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Noob To Forum And Registered For 2 Days At Sonama

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Hello, My name is Tracy and I am new here. I just finished my "Legal" paperwork for the March/April 2 day class at Sonoma Raceway. I have been riding a long time but took a lengthy sabbatical (15 years) Last May, I purchased a new 2013 BMW S1000RR. It's freaking AWESOME! I live in the SF Bay Area and am using it to commute from SF (San Francisco) to SJ (San Jose). Its 50 miles one way. I have racked up 15,000 miles on my little scooter and am on the very end of my second rear tire. I have done very little to it with the exception of adding HP adjustable rear-set and reverse shift linkage. I did put all the protective gear on it I could find for when my number is pulled and I shaved the front indicators using a custom indicator light that is incorporated into the BWM emblem on both sides of the bike!


I am not going to lie, it took me much longer to get comfortable on the bike than I thought it would. Everyday I seem to learn something new on it and the local cagers keep me on my toes. With that in mind, I am 48 years old and not in particularly good shape, not fat, but no Greek god either. I have a little less than 4 months before my scheduled track days and was hoping some of you could give me some advice on how to make the most of my 2 days, with regard to educational material, specific exercising and that sort of thing. I have attached a picture of my lil scooter because I love showing it off!


Thank you in advance.



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Nice bike! Welcome to the forum. If you do a forum search on 'exercises' or 'fitness', you can find some other threads that talk about various exercises to increase fitness and strength for riding.


Some people like bicycle riding for both cardio and leg strength, and I definitely agree with that. Other ideas: squats, to strengthen your quads, and thigh squeezes (think ThighMaster) because you will use those inner-thigh muscles to grip the tank under braking and, if you hang off, to help move you across the bike for side to side transitions. Personally I think push-ups help with strengthening the muscles you use to turn the bike, and any types of core-strengthening exercises like crunches, etc., are great.


I'm sure others will have plenty more ideas for you!

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Hey Tracy. First of all you are going to have a GREAT time! When I did Level 1 I had zero experience on the track and not much street riding either.


As for being prepared I only have a few suggestions.


-I would grab a copy of "A Twist of the Wrist 2" and read over it as a lot of the classroom material covers stuff in the books but adds a new dimension to the learning as you go out and experience it on the track right afterwards. The video is also great and covers a lot of the stuff in the book with the ability to "see" what they are demonstrating. You can practice good throttle control and some of the visuals on the road on during your commute. Amazingly enough during Level 4 I found myself reviewing a lot of the fundamentals in Level 1 and 2 and finding those drills even more helpful than before further demonstrating to me why the fundamentals are so darn important.


-Whenever it's offered get to the lean bike as soon as you can. I found it to be very helpful. Before I did the lean bike I was not very comfortable hanging off of the bike. I put it off until the end of the day and eventually revealed to the instructor my fears of hanging off because I might upset the bike. They spent a lot of time with me and showed me the "right way" to hang off the bike they also revealed to me that my worries were not completely unfounded as doing it "wrong" would indeed cause problems. They touch on hanging off towards the very end of Level 2 as a segway into Level 3.


-As for exercise. Doing some work at the gym is never a bad thing. Level 1 and Level 2 is pretty easy in comparison to Level 3. I prepared by doing a lot of squats and other preparation at the gym and I was still sore halfway through the day with all of the work we did on body position.


If you can only do one single thing to prepare my suggestion would be to get a good nights sleep before the first day of class, have a good breakfast and clear your mind of life's troubles so you can focus on learning. You can walk in completely unprepared at CSS and their awesome coaches will get you where you need to be.

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Rchase, pretty good suggestions all the way 'round!


If you do it at a warm temp track, the other thing would be to start hydrating early in the am, and then keep it up.


I read some new data on hydration, and best to do smaller amounts, but all the time rather than large consumption at one go.



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Oh and some items that I left off for modifications. I had the boys at Super Plush Suspension fine tune my suspension because I come a little large than stock at 220lbs. They took measurements, did the calculations and set it for me right there on the spot. They were very cool and it was affordable. I also have tank grips. Pulled the Twist of the Wrist II video off of YouTube (Hope that's ok!). It's a bit tough to get through but the information is very good and I didn't know a lot of the stuff which really surprised me. I try to watch or read something every night before bed and then think about and apply it on my commute the next day. March 31 cant come quickly enough!


I am not sure what the temperatures are going to be at Sonoma the end of March, I am hoping for moderate to cool. Hydration is always important and I will try to keep up on that.


Thanks again for all the input

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Sorry, one more question. Is there any chance the motorcycles you guys use come with an option to use a GP shift setup. I am finally used to mine and am concerned about switching back to standard again. Could really be a bummer to have to think about shift patterns with everything else running in my head.


Thanks again.

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On the suspension setup you should be fine. I had similar concerns and asked Will how they handled sag adjustment and he was a wealth of information about the suspension setup on the school bikes. I'm also "American sized" and never had any issues with the schools S1000RR's suspension setup.


Not sure on the shift pattern. All of the bikes I rode at the school were standard shift. Since they have a quick shifter it's probably not really easy for them to go back and forth unless they have the reversed sensor but one of the coaches will probably chime in soon and say for sure. Even if it's not an option to change the pattern going back and forth in your mind is easier than you think. My track bike is GP shift and all of my road bikes are standard shift. A few minutes of keeping in mind "this is the weird one" and I'm effortlessly shifting the bike.

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Guys, gotta say it, but all the you tube stuff on Twist 1 or 2 is stolen.


When you have worked for an author for over 25 years, see all the work and money that goes into making the video, give a different perspective on this stuff. (I think almost a half million was spent on T-2 to make a quality product).


GP shift is a problem unfortunately, as the bike is ridden by multiple people and the kit to change it over is not a quick change (like in the old days, just reverse the shift shaft). There are a couple of pointers we can give that will help going back and forth (coaches have to do it).




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