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Advice for New CSS Student


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Hi All, new member here 👋 and I’m signing up for L1 and L2 and wanted to get some of your thoughts and suggestions because I’m really struggling to decide. I’m going to apologize in advance for the lengthy post because I need help thinking it through.

OPTION# 1: 2 day school offered @ Sonoma on 4/25-4/26.
PRO’s - Proximity to home so I can go home to the family after each day. I don’t have to bring my own bike/trailer, canopy, table, chairs, etc. but that also means I’d have to learn to communicate with a new machine and learn a new track.  It’s on my days off soon don’t need to take time off of work, which is kind of a big deal due to the difference between potentially making or losing several thousands of dollars.  
CON’s- and this is a big one… It’s sold out and I’m 5th on the waiting list. I keep thinking “bird in the hand…” with Option 2 below but could be costly. I’ve been trying to attend for a year now but I was in a motorcycle accident (hit by car) so I’m finally better and really antsy to attend.  I am not be able to attend any other dates in 2022. My other big concern is I’ve never ridden Sonoma because of track complexity and lack of confidence, but would like to ride it in the future due to distance and convenience. Will learning both a new bike and a technical track like Sonoma potentially detract from my learning absorption/progression?

OPTION #2: L1 and L2 @ Thill on 4/23-4/24.

PRO’s- Guaranteed spots…as of Friday afternoon. BYOBike at a track I’m familiar with (East side only) which avoids the need for me to “learn” to communicate with a new bike and track and hopefully allows me to purely focus on the lessons and higher rate of improvement.
CON’s- potential loss of income. BYOBike (pro and con). Less attractive Students to teacher ratio. Less track time/sessions. No video bike, etc.

Sorry for the rant but any suggestions would be hugely appreciated!

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  • 10 months later...

I hope you got this sorted last year but in case you didn’t or someone has a similar question, I’ll dig in- I know I had one similar and it’s around here on the forum somewhere…so here goes.

You have to decide the financial/time aspect. Distractions like that nagging feeling that you ought to spend your money/ time elsewhere could derail your day. Some people are good at compartmentalization and others not as much- know thyself on that one.

The early part of a CSS day are spent at a sedate pace and the first drill will have you focused on your throttle control, track knowledge helps but isn’t an obstacle in successfully executing the drill. I’m a slow track learner, and as the day goes on, it gets better for me. It still isn’t a hindrance for what my coaches have me working on IN MOST CASES. Fortunately I limit my track variety to just a few and yet I still sometimes feel like the layout is new to me.

The BMW S1000RR feels like a transparent training tool. You (sort-of) forget it’s there after a session or two- IT’S THAT GOOD. It’s just you, your eyes and other senses, the track and the 14 inputs you (can) give to the machine and it propels you through space. I might even describe it as an out of body experience.

If you do 2-days, a good night’s rest is important between. I found that staying trackside is best FOR ME as it eliminates other distractions and keeps me in the environment to soak it all up. When I awake, I can walk to the paddock. This, I found helps with preserving my sense of speed and other senses as driving a car on the road I found interferes with what I do on a bike at the track and I lose some time in the transition. I honestly don’t like driving home after a couple days at the track, so I’m elated my wife often comes with to do the drive home. After an hour or two I can transition back to “normal” life and be her chauffeur again (LoL).

I’ve done two single days as well as 2-day camps and in my experience, the camp is value packed, and in either scenario there is a pro/con and I think as I said above it comes down to know thyself but try them both and see what fits for you for various scenarios because, you WILL come back! I just can’t see anyone doing L1 and never returning except the person who gives up motorcycles altogether.

Lastly, I’ve done a few other organizations’ schools and many of them more and more (I can tell) try to mimick CSS, but they don’t quite get there. CSS is top-notch! I can articulate exactly what’s missing but I’m on my iPhone and this post is already long enough. I’ll just say, MY training dollars go back to CSS.

I get nothing for these words, not even a discount, free swag or cup of coffee (actually all student get free coffee- LoL). These words are mine alone and are genuine.

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