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warregl

Level 4 – How Do You Decide What To Work On Next?

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For those of you who have done multiple Level 4s, how do you decide what to work on in your next Level 4? I realize this may sound like a simple question, and in a way it is. You could say "I work on what needs the most improvement". If that's the case, how are you making that determination?

 

I know that there is a litany of things that I need to work on (and I'm ok with that I know I'm not a professional) but how best do I prioritize them? In my last two level 4's I worked almost exclusively on vision as it was apparent I had gotten faster (compared only to pre-CSS me :P ) and my vison needed to "catch up". After looking at the pictures from last August at VIR I believe that a revisit to the level 3 drills might be in order but I'm not sure how best to prioritize what I'm working on.

 

How do you all decide?

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From our side, this is of course adjusted every time the rider goes out.

 

Interesting that visual skills get a lot of attention. Level 2 is possibly the most rewarding and most challenging of the levels to do well. We know this applies to the top of the skill level, interantional racers spend time on these skills.

 

At the school, the coach has a look at what the rider is doing, and at Level 4, there are 3 options:

 

1. It's going well, but more gains to be had, lets continue.

2. Going very well, we can move to another area of improvement.

3. Let's look at the area from a different view, we can get a better result.

 

Coaching is a fascinating subject!

 

CF

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I think you should work on your smiley face usage.... :rolleyes:

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I think you should work on your smiley face usage.... :rolleyes:

 

Seriously, stay with the basics until you have a clear understanding of what you need. If you can't identify it then let a coach guide you.

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I think you should work on your smiley face usage.... :rolleyes:

 

Seriously, stay with the basics until you have a clear understanding of what you need. If you can't identify it then let a coach guide you.

 

I was thinking about this last night. If you are getting ready for any level, technique is always something to improve on. I was following Cory West around NOLA Motorsport Park and realized how much more acceleration he was getting off the corners. My suspension guy was in Miami, apparently having to much fun to answer my questions. What can I do? I can work on my technique. I can improve the mechanics of weighting the pegs, picking the bike up, body position and throttle control.

 

One exercise I have is to ride the tracks in my mind reliving every detail. When you do this it is easier to pick out problem areas that you relive and recognize.

 

I recently relived Barber where this year will be the WERA Grand National Finals. I have a goal in mind and I ride the track over and over in my mind. I picked out a problem area for me in Charlotte's Web, turn 5. I have been blipping the throttle twice and letting the clutch out twice instead of blipping twice and letting the clutch out once for the two gear down shift I need in this turn. This is just a matter of habit and takes a little practice getting used to but I think I could pick up at least .3 seconds by changing this.

 

You can always work on technique and sometimes a little more self evaluation and thought can help you answer your on questions....cheers B)

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If you don't let the clutch out between each shift, what if the bike doesn't go down a gear?

 

Some hold it and just mash down the gears, but has it ever happned that the bike didn't go the amount of gears one expected, or too many?

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"If you don't let the clutch out between each shift, what if the bike doesn't go down a gear?"

1.) you exit the corner with less speed than expected

2.) you try again

3.) you don't exit the corner

4.) you take the scenic route on the crash truck

5.) you curse yourself for not consulting Cobie Fair before you try this trick

 

"Some hold it and just mash down the gears, but has it ever happned that the bike didn't go the amount of gears one expected, or too many?" Yes

 

I have had that happen when I was running a smaller tooth front sprocket but not since I went back to a stock front. The one good thing about a slipper is it is very forgiving when you go down to many. You do bring up a good point about what is your plan if this happens. Knowing what gear you are in is helpful plus don't panic.

 

Or, maybe I should just wait till I get closer to the apex to take the two down shifts so I'm closer to the rpm's needed for 2nd gear.

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Modern litre bikes do what, 100 mph or so in first gear? And gears are tightly spaced. Taking into account the flexibility of modern powerplants and the small differences between gears, you probably have to be pretty far off in order to create a dangerous situation by going one gear too low or one too high. Getting the wrong gear will not benefit your lap times, of course, but picking 1st instead of 2nd on a S1000RR most likely will not cause any harm. Now, do the same on a 1970 Norton Commando with a 4-speed gearbox and prepare to have a scare :lol:

 

However, I fully agree with Cobie that it makes sense, at least for mere mortals, to check the engagement for each gear going down the box. If you watch a rider like Stoner, who is incredibly hard with the equipment but also the fastest man on Earth right now, you can hear him just slam down from 6th to 1st at times and just let the slipper take the brunt of it as he will engage 1st before the speed is down in a range when 1st can be used. Chances are that this type of riding will not be beneficial to the majority and definitely not to anybody's wallet; wear on transmission parts in particular will be massive.

 

Back to the original question - what to focus on? If you have reached the pinnacle of the sport, you probably will know weaknesses you can improve upon and also what's most important to spend time on. But even the best will benefit from a coach. Which is why they have coaches at every level in every sport. As Cobie said, you need to work with your coach.

 

Another interesting observation is what separates the best from the second best. It's not the amount of training or the amount of effort put it. Instead, it's about details, about making every move count. If you take cyclists, for instance, the best will not just pedal for 5 hours, they will have a goal for the day. Not speed, usually, because they need to build their "engine" with just lots of fairly low-effort work. But it may be tiny adjustments to their riding position, the way they arch the pedal, trying to pull a fraction more etc. Often minute details that they try to perfect constantly. And it's the same with motorcycling; if you want to constantly increase your performance, you need to practice a lot and you must be willing to improve on your weakest areas. You should worry about details before lap times. Lap times should be the measuring stick during race days to monitor your progress, but when you work on improving various issues I believe it's in your own interest to make sure you understand what must be done and practice until you do it by second nature.

 

Unfortunately, doing the odd track day will not allow you to reach your own personal limits. You need to practice virtually daily. Doesn't all have to be on a track or on a road race style bike; off-road bicycling, MX, trial, enduro - everything on wheels that will challenge you will help making you better.

 

Me? I'm happy just wobbling around. Life is too short to waste on perfection :D

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Good points Eirik....except for "Me? I'm happy just wobbling around. Life is too short to waste on perfection :D " I am hoping my orthopedic surgeon doesn't subscribe to this view! :)

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Thanks for the input guys. I should clarify I am definitely looking at which fundamentals to focus on (I'm on the learning side of the curve not the perfecting – I consider myself an advanced beginner) to make sure my development is balanced. As I mentioned, after taking levels 1-4 my speed had increased so much that my next two level 4s were focused on vision. It just made me wonder if others had noticed "uneven" development of skills and if so how they addressed that. One thing I have noticed as a people manager in my professional career is that self awareness can have its blind spots. And I agree Cobie, coaching is a fascinating subject, in any area of development.

 

And I agree with you too Fossil, visualizing the track and how the rides went is very useful for seeing mistakes or area's of improvement. Last year when I did the two day camp I spent quite a bit of time reriding the track after day one and I really noticed it when I was on track day two.

 

I will definitely work with my coach and see what he/she sees that I may be missing but like I said, I need so much work in all areas of my game my coach may be overwhelmed!

 

And when it comes to smiley face usage I may be a lost cause but I'm looking for a 12-step program. :D

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Fossilfuel, I think you will find that the majority of people, be that doctors or garbage men, fail to strive for perfection. 20% effort gives you 80% result, which in most cases is more than good enough. This same mentality is what makes so few people stand out in their occupation - so few have this burning desire to always become better, alway achieve more. I know that most people will claim they want more challenges, but when you look into it, the absolute level of performance is mediocre at best. Which is why you can use the same 20/80 rule about skill; 20 % posess 80% of all skills. Which means that 80% of the population are pretty low-performing. Less than 1% are excellent and only a fraction are superb.

 

In an ideal world, we would all have had access to surgeons like dr. Ting. But what most of us get is a doctor that works 80 hrs per week and is tired and thinking more about missed time with his family than how to become an even better surgeon. Of course, if you're lucky the bloke or gal is genuinely interested in their job and have a good portion of talent, in which case it usually doesn't matter so much if the surgeon is tired. But there are plenty of doctors who became that simply because they expected it, not because they had an urge for it. That's just the way it is ;)

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Eirik......relax bro

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I think you will find that the majority of people, be that doctors or garbage men, fail to strive for perfection. 20% effort gives you 80% result, which in most cases is more than good enough. This same mentality is what makes so few people stand out in their occupation

 

Eirik;

Carey started this thread with a sincere request about how he could better prepare for another Level IV School. Clearly he doesn't subscribe to your 20/80 theory but as a garbage man myself I resent your aspersions about our work ethic.

 

Let's get back to helping him get some positive ideas on how he could do this.

 

Jasonzilla, where are you when we need you?

 

Rain

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Hey Warregl,

 

Did you get what you were looking for from your original question?

 

CF

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Hey Warregl,

 

Did you get what you were looking for from your original question?

 

CF

 

Kevin Kane "Jasonzilla, where are you when we need you?" Kevin, I thought my advice was at least 50% effort.....LOL!

Warregl let me know which school you got attend. I might show up for a refresher.

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Hey Guys,

 

I appreciate all the input, heck even the tangents on this thread are full of interesting and useful tidbits, sometimes the sidebar conversations are the best ones! As for my question, I think the best advice was the simplest – use your coach, and that's what I intend to do. I was just curious as to how other students approach the focus of their studies as they progress beyond the first 4 levels. For what it's worth, one useful tool for me has been examining the photos after each school. I first bought the photos for the "trophy" value (even I can look fast in still-life) but I found they were useful in documenting improvement and area's of focus. They are also how I noticed that I went from great body positioning in one level 4 to less than stellar in the classes when I was focusing on vision. Tying these two fundamentals together in one of my short term goals.

 

As I mentioned, self awareness can be elusive. Sometimes it's too easy to tell yourself you are better at something than you really are and in this hobby that can bite you in the posterior. So I'm less concerned with the pursuit of perfection than I am with the pursuit of improvement.

 

As always folks, I appreciate your input and genuinely love the dialogue that this forum generates.

 

Best,

 

Carey

 

BTW...I am targeting VIR in May, I'm just not sure if it will be one or both days. If you are going to be at one of them Fossil let me know. It would be great to shake your hand and buy you a cold beverage at the Oak Tree Tavern.

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Kevin, I thought my advice was at least 50% effort.....LOL!

 

Fossil;

50% no question but JZ is the Forum's resident track day enthusiast IMHO. Now when we talk about RACING and Fossil Fuel in the same sentance - that's another story altogether.

Rain

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I have taken Level 4 a bunch of times. Sometimes I had a specific thing I wanted to handle (i.e., I couldn't get locked on the bike well, or I felt like I was running a little wide in certain turns compared to other riders, etc.), but there were also times I showed up without a specific plan for what I wanted to address - just wanted to improve in general or ride a different track - and my coach had no difficulty working with me to target which skill to focus on. :)

 

If you are coming back to familiar track, you often already have an idea of an area that is still rough for you (or you'll know within a few laps!), and you can work with your Level 4 consultant and on track coach to figure out what skill to use to address it.

 

If you are going to an unfamiliar track, you'll have to get yourself located on the track first - remember the skill we usually use for that? That's usually a good starting point.

 

Also keep in mind that before Level 4 you are given a survey that asks some questions that help you and your coach sort out a plan.

 

I'll say one thing - I ALWAYS made big improvements at every school, whether I had a plan or not; I learned not to "wait until I had a problem to fix" because even when I went to the school just for fun or to try out a new track, I made leaps and bounds of improvement and was able to apply those improvements in my track days and racing. AND I always had a blast. :D

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Hey Guys,

 

I appreciate all the input, heck even the tangents on this thread are full of interesting and useful tidbits, sometimes the sidebar conversations are the best ones! As for my question, I think the best advice was the simplest – use your coach, and that's what I intend to do. I was just curious as to how other students approach the focus of their studies as they progress beyond the first 4 levels. For what it's worth, one useful tool for me has been examining the photos after each school. I first bought the photos for the "trophy" value (even I can look fast in still-life) but I found they were useful in documenting improvement and area's of focus. They are also how I noticed that I went from great body positioning in one level 4 to less than stellar in the classes when I was focusing on vision. Tying these two fundamentals together in one of my short term goals.

 

As I mentioned, self awareness can be elusive. Sometimes it's too easy to tell yourself you are better at something than you really are and in this hobby that can bite you in the posterior. So I'm less concerned with the pursuit of perfection than I am with the pursuit of improvement.

 

As always folks, I appreciate your input and genuinely love the dialogue that this forum generates.

 

Best,

 

Carey

 

BTW...I am targeting VIR in May, I'm just not sure if it will be one or both days. If you are going to be at one of them Fossil let me know. It would be great to shake your hand and buy you a cold beverage at the Oak Tree Tavern.

 

Warregl,

Are you an Auburn Tiger fan? And I was just beginning to like you! Dude...you have got to do the Road Atlanta school..get your plans in order and go to that one. To be able to concentrate on what you need to do as a rider while doing this circuit would definitely be a confidence booster for anyone. It will scare the ---- out of you!

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Warregl,

Are you an Auburn Tiger fan? And I was just beginning to like you! Dude...you have got to do the Road Atlanta school..get your plans in order and go to that one. To be able to concentrate on what you need to do as a rider while doing this circuit would definitely be a confidence booster for anyone. It will scare the ---- out of you!

 

Class of '93 Fossil. I'm guessing your allegiancies fall to that other school, possibly along the banks of the Black Warrior River? And all this time you seemed like such a rational individual...;). At least we can agree on which conference plays the best football.

 

Road Atlanta is on the bucket list, although "scare the ---- out of you" is a concerning description!

 

 

Hotfoot - Thanks for the input. I spent some quiet time last night trying to visualize my laps at VIR as accurately as possible and looking for area's to improve. I think I have at least a starting point for my discussions with my coach, then we can go from there.

 

Thanks again guys!

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For those of you who have done multiple Level 4s, how do you decide what to work on in your next Level 4? I realize this may sound like a simple question, and in a way it is. You could say "I work on what needs the most improvement". If that's the case, how are you making that determination?

Sorry for being late to the party, but the way I have approached the what to choose problem is that I have looked at areas that I felt I struggled with (like finding the right line through a changing-radius turn or just a very long turn) or areas that I am 'afraid of' - like how much throttle can I add without landing on the tarmac or how much lean I can use.

 

Basically I tell this to the liaison/coach in the morning, and the lovely fellas will make a plan for session 1, and then we take it from there. From there Cobies Options 1/2/3 takes over.

 

I must say, though, that in my limited experience (I've only done 4 days of Level 4) the days I've had most benefit from, is the days where I had a specific area in my mind that I wanted to work with, when I showed up at the check in counter.

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...I must say, though, that in my limited experience (I've only done 4 days of Level 4) the days I've had most benefit from, is the days where I had a specific area in my mind that I wanted to work with, when I showed up at the check in counter.

 

Thanks Kai, that was my thought here. I want to show up with an understanding of my focus. That said, I'm going to take full advantage of the coach's opinion of what needs work as well.

 

Unless it's Pete telling me what kind of music to listen to....

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Warregl,

Are you an Auburn Tiger fan? And I was just beginning to like you! Dude...you have got to do the Road Atlanta school..get your plans in order and go to that one. To be able to concentrate on what you need to do as a rider while doing this circuit would definitely be a confidence booster for anyone. It will scare the ---- out of you!

 

Class of '93 Fossil. I'm guessing your allegiancies fall to that other school, possibly along the banks of the Black Warrior River? And all this time you seemed like such a rational individual...;). At least we can agree on which conference plays the best football.

 

Road Atlanta is on the bucket list, although "scare the ---- out of you" is a concerning description!

 

 

Hotfoot - Thanks for the input. I spent some quiet time last night trying to visualize my laps at VIR as accurately as possible and looking for area's to improve. I think I have at least a starting point for my discussions with my coach, then we can go from there.

 

Thanks again guys!

 

Every once in a while, I come across a likeable Auburn fan. Good luck on your school at VIR. Just a recap of a few suggestions I have.

 

If you want to be a good rider you have to practice. If you are not riding the track visualization helps. The more you have ridden the track the better the visualization.

 

There are just a few tenants to good riding but you need to be good at them....good throttle control, good consistent brake pressure, good position, good vision and or awareness of reference points and brake markers.

 

There are things that they, coaches and fast riders can't give you....trust in your machine, confidence in your ability, and the courage to push yourself.

 

I know you will become a good rider...there is nothing like being one of those guys....War Eagle!

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Every once in a while, I come across a likeable Auburn fan. Good luck on your school at VIR. Just a recap of a few suggestions I have.

 

If you want to be a good rider you have to practice. If you are not riding the track visualization helps. The more you have ridden the track the better the visualization.

 

There are just a few tenants to good riding but you need to be good at them....good throttle control, good consistent brake pressure, good position, good vision and or awareness of reference points and brake markers.

 

There are things that they, coaches and fast riders can't give you....trust in your machine, confidence in your ability, and the courage to push yourself.

 

I know you will become a good rider...there is nothing like being one of those guys....War Eagle!

 

Great advice Fossil. I'm especially looking forward the practice this year.

 

And as it happened, Alabama was on my short list all those years ago so I have no real ill will for the Crimson Tide (other than in good spirited football rivalry) so Roll Tide to you sir!

 

Growing up in Florida with those Gator fans on the other hand....

 

:D

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