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Doing My First Session


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I'm thinking about signing up for the Dec 11. day course at Laguna Seca.

Here's the thing though: I've never been on a track.

 

I have my motorcycle license, have taken the MSF safety course and have been riding a cruiser ( :( ) for a few weeks on the street. Never really been on a sports bike :lol: I grew up on dirt bikes though...

 

Am I going to be in over my head? Do the day courses teach fundamentals (hand signals, track etiquette etc.) Or am I going to be a slug on the track, holding everyone up?

 

Thanks

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Hi,

 

Don't worry about being slow or new, CSS is a school not a race, everyone is entitled to go at their own pace. I was at the 2 day camp (level 1 & 2) this past weekend @ the Willow, and in my group there was a rider who was NEW to riding: he doesn't own a bike yet , the only times he rode a motorcycle was at the MSF and a basic dirt riding course couple of month before and that's it, it was the first time he had ever been on a sports bike and he rode at his own pace and did just fine... the instructors were very patient and helpful with him, other faster riders just passed him if they needed to, it's no big deal. CSS will go over all the track rules & etiquette etc. the 1st thing in the morning.

 

Also FYI, at my 2 day camp most of the level one students have never been to a track prior to the class, so don't worry, I am sure you will not be alone as far as being a track virgin.

 

I think you should do it, it will help your riding a lot... and do read the books "a twist of the wrist" I & II if you can before the class, it will help you prepare for the class. (book II has lots of info about the level I drills)

 

Good luck.

 

ODONATA

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You will do fine. Yes you'll be nervous and concerned, but guaranteed you'll do fine and come away with a MUCH better understanding of what the hell is going on.

 

Might I suggest reading Twist of the Wrist II before going to get a good understanding of what you'll be practicing. It is EASY to be overwhelmed with information/experiences. Reading it ahead of time will help you learn what is being taught in the class (at least for me it did).

 

One warning though, you'll get spoiled being on the track. Street riding will forever be changed when you get back from that course.

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So there are no prerequisites for the course other than being able to ride a motorcycle?

 

I've been riding a YZF-600R for two months and was reading Keith's books in addition to a lot of Internet resources...I was trying to improve my riding technique on the street, but discovered, in a bad way, why that WASN'T a good idea. :( I'd love the opportunity to ride on a track with some people who KNOW how to ride and start cleaning up my technique before I develop bad habits, and do it in a safe place where traffic and distractions aren't a concern.

 

Would it be appropriate for me to take the Level I course? Looking at the schedules, it looks like a one-day event, correct? I have a friend who just graduated MSF and has also read Keith Code's books (in fact, he introduced me to them) and he may be interested in taking it with me.

 

I just don't want to slow anyone down. For 600 miles of riding, I feel like I was STARTING to pick up certain things before I went down, but I make no pretense about my ability and I don't want to distract the coaches from other riders if I end up not learning as fast as I thought.

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Mark,

It is a school...don't worry about the Coaches. They all know how to do their jobs which includes evaluating their students and then guiding them accordingly. You have made a very wise choice to get professional training after just 600 miles of riding and one get off...but to answer your questions, I offer the following.

 

Are you going to be in over my head? - Absolutely NOT!

 

Do they teach fundamentals (hand signals, track etiquette etc.)? Absolutely! (BTW, there is only one hand signal you use on the track).

 

Are you going to be a slug on the track, holding everyone up? - My suggestion is don't even think about that. Remember, you are going to a School that utilizes time tested theory in a very well developed curriculum. They have successfully taught thousands of riders and races for more than twenty years so learning all that you can possibly learn should be your primary focus.

 

...but to specifically answer that question - more experienced riders know how to go around less experienced riders so nobody "holds" anybody else up.

 

Good luck.

Kevin

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I'm thinking about signing up for the Dec 11. day course at Laguna Seca.

Here's the thing though: I've never been on a track.

 

I have my motorcycle license, have taken the MSF safety course and have been riding a cruiser ( :( ) for a few weeks on the street. Never really been on a sports bike :lol: I grew up on dirt bikes though...

 

Am I going to be in over my head? Do the day courses teach fundamentals (hand signals, track etiquette etc.) Or am I going to be a slug on the track, holding everyone up?

 

Thanks

Relax, have fun, keep your ears open. Read TOTW if you can, before the learning day. Level 1 is great and don't worry about being slow.

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Mark,

You will do FINE and I strongly encourage you to take the class. The coaches are awesome and the school is setup so you succeed. You even KNOW you are riding better.

 

I do disagree with your assessment about learning on the road, but the track is a far better place to learn, no doubt.

 

Sign up with your bud (it's really cool having a friend on the track or even at the track with you), give 100% concentration to what is being taught and do NOT worry about being too slow. You'll be fine. It is a school, not a race. :)

 

Hugh

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I'm not OPPOSED to learning on the street. It's more a matter of others' safety than my own...the reason I went down is because I saw other bikes in the oncoming lane and got distracted through a nasty right-hander...slowed my steering down, I started running wide, right into their lane, then leaned the bike over trying to make the turn until hard-parts started scraping and the bike came out from under me and went straight into one of those other bikes.

 

I could've made that turn...my mistake was driving at 99% of my ability so I needed $9.90 of what Keith calls "the $10 of attention" focused on riding and got overdrawn at a bad time.

 

I'm still a little skittish about my riding ability after that mess...my bike is most likely totalled, too. I accepted the risk of crashing when I started riding but I didn't expect it to happen so soon or for other people to be involved. (fortunately, they're OK...I think I got the worst of it with a dislocated thumb and a totalled bike) Get-offs aren't good for your confidence, but it's just something where I just have to get the gremlins out of my head. :P

 

I'll be back on, though. Winters can get nasty here so I'll probably wait until spring and then take one of the courses at Pocono or VIR before I buy another bike. I was just starting to get to where I could lock my weight in on the outside of the tank and hang off and start identifying errors with throttle control and body positioning...best I get some education before I start developing bad habits. :)

 

Do you think a 6'5 250lb guy can fit on one of those ZX-6Rs? :D

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Mark,

Some other comments to offer. Your first post said that "you have been riding a cruiser for a few weeks on the street. Never really been on a sports bike" and your last post closes with "Do you think a 6'5 250lb guy can fit on one of those ZX-6Rs?"

 

Well the transition from a crusier to a sports bike will be a new experience for you as the riding position of the ZX-6R is aggessively forward compared to the Praying Mantis style of crusiers but you also say that you have limited riding experience so your crusier riding style should not be burned too deeply into your psyche - you'll adapt.

 

As for your size, well you might find it a tighter fit than some but Michael Jordan is also a sportsbike rider/racing team owner and he's bigger than you are. Once again - you'll adapt.

 

Your most telling comment IMHO was your statement "I'm still a little skittish about my riding ability after that mess" I'll offer that you echo all of us after we endure a get off. If you didn't think about it - how it happened? - why it happened? - so you can apply that knowledge to avoid it in the future, you would do better to just park your bike. The fact that you understand what happened and why it happened will allow you to "file it" and leave it behind you sooner rather than later. To quote Martha - That' s a good thing.

 

Kevin

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Hmm...I wouldn't consider the YZF-600R a "cruiser"...sport-tourer maybe, and nothing compared to a modern ZX-6R, but back in the 90s it was Yamaha's supersport 600cc. :)

 

I might have to tuck in on a ZX-6R next time I go to the dealer just to feel how tight it is. But thanks for the comments, everyone. I'll keep an eye out for the 06 schedule.

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