Last Friday I had the pleasure of competing in an hour long go-kart session with some friends. The hour was broken up into a 10-minute practice session, a 10-minute qualifying session, and a 30-minute race. Its been nearly half a year since I've been behind the wheel of anything so I was looking forward to and excited for some hearty racing competition.
The karts were pretty fast, well, really fast actually--being powered by 8 hp engines with a top speed of around 65 kmh (~40mph). They were a blast to drive and the course was pretty spectacular with several elevation changes, banked turns, and more. The karts were fast enough such that they behaved like proper vehicles in that a variety of braking and acceleration techniques could be employed in navigating the turns with speed. Although I hadn't being karting or driving in ages, I managed to qualify for 2nd place--which I kept for the remainder of the race (the 1st place position was held by a karting veteran)--earning a silver medal souvenir.
While the karting was really fun, the vehicles were insanely brutal in combination with my out-of-shape body. There is no power-steering or suspension in a go-kart which means the entire "driving experience" is one in which you are fighting for the wheel in trying to convince the kart-"beast" to be submissive to your command. It also didn't help that my girth didn't quite fill the seat, so the hour of intense driving and high-g turning in combination with my weak core caused my back to slide back and forth against the unpadded plastic seat, nearly rubbing off all the skin on my back in the process. Suffice to say, my entire body was fatigued and sore for several days afterwards. It would be nice to be able to "work-out" everyday through driving like this.
The best part of the day was that I managed to secure the fastest lap time of our group in preserving my namesake--FastMatt will continue to live on.