Monday, March 30, 2009

Cool, Sunny Drags

I got some workouts in last week, but I felt fat and sluggish. I did stairs Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and on Tuesday my Night Train was finished getting new forward controls, so I picked it up and then rode my bicycle over to the shop to get my car. I wouldn't consider the six mile ride an intense workout, but it was enough to break a sweat. On Friday I finally managed to watch the finale of Battlestar Galactica. I had mixed thoughts about it, but at least it was a definitive ending, not some ambiguous cop-out or launch pad for a movie or spinoff (Caprica notwithstanding).

When I woke up Saturday morning, the heater was running, so I knew it had to be cold outside. I left wearing a lot more gear than I was expecting to, but I should have had more. I wore my chaps, but just my mid-weight jacket and gloves. I would have been better with my leather jacket, but I really wished I had worn my heavy gauntlet gloves. When I stopped for gas in Sealy, my hands were so cold I could barely operate my zipper or buttons. I toughed it out, and made it to Baytown at 11, when I hit heavy race traffic. I sat there waiting in it, rather than being a dick and going around and squeezing in at the last second. It took more than an hour to go the last mile. It did allow me to warm up some, but it was really windy, so I was still bundled up and a bit chilled. Since the traffic was moving some, albeit very slowly, I couldn't get to my lunch or do anything useful. Once I finally got parked some time after noon, I then had to wait in line for ages to get tickets. Somehow I managed to get in the slowest line, and it was 1 o'clock by the time I finally got through the gate. I had missed the entirety of the third qualifying session of pro stock and top fuel, and got a seat in the grandstand in the midst of funny car qualifying. I stayed on the spectator side for alcohol and sportsman racing, mostly in the stands, but also wandering a little bit. Because I foolishly decided to sit near the top of the stands, where the wind was the worst, I never really warmed up, and seeing people walking around in shorts and short sleeve shirts didn't help. After the final pro qualifying, I went over to the pits. I wandered around for about an hour, checking out the work and picking up driver "hero" cards. Around 6:30 I was hungry so I left the track (which fortunately didn't take long) and went into Baytown for dinner at Outback. It was on the early side when I got there, so it was kind of dead. I had dinner and stuck around for a while. As I was getting ready to leave, a guy wearing a team shirt sat down next to me. I asked him about it, and it turned out he was rookie driver Matt Hagan. I chatted with him for a little while before I left and went to check into my hotel a few miles down the road. I stayed at the Holiday Inn, and when I checked in about 9:30 I could hear karaoke going on in the bar. I got my stuff into my room, and then went down to check out the bar. It wasn't such a bad place, so I stuck around for a while, and even did one karaoke song. It was about midnight when I went to sleep.

I woke up briefly at 6 Sunday morning, but went back to sleep until 7. I packed up, checked out, and headed back toward the track. I stopped for gas, a soda and some McDonald's to go, and continued on to the track. Traffic was fortunately quite light since it was still early. I parked and sat there eating my breakfast before going in and back to the pits. I wandered around for a while, checking out the preparations for raceday. About 10:30 I went back to the grandstands to get a seat for the last of pre-race stuff before the first engines fired at 11. The second pair out, Urs Erbacher had a massive engine explosion. It was so spectacular it was almost worth the half hour plus of cleanup. Another oildown in funny car caused another delay, and it was after 1 by the time the first round of pro eliminations was over. I ran to the bike to get my lunch afterward. I should have put on more sun screen, as it turns out, since I'm pretty red in the face today. I got a drink and went back to the grandstand to eat lunch and watch some sportsman racing before the second round of professionals. After the second round was over, I went into the pits, then back to the grandstand for the semifinals, back to the pits, watched final round, and then went to check out the winning cars in the staging lanes. I was pretty tired after all the standing and walking, and then I had to get on the bike and ride home. I left just wearing a t-shirt, anticipating getting overheated from a long delay to get out of the parking lot. Fortunately traffic moved, and it only took about 20 minutes to get to the interstate. I was a little on the cool side, but I didn't want to stop, so I kept on going, until the sun was getting pretty low and it really started cooling off. It was pretty hard to see, heading west, straight into the sun, but I certainly didn't let that hold me to the posted speed limit. After getting gas, a drink, and a snack, I put on my jacket and my clears and continued home, getting in about 9:45. I leafed through the paper a little before going to bed, exhausted.

No comments: