I-90 Closed for Blue Angels

Categories: seattle — Tags: , , , , , , — Posted by: Grant @ July 31, 2008 : 4:13 pm

I had an appointment earlier today in Fremont to interview Seattle Tilth, one of the local charity groups that chefseattle.com is sponsoring when we suddenly hit a wall of traffic on 520 east of the 405. I grimaced as I realized that I-90 would be closed part of today due to the Blue Angels doing their runs.

Luckily, after the interview in Fremont (along with a tasty review of Paseo’s, a popular Caribbean restaurant), I managed to grab a quick video from my camera of a Blue Angel screaming over us on 520. The volume in the video (be warned) actually does the sound justice, but you can probably imagine (or already know) what it sounds like in person. The speed at which the plane darts off is impressive too, to say the least!

K1 Speed in Redmond (Seattle)

Categories: seattle — Tags: , , , , , , , — Posted by: Grant @ April 14, 2008 : 4:49 pm

K1 Speed in Redmond
(From front to back: Steve, Bryan and Grant)

Last Friday was, team building day (aka go-cart racing for the win). Previously known as Champs Karting, K1 Speed bought this indoor go-cart location in Redmond and revamped it with a new track design and a few extra doo-dads. Luckily, most everything else was left in-tact, meaning that it’s still the same fun electric cars that I am used to.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a regular (I go to K1 Speed just a few times a year), but I am a big fan of racing and have taken a few Skip Barber race classes back in the day. While a go-cart might not translate perfectly to the mechanics of a car in the real world, many of the fundamental concepts of how to drive fast are the same. It’s a great way to give the lead foot driver in you an outlet for escape , as opposed to being ‘That Guy’ on 520. (I’m talking to you, Blue 325i BMW driver weaving in and out of traffic on cell phone, not using signals, traveling at 90mph in the rain.)

Our first race was a nice introduction to the new track that K1 Speed laid out over Champs previous track, as it now boasted two hairpins for a more technically challenging course. Free tip though- tell your race staffer to be liberal with the passing flag if you plan on a competitive race. Bryan, Steve and I all quickly got stuck behind our friend Lenny, who was apparently taking the scenic route around the track. The K1 Staffer seemed reluctant to let us pass, as we forgot to give him the team building memo that explains rapport is best built with some friendly, obscenity laced competition.

The second race was much better, as it was just Steve, Bryan and myself, who were all ready to lay the pedal to the metal. And we did, as Bryan managed to spin out, Steve nearly lost it on turn 1 and I managed to sneak in a 17.33 second last lap, putting my time into the top 5% of times. The top score for the week was 16.22 seconds, so I think I could have shaved another half second with more studying and time on the track.

I don’t imagine going back for another few months, but if you decide to go, here’s a few pointers on how to drive fast and beat out your friends:

- Warm tires equals more traction, so build heat your first few laps
- Warm up your tires with some heavy accelerating and braking on the straight away.
- Brake into corners so you can accelerate out for top speed
- Try to drive in smooth arcs when possible
- Don’t hug the walls, it will actually slow you down
- Sliding around the hairpins is perfectly acceptable
- Too much sliding = No traction = No acceleration = Bad
- Learn to keep your car in the fine balance between control and no control

Lastly, always drive safe and keep the speed driving to the track.

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