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Pre-viewing a track

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I have very limited track experience...2 levels of CSS and two other track days. Before going to the track, I try and watch on-board video (youtube) from different riders to get a feel for the track and see different "race lines." Of course I want to make the most of my time at the track by doing my homework. When you only get 5 or 6 sessions, it might be the end of the day before you have just 2 or 3 corners figured out.

Are there any strategies (or is it even recommended) to try and pick out some initial landmarks, braking points, reference points, etc.? I thought it was useful to view the CSS video of NJMP before I got there.

Any thoughts from the pros for good techniques for watching on-board footage?

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I have found it useful to watch on-board video and study a track map before going to a new track. Elevation changes and camber changes are very hard to see on video, but just getting some familiarity with which way the track goes and finding some landmarks (buildings, etc.) has really helped me learn a track faster once I get there. I felt it helped me the most with quickly learning the turn numbers (very helpful in communicating with a coach) and with being more prepared for any "gotcha" corners that tighten up a lot, or blind hills, so I had an idea what to expect and would avoid either charging in too fast or being super-tentative because I wasn't sure what was coming.

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Previewing video a solid idea.  Next one could make your own drawings/maps of the references you might have/use.  Twist 1 has great info on reference points and how to choose them and use them.

Best,

Cobie

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16 hours ago, Cobie Fair said:

Previewing video a solid idea.  Next one could make your own drawings/maps of the references you might have/use.  Twist 1 has great info on reference points and how to choose them and use them.

Best,

Cobie

We can count on Cobie to make a (shameless) plug for study references- LoL

* Note: this is a good thing :-)

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Hotfoot, those are great tips and exactly what I was hoping for.

To be honest, I was really hoping to expound on the ideas given in Twist 1. It was written before youtube and the numerous different on-board videos one can find for any given track. I was really curious if it was possible/useful to draw those turns from videos.

Some of the videos have the readout from brake and throttle sensors, but is this useful in seeing where the pros are braking? Just as a reference of course for mere mortals like myself. 

Anyone else have any hints for what they look at in on-board video for track familiarization or even looking back at your own riding?

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Looking at how the brakes are applied and released, as well the throttle, that can be illustrative.

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I do this myself.  The most useful thing that I get is the "picture in my mind" of what the track is like. 

One of the things I have noticed however is once you actually get there reality tends to be a little different than what you were expecting.  As Hotfoot mentioned there's lots of things that don't come across in video such as elevation changes and also logistics of moving around on the bike. 

A really good example of this is the elevation change on the long straight at COTA.  I was really looking forward to blasting down that straight at 180+mph with a gigantic smile on my face but the elevation change caused a complete lack of visibility and that does not come across very well in video.  Needless to say the first few sessions I was not doing 180 due to the visibility.  I actually ended up enjoying the shorter straight near start finish a lot more.  Although the speed was slower having a massive up hill elevation change made it so you barely had to touch the brakes to be at the perfect speed to enter the corner at the end.  It was like having your cake and being able to eat it too.  All the front wheel lifting acceleration you wanted without the chore of having to get on the brakes hard.  :)

One other thing which is amusing that I have had a fun experience with.  Video games.  I have a video game with Road Atlanta as one of the tracks.  I was able to put in blistering lap times on the video game and could not wait to ride the track.  When I rode the track the reality was quite different from the simulation.  I won't bore you with details but I have yet to ride Road Atlanta again despite it being so close to my house because of how horrible of an experience I had.  I actually think that my game play slightly hurt my ability to learn the track with an open mind. 

Certainly watch the videos and study the track maps but be ready to actually learn the track by riding it yourself.  Most importantly be ready to adapt when the reality becomes different than what you were expecting. 

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