just gone to 3 full days of driving school in the previous 8 days. Recent seat time was coming out my ears, and I *really* was itching to prove that the not inconsiderable effort and cost had been worth it. I didn't think I was going to win anything by far, but I had dreams of moving from the lands south of the bottom 10% PAX to somewhere north of the bottom 25% PAX it seemed like a reasonable goal for my 3rd event ever (2 events and 3 days of school!).

Unfortunately, all my seat time up until 5/17 had been in dry weather, and it rained cats and dogs in the morning before runs, then dried up over the course of the day. I spent the entire day just trying to figure out if my car still had wheels or sleigh runners... or wheels again. I knew rain was part of the sport, I knew it was something important to learn, but I really didn't want to learn it just then.

This Sunday I was coming off an excellent success. On my 5th event (June 7) I blew the previous goal out of the water, laying down a time that would have been 35% if my car were in a class similar to it's actual preparation, and 39% in raw times. I even hit 25% in my official SSM PAX (for which I consider 80% to be the max that is practically achievable without serious modifications). This time I was ready to learn something new.

From a learning perspective, I was actually glad it rained. From the perspective of Father's day I wasn't so happy about it, but luckily my parents are troopers, and they came and had a good time dispite the rain. I knew I was going to have trouble with the rain. I had only 2 runs on actual wet pavement, and those were more than a month distant. My hope was to learn as fast as I could and land my statistics (which are all relative to other folks times) somewhere in between my previous awesome event, and all the others that preceeded it in less glorious fashion.

My SSM factor stat simply got trashed. Mikhael El-Bayeh drove his CRX (777 ssm) into the top 25% of raw times... Something not seen in SSM yet this year. Additionally the Kuehl brothers have left novice and joined the main ranks. I knew it would happen sooner or later given the times they were putting up, so not only did I wind up at the bottom, I wound up at the bottom of 6 cars. Oh well. I knew the field was weak last time anyway.

My Russ Factor didn't do so well and probably should have been trashed even worse, but Russ also had a bit of an off day (judging from the sound he made when he saw his pax standings). But he has a *lot* more experience than I, so I was not at all surprised to loose lots of ground to him.

However relative to the overall field I did (barely) meet my goal if I exclude the dirty run from 2 events ago... I may take that line off the stats chart now anyway it's not really 100% real. The one silver lining is that I'm pretty sure I could have put up a much better time if the rain had just held another 10 minutes and left the final run as damp rather than soaked. The second to last run I ran 4 seconds slower than my best time... AFTER spinning out on the first turn. I know I had definately figured out the second half of the course. Except for one cone my final run would have been my best, but that cone probably did help my time since I ran it over going a little wider on a turn than I should have, and that did give me a better run at the straight. That run is encouraging beacause it was wetter than my best run.... I think I might have learned a little bit about rain.

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