By Guest Blogger, Kira Colburn
As a first timer at the Lehigh Valley Grand Prix, I really didn't know what to expect. I was excited because I love anything that can jump-start my adrenaline, but hadn't done anything like this since I was a kid.
The first thing you do when you arrive is watch a 5-minute safety video explaining specific instructions, like what different colored flags mean, don't press on the gas and break at the same time, etc.
Then, you're fitted for a helmet. By that point I was already panicking that I couldn't remember the safety rules. To add to my growing fear, the staging area, where you wait for the previous heat to finish, was filled with professional looking men sporting their own custom helmets and driving gloves. Now I knew I was out of my league.
Once we were strapped into our karts, the panic was worse. What if I cause an accident? Or my kart breaks down? Or I disobey a rule and get kicked off the track? These were the (mostly irrational) thoughts running through my mind, but it was too late to turn back. A crewmember started each kart and waved the black and white checkered flag signaling us to go. One by one, we hit the gas petal and raced onto the track.
There was no question I was the slowest. I was continuously passed and did my best to stay out of the others way, but after the first couple laps I really wasn't paying attention to the other drivers and the panic was miraculously gone.
All I felt was the adrenaline and the excitement of driving 50 mph. An unexpected concentration fell over me as I learned when to break and accelerate in order to gain maximum speed around the turns.
Eventually, the same checkered flag was waved, signaling the race was over and we all pulled back into the starting lanes. I was immediately proud that I didn't crash into the kart in front of me. Then I realized...I did it! I finished a race with the "big boys" and nothing went wrong.
At the end of each race, you receive a sheet with each karts best lap time. I was dead last, but that didn't bother me. I had fun and was still wired from the adrenaline running through my body. Why did I even panic in the first place? Although the other drivers were much more experienced, I wasn't interested in beating them (not that I could have even if I tried). The real reason I wanted to race was to experience the thrill I had heard so much about.
The Lehigh Valley Grand Prix is the perfect spot for summer, especially during those typical rainy or uncomfortably hot days, which make the outdoors unbearable. I will definitely be back to the track with my friends, so they can experience the excitement for themselves.