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My 5/3 Trackday.


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It was bad. I was probably the first day in trackday history that a rider, me, didn't pass a single person, and was passed by everyone.

I wasn't warming up my tires right until I started following a person who was pitting next to me and hit the track running without having tire warmer. It's a track that will force you to spend most of your time on the left side of the tire, and the rest of the time on the right. Coming out of the pits I hit an early apex left that I learned the last time I watched people race. I started nailing it pretty quick. Most people who don't know how to take it properly are going to have a hard time because you're coming out of a really fast corner. But I'll end with that one.

The early apex kicks you out and into the sharpest left on the track. I don't think I hit it right all day. I started turning earlier than the cone, and think my exiting started to improve. As soon as I hit the straight I take a look back to let the faster riders through. Usually this is where the motards are right behind me, so I let them, and everyone else, through, and hang behind them down the straight. If there is no one behind me, I'll hit in the range of 113-115 in 3rd-4th gear before I hard brake and get down to 2nd.

There is a mid-speed corner at the end of the straight that has been *cough* improved upon, and scares the newer riders because of how bumpy it is. There are plenty of RP's though, but my BP usually suffers.

Then it's straighten up the bike and crank the throttle until the continuous left finally forces you to start leaning. I do pretty well here, but start to have problems because as soon as 2nd starts really pulling, I have to get ready to lean harder into a left, then straighten the bike up to brake for a right. I don't get passed much in this section, but some people do get through.

The hard right is tricky for most, but I was consistently good. There are about 2 feet from the rumble strips to a really bad patch of concrete that takes a lot of riders out. Going into the right broke a couple of collar bones that day. I think I missed taking the corner well once, but I still wasn't confident enough to get to full lean.

After the right you can give the throttle just enough juice to set up for the 180 degree increasing radius left, where I can take plenty of time to work on leaning, BP, and just taking the corner properly. I didn't do very well, and spent most of my time readjusting the bike because I wasn't pushing fast enough to kick the bike to the outside of the track to set up for the short straight going into the double left corner ahead. And I noticed something weird and discomforting. I seem to push DOWN on the handlebars while I'm cornering. It was uncomfortable. I could turn the bike properly, but the pushing down wasn't working. The last time I did this track my left hand was numb for a week. This time my triceps were sore, and still are, almost a week later. I'm going to get to a parking lot, and find a way to fix this problem. 17th is a new track, and I need to be able to manage that.

Then a double left that is treated as another 180 degree corner. I can't explain why my BP was off, and I couldn't lean completely. I have a killer line through it, and nail it every time, but oh so sloppy. I worked on it all day, but to no avail. And AGAIN with the pushing down on the handlebars. I want to get back on that track after I have time to work on this problem and hopefully correct it. When I saw my BP later, I definitely had very bad BP through most of the day.

After the big double corner there is just enough time to come off the throttle, pick the bike up, and let the engine rev down just enough to dip into a very sharp, small right hand corner. It was here that I learned two things. One, when I pick the bike up, I learn just how poorly a stock rear suspension is for a 210 lb man. My ass end chatters, and I get somewhat uncomfortable for a split second. Then as I lean perfectly into the right, I notice how much better I am at right handers than left because I've spent so much time on Firebird East. Easy corner, and after holding the right in a late apex, I can pick the bike up and gun it down a straight that leads into a long, fast right. I get the bike going, and hold the throttle until I get through the corner. I get passed by a lot of bikes here, and am not a fan of this corner, because we always pit just above it, and I see people really getting back on the throttle at the end of the corner, and there are lots of wrecks and near wrecks at the end of this leading into the first corner I explained. My other problem, I noticed, was after the first three sessions. I WASN'T USING RP's. My lines were totally off, and I didn't feel the slightest bit comfortable. I started using my RP's, and although I didn't get much faster, I did feel MUCH more comfortable.

After this corner, no braking required, position yourself in the middle of the track, and hit the early apex I explained first. If you swing out you lose rhythm and the left you go into is junk. I watch the better riders do this, and it's where I picked it up.

I'll try to post a video of the track for whoever is interested in watching it, not me. And the corner at the end of the straight has been changed. I also have to edit some pics, but I'll show my horrible BP at various points of the track.

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I finally figured out how to download video, and it takes forever. This is the video of me doing a few laps. I know I'm not that good, but I think I'm CONSISTENTLY bad. My laptimes for the 3 I did all out were: 1:16.6, 1:16.1, 1:16.1. So if I improve I'll be consistently good. Competitive race times are 1:02.

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hi hub, thats a pretty decent quality video! Reading your posts recently you have been giving yourself a bit of a hard time, allways talking yourself down but yet here you are lapping only 14 secs away from competitive race times! maybe its time not to put so much pressure on yourself and remember that your doing it for fun, you pay for the track time after all so have a bit of fun with it!

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hi hub, thats a pretty decent quality video! Reading your posts recently you have been giving yourself a bit of a hard time, allways talking yourself down but yet here you are lapping only 14 secs away from competitive race times! maybe its time not to put so much pressure on yourself and remember that your doing it for fun, you pay for the track time after all so have a bit of fun with it!

It's a Go Pro Hero camera. They're like $200.

I know I'm doing it for fun, but the reason it's so fun is that there are always things to learn, and even though I'm learning, I'm not improving. I still love it, but I need things to work on, to keep me excited about it. I'm not even worried that much about how far off the times I am (although my goal is to be withn 10 seconds). But my arm is still sore from pushing on the bars from 5/3. I hold my lines, take the proper lines, and people in the intermediate group get past me just fine, but I felt I was doing so poorly I almost went down the superstreet class.

It's just that 6 months ago I was running those same times. I love riding and want to be able to do it properly, but am stalled (I'm still trying to save up for Oct 31st 2 day in Vegas). I know I can do better laptimes and not increase my risk of wrecking (although I know it's inherent). That's why I'm on this site. To learn what I can. I posted all the above info because maybe someone can give me input that will "click."

I also love to teach, and am good at translating what I know so that people can pick it up. My goal is to be an instructor. Whether it's for the beginner group, a local track school, or something bigger. I'm 38 years old, and my body is shot, so that door is going to slam shut sooner rather than later. After a days riding I could probably get a good beginner group rider to be faster than me, and that says something about my knowledge..... and ability.

 

And Jay, it's Firebird West.

 

Westtrack.gif

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hi hub, thats a pretty decent quality video! Reading your posts recently you have been giving yourself a bit of a hard time, allways talking yourself down but yet here you are lapping only 14 secs away from competitive race times! maybe its time not to put so much pressure on yourself and remember that your doing it for fun, you pay for the track time after all so have a bit of fun with it!

It's a Go Pro Hero camera. They're like $200.

I know I'm doing it for fun, but the reason it's so fun is that there are always things to learn, and even though I'm learning, I'm not improving. I still love it, but I need things to work on, to keep me excited about it. I'm not even worried that much about how far off the times I am (although my goal is to be withn 10 seconds). But my arm is still sore from pushing on the bars from 5/3. I hold my lines, take the proper lines, and people in the intermediate group get past me just fine, but I felt I was doing so poorly I almost went down the superstreet class.

It's just that 6 months ago I was running those same times. I love riding and want to be able to do it properly, but am stalled (I'm still trying to save up for Oct 31st 2 day in Vegas). I know I can do better laptimes and not increase my risk of wrecking (although I know it's inherent). That's why I'm on this site. To learn what I can. I posted all the above info because maybe someone can give me input that will "click."

I also love to teach, and am good at translating what I know so that people can pick it up. My goal is to be an instructor. Whether it's for the beginner group, a local track school, or something bigger. I'm 38 years old, and my body is shot, so that door is going to slam shut sooner rather than later. After a days riding I could probably get a good beginner group rider to be faster than me, and that says something about my knowledge..... and ability.

 

And Jay, it's Firebird West.

 

Westtrack.gif

 

 

I know you had punctuation in there, but it seemed like one long breath (LOL).

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I love riding and want to be able to do it properly, but am stalled (I'm still trying to save up I posted all the above info because maybe someone can give me input that will "click."

Hub;

The School is on their their first of two eastern road tours finishing up at NJMP today and heading south for VIR next week followed by a swing further south to Barber so you may not get any of the coaches responding to your inquiries much before then. I know I cannot tell enough from an on-board video what you are doing well and what needs to be corrected beyond confirming multiple steering inputs or if you hit an apex. Even then it is hard to offer a critique as to why a rider made either of those types of mistakes (and I not suggesting that you did either of these BTW).

 

As for getting good constructive feedback I can offer you a perspective from two vantage points; one as a Student and one as a Corner Worker. What I have observed/experienced is that the coaches seem to assemble their critiques when they can follow students for an entire lap (or two). They watch a whole series of indicators we (students) give them during those observation laps and it allows them to formulate what needs work (and what a student is already doing well). From there they can determine in what order their adustments should be applied. Their plan for improving each student is literally custom made. [Remember, these Instructors are extremely well trained and have seen it all so there is nothing new any of us can offer them to correct that is unique.]

 

I was at Infineon as a Student in March and my coach saw a series of mistakes I was making; after the first session offered this: "I see a number of things to adjust but we'll take them one at a time". Of course I wanted to know all of them at once so I could jump into the solution but I reminded myself that he was the instructor and I was the student so I ought to trust him to do his job. Over the course of the day he offered just one correction that I should make after each session and also encouraged me to "practice" one of them on the lean/slide bike between sessions. By the end of the day, I cannot tell you how much faster we were circulating or how easier it was to do so.

 

I offer this to you because as Ace alluded to earlier, your frustration is really comming through your post so I have an idea to share. Since you have also been clear that you cannot attend a school until later this season what about lending your camera to a buddy who can follow you and record your actions on the bike for a couple of laps. Then, post that video and from that vantage point you may be able to get the kind of feedback that could help "click" something for you.

 

Kevin

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what about lending your camera to a buddy who can follow you and record your actions on the bike for a couple of laps. Then, post that video and from that vantage point you may be able to get the kind of feedback that could help "click" something for you.

 

Kevin

For some ungodly reason I couldn't think of this myself. I have a friend who is faster than me, and familiar with the track we're going to ride, that I'm sure will do it for a couple of laps.

Does anyone at least know what the deal with me pushing on the bars is all about?

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