Finding the Limits

We live half a dozen miles up a “primitive road”. That means no signs, no guard rails, and no pavement. I say “up” because the road starts by winding around the hill and going up 250 feet or so.

Depending on recent precipitation, temperature, and when it was last plowed, this road can be tricky or downright dangerous in the winter. We have several cars a year go off the side on the hill, and many more get stuck in the ditch or berm on the level but curvey section of the road.

On top of this, we live in a community (think commune without the pot or tie-dye) and I can end up in any of five vehicles.

Finding the Limits

As soon as I get out onto the road I push the vehicle I’m driving till I feel a bit of a slip. This allows me to know how the vehicle is going to handle the road’s current conditions. Knowing this helps me know how fast I can take the road and especially the downhill section.

If you were riding with me you might think I was trying to slide on the ice. I might seem reckless. However, this is not the case. I do my testing on a safe section of road, and I do it close enough to home that someone could drive up and pull us out if we got stuck. I choose to find the limits so I can avoid passing them when it might mean rolling down a snowy hillside.

Some of you are probably thinking “If you always assumed it was bad and drove slowly you’d be fine.” There is a problem with that. It hasn’t happened, yet, but I could find the road so bad I would decide to turn around and go back home. There are times here when it’s just not safe to drive regardless of your equipment or skill. By pushing to find the limits, I will know if it’s ever past what I consider safe for driving. If I just assume it’s bad I might find out it’s horrible halfway down the hill.

All of this is to say men are all about testing the limits, and sometimes they are actually doing something sane when they do that. 

~ Paul – I’m XY, and studded tires rock!

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3 Comments on “Finding the Limits

  1. I have to push limits against illness every day, both physically and, more importantly, mentally.

    It would be so easy to give up on what is left of my life. It hurts – a lot, every day – I’m tired, and the chances that I still have anything worthwhile to contribute are slipping away.

    So I have to push, with intention and a willingness to wear myself out in proving that I’m still capable of something, however small…and whether it’s meaningful or not in the long run doesn’t matter. It’s meaningful to me, now.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 443 – Barbara on Caregiver Guilt {FMF}My Profile

  2. My first point would be that, what you mentioned above is what ideal premarriage counseling would look like. You’d test the brakes and the traction, get your heart rate up and make it uncomfortable on something like money, sex, family, or children before you commit. Do your best to figure out each set of limitations before you are actually on the black ice and want to know if your traction control works or not.

    On the second end, I do this on my bike as well. You don’t work on your bike handling in a race on a downhill in the rain. You do it in a parking lot, starting out slow, and then increasingly getting faster with no one else around you. Yes, it could mean that you skin up your knee as you learn, and you might get a little embarrassed, but if that skinned knee keeps you from a broken pelvis later on, it won’t seem so bad.

    • @mykidsmademedoit – There’s a 30 something guy next door who has been driving in this stuff since puberty. He seems to be reckless, but he knows how to drive in ice and snow better than most. On a bad road, there is no one I would rather have behind the wheel.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…How Marriage is Like Your Immune SystemMy Profile

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