EMRA Practice – Randy into the Gravel

This is a quick video of Randy Ramos from Meathead Racing heading off into the gravel pit in Turn 1 at the practice session for the EMRA 4 Hour Enduro.  Randy was being followed by Bad Al Bell in my car as we took some test laps.  They both pass the white Miata before turn 10 and head down the straightaway towards turn 1.  The only issue is that is was really wet and Randy decided to brake a little late…  Nothing a little tow truck action could not sort out.  It was a great day at the Enduro and the Sprints that preceded them.

Ted Cahall

My First Venture Off the Track

Since I have gotten fairly good at downloading my videos from my TraqMate and editing them, I decided to post a short video of myself sliding off the track in my final race of the year.  I recovered fairly well and still finished the race (after setting my personal best lap time in a few of the previous laps).

You can see the red #14 car sneak up my right side in turn 5 as we stack up into a line of cars.  He stays inside me for turn 6.  Instead of falling in behind him, I keep my line off his left bumper – and run out of track.  This is the old, “watch the track – and not the guy in front of you” lesson.

Ted Cahall

Posted first TraqMate Race Cam Video

I finally got around to posting a video from my TraqMate race cam.  I actually used Windows 7 and Movie Maker to do it – even though I bought Final Cut Express 4.0 for my Mac to do the job.

The video is a short, 10 second, clip of two cars spinning out in front of me in turn 10.  I added it again here to avoid chasing the link.

Ted Cahall

SCCA Season Ends With Personal Best Lap Time

The 2009 SCCA Club Racing Season was really enjoyable.  I was able to make it to seven race weekends this year plus four other high performance driving events.  That is more track time in one year than the sum total of track time in my entire life before this year.

I really learned a lot and set new personal best lap records almost every week.  I started the year with my best lap in the MARRS 1 qualifier being a 1:37.908 and 8 of the 10 laps being slower than 1:40.  I finished this year in the MARRS 11 final race with a 1:31.826.  Six seconds faster in a single lap is a great improvement.  More telling was the consistency of the laps in each race with many of them clustering in the 1:32 range at the end of the year.

I met a lot of really great people as well.  I could not have even come close to making this happen with my busy schedule if it were not for Mike Collins and his fantastic program at Meathead Racing.  A huge shout out to Wendy, Sherise, Glen, and Jimmy who helped me though a huge learning curve.

The other racers were also fantastic (aside from some early “rookie bumps” out on the track to initiate me to Spec Miatas).  Some of these people are very accomplished racers that turn laps in the 1:27 range.  Yet they will still spend time and talk with the slow pokes like me to help me learn and grow with this sport.  Many of the Meathead Racing teammates also took time to help me get buckled in and ready out on the grid as well.  Such an outstanding group of people to spend a weekend with!  If you have ever considered learning how to race in wheel-to-wheel competition, I would highly recommend contacting Mike Collins at Meathead Racing.  Even for a busy person such as myself, they make the words, “arrive and drive” a reality.

Ted Cahall

Racing Blog Back Online

My hosting provider performed a platform upgrade (actually sold part of the business and moved to a new colo).  So somewhere between September 25th and October 2nd, my blog went down when WordPress could no longer access the DB.  While they assured their users there would be no interruptions to service, clearly that was not the case.

I saw that the blog was down this morning, figured out what was wrong,  and edited the wp-config file to point to the new database.  Things are seemingly back to normal.  It could have been MUCH worse.  I have seen total disasters in migrations such as these (none under my management of course).  🙂

Now I need to jump in my car and high-tail it to Summit Point, WV for my last SCCA Club Race of the season.  I am shooting for a new personal best lap record after setting one in the qualifying race yesterday.

Formula 2000 Open Wheel Racing in the Poconos

I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Berti Roos Racing School up in the Poconos last week.  They teach open wheel racing in Formula 2000 cars.  This was my first event in Formula 2000 or any open wheel vehicle.

We were allowed to pass in one specific zone if we were given the flag indicating it was OK.  I am happy to say I passed a lot of people – but no one ever passed me.  That is the way it is supposed to be (aside from real racers at SCCA Club Racing – where getting passed was a reality for me this year).

You can click on the photo below to see a couple of more images on Webshots.

Ted Cahall

Rattle the Runway – Honoring Pentagon's 9/11 Fallen

A group of people from work joined over a thousand other riders and rode from the Dulles Airport to the Pentagon today. The Rattle the Runway Ride was conceived to honor those people that flew Flight 77 on September 11th from IAD and crashed into the Pentagon. We staged at the airport behind the Air and Space Museum. As we left, we rode into the airport and through departures. We then proceeded up 267 to 66 and onto the Pentagon where we were able to spend some time at the memorial. The memorial has a bench for each person that died in the crash. The benches face in two directions: one for those that were on the plane, and the other for those killed on the ground. The benches are lined up by year of birth. The youngest victim of this cowardly act of terrorism was only three years old.

It was a nice ride and a nice way to pay my respects to those that lost their lives that day. May they and their families find peace.

New TraqMate a Great Tool for SCCA Club Racing

I got my new TraqMate installed and used it in the MARRS 7 SCCA Club Racing event this weekend.  The device is astounding.  It uses a GPS to track your speed and a video camera to record what is happening in front (and optionally in back) of you.

I plan to edit out a small piece of the race where a couple of cars spun out in front of me and post it here.  So far the video editing software converts the whole race – all or nothing.  So I will figure out what I need to do to post a15 second clip instead of a 30 minute race.

This device will let me know how fast (slow in my case) I am entering each corner and what my exit speed is.  This will help me compare to the really experienced drivers and know where to push it harder.  The camera and GPS do not lie.  And they record every lap and every missed shift.  So this should be a huge help towards setting my new personal best lap record.

Ted Cahall

Got my SCCA Regional Club Racing License!

This Sunday’s SCCA MARRS race was a culmination of a number of year’s worth of effort.  Back in May of 2006 up in Seattle, WA, I began my journey towards obtaining my SCCA Club Racing license.  My job change and move across the country to the Washington DC area caused me to be sidelined for all of 2007 and most of 2008 aside from some PDX and HPDE type of events.  (Photo below of MARRS 4 race weekend).
Ted Cahall races in MARRS 4

While my job did anything but become more mundane in 2009, I was determined to maintain that delicate “work / race balance” all the HR types talk about for living a healthy life.  I really had no idea what I was in store for as I prepared for the 2009 racing season.  I had planned on racing my 2001 Z06 Corvette and took pains to install racing seats, add in tow hooks, fire extinguishers, and safety harnesses, etc.  Unfortunately I was mistaken on the requirements and did not know that the T1 class for my Z06 required a full roll cage to be welded into my car!  Heck – I even needed a full roll cage to attend the SCCA Driving School – the more you know – the more you realize just what you don’t know

After attending day 1 and day 2 of my SCCA Drivers School in a “Spec Miata” that I rented, I attended the SCCA PDX and SCCA Club Trials in a “Spec Miata” as well.  It was at this point that I finally realized it would be best for me to have Meathead Racing help me as my “Spec Miata” pit crew and support team for the 2009 SCCA Club Racing season.  I bought a 1999 Spec Miata from Bad Al Bell and I was literally “off to the races”.

Sunday was my second official SCCA MARRS race and fulfilled my requirements for my regional license.  I did qualification laps and the qualification race on Saturday to grid myself for the race on Sunday.   On Sunday, I started in 31st position and finished the race in 24th.  So I moved up and had an incredible amount of fun doing it.  My fastest lap got faster in each of the three qualification and race events during the weekend.  The key is to be safe, improve each week, and try not to fly off the track or bend any metal on either mine or the other driver’s cars.  All was accomplished successfully.

Ted Cahall

Rolling Thunder!

On Sunday I joined up with a couple of co-workers and their friends and family and rode down to DC as part of Rolling Thunder to celebrate Memorial Day and our nation’s fallen soldiers.  It was especially meaningful to me this year after my trip aboard the USS Truman. The complete photo and video album of my trip to Rolling Thunder is here.

Each year Rolling Thunder gets larger with some estimates of approximately 500,000 bikes participating.  Below is a photo of just some of the motorcycles that staged outside of Patriot Harley-Davidson in Fairfax, VA.
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As you can see, we are lined up four wide for miles.  They blocked off all traffic on Route 66 as we trimmed down to two across.   We road with a police escort right into DC.

Once we were in DC, we parked our bikes and looked at the Korean and WWII War Memorials.  From there, we waited and watched the beginning of the procession of the official Rolling Thunder.  Below is a video of the beginning of the event.

DC Rolling Thunder Opening Procession

After watching thousands of bikes go by, we decided to head home and beat the traffic.  It was a great ride, a great day, and a great way to say, “thank you”, to all that have fallen in the line of service to this great country.

Ted Cahall