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Moe

Level 3 Or Another Crack At 2?

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Not sure about everyone else, but as the arctic tundra that is the NYC-area begins to (slowly) thaw, I'm getting excited for riding season!

 

My question is - which level/format is right for me this year? Last summer, I completed a two-day camp (levels 1 & 2) at NJMP. That was my first track experience after three years of street riding so, it was an awful lot to take in. I think I held my own and showed good improvement by the end of day two. More importantly, I certainly felt comfortable with the materials and, though not the fastest, understood everything being taught to me.

 

My feeling though is that I should really partake in a few years of track days on my own before doing another two-day camp for levels 3 & 4. I feel that as a new-ish rider, I'd better better off continuing to practice and refine the level 1 & 2 lessons before tackling 3 & 4. But, still wanting to get in at least one track day in this year though, my thought then was to attend a one day camp at level 2.

 

Thoughts?

 

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Moe,

 

Here's my suggestion. Go ahead and go to Level 3. Here's why and here's my experience with the school.

 

Just like yourself my first experience on the track was taking Level 1 and 2 in 2012. I also had some concerns about the amount of information I learned. I went ahead and took Level 3 and 4 together in 2013. Level 3 focused mostly on body position and Level 4 is a "free form" program where coaches address individual needs. Because of the way Level 4 is structured you can work on any drills that you want. With the body position learning that you gain from Level 3 you essentially have "all of the information" and can work individually with your on track and off track coach to customize the learning for your specific goals. The first time I did Level 4 I spent a bit of time working on Level 1 and 2 drills to further develop my understanding.

 

This summer I'll be taking Level 4 again. I have already taken Level 4 classes two years in a row previously. Every time I ride Level 4 both the off track and on track coaches insight into my riding helps me reach every one of my goals and then some.

 

The important thing to keep in mind is all of the information presented by the school is important. The Levels are provided not as a level of ability but just as an order of presentation for the student to be able to absorb the material in a logical fashion. Once you have all of the information Level 4 allows you to go back and further refine your understanding of the concepts. Just to give you an idea of how this works my Level 1 class had an accomplished racer that took the school with us. Despite his blistering abilities on the track he went through Level 1 with the rest of us.

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I agree with rchase above - if you do a 2 day camp, take Level 3 and 4, because in Level 4 you and your coach will be able to decide what area you need or want to focus on for your L4 day, which will allow you to revisit any skills (from any level) you feel you want to work on.

 

If you are only taking a ONE day school, and you are more interested in practicing and refining visual skills than you are in working on drills/material that is more focused on body position, re-doing Level 2 could make sense for you. There is certainly a lot to Level 2 that really makes a huge difference in a student's riding, and it can be a lot to absorb.

 

One other minor point to consider, if you do a 2-day camp - it is less common to see students take Level 2 & 3 in a 2 day camp - more often they are taking Levels 1 & 2 or Levels 3 & 4 - so you could end up being the only Level 2 student that first day, or one of a very few. That's not a problem, but you might miss a little of the camaraderie of being in a class with other students in the same level (which is always fun), and you may find yourself doing drills on the track that are different from everyone else. Then on the second day you might be alone in Level 3 whilst most others are doing Level 2.

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I agree with all the above, plus level 3 will tie it all up for you with the body position training. You may be surprized at how much comes back to you from level 2 once your on track again. Review the level one and two material.. watch the school CD`s available from CSS. Most important is remember how to recognise the SR`s. A mental relaxed state is important as well. This is fun right!

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I would go with level 3 as well. For me this is when it all came together, and from talking to Spider (UK) this is often the case. For us too we sat in on a number of the level 2 classrooms, I not sure how normal that is though. Level 2 skills are good but you can practice them more or less anywhere, level 3 you can't. I'm still working on some level 1 stuff really, but I'd wait for ever to master that before adding some new stuff - some level 3 things helped my quick turns (level 1!) for example.

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Really good question asked and I feel that it's a good place for a segway into my question:

 

I did L1/L2 several years ago, then I haven't ridden much since. CSS was my last time on the track. I remember some of the experience but not much of the lessons learned. I'm not really sure I improved in any measurable area as I spent a considerable amount of the time distracted with struggling to get comfortable with the Kawasaki ZX-6R and dealing with back pains from a prior accident.

 

My thoughts are retaking L1/L2 or going toward L3/L4 and taking advantage of the specialized coaching during L4.

 

I own the 3 books by KC and the Twist I DVD (last review of the material was prior to L1/L2), haven't purchased II DVD yet. Is there enough material in the newest DVD to prep me for L3/L4?

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Really good question asked and I feel that it's a good place for a segway into my question:

 

I did L1/L2 several years ago, then I haven't ridden much since. CSS was my last time on the track. I remember some of the experience but not much of the lessons learned. I'm not really sure I improved in any measurable area as I spent a considerable amount of the time distracted with struggling to get comfortable with the Kawasaki ZX-6R and dealing with back pains from a prior accident.

 

My thoughts are retaking L1/L2 or going toward L3/L4 and taking advantage of the specialized coaching during L4.

 

I own the 3 books by KC and the Twist I DVD (last review of the material was prior to L1/L2), haven't purchased II DVD yet. Is there enough material in the newest DVD to prep me for L3/L4?

 

The Twist II DVD is really great, and it definitely would help prepare you. Taking L1/2 over again versus 3/4 is up to you; in any case if a coach sees a deficiency in an earlier skill (rider not 2-stepping, for example), he/she will bring that to your attention and re-explain it if needed - but that can be a distraction from working on the current drill assigned in the L3 classroom.

 

Level 3 is focused on rider relationship to bike, lots of time spent on body position, getting anchored, and how to move around on the bike; if that is the thing you are most interested in focusing on and improving, go for Level 3. If, however, you feel like you missed some stuff in Level 1 & 2, you might get a LOT of benefit from sitting through the classroom sessions again and focusing specifically on those drills. Additionally the classroom material is updated constantly; I remember when you took L 1&2 and I know there is some new stuff in the classroom sessions, particularly more use of video and slideshow photos to illustrate specific points, especially in Level 2, and those tools are REALLY helpful.

 

I would never feel as though it was a waste of time to sit through L 1 and L2 classroom again - even as a coach and multiple-time L4 student I still do it whenever I get a chance, I always pick up something new or find a new way to apply something based on my current skill/speed level (as opposed to what it was the FIRST time I took L 1&2 and was a little overwhelmed by all the new stuff).

 

In Level 4, the program will be custom-tailored to you, but it is extremely common to end up working on L1 or L2 skills. :)

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In Level 4, the program will be custom-tailored to you, but it is extremely common to end up working on L1 or L2 skills. :)

 

 

That's exactly how it worked for me. I did a 3/4 camp a year after I did the 1/2 camp. After spending the first day working on all the great things that Hotfoot described in Level 3, my Level 4 day was spent getting back to fundamentals of vision. I spent a few track sessions picking better exit RPs that really worked to give me the confidence advance the throttle sooner. We called it 2 step or 3 step or bracketing turn 3, etc. All vision related Level 1 or 2 skills and it completely transformed my laps and my pace picked up substantially. In the last couple of sessions of my Level 4 my rider coach asked me if I was open to working on something else. You bet! He had noticed that there were a couple of places on the track (specifically entering the museum down hill at Barber) where I was off the pace I was carrying elsewhere. He worked with me on 2 second brake release trailing more into the turn and carrying more pace into the turns.

 

There were only 2 of us in Level 3 and everyone else in our run group was a repeat offender in level 4. I'll be honest with you, I got passed so much my first day in Level 3 that I felt like a traffic cone out there. But I didn't care - I was working on body positioning and how I was weighting the pegs and keeping my grip light while doing it. I felt like it was a "go slower today to go faster tomorrow" thing. During the Level 4 on track coaching and working with my Level 4 consultant, my lap times started plummeting and my day two times got consistently 10 seconds faster than my best day 1 times. It's not a race and I really only felt like I was competing only with myself but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy passing a lot of those guys that were passing me on day 1 :)

 

I really think my success with this was the open approach to Level 4 where you work on whatever you need most regardless of in what level it was taught. My advice is go ahead and sign up for a 2 day level 3/4 school and let them do their magic on you when you get to level 4!

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There were only 2 of us in Level 3 and everyone else in our run group was a repeat offender in level 4. I'll be honest with you, I got passed so much my first day in Level 3 that I felt like a traffic cone out there. But I didn't care - I was working on body positioning and how I was weighting the pegs and keeping my grip light while doing it. I felt like it was a "go slower today to go faster tomorrow" thing. During the Level 4 on track coaching and working with my Level 4 consultant, my lap times started plummeting and my day two times got consistently 10 seconds faster than my best day 1 times. It's not a race and I really only felt like I was competing only with myself but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy passing a lot of those guys that were passing me on day 1 :)

 

 

Trust me. You weren't the only person getting passed. I'm a Level 4 repeat offender and I was getting passed too. I realized later that there were some racers in our midst. One of them who does Pikes Peak.

 

If you passed a Motorsports colored RR with no number on it that was me. Good work!

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Thanks for the advice Hotfoot and Pittsdriver. I think I will look at L3/4 next time around. As I circulated the track during my sessions, I was proud that I disciplined myself to not fall back into my old ways. I was super slow but I think I understand what Pitts was saying...I also had some extra outside pressure; next time I won't have those issues.

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I think one of the hardest things for a lot of guys to do is to stow their ego and be open and humble to the full learning experience. I think that's why a lot of street riders don't do track days and why a lot of track day riders don't do professional schools like CSS - even if they can easily afford it. You can be Rossi in your own mind until you measure yourself against others or watch your riding coach pass you like you're standing still :-) I personally think that the one thing that was as important as anything that I was offered to learn at CSS, was committing to the mind set that I'm going to learn best if I'm not putting any pressure on myself to spend the whole $10 on going fast. I wanted to challenge myself so sure, so maybe $5.00 of my ability was spent on a quick pace while the rest was spent on the object lesson of the session. It takes a lot of pressure off and makes learning much easier. And trust me when I say that if you do the two day school, the 14 track sessions you'll get leave plenty of opportunity to consolidate what you learned going slower to go faster. That was certainly my experience.

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Agree 100% Pitts. One of the guys in my class that I'd befriended passed me at a good clip. My ego took over and I tossed the drill aside to reel him back in, it was working but then I went back to the drill and again my speed suffered. I did a comparo back-back using him as my rabbit and could see the difference. Ultimately, my desire to get the most out of the school won over my ego. I still have a long ways to go.

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We have seen all kinds of approaches to doing the levels, and recently I have seen more guys repeating that I recall. If there is a big lag, it can help to repeat the level, but also getting up to Level 4 is good as we can then continue to tailor each ride, and that has some nice advantages too.

 

Best to keep an open line with us on this, as there are advantages to either way, and it's easy for us on the service side, so we'll only be interested in what will get the better result for you.

 

Hope that makes sense :).

 

Best,

Cobie

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Yep, makes perfect sense. Even better if you have student folders so the recommendations can be based on known baselines (???).

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