Nick Axtell’s Ostomy Bucket List: Next Challenge, Dirt Buggy Racing!

Nick Axtell’S Ostomy Bucket List Next Challenge Dirt Buggy Racing 1

“I feel the need… the need for speed!”

I love driving. The fastest thing I have ever driven is a Lamborghini Gallardo. On the flip side, my day to day car is a Renault Twizy (two extremes of the speed scale!) Yet I’ve learned that the fun of driving is not just going fast, it’s being in control.

For my latest experience, I decided to try dirt buggy racing. I turned up to a grassy field in the Cheshire countryside on a warm overcast day and joined a group of people who had also signed up.

Nobody even knew I had a stoma

I never make reference to my stoma when I take part in these kind of activities. Why? Mainly a combination of embarrassment and fear that I could be turned away.

I jumped in the buggy and took my place in the passenger seat to strap in. One of the harness straps went right across my stoma. And then it was tightened. This concerned me a little as I was unsure if the pressure would cause implications later. However, when I do these things (zipwiring, skydiving, now this!), it’s like my body knows and makes my stoma behave. I don’t know if it’s mind over matter. Editor’s note: Nick is an experienced thrill-seeker and knows his body well. We would generally advise, if you fancy trying out any of the activities Nick describes in his blogs, that you do chat to your stoma care nurse first to check that your stoma will be OK.

I started off as a passenger, then it was my turn to drive

The first run around the course consisted of 4 laps, being bounced around in the passenger seat with no control over what was going on other than my left foot trying to apply an imaginary brake. Once those laps were complete, I took my shaken frame out the buggy, ready to take to the driving seat. I was taken through a safety briefing on where to put my right arm (through a strap attached to the dash, so that in the event of an accident I did not lose it!)

For safety reasons, the buggy was restricted to only 25% of its full power. In all honesty, that was plenty; the buggy could still shoot off in a cloud of dust.

I was careful to begin with as I wasn’t sure how the buggy would handle the terrain, which was mainly loose dry mud, log ramps, narrow paths and small bumps. The loose mud was like driving on gravel, applying the power too quickly caused the back end to kick out. The log ramps required a slower pace, as hitting them hard could dislodge your dental fillings.

As each lap progressed, my body flooded with more adrenaline. I was getting quicker and more confident in my ability. Even my passenger commented on how fast I was going. I loved it; I could do it all day.

Travelling at the speed of light

Once we had completed our session, the instructor removed the limiter and took each of us out for a spin. If I had thought that buggy was quick at 25% power, now it felt like it was travelling at the speed of light! Rocketing off in an even bigger cloud of dust - flying through the long grass, being pelted with grass seeds - the speed was so intense, yet surprisingly smooth. The most memorable part, for me, was drifting past a farm field, sideways, at a speed I would feel more comfortable facing forward. It was fast. It was fun. And I would definitely do it again.

Another item off my ostomy bucket list

This was another item complete from the bucket list. All the time, I’m finding that list growing as I realise that my stoma really won’t get in the way of anything I want to do.

Various videos of my thrill-seeking adventures can be found here.

Find out what else Nick's been up to in his blog on living life to the full

by Nick Axtell

Nick Axtell

About the author

Hi I'm Nick. Diagnosed with Crohn's in 2006, gained a Stoma in 2010 and Completion Proctectomy November 2015. I have a family with 2 girls and a somewhat unusual sense of humour, which I hope will come across in my blogs. I am trying to live my life to the fullest and not let my stoma get in the way.

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