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What Happens When A Coach Is A Student?


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First, I'm a coach for the school.

 

Second I started racing again in July. And even though I got a 5th place in Expert Unlimted Supersport - my first race in 4 years - I found I wasn't at the speed I wanted to be and I was having difficulty with issues I thought were resolved. Specifically I was having problems holding on to the bike during acceleration and that was causing cramping in my arms.

 

To handle that I decided to be a student at the Superbike School for a day at Barber.

 

I attended as a Level 4 student. That means I can attend what ever briefing I want of the other 3 levels and I have, effectively, two coaches - my on-track coach, James Toohey, and the Level 4 coach, Pete Castanik.

 

Despite rain in the first half of the day, James was able to spot some issues with my body position on right hand turns and we worked on that. He also spotted some visual issues I was have and we later worked on that. Pete further had some really good advice on right side body position issues due to the throttle. Remember, these were 'minor' issues.

 

I also did the Lean Machine and the Slide Bike with Josh Galster coaching. Great tools to get your body position and your throttle finely tuned.

 

One week later I was racing again at Homestead. My previous best lap was a 1:34.6 and that caused my arms to cramp. My new best lap is a 1:31.5 and I'm easily running '32s - without my arms cramping. I don't think there's a cheaper way to make a bike 3 seconds per lap faster.

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I think you have to start at level 1. A lot has changed since the last time you were last a student.

 

Wanna be my coach? A few years ago we had a school that wasn't full, and Keith rode that day and wanted a coach. We picked one of my then fast guys, but he was a little new to the program--he didn't quite know how to deal with coaching Keith.

 

OK, I got a question: how does one put one of the smilie faces shown at the bottom when composing an e-mail?

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When I found a consistent, fast(er) pace due to improvement in body position, I was riding Firebird East. It's a right heavy track, and I have a position that is what I consider to be a good basic position to work on.

I started doing trackdays on Firebird West, and my last trackday was there. I was psyched because if I can hit those rights with confidence, think of what I can do on a left heavy track. Not the case. My position was sloppy, and I ended the day with a crash (minor), my forth and fifth fingers on my left hand being numb for a week because I was pushing my left hand into the bar, and the knowledge that I need a lot of work on the left heavy tracks this fall. I kept tucking the front. I haven't been able to figure out what I'm doing wrong on my left hand turns. After this Sunday they're going to stop using East for the fall to set up some Santa World thing that they set up in the pits and on the straight that will go, surprise, through Christmas, so after Sunday I'll have plenty opportunity to practice.

I promised myself that my next East trackday I was going to work on RP's for a couple corners that I'm rough on, but there is a good left there that I'll be able to try a couple things on. I'm dying to attend the 2 day school, and when my financial situation improves I'll be there, but I won't be able to make it this spring like I'd intended.

I keep seeing tennis in my head. Not that I am into the sport, but they're always hitting the ball to their opponents backhand side. They work on it until they're just as good on backhand as forehand (?). I think at my level I'm probably better at backhand for now. I'm going to have to do a lot of studying before the 26th when I'm doing Main, which is a left heavy track.

I'm assuming that I need to do the same thing going left as I am right, but is there any difference? It was eerie that I couldn't mimic the same position and get the same results. Maybe just practice is the cure?

 

And I think you just have to click on the little faces on the bottom to get the smiley faces to pop up.

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Hubbard 28--the problem of being better on one side of the bike than the other: well, short version is we get this a lot. The best solution that we have ever had has been the Lean Bike. In a pinch, we can work on it static (in the pits on a bike) but it's not as good as getting a student on the lean bike, and then continuing to adjust his position until we get him sorted out, so he's doing what the bike needs on both sides.

 

Most riders we have found, when pressed or pushed a bit with their cornering, end up fighting the bike, and we sort this out so they are not.

 

Best,

Cobie

 

ps--I tried clicking on the smilies, but couldn't get anything.

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OK, it may seem like a silly question, but do riders ever end up with a different body position on one side versus the other, or is it the point of getting the same position on both sides? Also, whenever someone talks about the lean bike, they always say "when you're ready" or something of that nature. How does one tell when a student is ready for the lean bike? Does it have something to do with just being a new rider, and not being as comfortable leaning the bike as much?

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