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Stuck...no Improvement...


iceman
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hi all,

 

i'm doing now nearly three years track days on a regular base...i followed nearly all classes available here (belgium) and now i'm at a point where i feel i can't improve...(although there's plenty to improve i think)...

 

my lap times are stable...not dropping anymore...

 

hard to explain the problem...i know i can go faster...but i'm unsure of what to do...

 

taking more lessons ? try to follow the quicker riders ? experiment ? change equipment ? ...

 

any ideas are more then welcome !!!

 

thx

werner

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Hey iceman,

 

It is difficult to make specific recommendations without knowing more about your level of riding and equipment. So, this may seem quite general or obvious.

 

An advanced school will always be the most efficient method of gaining more insight into your own riding as the instructor's goal is to help you do just that.

 

I have found that following quicker riders can help show just what part of the track you are slower on if it is just one or two spots. As an improvement technique it is limited by how long you can stay in touch with the faster rider. If the faster rider is more than a few tenths of a second per lap faster than you, you will be out of touch in just a lap or two. And once you match a close rider, you will need to find a new one to follow.

 

Also, a cautionary note, attemping to follow a significantly faster rider can lead to getting sucked in over your head. Especially for more novice riders who aren't quite clear on their limits, yet.

 

It would seem more efficient to ask a faster rider to follow you for a single lap and communicate specifically where you are holding them up. Of course, again, if there is a significant difference between you, you will be holding them up everywhere and it may be difficult for them to discern specifics.

 

So, while both of these methods are valid for riding trackdays, both have inherent limits. And while asking a faster rider for a single lap critique seems the quickest route to knowing "where" you are slower, it might not help you to know "why" you are slower than they are.

 

Another method that can accomplish the "where" is an assistant to use a stop watch to conduct "section timing". That is timing between specific points on the track within a single lap. One way to break it down might be the twisty, technical or slower sections vs the faster flowing sections for more specific data. But arbitrary sections can lead to the "where" and provide a starting point for further analysis.

 

Experimenting based on a plan is a good thing. But it is difficult to make a plan without knowing just where you are now. Like planning a roadtrip, you can't get to "there" without knowing where "here" is. Awareness of "where" you are now (what you are doing now) is needed to for a starting point because you can't change what you are doing now if you don't know what you are doing now. Using techniques like closing your eyes and running a lap in your head with a stop watch will tell you just how aware you are now of what you are doing now. If the laptime in your mind is far off the real laptime, there is probably someplace or something you aren't clear about on track.

 

Plans: it helps to have a road map from which to make a plan. I assume since you are on this site that you have read at least one of Keith Code's books. If you haven't, that would be a really good place to start. Keith has also posted comprehensive articles on this site about rider improvement and barriers to improvement.

 

A note about blind experimentation: It can help, but, like arbitrarily trying this road or that, or trusting the man on the corner to give good directions, it is infinitely slower than a good map, a good navigator and a well plotted course.

 

Equipment: while a faster bike may turn faster laptimes, it doesn't improve your riding. Whatever type or age of your machine, learning to keep it in the best condition and state of tune will avoid any mechanical flaw from holding YOU back.

 

Of course, if one is riding an outdated model, one can't use other riders on newer or faster machinery for comparison. But that is what racing is for anyway. Comparison. If comparing yourself to other riders is important, then perhaps some club racing is in order.

 

Warning: racing can be habit forming. But you will go faster. There is nothing like the feeling of being passed to light a fire or provide impetus to twist the wrist a bit more. :P

 

Good luck,

R

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I was at Brno Circuit for trackdays this fall and saw a old guy on a really outdated bike beat one of the youngsters who i riding in Italian 600 cup! It was only a 7 lap race but when Fred (the fast german guy) went into the first corner after the straight the young cup rider was just coming into the straight! It was fantastic! ;-) Having top of the line gear can never replace experience (Fred is about 50 I would guess, but have been racing forever). There is no better feeling than overtaking them around the corners ... nevermind them blowing past when it goes straight, if you can pass them in the corners you're holding on to the right end of the rope! :ph34r:

 

 

 

 

Equipment: while a faster bike may turn faster laptimes, it doesn't improve your riding. Whatever type or age of your machine, learning to keep it in the best condition and state of tune will avoid any mechanical flaw from holding YOU back.

 

Of course, if one is riding an outdated model, one can't use other riders on newer or faster machinery for comparison. But that is what racing is for anyway. Comparison. If comparing yourself to other riders is important, then perhaps some club racing is in order.

 

Warning: racing can be habit forming. But you will go faster. There is nothing like the feeling of being passed to light a fire or provide impetus to twist the wrist a bit more. :P

 

Good luck,

R

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