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No Brakes & Other Track Exercises


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I just received the email entitled "NO BRAKES!" from CSS. When I read it, I was thrilled and had goosebumps.

 

I haven't been to a CSS school yet, I am looking forward to going to your school at BHF (bring Terry Embury out there will ya?) this year.

 

The reason this drill struck me as being so cool is because I've done this a couple times before on my own. It brings about a whole new perspective.

 

Another drill which I routinely perform is to ride 3 laps, one on the outside 18" of the track, one on the inside 18" of the track and then a third right down the center. This helps me see areas of the track where there are more room than I'd ever thought available. It also shows me areas that are smooth and rough at corner entrance/exit where I might need to shift my lines.

 

Do you perform any drills similar to this, designed to enhance the riders perspective of how a corner or section of track is viewed?

 

Up until now, I've taken numerous advanced racer schools from my local "club schools". They've helped, but they lack the specific drills which I think are holding me back in areas (braking and corner speeds). I just want to make sure your school will help me out in these areas.

 

Cheers!

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Another drill which I routinely perform is to ride 3 laps, one on the outside 18" of the track, one on the inside 18" of the track and then a third right down the center.  This helps me see areas of the track where there are more room than I'd ever thought available.  It also shows me areas that are smooth and rough at corner entrance/exit where I might need to shift my lines.

 

Do you perform any drills similar to this, designed to enhance the riders perspective of how a corner or section of track is viewed?

IIRC, levels 1 & 2 do that same right, left, middle drill.

 

If it's being done on a track you're really familiar with from track days or racing, it's VERY, VERY odd the first time.

 

And then it saves your ass in a race, and you're thankful you did it. :)

 

-jim

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JeF4Y,

We first began doing that exercise in 1985 and we call it the "Change Your Lines" drill. Left side, right side, center. Your are precisely right on all your observations about what it does to your perception of the track.

 

I first did this drill with some flat trackers who were learning to roadrace. Flat track guys sometimes ride the pole (inside) as a habit. It works well for that purpose if there is a good traction groove but isn't always the right place to run.

 

I noticed that the guys I was working with were running that line in many of the corners because on asphalt the traction is good "everywhere" and they were simply thinking the shortest distance around the track where traction was good.

 

This doesn't work out on asphalt because you often lose lots of drive when you get yourself stuck on the inside.

 

Anyhow, once they got the idea that there were lots of ways through the turns the lap times started to come down immediately. Two of these flat track riders went on to win 4 US Superbike championships.

 

Sometimes riders take theri visual skills lightly but I have identified an entire liist of errors that rider of all skill levels make that are directly related to how well they can use their eyes and that is what our Level II is all about.

 

Keith

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Sometimes riders take theri visual skills lightly but I have identified an entire liist of errors that rider of all skill levels make that are directly related to how well they can use their eyes and that is what our Level II is all about.

Thanks Keith. It's always good to know I'm doing the right things to improve my times. FWIW, I'm a huge advocate of your TOTW books. I've read TOTWII probably 20x over the last 5 years and from day one, it has made a dramatic difference in my racing. I've often said it's the best investment a person can make for their bike. The book is worth its weight in gold.

 

Anyhow, onto my question.

 

I have not been to a CSS school before, and was looking to attend the 1 day school this year at Blackhawk Farms. The concern I have is getting "what I need" out of the school. I've been to a number of schools in the past and have had difficulty in this area. (sucks to pay $250-300 and wind up feeling like you've just attended an overpriced track day)

 

Do you assess students individually through the day and 'teach' accordingly, or is it by a strict set curriculum?

 

The obvious 'fear' is taking a "level I" course and not getting much out of it. I'm assuming this will not be the case, but I've made assumptions before and we all know how they can turn out.

 

Thanks for your time, and I really have to say that your creation of this board is a great idea. It's like a 'brush with greatness'. I can see it doing a LOT for your schools...

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JeF4y,

 

I'd love to say that my team of guys are going to give you exactly what you want but I can't say it with complete honesty. Obviously we have four levels to our schools and they do follow a definite curriculum from Level I through III. Here is what I can say. If your throttle control is less than perfect, if you still have any problem with lines, don't always get the bike turned as well as you think you could, get rushed at turn entries, find the bike's handling isn't as consistant as it should be, if feeling more in control of your turn entry speeds would be a benefit, we can probably help.

 

If you come looking for tricks we won't be able to help. If you feel as though your basic skills are 100% we won't be able to help you. If you never feel rushed or late or behind with your controls or moving around on the bike you probably don't need what we have to offer in cornering skills. If you are finishing races without even breaking a sweat and are winning them and your riding is as smooth as you think it should be, same thing, we won't be of much use to you.

 

Here is what I know. You will be assigned to an instructor who can help you and can ride as well or better than you do. They will work with you every session on the track and after the track session. I or they will answer your quesions and set targets for you every time you go out. We will stick to the lessons and we will hound you to get them right.

 

Look at it this way. I guarantee you will improve or you get to come back for free. If you come as a student and just follow the format as 1/8th of a million riders have done before you will improve. No one on four continents has ever gotten through more than one level of the school without noticeably improving.

 

Keith

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It's interesting that the braking subject appears as often as it does in these and other discussion boards <_< . It must be a challenging yet ever open-ended task for most? Lots of uncertainty and exploration :o .

 

This is especially true for me (very new at this track stuff :ph34r: )! My first track session was the typical novice experience, and yes I got hooked from the rush! I immediately ran out and added a new bike to my old collection, a new 1000 V-twin. New at this, I found that braking before turns really upset my bike's attitude and scared the :blink: out of me. I soon discovered that my twin could engine brake me smoothly and similarly to others on the track into the turns.

 

Still not sure how to brake correctly, I found that 99% of turns at the tracks I ran, I never braked!? :huh: I realize that every turn at every track must be handled differently, but I'd like to improve. I've learned a lot about cornering skills, but I've never been taught much on braking skills. I try to read a lot on the subject, but everyone seems to have their own method. Does bike set-up have a lot to do with smooth braking? Does braking and throttle advancements always occur simultaneously through turns? Is there a method to practicing this off track? Is it possible that certain individuals physically cannot perform smooth throttle response along with braking? If so, are there therapies to assist this action/movement?

 

Appriciate any feedback... :)

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Slowjoe,

 

Your questions cover a lot of ground! More than I could easily answer in a short post. Maybe if you have a specific question, we could take a look at an area.

 

Best,

Cobie :rolleyes:

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Guest_Hi-Side

Jeff, I think you'll get what you're looking for at CSS. You've read the books, now you'll have classroom sessions that address specific topics and an instructor on the track that makes sure you "get it".

 

You can be very, very fast and still be doing "wrong" things on the track. The school will help "fix" those things so that you're more stable, smoother, faster or all 3.

 

And although its called Level 1, it is where I go back to every time when I'm making mistakes on the track.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree, and although I'm not officially registered yet, I've got it on my schedule... It's just a shame that the school wasn't before the race weekend versus right after it! Oh well, at least I'll have everything already set up... :)

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i have to put in my plug for the no brakes format. through levels 2 and 3 this summer i was running the fastest student times in my levels (including level 4 guys) and i was only using three gears and very light brakes at two points on the track.

 

i know a couple of the level 4 guys were working on braking, and i was still able to run quicker times since i wasn't spending my attention on braking so much, and was better able to get higher corner speeds.

 

i enjoyed the format where i was allowed to use increasing gears and brakes as i felt comfortable (and able to still focus on the drills).

 

taking away distractions that prevent you from doing and learning from the drill is the best way to learn what it being taught.

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