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Old December 8th, 2020, 02:29 PM   #241
Ducati999
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Originally Posted by jrshooter View Post
i dont know how much of this will pertain to you but maybe.
disclaimer- i race at the lowest level of club racing so all my info could be wrong,
the biggest leap i made in lowering my track times had to do with vision and mind set.
i lost 9 seconds a lap in one day to only changing these two things.
the info ill pass onto you you would have heard already, as i had already had heard
I took a one race school put on by one of our track day providers,there was not a lot of technique taught but a lot on vision and mind set that was taught.
I will explain in simplest terms first and then what i brought out of it.
first on vision. i thought i was looking way in front of the motorcycle but what i was doing was looking mabe 1/2 the way to my next mark, i could see my next mark in my perifiry but only focused about 1/2 way. this made it easy for me to settle on speed that was not full throttle. when my laser focus shifted to my next mark way up there all of a sudden i wanted to be was where i was focused at and i wanted there NOW. now im full throttle between turns and cant get up there fast enough. Dave stanton told me when the right wrist rolls back the head goes up, he said picture a rope connected to your wrist to your head. I fool you not i went from a 2.20 to a 2.11 lap time in one day.
bonus i had a few fears commiting to this. when i tipped in and was happy with speed and direction and knew i was going to hit the apex it was hard for me to raise my vision i wanted to watch the bike all the way to the apex before i raised my eyes. the sooner i raise my eyes the sooner i want to be there.
hope this helps.

This is similar to what I have been working on to remedy the problem. Its not that I am just staring at the huge rock wall with jersey barriers in front and a tire wall between my soft tissue and their hard surface, its just always in the back of my mind. Since this was the first season where I was actually able to run the track properly with me and the bike working as a team, I just began to experience this issue. Since most of my life has been street riding, have not had tons of experience running a liter bike at full throttle in top gear. Once things get into triple digits I am used to backing off on the street. I know what I have to do to correct this problem-just keep the bike pinned longer.
Thank you for the write up, your suggestion and description are extremely helpful and I hope it will help others who may have the same issue
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Old December 8th, 2020, 02:44 PM   #242
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
You need to focus on your reference-points more and move your braking markers back for higher top-speed. Not seeing your target braking-marker is causing you to roll off throttle.

I have some stories that relate and may help you with this. I did 15-years of bicycle racing starting at university. Had some friends and teammates that stayed with me through that entire experience. I was weakest one of bunch with my teammates beating me during training in everything: sprints, hillclimbs, time-trials, etc. However, I always did better in races as I reached highest levels of the sport.

One race in particular highlighted differences in how we performed in same identical race. After 100-miles of slogging through backroads of central CA, we were nearing finish. Couple laps through downtown with a prime or two for spectators. I took one and my teammate took the other and we were setting up for final sprint. We were side-by-side behind other guys who were going to finish #3 & 4 spots, ready for them to lead us out. Pack thins out as pace picks up with 1.5 laps to go, 38... 39... 40... 41..

Couple of linebacker-types try to bump me off wheel ahead, I hold steady. Guy couple spots up starts sprint 1/2 lap out to lead his guy to finish. I latch onto him... 42...43... going 100% screaming bloody murder giving it all I've got! Leadout guy fades and it's just the two of us... I'm barely holding his draft and I know I gotta come around him and accelerate faster to get him at line... I give a last ditch effort for 2-3 sec with all I've got.. 44...45.. then just as I'm about to rear-end him, I come around... spinning madly 130rpms+.. another 2-3 secs... we're neck & neck... Shove bike forward as I slide off rear of seat.. >thunk< as seat punches me in belly!! I got him by inches at line!!! ..... woohoo!!!

I look around for my teammate and he's nowhere to be found. Next lap around I find him being picked up by ambulance crew and road-rash treated. I really don't understand what happened, he was right next to me on last lap. It really took reviewing video footage of last lap to convince me there was crash! One of linebacker-types tried to shove off guy ahead of me to let their teammates in front get gap to take finish. They both got tangled and crashed, taking my teammate out as well. I didn't even see it!! I was too focused on two guys in front who were going to win that I didn't even see crash occurring. I just went around it as part of staying focused and fixated on staying with them. Thinking back, I never ever saw anyone hit the ground in my last 10-yrs of racing. As soon as something iffy started to happen, I would focus on getting around it.

Moral of story is you have only 100% of your focus to take in... what... 1-2% of the environment around you? You want to focus only on next reference point, hit it and focus on next one. One of the coaches call this connecting-the-dots. Focus on getting that next point perfect, then go for next one, ignore everything whizzing by.

In your case, back up your brake-markers another 50m so you can go 100% WOT to them. When you find yourself coasting with plenty of room to turn-in marker, move braking-marker up 1-2m at a time.

Wall? what wall??

I had a long discussion last night with a trusted riding coach and he sort of said the same thing as you did in your post. I am not fixated on the walls or any other points on the track but I know what and where the potential hazards are and I know what a safe pace for me feels like in relation to the perceived hazards. I am out of my comfort zone once speeds start hitting above 120. My last 30 years of street riding have had only a few runs up to high speed and on the street, more speed ='s increased danger or risk. I have just realized that I have this issue of slowly rolling off the throttle on longer straights, and I was working on it this last few track trips. Part of my lower lap times have come from getting on the gas earlier in the turn and holding it on longer. I am mostly trying to understand why I do this more than what needs to be done,( but please dont hesitate to add any suggestions) I hope to have this much more sorted next season. I have a few small issues to work on that should make this problem solve itself. Thank you for the write up and suggestions, I will keep all posted as to my progress with this issue
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Old December 8th, 2020, 03:16 PM   #243
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Great write up and great progression!! Well done! I'm glad to hear that you were able to take good information from a variety of people and put it all to use in a way that made sense to you. I love the way that you list the things that helped you in a systematic way and that you are open to the fact that you still have a lot to learn.

For your final comment, you talk about being relaxed and mention that when you tried to go fast, it didn't work out as well for you vs when you worked on being relaxed. This is super important.

Now, you can remind yourself to be relaxed until the cows come home, but there are usually specific things you need to do to help you stay relaxed while riding. What did you find were some specific techniques you used to help you be more relaxed? Was it looking further ahead? How you were sitting on the bike? Were you squeezing the tank with your knees? What was the biggest factor in helping you stay relaxed while riding?

@Misti,
Thank you for taking the time to read my journey. You have given me great direction in the past and I really appreciate your help. Your question about how I relax when riding is great and I had to take a little time to think about that. I am always relaxed when riding ---except when Im not relaxed! I will attempt to explain: When I ride, I try to "flow" with the bike. Muscle memory, as you know well, along with experience, good lines and throttle control all make the bike move from DOT to Dot on the track with little actual effort, this is what I mean by "Flow". When I am riding like this my mental budget is not overwhelmed and I work with the bike, the bike stays smooth and happy and so do I. Once the decision is made to "Up the Pace" more than just a little over last lap, things start to happen. Lets take an example turn entry: Normally I would roll off just before my brake marker, begin braking-release brake and turn in at my reference point. Add 10% or more speed and I now need to roll off earlier or brake harder. Both quantities unknown at my present level and no extra budget for calculations. I either over brake or miss my turn in marker running deeper into the turn than usual. These little errors begin to add up causing slower laps over all. Once I catch myself trying to push harder and making errors, I simply remind myself that I know how to follow all the riding rules and just have to slow a bit and start hitting my mark's correctly again. Once things get back under control and back within my mental budget, I can begin to add speed slowly and there is time and mental power to make more precise inputs and adjust my markers as needed.

My feeling is that the bike is smooth and stable(Happy) when I am running my 85% pace but once I start running 90-95% I start making small mistakes that upset the pace and/or the bike and that makes me unhappy. All I need to do is refocus on my markers and lines and I get back up to speed/ smooth and can add a small amount of speed next turn. Anytime I try to take a bigger step, the bike protests (due to my inputs) and lap times fall. I really cant remember any other technique I would use to relax and stay relaxed besides remembering I know how to ride a bike so I just relax and ride and the speed comes-step by step- even if its baby steps at this point.

On another subject, I hope to be able to ride with you on COTA in the next couple of years! 2020 is done and 2021 is still an unknown but I hope to have a chance to get to Texas and ride with you and the CALI Superbike school. Great school, great track and BMW S1000RR? Where do I sign up for that deal??? Could not think of a better reason to go to Texas.
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Old December 8th, 2020, 04:42 PM   #244
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@Misti,
Thank you for taking the time to read my journey. You have given me great direction in the past and I really appreciate your help. Your question about how I relax when riding is great and I had to take a little time to think about that. I am always relaxed when riding ---except when Im not relaxed! I will attempt to explain: When I ride, I try to "flow" with the bike. Muscle memory, as you know well, along with experience, good lines and throttle control all make the bike move from DOT to Dot on the track with little actual effort, this is what I mean by "Flow". When I am riding like this my mental budget is not overwhelmed and I work with the bike, the bike stays smooth and happy and so do I. Once the decision is made to "Up the Pace" more than just a little over last lap, things start to happen. Lets take an example turn entry: Normally I would roll off just before my brake marker, begin braking-release brake and turn in at my reference point. Add 10% or more speed and I now need to roll off earlier or brake harder. Both quantities unknown at my present level and no extra budget for calculations. I either over brake or miss my turn in marker running deeper into the turn than usual. These little errors begin to add up causing slower laps over all. Once I catch myself trying to push harder and making errors, I simply remind myself that I know how to follow all the riding rules and just have to slow a bit and start hitting my mark's correctly again. Once things get back under control and back within my mental budget, I can begin to add speed slowly and there is time and mental power to make more precise inputs and adjust my markers as needed.

My feeling is that the bike is smooth and stable(Happy) when I am running my 85% pace but once I start running 90-95% I start making small mistakes that upset the pace and/or the bike and that makes me unhappy. All I need to do is refocus on my markers and lines and I get back up to speed/ smooth and can add a small amount of speed next turn. Anytime I try to take a bigger step, the bike protests (due to my inputs) and lap times fall. I really cant remember any other technique I would use to relax and stay relaxed besides remembering I know how to ride a bike so I just relax and ride and the speed comes-step by step- even if its baby steps at this point.

On another subject, I hope to be able to ride with you on COTA in the next couple of years! 2020 is done and 2021 is still an unknown but I hope to have a chance to get to Texas and ride with you and the CALI Superbike school. Great school, great track and BMW S1000RR? Where do I sign up for that deal??? Could not think of a better reason to go to Texas.
This is exactly why it's sometimes difficult to push past your personal best times and improve, because when you do up the pace past your comfort level, things start to fall apart. I'll revisit the importance of having great visual skills which tend to be the key indicator of how well, fast and smooth you end up riding. You say that when you try and up your pace you end up making some small errors that compound over time and it sounds to me like turn entry speed is one area where things really get stressful.

What happens to your visuals when you try and enter a corner faster? Does your vision change? Does it narrow down or do you lose track of your wide vision? Can you still see all your Reference points?

For me, when I try and go fast, my vision gets behind a little and my perception of speed feels faster because of it. I get scared and then I over slow. Whatever gains I made in entering the corner faster, are therefore lost.

So, it starts with having great Reference Points, but then also has a ton to do with how and when I LOOK at those reference points. The key in almost all the situations is to NOT try and go fast but to work on improving your skills, one step at a time.

Quick story for you, you may have heard it before but here it is again. The first time I raced AMA 600 at Daytona I had never ridden the track before. I showed up a week before with the intent of spending the weekend club racing and learning the track before the AMA race but unfortunately on my second session around, I blew my motor on the banking. We scrambled to get a replacement motor sent from Oregon where my B Bike was (I couldn't afford to have both my bikes there) and that meant that I had just ONE Day to learn the track during the Team Hammer track day, before AMA qualifying the next day.

I went out for each practice session with a specific exercise to work on. First was Reference Points, in finding them and in drawing the track. I called Keith Code himself between sessions to talk through areas that I was struggling. Each session out I drew the track and added more RP's and before the final practice session of the day we compared may split times with everyone else's times (I was way off the pace) and chose the two corners where I was losing the most time.

Those two corners also happened to be the corners I had the fewest reference points in. For the last session I worked on finding more and better RP's and in putting my vision together so I flowed from one point to the other. The next day was qualifying and I didn't have much practice time to step up and find several seconds of improvement. I did the same thing, systematically working on putting my visuals together until the qualifying session came and Keith Code said "ok, you've done your work, now just RIDE, relax and have fun." I let go of everything and focussed on being smooth, relaxed and in having fun. I kept shouting in my helmet, "I'm riding DAYTONA!!!!" and sure enough when I came in, I had managed to find the time needed to qualify for the race!

So many times I caught myself trying to go FASTER instead of trying to improve and I had it all backwards. If you work on trying to improve your skills, how you roll on the gas, when you roll on, adding more RP's, remaining relaxed, not allowing your vision to narrow etc.....THAT is when you will find the speed.



You're on the right track. Keep up the hard work and you will find improvement in your times!!
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Old December 9th, 2020, 01:18 PM   #245
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A good friend of mine, who happens to be a motorcycle legend, told me when I first started racing (back in 1982) to find someone fast and follow them. This might help you find the points of reference and the speed you are looking for.

He now mentors young riders and still tells them to do that. Just remember to pass them before the finish line.
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Old December 9th, 2020, 01:38 PM   #246
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I actually think you're doing fine and making great progress! Might be stressing yourself by trying to chop off too much time too quickly. Work on consistency for a while, get all your laps within 1-sec of each other. You'll find it'll give you great comfort and stability. Then it'll be easier to pick up 0.1s at a time.
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Old December 10th, 2020, 11:39 AM   #247
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
I actually think you're doing fine and making great progress! Might be stressing yourself by trying to chop off too much time too quickly. Work on consistency for a while, get all your laps within 1-sec of each other. You'll find it'll give you great comfort and stability. Then it'll be easier to pick up 0.1s at a time.
This is a great quote. Maybe you are not ready to go faster. You have to feel competent (comfortable) with your speed to be relaxed and confident. Riding around freaked out is helping you learn. Experience comes with time at the track. Spend more time at a pace you are comfortable with. Then when you can do laps that seem routine work on the corners you want to attack harder. Make sure you are riding the correct line, no matter what speed you are doing, then work on improving your braking and exit speed.

Remember, this is supposed to be fun!
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Old December 10th, 2020, 12:50 PM   #248
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If I ride at a comfortable speed I'll be 5 seconds off my race time. I need a rabbit to chase. If I get a tow just above my comfort level. Soon that speed will be comfortable. And so on so forth.
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Old December 12th, 2020, 12:09 PM   #249
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If I ride at a comfortable speed I'll be 5 seconds off my race time. I need a rabbit to chase. If I get a tow just above my comfort level. Soon that speed will be comfortable. And so on so forth.
This! I have no issue upping the pace chasing someone, no worry about entry speed or crashing. I just put my head down and follow the rules as best I can and start to reel the leader in, BUT once I pass, the worry returns. Since I am following another rider there is no thought of entry speed its just automatically set by the lead rider, if he made it so can I! In my mind there is a magic line that if crossed will cause the front to wash. Since I personally have not yet found the line then without someone to show me the pace is safe I slow. Again it comes down to confidence backed by experience. As @CC Cowboy stated: I need more track time and being scared is keeping the bike upright. With more time running at pace, the progress should improve as fast as confidence expands.

At this time my confidence at my current pace is good and that is why I was able to improve my lap times last trip. With all the improvements I made to the geometry of the bike, tires and my mental work things are going well. I did not experience even the slightest scary moment with things the way they are setup now. Different day, different track might change all of this but at least I had a weekend on the bike where it was setup perfect for the way I was riding on that track that day. Heres to hoping the bike has a good baseline setup as I continue to look for the edge of traction.
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Old December 12th, 2020, 02:54 PM   #250
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Originally Posted by Ducati999 View Post
This! I have no issue upping the pace chasing someone, no worry about entry speed or crashing. I just put my head down and follow the rules as best I can and start to reel the leader in, BUT once I pass, the worry returns. Since I am following another rider there is no thought of entry speed its just automatically set by the lead rider, if he made it so can I! In my mind there is a magic line that if crossed will cause the front to wash. Since I personally have not yet found the line then without someone to show me the pace is safe I slow. Again it comes down to confidence backed by experience. As @CC Cowboy stated: I need more track time and being scared is keeping the bike upright. With more time running at pace, the progress should improve as fast as confidence expands.

At this time my confidence at my current pace is good and that is why I was able to improve my lap times last trip. With all the improvements I made to the geometry of the bike, tires and my mental work things are going well. I did not experience even the slightest scary moment with things the way they are setup now. Different day, different track might change all of this but at least I had a weekend on the bike where it was setup perfect for the way I was riding on that track that day. Heres to hoping the bike has a good baseline setup as I continue to look for the edge of traction.
When you are following someone you are probably watching their bike not their reference makers. Try identifying their reference points. Then memorize the track so you can close your eyes and do a lap in your mind using each reference point. This should help you when you are not following someone.
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Old December 17th, 2020, 06:27 PM   #251
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When you are following someone you are probably watching their bike not their reference makers. Try identifying their reference points. Then memorize the track so you can close your eyes and do a lap in your mind using each reference point. This should help you when you are not following someone.
@CC Cowboy,
You are correct, when following a faster rider, I always use all my reference markers as they still work at the faster pace. I am still far from 99% braking or carrying max speed thru turn. Since I just finally made a break thru this season a lot of these things are still unchanged since I just started to get comfortable running at the faster pace. When following a faster rider, I use my reference but I might brake just slightly late. The only thing I see as different is that I dont have to think as much to set entry speed, I just match the faster rider.

I will look at their markers this season and see if I can use them to my advantage.

Thanks for the plan!
Ant

PS I live in Worcester Mass area and have 2 Ducatis--Should you be in the neighborhood and want to go for a ride
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Old January 4th, 2021, 06:38 PM   #252
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A good friend of mine, who happens to be a motorcycle legend, told me when I first started racing (back in 1982) to find someone fast and follow them. This might help you find the points of reference and the speed you are looking for.

He now mentors young riders and still tells them to do that. Just remember to pass them before the finish line.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ducati999 View Post
@CC Cowboy,
You are correct, when following a faster rider, I always use all my reference markers as they still work at the faster pace. I am still far from 99% braking or carrying max speed thru turn. Since I just finally made a break thru this season a lot of these things are still unchanged since I just started to get comfortable running at the faster pace. When following a faster rider, I use my reference but I might brake just slightly late. The only thing I see as different is that I dont have to think as much to set entry speed, I just match the faster rider.

I will look at their markers this season and see if I can use them to my advantage.

Thanks for the plan!
Ant

PS I live in Worcester Mass area and have 2 Ducatis--Should you be in the neighborhood and want to go for a ride
Most people find it easier to ride faster being towed by another rider Why do you think that is? Is it because they just give you more confidence because they can do it? Are you still looking at your own RP's or do you think having someone in front of you encourages your eyes to be looking further up the track/road then when they aren't in front of you? Could it just be something slightly different in your visuals when you are following someone else?
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Old April 16th, 2021, 06:15 PM   #253
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Most people find it easier to ride faster being towed by another rider Why do you think that is? Is it because they just give you more confidence because they can do it? Are you still looking at your own RP's or do you think having someone in front of you encourages your eyes to be looking further up the track/road then when they aren't in front of you? Could it just be something slightly different in your visuals when you are following someone else?

Sorry for the delay in answering your post, I had to really think to work out what the difference really came from. I guess if im honest, its me being lazy. Since we are not racing, I can safely assume they bike I am following (in the slower groups) will not be braking anywhere near 100% and will not be carrying max corner speed. This allows me to simply match their speed down the straight until I reach my brake marker, then just brake + or - a little bit to again keep the gap between us approx the same. I only use my line thru the turn so they may be on the same line but usually they are on a different enough line that I can run up along side to show a wheel or slow a bit more to maintain the gap. I believe this means I use my own reference points but that the other rider I am following becomes a moving reference point. Most of the time when this is happening now, I am setting them up for a pass driving out of the turn so matching their speed on entry then looking to get on the gas earlier than them to get the good drive out.

I dont think I have an issue with not looking far enough down the track(see my posts about looking beyond the next turn focusing on the jersey barriers or the huge rock wall beyond) but I will take a mental note of how far ahead I really am looking at speed.

I have a real test ahead of me now. My next track trip is just over a week away and I will be riding an unfamiliar bike at a track I have never been to. Going to Road Atlanta for 2 days and borrowing a bike. I have no doubt that I am in good hands down there just the normal worries of a borrowed bike on a new to me track. I will report back once the event has concluded
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Old May 3rd, 2021, 06:29 PM   #254
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Sorry for the delay in answering your post, I had to really think to work out what the difference really came from. I guess if im honest, its me being lazy. Since we are not racing, I can safely assume they bike I am following (in the slower groups) will not be braking anywhere near 100% and will not be carrying max corner speed. This allows me to simply match their speed down the straight until I reach my brake marker, then just brake + or - a little bit to again keep the gap between us approx the same. I only use my line thru the turn so they may be on the same line but usually they are on a different enough line that I can run up along side to show a wheel or slow a bit more to maintain the gap. I believe this means I use my own reference points but that the other rider I am following becomes a moving reference point. Most of the time when this is happening now, I am setting them up for a pass driving out of the turn so matching their speed on entry then looking to get on the gas earlier than them to get the good drive out.

I dont think I have an issue with not looking far enough down the track(see my posts about looking beyond the next turn focusing on the jersey barriers or the huge rock wall beyond) but I will take a mental note of how far ahead I really am looking at speed.

I have a real test ahead of me now. My next track trip is just over a week away and I will be riding an unfamiliar bike at a track I have never been to. Going to Road Atlanta for 2 days and borrowing a bike. I have no doubt that I am in good hands down there just the normal worries of a borrowed bike on a new to me track. I will report back once the event has concluded
Thanks for answering the question Curious to know how your track day went and how you found riding on the unfamiliar track! Are there things you do in order to help you learn an unfamiliar track quickly?

As for following faster riders, I usually find that when I'm following a faster rider, it is actually forcing me to look further ahead or further down the track, SOONER, which helps me feel like I'm not actually going as fast. There are other things you can learn as well, like the angle they approach the turn-in area, where they turn the bike, how much of the track they use etc. I'll never forget my second session riding at Aragon as part of Troy Corser's Racing School Europe and having Troy himself blast by me and tap the back of his bike- follow me! I barely knew if the corner went left or right but I was doing everything I could to tag along with him. He was giving me all sorts of hand signals, move this way, 2nd gear, look up the track, etc....it was too much at once, but the biggest take away were some of his lines, how much more of the track he was using than I was, and just getting my eyes up higher because I was watching him!
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Old May 4th, 2021, 09:26 AM   #255
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I am a fan of full disclosure....

Ducati999 was with me @ Road Atlanta for 2 days. I could not ride with him on track as we were "sharing" a bike. However, I was all over that track infield on my scooter trying to see him in the most important and challenging corners except turn 7.

I can share this...

He did everything very well. The evidence shown on the bike and tires proved this.
I chatted with the coach that was towing him around, all good feedback.
He had amazing composure, patience and restraint when riding an unfamiliar track, on someone else's bike but DID push hard enough to leave with a smile and learned a thing or 2 about inline 4's and their characteristics vs twins.
His comments to me in the paddock showed an understanding of what he needed to do and a plan to do it.

Road Atlanta is a big track where you spend quite a bit of time per lap near or over 100mph. Its kink in the back straight will challenge your ability to hold full throttle @ 140mph+, the elevation change onto the front straight will test your faith in the ability to brake in time to make the corner at the bottom of the hill. And the chicane after the exit of turn one will ensure that you have planned ahead of time.

ps...
The tach (and many other things, lol) on my bike doesn't work. He found himself having to ride in a way that forced an understanding what the bike wanted from him vs looking at a dash. Only 3 things work on my dash; fuel light, the clock and the near rev limit shift light. Aside of that, it's just the rider, the bike and the track. Watching him come to terms with this over 2 days was an amazing sight. For full disclosure, the speedo works but we all already know about that while on track.

imho.... he left having more experience in one of the most important skills that a rider can have. Listening and understanding to the bikes subtle feedback and hints will serve you well.

pss....
He should have come to NOLA with me, cause the track, people and food were amazing.

psss....
He snores
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Old May 5th, 2021, 03:29 PM   #256
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Thanks for answering the question Curious to know how your track day went and how you found riding on the unfamiliar track! Are there things you do in order to help you learn an unfamiliar track quickly?

As for following faster riders, I usually find that when I'm following a faster rider, it is actually forcing me to look further ahead or further down the track, SOONER, which helps me feel like I'm not actually going as fast. There are other things you can learn as well, like the angle they approach the turn-in area, where they turn the bike, how much of the track they use etc. I'll never forget my second session riding at Aragon as part of Troy Corser's Racing School Europe and having Troy himself blast by me and tap the back of his bike- follow me! I barely knew if the corner went left or right but I was doing everything I could to tag along with him. He was giving me all sorts of hand signals, move this way, 2nd gear, look up the track, etc....it was too much at once, but the biggest take away were some of his lines, how much more of the track he was using than I was, and just getting my eyes up higher because I was watching him!

Time for a report from Road Atlanta.

I signed up for the intremediate group as RA just runs 3 groups and I dont feel ready to play with the biggest dogs in the park just yet. I have to side step a little and explain the entire situation before before I get into what went down on track. Turns out that my gracious host had an issue with his regular track bike and his backups, backup was not running either. So here is my situation: New track I have never seen before, Borrowed bike, I ride a big V-twin and the borrowed bike is an R6 with totally different power delivery and just happened to have a NON FUNCTIONING tachometer! Lets add to that the fact that my host is a coach and also had another event 3 days after this one where he was traveling to coach at NOLA and we would have to share the bike for the 2 day event. Could I even ever be more worried about even the smallest crash? I dont think so!!!! Also, Road Atlanta is the fastest track I have ever been to, with 100mph into turn 1 as the norm. I dont mean you are running at 120 then brake, you are accelerating down the straight from turn 12 to turn 1 at 120 touch the brake to get the bike to turn and dive right in to the turn at 100ish. Never done that before. There was one guy that over shot turn 1, bike went thru the gravel, hit the air fence and flew into the air coming to rest between the air fence and jersey barrier. They needed to get a crane to lift his bike out, he was unhurt. Since Moto America was running the track 2 days later, we were instructed to slow enough for turn 12(last turn) to "put your kickstand down before proceeding". We were told that no one was to crash in turn 12 no matter what!!

Ok enough excuses for not being fast.
Overall I did well and my coach/host rated my performance as a solid A but I gave myself a B+. I spent the entire event riding at 75-80% of my ability which was good enough to keep the shiny side up and not annoy the other riders. The tires dont lie and they looked great after each session with plenty of rolled rubber and good wear. I did not have any scary moments (except once when I forgot which turn I was in and missed my mark but was able to correct and make the turn.
Most of the issues I did experience were because I would down shift 2 gears on corner entry and should have done 3. I am not used to 16,000 RPM redline and with no tach to reference, it took a little bit of learning to keep up momentum. At least there was a shift light 1000 rpm before red line. I knew when to up shift but had many roll ons that fell flat on lower than optimal RPM. I did learn that most track day riders that event were rolling off way early and braking much softer than I. They would blow by on the back straight-While I was at redline with the rev limiter/gearing holding me to 148mph--but I would catch or even pass them before I even rolled off for turn 10! I was rolling off just before the 200ft marker and dropping 3 gears while braking into the turn. I was advised by my coach to move this back to the 300 ft marker and do things a little slower. I would still catch and pass some riders but things were smoother and I felt a little less rushed. After turn 10(left turn) there is a 3rd gear right turn then up the hill. You cannot see what is past the top of the hill, you have to wait till you crest the hill at 80-90 mph-totally blind and as you crest that hill you see the track drops down 40-50 ft or more in the next 150 yards. Total nose dive down to the manditory parking lot turn 12 at 110 mph! No worries, whats the worst that could happen?

I did much better at holding the throttle wide open for the entire straights, which was an issue I had been experiencing earlier. I did well learning the track fairly quickly--learning the lines was much quicker than learning the bike for me. Turn 6 is a fast left uphill and most bigger cc bikes wheelie at the top, the R6 was no exception, I was riding out a 6-7" wheelie when I heard a bike overtaking me. I look right and there is a ZX10 in a full stand up wheelie but the electronics put the front down just for it to raise skyward again and drop and rise as he passed me and accelerated away-I miss my Ducati!!!!!

Could not have been a better trip, No crashing and I learned a whole lot. I cannot thank my host enough for this experience!
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Old May 17th, 2021, 07:57 PM   #257
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Time for an update on my pathetic life.
I will be returning to the Palmer Mass track in approx 2 weeks for Memorial day weekend. I have booked Sunday and Monday. My update here is just to establish my personal goals, in writing. Back in 2019, I solved my big handling/body position issues and have steadily improved since. Enough about boring old me, lets talk riding!

My best lap time around Palmer is currently 1:55.? and my goal is to improve this time to 1:50 on Sunday. I know this sounds like a lofty goal for a guy who was running 2:16 laps this time last year but many things have changed. Let me explain before you make a decision if I am "pushing too much".

After solving my BP issue, I added a set of offset tripples and changed to Pirelli tires vs the Dunlop Q3+ tires I had been running. Since I messed with the geometry of the bike and switched tire MFG's at the same time, I decided to put the stock gearing(which is very high) back on the bike. With the much smaller rear sprocket (6 teeth smaller) I could pull the rear wheel back to its maximum making the wheel base much longer and the bike a little slower to turn in but more stable and less likely to slide/spin the rear. Stock Ducati gearing is crazy high giving the bike a theoretical 178MPH top speed which the motor is incapable of reaching. With my lower gearing I can top 155 and at Palmer, you do not need much more. OK so we have lower gearing now, new tire brand, better geometry and I had the track Guru set my suspension up, so feeling bike turns much better, has better stability, better acceleration and handles the rough stuff much smoother. All this adds up to potentially better lap times(rider dependent). Should you have been following my issues in the above thread, you will be aware of my issue of not holding the throttle wide open-especially on the long straights. My trip to Road Atlanta has cured this for me. The back straight at Road Atlanta is fast and long and if you dont hold it pinned, its much longer!! The throttle on the R6, I was lucky enough to have borrowed, is much heavier(return spring) than my Duc and I still have not regrown the skin on my hands from the blisters I got holding said throttle at the stop for a lllllooooonnnnnggg time! Burrr Burrr Burr goes the rev limiter at 148MPH.

Now we have a bike with better geometry, better suspension and lower gearing along with my new ability to hold open the throttle longer and you can see that 4-5 seconds is not that big a jump. I am not planning on running any harder (at approx 80% my possible pace now) than I have been but all these changes should make this goal obtainable.

I mentioned in the above thread that I have not had any negative feed back from the bike just compliance for anything I have asked of the bike and loads of positive feedback from tires and suspension, telling me its ok to add a little more speed/throttle each session/lap. Ducatis are expensive to fix so I dont want to crash at least as much as you, but the bike is telling me its OK to keep slowly increasing pace and I am happy to do so!! I feel like my current level should be at the 1:50 level but I have been approaching it cautiously. I will, of coarse, be careful not to risk my health and bike nor my fellow riders but I feel that this goal will fall with no danger to bike nor body.

Should anyone disagree, Please speak up. I appreciate any concerns that may be expressed as I only know what I know and nothing more! Ride safe and thank you for listening/reading my babbling on about this stuff
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Old May 18th, 2021, 06:08 PM   #258
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This is exactly why it's sometimes difficult to push past your personal best times and improve, because when you do up the pace past your comfort level, things start to fall apart. I'll revisit the importance of having great visual skills which tend to be the key indicator of how well, fast and smooth you end up riding. You say that when you try and up your pace you end up making some small errors that compound over time and it sounds to me like turn entry speed is one area where things really get stressful.

What happens to your visuals when you try and enter a corner faster? Does your vision change? Does it narrow down or do you lose track of your wide vision? Can you still see all your Reference points?

For me, when I try and go fast, my vision gets behind a little and my perception of speed feels faster because of it. I get scared and then I over slow. Whatever gains I made in entering the corner faster, are therefore lost.

So, it starts with having great Reference Points, but then also has a ton to do with how and when I LOOK at those reference points. The key in almost all the situations is to NOT try and go fast but to work on improving your skills, one step at a time.

Quick story for you, you may have heard it before but here it is again. The first time I raced AMA 600 at Daytona I had never ridden the track before. I showed up a week before with the intent of spending the weekend club racing and learning the track before the AMA race but unfortunately on my second session around, I blew my motor on the banking. We scrambled to get a replacement motor sent from Oregon where my B Bike was (I couldn't afford to have both my bikes there) and that meant that I had just ONE Day to learn the track during the Team Hammer track day, before AMA qualifying the next day.

I went out for each practice session with a specific exercise to work on. First was Reference Points, in finding them and in drawing the track. I called Keith Code himself between sessions to talk through areas that I was struggling. Each session out I drew the track and added more RP's and before the final practice session of the day we compared may split times with everyone else's times (I was way off the pace) and chose the two corners where I was losing the most time.

Those two corners also happened to be the corners I had the fewest reference points in. For the last session I worked on finding more and better RP's and in putting my vision together so I flowed from one point to the other. The next day was qualifying and I didn't have much practice time to step up and find several seconds of improvement. I did the same thing, systematically working on putting my visuals together until the qualifying session came and Keith Code said "ok, you've done your work, now just RIDE, relax and have fun." I let go of everything and focussed on being smooth, relaxed and in having fun. I kept shouting in my helmet, "I'm riding DAYTONA!!!!" and sure enough when I came in, I had managed to find the time needed to qualify for the race!

So many times I caught myself trying to go FASTER instead of trying to improve and I had it all backwards. If you work on trying to improve your skills, how you roll on the gas, when you roll on, adding more RP's, remaining relaxed, not allowing your vision to narrow etc.....THAT is when you will find the speed.



You're on the right track. Keep up the hard work and you will find improvement in your times!!
@Misti,
I have just been rereading many of the posts from all the helpful people and I believe you found my issue in your reply quoted in this post. Your story of riding Daytona and learning a new track. At Road Atlanta, I had to learn the track and bike while riding at mid group pace. I had to find multiple reference points just to prevent being a rolling road block for many faster, more experienced riders. With the blind entry to the chicane in the Esses and over the mountain, you better be going slow or on the right line at pace or things can go very wrong very fast--following a young lady that went straight thru chicane and onto the grass!!!!! I made the turn but she did not. I reread the quote from you below and realized what really was causing my issue.

QUOTE that made me think:
I went out for each practice session with a specific exercise to work on. First was Reference Points, in finding them and in drawing the track. I called Keith Code himself between sessions to talk through areas that I was struggling. Each session out I drew the track and added more RP's and before the final practice session of the day we compared may split times with everyone else's times (I was way off the pace) and chose the two corners where I was losing the most time.

Those two corners also happened to be the corners I had the fewest reference points in. For the last session I worked on finding more and better RP's and in putting my vision together so I flowed from one point to the other. The next day was qualifying and I didn't have much practice time to step up and find several seconds of improvement. I did the same thing, systematically working on putting my visuals together until the qualifying session came and Keith Code said "ok, you've done your work, now just RIDE, relax and have fun." I let go of everything and focussed on being smooth, relaxed and in having fun. I kept shouting in my helmet, "I'm riding DAYTONA!!!!" and sure enough when I came in, I had managed to find the time needed to qualify for the race!

My mind lit up reading this again as I realized that I dont/did not have any reference points between my corner exit and my brake marker for the turn at the end of the straight. I exit the corner at or near full throttle then point the bike down track and there is nothing until I get close to my brake marker!! With the longest straight having a kink(taken at full throttle over 100mph) I need to have a few more markers to keep me in the proper line to make the kink and then be in the proper track position to hit my brake marker. Just running this exercise in my mind brain, I can see that it will(and has at Road Atlanta) help me with this issue. I also realized that I have the same issue with rolling off over the hill at turn 6 at Palmer for the same reason. I do not have a good reference for cresting the hill and diving down to turn 7! Cant wait to get back to Palmer in 2 weeks to put this to the test. I have listed my current goals in the last 2 posts and this will make reaching my goal even easier!

Thank you again
Anthony
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Old May 28th, 2021, 07:37 PM   #259
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Final update before the Palmer Memorial day trip.

I have just returned from 3 days in the Hospital. Since I am apparently insane, I still intend to ride both days if my strength holds up. Unfortunately, the weather is forecasted to be cold and rain for the entire weekend. I am doubtful I can obtain my goals under these conditions but track time is experience and will just help me next opportunity. I may finally get a chance to try out the rain tires I purchased several years ago, they have been in shrink wrap in my "race Shop" since the Big Brown Truck dropped them on my door. Never ridden on rains so let the learning begin again!

I guess someone may want to know what happened that put me in the hospital for a few days. I could not sleep Tuesday night-not uncommon for me but this was a little different. Wednesday morning I was freezing and shivering but had no fever and my energy was super low. I tried to nap while covered with a blanket and wearing a hoodie in a 75 degree room. After a couple hours of this, i felt a little better- or so I thought- so I did a few light chores and I started to sweat. I kept feeling hotter and hotter (like the guy in Napolien Dynamite) until I was dripping sweat with all my clothes were soaked and this was with the aircon on max and a fan blowing directly on my for 2 hours. Wife drove me to emergency room and after hours of tests they could not find anything. They finally did a CT scan and I was rushed to a larger hospital to see a Urologist. The informed me that my Kidneys were/are infected and there is and abscess on one of them!!!!!!!
Needless to say, many antibiotics and $10's of thousands of dollars later, I feel better and may have introduced my ER DR. to try out non sportbike days on the track!--Whoops- off topic again--The infection responded to the drugs and should totally clear up in a week or 2 after further- NON IV antibiotics. So thats my excuse if I cant reach my set goals this weekend and I can prove my case in a court of law!!

Be safe and I will update for those who care, on Tuesday
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Old May 31st, 2021, 06:00 PM   #260
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I have just returned from 3 days in the Hospital. Since I am apparently insane, I still intend to ride both days if my strength holds up. Unfortunately, the weather is forecasted to be cold and rain for the entire weekend. I am doubtful I can obtain my goals under these conditions but track time is experience and will just help me next opportunity. I may finally get a chance to try out the rain tires I purchased several years ago, they have been in shrink wrap in my "race Shop" since the Big Brown Truck dropped them on my door. Never ridden on rains so let the learning begin again!

I guess someone may want to know what happened that put me in the hospital for a few days. I could not sleep Tuesday night-not uncommon for me but this was a little different. Wednesday morning I was freezing and shivering but had no fever and my energy was super low. I tried to nap while covered with a blanket and wearing a hoodie in a 75 degree room. After a couple hours of this, i felt a little better- or so I thought- so I did a few light chores and I started to sweat. I kept feeling hotter and hotter (like the guy in Napolien Dynamite) until I was dripping sweat with all my clothes were soaked and this was with the aircon on max and a fan blowing directly on my for 2 hours. Wife drove me to emergency room and after hours of tests they could not find anything. They finally did a CT scan and I was rushed to a larger hospital to see a Urologist. The informed me that my Kidneys were/are infected and there is and abscess on one of them!!!!!!!
Needless to say, many antibiotics and $10's of thousands of dollars later, I feel better and may have introduced my ER DR. to try out non sportbike days on the track!--Whoops- off topic again--The infection responded to the drugs and should totally clear up in a week or 2 after further- NON IV antibiotics. So thats my excuse if I cant reach my set goals this weekend and I can prove my case in a court of law!!

Be safe and I will update for those who care, on Tuesday
Oh wow!!! Crazy story and glad you are on the mend now. What a trip! Ok, so my advice here is to get better BEFORE you try and get out and ride again and listen to your intuition (which KNOWS whether it's safe for you to ride or not!) Anway, I wanted to respond to this post first to say I'm glad you are OK!!! Now I will respond to the other post as it was rad and I'm excited for you!!!!

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Old May 31st, 2021, 06:03 PM   #261
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@Misti,
I have just been rereading many of the posts from all the helpful people and I believe you found my issue in your reply quoted in this post. Your story of riding Daytona and learning a new track. At Road Atlanta, I had to learn the track and bike while riding at mid group pace. I had to find multiple reference points just to prevent being a rolling road block for many faster, more experienced riders. With the blind entry to the chicane in the Esses and over the mountain, you better be going slow or on the right line at pace or things can go very wrong very fast--following a young lady that went straight thru chicane and onto the grass!!!!! I made the turn but she did not. I reread the quote from you below and realized what really was causing my issue.

QUOTE that made me think:
I went out for each practice session with a specific exercise to work on. First was Reference Points, in finding them and in drawing the track. I called Keith Code himself between sessions to talk through areas that I was struggling. Each session out I drew the track and added more RP's and before the final practice session of the day we compared may split times with everyone else's times (I was way off the pace) and chose the two corners where I was losing the most time.

Those two corners also happened to be the corners I had the fewest reference points in. For the last session I worked on finding more and better RP's and in putting my vision together so I flowed from one point to the other. The next day was qualifying and I didn't have much practice time to step up and find several seconds of improvement. I did the same thing, systematically working on putting my visuals together until the qualifying session came and Keith Code said "ok, you've done your work, now just RIDE, relax and have fun." I let go of everything and focussed on being smooth, relaxed and in having fun. I kept shouting in my helmet, "I'm riding DAYTONA!!!!" and sure enough when I came in, I had managed to find the time needed to qualify for the race!

My mind lit up reading this again as I realized that I dont/did not have any reference points between my corner exit and my brake marker for the turn at the end of the straight. I exit the corner at or near full throttle then point the bike down track and there is nothing until I get close to my brake marker!! With the longest straight having a kink(taken at full throttle over 100mph) I need to have a few more markers to keep me in the proper line to make the kink and then be in the proper track position to hit my brake marker. Just running this exercise in my mind brain, I can see that it will(and has at Road Atlanta) help me with this issue. I also realized that I have the same issue with rolling off over the hill at turn 6 at Palmer for the same reason. I do not have a good reference for cresting the hill and diving down to turn 7! Cant wait to get back to Palmer in 2 weeks to put this to the test. I have listed my current goals in the last 2 posts and this will make reaching my goal even easier!

Thank you again
Anthony
This is awesome!!!! YES! You need to have a few more RP's to keep you on track and know exactly where you are and where you want to go! I LOVE that you were able to recognize your own issue by reading about my experience and I'm stoked for you to try it out at Palmer (ONCE YOU ARE FEELING 100%!!!!) Woohoooo! Let us know how it goes once you try it out by adding a few more RP's in that vague area
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Old June 1st, 2021, 05:11 PM   #262
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Had to cancel both days at Palmer due to sickness. I may have been fine riding for at least one day but after unloading 10 bundles of roofing shingles from the truck so I could load the bike, I was too exhausted. I believe I would have been fine riding but after a day on the track I would still have to load up and then unload everything at home. I doubt I would have done my recovery any favors. I should have another chance at my goals and instituting the grate advice given her in September at the Labor Day event.

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Old June 14th, 2021, 03:48 PM   #263
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That would be disappointing to have to cancel your track days, though it's probably better to conserve your energy for recovery and healing. I hope you're feeling better!
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Old August 10th, 2021, 08:35 AM   #264
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***wiped***
Ummmm what?
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Old August 10th, 2021, 09:53 AM   #265
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@Alex

Seems there is a bot/script that is creating accounts again. See above post from Richsummer.
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Old August 10th, 2021, 12:56 PM   #266
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Old August 21st, 2022, 08:35 AM   #267
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Hi all. It's been a minute.... and a few bikes.... and a lot of miles on track and off. The OP of this thread @Ducati999 and I did our first track day together waaaay back in 2014, with the help and guidance of sensei @csmith12. I posted this over on the Facebook group for my track day organization but thought it fit this topic well.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how we progress as track riders and how our focus changes over time. Maybe… hopefully… this will be of use to some newer riders. Apologies for the longwinded post.

This is just my experience: others evolve at different rates and in different ways. Some are naturals and quick more or less out of the box. But looking back, I realize that what I was thinking about and paying attention to early on was very different from what I focus on today as a somewhat-faster-than-mid-pack track rider.

I’m a cautious guy by nature, so my progression has been very gradual. I was in no hurry to move up and the track day organization had to kick me out of the low-intermediate group into the faster group I'm now part of. The mindset was (and still is) one of risk management rather than the pushing of limits.

In the beginning you don’t know where the limit is or how quickly things can go wrong. Without that knowledge, the limit seems like a beast waiting to bite you… and you don’t know what will provoke it. How fast can you enter that corner? How hard can you brake? How far can you lean? How hard can you get on the throttle? How quick do your reactions need to be? Are you actually able to do this or is your ambition getting ahead of your ability?

In the early days, these things occupied a lot of mental capacity while riding. Too much, too fast triggered incorrect actions… “ohsh!tohsh!tohsh!t” moments, blowing corners, running wide, doing a little unplanned gardening off the edge of the track, being way too tense, improper inputs, all of that. Most if not all of us have been there and done that to one degree or another.

That stuff takes brain power away from the things that actually enable you to ride well.

But with experience comes familiarity and comfort. Over time, I didn’t need to think so much about the fundamentals of operating the motorcycle or the constant concern in the back of my mind over how close the limit was. I had a few moments here and there… oh, THAT’S what it feels like when the front chatters… yikes, my knee touched—and gee, that “extreme” lean angle wasn’t so bad… and so on.

And with that comfort, more mental capacity opened up. It became possible to think about different and more useful things. Am I spotting what I need to see? Am I hitting my marks consistently? Am I smooth? All because I now know some of the answers to those questions that occupied so much of my mind in the beginning.

Now, the mantra is Vision-Consistency-Smoothness. And that’s correct. But it’s not necessarily easy to achieve early on, simply because there’s so much else going on.

This year I’ve had the opportunity to chat with some brand-new track riders – which I love doing – and I’ve noted how important vision is. They’d go out for their first open session, come back and I’d say “So tell me what you saw. Did you see X, or Y, or Z?"

The answer was always no. “So look for those things next time. They’re important.” The hope is that planting the notion might get them to start thinking more about the important stuff early, and less about how fast they’re going or whether they’re able to drag their knee.

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading. Have fun, be safe, and I'll see some of you at the track!
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Old August 24th, 2022, 05:37 PM   #268
blackiredi
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First, I love that this thread has been going for 7 years. Motorcyclists are half the reason motorcycles are awesome.

This has been great to read through. I started track riding about the same time (2014) as @Ducati999 and moved up to big bikes way too fast chasing speed. After a few crashes I checked my ego and started going down in displacement. I'm a solid B group rider now- still 10 seconds off my friends who race Ninja 250R's- but having more fun than ever. Nothing like catching the big bikes on the brakes and hounding them in the corners.

I'll share a few things that might be helpful to newer folks and hopefully not be too repetitive.

I have learned more on my ninjette than any other bike I have owned. Pushing the crap out of a little bike requires everything to be in place in order to keep up. Stay small as long as you can.

Kart tracks are the best for practice. Here in Oregon we run bikes at a kart track in McMinnville and have a club for track days. Cost is cheap, crashes are cheap and usually very minor, fun is high because risk is lower and speeds are lower. Laps are also shorter so you get to build muscle memory faster and can practice specific things without forgetting. I can't recommend kart tracks enough.

It has been mentioned, but suspension and tires. These are the biggest difference makers in my experience. I didn't know what "trusting the front" meant until I had proper suspension- I just couldn't feel it enough. And check tire pressures! If you know any racers, tear off slicks are usually around $40 a set and have plenty of life for us mortal folks (warmers needed though)

I have to build up to trusting what I run. Part of that for me is working on my bike and making sure I trust each bolt. Less things to worry about makes for more focus. #joey

My brain goes haywire when fear strikes. If I loose the front in a corner then the next lap I'm on high alert. Simple mantras help. Like just saying "focus" or "look up" really helps snap me back. Like Paul Atreides said "fear is the mind killer".

Maybe lastly, I am very middle aged and a big guy. Physical fitness is probably the biggest thing that holds me back at this point. It is hard for me to push for too many laps without becoming unsafe simply because I get gassed and loose focus. Fitness is my goal for next season.

I hope this thread never dies.

*last note. I've talked with a few ninjette racers. The common thread is that to be fast (their fast not mine) on these bikes you have to be totally committed and on gas at every moment. I am personally unwilling to do that for a myriad of reasons but what they do with these bikes gives me a lot of confidence in the bike as a package- especially if my suspension/tires/pressures etc are similar. And I am happy to grab confidence wherever I can.
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Old November 7th, 2022, 10:51 AM   #269
Misti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adouglas View Post
Hi all. It's been a minute.... and a few bikes.... and a lot of miles on track and off. The OP of this thread @Ducati999 and I did our first track day together waaaay back in 2014, with the help and guidance of sensei @csmith12. I posted this over on the Facebook group for my track day organization but thought it fit this topic well.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how we progress as track riders and how our focus changes over time. Maybe… hopefully… this will be of use to some newer riders. Apologies for the longwinded post.

This is just my experience: others evolve at different rates and in different ways. Some are naturals and quick more or less out of the box. But looking back, I realize that what I was thinking about and paying attention to early on was very different from what I focus on today as a somewhat-faster-than-mid-pack track rider.

I’m a cautious guy by nature, so my progression has been very gradual. I was in no hurry to move up and the track day organization had to kick me out of the low-intermediate group into the faster group I'm now part of. The mindset was (and still is) one of risk management rather than the pushing of limits.

In the beginning you don’t know where the limit is or how quickly things can go wrong. Without that knowledge, the limit seems like a beast waiting to bite you… and you don’t know what will provoke it. How fast can you enter that corner? How hard can you brake? How far can you lean? How hard can you get on the throttle? How quick do your reactions need to be? Are you actually able to do this or is your ambition getting ahead of your ability?

In the early days, these things occupied a lot of mental capacity while riding. Too much, too fast triggered incorrect actions… “ohsh!tohsh!tohsh!t” moments, blowing corners, running wide, doing a little unplanned gardening off the edge of the track, being way too tense, improper inputs, all of that. Most if not all of us have been there and done that to one degree or another.

That stuff takes brain power away from the things that actually enable you to ride well.

But with experience comes familiarity and comfort. Over time, I didn’t need to think so much about the fundamentals of operating the motorcycle or the constant concern in the back of my mind over how close the limit was. I had a few moments here and there… oh, THAT’S what it feels like when the front chatters… yikes, my knee touched—and gee, that “extreme” lean angle wasn’t so bad… and so on.

And with that comfort, more mental capacity opened up. It became possible to think about different and more useful things. Am I spotting what I need to see? Am I hitting my marks consistently? Am I smooth? All because I now know some of the answers to those questions that occupied so much of my mind in the beginning.

Now, the mantra is Vision-Consistency-Smoothness. And that’s correct. But it’s not necessarily easy to achieve early on, simply because there’s so much else going on.

This year I’ve had the opportunity to chat with some brand-new track riders – which I love doing – and I’ve noted how important vision is. They’d go out for their first open session, come back and I’d say “So tell me what you saw. Did you see X, or Y, or Z?"

The answer was always no. “So look for those things next time. They’re important.” The hope is that planting the notion might get them to start thinking more about the important stuff early, and less about how fast they’re going or whether they’re able to drag their knee.

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading. Have fun, be safe, and I'll see some of you at the track!
This is great Thx for sharing! I love how you say you have progressed gradually and at the right speed for you. This is important as a lot of riders try and progress too quickly, with the goal of just going fast.

What makes someone fast?

The things you describe above, working on fundamentals- at your own pace and the importance of visual skills and practicing until something becomes second nature.

I'm a huge fan of continually working on your own riding and seeking help from professionals as you do it. As a long-time coach for CSS (coming up on 20 years!!) I can't tell you how fulfilling and valuable it is to see riders learn skills and become safer, more confident and much faster riders because of those skills. Myself and other coaches are always working on improving our skills as well.

I like your new mantra- vision, consistency, smoothness because you are only as smooth as the visual information you are taking in is....if you have a choppy or inconsistent flow of visual information coming in then your outputs on the bike will be choppy and inconsistent as well.

So to push this a little more and kept this long thread going, what are some visual skills that you can practice? It's easy to say practice your visual skills, but what does that actually LOOK like (pun intended )

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Old November 7th, 2022, 10:59 AM   #270
Misti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackiredi View Post
First, I love that this thread has been going for 7 years. Motorcyclists are half the reason motorcycles are awesome.

This has been great to read through. I started track riding about the same time (2014) as @Ducati999 and moved up to big bikes way too fast chasing speed. After a few crashes I checked my ego and started going down in displacement. I'm a solid B group rider now- still 10 seconds off my friends who race Ninja 250R's- but having more fun than ever. Nothing like catching the big bikes on the brakes and hounding them in the corners.

I'll share a few things that might be helpful to newer folks and hopefully not be too repetitive.

I have learned more on my ninjette than any other bike I have owned. Pushing the crap out of a little bike requires everything to be in place in order to keep up. Stay small as long as you can.

Kart tracks are the best for practice. Here in Oregon we run bikes at a kart track in McMinnville and have a club for track days. Cost is cheap, crashes are cheap and usually very minor, fun is high because risk is lower and speeds are lower. Laps are also shorter so you get to build muscle memory faster and can practice specific things without forgetting. I can't recommend kart tracks enough.

It has been mentioned, but suspension and tires. These are the biggest difference makers in my experience. I didn't know what "trusting the front" meant until I had proper suspension- I just couldn't feel it enough. And check tire pressures! If you know any racers, tear off slicks are usually around $40 a set and have plenty of life for us mortal folks (warmers needed though)

I have to build up to trusting what I run. Part of that for me is working on my bike and making sure I trust each bolt. Less things to worry about makes for more focus. #joey

My brain goes haywire when fear strikes. If I loose the front in a corner then the next lap I'm on high alert. Simple mantras help. Like just saying "focus" or "look up" really helps snap me back. Like Paul Atreides said "fear is the mind killer".

Maybe lastly, I am very middle aged and a big guy. Physical fitness is probably the biggest thing that holds me back at this point. It is hard for me to push for too many laps without becoming unsafe simply because I get gassed and loose focus. Fitness is my goal for next season.

I hope this thread never dies.

*last note. I've talked with a few ninjette racers. The common thread is that to be fast (their fast not mine) on these bikes you have to be totally committed and on gas at every moment. I am personally unwilling to do that for a myriad of reasons but what they do with these bikes gives me a lot of confidence in the bike as a package- especially if my suspension/tires/pressures etc are similar. And I am happy to grab confidence wherever I can.
I too love that this thread has been going for 7 years

I also love that you LOVE the little bike and realize how many skills can be developed from riding a little bike. It's one of my fav things to do, show up on a small bike and DUST Everyone hahahah.

I also have a special place in my heart for the McMinnville kart track as that is where I first started coaching the late Peter Lenz. He was just 8 years old.

In terms of getting faster on the ninjette- you mention a few things- becoming more confident with trusting the front and trusting the bike. This is where I truly believe that working on fundamental riding skills will assist with this. The more you know, the more confident you can be.

For example. You mention tires and suspension. Do you ever consider the throttle as a tool for how your bike feels while riding? How does throttle control affect the suspension on your bike?

You also talk about physical fitness....could improve certain skills on the bike help with rider fatigue, or do you think it's all off-bike physical training that will help?

More questions to keep the thread going
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