Confession: I don't really like driving fast
But let me tell you what I DO enjoy
I know, I know... you're all going to take away my petrolhead card, right? Driving as fast as possible, practical, or legal is supposed to be one of the pillars of car-guy-ness, right up there with knowing how to drive a manual and being able to name any Ferrari you happen to see.
Well, fine. Whatever. The simple truth is that I don't feel comfortable at much over 65-70 MPH, and honestly, I think that realizing that fact, accepting it, and driving under that speed makes me a better driver than someone who thinks they can control a car at 100. (There are those who can actually control cars well at those speeds, but the majority of people who do it probably cannot.)
I've done it, of course. I have had several cars up over 100, and my personal speed record is 125 MPH on the Kansas Turnpike, in my dad's Ford Taurus SHO, with him riding shotgun. But it was only briefly, "just to see," and I did not feel comfortable doing it. And I cannot fathom these drivers who regularly do 80-90 in traffic, weaving between cars at distances normally reserved for parallel parking. They cannot possibly feel safe doing that. But whatever; I'll just be over here in the slow lane, even if it means I'm "stuck" behind a truck or some old lady in a Buick. Fighting traffic to get one or two cars further up the line is just too much stress.
This isn't Indy, and your name isn't Andretti. (image: youtube)
But speed, as we all know, is relative. While I don't like the feeling of going 90 MPH on a 65 MPH limit freeway, I absolutely adore going around a curve at 40 MPH that's marked at 25.
That's more like it! (image: Kurt Warner)
But that's not driving fast; it's driving briskly. Spiritedly. Up and down through the gears, 20 MPH up to 50 and back down again, braking at exactly the right moment, trying to hit the apex of a curve just-so. And the thing is, you don't need a lot of horsepower to do that; in fact, most "fast" cars are overpowered for such a drive. It's more fun when you have to make the car work to get from curve to curve than never getting to go past second gear. It's a cliché at this point to talk about "driving a slow car fast," but it's absolutely true.
And yes, it's hard to find roads like the one pictured above that are as empty as that. But when I find one, I take full advantage of it. There is a road near my house that twists along up and down an steep hill, only about three miles long, passing over a covered bridge somewhere in the middle. It's my favorite little quick Sunday drive with my MG, because managing to go 15-20 MPH around those curves makes you feel like a hero.
But I'll leave the high speed blasts and the weaving through traffic to the rest of you. I just don't have it in me. And I'm willing to admit that.