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racing

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 04:47 PM by alex.s

what can i say about racing that everybody doesn't already know? well i'll tell you this right now. what you think you know about racing is in fact complete bullshit.

racing is very stressful. it is extremely dangerous. extremely challenging. racing tricks your mind into forcing you to push yourself in ways you never thought you would. ways you've told yourself many times you wouldn't. racing can legitimately scare someone like me who finds pleasure in danger and risk. and yet- still, there is something magical about it. all of that fear, anticipation and stress build up to a very long 15 minutes of pure ecstatic adrenaline. when you see those numbers start counting down... your engine revving just under redline... your heart --also just under redline-- is about to explode waiting for just the right moment when that flag drops... nothing else matters at that point. a war could be going on around you and you wouldn't see or hear it. you are focused on the shoulder of a guy you can barely see, standing 60 feet in front of you. waiting to see a the faintest indication of a twitch... trying to be the first off the line without actually jumping the start. front wheels jump into the air as people struggle to keep from flipping their bikes at launch. 30 bikes, all within a couple seconds of each other screaming full blast toward a 6 foot patch of asphalt before slamming hard on their brakes. practically sending rear wheels flying as they try to coax their bikes into making the first turn. inches away from other riders as they fight to keep their bike on an acceptable line without giving up an opportunity for someone to block their line for the next turn. that first 5 or so seconds of a race is absolutely insane. imagine LA traffic with no lane markers and everybody is pissed. i would say my launches are in the top 5 for my class, but i might be biased. that being said, this is easily my least favorite part of a race.

Racecraft. this is a word i hadn't heard before i began racing. being able to identify and understand not just your own limits, but the limits of the people around you is not an intuitive skill to learn, but it is a vital tool for a successful race. there is give and take in every corner. you sacrifice a little bit of entry speed to get a good exit speed. the opposite is also true, sometimes you sacrifice a bit of exit speed to take a faster/later entry. different speeds in different sections force you into different lines, some slower, some quicker. but being faster in one particular corner is next to meaningless if you are unable to pass, and stay in front of, whoever it is you may be faster than in that corner. this is where racecraft comes into the picture. knowing where your rival wants to go, and where you can force them to go is crucial in correctly passing. anybody can late brake into a corner. but knowing which corner to do it in, and where to put your bike after the turn is where the magic happens.

for that brief moment when you setup for a pass that you've been planning for the last 2 laps, perfectly blocking your rivals' line while still leaving enough room for them to push wide and slow while you snatch up their spot without letting them get behind you to flop to the other side for a good exit. an orgasm does not compare to the satisfaction of correctly planning and executing a maneuver to pass someone who by all accounts should be able to stay in front of you. when you are racing someone of equal skill, changing positions back and forth. this is by far the most fun i've had. there is nothing else that compares to racing. nothing.



That said, i need to get to a track day! racing is very stressful and sometimes its nice to relax and just cruise around the track at a practice day and work on technique.
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