Charlie Kimball | 10.26.2017

Slowing down… it’s not typically something I’m comfortable with. As I explained in my first post, I spend my work days at speeds of 220 mph. If I’m slowing down, it means I’m either coming in for a pit stop or there is something wrong with the racecar. But after our trip, I have to admit… slowing down is (sometimes) okay.

As I was preparing for a hike at Glacier National Park, I had to laugh a little about how similar it is to my race weekends. I had studied the trail map, turn by turn, much like I do for each racetrack. I double-checked my gear, swapping racing gloves for winter gloves and my fireproof racing suit for a wind-resistant jacket. We made sure to fuel up before hitting the trail, but no pit crew was required.

The biggest similarity between my on-track work and off-track adventures? The need to adapt and react. There are many things we can control on a race weekend, but others that we just can’t. If the weather forecast shows a potential for rain to start halfway through a race, I can work with my engineers to determine possible tire strategies. On the trail, we might misjudge the timing of a hike and need to take the shorter route back in order to beat the sunset.

I know it sounds crazy, but life comes into focus for me at 220 mph. I can fully concentrate on one thing and one thing only—the racetrack in front of me. During our trip, I had so many moments that truly gave me perspective and that familiar feeling of intense, singular focus. The common image that comes to mind is someone (perhaps with a slight fear of heights) standing at the top of a mountain, looking over a deep canyon. Yes, that was me. But spending time in nature and becoming secondary to everything around us was also humbling. When the traffic jam is due to a herd of bison, it’s a good reminder to slow down… it’s their world, we’re just living in it!

Now it’s your turn.

What’s your motivation for adventure? How does the outdoors call you? Leave me a note in the comments! 

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