Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fast Go-Karts In Orlando! About Damn Time...

Okay, it's Saturday and my dad is hanging out with me in Orlando over the weekend.  What is there to do in the big O on Saturday?  PLENTY OF THINGS LIKE GET STUCK IN TRAFFIC AND LOUSY TOURIST TRAPS!!!

So after eating some pizza, me and my dad decided to go check out some go-karts.  There's one place to go and that is the Fun Spot.  It's basically a mini amusement park with a hundred, thousand billboards going up and down International Drive.  It has a bunch of go-kart tracks, bumper boats, that scary-ass flinger ride, and an arcade.


Whatever, so me and dad get stuck in traffic for an hour but we make it to the Fun Spot.  Obviously my main goal is to check out that big-ass arcade of theirs!

There's the Fun Spot. 

Omg, arcade.

I get there and frantically search both floors for a Sega racing game.  Aaaaand...there is none.  After spending an hour lamenting the inevitable death of yet ANOTHER arcade (no really, it's like being a WWII medic who has watched the tenth soldier die in front of him...like it just sucks ass to be completely helpless to the fact you can't save 'em), we decide to go out the go-karts.

The "Fun" Spot, rofl.

Okay, they're fine, they've got FOUR different tracks on the premises (with all but one being multi-level), but there's a catch.  They're just super-ass slow--like I could run faster than these things.  I'm guessing they went 10-15 mph.  The tracks were neat but me and dad just had a sudden realization...the 45+ mph go-kart tracks that we've been meaning to visit for AGES...


Indeed, so we go rummaging the Fun Spot's pamphlet bin and find NOTHING based on go-karts.  No kidding right, like why would the Fun Spot tell us to go ride any other go-karts besides these?  Quick, let's leave the cheap-ass Fun Spot and run up the road to the Super McDonald's, get a pamphlet there, and head out to the go-karts at last.

Track Panorama

This is the go-kart track in question--the Orlando Kart Center.  Now to get to this place, you had to drive super far away from Disney, Universal, or any tourist trap...  Basically up the highway, down a few backroads, and there you go--a go-kart track.  I was tempted to wear by Daytona hat but no, I left it in the car.  It was probably for the best because this place turned out to be an F1 car haven...flying Brazilian flags (Ayrton Senna) and painting everything with Italian flag stripes (Ferrari).  Surely I would've been booted out of the building because I didn't know how to turn right, or something.

Someone else's video of le track

Me and dad sign up for three 10-minute sessions, a grand total of 30 minutes driving.  You start by filling out a health-and-safety form (in other words, we could die and we can't sue them) as well as a "nickname" on a computer (mine was "Junior" cause of #88 and I'm Eric Junior after all).  Then you're given a balaclava (those socks that go over your head) and a helmet.  Oh snap, this is getting serious.  BUT THERE'S MORE--while waiting in the lobby, for our turn, there's a crowd of latino-looking men speaking to each other in Italian.  They had Ferrari t-shirts on.  They had nicknames on the screens like "Alberto," "Omar," "Rodrigo," and "Goias."  Shit just got real.

Eventually, we put on our helmets and went to our assigned go-karts.  Since there was no starting grid or rolling start, you basically compete against each other to get the fastest possible lap time.  Computers can save each of your lap times and display them on screens next to your nickname.  They also displayed your kart's RPMs so you can see who had the fastest karts (an outstanding feature).  But enough about stats cause we're racing.

The Mysterious Driver!!!

I'll fix this damn picture later.

I am KICKING ASS at this stuff.  Forget about the whole "lap time" business--I was gunning for everyone and made a ton of passes.  My expertise at nailing the racing lines really payed off.  Brake in, accel out.  Gotta be careful though because if you slam the brakes, you'll do a slide and those aren't pretty in real life.  After two or three laps, I finally got a feel for the thing.  I was stunned after the first 10-minute session to find out that "Junior" had finished with the fastest time.  Nobody said anything to me afterwards but I was feeling rather hot so I just stood in front of a fan sipping my McDonald's Root Beer.

Junior wins!!

Second session, the unfortunate news is that my kart was slower this time.  The brakes were also weaker but at least I was less fearful of spinning out.  Because guys were making steady progress on me (what else could I do?), I summoned up some sisu* and basically threw the kart into the corners, taking turns at full speed when before, I would've let off the gas a little.  I slipped and slided but I ended up finishing somewhere in the middle in terms of time.  Real bummer but I overachieved considering my kart's performance compared to the others.

Really, Google???  Is your Picasa photo uploading so stupid it won't submit the images with the right rotation???

Third session turned out to be the same thing but with a slightly better kart.  This is when fatigue really kicked in.  The problem this whole time was the damn balaclava and helmet were really obstructing me.  Being constricted like that, I breathed in hot air which made me suffocate a bit so I had to adjust the mask often.  Also, I lifted up the helmet visor because the scratched lens really pissed me off.  Too bad all the dirt particles flew into my eye and made me uncomfortable.  I also got bruises on my arm and sides from bouncing up and down on a plastic kart seat all this time.  But regardless of physical pain, I still pushed the kart to 110 percent.  I finished the last session in 2nd which was a good way to end the day.

I know where to hold my next cake day.

After that, me and dad went home.  Dad had motion sickness, I had bruises and dirty eyes.  But we drove over 45+ mph and it was a rewarding experience.  Compared to video games, you actually get a "feel" of how the car's moving so you can react differently and do a better job of sensing where the racing lines are.  That made me think of the potential I could use in real race-car driving as well as in video games where the "feel" of the car (sense of speed, momentum, center of gravity, etc) comes into play.  Anyway, Orlando Kart Center.  Better than the Fun Spot.  Laters...

* - Had these guys been Finnish instead of Italian, I would've been in a world of trouble. >_>

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