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nydude2000

A Kindof Important Qurstion On Crashing

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Hi All,

 

I had a quick look at this thread (trying get a little caught up, still in the middle of a long road trip), and here is one thing I'll toss out: the very best in the world, didn't/don't crash very often. Kenny, Eddie, Wayne, Valentino, Mat, Ben, etc.

 

The guys with long careers, multiple championships, crash rarely. And, these guys have to pretty much put the bike at the limit, every single time they throw a leg over it.

 

My very best coaches at the school have also crashed the least. While I do like to brag about my boys and girls, I'll just add some specifics: 60-80 track days a year, 15 riding sessions per day, for years on end, my 2 top coaches crashed ONCE each. All skill levels of students, including AMA racers, every kind of weather (37 degrees and raining at Loudon one year, 106 degrees another year). Misti Hurst worked for I think 4 years straight with zero crashes.

 

Best,

CF

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Hi All,

 

I had a quick look at this thread (trying get a little caught up, still in the middle of a long road trip), and here is one thing I'll toss out: the very best in the world, didn't/don't crash very often. Kenny, Eddie, Wayne, Valentino, Mat, Ben, etc.

 

The guys with long careers, multiple championships, crash rarely. And, these guys have to pretty much put the bike at the limit, every single time they throw a leg over it.

 

My very best coaches at the school have also crashed the least. While I do like to brag about my boys and girls, I'll just add some specifics: 60-80 track days a year, 15 riding sessions per day, for years on end, my 2 top coaches crashed ONCE each. All skill levels of students, including AMA racers, every kind of weather (37 degrees and raining at Loudon one year, 106 degrees another year). Misti Hurst worked for I think 4 years straight with zero crashes.

 

Best,

CF

 

Thanks Cobie….I actually did a CSS a week or so ago (first time back on bike) and talked to some of the coaches who said basically the same thing..as have pretty much all my friends and others that I have talked to since…crashing should NOT be part of your riding better scheme…

 

Interestingly at the CSS, James T found I was doing something bad = weighting the handlebars IN a 'turn…opps…worked on that the whole time…and actually felt better so yes NavyDude (as we talked about)…I did #2 and #3…

 

The post was started shortly after my mishap and I was still hurting and thinking negative thoughts…now I am feeling better and well…am itching to get back out…..

 

I just think my approach is going to be very different…not trying to go faster (bad trap to get into) but riding better…as James T said to me…hit your points…turn the bike..then relax and enjoy the ride

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I race mountain bikes in addition to riding my motorcycle and the idea you are referring to is one that I call the "no pain no gain" philosophy. It is total cr@p.

 

I think it is an idea that is perpetuated by people who have crashed but don't know why. In order to "rationalize" it they just say "Oh, well everybody crashes, that's just part of the sport".

 

The truth is that if you feel comfortable riding at a "7" then just ride at a 7... one day you will be riding and you will say to yourself, "this is way too easy, it's boring now. I am going to ride at an 8"

 

Eventually you will be riding at a "27" and you will realize how far you've come without ever riding at a level that made you uncomfortable.

 

If you try to go straight to level 27 you will be in over your head but if you just do level 7, and you do it ten times, or a thousand, pretty soon level 10 looks pretty confrontable, so you do that a few times until it's too easy and you just continue on like this until one day you are wondering how you ever got so fast without ever trying.

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I concur with many others here about GregGorman's post... a great example of the how the technicalities lead to speed, not "pushing it." I didn't understand this until I took superbike school.

 

And I like lwarners recent post here too as I've explained it very similarly to others before.

 

My first track day was maybe around 2001 taking superbike school level 1. At that time my times were about 2:05 on VIR North Course and I seemed to be one of the fastest students there that day. Now about 50-some track days and many years later, my lap times are about 1:45. There's no crashes in there that had anything to do with trying to go too fast. And I never really felt like at any point I was making some huge leap in speed or pushing it beyond my confort zone. Yet I can now do 6 laps in the same amount of time it used to take me to do 5.

 

But... the Pros in AMA are like 1:30 or less on this track I think. They are riding much closer to the edge without quite going over, and that takes a much greater degree of perfection to pull off than my measly 1:45s! And nobody's perfect.

 

I'm basically agreement that crashing is no a part of the learning process, but just to play a bit of devil's advocate here, who knows of any top pro riders who have never crashed? ...

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I concur with many others here about GregGorman's post... a great example of the how the technicalities lead to speed, not "pushing it." I didn't understand this until I took superbike school.

 

And I like lwarners recent post here too as I've explained it very similarly to others before.

 

My first track day was maybe around 2001 taking superbike school level 1. At that time my times were about 2:05 on VIR North Course and I seemed to be one of the fastest students there that day. Now about 50-some track days and many years later, my lap times are about 1:45. There's no crashes in there that had anything to do with trying to go too fast. And I never really felt like at any point I was making some huge leap in speed or pushing it beyond my confort zone. Yet I can now do 6 laps in the same amount of time it used to take me to do 5.

 

But... the Pros in AMA are like 1:30 or less on this track I think. They are riding much closer to the edge without quite going over, and that takes a much greater degree of perfection to pull off than my measly 1:45s! And nobody's perfect.

 

I'm basically agreement that crashing is no a part of the learning process, but just to play a bit of devil's advocate here, who knows of any top pro riders who have never crashed? ...

 

Thanks Harnois, and I even agree with what you are saying about playing "devil's advocate". I don't know of any pro MTB racers who have NEVER crashed but I know of many (the best of them) who have never really injured themselves and who push the envelope right up to the edge ALL THE TIME and always seem to pull it off.

 

I really like a quote from The Doctor, the Tornado and the Kentucky Kid where Colin Edwards says "I've never really been a crasher".

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Yeah I remember that comment on that DVD. He's never been a crasher, but yet we all know he has crashed... but not very often. Certainly some other pro racers seem to have a lot more issues with crashing.

 

I also used to ride mountain bikes, and race occasionally, when I was maybe 15 to 18 years old. I was always one of the faster downhillers in any group ride, but in many years of riding I only remember one bad high-speed crash off-hand and that was during a downhill race and I was pretty young and probably just overexcited to be participating in such an event.

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GregGorman's comment about intentionally making the bike slide rather than just waiting to see when/if it happens, that's an interesting concept. It reminds me of taking a jump on a mtn bike or dirt bike, if you just let yourself get thrown into the air it's very awkward, whereas if you launch yourself off the jump ya seem to have a lot more control in the air and for the landing.

 

But if you try to hard to intentionally make it slide, wouldn't you run the risk of making a sudden input and overdoing it? I guess it's all about getting a feel for it which I guess I just don't have.

 

On the sportbike on the track, I'm just barely fast enough at this point to have a little bit of sliding going on here or there, and I mean barely.. like I can count the slides that I remember on one hand. They all happened without me expecting it or planning it, and to my surprise they were all basically uneventful and smooth and not scary. In one case I remember my rear tire sliding in a right hander as I got on the throttle even though I wasn't going all that fast, next lap around it did the same thing, so I figured the tire had gone through one too many heat cycles. Anyway I apparently stopped rolling on the throttle during these slides because it just came back into line smoothly, but if that is the case it seemed like a fairly natural reaction. And twice I recall the feeling of going over a rise in a turn, and because of the lift in the rise taking away some traction both tires kindof drifted out a bit, but they drifted equally and I just held the throttle in place and prayed, and nothing really happened, just rode it out until I got traction again when the rise ended. Now that was a neat feeling but after doing it a couple times I was too chicken to keep up that speed. Watching Moto GP I can see in certain turns in certain tracks they are doing the same thing but like a 100 times more extreme and they do it every time around and with a pack of bikes around them. bah! Anyway, point is none of my slides were intentionally initiated, they just happened, and they worked out fine and smooth.

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GregGorman's comment about intentionally making the bike slide rather than just waiting to see when/if it happens, that's an interesting concept. It reminds me of taking a jump on a mtn bike or dirt bike, if you just let yourself get thrown into the air it's very awkward, whereas if you launch yourself off the jump ya seem to have a lot more control in the air and for the landing.

 

Yeah, that's it.

 

But if you try to hard to intentionally make it slide, wouldn't you run the risk of making a sudden input and overdoing it? I guess it's all about getting a feel for it which I guess I just don't have.

 

Well don't do that.

 

Riders, including me, second guess themselves all the time. You'd be better off calling us artist, perfectionist at that, than riders. We strive for the perfect line around the curve or just the right body position in the photo. The bike slides and we didn't feel it coming so we say we have no feel for it. But that's just emphasizing the negative.

 

The truth is we've entered hundreds, thousands, of turns and we KNOW that we're not going to slide on the brakes, we're not going to slide turning in, there'll be no slide mid-corner and the exit will be slide free. But the 2 or 3 times we get a slide and we didn't think we're going fast, aw hell we have no feeling for traction. That thought process doesn't make sense to me.

 

And, as I said before, I've made damn sure I've go the basics in - as taught at the school. A lot of times slower riders will get slides when they shouldn't because they're running wide exiting a corner and they lean the bike in more to correct for it while they're rolling on the throttle. That's a recipe for disaster.

 

What got me on this was a little discovery of my own riding in which I was thinking about sliding because I wanted to use it as a tool in my racing. I asked myself - because it's so much fun to talk to yourself - "How do they do that?" They being pro riders that slide of course. Then I realized they don't wait for a slide to happen, they plan it - as is mentioned in the Twist books. I then I realized that if I was going to slide I had to plan it and that meant I had to intend to slide - something I'd never really done before.

 

A stupid little realization that just happens to be at the base of how to slide. I just thought I'd mention it again because you know, no one really reads Keith's books. Did I mention it's in there?

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...The bike slides and we didn't feel it coming so we say we have no feel for it. But that's just emphasizing the negative.

 

The truth is we've entered hundreds, thousands, of turns and we KNOW that we're not going to slide on the brakes, we're not going to slide turning in, there'll be no slide mid-corner and the exit will be slide free. But the 2 or 3 times we get a slide and we didn't think we're going fast, aw hell we have no feeling for traction. That thought process doesn't make sense to me.

 

Interesting stuff. Yeah I agree, after hundreds or thousands of times around the same turn, I KNOW how fast I can do it, and I can repeat that speed lap after lap with no worry of sliding. Which is why I don't get the popular concept of riding "at 70%" cos frankly I can do 98-100% all day long and not really be worried. But perhaps this is a matter of experience and newer riders can not judge it as well. But anyway that's another topic.

 

The part that I don't have a feel for is intentionally initiating a slide without going over. Anytime I've tried it, well it just sticks, and I'm amazed at how much traction the tires have! So I'm just not there yet, and I don't think thats emphasizing the negative, it's just being objective - it will come in the future.

 

I also think this is an interesting contrast to another concept that I think I've seen Keith write about somewhere or another, about the ability to "ignore the noise," meaning when things start squirming and twitching, to ignore it and keep on get'n it and not let it distract you because there's nothing you need to do about it anyway. So these are things that happen without your initiation and you may or may not know their coming.

 

The slides that I described above, they happened without my intentional initiation, but they were still controlled and smooth. Were they slides or maybe just "noise?"

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I race mountain bikes in addition to riding my motorcycle and the idea you are referring to is one that I call the "no pain no gain" philosophy. It is total cr@p.

 

I think it is an idea that is perpetuated by people who have crashed but don't know why. In order to "rationalize" it they just say "Oh, well everybody crashes, that's just part of the sport".

 

The truth is that if you feel comfortable riding at a "7" then just ride at a 7... one day you will be riding and you will say to yourself, "this is way too easy, it's boring now. I am going to ride at an 8"

 

Eventually you will be riding at a "27" and you will realize how far you've come without ever riding at a level that made you uncomfortable.

 

If you try to go straight to level 27 you will be in over your head but if you just do level 7, and you do it ten times, or a thousand, pretty soon level 10 looks pretty confrontable, so you do that a few times until it's too easy and you just continue on like this until one day you are wondering how you ever got so fast without ever trying.

 

I really like your post and I think we tend to forget this...I know what you say is true because there have been numerous examples of this..like my CSS at Willow (first time on that track)..first session I went off the track, hated it and wanted to stop (and Mikey just shaking his head with that pertetual smile and just saying to relax)..but by the end of two days was tootling around the track pretty well…and I am sure my track times were infinitely better than when I started..with no real effort on "improving lap times"

 

I think it is easy though when you are just starting out since the learning curve is so quick and improvement comes easy. It just is harder as you get better, since the improvement is not so quick..and well… you just have to have patients and not push it…and like you said, it will happen.

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