I mentioned a few posts ago, that my dad and I took part in an oldtimer endurance rally in Iceland last April. At the time I had conflicting emotions about the experience, because of a few personal things that happened around that time, but looking back it was a really important experience.
My dad was the driver and I was the navigator. I had never done something like this before, and it was hard work! I hadn't expected that. You get up early (as our car was the second-oldest, we were always second to start), eat a quick breakfast, look over the directions for that day, mark some important things (like gas stations!), put on 45341 layers of clothing and then off you drive! As the navigator I had to follow the instructions in the road book using a tripmaster (counts the miles you drive), use two stop-watches to time the regularities (certain sections of the route, where you have to keep a prescribed tempo for certain intervals, sometimes as short as 0.2 miles, with unpredictable check points, where every second you're off the prescribed time deducts points!) and tell my dad to drive faster or slower, navigate us through tests (small obstacle courses that are about speed), get our time-card stamped at check-in points and make sure we left on on time.
The first day we were awful! Late to everything, lost the trunk lid during a very bumpy regularity, overwhelmed by the regularities, freezing (because the car we rented from the rally organisation didn't have windows, a fact we only realized once we saw the car in person... and we were in ICELAND! In APRIL! haha)... I was feeling really grumpy around noon - I just don't like being bad at things! I told my dad "all this competition stuff is stressing me out, lets just ride along the route to see the country and enjoy ourselves and not take part in the regularities and all that". But my competitive side took over, and that night I spent two hours working through the road book, taking notes and calculating times.... and so our second day was much better! We still had a lot of car trouble (our car was an 1938 AC 16/80 March Special), with fuel suddenly leaking out of the motor, the constant use of headlights (mandatory in Iceland) causing the battery to die, the tripmaster not working, the speedometer not working... but I was getting the hang of the competition stuff, and my dad and I turned out to be a really good team! We'd make mistakes but then we'd just find a solution, and find our way back to the correct route. And all the participants were from around the world! A really interesting mix of people, all with a love of vintage cars. And even though technically it's a competition, it's more about the fun of it, exchanging stories etc., and whenever anyone has a problem, everyone tries to help as best they can, there's really a sense of "fellowship" :)
Iceland, of course, was amazing and beautiful. It's not the quaint, lush beauty of Switzerland, it's a raw, sometimes terrifying beauty, that makes you feel so small and inferior to nature.