I went to Thunderhill West this past weekend with my dad. I was doing level 4 for Saturday and Sunday. Saturday felt great, I learned the track, I felt fast, and left feeling like I could get through the track comfortably. Sunday came and for some reason it was a different story. I went off track three times and would let my SR's take over in Turn 1.
I could not figure it out. I felt like I was only adding 10-15 mph down the straight just to up my pace. Why was this such a big deal?!
First of all, after consulting with Johnny, adding that much speed is too much. I needed to add it gradually, 1 mph at a time even.
Gerry was my coach for Sunday. We found that my vision was hindering me. By adding that much speed, I had to PLAN for my turn point earlier. I just kept focusing on the turn point itself and by the time I hit it, I was already beyond it and therefore turning in late with a new sense of speed....I would panic and become stiff on the bars. Gerry coached me to look WAYYY ahead. Go at my normal pace, and look wayyyyy ahead at Turn 1. I did and suddenly the track felt slower. I felt like I was scooting along on a pedal bicycle down the straight and going into Turn 1.
I got my lap times recorded for Sunday. My fastest lap time of a 1:40 was during my second session, when I was still affected by my vision. Surrounding that time was a bunch of 1:50's or even 2:00 +. Crazy variance.....
After listening to Gerry and using my vision to slow things down for the last session, my lap times were consistently 1:43 1:44 and staying in that range. I know it is slower, but the consistency is important. This shows me that if I can stay consistent, I can begin to work on my speed. I was doing the same thing every single lap and talking to myself in my helmet, "2 step, no greys." This meant use the two step and look way ahead. No greys meant to not hit the gray curbing at all and to look 4-inches to the side of the curbing so I could place my front wheel there.
I wanted to thank Gerry and Big Andy for their coaching on both days as well as Johnny for his consulting between sessions both days. We came up with a plan every time and after execution, the results were showing in timed laps as well as overall confidence on the track. Gerry also taught me how to use my peripheral vision to sense movement. This would help with passing others and my goodness it made such a difference to my whole experience!!! I was passing other riders safely and with enough space and speed. It really changed things. I cannot wait to implement this at my next track day/ race.
I will take time today to write down my plan for my home tracks and how to approach different corners. I really like that once you leave a track with CSS and go to your home track, you can apply what you learned to your home track. You did not have to sit there and say, "okay I learned the track with them...why don't them come here so I can learn my track with them?" It is more like, "OH! This turn is JUST LIKE turn 2 at Thunderhill! I know how to do this!"
Thank you all for the great weekend and learning. We will be back and my dad wants to do Level II! The photo below is of my dad and I. I caught up with him for the photo op to look like a doofus (I am on 21 and he's on 22).