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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on January 20th, 2009, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 9, Issue 45 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 9, Issue 45

Racing pedal to the porcelain

Krider sacrifices bladder control for victory´┐Ż

By ROB KRIDER


Wet behind the wheels
While competing in the 24 Hours of LeMons race, Rob Krider decided to play fast and loose with his bladder.
PHOTO COURTESY ROB KRIDER
It was that time of year again: for me and three of my less-intelligent friends to compete in the 24 Hours of LeMons, an endurance car race held with $500 cars. Each junk car has its own theme. Sticking with our Central Coast roots, we bolted a surfboard to the roof of our junker. It takes a certain lack of smarts to drive a car that you wouldn’t trust to get you across town for a six-pack of beer. It takes even less smarts to take that same car onto a racetrack with 100 other equally crappy cars. Well, I’ve never made a claim to be much of a brainiac, so after winning the same race in May, instead of quitting while I was ahead, I found myself back in the seat and driving like a madman for 24 more grueling hours.

Driving in an endurance race takes a pretty hard toll on the body. Specifically, drivers become dehydrated while being in the hot racecars. My partner found a quick fix for this and allowed our team to stay out on the course longer by rigging a Camel Pack to the back of our seat with a drinking tube routed up to our helmets. This proved to be a fantastic way to hydrate the drivers. However, his solution for dehydration created a hydration problem. Yes, I had to go tinkle. The water went into my body just fine, but driving a stint in the race for four hours straight, there was no place for the water to go. After about hour three I was in excruciating pain, but I wasn’t going to pull into the pits and give up the race lead because I had to go wee-wee. The race only had an hour to go, which meant I had to wait an additional agonizing hour before I could go. Victory was on the line.

It was getting to the point where I couldn’t think about anything except going to the bathroom. I was missing my shifts and losing control of the car while concentrating on controlling my bladder. Then the name came to me: Alan Shepard. That’s right, Alan Shepard, the first American in outer space, an astronaut, a real hero. I remembered reading a story about how he went to the bathroom in his space suit because his rocket was delayed for hours. The engineers hadn’t given him a bathroom in the space capsule because his flight was only supposed to take 15 minutes. I figured if a hero like Alan Shepard could do it, then I certainly could. Nobody would judge me. Right? I mean, after all, I was doing everything in my power to win the race for my team. I contemplated the pros and cons, and peeing in my suit certainly beat coming in for a pit stop and losing the race. I would do it “for the team” (not for myself, of course).

So, I did it. A grown man wet his pants. I was quite proud of myself. And I’m not going to lie, it felt so good. After the race was finished, I got out of the racecar and quickly found out that my peers—and especially my wife, whom I love—were not as impressed with my ability to bravely go to the bathroom in my pants. In fact, they were all quite grossed out by the notion. I wasn’t awarded the hero’s do-or-die, win-at-all-costs reputation I was going for. Instead, I was given the, “Oh, gross ... you might want to go change your pants, Dude.”

I didn’t care what they thought about my pee pants, because I drove us across the finish line first and we won the race. Except that we didn’t.

At this race, I learned some very important life lessons (besides the potty training). Lesson No. 1: If you are the reigning champion, chances are the technical inspectors are going to look at your car very closely. That leads to lesson No. 2: If you are the reigning champion and you know the technical inspectors are going to look at your car very closely, follow the race rules carefully. In other words, no racer/cheater shenanigans.

My car was in the inspection line for all of about three seconds when it was impounded by the officials and taken apart. That is where they found the really slick, super, go-fast parts from ST Suspensions, Circuit Sports, and I/O Port Racing Supplies. Remember, these cars are supposed to be worth $500. The technical inspectors found more than $1,000 worth of “illegal” parts on our $500 car. Busted. Hey, that’s racing. It happens to every “good” team sooner or later. Only you feel extra stupid when you get caught cheating while you’re standing there with wet pants.

My son was on hand for this debacle, and he put it all into very terrible perspective for me.

“Dad, why did we get disqualified?”

“Well, it’s complicated, son.”

“Was it because you wet your pants?”

“No. There is no rule about that … yet.”

“Was the car illegal or something?”

“Well, not exactly?”

“It is either legal or it isn’t. Did you cheat?”

“No, I wouldn’t call it cheating. It was more like, uh, a colorful interpretation of the rule book.”

“Dad, that’s called cheating. You’re a cheater.”

“Well, I guess when you break down the facts, all black and white like that, I guess I can’t argue. I suppose we cheated. Now give me a second, I need to change my pants.”

So that was the 24 Hours of LeMons for me. I wet my pants, lost the respect of my wife, won the race, got caught cheating, lost the race, disappointed my son, end of story. Not exactly the glory-filled celebration of a second consecutive win that I was hoping for, but definitely an unforgettable (and soggy) one for sure.

Rob was given a package of Depends diapers after the race—a practical joke that will probably become a practical use at the next event.




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