Happy Days Are Here Again

What is the best way to celebrate Newport, RI in late summer? You have a party. At a mansion. With amazing cars. And celebrities like Jay Leno. And outdoor dining. And everyone dressed to the nines. And a theme of celebrating the end of Prohibition. And the revelation that New England has emerged as an amazing place to be a car person due to the efforts of a recent car museum - the Audrain Automotive Museum. Yes. That is the way you do it. And we did just that.

Ambitious But Rubbish

I faintly recall the Latin phrase "per aspera ad astra" from reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" back in early high school. I really liked the concept of "through the mud to the stars" or "through hardships to the stars". I hadn't thought about it much in automotive terms. It turns out I needn't have bothered. My recent automotive adventures bear a stronger resemblance to the Top Gear mantra - "ambitious but rubbish". Here's the story of how things recently took a turn for the worst.

Spinning Out of the Comfort Zone

How do you continue to grow and develop a skill? The classic saying is that you have to "step out of your comfort zone." I recently did just that. The next goal is to checkpoint where my skills are now and see how I can improve. How do you push yourself out of your comfort zone in the high performance driving world? Sometimes you have to get a bit extreme.

Racing From Peking To Paris

Lest anyone thing that the ACF is all about wrenches, gas, and oil - I also spent a fair bit of the winter reading...about wrenches, gas, and oil. One of the most fascinating reads was Peking To Paris by Luigi Barzini. Barzini was an Italian journalist who, in 1907, joined a team of two others to race a car from Peking all the way to Paris. Even by today's standards, that is a big undertaking. But imagine that in 1907, the car was only a commercial entity for about 10 years and was still very novel. Over much of the route, the racers would encounter people and animals (the car's primary competition at the time) who had never seen a car before and many who weren't yet aware of their existence! Also allow for the fact that there were no gas stations, no repair facilities who were familiar with working on cars, and the big one - not many reasonable roads and none up to our modern standards. Twenty five cars registered for the race and five actually showed up in Peking to compete.

On top of these logistical challenges, the Italian prince who owned and largely piloted the car, Prince Scipione Borghese, his mechanic, Ettore Guizzardi, and Mr. Barzini were driving an Itala

Cars And Coffee At Oxford Motorcars

What's a great way to use an hour between dropping the kids off somewhere and then picking them up? Enjoying some of the stored beauties over at Oxford Motorcars. They specialize in MG race cars so the iron here is primarily vintage English - Jags, MGs, Triumph, and Austin Healey's with the occasional Morgan thrown in. But some German, Italian, and even American marques are present as well. Looks like this will be the first Saturday of each month over at their facility in East Providence.

Results From the 3rd Annual French American School Karting Grand Prix

On February 12th, we rev'ed up our electric motors at R1 Indoor Karting, the new karting facility in Lincoln, RI, for our 3rd annual French American School Karting Grand Prix. This new facility is preferable in a few ways over our prior destination. This is much closer to us, generating a better turnout, they were quite a bit easier to work with to set up the event, and they have a dedicated, full-time junior track so for the first year this wasn't a parents-only event! We had a few veterans but lots of new faces and lots of kids!

Sharp Peaks Or Rolling Hills

I made a pledge to myself to not "let myself go" too much this winter. Last winter I gained some weight, saw my driving skill atrophy a little, and generally had a hill to climb to get back into the spirit of things in the Spring. The older I get, the harder it seems to be to put in the effort to do this remedial work. So I thought I'd try to nip it in the bud this year before it got out of hand.

Are There Health Benefits from Track Driving?

Can driving on track be beneficial for your health? Can something "dangerous" actually be really good for you? Let's try to find out. Please note that I am a driving enthusiast, not a doctor or researcher. So your mileage may vary. I welcome all information from the medical community to expand on what I have found here.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've not been as focused on training and conditioning as in prior years. And that fact has made itself apparent. I've buckled down and have begun my training regimen once again, thankfully. I'm running moderate distances four or five times per week. And I continue to exercise caution in what I eat. Weight loss is still my primary goal, but I cannot ignore physical conditioning to get there any longer. So I'm finding out how to blend them.

As a part of tracking progress, I've purchased scales for the house that are a bit easier to read consistently and hopefully more accurate than the old metal one we had been using. Another minor investment in trying to stay in the game. I've also started wearing my wife's now-unused Apple watch. It's useful for reminding me to stand and for tracking some portions of daily activity (perhaps inaccurately, but better than no tracking at all). After all, you can't improve what you can't measure, right?