On speed

Some people race cars for fun.  Some people ski.  Others jump out of perfectly good airplanes.  And some people, people like me, race with guns.  The common element that ties all these together is speed – in racing, action shooting, and many other pursuits you’ll find the purest pursuit of speed – in these sports the goal is to simply go faster than the other guy.  There is no more pure a contest of athleticism than to stand next to another person and see who is faster; our fascination with speed is such that we extend that machinery, racing everything we can get our hands on, and it’s truly glorious.

Some people don’t get speed.  They don’t see a stretch of open road behind the wheel of a fast car and think “I wonder how fast I can get this up to”; looking down a huge hill on a bicycle doesn’t fill them with anticipation; the words “shooter ready” don’t make their stomach twist with adrenaline.  That’s okay, because speed isn’t everyone’s thing.  But for the people that get it, that understand – going fast for no other reason than you can is a pure sort of joy rarely experienced.


  1. “going fast for no other reason than you can is a pure sort of joy rarely experienced.”

    You left a key part out of that. It’s not the speed alone that’s so addictive. It’s maintaining control while hitting that ridiculous speed.

    Going really fast on a motorcycle or in a car isn’t addictive if it usually involves losing control of the vehicle. The same applies with shooting.

    But when you can shoot better than everyone else on the range next to you AND do it at a speed that makes their head spin…now you’re talking some real satisfaction.

  2. This is why I love end-of-the-day downhill skiing — take in the view at the top of the run for about twenty minutes while the lifts close and most of the human obstacles clear the slopes — then off you go. No braking ’till the bottom means pure adrenaline.

    Laughingdog, under such circumstances the whole downhill run could be considered out of control if “control” means I’m able to stop very quickly without injuring myself.

  3. By “losing control”, I pretty much meant in the sense of crashing or putting rounds so far off target that you start sending rounds somewhere really unsafe.

    And I’ve never had a crash of any sort that would qualify as fun, especially not the one that left me in a coma for two days. They do make for fun stories sometimes though. I also have to admit that my worst “crash” in my rodeo days got me a number of dates with a woman who was way out of my league. You have to love that Florence Nightingale Syndrome.

  4. One thing about speed is that sometimes in practice you have to go so fast that you miss. I do this when practice for Steel Challenge – I’ll get warmed up making clean runs, then amp up the speed until I’m going so fast that I miss a 24 inch plate at 7 yards. That’s when I know I need to turn it down a notch from there.

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