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Race Face

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There's a quote of Keith's that I've borrowed (without permission, but with credit ;) ) on the mainpage of my old website (www.cbr600f4.com). The quote is:


On race day you have to look closely to spot the indications; but everyone is doing something to prep himself for the alluring, enticing and dangerous delights of racing--it's part of that game. The game is embracing forces, barriers and sensations. Forces that you see or don't see; barriers that are real or not real; near overwhelming sensations which can suddenly vaporize; then transform into the sharpest possible focus of oneness with bike and track--the instant the flag drops.


The above quote is the reason I race. It's a mental mind-game which pits me against myself before going against anyone or anything else. When I conquer my mind, I am on top of the world.


In putting on my "race-face" I take around 30-45 minutes before the race starts. I have my full leathers on and stretch out, continue hydrating myself, etc. About 15-20 mins prior, I will pop in my ear plugs and sit down in front of a fan (or heater on those really cold days). There, with my eyes closed, I will go through a mental routine of relaxing myself, voiding my mind of anything useless, concentrating on being smooth and becoming one with the machine.


This "routine" has a profound affect on my races. My laptimes are lower, my overall feel for the bike and track are much better. In all, it simply "works".


In my "down-time" of the winter, I spend a LOT of time going through this mental routine, looking for ways to improve it. Finding the things I need to think about and focus on pre-race.


My question in all this, comes down to, what else can I do? I read about the pro guys having their mentors or sometimes physicians along with them for mental preparation before the race. At my level, it's not really affordable to do that, so I'm stuck trying to improvise.


Do any of you have any hints/suggestions/comments on mental preparation? Obviously, it's the biggest part of racing, and it's something we all know we need to do. It's just how do we do this efficiently/effectively?


I'm kicking around the thought of making an audio tape/CD to go through my mental routine, but almost feel goofy for this thought...

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By a simple observation of my fellow racers, there are no two racers that perform the same routine (although the pre-race piss is common). :lol:


My routine, for what its worth, starts days before the race weekend. The bike is prepared, ready for the weekend, and I ensure that I get plenty of sleep. eat well, and if going to a party, I?d keep it quiet. So, on the race weekend, I?d be mentally and physically fit to start with. Not that I?m an example of physical fitness, just that I don?t abuse myself before the race weekend. Also ensure a light breakfast and plenty of water for each day.


The bike comes first. Tyre pressure, warmers, fuel (enough for the next event), general cleaning of the bike, and helmet visor cleaned. I then go over the published lap times, and compare them against my own personal awareness of what happened on each lap. I?m looking for where I?m being vague, off the gas, suspension or gear changes are needed. I then make the changes to my plan and the bike, if required, and it?s ready to go for the next event.


About fifteen minutes before the next event, I?ll put all my gear on, including ear plugs and helmet (visor closed), and sit in my comfy chair and go through my plan. This plan includes the first lap variations (where I want to/could be), overtaking locations, and last lap tactics.


Luck, is where preparation meets opportunity.



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i knew a guy when i started club racing that would go throw up behind the tech shed before his first race of the day (every single time)...then more often than not he would win!


i never thought of trying it as a recipe for success, though.


for me especially as i got faster, moved up in the expert ranks, and started running in the top 5, that i had to focus on my mental preparation. my big hurdle was finding the will to feel competitive at that level and not have the need to do well take away from the fun of it all. It really came down to a solitary pursuit of smoothness, grace, and speed (and it just so happened that there were others on the track with me at the time).


my "race face" concentrated mostly on shutting out the mind chatter and thoughts of other racers and anything else that wasnt vital to to accomplishing my goals. earplugs, stretching, knowing when my race was going to start, and doing well in my last practice session were all key. i also chose to start my warm up lap as late as possible, which left me standing on the starting grid for as short a time as possible, and gave me a chance to run as close to speed as i could on my warm up to gain confidence and warm up my tires.

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I agree that every racer does it differently. The thing I found was the better the plan I had the better the results.

I would spend a lot of time working out the starts and always lead in to the first corner.

In the Twist series using a stopwatch and doing a mental lap to find your weak corners worked well.

I can say this. If something was out of place, not planned for then I was the World's worse person to be around. ###### fits? You ain't seen the half of it!

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