Jump to content

Becoming A Cornering Expert


Recommended Posts

Hi All,

 

My Dad mentioned something interesting to me during the last week - he heard a radio program that was talking about becoming an expert in a given field. Some may have heard this figure mentioned before, but it seems like the consensus is that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a true expert. I started to think about that from the point of view of riding motorcycles (everything has something to do with motorcycles, to me at least tongue.gif ), and especially cornering. Yes, there's alot of practice time needed, but that's not what I thought was really interesting...

 

The really interesting part is what qualifies as practice towards those 10,000 hours. The point was made that it must be concentrated, deliberate practice. So applying that to riding - in order to be doing real practice we must be concentrating and making a deliberate effort. If we're just out for a cruise, enjoying the roads and scenery - that does not count as practice.

 

It just made me realise how important it is to make a deliberate, conscious effort to practice something whenever I'm out for a ride. Even if it's just a run down to the shops, maybe I only practice on one or two corners. But every bit helps, because that kind of practice isn't easy to do for long sustained periods, and 10,000 hours is alot of time. Otherwise it's easy to switch over to "auto pilot" and not only does that put a stop to improvement in our riding, but it's very easy to slip into bad habits again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is exactly why I get SO much more out of CSS than I do a regular track day. During a regular track day, there are sessions where I will go out without a specific practice plan, and that's when I find the occasional bad habit appear. I need to make an effort to think about what I am doing and get myself "re-focused" on whatever skill I think I need to work on.

 

One of the things I regret in my life is never really becoming an expert (or close to it) at anything. I'm one of those "jack of all trades, master of none" type of guys. Now, at age 42, I've started to narrow my range of activities and at least make an attempt to get somewhat decent at what I choose to do. At some point, after many, many years of practice and CSS, I'd like to say "yeah, I can take a corner pretty good"... :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, never say never, you could always become "jack of all trades, master of one". wink.gif

 

Good point about track days. That's one thing that changed so much with how I approach track days. Used to just be that I went out to them with the aim of "going faster", but now I have specific points to work on each time. But that requires much more concentration... is it possible for concentration to cause bloodshot eyes? blink.gif I felt good, but somehow managed to finish those two days with fairly bloodshot eyes.

 

Another thing that really stood out to me on my recent track days - if you don't go out with your own plan, and you end up just following everyone else around, you'll be really screwed. I took notice of the turn points that different people were using, and for the most part they all turned way way too early. For someone who didn't know better - they would go out there and just follow other people and try to "find the line" or "learn the racing line" - and they'd end up learning the slow way around!

 

A funny thing - I overheard a bunch of guys that were pitted next to me, at the end of the day they were raving to each other, all excited about how they're scraping knees and boots and everything else (as if that were a measure of speed or skill). Mind you, they were in a slower group. It was an interesting insight into the mind of an enthusiast track day rider. Meanwhile I'm yet to scrape a knee or even use my rear tyre to the edges, but I have moved into a faster group, poor me. rolleyes.gif Call me old fashioned, but I just think that going fast is fun. smile.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think you have to specifically be cornering in order to add to the time quota, you could spend that time studying in an effort to improve, analysing video or photos of you on bike and that sort of thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A funny thing - I overheard a bunch of guys that were pitted next to me, at the end of the day they were raving to each other, all excited about how they're scraping knees and boots and everything else (as if that were a measure of speed or skill). Mind you, they were in a slower group. It was an interesting insight into the mind of an enthusiast track day rider. Meanwhile I'm yet to scrape a knee or even use my rear tyre to the edges, but I have moved into a faster group, poor me. rolleyes.gif Call me old fashioned, but I just think that going fast is fun. smile.gif

 

The goal of "getting a knee down" always makes me laugh. I understand it, but I feel they are missing the point of what they are trying to achieve entirely.

 

I personally ride with only one thing in my mind: Accuracy at all speeds  :D

 

THIS is something I intend to work on at my next Level IV session. In my case, I think it is more vision related.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Besides doing trackdays for a few decades I'm an avid cyclist. For year and years I trained my butt off to climb faster, improve my cruising speed and sprinting abilities, only to end up with the conclusion that training in every sense is good as long as it doesn't affect your motivation.

 

If your trackdays end up into a dissapointment because you were only able to slide out of 19 of the 20 corners, that's also missing the point.

A good balance between (CSS) training days / exercises should be balanced by riding with what you've already learned and enjoying it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think you have to specifically be cornering in order to add to the time quota, you could spend that time studying in an effort to improve, analysing video or photos of you on bike and that sort of thing.

 

I think I get what you're saying - there's so many different aspects to riding that sometimes you've just gotta take a step back, sit down and think something through. I can definitely see how that could be beneficial and improve someone as a rider, but you won't actually see the benefit until the next time you go for a ride and try it out. Practice is practice, thinking is thinking... but for sure, you can't really do one without the other!

 

Fair point Releeuw46 - everyone has different goals and there's no point in pushing the 'practice' side of things to a point where riding becomes so onerous that you no longer have joy in it.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Besides doing trackdays for a few decades I'm an avid cyclist. For year and years I trained my butt off to climb faster, improve my cruising speed and sprinting abilities, only to end up with the conclusion that training in every sense is good as long as it doesn't affect your motivation.

 

If your trackdays end up into a dissapointment because you were only able to slide out of 19 of the 20 corners, that's also missing the point.

A good balance between (CSS) training days / exercises should be balanced by riding with what you've already learned and enjoying it.

 

No wonder I dont enjoy excecising or a diet... theres no "playing field" for you to flex your muscles ... :(

 

riding however, oh yeah, comparatively instant improvements :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

I'm finding that the process of becoming an "expert" in cornering (ha! that status is a long way off...) goes hand-in-hand with becoming an "expert" in setup. At first, nothing about the bike is a limitation - doesn't matter one bit what tires you are running or if the pressures are right, or if the brakes are any good, the suspension is set up properly, etc. Then you get a bit more skilled and something about the bike is now a limitation - running out fork travel, too much suspension movement through the chicanes, something...so, you fix that and now the bike is fine and you are the problem again. Go faster, then something else about the bike needs to be adjusted...wash, rinse, repeat.

 

I love it. I love learning about riding and applying what I have learned, and I also like totally geeking out on the bike setup stuff. And it's all quantifiable progress - lap times don't lie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...