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Have you attended a California Superbike School school?

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  1. I haven't posted on here in a while but I think I've had an epiphany about my survival reaction to a corner that I've charged into too hot. It's been a few years since I've been to a CSS camp (L4 repeat offender). I'm humbly asking for you to help me think through the thing I'm still struggling with on target fixation. Apologies for this long post to get to my question. Panic, brain freeze, survival reaction - all characterize what happens to a rider when things aren't going as expected in a corner and the natural result for vast majority of riders is target fixation - they look at the thing they don't want to hit and then go there. They say that confession is the first step in recovery so here goes: Hi, my name is Wes and I get target fixed when I've charged a corner. I think that the problem with telling riders things like "the bike will do more than you think,' or "look where you want to go, not at what you don't want to hit," or "double down on your lean angle" is that, while it's all the proper advice that's dispensed often on forums and over a beer after a ride, I think it's useless to someone in that moment unless it's deeply engrained in your reptilian brain as your survival reaction. To put it another way, if you are mentally behind the action enough to have gotten into the corner too hot, then your thinking isn't going to speed up to work the problem. Just the opposite - you're going to mentally freeze up - and the only thing you have working for you is what's engrained in your reptilian brain. I know all this because of years of aerobatic upset and recovery practice in aerobatic aircraft. In aerobatic upsets (falling/tumbling/spinning out of control in the air) we call it "brain freeze" and we counter that with lots of repetition. We go up high and intentionally get the airplane out of control and then practice a reaction over and over again that is always the same: - Admit/declare that I'm out of control (anytime the airplane is doing something I didn't expect, this declaration is triggered) - Do the same thing every time - which in an aerobatic airplane is center up all the controls and pull all the power off (that stops making things worse and makes some space for the recovery) The only way to get a proper reaction is to be spring loaded to declare I'm out of control followed by recovery repetition. We have to learn to be ready to admit in the moment that this isn't going like I thought. My own mental model is that this is like a circuit breaker in my mind. So to bring this back to cornering a motorcycle, I try to always be ready to immediately realize that I've blown the corner, or that something is happening in front of me that I didn't expect and pop the breaker. Once I've admitted that I've charged the corner, then the thing I've tried to engrained in many hours of practice (look, go) can kick in, or so I thought. One of the hardest habits for me to break at the California Superbike school camps I've been to is that the bike goes where I look. I can't tell you how many times I've gone back to practicing the 2 step drill. I think it was my L4 rider coach that gave me the advice to actually say it out loud on every corner: LOOK, GO. I could do it if I was thinking about it but tended to abandon it if it wasn't in the front of my mind. After I'd been through that drill at CSS, I started trying to practice it out on the road when I was out in the twisties. It worked for me there as well as on the track to keep me mentally ahead of the action as I tipped in to a turn. I thought this is a great drill to allow me to ride with more margin and with more pace. But I was still having the problem that I'd sometimes charge into a corner too hot and get target fixed on the edge of the pavement where I didn't want to go. It occurred to me that I was practicing the 2 step to keep everything under control with good margin but that it wasn't helping me when I truly needed it. Repetition wasn't making this my survival reaction, I suspect because I wasn't practicing the first step in my aerobatic training - declaring I'm out of control. It seems like the 2 step should be the right answer to target fixation. If I can recognize that I've charged the corner and trigger a LOOK (where I would rather be going) and the GO (push on the inside bar and double down on making the bike go there) I will have the best chance at rescuing my charged corner. But how do I practice that?! I don't think I should be out intentionally charging corners and rescuing it when I'm out in the hills on a ride. But, as in my aerobatic training, if I don't practice being confronted with "oh s**t" moments, how can I truly make this my survival reaction? I've seen the positive results of that kind of practice in the air. How can I get there with my cornering out in the wild when nitwits cross the center line at me or there's gravel in the turn or I've just charged the corner too fast? Is there a drill (maybe on track vs. the street) where this SR can be deeply engrained and refreshed so that it's there and unconsciously ready to be triggered when needed?
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