Freakin out: the Track – Part III

Driving to the track

On our way to the track, watching the sun rise. What a glorious day! All the freakin out has been freaked out, now it’s just enjoyment. I’m still wrestling with a fog in my head through some coffee and trying to seem excited by nervously chatting with buddy. Neither of us should be on the road, we’re not awake yet. After 45 minutes of driving we spot another truck with a trailer. And then another, and then another. Trucks, cars, vans of all shapes and sizes, with motos in the bag, and bleary eyed, coffee pounding folks behind the wheel.

25mph, are you kidding? Just kidding!

We’re sitting there in the cab at 70mph, looking at all the other people heading to the track. Buddy and I look at one another and all of a sudden any fog that was there has been burned up! We’re chatting away about this and that, tires, the track, how warm it’s going to be, have we remembered everything, what do you think it’s going to be like, who else is going to be there. Hyper drive just kicked in.

A trailer train with pressure a buildin'

We almost start racing another truck and trailer to the track, but after they backed off and showed a good example of proper to-track commuting ettiquette, we decided we better represent accordingly and pulled in nicely behind them, like good little ducklings. Yea, going fast is in the air!

I was mesmerized by our shadow for quite a while

Anyway, our row of ducks get to the track, we get admitted, and it’s a scramble. Scramble for a pit, scramble to get everything unloaded so we can get the bikes to tech, scramble to get to the classroom, and then signed up for my session, etc, etc. I keep drinking water. Not because I’m thirsty, and not because they told me that if I think I’m drinking enough water, I’m not, but because I’m nervous, I need something to do.

At the end of class (1 hour) I’m ready to go burn a hole in the track but I have to wait 40 minutes for intermediate and expert to have their fun. A good thing to, otherwise I would’ve found out how fast the bike can go on it’s plastics….

I meet up with my teacher and we go over a few things – track protocol, where to be, where not to be. We head out, and it’s abysmally slow! Teacher’s lines are stupid wide, and this isn’t fun. As we pull back into the pits, and I’m chugging water I think to myself – I didn’t come out here to suffer, I didn’t pay money to suffer, why should I be suffering?

I’m required to take the class, being my first time on a proper track, and this dude is a bad ass racer. OK, OK, it’s time for me to just shut up, listen, and do what I’m told. Second session is also boring, but I’m trying really hard to follow in his lines. The quicker I get it, the quicker I get to go play. Third session is better, now with added body position and I decide to sit right on his butt! That did the trick, before he had time to complete the corner my wheels were perfectly lined up with his. And then came more speed. Oh it was glorious! Fourth session was mostly about body position. He told me, once I scrape a knee I don’t have to worry about staying with him anymore, because anything else at that point would be irrelevant. He was right. My world switched around.

Bingo! lo-rez proof from OnTheMarcPhotography

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dragged knee before. A touch here and there, but not like this. I had my knee locked onto the pavement for a solid 3-5 second depending on the ground. That felt great! My perception also opened up. I realized how much faster I can go.

Caressing the asphalt with my knee

Again! More sensual action!

Lunch: Jason DeSalvo had a Q and A, and shared some stories, but I had so much to remember, corner entry speeds, turn in points, lines, body position that I didn’t want to sabotage my hard earned traning, so I opted to shoot the shit with friends instead.

Afternoon, no-tranining sessions, so we’re still split up beginner, intermediate, expert, but within each session it’s open. No instructors, just do your thing. Thoroughly enjoying the corner speed, and I actually pass a few folks on THE OUTSIDE of a turn, quite comfortably. I stuff a few bigger bikes into the corners, because it’s the only way I can get around them. They give it all the beans on the straights, and my 250 is left in the dust, and then park it in the corner. I’m going slow down the straights, I don’t also want to go slow in the corners….

OK, so body position is abysmal, but check it out - kick stand, toe and knee....

After 2 afternoon sessions I feel a headache coming on, and my legs are starting to shake. It’s time to throw in the towel buddy boy, wrecking is expensive. That’s where I pull the most mature move I think I’ve ever done in my entire life, and say: “I’m done with this, for today”. I get out of my leathers and start packing up.

Just plain hot. I've never sweat so much in my life!

On the way home I pass out and am unable to show the right exit to buddy to get back to my house. Consequently buddy has the longest slash of his life when he comes to my house – at least that’s what he told me, I was unpacking.

What a day! I wish I could do it all over again, now with the new knowledge and experience I have. I have a feeling that the 3rd time I go to HPR will the first time I truly enjoy it! I will be comfortable enough to not just drag knee, but toe and hopefully elbow as well! And then I get to play with the tire’s grip for fun. I can’t wait to go again, but for now, I have to live cheap and focus, this addiction aint cheap!

Note on the freaking: I have no idea why I was freaking out. I blame it on my ADHD, and since I’ve found myself getting to that point, so I go exercise and work it off. I have to say, it’s a good thing when childhood ailments start bothering you again. I must be getting closer and closer to making life feel like I was 5 again, what a rush!

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About Dandooligan

Dandooligan CO, United States Every ride spurs the yearning for another and as such, has pushed me to adopt the riding lifestyle and all of it's challenges. This blog concerns those challenges from bikes to gear, media about bikes, and maybe even some psychology/sociology on the subject as well. Dandooligan, a mash-up of Dandy and Hooligan, both very important parts of me and my outlook on life. I'm also known as Spooph

5 comments

  1. Marianne

    As you now know, the teacher’s lines are wide because they are trying to get you into the habit of the proper line when you get super fast. I agree that it seems wide at first, it seemed wide to me at first as well, but as my speeds have increased so has my line. I’m still not super fast, so I can afford to go tighter, but when I do drop a bit more seconds, I will be using that full track. That being said, it does seem odd at first and I have a hard time adhering to the wide line myself to this day (fastest route from point a to point b). For instance, at the Vegas race, I did need all the track. But two years ago it wasn’t necessary. It’s just a habit learning tool.

    Dragging knee on the first day! Awesome!! Good for you!! It took me forever, I had to go through a lot of set up changes and confidence builders before I finally did. But I remember being elated!! I thought “WTF!!!” at first but it was far better than scraping hard parts as I had been doing. Lol!

    Sounds like you had an awesome time!! Now you are addicted. Next step, you will budget every other aspect of your life to afford trackdays πŸ˜‰ and the street will get boring. πŸ˜‰

    • Sha, for sure! Thanks for the comment! Also, I’m finding the street to be enjoyable in a completely different way! I’m thinking within the next few years to get a big super sport for the track, and a bit of a cafe or cruiser for the street. You are right though, the street on a super sport isn’t worth it… Which is why I have my 250 “sport”… πŸ˜›

  2. Dan

    You are too modest (kinda hard to believe when I read your posts) but I was there at the track that day and riding with you. You really have some talent and I hope you get a chance to develop it and compete with the riders in the 250 Competition Cup the MRA has organized. I think you’d like it. BTW I have a transponder you can borrow. The track record for the 250 class is 2:10 and change. But don’t get too far ahead of yourself with all this praise. You’ll definitely get better if you keep doing it. Number one rule: don’t fall down. Best.

  3. Marianne pretty much said it. Welcome to the addiction. πŸ˜‰ Oh, BTW, as a chick on a liter bike I must say I felt slightly offended. LOL Nah, not really. I pretty much park on the straights and haul massive lean around corners. I pass in the corners, inside or outside, I don’t care. Hey, you’d probably would be passing me on the longer straight stretches. πŸ˜‰ If you start racing, god help your bank account. You think it’s bad now. Hehehehe… Track days are just the gateway drug… now you’re hooked… start saving for tire warmers, genny, and instead of a Christmas savings account you’ll have a Tire Fund. =D The faster you get the more expensive it gets. And one can never be fast enough. I wish they would have told me… *dies laughing*

    Kudos to you. BTW, your body position isn’t abysmal… just ask Marianne. πŸ˜‰ You’ll tweak that as you go. We all hang off a little differently, really there is no real wrong or right as long as you accomplish what it’s designed to do: lower the combined CoG without upsetting the bike, so you can reduce the required lean angle for the same corner at the same speed, meaning you get to go faster before dragging bike parts.

    Buy a cam, we want video! =D

  4. Blaze

    Hehe at least you made it into work after. Your buddy “was sick”. I so can’t wait to be out on the track with you guys.

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