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The Circle is Complete

It is only fitting that the last item to finish on my #50for50 adventures (other than finish blogging – I haven’t forgotten, promise!) was go-karts.

After all the journey although it logged many miles, climbed mountains and swam in the sea, was ultimately a circle.

And a go-kart track is just a circle. With a few straight-aways and a lot of tight curves.

Today my daughter Alex and I headed to Lemans Karting Greenville/Spartanburg. I was relieved that she was off work so I didn’t have to go alone. If I was going to wreck a go-kart I at least wanted someone to share in my crash and burn.

She had never been either. Which is cool since I also roped her into 2 other new adventures this year of my 50. Surfing and parasailing are detailedBraving the Waves

I chose for us to both drive 3 races. I decided this based on the assumption I would need more experience after 1 race to feel comfortable or the alternative possibility that racing twice more would just make me hate life twice as much.

Watching the driver safety video I started to wonder if I was going to soon hate life. There were so many flags to watch for and rules to follow and I also knew my history with motorized rides in general.

As a kid I had really sucked at bumper cars. You know the one sad car that never makes it all the way around for getting bumped and pushed and stuck in a corner. That was me.

Once when I drove the Tin Lizzies at Opryland I thought I was going to run the electric buggy right off the track. Which was impossible since there was a huge metal guard that kept two wheels on the path at all times.

In other words other than operating a motor vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner for most of my driving history, I don’t have a great “track” record.

After the safety video we donned our head sock, helmet, neck guard and headed to the far track inside the building. We got in our karts and buckled in ready for race 1.

They motioned us out for a practice lap and I started trying to get used to the gas and brake, the curve of the track, and then I saw the green flag.

Go time.

I managed to take the turns and push myself in the straight-aways. During the first race I passed Alex. Three times.

The other four drivers passed me two or three times too. It was exhilarating and tense for me until I saw that checkered flag signaling the final lap of the race. I watched the faster drivers and tried to emulate them.

I glanced up at the times.I finished a few seconds behind the 4th racer and several minutes ahead of Alex.

Then we were held on the track until the other drivers parked in the pit and 4 more drivers got buckled in and prepped their cars.

Another practice lap on caution then green to start the race. I felt like I did better during race 2 because I ended up passing one of the four new drivers and also Alex again more than once.

My time however was slower that time and at the end we were motioned to the pit even with one more paid race. Thankfully they were giving us a break and a choice to come back to track 2 or go up to track 1.

We chose to go up to track 1 and give it a try on our final race.

The next car I was in felt different and after a practice lap I knew it was a tighter track with less areas to pass. Once the green flag came out I soon realized just how tired my forearms and wrists were growing.

I was having a blast and yet was running out of gas.

In the next to last turn of the next to last lap one of the faster drivers passed too close and bumped me. I giggled and kept my foot on the gas letting him by but still giddy.

The race finished I slowly exited the car and the realization hit me that I was done with my 50for50. I really did it.

I didn’t finish at the top. I didn’t finish at the bottom (although Alex had really tried to keep me from passing her that final race). My arms ached, my heart had stopped pounding, and I took off my helmet knowing I had finished much more than three races at an indoor go-kart track.

Not actually a trophy for me.

I had finished the race I started at the beginning of 2019 to push myself to new heights and new experiences. I kicked ass sometimes and then I had my ass handed to me. I had to change tactics and replace adventures that weren’t going to work for my schedule or no longer felt worthwhile.

The race had taken me from mountain tops to dance studios, from bayous to the Gulf of Mexico, from a tiny stage to up a climbing wall, from creating music and art to getting a Dr. Suess tattoo.

I plan to take the rest of January to finish up my blog posts on the adventures I didn’t take time to write about previously, do a proper summary of the adventures I did make as well as run some statistics I know may be of interest. I also will outline which “unfinished” adventures I plan to complete in 2020 and try to wrap it all up with a bow.

This isn’t my final post then just the final item I checked off my list.

What is your #50for50 or #30for30 or even #20in2020? What are you waiting for? The race begins with a practice lap and I promise it will get easier the farther you go.

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