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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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It was one of those weird mornings where it was just warm enough to have the windows open on the car while wearing a coat. This also happens to be the temperature range where the WRX, for some reason, seems to operate at 105%. Warmer than this and everything is as normal, colder than this and it runs a little “rough.”

Added to this, for some reason I seemed to be more in touch with the car — I noticed the loading and unloading of the springs more than usual, and I felt the subtle tug of the steering wheel on cambered road surfaces.

The on ramp I take every morning is an immediate left to enter. Usually (as with this morning) it starts from a standstill, though about one time in ten I have the left arrow and a clear path in front of me and can take the entry at speed (the ramp is well designed for a large turn for just this purpose). After this it’s a few hundred feet of low grade uphill followed by a gentle cambered full-throttle left, a quick straight (perhaps fifty feet), and then a constant radius right onto the entry straight.

That’s probably a bad description, so I’ll point you to google maps — it’s the northbound onramp onto 7 off route 123.

In any event, I drive this ramp every morning, and have been for over a year, and have been working at it each time. And, for some reason, I got it perfect this morning. Acceleration, turn-in, apex, track-out, gentle throttle roll-off, turning the wheel into the second turn, nailing the next apex, unwinding the turn and bringing back the throttle to nail the track-out. All perfect, and I hit my exit speed 15 mph faster than usual (I usually either don’t compromise enough and enter the second turn too hot to hit the line or need to brake on the quick mid-corner straight and scrub too much speed).

Yeah, it’s something small and stupid, but I get a strange sense of satisfaction in finally pulling off something I’ve been working at for so long, even if it seems trivial and pointless to most; it was a nice start to the day. Something I could point to and say “You did it. Good job.”

Then, later in the afternoon, and unknown to me at the time, I failed.