I learned something a few weeks ago while driving to a friend’s house in Estacada. Those wonderful twisty turns between Carver and Barton on Oregon’s highway 224 are called the Carver Curves. Gotta love that alliteration.
The Carver Curves are wonderful if you’re in a vehicle that has any sort of handling ability. That day I was in my husband’s mini van, which isn’t exactly the epitome of high performance, but comes a heck of a lot closer to it than my ’69 Ford pickup. Naturally there was too much traffic to really enjoy the corners, but the experience was enough to whet my appetite.
One thing I don’t understand is why it feels so good to drive fast. If I was bird or a cheetah it would make sense. Those bodies are designed for speed. But human beings under their own power generally top out at about 15 MPH. You’d think that anything beyond that would be an indicator of Something Going Wrong—say, falling off a cliff—and would scare the pants off us. So why does it feel so incredibly exquisite to swoop through a corner at speeds that challenge the limit of adhesion for the tires?
When I consider building another race car I mostly remember the endless hours of repairs, or the performance anxiety that messed with my head. But at certain times, like when I’m zipping through the Carver Curves, I remember how cool it is to go through a corner at top speed. And at those times I really miss being on the track.
To learn more about my racing experience, click the racing link under “pages” in the sidebar.