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Cobie Fair

What Can You Do To Prepare For Riding/racing?

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OK, what helps you with riding, what prepares and compliments that activity? This is a pretty broad question, and can be a combination of factors.

 

Physical condition? Raw talent? Study and understanding of riding? Seat time? Having the right people around you? Understanding of the mechanics of the machine and tires? Yoga?

 

Maybe you guys will or won't say, what you REALLY think, but I'd like to get an idea. If you think you'll look like a fool, make another screen name, and post it that way, I don't care.

 

This could get over into whatever (fine with me).

 

I'd also like to know where the different things stand in relative importances to you guys. And if you guys are up to it, give little comment on why you think something is of importance (or not).

 

We'll see where this one goes or if it dies a quick death.

 

CF

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What a great thread. I'll chip in later on, promise........ ;)

 

Bullet

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OK I'll bite. I'm a road rider and often do a 400k (approx 250 mile) ride on the weekend.

 

I work out and if I know I'll be riding I don't do weights for a few days before hand.

I'm a bit careful with my diet before riding. Nothing rich. Also keep my fluids up.

Pile of muesli bars and water in my bag. Double espresso before I head off.

Read anything I can related to riding.

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I like the look of this thread so I will put forward a few points,

First of all Id like to state that all my track time and races I have done are for fun, If your any good at racing motorcycles someone will pay you to do it whether that be as a racer a coach, I am not any good so I have to pay for the privilege of riding on track, so one thing that really does compliment the activity Is on the events that involve overnight stays is a few beers and banter in the bar and getting the chance to talk with like minded people, maybe a bit taboo but as I said I do it for fun and this is all part of the experience,

 

On track this year I will be approaching my trackdays in the best shape of my life, my physical fitness has never been so good but I cant say how much I will benefit from that until I get to Almeria in March!

 

The people I talk to have a big influence on how I ride on track, I have this strange belief and trust in what pro riders tell me and so far it has worked out good for me, well all except one that told me I should coast off throttle to the apex but that was a long time ago and I lowsided in the wet doing it! But in all other situations this has worked out good for me!

 

Another thing that helped me in 2010 was having a designated trackbike, just eliminating the fear factor of crashing my pride and joy road bike made a big difference!

 

One thing I do believe is it has to be fun, I lost the plot in Almeria last year when my day 2 lap times were way slower than day 1, I really let it stress me and I think I forgot why I was there, I was ready to quit track riding, I just hit a point where I felt like I was riding as fast as I could and it way slower than anyone else, then my friend said to me, f#$% the time sheets, you have paid ££££ to get yourself and your bike out to Spain and your stressing about something that doesn't even matter, remember your doing this for fun so go out on track and have fun, the lap times quicly tumbled and I still see it as the best advice Ive had, dont forget to enjoy yourself, otherwise whats the point!

 

Bobby,

 

P.s. will prob add to this as the post evolves.

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Good topic Cobie.

I see one of your instructors in the UK is going to do an "Iron Man" this year. Is he sitting on his a$$ waiting for the day or is he tuning his body for this event? If he was going to do a 1k fast walk he probably would be drinking beer in a pub somewhere not worried about it. I think the same holds true for riding and your level of commitment to the sport. It is how you live your life in general and what you expect to get out of it that translates to your commitment to riding or hobbies in general.

Everybody knows how old I am (Carbon Dating) and that I race, maybe not as fast as Ben Spies or Valentino but I try. My level of commitment is 365 days a year. My life is intertwined with racing. I can't get out there and compete with the other guys if I'm not in shape. I can't beat someone if I am not mentally committed. There is no better feeling in the world than to go out, race and beat someone half your age, to hear your name called to get your trophy, a contingency check in the mail. This doesn't happen sitting on the couch people! Getting your moneys worth on the track whether racing or track day fun takes preparation, mental, physical and mechanical. The level of riding you reach depends on your commitment to that preparation.

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I don't do anything special to prepair for street riding besides wear the right gear for the conditions.

 

I haven't been on a road course yet but I think preperation for off road racing would be about the same. Heres my list of what I think is important to prepair for racing.

1. Nutrition. Poor nutrition can effect every aspect of what it takes to ride well. Your focus, strength and endurace can be drastically effected by what you eat. I have a habbit of not eating enough before a race paced trail ride off-road and I feel every bit of it sooner or later. It usually causes a headache for me and I can't keep focused.

2. Focus. If your not focused your visual skills could be pretty poor. If you don't have good visual skills you probably aren't hitting the fast lines that your trying to stay on. If you have a hard time staying focused on the right things while riding than you need to do whatever it takes to gain that focus before the race or track day.

3. Confidence. You need to be 100% confident in your ability and your machinery to reach your full potential. Second guessing yourself can cause hesitation which usually results in slower lap times and even crashs. Confidents helps you keep a clear head and make split second desitions.

4. Fitness is one of the last things I worry about. As long as you stay active and do some basic exercises cosistently you'll be much better off than if you didn't do any physical preperation. You don't need lots of strength you mostly need endurance which you get with cardio workouts like jogging and using more reps with less weight when/if you do any weight lifting.

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OK, what helps you with riding, what prepares and compliments that activity?

The ability to focus on what you're doing is paramount, so I do things to help my mind not get distracted. The basic idea is to have routines and plans for everything surrounding the riding.

 

For track days I use a checklist of things to do and bring that I've developed over time to make sure I don't forget something in the excitement and rush of getting to tech inspection etc. That makes one less thing to lose sleep over the night before, besides excitement. I suppose if you have a closed trailer where you store everything that makes it easier, but I have an open trailer I tow, so I have to make sure I pack everything.

 

Depending on the temperature, I make sure I bring enough to drink and eat, especially carbs for the day, as I don't want the mind to fade!

 

Outside of the track day, I like to read and study as much as I can about riding and racing. I also keep my fitness up and make sure between leg workouts and cycling I'm in good condition.

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For street riding I do not go through specific preparation, other than wearing the minimum safety gear (boots, gloves, helmet, back protector and leather jacket) and ensuring that bike is well maintained.

I use my street bike mostly for commuting to work, so I don't often spend more than 1/2 hour in the saddle.

For track riding, which is where I try to spend as much time as possible, I am very anal about the bike preparation. I try to maintain my track bike in as near to perfect condition as possible.

The last thing I want is to run in a mechanical issue when I am riding at +160 mph...

For my physical preparation I do a lot of running all year round (30-40 miles/week) at a "competitive" pace and I find it allows me to keep very "fresh" on the bike, even at the end of a long day of open track riding. Sleeping enough is also very important (as much for running as for riding) before going to the track and also at the track when I do multiple days sessions. (sometime up to 4 days in a row).

I also like to visualize the track and go through each corner in my head multiple times (while I drive to the track and also in between each session).

Of course I also like to read over and over again the twist of the wrist books to remind me of the things I need to work on to be faster.

I have only raced once, but I found it to be so exciting! I did not expect it to be so much fun!

 

 

 

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Hi Guys,

 

I was quite interested in this thread, but got the plague, been pretty much horizontal for a while, coming back to life slowly.

 

So...great responses on this. Before I forget, Fajita--if you get headaches, almost certainly due to not enough water and electrolytes. Electrolyte drinks can help (I prefer the ones w/out too much sugar), and we actually have the electrolytes (2 main ones) of salt and potassium at all schools.

 

You guys have touched on a few areas, and also separated track from street riding.

 

Street riding: all the gear, all the time. One day going to the beach about 25 years ago, didn't wear a jacket (had pants, helmet gloves). Fell in oil on an on-ramp to the freeway. Road rash on the arm, and since I like my skin, I didn't care for that. Now, I don't care if it's 105 degrees, I wear a jacket (got a nice mesh one too :)).

 

There are other pieces to this, but I'm still getting over the plague, so gonna do this a small piece at a time! (like to know if you have any additional thoughts on the street prep--I'm not done with that one yet personally).

 

CF

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Similar to Cobie, I've been ill - just not too bad, but then again I was on vacation too :( bad timing.

 

 

Street:

I don't have any specific things, but I do have two scenarios: 1.) Commuting - 65 miles, one-way; although lately in the mornings I through on some extra stuff... sweat pants, rain jacket and pants, sweater, and some rain over gloves, which I love. After tucking the front coming home from work with only a helmet and gloves (had work shirt and slacks), I've learned 'it's better to sweat than to bleed' -- plus getting road rash debris'ed by a smartass reinforces the need for gearing-up; 2.) Riding the twisties with friends, which is a quick gear check, bike check, and go.

 

Track:

Nothing out of the ordinary. I make sure my bike is prep'ed, pack the night before, start hydrating (usually beginning the morning before going to the track), get plenty of sleep, have a couple bananas in the morning and try to get my mind right [pay attention to procedures, ride my own ride, etc.]. For me, my mental status is the driving force. For example: I did a weekend thing at Pahrump with Trackxperience, which was my first weekend experience. Had a blast the first day, a great BBQ at the track with them, but during the second day around 11 am, I couldn't hold a line or hit a turn-in / breaking point to save my life -- my mental status crapped out so I bailed out.

 

To be dreadfully honest, after leaving the Marine Infantry life (line corpsman, babe) I pretty much quit exercising, for which I'm now paying the price. One thing that I have come to enjoy and appreciate is the participation in bike forums. Not only here, but in the other bike forums as well. True, there's a bit more trash talking in a few forums (hehe :ph34r:) but I think whether in jest or in guidance, the mere act of talking and reading about riding further solidifies skills, traits, ideas, thingies, do's-n-dont's, etc. Before my first time at a track, I'm readin and chatin... preparing myself for the tricky turns and those little tips from the guys who've been there. Knowledge is key, which is why I went to my first CSS class.... without the key, you can't unlock the life-altering fun, that is, riding.

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For me, it is very important to be in the best shape possible even for street riding. It's just more enjoyable in good shape. Perhaps this doesn't matter as much to those who can be out of shape and still be thin. For me, if I am out of shape, I am fat and that takes away from the enjoyment of riding a sportbike.

I try to run and ride a bicycle as much as possible, complimenting that with weight sessions and plenty of stretching.

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For me, it is very important to be in the best shape possible even for street riding. It's just more enjoyable in good shape. Perhaps this doesn't matter as much to those who can be out of shape and still be thin. For me, if I am out of shape, I am fat and that takes away from the enjoyment of riding a sportbike.

I try to run and ride a bicycle as much as possible, complimenting that with weight sessions and plenty of stretching.

 

That's a good point. In fact, I've stated getting back into shape -- at least to build up some stamina for long ridin' days B)

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As I've posed in other threads, I was out of riding for over 15 years so when I got back on a sportbike at almost 40 years old I noticed the physical demands much more than I ever did in my 20's. That inspired me to get back to the gym but I knew I needed more than the old upper body weight training I used to default to. So I met with a trainer and developed routines that combine aerobics, weights, and core training. It has made a significant improvement not only in my stamina but also in my developing skills as a high performance rider (not that I can call what I do "high performance" but I'm working on it tongue.gif ).

 

Plus I just feel better, at least when I'm not sore from the workout...

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Hi Guys,

 

I was quite interested in this thread, but got the plague, been pretty much horizontal for a while, coming back to life slowly.

 

So...great responses on this. Before I forget, Fajita--if you get headaches, almost certainly due to not enough water and electrolytes. Electrolyte drinks can help (I prefer the ones w/out too much sugar), and we actually have the electrolytes (2 main ones) of salt and potassium at all schools.

 

You guys have touched on a few areas, and also separated track from street riding.

 

Street riding: all the gear, all the time. One day going to the beach about 25 years ago, didn't wear a jacket (had pants, helmet gloves). Fell in oil on an on-ramp to the freeway. Road rash on the arm, and since I like my skin, I didn't care for that. Now, I don't care if it's 105 degrees, I wear a jacket (got a nice mesh one too :)).

 

There are other pieces to this, but I'm still getting over the plague, so gonna do this a small piece at a time! (like to know if you have any additional thoughts on the street prep--I'm not done with that one yet personally).

 

CF

 

I always have my camelbak filled with 70oz of water when I go trail riding with my dirtbike or while going for a long street ride on a hot day with my sportbike. It doesn't take very long to empty the 3/4 gallon of water. Eating better has really helped me but it does seem like its not quite enough after riding 3 laps around a difficult harescramble trail. Now that you mention it the one time I used a sports drink in my camelbak I did feel a lot better at the end of the ride.

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Street

The thing for me is preparation:

Bike Prep - Tyres, fluid levels, light operation (headlight, tail light, brake light, indicators (flashers)), chain etc

I normally only ride every couple of weeks, but for medium to long distances, 300 - 700km's (200 - 400 miles (ish), so after each ride the bike gets a wash, which is a good opportunity to also give it a good check over, and any adjustments made, bits lubed.

 

Self prep - staying in shape is important, for the body and the mind.

I also read as much as I can about motorcycling, the why's and why nots. As with any information, some is valuable, some is not. The hardest part is figuring out which is which!

 

Ride prep - this will depend on where I'm going, and who I am going with.

I often ride with a few buddies and we know each other well. There are no egos, and we don't talk about who's fastest or slowest - we just enjoy each others company.

Everyone does their own thing, and although we don't break any land speed records, we certainly cover some distance in good time (making progress).

We always discuss where we are going, what route we are taking and where we will be stopping during the ride.

 

Things change when riders I haven't ridden with at all, or often, are involved.

If someone comes with us, we always take care to explain the above and make sure they 'get it' (in terms of route, stops etc).

We also keep an eye on their riding, as we don't want 'incidents' to occur, and if we don't feel that they fit well, we don't invite them again.

This may sound a bit pompous, but as I said, we know each other well and trust each others abilities, I feel this is important when riding with others.

 

If I am by myself, then depending on where I am going, conditions etc, it's a good opportunity to practice.

Throttle control, turn in, lines, SR's, even road etiquette - but you have to pick your times.

 

If I'm heading somewhere remote, I always give my wife a timeframe when I will contact her, and of course explain where I'm heading to, and more importantly, which route I'm taking to get there. Very rarely will I deviate from this plan unless something unexpected happens. And if it does I will normally text her so she knows.

 

There are a lot of country roads around here which are fun and lead to magnificant destinations, but sometimes there is very little traffic flow, so peolpe need to know where to look if things go bad.

 

Most importantly, it's about having an adventure, and that's what makes it so much fun!

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My best and worst rides have really come down to what's in my head. If I can relax and try not to get tunnel-visioned then I ride a lot better, if I don't then I'm too reactive and take ###### lines because I'm not looking enough (or perhaps seeing enough). Good physical shape certainly helps, and I graze all day rather than eat too much or too little (on track here). Goes without saying that the bike has to be fit as well, I try to ride it more so have a feel of how it is, as well as the usual spot checks.

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One of the things I do at a track day or race day is to work to keep everything light and fun. Becuase, after all, I'm there for the fun of it. So I make sure I am well prepared for the day and on time, so I am not feeling rushed or behind, and I make sure I am around folks who are upbeat and happy, especially in the morning. If I find myself talking to someone who wants to discuss crashes or tell stories about injuries or tragic wrecks, I excuse myself, because that is not the mindset I want when I start my day. One thing I really resent is a rider's meeting that focuses on the negative, discussing rules that have been broken or relating crash stories from prior days; I think the rider's meeting sets the tone for the whole day, and a confident, supportive, organized meeting goes a long way towards creating a fun and safe riding day. Some organizations in my area do a great job with that (Hypercycle and TrackDaz come to mind) but there is one that has a really uncomfortable meeting, with lots of warnings and telling of grisly crash stories. I bet they wonder why they can't match the safety record of the other groups; but I don't think anyone has ever really helped anyone's riding by telling them all the ways other people have crashed.

 

An overall positive and friendly environment is one of the things that keeps me coming back to the Superbike School, I always have a great time there... they know what really works. :)

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Hi All,

 

This really did turn out as I'd hoped, with a number of different areas being addressed, and excellent suggestions proposed.

 

1. Being prepared: bike, physically with training, gear, etc.

2. Who you go with, and what you will tolerate. I totally agree on having a look at who is there, and what they are doing. Went on a ride some years ago, there were 2 crashes from boneheaded riding and we just quietly left the group, made our own ride.

3. Riding solo, having someone know when you should be back, a wise idea in any situation really.

 

I'm going to toss out another aspect of this, and that is--have a plan. I'm going to make that a pretty broad comment at this point, and see where we can go with it. For example, one could have a plan for what they were going to work on at the track. One session on a one technique, one on another, or have it conditional on results achieved from the first technique (maybe work on that technique for another session if making gains, but not as much as intended).

 

Another part of "have a plan" would be do you have a plan if things go wrong. For example, if I fall off the bike, my plan is to let go of it. I have seen a number of riders/races fall off and hold on to the bike, and had it not turn out so well. Not always, but enough that part of my plan is "let go!".

 

If one entered a turn too fast, really messed it up, you are going to run off, do you have a plan? I've heard KC suggest, stand the bike up (aggressively) then come into the brakes before you run out of asphalt. Come out of the brakes when you run out of ashphalt.

 

See what you think of this.

 

CF

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Cobie, I was pondering whether you wanted complimentary or complementary activities (Contraria sunt complementa)?

 

 

Kai, in the philosophical corner

 

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Cobie, sounds like you've been reading

http://www.amazon.com/Upper-Half-Motorcycle-Unity-Machine/dp/1884313752/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1296010101&sr=8-1

(author is an instructor at Nurburgring)

 

He even suggests stickers stuck to the tank to remind you of what you want to practice.

And mental preparation for "escape routes".

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Cobie, sounds like you've been reading

http://www.amazon.co...96010101&sr=8-1

(author is an instructor at Nurburgring)

 

He even suggests stickers stuck to the tank to remind you of what you want to practice.

And mental preparation for "escape routes".

 

Hi Richard,

 

That looks like an interesting book. Have you read it? Any opinions?

 

I'm not sure if there have been any threads about good motorcycling books (Yes search in my friend – I'll look after this post. If not maybe we should start one. This time of year I'm looking for anything to get my two-wheeled fix.

 

Ride safe,

Carey

 

BTW - "Some people hear Tiny Tim singing when they go under, and some others hear the song of the Sausage Creature". That man could sure turn a phrase...biggrin.gif

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I guess about half the time I go to a track day I have a plan, the more I learn the more my riding seems to have gone backwards (I think this is just perception) so just riding around fast isn't quite enough. After I did level 1 I went to Rockginham a couple of weeks later and practised quick turns on right handers. After L2 I went to Oulton and tried to work on wide view and reference points. It can make for a rewarding day, I got my right knee down (a measure of confidence in this case) and made some progress on observation and even the pick-up, I went away as a little bit of a better rider. Other days the objective is just to have fun and try batter my friends or guys on faster bikes, or just work on post-crash confidence by building a bit of speed up again.

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Cobie, sounds like you've been reading

http://www.amazon.co...96010101&sr=8-1

(author is an instructor at Nurburgring)

 

He even suggests stickers stuck to the tank to remind you of what you want to practice.

And mental preparation for "escape routes".

 

Hi Richard,

 

That looks like an interesting book. Have you read it? Any opinions?

 

I'm not sure if there have been any threads about good motorcycling books (Yes search in my friend – I'll look after this post. If not maybe we should start one. This time of year I'm looking for anything to get my two-wheeled fix.

 

Ride safe,

Carey

 

BTW - "Some people hear Tiny Tim singing when they go under, and some others hear the song of the Sausage Creature". That man could sure turn a phrase...biggrin.gif

 

I've read it twice now. Its a difficult book and not for everyone. Quite academic. A lot about man machine interfaces and how we go about becoming a component of the bike rather than cargo.

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I converted to vegatarianism about 15 years ago; i also quit drinking alcohol (since it is dehydrating) around that time.....My weight dropped instantly; I have gone down from 160lbs to 150lbs. The change in diet has given me more energy and and i don`t feel sluggish .My concentration has also amplified and i have way more strength when riding my bike . Brain fog is also not a big issue as it used to be.. I workout in the gym 2 hours a day starting with a 3-5 mile jog on the treadmill then weights after.I try to fininsh every excercise with CORE excercises targeting weak ab and back muscles (especially as we age).

I highly recommend everyone try the CORE excercises if you have not already. It will have definate payoffs in the way you move with the bike.Conversley,. if you are over weight and a bit slobby ( even with the best technical skills),. your fat is fighting the choreography needed to make smooth transitions...

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