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Racing Vision


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I have not raced yet but I will be this upcoming season. When I watch youtube videos of on board cameras at the front of the bike I started thinking to myself....in a racing enviornment how do you balance your "vanishing point" and if you are close to the rider in front of you while going through a turn?

 

I know that more importantly you want to keep your line and your direction and not focus on the rider but would you look past and through the rider in front to your apex or line. Or would you be only focused on your line and just try to keep that other rider in your window of vision.

 

Not saying to spend your attention money on the rider but to just be aware of not running up into the rear of the riders bike or if the rider starts to lose control of the bike you can hopefully have enough time to change your line and avoid getting caught up in the mix.

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Interesting question!

 

For me, if the rider is a lot slower, I try to ignore them (treat 'em like a traffic cone!) and get by as quickly as possible, preferably without losing ANY of my momentum. If the rider is a little slower, I look for a way to get by as soon as possible - I might have to take a weird line to do it, but since they are slowing me down anyway I should be at a comfortable pace to change my line if needed. I look for an available line that I can take - I have awareness of the other rider but I don't look at him/her.

 

I think the worst thing to do (in a race) is watch and follow a slightly slower rider - it slows you down, often more than you realize, and suddenly the guys behind you start overtaking you and now you have two or three guys in your way instead of one!

 

If the rider is in front of me and fast and blocking my view of my reference point, personally I look 'through' the rider at my reference point, visualizing where it is. I am aware of the other rider, keep him in view in case I see him losing control and endangering me. I ride my own line, as fast as I can and watch for him to make a mistake. On a practice day I might watch and follow and try the other rider's line but I am cautious about doing that in a race, can't afford to lose time if it doesn't work out. I used to do it but I generally lost more than I gained - a lot of riders charge turns and following them often ended up with me braking too late, overbraking, then stiff on the bars through the turn, ending with me late on the throttle and/or running wide.

 

If a rider is erratic or appears to be riding beyond his own skill level, I tend to hang back a little so I can see him and have time to react if he cuts across my front wheel or falls down. I look for a chance to pass safely, preferably on the inside so that if he falls or runs off he doesn't take me out.

 

During starts there can be so many riders in front of you that you can't see much of the track at all. In that case I visualize where I think my points are, and get as close to them as I can based on the riding room available.

 

I have found that trying to watch individual riders during a crowded start ends up with frantic looking around, overreacting to everyone, making too many changes to my line and essentially slowing down to get out of everyone's way. Keeping a wide view with awareness of everyone but focusing on my desired line works a lot better. Keith's article about Presence is a good thing to read regarding crowded starts.

 

The one time I DO watch a rider in front is on the turn exits and straightaways, when I am trying to "reel 'em in", I find that trying to gain on the other rider gives me a bit more motivation to get the bike pointed down the track and get the throttle wide open sooner.

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Awesome thanks for the input! I assumed that looking "through" the rider would be the best option. Interesting that you brought up the racing starts, I just figured it was one of those things you just kind of reacted to and try to get the best line possible setup for the first turn. I suppose having more visible reference points in turn 1 that can be seen even with clutter would be of great benefit?

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