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! 

The Ultimate
Adventure Maps

Access 650K+ miles of trail data, Offline Maps, GPS Tracking, Waypoint functionality, Outdoor Project Adventures, and more with onX Backcountry. Start your free trial today–no credit card required.

Start Free Trial


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.