THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED IN MAY OF 2012… I HAVE RECEIVED SEVERAL REQUESTS TO REPOST IT, SO TODAY IS THE DAY!
WHY RIDING HORSES IS MUCH BETTER THAN KART RACING.
Have you ever been kart racing?
Yeah, me neither, until today…
You see, Hubby had purchased a beauty treatment Groupon (another story…) for my Xmas present. Well, that Groupon went defunct and he had to pick another one to replace the previous beauty treatment Xmas present Groupon.
He chose Kart Racing.
OK, now most of you may wonder why he chose Kart Racing to replace my Xmas present beauty treatment. I wondered the same thing… Actually, I asked him how Kart Racing was anywhere related to beauty treatments and he said that he figured it would put a smile on my face – and that was a beauty treatment in itself.
Me thinks he just wanted to go Kart Racing but … whatever… it did put a smile on my face.
Except, not at first.
So, Hubby wouldn’t tell me what we were going to do. He said it was a ‘surprise’.
(Yup, it was.)
All he told me was to wear closed-toed shoes and a jacket. Of course, I asked if I had to dress warmly or if I had to look pretty or if I should wear heels… He wouldn’t tell me anything.
So, I played it safe and wore low heels, a good shirt and did my hair/makeup enough but not total. You know… good enough in case you run into anyone you know, but not enough to work at Nordstrom.
Anyway, we left and drove, and drove and drove… oy. It took forever to get there. It took so long, I forgot what we were doing and just figured we were on a roadtrip. I started playing the license plate game and counting cows.
Eventually, we arrived! I was so excited… until I saw the huge sign. TRACK SMAK KART RACING. (They obviously like the letter “K”.)
Hubby was smiling from ear to ear. He was so proud of his choice of adventure for the day.
Looking at his face, I decided to just go with it. Why not… how hard could this be?
After all, I ride a horse at top speeds and horses are much more dangerous than karts, right? Horses are alive, unpredictable and prone to sudden movements. At least a Kart has a steering wheel and pedals. I could absolutely control the Kart. Easy. Riding a horse had to be a lot harder than this…
OMG. I was so wrong.
OK, so they take this kart racing very seriously at Track Smak. You have to sign in and give your driver’s license as well as sign away any recourse you may have had should you crack your head open here. Hmmm. Was this a sign? OK. Check. Done.
Then, they give you a fire retardant suit.
Huh? I have to wear a fire retardant suit? Why? Does something catch fire?
Immediately I knew we weren’t in Kansas anymore. Something about my mind’s eye picture of Kart racing was definitely different than the reality before me.
Then they handed me my free fire retardant stretchy skull cap.
“Why do I need this?”
I was starting to rethink this thing… Why do I need all this gear. Isn’t it like bumper cars?
Hubby (still smiling broadly): I don’t know! C’mon, let’s get in there!
Clearly, I was not allowed any scardy-pants moments with Hubby today. I had to buck up and do this thing…
“BUT WHY DO I HAVE A FIRE RETARDANT SUIT AND SKULL CAP???” was screaming in my head as I walked behind Hubby to the Ladies Locker Room to suit up.
THE LOCKER ROOM
So, I figured that if there was an entire Ladies Locker Room, it couldn’t be that bad. Women must do this often enough for the company to build an entire room for them.
However, at this moment, I was the only one in there.
So, I took off my low heeled shoes (thank gawd I wore them) and put on my fire retardant suit. I thought better of wearing my neck scarf. I had visions of it strangling me by getting caught in the wheel – or better yet, after my Kart caught on fire, they’d have to cut me out of my suit only to find my airway blocked by my fashion statement.
Nope, no scarf for me. I wrapped it around my waist so I looked like a girl in a Kart racing Santa Outfit. Oh well, more padding should I crash I figured.
I then wondered if I should wear my driving glasses… I noted that the Kart racing helmets had visors and my glasses probably wouldn’t fit under that. However, I clung to them just in case I might need them to see around the tight curves or read some board that was telling me to STOP or SLOW DOWN or GET THE HELLOUTOFTHEWAY!
I was ready but not, if you know what I mean.
So, I met back up with Hubby who was now standing in line for our race. He had bought one race on each track. There were two tracks. So, I knew I had to do this two times. (gulp)
Along this gauntlet line were helmets. I chose a size Small. It was too big. I wondered if this would effect my life in any way… I put it on and immediately went bonkers with claustrophobia.
GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF ME!!
OMG. I H-A-T-E-D that thing. Besides, how many other people had worn it with all kinds of germs, I wondered. The place didn’t look super hygienic, if you know what I mean.
Anyway, I had a little panic attack and then decided to wear it but with the chin strap barely tied. It was then that I put on my glassed and flipped down the visor. AAAH. Bad idea. I flipped up the incredibly scratched visor and removed my glasses. Everything was much too tight for my comfort.
I hoped it would be over soon…
THE FIRST RACE
As with anything the first time you do it, I watched everyone else get into their cars before I got into mine. Of course, everyone sat in and strapped up like Mario Andretti.
My feet wouldn’t reach the pedals. I felt like a little kid. The big attendant had to come over and adjust my seat and belts. I was strapped in. Too tight. I loosened all the belts.
I noted that the pedals were either GO (the go pedal was green and under your right foot) or STOP (this pedal was red and under your left foot). The steering wheel was made of whatever material makes it almost impossible to turn. It felt like I was shutting off the steam valve on a cruiseliner. I swear to gawd. Power steering has not come into the Kart racing world.
OK, so I was as ready as I was ever going to be for something I had no idea how to do…
THE GUY WAVED THE ‘GO’ FLAG!
First off, I have to say that the flag waving here at the Track Smack Kart Racing place was phenomenal! Those guys would put any Olympic Ceremony to shame. It was awesome! I guess the flag waver guys have not much else to do but learn what each flag means (probably takes about 10 minutes) and then spend the rest of their tenure perfecting their wave moves.
I almost wanted to spin out just to have them do their flag moves next to me… but not really.
OK, back to the race.
We were all lined up, ready to go onto the track. There were 9 of us in this race. All 9 of us were going to speed around this tiny, tiny hairpinned track. Tiny.
We are all going to go around this thing at top speed, not bumping anyone or anything? All 9 of us?
(No Bumping was a rule we saw on the introductory video…)
That isn’t possible…
And I was right.
THE RACE WAS ON!
OK, well, first off, there was a kid in our group who was probably 11 but looked like he was about 6. Hubby afterwards called him “the little _sshole” so you can figure out how he ran his race… To be fair, the little kid was a fearless competitor. It was just that he had a booster chair and looked like an Oompa Loompa – yet he was kicking our butts. However, he didn’t play fair and I wondered why the track guys didn’t eject him. I figured the kid must go there a lot to have gotten that good so maybe they cut him some slack. Or his Dad owned the place, whatever. His rules were not the same as the ones posted on the walls.
I wanted to trip him when I saw him afterwards…
Anyway, he zoomed around at a rate of speed not conducive to any indoor activity, totally out of control, and bumped all of us several times during the first lap. I think he was on his third lap while the rest of us were still figuring out how the pedals worked… But, after getting smacked from behind a few times by the little demon, I decided to drive defensively.
Driving defensively is not how you are supposed to do it.
But, that’s how I did it.
What is funny about this is that when we first arrived, I was watching the kids on the other track. I saw this one little girl who was hugging the outside of the track as she sped around. This position allowed all the other cars to pass her on the tighter lines. But, she continued to do this the entire race. Hmmm. I wondered why.
Now I knew.
She was tired of getting hit from behind, too.
I decided to drive my race. If I was going to have to do this, I was going to make it as enjoyable as I could. So, I kept to the outside and just went around. Most of them passed me comfortably. Some bumped me a bit but not enough to rattle me.
On the straightaways, I floored it! I even giggled! The turns made me crazy because it seemed that everyone wanted to pass me when there was the least amount of room. But, I also learned to go around the turns on the outside which was counter intuitive but kept me safe.
At one point, a car nicked me and then spun out right in front of me. I slowed down and stopped before slamming into him – another good thing about going at less than warp speed… I could stop. Anyway, that driver waved at me and then sped off.
I found out later that it was Hubby.
Yayyyyyy! I was so happy to drive into the car barn with my little blue steed. I was actually a bit chagrin because I knew I was Grandma Moses out there. I figured all the audience members were shocked to see that when I offloaded I didn’t require in a walker.
I met up with Hubby and he was all sweaty and ebullient. OMG! He looooved it! He couldn’t stop regaling me with his Kart successes and battle stories. I smiled and nodded. Clearly, he hadn’t noticed or didn’t care that I was lollygagging on the track.
I asked him if I had embarrassed him and he looked at me as if I was insane and then kept on skipping through his memory, telling me all about it.
Oy. I had to do it again.
This time, I got a red car and we were on a different track.
The new track was easier and since this wasn’t my first clambake, I was a bit more aggressive. A bit.
I still hugged the outside of the track. But, the ‘little you know who’, wasn’t in this race with us, so that made everything much better.
I ran my race.
At the end, as we all exited our cars, one fellow racer pointed right at me and said with a huge smile, “I love how you race!!” and then gave me a high 5. I have no idea what he meant. I was the slowest and I hugged the outside. I still have no idea what he meant except that maybe if I was going to be that slow, at least I knew it and let him pass. Dunno. Mystery to me.
UNSUITING AND RESULTS
I skipped back into the Ladies Locker Room to get out of my fire retardant suit and skull cap.
All the gear fell off me easily as if it knew it didn’t belong.
As I emerged, I remembered that our scores were posted on sheets at the front desk. So, I went up there to find our cards. I had chosen the moniker Devil Dawn when we signed up. Ha. I should have chosen Dottering Dawn. Or Dillydally Dawn.
So, I got my scorecard.
WE LAUGHED FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES
On the card, it clearly says that I was just about the slowest driver to ever cross their threshold.
Out of 370,720 racers, I was ranked 369,998. That means that I was faster than only 722 people. I’m sure those people include grandmas and kindergarteners. Hubby and I laughed until we cried. The best part is that I actually improved on my second race. I went from the .19% percentile of gawdawful racers way up to .69%.
I totally sucked at this!
But I’m alive to tell the story…
WHY RIDING HORSES ARE MUCH BETTER THAN KART RACING.
–you ride horses outside most of the time
–the air doesn’t smell like gasoline
–riding horses is much more quiet
–you don’t have punk kids crashing into you without your horse getting in a good kick
–you don’t have to wear claustrophobic, fire retardant gear
–you can see better on a horse
–horses steer much more easily
–riding a horse is much more predictable than a kart with no rear view mirrors
–horses give you more control at high speeds
–any saddle is more comfortable than a kart seat
–horses carry saddlebags with supplies
–you can eat on a horse
–horses give you warning if something is coming up fast
–horses don’t let other horses crash into them – more than once…
–karts just sit there when you aren’t riding them
–I would have felt safer on my horse
–my horse would have defended my line or at least known when we were in danger and would have kept me safe
–my horse would have been a partner in this race
–my horse would have bitten the ‘little you know who’ as he walked past…
But most of all, these two races lasted 10 minutes each and cost $50 per racer. It took us 90 minutes to get there (one way) and several gallons of gas for 20 minutes of fun.
Horse may be expensive, but nothing like Kart racing…
I have raced Karts for a long time now, and one thing is for sure. A day at your local track for fun in rental Karts it’s a COMPLETELY different experience to competitive kart racing. Nowhere near as much bumping, people are a LOT faster, and there are even more dangerous crashes. The fact that karting is so unpredictable is a part of the sport. To win, you need to be fast, fearless, risky, and be able to predict what’s going to happen in fractions of a second and react quickly. I have done horse riding for about a year, so not long, but I much prefer karting. It really depends wether your into speed or precision.
I have worked in the karting industry for almost 25 years , however, my time behind the wheel has been limited. I prefer to watch & cheer from the sidelines as it just seems so much safer. And yes, anything related to the racing side of this sport is spelled with a “k”. I have also ridden horses most of my life…I will take the horses any day !! Loved this story Dawn!
So funny… made me giggle!
oh my gosh devil dawn! i laughed through this whole things!!! hilarious and exactly how i would feel. i am so claustrophobic that i doubt i could have handled the whole thing with as much style and classiness as you did ;)
my hubby is also a motorcycle guy and used to race motocross. he is forever trying to convince me of all the reason that motorcycles are better than horses.
my list is very similar to yours! i have ridden my whole life. i’ve started young horses and restarted badly started horses. i have ridden in every kind of situation you can think of AND drove ponies in cart. the ONLY time i have ever been injured was while riding my bicycle. to mail my wedding invitations. (to my first husband… many people said it should have been a sign.) my dog went the wrong way around a street sign, flipping my bike around in a 180 and smashing my ankle between the bike and the curb, shattering every single bone in my ankle.
so horses 0/ bike 1
i discovered i’m MUCH safer on a horse.
I will have to share this with my own hubby, who raced motorcycles back in the day (motocross, not that scrape-your-knee-on-the-pavement kind). His favorite saying when it comes to horses vs. his former sport is, “I prefer riding something that doesn’t have a mind of its own.” He has a point but I prefer horses for all the reasons you mentioned…
I think you are still DEFINITELY owed a spa day by Somebody! :-)
You should have asked the little so-and-so if he’d like to come ride the “horsies” at your place.
Dawn, that was hysterical. I would’ve refused!!! This was totally a gift TO Hubby, not FROM Hubby, but you were a good sport. The pic of the fire retardant hood was hysterical.
Yup, stick to horses.
I’m still laughing…
You made me laugh today….I agree, I love horses much much better! Glad you survived it!
Really enjoyed that!