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How Often Do You Have To Ride?


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I don't ride on the street anymore, just the track, but there can be weeks or months between track days. How often do you think you have to ride to keep your skills sharp? What minimum riding schedule would you have to maintain to keep laptimes consistent?

 

Or, to flip the question, how long can you be away from the track without losing ground, or seeing a undesirable change in laptimes?

 

Or to ask yet another way, how often would you have to ride to GET fast, like an A-group (race group) track rider?

 

And, once you have been off for a while (say 5 months, over the winter, for example) how long does it take to "get it back"? Can you get back up to speed in one track day?

 

What is your experience, how often do YOU have to ride to stay sharp?

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I don't ride on the street anymore, just the track, but there can be weeks or months between track days. How often do you think you have to ride to keep your skills sharp? What minimum riding schedule would you have to maintain to keep laptimes consistent?

 

Or, to flip the question, how long can you be away from the track without losing ground, or seeing a undesirable change in laptimes?

 

Or to ask yet another way, how often would you have to ride to GET fast, like an A-group (race group) track rider?

 

And, once you have been off for a while (say 5 months, over the winter, for example) how long does it take to "get it back"? Can you get back up to speed in one track day?

 

What is your experience, how often do YOU have to ride to stay sharp?

Hottie;

My first day on a motorcycle this season (from October of '09) was at the Streets a month or so ago so I have a recent point of reference to respond with; for me it's more then one day. It is also why I try to start every season with a return to School which is what I have done for the past two seasons; it allows for a discipline way to get ready for the new year within a "controlled" environment.

 

My specific answer is once the season is underway, I notice that if I am away from the track for more than three weeks that I have to start remembering how I ride instead of just letting my training dictate how I ride...if that makes any sense.

 

Rain

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It will depend a lot on your natural ability and your level, of course, how long it takes to get back to speed, but I agree that for most people, one track day is probably "wasted" trying to get back to speed after a several month layoff.

 

However, the most important thing is that you will not become all that fast with random riding. Pro riders will ride a LOT, even when they are not at the track. They do motard, MX, trial, dirt track etc. to keep sharp and also to constantly learn new things and push envelopes.

 

So if you really want to become good, you'd need to ride at least a couple of times every week for a couple of hours each time. In addition, you can do mountain bike riding in difficult terrain to get in better shape and to teach yourself bike control at the ragged edge. Yes, it can partly be transferred motorcycles riding around a race track.

 

Basically, the more you work on something, the better you become. It's all down to what you can afford to spend in money and time and how important it is to you to perform.

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Basically, the more you work on something, the better you become. It's all down to what you can afford to spend in money and time and how important it is to you to perform.

Eirik;

You probably opened up a very interesting sidebar discussion with this line.

 

BTW, I think your answer to Hottie was spot on and a far more accurate response.

 

Rain

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It will depend a lot on your natural ability and your level, of course, how long it takes to get back to speed, but I agree that for most people, one track day is probably "wasted" trying to get back to speed after a several month layoff.

 

However, the most important thing is that you will not become all that fast with random riding. Pro riders will ride a LOT, even when they are not at the track. They do motard, MX, trial, dirt track etc. to keep sharp and also to constantly learn new things and push envelopes.

 

So if you really want to become good, you'd need to ride at least a couple of times every week for a couple of hours each time. In addition, you can do mountain bike riding in difficult terrain to get in better shape and to teach yourself bike control at the ragged edge. Yes, it can partly be transferred motorcycles riding around a race track.

 

Basically, the more you work on something, the better you become. It's all down to what you can afford to spend in money and time and how important it is to you to perform.

 

That is an excellent answer - thanks for your insight. I know some folks how do in fact ride mountain bikes, but never associated the control aspect transfering to the track.

 

and to think all I can come up with is: I have to ride several times a week, or I get bitchy blink.giflaugh.gif

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It will depend a lot on your natural ability and your level, of course, how long it takes to get back to speed, but I agree that for most people, one track day is probably "wasted" trying to get back to speed after a several month layoff.

 

However, the most important thing is that you will not become all that fast with random riding. Pro riders will ride a LOT, even when they are not at the track. They do motard, MX, trial, dirt track etc. to keep sharp and also to constantly learn new things and push envelopes.

 

So if you really want to become good, you'd need to ride at least a couple of times every week for a couple of hours each time. In addition, you can do mountain bike riding in difficult terrain to get in better shape and to teach yourself bike control at the ragged edge. Yes, it can partly be transferred motorcycles riding around a race track.

 

Basically, the more you work on something, the better you become. It's all down to what you can afford to spend in money and time and how important it is to you to perform.

 

That is an excellent answer - thanks for your insight. I know some folks how do in fact ride mountain bikes, but never associated the control aspect transfering to the track.

 

and to think all I can come up with is: I have to ride several times a week, or I get bitchy blink.giflaugh.gif

 

However long it takes one to get back on the track, your physical condition will dictate how fast you can get back up to your pace. It usually takes me a couple of morning track sessions after a winter lay off. It is also important to be confident in your ability, in what you have been taught, and your machinery. What has changed from last year?

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This is an interesting question, I dont get as much track time as I would like, but then what really is enough track time, for the coaches you get loads of track time but you are coaching so its probably not quality tracktime so to speak! But then what if you did have all the track time you wanted, I remember a time where Andy Ibbot quoted Keith Code as saying "practice is like toilet paper, the more you have the more you waste" that made me think that every track sesion I have I should use that time to practice a specific drill and not just circulate! I dont time my laps yet so I dont get the satisfaction of seeing my times drop but I do get the satisfaction of the feeling that I've nailed something that I felt was hindering me, like maybe getting the knee to knee spot on through esses or getting the pickup drill perfect at an exit! I do hovever still ride on the road and I cant see me giving that up, I still love the adventure of travelling by bike, meeting people by chance and chatting about where they've been or where their going, I just have to remind myself sometimes that the roads not a racetrack!

 

Bobby

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Interesting question indeed. I have noticed in just about every professional sport, athletes that "retire" and then make a "comeback" are almost never near their previous performance level. I don't know why that is; and it seems to disagree with what I've heard behavioral specialty people say that it takes less effort to relearn a skill than it took to learn it the first time.

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I notice that if I can ride two days in a row, I am DEFINITELY more comfortable on the second day, one of the reasons I love 2 day camps! FossilFuel makes a great point, if things have changed equipment-wise, it takes longer to get back up to speed.

 

Regarding other types of riding, for me personally riding a dirtbike doesn't seem to translate to riding the sportbike fast. I mean, it helps in general, for basic skills like shifting (except of course that my dirtbike is standard shift and my track bike is reverse - ugh!), but to stay in top form at the track I don't think filling with dirt bike rides keeps me really sharp... although it's definitely better than nothing, and it for sure helps keep my quads and other muscles fit.

 

I also ride a YSR50 on track, and although I LEARN a lot when riding the little bike, if I go right from a day on the little bike to a day on a 600, it feels totally different and the speed differential and handling differnces are huge - I am not sure if it is good preparation or not! Anybody else have an opinion on practicing on a minibike? It's cheaper and a lot easier to get track time, since I can go on the go-kart track.

 

For me, the answer how often I have to be on track to avoid any backsliding is about the same as Rainman's - if I go longer than 3-4 weeks between rides, there is some uncertainty at the beginning of the day, trying to remember all the bits and pieces to getting a smooth fast lap! But when I ride more often it feels a lot more natural and I can get up to speed by second session.

 

Does street riding between track days make enough difference that it would be worth putting all the street stuff back on my track bike? I don't really have a good "twisties" ride near me, it would be mostly stop and go riding on straight roads.

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Does street riding between track days make enough difference that it would be worth putting all the street stuff back on my track bike? I don't really have a good "twisties" ride near me, it would be mostly stop and go riding on straight roads.

Hottie;

I have tried that with little success. I ride a Ducati 748 SPS on the track with a 996 for the street. They are the same year, have about the same RWHP, have the same rear sets, the same mag rims, seat height, clip ons, brake pads and both have a GP shift patterns. The SPS has a few more tricked out parts but from an ergonomic perspective they are nearly identical. My goal was to be able to transition from the street to the track as seamlessly as possible but the physicial similarities does not make up for the situational disparity. The environments are simply too disimilar. I cannot access my track riding mindset on the street without creating foolish risks for myself and others. I posted a story about almost rear ending a lumbering dump truck I found halfway up a totally blind uphill curve that really sent a chill up my spine. It was on a road that I have never seen any traffic on in years so I realized that I needed to rethink my approach to riding on the street.

 

Beyond maintaining good throttle control discipline, I still look to two-step/three step but without the corresponding pace to necessitiate it, it seems like a wasted exercise. I try to quick turn where I can but without being able to run it out on the exit, the drill gets lost in translation. I do use the wide view and the vanishing point exercise but there are too few opportunities to try the hip-flick/knee to knee or the pick up drill without over riding the road so I have decided to tone it down big time on the street.

 

...but that's just me. I'm sure others here have mastered this transition and I am anxious to read what others have to say.

 

Rain

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Regarding other types of riding, for me personally riding a dirtbike doesn't seem to translate to riding the sportbike fast. I mean, it helps in general, for basic skills like shifting (except of course that my dirtbike is standard shift and my track bike is reverse - ugh!), but to stay in top form at the track I don't think filling with dirt bike rides keeps me really sharp... although it's definitely better than nothing, and it for sure helps keep my quads and other muscles fit.

 

 

There must be a reason why virtually every top rank rider in the world ride MX etc. in order to keep their form, even during the season. Honing their reflexes and getting used to slides is probably the main reason.

 

Apart from that, it sounds like you need to move to a better place where the grass is green and roads are swerving tongue.gif

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Does street riding between track days make enough difference that it would be worth putting all the street stuff back on my track bike? I don't really have a good "twisties" ride near me, it would be mostly stop and go riding on straight roads.

Hottie;

I have tried that with little success. I ride a Ducati 748 SPS on the track with a 996 for the street. They are the same year, have about the same RWHP, have the same rear sets, the same mag rims, seat height, clip ons, brake pads and both have a GP shift patterns. The SPS has a few more tricked out parts but from an ergonomic perspective they are nearly identical. My goal was to be able to transition from the street to the track as seamlessly as possible but the physicial similarities does not make up for the situational disparity. The environments are simply too disimilar. I cannot access my track riding mindset on the street without creating foolish risks for myself and others. I posted a story about almost rear ending a lumbering dump truck I found halfway up a totally blind uphill curve that really sent a chill up my spine. It was on a road that I have never seen any traffic on in years so I realized that I needed to rethink my approach to riding on the street.

 

Beyond maintaining good throttle control discipline, I still look to two-step/three step but without the corresponding pace to necessitiate it, it seems like a wasted exercise. I try to quick turn where I can but without being able to run it out on the exit, the drill gets lost in translation. I do use the wide view and the vanishing point exercise but there are too few opportunities to try the hip-flick/knee to knee or the pick up drill without over riding the road so I have decided to tone it down big time on the street.

 

...but that's just me. I'm sure others here have mastered this transition and I am anxious to read what others have to say.

 

Rain

 

I think mastering the transition from track to street is an accident waiting to happen Kevin, I agree with mostly everything you say and I remember reading about your near miss with the lumber truck, its an all to common scenario! The thing is on track you circulate the same corners continually, you know what is around the corner and you can make a confident decision on the line your going to take and where your going to exit before you see it! If you ride like this on the road, oh no, thats not going to work, even in a corner we know like the back of our hands, the information we dont have is whats going on around at the middle and exit of that turn, there could be a lumber truck, tourists taking photos or a dead animal etc etc If you fully commit to the turn like on the track you could end up in big trouble!

But all off this does not mean the skills taught at the school cannot help you become a better road rider, after all this is what brought me to the school in the first place! Go back to the beginning of the twist 2 dvd, and look at how they show you 1/ a late turn in so that you can see as much of the road as possible before commiting to the turn 2/ making that turn quickly and decisive 3/ The importance of good throttle control 4/ relaxing on the bike! watching that dvd shows you how much the new riders improve even before they go to the track, It shows me that when you do ride on the road, dont do it in full on track mode but go back to the basics of your riding technique and work on that!

Hotfoot I would say that if you have an opportunity that you know you wont be on track for a while then yeah, stick your road bodywork on, you already have road legal tyres, get some throw over luggage, look at a map and head for a trip towards some twisties for a couple of days!

 

Bobby

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Does street riding between track days make enough difference that it would be worth putting all the street stuff back on my track bike? I don't really have a good "twisties" ride near me, it would be mostly stop and go riding on straight roads.

 

I think mastering the transition from track to street is an accident waiting to happen Kevin, I agree with mostly everything you say and I remember reading about your near miss with the lumber truck, its an all to common scenario! The thing is on track you circulate the same corners continually, you know what is around the corner and you can make a confident decision on the line your going to take and where your going to exit before you see it! If you ride like this on the road, oh no, thats not going to work, even in a corner we know like the back of our hands, the information we dont have is whats going on around at the middle and exit of that turn, there could be a lumber truck, tourists taking photos or a dead animal etc etc If you fully commit to the turn like on the track you could end up in big trouble!

But all off this does not mean the skills taught at the school cannot help you become a better road rider, after all this is what brought me to the school in the first place! Go back to the beginning of the twist 2 dvd, and look at how they show you 1/ a late turn in so that you can see as much of the road as possible before commiting to the turn 2/ making that turn quickly and decisive 3/ The importance of good throttle control 4/ relaxing on the bike! watching that dvd shows you how much the new riders improve even before they go to the track, It shows me that when you do ride on the road, dont do it in full on track mode but go back to the basics of your riding technique and work on that!

Hotfoot I would say that if you have an opportunity that you know you wont be on track for a while then yeah, stick your road bodywork on, you already have road legal tyres, get some throw over luggage, look at a map and head for a trip towards some twisties for a couple of days!

 

Bobby

Bobby;

Well said my friend! I think that I need to clarify a couple of things because my response could be considered dismissive of the School's training for the street which you correctly point out is not true. Hotfoot's initial post (if I read it correctly) was about street riding to reinforce or just maintain track riding skills so my response was poorly constructed. You also correctly point out that track riding is the repetition of circling on a track where the rider can rely upon it being relatively predictable and free of cars, trucks, critters, pot holes and cops. It is ironic that the quick turn, the pick up drill, the vanishing point and the wide view are what allowed me to miss that truck so my comments were even more inaccurate than I realized when I reread it this morning.

 

The other point I need to make clear is that I have a sport bike focus to what I respond to on this Forum. That's why my ABS comment to Crash inaccurately said that only Honda and BMW offered ABS on their bikes.

 

Thanks for the correction Bobby. smile.gif

 

Rainman

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I used to read a lot about powerlifting. Powerlifting is about as dead simple a sport as a sport can be. Most everyone agreed that you lost skill and strength off your maximum lifts in just 3-4 days. Of course, you would still be very strong (well, they would be, I was never very strong), but your maximum performance would drop off immediately.

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Good question,

 

I have found I need a few sessions to "get back into it" if I hadnt ridden on track for a few months. I guess also that theory can be applied to when you last rode a specific track aswell. Do you find that if you havent ridden a track in six months or so do you have the whole day remembering it and then being back up to speed?

 

I know that recently I have been sticking to one track, its cheaper, and went back to my favourite, Phillip Island, and I was no where near as quick. I had been away from it for to long this may also be cause my bike want running very well. But I would be confident after a day or so that I would be back to my normal times. Guess this may be why pro riders have a day to remember the track,then qualifying and then the race.

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