Saturday, September 29, 2007

Open your eyes dummy!

A popular game that children have played for centuries is that of closing their eyes and pretending to be blind as they attempt to walk thru the house or an obstacle course without hitting their shins. Speaking from experience I can tell you no matter how hard they try they will never truly know what it's like to really comprehend the true meaning of total darkness. No matter how hard they close their eyes or how tight they pull the blindfold in the back of their subconscious they know they will be able to open their eyes and see again. Due to a freak accident when I was young, I knew that terrible emptiness of opening my eyes but seeing nothing. But thanks to God, my parents unwillingness to give up and the miracles of modern medical science and blessed with the power of positive thinking here I am today ready to go race in a 2000 mile race in Mexico.

Why talk about being blind you ask? In the majority of racing that I have been involved with over the last 45 years for the most part I could practice on the track to become familiar with it. That isn't going to happen in this years La Carrera Panamericana. Oh sure we will have a book that tells us every single turn, straight, hill and how fast and so forth but taking a corner flat out without hesitation because your team mate sitting beside you is telling you the book tells you that's the way it's done.... Well, you surely get my point. Try closing your eyes real tight and then try running thru the house..... Strike that... Try running thru someone else's house at full speed while someone tells you, "Turn right.... Go straight... Left, watch out for that coffee table. Oh crap, that's going to leave a mark."

The majority of competitors running this years Historica C class have run these very roads several times before not to mention some are professional rally drivers. The truth of the matter is this is their house and we are the invited guest. Remember what the spider said to the fly?

The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt (1799-1888)

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;

“‘Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.

The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,

And I have many curious things to show when you are there.”

“Oh no, no,” said the little fly; “to ask me is in vain,

For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

Jon and I do not intend to end up on the spider's dinner table. Does this make me feel less likely to do well? Not at all. In fact one thing Jon and I have learned over years of successful endurance driving is that winning isn't all about speed. It's about consistency. In every sport known to man consistency is the key to success. And if there is one thing I can guarantee it is that there is the "luck" and the "over confident" factor both of which will take out a few teams.

Today I learned that there are several teams in our class that are coming with some of the best team support known to racing. Does that bother me? Of course not because I am confident we fall into that very category. Furthermore Jon and I are the type of competitors that feel if we win we want to do it against the very best their is or else why even race. We know any true competitor we run against will feel the same way.

This evening I watched a very well done video that I found over at FLATOVERCREAST.COM where follows Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino to New Zealand for the 2007 Hella International Rally of Whangarei. Ken takes us through the recce and pacenote process, and talks about pushing the limits. Produced and filmed by Formula Photographic for

During this interview Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino talk about how it is impossible for even a professional rally driver to compete with those who have been able to run it countless times before them. Ken Block goes on to explain how he and his co-driver are allowed to pre dive the course and then create their own notes and the doubts they sometimes have. Even though they are unhappy with their DNF but being the true competitors that they are they turn right around and talk about how much they learned at this course what a good thing it is for the next time they return. The bottom line is real competitors are always planing ahead and they know in their mind they are eventually going to be on the podium.

Enjoy the video...

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