Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunburns and big grass fields

If you have been around here very long, you probably know I'm a pretty big race fan. If it has four wheels and goes fast, you have my attention. So in Alabama sunburns and big grass fields can only mean one thing... last weekend was Talladega weekend.

I had not really planned on going to Talladega this year but my new boss Sean won tickets to the Saturday race and given that he is not a race fan and was going to be out of town... he offered the tickets to me. Whoo hoo!! So I got up on Saturday morning to cloudy skies and a weather forecast that almost assured me it was going to rain at some point during the race that afternoon. My spirits were not dampened... I headed out for the track and figured that if it rained... I would head home and watch the rest of it on TV. The trip is not a particularly long one and with free tickets in hand I didn't figure I had much to lose.

Sean won two tickets but I didn't really want to force anyone to go with me... and I actually kind of like going to races by myself. I like doing my own thing, keeping my own schedule, sitting where I want and listening to the scanner as opposed to explaining what is going on on the race track. I mean no offense to my friends and family.... that is just usually the way I prefer to watch a race.

In college, my friend Bobby taught me the back roads to Talladega. If you have ever been stuck in traffic on the interstate on a race weekend in Alabama you will understand how important this is. On Saturday I ran into no traffic and as I pulled up over the last hill on some two lane county road, the track came into view. (It's an awesome sight... and coming over this hill is much more dramatic than passing the track on the interstate.) I got as close to the track as I could and pulled into the grass parking lot I was directed to.

I got there in time for qualifying and after picking up a new hat and a few other things at the merchandise trailers, I headed for my seat. I called my dad at some point and he reminded me to put on sun screen. When I was in college, I sat at Talladega all day one Saturday with Bobby and came back so sunburned I had blisters on my shoulders and the tops of my knees. It was stupid and painful.

So this Saturday once I got settled with my scanner and camera I put on the sun screen... at least I thought. The rain never came on Saturday and I sat out there for about 6 hours. I had a great time and took lots of pictures of my favorite cars. I watched qualifying for the Sunday race and then the race on Saturday afternoon. By the end of the race, I was hot, sweaty and I realized my ankles were itchy. I didn't think too much about it and when the checkered flag flew on the race Saturday afternoon I headed for my car.

Another thing my friend Bobby taught me in college was that the other secret to avoiding Talladega traffic is to leave as soon as the race is over so that you can beat out all of the people who dilly dally around after the race. So once I snapped a few pictures of the winning car, I took off for my car.

Remember that grass field I parked in when I arrived six hours earlier... it looks a whole lot like every other grass field surrounding this giant race track dropped in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, six hours of sitting in the sun and my complete lack of a sense of a direction left me a bit turned around and lost. I finally found my car after wandering around lost for a little bit.

As I headed for home I looked at myself in the vanity mirror in the car... whoops... looks like I didn't get every spot with the sun screen. After I made it home, a shower was the first order of business. I'm not sure about you but after I have been in the sun, my sunburn really shows up after I have showered.

I have the most uneven crazy looking sunburn you have ever seen! I apparently forgot the front of my neck... so I have a v-neck red spot. I also missed the top part of my arms... not my shoulders but just below my shoulders. I missed my right hand and the inside of my left arm. And the worst part is the inside of my left leg. Apparently I sat for a lot of the day with my left foot propped on my right knee. So one side of my left leg is terribly red from my knee to just above my sock line.

Awesome!! I had a great time and I don't regret going... but next time maybe I will do a little better with actually applying the sun screen. And I guess I'll just have to put a homing device on my car. One day maybe I will learn.


Anonymous said...

I was hoping for a picture! :) Hope your skin is back to normal soon. I have done the same thing!

Anonymous said...

By the way, come see my blog today!

Carrie said...

I am so jealous! Free tickets to Talladega. I completely understand about going to the race by yourself though...I have tickets to Bristol and sell all but one each year so I can go by myself and enjoy the race and the scanner. Hope your sunburn heals!