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Mental Capacity


yamfz
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Hey guys I don't race or anything (yet!), but I always hang around the track on raceday and I was talking to this one guy that was planning on writing a book on motorcycle racing techniques.

 

He told me the reason some of the guys go really fast for a few laps and then slow down considerably (from leading the pack to being ditched in 5th place), is because the longer a race goes on the more we think about the corner we just took. My local track doesn't have a long straightaway so there aren't any breaks, therefore our mind "lags" so behind that it makes our performance worse and worse. Eventually, we'll probably be entering corners while our mind wanders a few corners away?

 

I don't quite understand this concept, and I sure as heck didn't find it in twist of the wrist either. Could some of you pros explain this to me please?

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Hey guys I don't race or anything (yet!), but I always hang around the track on raceday and I was talking to this one guy that was planning on writing a book on motorcycle racing techniques.

 

He told me the reason some of the guys go really fast for a few laps and then slow down considerably (from leading the pack to being ditched in 5th place), is because the longer a race goes on the more we think about the corner we just took. My local track doesn't have a long straightaway so there aren't any breaks, therefore our mind "lags" so behind that it makes our performance worse and worse. Eventually, we'll probably be entering corners while our mind wanders a few corners away?

 

I don't quite understand this concept, and I sure as heck didn't find it in twist of the wrist either. Could some of you pros explain this to me please?

 

 

I've never raced so cant say too much about this but what I do know is if you watch the top racers they put in faster laps nearer the end of the race!

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Hey guys I don't race or anything (yet!), but I always hang around the track on raceday and I was talking to this one guy that was planning on writing a book on motorcycle racing techniques.

 

He told me the reason some of the guys go really fast for a few laps and then slow down considerably (from leading the pack to being ditched in 5th place), is because the longer a race goes on the more we think about the corner we just took. My local track doesn't have a long straightaway so there aren't any breaks, therefore our mind "lags" so behind that it makes our performance worse and worse. Eventually, we'll probably be entering corners while our mind wanders a few corners away?

 

I don't quite understand this concept, and I sure as heck didn't find it in twist of the wrist either. Could some of you pros explain this to me please?

 

I have to say, I'd suggest that the reason most racers slow down after a few laps is much more likely to be because they're not fit enough, and they start to phsyically lag behind and can't keep up the effort.

 

From my own personal experience, I can't say as I'm thinking much about the last corner, and just concentrate on the one thats coming up, getting into it, and getting back to gas as quickly as I can to start driving hard down that next straightaway. I don't plan several corners ahead, unless they're part of a sequence of turns that flow together. I do come through a corner and make a note of what I could do better next time, but it's a quick thing, (right, I'll do that differently next time because........).

 

That could be a great example of attention drifting onto unneccesary things, and detracting from whats important, (i.e. the now) and slowing a rider down?

 

What does everyone else think about when they're at 90% or more on a trackday or in a race situation?

 

Bullet

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What does everyone else think about when they're at 90% or more on a trackday or in a race situation?

 

Bullet

 

During my hundreds of motocross track days racing with friends I'm always thinking about what is about to happen. While I'm approaching a section I'm thinking about what bumps I need to hit/avoid, what rut/line I need to get into, what gear I need to be in and make sure I get on the throttle as soon as I'm in it. While I'm going through that corner or rythem section I'm already thinking about the next section. So I'm treating the track like its broken up into small sections or turns.

 

When I get into some spirited riding on the street it seems to be pretty much the same. Before I get to the corner I'm trying to judge my braking point, what gear I need to be in, my turn in point, and my on throttle point. When I get the bike leaned into the corner I look for the exit to judge how much throttle I can use without going to wide. If its a chicane or switchback I make sure I'm set up for the next turn while exiting the first turn.

 

I still can't believe how physically demanding the sportbike can be. I figured it would be pretty easy compaired to wresling my dirtbike around but it will wear you out quick! I think physical endurance is a bigger deciding factor for most people at the end of a race. If you can't put your strenth into quick turning the bike you have to turn slower or sooner. If you turn slower you need to slow down more to make the corner and apex. If you turn sooner you apex the turn to soon which ruins the exit.

 

Unfortunatly I wont make it to VIR at the end of the month :angry: . So I have to wait for next year to get my first trackday on the sportbike.

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Hey guys I don't race or anything (yet!), but I always hang around the track on raceday and I was talking to this one guy that was planning on writing a book on motorcycle racing techniques.

 

He told me the reason some of the guys go really fast for a few laps and then slow down considerably (from leading the pack to being ditched in 5th place), is because the longer a race goes on the more we think about the corner we just took. My local track doesn't have a long straightaway so there aren't any breaks, therefore our mind "lags" so behind that it makes our performance worse and worse. Eventually, we'll probably be entering corners while our mind wanders a few corners away?

 

I don't quite understand this concept, and I sure as heck didn't find it in twist of the wrist either. Could some of you pros explain this to me please?

 

I ain't a pro... but I do find that as I get physically tired, it is harder to maintain concentration. So my suspicion is that you are seeing riders that are either getting physically tired and losing physical strength, or getting physically tired or dehydrated and losing concentration, or losing confidence and focus due to thinking too much about errors or about getting passed. I suppose also if someone has a huge adrenaline surge due to a a wild start or a big error (a scare), that when the adrenaline wears off they could get zoned out. I know I've seen riders that ride over their head that get exhausted REALLY quickly.

 

I do firmly believe that you have to train yourself to keep your focus and avoid reflecting on anything except what is in front of you, when you are trying to go fast. When you are practicing or training, you have to slow down to allow yourself some extra attention to spend on observing the result of changes you make. I think you can find more info in Soft Science on this.

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Really good posts there HotFoot and Fajita Dave,

 

Anyone else care to offer their perspective on this?

 

Bullet

As a non-expert rider... one of the things about track riding that makes it so great is the demand for concentration and focus. My mind is pretty much just thinking about where I'm at and the next turn ahead and how to optimize getting there in the quickest way. It's that combination of mental conscious, mental sub-conscious, and physical that's unlike other things we normally do in our lives that makes playing hard so much fun.

 

Here's something I've thought and am curious if others have experienced- mentally there seems to be a number of parallels between zipping around the track and playing a musical instrument. You have to think ahead to the next curve/measure, but not too far ahead or you may lose your place in the present; you have a certain pace/ rhythm you need to keep; practice and experience takes movements from the conscious to the sub-conscious; picking just the right line around a curve is like getting just the right phrasing; a really good performance of stringing all the lines together around the course is like a really good musical performance where the whole piece comes together; there's just a satisfaction and knowing when you get it right. I'll have to ask Toseland about this when he's in town in a few weeks...

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Oh yeah and another thing about staying mentally focused. Hydration has a massive effect on how well you can concentrate. When I had the motocross track to go to before I moved I was never far from the pits to get a drink. Now I only have hare-scramble trails that we might be on for an hour or two at a time. On one of my recent rides in 90 degree heat I didn't have enough to drink before the ride and nothing to drink on the trail. For the last 15mins of the ride I could not focus at all and I was probably going close to half the speed I was before. I had a hard time judging distance, lines, ruts, and overall felt exhausted even though physically I was fine (not even sore the next day). Not to mention I fell a lot more which made it even harder picking up the 210lb bike all the time.

 

So stay hydrated and drink plenty of water before you start riding hard and sweating. It can drastically effect how well you can concentrate for the finish of a race or track day. For me it seemed to be at least a quart of water for 1 hour of riding. If your sweating a lot you wont need to worry about having to use the rest room while riding ;) . Of course if its cool it wont be such a big deal.

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As a non-expert rider... one of the things about track riding that makes it so great is the demand for concentration and focus. My mind is pretty much just thinking about where I'm at and the next turn ahead and how to optimize getting there in the quickest way. It's that combination of mental conscious, mental sub-conscious, and physical that's unlike other things we normally do in our lives that makes playing hard so much fun.

 

Well said! My mind is usually jumbled with so many ideas. But on a bike on a track.... Serious mental focus in the midst of extreme physical activity. That is the challenge and I love it! And at least for that time there is no mental junk interfering - my (and others') well being depends on it!

 

If you are really running at your 100% it's quite a lot of work - the quick turning, the long hard braking zones, hang-off position without leaning on the bars, and just trying to hold on to these absurdly powerful bikes we get to ride these days, all combined with the mental focus. I know I can't do it but for maybe 10 laps at the most without a break. And that's fine with me cos I'm no trying to be a pro racer.

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Hey guys I don't race or anything (yet!), but I always hang around the track on raceday and I was talking to this one guy that was planning on writing a book on motorcycle racing techniques.

 

He told me the reason some of the guys go really fast for a few laps and then slow down considerably (from leading the pack to being ditched in 5th place), is because the longer a race goes on the more we think about the corner we just took. My local track doesn't have a long straightaway so there aren't any breaks, therefore our mind "lags" so behind that it makes our performance worse and worse. Eventually, we'll probably be entering corners while our mind wanders a few corners away?

 

I don't quite understand this concept, and I sure as heck didn't find it in twist of the wrist either. Could some of you pros explain this to me please?

 

I am not a pro but my theory is that you don't understand it because it's not really true. I don't understand it either... of course it seems possible that SOME racers would "psyche" themselves out but I suspect that most of them are just in the moment, concentrating on what they are doing and what is coming up... certainly not analyzing a corner they took 30 seconds ago.

 

I agree with most other posters that when a racer slows down he/she is probably tired. It may feel like they are going just as fast or faster to them, it's just that they already spent their 10 bucks so everything seems to be happening REALLY fast and as a result they slow down.

 

I also think that with regards to the book he is writing, the market has been cornered. If you didn't find the concept he is talking about in Twist of the Wrist there's probably a good reason, LOL!

 

Well, that's my $.02. Take it with a grain of salt.

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Hey guys I don't race or anything (yet!), but I always hang around the track on raceday and I was talking to this one guy that was planning on writing a book on motorcycle racing techniques.

 

He told me the reason some of the guys go really fast for a few laps and then slow down considerably (from leading the pack to being ditched in 5th place), is because the longer a race goes on the more we think about the corner we just took. My local track doesn't have a long straightaway so there aren't any breaks, therefore our mind "lags" so behind that it makes our performance worse and worse. Eventually, we'll probably be entering corners while our mind wanders a few corners away?

 

I don't quite understand this concept, and I sure as heck didn't find it in twist of the wrist either. Could some of you pros explain this to me please?

 

Being honest, I slow down because I give up. Here's the factors involved for me.

 

After the first 3 laps, I can see whether or not I'm gaining ground on the guys in front of me. I can also see if I have a gap to the rider behind me. If I'm not gaining ground, and I have a good gap, I'm not going to continue to ride at my limit. I'm going to slow down a bit.

 

I've got one bike, limited spares, and well used tires sliding around, I'm gonna bring it home and race another day.

 

If I'm battling someone, my lap times don't drop off and there is no thought of the last corner I went through, there's no time for it.

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