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Mile Markers

They tell us how far we’ve come, and how much more we need to go.

Andy Bolig - January 24, 2013 10:30 AM

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On a recent trip up into the attic last weekend, I ventured into a dusty, half-opened box chock full of tidbits and trinkets that once resided on my desk.

A decrease in the acreage of flat surface some years ago relegated many of these memory-seeds into hibernation. Within the dusty confine of this ragged-edged box was fertile soil for sowing fond memories. One such item that had deeply rooted into my remembrance was a teaching lesson that occurred on a section of one-way pavement called Roebling Road near Savannah, Georgia.

I found myself strapped in behind the wheel of ahigh-winding C5 Corvette (the C6 was brand new andnot many had been seen on the streets, let alone the track), trying to learn a little more about making thistwisty series of turns as straight as possible. I was doing a story on the Sportscar Driving Experience and somewhere between making mental notes at speed, learning a thing or two about driving and the everyday struggle for survival, I compiled enough information and photos to put together a story that I felt effectively described the experience.

One of the benefits of attending the class is that upon completion, you were granted a DVD that highlights your driving — good or bad. The idea is to see the progression of improvement as the laps accumulate and speeds increase. A plus side to having the DVD is that you can also share all the fun that you had with your buddies once you get back home. What I didn’t expect from the DVD was some insight into how much my driving has changed (read, improved) since then. Granted, I’m not on the short list of any ALMS teams and I have no delusions of ever being there, but being able to look back and see instances where I would have done things differently is a good indicator that things have changed for the better – if not by much.

While Roebling Road may not be a super-speedway and the entire course could be stretched out on the length of the Mulsanne Straight, the memories of driving that course are just as fond. Even now, every time I drive up through Savannah on that stretch of I-95, I still recall those somewhat-hot laps. With the help of this long-lost DVD, I’m able to recall a few specific ones. All of the tire squealing turns, missed shifts and tail slides are cemented in ones and zeros on this silver-sided disc.

I own each and every mistake burned into it but also, I’ve got a few good turns to my credit. I can see how with each lap, the steering wheel got a little smoother and the times a little shorter. The best way to improve your driving is by driving and it was amazing how much I learned with just a few clicks of the fast-forward button.

I’ve had other experiences carving cones or tearing up the track and even if my learning curve were to continue to be as steep through each one of them, there’s always more to learn. Thankfully, with the help of this electronic memory bank, I can notice some tendencies that I had way back when, and hopefully, have worked hard enough to correct them over the years. It was fun reminiscing through each turn behind the wheel, even if it is only from behind the remote.

I’d like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two since then. When you’re first starting out, there’s always a lot of opportunities to do better. Thanks to a roll bar-mounted video camera, I’ve got the video to prove it!

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