The Grand Go-Kart (& pizza) Tour 2016 – The Maestro’s Take Pt. 2

When we last left our heroes, they were escaping the rain at the Gopromotorplex racing car complex in North Carolina. Our goal was to get to Atlanta by the night, because the Doc had a marathon to run in the morning (I do not know when this man sleeps). We had 2 other indoor karting places scheduled for the day. The first one was Victory Lane Karting in Charlotte N.C.

This place is definitely family friendly and is designed for birthday parties and whatnot. The Doc and I got there and signed in, and since it was a Saturday and raining like crazy, the place was mobbed. We got there at 3 and were told we wouldn’t really start racing until about 4. That ended up being 5. But they had pizza! Sort of.

I should also mention that I was suffering from some kind of weird bacterial infection in my left eye, which made the vision a little cloudy, but more alarming (and also more beautifully!) put little rainbow halos around bright lights. The brighter the light, the more crisp and beautiful the rainbow. LED lights were the best/worst. This had been going on for some days, and the Doctor gave me some drops, but they hadn’t really kicked in yet. Suffice it to say, it had gone from beautiful and interesting, to kind of alarming.

So it was at its most aggressive that Saturday afternoon and night. And the pizza/waiting room was filled with very strong LED lights. We ordered our pizza and some other food, and waited for our turn.

First a little bit about the track. It’s really 2 smaller tracks that they combine to make one bigger track on special nights. This was not one of those special nights. We had the Orange Track:

orange-pill

The Orange Pill

 

And the Blue Track:

blue-pill

The Blue Pill

 

Which, as I said, combined (through some deft sleight-of-plastic-wall-rearrangement) to make, the SUPER TRACK:

super-pill

The Super Pill

We bought 4 races. 2 for the Orange, 2 for the blue. We waited, seemingly forever, and our “pizza” finally arrived. All I’ll say is that this wasn’t pizza. We’ll call it un-pizza. putative-pizza. I think it was literally made with slices of Kraft cheese. That’s all I’ll say.

Eventually our turns were up, and we went on the blue course.

I’m not sure what it is about these family friendly places, but they take forever to get people loaded into the karts. I know there must be certain safety issues involved, but it always seems like it just takes way longer than it has to. I realize that I’m armchair quarterbacking what is probably, at the end of the day, a really thankless job, but the Doc and I were tired. But we were also ready to rumble.

There was a wide range of people racing with us. You could see via the monitors who had been there before and who was a “first time racer.” And of course everyone has nicknames. You had pretentious ones: an older guy named “the Terminator,” that the Doc and I both terminated on like lap 3. You had little kid ones “Sneezy,” “Dopey,” “Happy,” etc. (I’m not even kidding), and then you had ones that defied a simple explanation. My favorite was “CamDaddy.”

The biggest challenge with indoor tracks is that the course is usually so short that you can’t really get a lot of speed going. But they’re good to hone basic skills, like “brake into the turn” and “accelerate out of the turn.” That may seem idiotically simplistic, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget that.

The first race was a particular turkey shoot with the Doc and I coming in I think 2nd and 1st place, respectively. In these kinds of places you can tell in about one lap who knows what they’re doing. And since the course is very narrow, all you have to do to pass someone is ride their tail and wait for them to make a mistake, which they absolutely will, eventually. The onus is on them to drive a perfectt line. All you have to do is keep the pressure on. This almost always happens after the longest straightaway, where the kart you’re following knows that you’re breathing down their neck, and they come in way too hot, and then skid out on the turn.

The second race was pretty much just like the first race, and then we waited around for the Orange track.

I never really got my brain around the Orange Track. We were racing with some more seasoned people, and did respectably, but didn’t clean up like we had the first time. It was also getting late, and it felt like we were just waiting around so much, so we decided to leave and go to the last track for the night.

All I will say about the final track of the night is that it was not a good track. It had all the makings of a great track: out of the way, seedy location; no sign on the door; a genuine “Fight Club” like atmosphere; lots of locals who it seemed like lived for this. But the elements just didn’t add up to a pleasant experience. Not to mention that my eye was really going whackadoo at this point, so for the long drive to Atlanta, I had the Doc do most of the driving, while I took a nap. On long car trips, I become a real control freak with the driving, so just the fact that I needed to ask him to drive was a real indicator of how bad my eye was getting.

We got into Atlanta at like 1 or 2 in the morning and stayed at a pretty snazzy Sheraton hotel. All I remember is that we stumbled into bed, shut the lights, and then seemingly 1 hour later, he woke up and ran a freaking marathon (or a 10K).

A MARATHON! (Or a 10K, I can’t remember. But still!).

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