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Old September 16th, 2017, 08:53 AM   #1
Zaph42
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Life on the road after the track

Partially inspired by the thread "Road riding after track days". I've got a slightly different take on it, with having been essentially forced off the road race tracks for medical reasons.

Sad story: For me these days, most of what I have left is road riding. This year I had to retire from the big tracks because I had heart surgery, leaving me on blood thinners for the rest of my life.

So, several doctors had long discussions with me about risk factors of all the fun stuff I want to do with the rest of my life. High speeds on the big tracks, technical mountain biking, cross country mountain biking, road bicycle riding, road motorcycling, triathlons, various types of bicycle racing, and riding at slower speeds at the kart track. We went into a lot of detail. There's risk in everything but we had to evaluate specifics and make some choices.

At the end of that risk discussion, everything made the cut except for riding on the big tracks, and I was told to stay away from downhill mountain biking on technical terrain - not that I get to do that ever in Wisconsin.

The doctors looked at some of my history on the tracks. Big tracks like Road America and Blackhawk Farms. In the course of 4 years on those tracks, 2 major crashes I have sustained the following injuries: 11 broken bones, most of them ribs, but 2 are arm bones and 2 are collar bones. Fractured pelvis, two sprained ankles, a concussion, and the doosie: a punctured lung.

In the course of 6 years at the kart track, 4 crashes with the only injury being a sprained thumb. Now in that other thread I mentioned, there was some discussion about how dangerous the kart tracks can be. And sure, there is danger everywhere. But the doctor approved medical consensus is that the risk is far less than at the big tracks, as is the average speed. I could still have a serious crash and die at the kart track, but the doctors worked with me to help decide where I should draw the line. I accept some risk because I sure as hell am not going to sit on the couch for the rest of my life.

But in my eyes, the riskiest of my remaining riding options is on the road - with grandmas who can't see over the wheel, texting teenagers, and soccer moms going out of their mind with a minivan full of kids. I managed to ride for 30 years without an accident on the road, but now my safety there is even more critical. I've always rode like I am invisible, and will continue to evaluate all risks. Deer, turkeys, gravel in corners, oil slicks and all the rest. My eyes can't stop going like this when I ride on the road.



So I got my Z125 for the kart track. And indeed it has been fun. I feel safe there for how much fun it is. I used to ride supermotos there quite a bit. However I believe a smaller bike like a Z125 or a Grom to be safer than a tall bike like a supermoto, simply because of what a high side is like. I don't think you will get launched quite as high or far on a bike where your butt is 2 feet off the ground as compared to a 38" seat height supermoto. Low sides at the kart track are no problem. Basically you slide on your butt for 2 feet, laugh, pick up your bike and keep going.

I sure miss the big track and all my old racing buddies though. I still hang out and help out in the pits when I can. Kart track and road riding for me from here on out.

Oh and I should probably change my sig. I sold my 300 race bike to a local buddy.

Has anyone else had to give up the track for any reason? I mean besides "I'm running out of money!"
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Old September 16th, 2017, 09:44 AM   #2
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Interesting story, and from my experience, little bikes on kart tracks are very fun. There's something to be said for wild turns, knee dragging, friendly competition, and never going over 45 mph in the straights.
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Old September 16th, 2017, 02:06 PM   #3
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My hubby and his friend certainly had fun riding supermotos at a kart track, so enjoy your fun! I'm sorry you had to give up the big track but even the road can be fun. I agree that life is about managing risk. You're not likely to eliminate everything, and even if you could, I wouldn't want to live that kind of life. Things are dangerous but that's how it goes. Minimize what you can, do what you like, and try to keep it more or less sane.

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Old September 16th, 2017, 02:16 PM   #4
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Looks like a blast! I wish that kart track was a few hours closer to me. Any thoughts on Grom vs Z125?
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Old September 16th, 2017, 04:01 PM   #5
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Z125 vs Grom, in my eyes:

Groms: mushy suspension, pegs too low for lean angle, overpriced on the used market, better brakes, torquey engine, too many weirdos stretching and dropping them and adding spikes and chrome. I hate that crowd.

Z125: great lean angle and solid OEM suspension, cheap, engine configured for a strong top end, weak brakes, great price when new. Underbody exhaust unless upgraded to something else. (like I did) $2600 for last year's model. Got mine for no fees beyond Tax/title/license, 2998 OTD.

From the factory, the Z125 feels more like a track tool while the Grom feels like a better road bike / commuter. Takes more money to make a decent track bike out of a Grom. Can't buy a Grom used because people think they are made out of gold and sell them for more than MSRP with a few stupid mods.



Here's what I did so far.

Yoshimura RS-2 Exhaust
Bazzaz Z-Fi
Dunlop TT93GP tires
Chimera Ram air intake
Woodcraft front and rear axle sliders
Motodynamic tail light
Galfer front rotor
Galfer SST line
Front fork preload adjusters
Billet annodized brake and clutch Levers
Protaper SE Handlebar
TST Fender Eliminator
Carbon fiber license plate frame
T-Rex Racing Bar End sliders
Area 22 Endplate swingarm spools

Also have some cheap chinese CNC Adjustable Rearsets but didn't mount them because they kind of suck in design. I bought some Moose Racing aluminum handguards to protect the controls in a downer but they were too large to fit the bars.

All I really needed was the Dunlop tires and the fork preload adjusters. The rest is just fluff.
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Old September 16th, 2017, 05:05 PM   #6
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Wow, that's a really high crash rate.... painful.

Sorry you've had to make some tough choices there. Glad you're finding a way to stay in the game.
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Old September 17th, 2017, 02:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaph42 View Post
This year I had to retire from the big tracks because I had heart surgery, leaving me on blood thinners for the rest of my life.
I'm 24wks post CABG. We should talk off line.

Quote:
I sure miss the big track and all my old racing buddies though. I still hang out and help out in the pits when I can. Kart track and road riding for me from here on out.

Has anyone else had to give up the track for any reason? I mean besides "I'm running out of money!"
Tracking was obviously something important that allowed you to "destress". I'd look at this issue and the risks a lot harder before throwing in the towel. You can still track, just dial back the aggression a little
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Old September 17th, 2017, 08:02 AM   #8
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Tracking was obviously something important that allowed you to "destress". I'd look at this issue and the risks a lot harder before throwing in the towel. You can still track, just dial back the aggression a little
Well, I've already thrown in the towel in a way that has some finality - I sold both my track bikes.

It's not just me, I have my family in mind also. I'm a bread winner in my family and it would be rough financials if I were gone. My daughter is still pretty young and I feel like I need to be in her life for at least another 10-20 years. Then there's life insurance. If a doctor tells me to stay away from the track, and I go anyway and die, will my life insurance pay out? Given the dirty insurance industry these days, probably not. Make a claim and their whole team goes to work trying to figure out a way that they don't have to pay.

2016 was just racing for me on my 300 aside from 2 track days. Seems kinda hard to dial back the aggression in a race. I could do it for track days, but then I'm mostly worried about other people's stupid moves. One of my two major crashes was at a track day, caused 100% by someone else.

But anyway, I've come to accept life without me on the big track. The interesting part is that while that door has closed, others have opened. I used to race mountain bikes and road bikes, and I did it with a genetically defective heart valve that only allowed 60% of the blood flow of a normal man. With my valve replaced, my heart is back to 100% and my fitness level potential that had degraded little by little my whole life now has some potential. By this time next year I expect to be way more back into biking. Beats where I was this time last year - my doc said to keep my heart rate under 140 or my ascending aorta may burst.
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Old September 17th, 2017, 08:35 AM   #9
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sorry to hear all this Zaph, but like you said other doors will open for you.
i hope you hang around here for awhile, if i see your name on a post or thread, i always read it.
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Old September 17th, 2017, 06:56 PM   #10
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90% of my track riding is on my Grom at kart tracks now. Mine was not for health reasons but money, time, and family priorities. I love riding the thing at the track and while it's not the same as the big track; its close enough to keep me sane. Also, I find its quite funny/interesting that the guys that are faster than me on full size tracks are proportionately the same amount faster on the kart track as well so there is still a lot to learn and improve on in my riding there.

My Grom has quite a few similar parts as your Z.

2015 Grom (Track Mode)
Protaper Contour "Carmichael"
Woodcraft Bar End sliders
Woodcraft Axle Sliders
the2Wheels riser pegs
Ohlins fork kit
RB MonoR shock
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(Street Mode)
VG Fender
Ebay Folding Bar Mirror
*Put the headlight back on lol*
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Old September 17th, 2017, 06:58 PM   #11
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Old September 18th, 2017, 07:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky nrk View Post

2015 Grom (Track Mode)
Protaper Contour "Carmichael"
Woodcraft Bar End sliders
Woodcraft Axle Sliders
the2Wheels riser pegs
Ohlins fork kit
RB MonoR shock
Galfer SS front line
XR100 number plate
Chimera intake
14T front sprocket
Dunlop TT93 100/120
XT Racing GPX Pro
Nice setup. I've been resisting serious suspension upgrades to keep costs under control, but I think I'm going to need springs up front. I'm 220 lbs and I can feel them bottoming out on braking. On the Z, compression and rebound are much better with 20W fork oil, that I think I can get away without new fork internals.

What pressures are you running in those Dunlops and how much do you weigh?

I'm running 18/18 cold but I notice the PSI gain when hot is strangely high on this bike. PSI goes up to about 22F/24R
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Old September 18th, 2017, 08:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaph42 View Post
(SNIP) By this time next year I expect to be way more back into biking. Beats where I was this time last year - my doc said to keep my heart rate under 140 or my ascending aorta may burst.
Just be careful out there on a bicycle.

I see situations all the time at look really dangerous to me - high speeds downhill in traffic with minimal protection. Speed is speed - crashing on a cycle, bicycle, scooter, whatever.

And all those bad drivers passing you all the time.

Hopefully you have good biking trails and marked bike lanes in your area. I'm not a cyclist, but that's the only reasonably safe road riding from what I have seen.

Skill and street-smarts help, but it didn't save Nicky.

I retired from motorcycle and kart racing many years ago, mostly for financial reasons, but the kart tracks have been calling me lately. That Kawi looks pretty nice...
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Old September 18th, 2017, 08:39 AM   #14
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Cool

I stopped riding on the track back in 2010, after I got laidoff from my big pharma job.
Between 2005 and 2010, I think I've partaken over 40 trackday events, mostly with my multiple 1st-gen SV650s, Honda XR650R Supermotard and Pre-gen Ninja 250. Always ridden on the track with full-sized bike.

Never crashed on the track but ran off the track more times that I can remember.
Maybe next time on a vintage trackday I will take my 1977 Honda CT90 (17" wheels) to play around:



I've been commuting with my bicycle for the last 2 years.. in Brooklyn, NYC metro area. It is certainly not for the fainted heart, almost daily I have to ride on opposite side of street or sidewalk to avoid collision with other vehicle or pedestrian. Always need to look for possible danger few cars ahead.

I've gotten two door-prizes (when cyclist crash into opening car door when drive do not look before opening car door), broken 3 wheels by hitting big potholes and T-boned by a SUV in the crosswalk in heavy rain.
Luckily, I seem to manage not to break anything on my body when I have accidents on bicycle so far. Riding at lower speed and having less weight sure helps.
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Old September 18th, 2017, 09:05 AM   #15
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For me, road bicycling is just something I do for exercise while cross country mountain biking is where my heart is at. When I'm on the road I generally stick to the outskirts of town where these is less traffic. My safety concessions are a super bright LED tail light that works well even in the day and bright colored biking shirt. I bike with a cell phone also, just in case I have to call for help. The help I normally need is for my wife to come pick me up because I got a flat, my roadside repair didn't work and I'm out of CO2 cartridges.

This is north east Wisconsin, thankfully I don't have to deal with the traffic that some parts of the country have.
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Old September 18th, 2017, 09:09 AM   #16
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Love that CT90 BTW, looks like a blast.

One day at the kart track I saw a guy with a Sachs MadAss 125. Almost seems like a modern version of an old CT and it looked like a blast.
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Old September 18th, 2017, 09:30 AM   #17
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Nice setup. I've been resisting serious suspension upgrades to keep costs under control, but I think I'm going to need springs up front. I'm 220 lbs and I can feel them bottoming out on braking. On the Z, compression and rebound are much better with 20W fork oil, that I think I can get away without new fork internals.

What pressures are you running in those Dunlops and how much do you weigh?

I'm running 18/18 cold but I notice the PSI gain when hot is strangely high on this bike. PSI goes up to about 22F/24R
.
I am about 200 lbs without gear (need to get back in my fitness routine as I am about 10 lbs heavier than normal at the moment ). I run 17-18 lbs cold and end up at a nice 19-20lbs hot. The rear normally has to have a lb or so let out after a few sessions as it warms up through the day. I have not really experimented with it much to be honest as it seems to work ok and the tire look really good.

For the Grom, the front forks are such garbage that it was a "no brainer" to upgrade then properly. I do hear the Z is much better and can do a spring/oil job and work OK. I got my Ohlins internals for like $275 on sale and then $40 for fork tools and it was WELL WELL worth it.

The RB Mono R shock is a true pressurized IFP w/ rebound adjustment and it is quite good as well. $250 on sale. Its not as good as the fully adjustable Ohlins rear shock on my brother's Grom but its 85% for 50% of the price.

I took the Grom on a back roads street jaunt last night and I was shocked at how good of bike it is now with suspension, brakes, and tires. It really felt a bit like a cheap toy at speed all stock but now it feels like a REAL bike - just a tiny one.
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Old September 18th, 2017, 12:03 PM   #18
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Just be careful out there on a bicycle.

I see situations all the time at look really dangerous to me - high speeds downhill in traffic with minimal protection. Speed is speed - crashing on a cycle, bicycle, scooter, whatever.

And all those bad drivers passing you all the time.

Hopefully you have good biking trails and marked bike lanes in your area. I'm not a cyclist, but that's the only reasonably safe road riding from what I have seen.

Skill and street-smarts help, but it didn't save Nicky.
I pedaled coast to coast at the age of 15 on a Huffy 10-speed and I've been riding bicycles ever since.
I've been around 2-wheel vehicles for most of my life, starting at age 4-5 when my older sister would carry me and my other older sister to school on her 50cc scooter.

Growing up in a country where 2-wheel (human-powered or motorized) vehicles outnumber cars allows me a different viewpoint.
Drivers who are used to having bicycles and motorcycles operate within close proximity of cars, 2-wheel vehicle operators have better chance to avoid accidents.

In the US, there is not a whole lot in driver's education to specify the vulnerability of 2-wheel vs 4-wheel, drivers tend to freak out when 2-wheel vehicles are "on the road" or get within close proximity for "lane-spliting".

Quote:
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Skill and street-smarts help, but it didn't save Nicky.
Nicky's accident is rather unclear what occurred, from the pictures and descriptions I've seen & read; the accident occurred due to excess speed for both vehicles.. unclear whether cyclist ran a stop sign into cross street with vehicles that are traveling at higher speed.. no skid mark on roadway from both vehicles involved, tragic..

Just did some research:

Nicky's accident
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Old September 29th, 2017, 11:24 AM   #19
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Everyone is going to have their own opinion on what is the safest decision. For me, a mom with two young kids who works in the industry I have to make careful choices.

My choices: No street riding except the occasional foreign tour. (I hadn't ridden on the street in over 9 years but last year I went to Germany and Italy and toured for 8 days keeping speed down.

No big bike racing. This to me was just too dangerous but I did decide that mini racing on kart tracks would be ok. I rarely do any regular track days but I will ride my mini bike at the track and race.- my son who is 8 also races on the track.

Track days with the California Superbike School- I coach 15-30 days a year and in 14 years of coaching with them have never had a crash or on track incident. I also credit my riding skills and abilities to what I've learned from the school.

Road bicycle: nope. I've known too many people hit and killed or seriously injured on a road bicycle and I'm just not willing, nor do I allow my kids to ride on the street.

Dirtbike riding- I do the occasional dirt bike/moto riding, just completed the Texas Tornado Camp which was awesome and hit the trails sometimes.

Mountain biking- yup! with the kids, yup!

BMX Racing- yes.

Anyway, just saying to add another opinion. There is no right or wrong in this situation, just what people are comfortable with. I always suggest taking a riding school to make sure that YOU as the rider are riding to the very best of your ability in order to reduce risks, and that you make careful choices about where you go fast (not on the street) when and where you ride etc.....

Stay safe!!
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Old September 29th, 2017, 01:45 PM   #20
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You know, I recognize the risk in road bicycling, but i chose not to give it up anyway. I even have a personal friend who needed a helicopter ride to stay alive after she got run over by a harley. But I really need to train bike, and the good mountain bike trails are pretty far from my home. And riding the stationary bike at the Y is way too boring for me. It was a tough call.

Maybe California Superbike school is different than normal track days. But I'm definitely done with normal track days. Way too many nut cases on the track, it's like welcome to the Thunderdome. In 2015 another rider almost killed me at a track day.

I only ever got to do one of my three bucket list tracks, NCM in Kentucky. But I always wanted Barber and COTA. Jason Pridmore does the Star school at COTA. Does anyone have any comment about that school's relative safety compared to normal track days? Maybe I could still keep that on my bucket list.
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 06:38 AM   #21
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Never been to the the Star school but in general the schools tend to be a bit "safer" for a couple of reasons. 1. Numbers: there are normally just flat out less riders at the schools than a regular track day. 2. Coaches: while there are control riders and coaches at many track days, the structure of the schools in general permits more "eyes" on how everyone is riding relative to the number of riders. 3. Intent: schools are more expensive and people tend to be there to learn to be better riders - not show off my ego and my XYZ brand bike's speed.
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 06:39 AM   #22
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I got back out to the kart track again recently after several weeks off due to the hurricanes and garbage and am convinced that can satisfy the majority of the need. The road bike issue is a real one though. I wish there was a safer method for that.
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Old October 2nd, 2017, 05:40 PM   #23
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I like the cart tracks and I feel more comfortable on them. But, I go when no one else is there (just me and Hubby). I am going back to Mid Ohio next year, although I love the big track it does scare me. Now, if I had a dedicated track bike it might be different.

I also started bicycling and I am starting to hate it less....
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Old October 5th, 2017, 10:41 AM   #24
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Its the opposite for me, although some times I turn laps by myself for fun/fitness, the real fun is being on a kart track with a bunch of other similar bikes.
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Old October 11th, 2017, 11:36 AM   #25
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You know, I recognize the risk in road bicycling, but i chose not to give it up anyway. I even have a personal friend who needed a helicopter ride to stay alive after she got run over by a harley. But I really need to train bike, and the good mountain bike trails are pretty far from my home. And riding the stationary bike at the Y is way too boring for me. It was a tough call.

Maybe California Superbike school is different than normal track days. But I'm definitely done with normal track days. Way too many nut cases on the track, it's like welcome to the Thunderdome. In 2015 another rider almost killed me at a track day.

I only ever got to do one of my three bucket list tracks, NCM in Kentucky. But I always wanted Barber and COTA. Jason Pridmore does the Star school at COTA. Does anyone have any comment about that school's relative safety compared to normal track days? Maybe I could still keep that on my bucket list.
California Superbike School is way safer than normal track days and here is why. We have a 6-8 foot passing rule that is strictly enforced meaning that riders that do not follow this rule can and do get sat out for a session or even benched for the rest of the day if it happens more than once. All our corner workers are trained to look for specific things in every rider that goes by and they call in ANYTHING that looks suspicious. What I mean by that is that if they aren't doing the drill (using brakes in no brakes exercises etc) then they get called in and course control makes note of it. If a rider runs wide or makes mistakes then they get called in and it gets marked down, a rider with too many notifications gets pulled in by course control and talked to.

As a riding coach we look at ALL students (not just our own assigned students) and if we see something that concerns us like a rider adding lean angle and throttle at the same time then we drop what we are doing with our student and pull them in and coach them on why that isn't a good idea. It's hard to get away with anything inappropriate or dangerous on the track when you have 8 riding coaches and all corner workers keeping a careful eye out. Also, if you've met Trevor our course control guy you know that he doesn't take **** and safety is his highest priority. We have many no-crash days and that is always our goal.

There are no rules to how fast riders can go either. Some people think that such a focus on safety means no fun but there is no limit on how fast someone can ride provided they are doing the drills and following the passing rules.

The added bonus of a school is that you get to improve your riding and build your skills WHILE having fun riding on a track. And we go to Barber and COTA so you're set!
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Old October 11th, 2017, 12:52 PM   #26
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California Superbike School is way safer than normal track days and here is why. We have a 6-8 foot passing rule that is strictly enforced meaning that riders that do not follow this rule can and do get sat out for a session or even benched for the rest of the day if it happens more than once. All our corner workers are trained to look for specific things in every rider that goes by and they call in ANYTHING that looks suspicious. What I mean by that is that if they aren't doing the drill (using brakes in no brakes exercises etc) then they get called in and course control makes note of it. If a rider runs wide or makes mistakes then they get called in and it gets marked down, a rider with too many notifications gets pulled in by course control and talked to.

As a riding coach we look at ALL students (not just our own assigned students) and if we see something that concerns us like a rider adding lean angle and throttle at the same time then we drop what we are doing with our student and pull them in and coach them on why that isn't a good idea. It's hard to get away with anything inappropriate or dangerous on the track when you have 8 riding coaches and all corner workers keeping a careful eye out. Also, if you've met Trevor our course control guy you know that he doesn't take **** and safety is his highest priority. We have many no-crash days and that is always our goal.

There are no rules to how fast riders can go either. Some people think that such a focus on safety means no fun but there is no limit on how fast someone can ride provided they are doing the drills and following the passing rules.

The added bonus of a school is that you get to improve your riding and build your skills WHILE having fun riding on a track. And we go to Barber and COTA so you're set!
I can say that what Misti says here is 100% true, no marketing bullshit. I seriously think CSS should have Trevor do seminars to track orgs for how to run things, but that may just be me.
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Old October 11th, 2017, 04:14 PM   #27
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The added bonus of a school is that you get to improve your riding and build your skills WHILE having fun riding on a track. And we go to Barber and COTA so you're set!
Well I just investigated, and it doesn't appear that Pridmore Star school goes to COTA anymore. I know they did once, but now it looks like they are only Cali. So if I wanted COTA or Barber, it looks like CSS might be my only option. And that said, they (or anyone else) may not allow me to run anyway. I would have to check on that.

I mean I can imagine the response: "I had heart surgery and I'm on blood thinners now. If I crash, I may die. Can I come to your school?" So maybe I'll get in touch with someone over the winter.

The other thing that may not go over well is the fact that I'm absolutely not there to learn anything at all. I just want to run the track safely. Learning is pushed so hard, and even more so probably in a school, sometimes at the expense of fun. I'm old, and I've been there and done that with years of track days and racing. About all I would want is for someone to let me know if I'm doing something unsafe and otherwise leave me alone. And I don't want to spend time in a classroom.

The more I think about it, the more this idea of getting to my bucket list tracks seems like it's not going to fly.

But at least i can still get my fill of dragging knee at the kart track. The z125 have proven to be a blast there. Maybe I'll just visit COTA for MotoGP next year.
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Old October 11th, 2017, 05:02 PM   #28
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I have held back on this thread for a while now... but I will put in my 2 pence.

You think you are the only rider that has to take blood thinners? Blood thinners are not the handcuffs they make it out to be, I know... my wife takes them and has been for the past 10yrs. They have coagulant shots to manage blood levels that take effect within minutes. Track medical workers have these on hand on every run. Kart track... not so much but maybe.

To each their own for assessing risk vs reward. So you have concluded that riding track is no longer an option. That is fine, but for your bucket list tracks, contact them and ask for a 2up ride with one of their talented coaches/cr's in the novice group. Or... ask for a escorted parade lap during lunch. You might just be surprised how open they are to the idea.

Other than that, your options are pretty limited but I wish you the best of luck.
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Old October 11th, 2017, 06:47 PM   #29
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Chris: does your wife ride on the track with blood thinners?

I don't know how many riders are on blood thinners, but I was told by my doctor that I had to retire from racing. Could I reject that advice? Sure, but that advice is officially on record. And that now means if I die on the race track my life insurance won't pay out to my family. I already checked on that BTW.

Just to be clear, it wasn't me who decided track riding is no longer an option. I kinda wonder if I should have avoided risk talks with my doctor, then at least it wouldn't be on record.
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Old October 12th, 2017, 11:34 AM   #30
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No, my wife has 0 interest in riding track, but does still ride the 4wheelers and as a passenger with me on the road. Although we haven't ridden street in a couple of years now. :\

Sports and blood thinners are tricky but can be overcome much of the time. And yes, many doctors will advise you to avoid high risk sports because they don't want to aggravate the situation and keep liability down. Hell, even going to the dentist becomes an event that must be planned out. As far as that advice goes, you can always get a 2nd opinion from a sports specific doctor. I am most likely a bad example about doctors and their recommendations, but I NEVER ask my doctor for "permission" on what I "can and cannot" do. Only what I "should do and should not" do. People forget that they work for you, not the other way around. :\ How many times have you heard the doc say "you will never walk again" and is proven wrong.

You are in the company of pro basketball players, cyclists, track day riders, hikers, trail riders and so on that currently take blood thinners like warfarin and coumadin. Talk with your doc about how to manage your diet and blood levels to accommodate your lifestyle and activity needs. But imho, it is wrong of he or she to outright BAN you from an activity. It is your choice not theirs. And, your insurance problem can be overcome as well. The cost of a high risk "rider" added to a policy run about $2.50-$5.00 of premium per thousand (a rider means something different in the insurance industry).

As far as what has worked for my wife is managing the vitamin K intake via diet and staying active. As you most likely know, you have to have your levels checked every so often and stabilizing that level is the key to going forward, planning and executing your activities.

Lastly, it's ultimately on you to measure risk vs reward to complete an activity at possibly a diminished level. Such as no more racing but slower pace novice track days are ok. Possibly upgrade the gear you use; air vests, back + chest protectors and so on...

And I will be blunt here too... Perhaps you made the right choice to give it up. I am afraid Mr. Fist might be onto something when he mentions your crash frequency. With the proper mindset in place, there is no need to crash at a track day. My last record of 127 track days without incident is being challenged, I am currently at 114 days over 2.5yrs. Overall, it is 3 crashes in 7yrs of hardcore track riding and none of those crashes resulted in any significant injury. Perhaps I am just lucky.

Whatever your future holds on 2 wheels, I hope it brings a smile to your face.

EDIT: I totally forgot about bruising! Say you go to the kart track and fall. You most likely will bruise like no tomorrow from even the smallest fall. This will be be amplified by higher speeds at a big track on a bigger bike. Your biggest risks from what I know about are internal vascular issues resulting from a bone break, especially near the collarbone. The other to watch out for is a hematoma, these are the ones where a really hard impact creates bigger problems.

EDIT #2: How about doing those tracks, dare I even say it.... BY CAR? Perhaps it is time to transition from bikes to cars for your track day needs. Personally, I like the little cars on the autocross track more than the large bore cars on the big track. Give drift cars a look too! Super fun and your normally solo or in pairs out there on the skid pad.
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Old October 16th, 2017, 06:44 AM   #31
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Cars have crossed my mind. I'm not into drifting at all, but there are a couple of local sports car clubs that run at our local kart track. It would have to be a small convertible, either a Miata or a Porsche Boxster. Both are reasonably priced on the used market. As a bonus, everyone in my family would like a convertible and my wife didn't immediately shoot down the idea.

Not sure how much fun a little car like that would be at the big tracks though. A bigger sports car is probably out of the question due a costs.

Fun with blood thinners - I've been changing my own motorcycle tires for years using a bead breaker, tire spoons, rim guards and lube. It was never easy to start with, but this weekend I did it and got a couple bloody knuckles that wouldn't stop bleeding. There was blood all over. I don't think I will be doing that myself anymore. But without changing race tires every other day I don't think I will need it much anymore anyway.
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Old October 17th, 2017, 01:49 AM   #32
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You could also try autocrossing (autox). Miatas seem almost designed for it. Check with your local SCCA (PM for referral discount), BMW, Porsche, or other car groups. You can even run karts and formula cars; will probably be bumpy though.

Quick search turned up:
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Old October 17th, 2017, 03:07 AM   #33
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Partially inspired by the thread "Road riding after track days". I've got a slightly different take on it, with having been essentially forced off the road race tracks for medical reasons.

Sad story: For me these days, most of what I have left is road riding. This year I had to retire from the big tracks because I had heart surgery, leaving me on blood thinners for the rest of my life.

So, several doctors had long discussions with me about risk factors of all the fun stuff I want to do with the rest of my life. High speeds on the big tracks, technical mountain biking, cross country mountain biking, road bicycle riding, road motorcycling, triathlons, various types of bicycle racing, and riding at slower speeds at the kart track. We went into a lot of detail. There's risk in everything but we had to evaluate specifics and make some choices.

At the end of that risk discussion, everything made the cut except for riding on the big tracks, and I was told to stay away from downhill mountain biking on technical terrain - not that I get to do that ever in Wisconsin.

The doctors looked at some of my history on the tracks. Big tracks like Road America and Blackhawk Farms. In the course of 4 years on those tracks, 2 major crashes I have sustained the following injuries: 11 broken bones, most of them ribs, but 2 are arm bones and 2 are collar bones. Fractured pelvis, two sprained ankles, a concussion, and the doosie: a punctured lung.

In the course of 6 years at the kart track, 4 crashes with the only injury being a sprained thumb. Now in that other thread I mentioned, there was some discussion about how dangerous the kart tracks can be. And sure, there is danger everywhere. But the doctor approved medical consensus is that the risk is far less than at the big tracks, as is the average speed. I could still have a serious crash and die at the kart track, but the doctors worked with me to help decide where I should draw the line. I accept some risk because I sure as hell am not going to sit on the couch for the rest of my life.

But in my eyes, the riskiest of my remaining riding options is on the road - with grandmas who can't see over the wheel, texting teenagers, and soccer moms going out of their mind with a minivan full of kids. I managed to ride for 30 years without an accident on the road, but now my safety there is even more critical. I've always rode like I am invisible, and will continue to evaluate all risks. Deer, turkeys, gravel in corners, oil slicks and all the rest. My eyes can't stop going like this when I ride on the road.



So I got my Z125 for the kart track. And indeed it has been fun. I feel safe there for how much fun it is. I used to ride supermotos there quite a bit. However I believe a smaller bike like a Z125 or a Grom to be safer than a tall bike like a supermoto, simply because of what a high side is like. I don't think you will get launched quite as high or far on a bike where your butt is 2 feet off the ground as compared to a 38" seat height supermoto. Low sides at the kart track are no problem. Basically you slide on your butt for 2 feet, laugh, pick up your bike and keep going.

I sure miss the big track and all my old racing buddies though. I still hang out and help out in the pits when I can. Kart track and road riding for me from here on out.

Oh and I should probably change my sig. I sold my 300 race bike to a local buddy.

Has anyone else had to give up the track for any reason? I mean besides "I'm running out of money!"
I've been around auto racing all my life. I witnessed three people die on the track right in front of me. Since you'll have a-bit more time on your hands, and winter is setting in, I suggest you read a book titled "Faster" by Jackie Stewart. You will learn why he retired and why you should.

In my case, at 69, when I dropped my Honda 500 and couldn't pick it up I figured the bike riding party was over. After a two year hiatus from riding I started thinking about old two cycle bikes like the Yamaha RD350 and Suzuki 350 Rebel and thought surely I could pick one of those peanuts up. Being somewhat rare and in most cases too pricey I was about to give up and then learned of the 250 Ninja. As Canned Heat would say "I'm on the road again". Be glad you can still ride the street. Wouldn't it just poop the bed if you couldn't ride at all anymore? Look at me, 50+ years of riding and never a thought of the race track. Cars yes, bikes no. Any one of your previous accidents could have put you in a pine box.

Look at the bright side, with your track experience you'll never have to back out of a cafe to cafe race.

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Old October 31st, 2017, 02:31 PM   #34
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The other thing that may not go over well is the fact that I'm absolutely not there to learn anything at all. I just want to run the track safely. Learning is pushed so hard, and even more so probably in a school, sometimes at the expense of fun. I'm old, and I've been there and done that with years of track days and racing. About all I would want is for someone to let me know if I'm doing something unsafe and otherwise leave me alone. And I don't want to spend time in a classroom.

The more I think about it, the more this idea of getting to my bucket list tracks seems like it's not going to fly.

But at least i can still get my fill of dragging knee at the kart track. The z125 have proven to be a blast there. Maybe I'll just visit COTA for MotoGP next year.
You're right that it wouldn't go over well if you showed up at the California Superbike School and didn't wish to learn anything at all...only ride.

However I just wanted to comment on something you said. "Learning is pushed so hard, and even more so probably in a school, sometimes at the expense of fun." and I would disagree with that. At CSS we don't want you pushing soooo hard, but working on what you have learned. I get that you don't want to sit in a classroom and that's fine, if it's not your cup of tea then don't come but, at CSS we encourage our students to ride at a pace that is comfortable enough for them to try new things and experiment with technique so they can truly feel the difference when they get things right. Sometimes this is even MORE fun then just riding around trying to push the limits. There aren't the same "oh sh*t" moments you sometimes get when pushing, you get to follow a coach around and be told if you are doing something scary or wrong and also when you get things right. So, learning is not just pushing so hard, sometimes at at the expense of fun
but often more fun because you're learning.
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Old October 31st, 2017, 02:50 PM   #35
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Depending upon what's available in your area and your relationship with them, trackday organizers do have customized rides available. For example, pretty much all here in CA have removed 2-up riding for participants. However, you can still get a 2-up ride if you request ahead of time with the organizer and they provide the ride as well as protective escort. So you may be able to find something like that in your area if there's provider that has that service.

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Old November 2nd, 2017, 03:36 PM   #36
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Life changes life

Don't fret what you leave behind. I'm 71-60+ yrs riding, 5yrs racing w CRA in the 70s, 34 yrs commuting on bikes. Since retirement I've given up-commuting of course, xc skiing (balance issues), my sailboat (balance issue setting up mast), my Futura (couldn't pick it up now). I've got hip, knee, heel, neck issues but that is mostly just age stuff. I swore off project bikes- instead fiddle w snowblowers & OBs. I'm just tickled to have swapped the Futura for a 300-reminds me of my old RD400 RR bike. I do short 50-100 mi backroad jaunts and perhaps I'll continue the MN-STA day rides I've led in the hills North of La Cross(on a smaller bike of course). Mellowing w age doesn't have to be boring just a bit slower. 8 grandkids is a good reason to slow down and help them enjoy the scenery.
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Old November 3rd, 2017, 01:23 PM   #37
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That "pushing learning so hard" statement wasn't about riders pushing hard, or pushing limits, It's about CR's and coaches pushing learning too hard. Understood at CSS though. I mean it has the word School in the title and the majority of people are there to learn.

An old dog like me just wants to run safely at faster than street speeds, but only at the speed I'm comfortable with - No faster, and nowhere near the limits of myself or my bike.

I might consider going back to trackdays but run down in novice. This would work well at bigger tracks where I could get out in front and have some alone time until I catch the backmarker. In fact I did that in 2013 at Road America when I wanted to ride but other groups were full. At least after the point where they let us run free, I'd get to pit out early, get out first and have 3 whole laps all by myself before I come up on the slowest guy. It's almost totally ironic that I set my all time fastest lap in novice group. (2:40 with an untuned 675 if anyone cares) I could never run in novice at Blackhawk Farms though. That place is narrow and crowded. And turn 4 has a curb and no runoff.

With the size of COTA, what do you guys think if I just did a novice group ride there? I wonder if an org would even let me considering my condition.
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Old November 3rd, 2017, 01:26 PM   #38
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Oh and I wanted to mention I am ordering a Road ID today.

It's going to have my name, city, state, 2 emergency contacts, allergy to penicillin and Coumadin therapy, AVG INR 2.5. And if I can fit it on there, "Two Wheels For Life"
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