Friday, June 17, 2005

What a ride!

Top down, backroads cruising in an exotic sports car, only inches from the ground. My legs reach out to the pedals with only the slightest bend. The sun warms my face as the wind blasts through my hair.

Adrenaline races through my body as the g-forces push me to the side of a sleek bucket seat that is just as stubborn in releasing its grip as the low profile tires. The tiny steering wheel surrounding the Lotus emblem bounces and twitches in my hands as I accelerate through a corner. 80, 90 mph ... smooth acceleration, don't lift, stay on it. With no power steering and phenomenal suspension, I feel every bump, every seam in the pavement.

The revs hit 6200, the cams change, bringing a growl to the motor and throwing me back in the seat. 95, 100, 105. I feel the road through the steering wheel -- the feedback is instant. I experience a new sense -- as my hands have a front-row seat in the fight between the tire rubber and asphalt. The steering wheel is alive -- energy races through the wheel into my body. The corner opens as redline approaches. I instinctively drop my hand to the shift knob. Clutch in, a quick shift right back to the power band, clutch out ... no hesitation ... throttle to the floor. The growl returns, as I'm no longer being thrown to the side of the seat, but to the back of it. I take a deep breath. A smile washes across my face. I notice a beautiful lake to the left -- purple and yellow wildflowers to the right. What a great day. A sign comes into view. It's a black arrow on a yellow background. The arrow points to the right. Under the arrow reads 25MPH. My heart races. Heel/toe brake, blip the throttle, downshift, blip, downshift again. Enter the turn at 50. Lean into the throttle. 60 ... 70. My concentration is intense as I focus on a point near the exit of the turn. Check the revs, check the road, 75MPH -- this is fast. The tires stick, without a hint of losing grip. The wheel continues to bounce and pull in my hands, offering incredible feedback Accelerate, accelerate, fly out of the corner. I'm now on a long straightaway flanked by farmland on both sides. Mountains appear in every direction. It's a beautiful setting -- and no other cars, houses, or people are around to spoil it. I downshift and ease off the throttle ... slowing to a crawl. I smile as the wind changes from a blast to a warm breeze. Happy chemicals are racing through my system -- the natural high is profound. After a few minutes of crawling down the straight, another yellow sign with a black arrow appears. Oh, what joy! As the shampoo bottle says, "repeat".