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New Level 4 Curriculum?

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Last time I was at CSS, about a year ago, I heard something about a Level 4 curriculum being developed...  Was I misinformed, is it being taught yet??

I'm always looking forward to returning to CSS and when I ride I'm doing my best to hone the skills taught in Levels 1-3.  Lately I've been asking myself, which particular skills do I need to work on?  Should I be taking note of the things I'd like to work on in preparation for returning for Level 4 or is there a new a curriculum?

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Level 4 is still an individual, customized program. However, there are many, many new, specific Level 4 drills that address a variety of problems riders encounter. So the basic format is the same but the array of tools and drills that are available (there are over 100 level 4 drills) has been expanded considerably, along with some other nice improvements in AV tools and video capabilities.

You mentioned you've been asking yourself what skills you need to work on - come on out to a school and your coach will work with you on your goals and closely observe your riding to create a custom program to address this. 

In other words, you don't have to have it all figured out before you get here, your coach and your level 4 consultant will work with you personally to identify what skills need improvement. 

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Thanks Hotfoot - I prefer the route of seeking the observations of the CSS coaches for what I should be working on rather than arriving with a list of what I think I need.   That statement makes me think of the article by Keith regarding types of students... I like to think of myself as the 6th type, open-minded and teachable. That’s why I keep coming back to CSS - I get to become a well trained student with a very well trained coach. Plus I always see a lot of improvement.

I do have a couple goals in mind though - consistency and smooth braking. 

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Those sound like good goals and we definitely have drills to help with them both! 

When you say consistency, in what specific area would you like to improve your consistency? Lines? Apex accuracy? Entry speed, exit speed...? 

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In the larger sense I'd say consistently improved lap times - but I realize that is probably too general and likely stems from poor execution of some of the basics.  Based on the feedback I got from the end of my last day with a CSS coach was that 1. I braked too hard in certain corners (hence my smooth braking goal), and 2. My body position was inconsistent (sometimes head too high, sometimes hips out too far or too little, and I noticed sometimes I was failing to get my knees locked onto the tank before breaking, thus absorbing brake forces with my upper body and onto the handlebars/front suspension).

That being said, I'd say my goal is to achieve consistently correct body position from the time I roll off the gas to turn entry - I'd say that string of events seems to be my biggest road block to consistent lap times and improving them.  I feel the most comfortable and confident mid-corner and on corner exit - even with the inconsistencies I experience on entry.

What I am consistently saying to myself at corner entry (a milisecond after I begin to countersteer/lean the bike in) is, "oh, I could have carried a lot more speed in here."  So I'd say my confidence spikes as soon as I begin to turn the bike and plummets when I get on the brakes (though hard braking isn't my issue with regard to confidence, but more likely with regard to corner entry speed). 

Exactly how to brake that down and what drills I might need is a bit of mystery but I'd bet a CSS coach could help here - your feedback in the meantime would be much appreciated too.

I read Keith's article, "The Fine Art of Braking," and found a lot of great info - as though it was written for me right now.  I personally never said, "what the F*%#," about the no brakes section of the school format, but I also thought it was more of a tool for getting students to ease into the day, so we weren't charging right off the bat.  I didn't realize that it was also a powerful tool for experimenting with, and refining, our sense of speed and discovering the appropriate corner entry speed.  I look forward to playing with that.

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Good observation on your part on the no-brakes format.  Riders mostly over-brake when they start to add more/harder braking, and loose entry speed.

Your overall goal if good, nothing wrong there; the other steps that go in that direction are smaller bites one would take to achieving that.

As for braking and then realizing you could have gone faster...that's a not uncommon situation that occurs.  Front brakes are the most powerful thing on the motorcycle, consider that a much smaller single rear brake can stop the engine.  How about approaching the braking with the idea its a fine adjuster, capable of great force, but in the end, getting the entry speed correct for you (no too slow or too fast) is the key.  

There are a few pieces to this, we can work on them for sure.

Best,

Cobie

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On 2/19/2019 at 6:27 PM, Cobie Fair said:

 How about approaching the braking with the idea its a fine adjuster, capable of great force, but in the end, getting the entry speed correct for you (no too slow or too fast) is the key. 

Thanks Cobie, those words plus I went back to Twist I & II, let it all sink in for a couple days and it has been helpful.  I now realize my ideal braking scenario was drawn from the graph I have in my head that was shown to us during Level II (I think) - the graph of braking force vs time for a pro level racer.  I now see how I had created my ideal based solely off that graph and the desire to maintain stability - get to maximum braking ASAP without unnecessarily/dangerously upsetting the bike's stability and then slowly decrease the pressure as I approach the TP.

Now thinking of it as a "fine adjuster" and as Keith wrote, "as a reverse throttle" - don't know why those two weren't obvious to me before... I can now see a bit more clearly how I might tweak my ideal braking scenario and still fit that graph - get to the necessary maximum braking first then appropriately decrease the pressure to approach my desired corner entry speed.  As Keith wrote in Twist I, "You must treat yourself more kindly and make that one mph easier to find."

I realize mere words are no substitute for the actual practice of the art of cornering, yet this discussion has been helpful - looking forward to Level 4.

 

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Good observations on your part...and yeah, treat oneself a bit more kindly--not an uncommon recommendation!

Best,

CF

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