Wow, it feels like forever since I last posted. I got back from vacation Monday night and this is the first moment of free time I've had since I got back.
First of all, the trip. It was excellent. Panama is a great country. It's very affordable, it has natural beauty, beaches, and a vibrant capital city. After a couple of days in Panama City, we rented a car (B13 Nissan Sentra, the model we had in Canada in 1992) for two weeks and we really got around. We saw water falls, visited hot springs, hiked up mountains and lounged on beaches. We drove 2000 km in two weeks. Most of the roads were in fine conditions. Driving in Panama City can only be described as a nightmare. I could not find anything I was looking for. There are barely any street signs and no available GPS. Getting from point A to point B was virtually impossible. If you don't believe me, try to find a Panama address in Google Maps. Even when we took taxi rides, it seemed there was no quasi-direct route to where we were going.
The weather was pretty good, although it rained for about an hour on most days. We expected this, as it is the rainy season there. The food was quite to our liking as well: many meals consisted of rice or french fries with baked, fried or stewed chicken, fish or beef. Many restaurants offered these meals for about 2$. One of the more interesting things is that there were very few tourists in most places. I would recommend Panama to anyone who loves nature and scenery, does not want to see a million other tourists, and does not mind the occasional dingy hotel room.
We arrived home Monday evening and I had a crazy week planned. On Tuesday, I had a trial in the morning. I also had to edit a bunch of summaries for work before today. On top of that, I had promised to take my girls' basketball team to lunch and a movie on Wednesday and, right after that, I had to head out to Mosport for a track day on Thursday, which meant that I had to work extra hard on my legal summaries Tuesday and today.
I somehow managed to get all this done. The activity with the basketball team went well and I was happy to learn that half the girls signed up for basketball camps this summer, on their own initiative. Several girls also asked if there would be a spot for them on the team this fall. I told them that there would. Next year, I will focus on attitude and enthusiasm as a criteria for selection on the team, and the girls who approached me were among the most devoted members of the team. I look forward to putting together the 2010-2011 team this fall.
I was supposed to leave for Mosport at 8:00 pm, but when I met JP so we could drive down together, it was almost 10:00. On top of that, we had to drive our track cars through a crazy tropical storm for a couple of hours. We were exhausted when we arrived at the track at 2:30.I woke up at 8:00 to make the drivers' meeting at 8:30. My first sessions were uneventful, except that I forgot to put the spacers behind the wheels and I destroyed two tires with rubbing on the frame (they were old tires anyway). Luckily, Pascal lent me a pair of his old race tires. My last session was my best and most fun, as I went out with the advanced group (I had been running with the intermediates so I could help out when the advanced group was on track). My best lap was not as good as last year's as I only managed a 1:45.70. Still, the car felt good and I finally had the guts to not brake at the end of the back straight. I just downshift from 5th to 4th and enter the corner. I was not that confident in turn 2 as it was a bit slippery on the concrete patch on the morning's damp track. I figured that you can take the turn a bit more on the outside when the track is damp, and thus avoid putting the outside tires on the patch. Everywhere else, I was driving quite well and close to the limit. In most cases, when I was passed by someone, I would regain some ground in the next corner (even a Porsche 911 GT3 RS). I took some video, but I ran out of space on my memory card in the middle of the last session. The car felt good with the new final drive. The 3rd gear problem is only partially solved as it still grinds a bit at high RPM. will probably need to buy the whole 3-4 gearset, but this can wait until winter. There were some nice cars at the event, including 2 Porsche GT3 RS', a Lotus Elise and Europa, a Corvette Z06 and Cadillac CTS-V, a bunch of Subaru STi's, an AMG C63, several M3's, a couple of third generation RX7's and a bevy of Honda's.
As for sports, I haven't gone running since the marathon. I will try to go out this weekend, but my schedule is still pretty full for the next couple of days. I don't know how I found the time to go out 4 times a week before the marathon! I still haven't decided what other race I would like to do this year. I will have to decide soon enough if I want to organize a training plan.
I'm sure I've forgotten some stuff, but that's what I can think of right now!
Cool cars spotted:
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8
Ferrari 612 Scaglietti
Ferrari 328 GTS
Porsche Boxster Spyder
Porsche 996 GT2
Porsche 997 Turbo