Monday, April 30, 2012

(170) Perfection is possible?

I have a conundrum.

What is a perfect victory?

Simple question, hard to answer.

Perfection implies flawlessness. If perfection is truly only attainable by being flawless across the board, then perfection is not attainable, because the universe and everything in it is not flawless. Of course, that also depends on what a flaw is to you. Some would see human anger as a flaw. Others would see human anger as a trait, that is neither bad nor good - it just is, like an element. Hydrogen, for example. If all "flaws" are not flaws at all, and are simply traits that "be," then does that mean everything is perfect regardless of what state it's in, since flaws don't really exist? I find this kind of compelling. In a sense, "it is what it is."

Ultimately, our perception of "flaw" is determined by us, the definers. Definition is just a democratic way of determining what words are used for. The most common usages determine the definition of a word. This is why one should not seriously get wrapped up in semantics - ultimately, it means what we say it means. And what we say can change. But I'm not being serious here, I'm playing.

I've struggled to define the word "perfection" for years. I'm afraid to say I am no closer to defining it now than I was then. So let's leave it for now and explore it later.

But what about victory? That's the other part of the phrase I'm trying to define.

In racing, it is often said that "a win's a win, whether by a mile or an inch." This states that there is no degree to a win. You win, or you don't. By how much makes no difference. Doesn't it though? Doesn't a win by a mile have a different effect on the minds of the winner and the loser over a win by an inch? Does not a close finish give hope to the runner-up, while a crushing defeat leaves the runner-up with lost hope and the winner more elated? This seems to indicate that a win is not simply a win. Domination above and beyond simply winning is possible.

In the San Francisco region of the SCCA, there are 13 total autocross events scheduled for the summer series. Last weekend was round 6. In the rules, each 4 events competed adds one drop round in the points championship, which means that if 13 rounds are run, the competitor with the 9 best finishes wins the championship.

I currently have 5 wins in 5 visits. Each win is worth 200 points, so I have 1,000 points.

If I win 9 rounds, I will have the highest effective points score possible at 1,800.

Is that a perfect victory? A flawless victory? A domination? I don't know. All I know is that's the best I can do given the rules. And I will chase it.

Update: I did not realize there were 13 rounds scheduled, not 8. I have corrected the numbers. Perfect eh?

Let's finish off this pretentious post with some video, and a dose of reality. I'm getting a big head.

Round 6 helmet cam footage.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

(169) Fifth time's the charm

The day of the fifth round of the SFR SCCA championship autocross season was met with rather fantastic weather. Our afternoon run group had perfect weather for all of our runs.

The course was interesting. There were many short slaloms, and a few very slow hairpin corners. It was not a long course but it was lower speed, so it took the same amount of time as usual, around 43 seconds in our WRX. One of the tricky bits about the slaloms was that the first two you had to enter on the right, but then the next one you had to enter on the left. If you didn't have your eyes looking ahead, it was easy to get confused about where to go next. Autocross in general is really good for practicing heads-up driving. It's very important to have your eyes follow the course so that you're not making snap reactions to which way it's going.

My dad is getting faster, too. He was only one and a bit seconds off my best time.

My best time ended up being a 42.882, and Scott's was a 44.566. We took first and second in the novice class respectively! On my fastest run I thought I hit a cone, but I must have just brushed it because it did not penalize me.

A friend of my dad's, Bill, was also experiencing his first autocross event last weekend. I took him on my two fastest runs so he could see what it was all about. I love introducing new people to the sport. When people go for fast rides or even try driving fast themselves for the first time, it puts a smile on both our faces because they are experiencing something new and wonderful, and I get to relive that wonderment a little bit. It's halfway selfish but I don't mind admitting that.

So, here's my point of view from the day!

Round 5 helmet cam footage.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

(168) The wins of the father

This last weekend was another autocross. Unfortunately I wasn't able to go.

On Friday I woke up and I couldn't lift my head off the pillow. Scary moment. I've never suffered from sleep paralysis or anything like it, and having difficulty getting up isn't an issue for me. It turned out to be a muscle that seized up while I was sleeping - probably in an awkward position. It was preventing my head from tilting, and it was incredibly painful if I tried to force it.

I could have probably survived the road trip to the Monterey coast, but it would have been very uncomfortable. And even then, actually strapping on the helmet and subjecting my neck to g-force was worrying to say the least. I have a high pain tolerance, but I couldn't even push gently on the side of my head.

So, my dad took the car down to the event without me. On the day of the event, round about mid day, the muscle finally unclamped itself, but it was still very sore. It's still sore, actually. But at least I can move my head.

It was a stroke of luck for Scott, because he ended up grabbing the win in the novice class! I'm proud of my dad for getting his first win.

Congrats dad! Photo credit Jess Escobar.