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BMWST Gathering at Blackhawk


David

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Too busy to take pictures, but we had a nice time yesterday. Julie and I were supposed to head up Saturday and spend the weekend with H.S friends, but she was feeling well. So I hung around home Saturday, and headed up by myself on Sunday (600 miles). Then yesterday four of us did a track day together: Kathy Rayburn, Steve Knapp, and Drew (his Triumph riding friend who always comes to El Paseo). Also in attendance was Kathy's brother Bill and Ron B, who rode up.

 

It was a busy day (too busy for me to take pictures), and we didn't see each other much, but judging from the grins on their faces, they were having as much fun as I was.

 

Great to see you all.

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russell_bynum

No pictures?

 

Let me remind you that, your release from the ownership of this forum to go do track days was conditional on you posting lots and lots of pictures from said track days.

 

Don't make me come over there and rough you up.

 

smile.gif

 

Glad everyone had fun. Blackhawk looks like a fun track, and several of the corners have recently been repaved, so the surface there was probably nice and grippy.

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How'd you like the track, David? Is it worth a road trip for us someday?

 

Hopefully some of the others in attendance have pix, or else bought them from the track photog.

 

To the others: I want reports, people!!! How'd you guys like track riding?

 

Kathy, will I see you at Femmoto? grin.gif

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The track photographer was there, but none of them made me look fast, so I didn't waste the money. smile.gif

 

Blackhawk is an awesome track. Just pure fun. Great surface everywhere. A strong rhythm and flow track. On the down side, it's pretty narrow. And you feel like you're in a corn field in Illinois, maybe because you are. tongue.gif To get to the paddock, you CROSS the track. So if you need to leave early, well, you're screwed.

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How'd you like the track, David? Is it worth a road trip for us someday?

 

See above! grin.gif

 

In terms of fun, I liked it better than anything except Barber. It's sort of like Streets, but no banking and entirely flat. You can see through all the turns except one.

 

If you have other reasons to be on the IL/WI line, I'd go for it. You guys could fly out and I could meet you there with the Tuono and V-Strom, and you could do one of those cheap days. They do them frequently for $160. The other track I think you should try is VIR.

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+1 to what Russell says. If I can learn by reading you and Russell's track day accounts, I may actually be....competent on my 1st track day.

All of your rambling about pictures sounded like a bunch of excuses to me!

"So I asked a mechanic if I could borrow a wrench. He said 'No. I'm making soup.' 'What's that got to do with me borrowing a wrench?' 'Nothing, but if I don't want to loan you a wrench, one excuse is as good as another!'"

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russell_bynum

To get to the paddock, you CROSS the track. So if you need to leave early, well, you're screwed.

 

Spring Mountain is like that. They open the track for crossings briefly between sessions.

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+1 to what Russell says. If I can learn by reading you and Russell's track day accounts, I may actually be....competent on my 1st track day.

 

You should set the bar much higher. Russell actually writes a lot better the rides. grin.gif

 

But you did ask for it, so...

 

It was a new track to me. I went because I want to experience new tracks and because I wanted to be part of my three friends getting introduced to this. They did Level 1 and I repeated Level 4, which is a customized program.

 

For the first time I can remember, it was not sold out, so I and one other guy actually had one coach to ourselves: James Toohey. He's great, and I've spent a lot of time on the track with him. I always learn a ton--he not only understands this stuff and practices it, but he's a good teacher. On that note, when everyone greets you by name, you know you've been doing it too much.

 

My times kind of tell the story, so I'll let that be the skeleton. To put this in perspective, this track is 1.95 miles long and the fastest race pace is 1:13-1:16. Each session is 8-11 laps, depending on your pace.

 

Session 1

 

Started with 2:00 on my first lap, and worked my way down to 1:38 by the end of the first session. I was concentrating too much on picking turn-in points without looking at the damn track. James pointed out that it would be easier to find the turn-in points if I knew where the curve was going. Duh.

 

Session 2

 

This session felt much better. I picked up where I left off by turning an immediate 1:49, and finished with a 1:34, a full 14 seconds off the best lap before by learning the track a tad and opening my stupid eyes.

 

Session 3

 

After lunch, I started with a 1:48 and then took it down to 1:31. So some really strong improvement as I fine-tuned things and learned where I could get on the gas early, which corners allowed me to stay wide open, how late I could brake, etc. I told myself in an evil voice that I'd love to get into the 1:20s.

 

Session 4

 

Turned a bunch of laps in the low 1:30s and then did a 1:28. Woohoo. Only 12 seconds off a fast race pace. Best of all, it felt very relaxed. No close calls. No brown moments.

 

Session 5

 

Slowed up a bit to work on better corner entry speeds (I was charging the corners and not able to get on the gas as early), and then put down a bunch of laps between 1:28 and 1:31, just to work on consistency.

 

I was thrilled with the day. thumbsup.gif

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First you draw us in, have us gather around the campfire and......Nothing?

 

I actually went to Summit Point yesterday for the first time in several years. They had WERA on the 2-mile track and a NESBA track day on the 1-mile track. I actually enjoyed hanging out and watching the trackday guys more. They had everthing from Milles to motards.

 

-RickP.

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They had everthing from Milles to motards.

 

Motards are great. Still scoffed at by the "true" track guys, but many of them are getting their asses whipped, so it won't be long before they're completely accepted. They carry more corner speed than many of the fastest sport bikes, and then get lost on the straights. But they are usually good riders with predictable lines.

 

I love sharing the track with them and trading paint.

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russell_bynum

You should set the bar much higher. Russell actually writes a lot better the rides.

 

Ouch!!

 

thumbsup.gif

 

When we did Pahrump, I made the sole focus of my first session picking up reference points. I cheated a bit by grilling Lisa the night before to see what RP's she had used. smile.gif Once I got my RP's down, my laptimes started dropping, without me even having to try to push any other skills. I think that's probably the most important thing to get...if you've got RP's, then you have a solid plan for what you're doing. And if you've got a good plan, and you're just kicking off identical laps, then it is really easy to start playing with other variables like late braking or getting on the gas sooner, or whatever. If you don't have enough good RP's, then you're still feeling your way around the track, and that's using attention and focus that you could be using to improve your skills.

 

We've got three days coming up next month at two different tracks...both brand new tracks to us (Buttonwillow and Reno Fernley), and I'm really looking forward to focusing on RP's again to really learn the track before I ever start trying to work any other skills.

 

Fernley is a really long track with 40 turns (or something like that), so I imagine it'll take a while to really learn it.

 

James is a great instructor. He's got a real knack for helping you quickly get to the root of your problem, and showing you a solution.

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James is a great instructor. He's got a real knack for helping you quickly get to the root of your problem, and showing you a solution.

 

He's also honest, like after the first session where he pretty much told me I sucked. And it was no excuse to him that it was a new track. smile.gif

 

They're holding their two day intense course there later this week. For the second day, they reverse the course direction by moving a few air fences. James says that keeps everyone humble--they've learned one track well and now get to learn a new one.

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russell_bynum

He's also honest, like after the first session where he pretty much told me I sucked. And it was no excuse to him that it was a new track.

 

Yeah, but he also knows when to be gentle. He was Lisa's instructor for Level 1, and she was about as emotionally fragile as a person could be at that point (very nervous about being there). He was awesome with her and really helped her get some confidence and build her skills.

 

But when he deals with idiots like you and me, he just wacks us over the head with a big stick and tells us we suck. grin.gif

 

Who was your liason?

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Yeah, but he also knows when to be gentle. He was Lisa's instructor for Level 1, and she was about as emotionally fragile as a person could be at that point (very nervous about being there). He was awesome with her and really helped her get some confidence and build her skills.

 

I was going to say, "why yes, James IS honest, and he's never told me I suck, so..." grin.gif

 

(I think he was just being nice!)

 

I've had James for levels 1, 2 and 4, and I always tease that he's stuck with me again! dopeslap.gif He's great though; I really like his instruction.

 

I had Misty for a level 4 liason; she was really good with that, and I'd be interested in having her for an on track coach as well.

 

Oh heck, they all do a great job! thumbsup.gif

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Thank you David for getting putting the bug in my ear about getting to the track. It was wonderful to spend some time with David, Knappy, Ron and Drew and ofcourse my brother. Bill was hanging out the the corner people and he had a ball. Thank you Lisa and everyone who've ever talked up track days! (ok...starting to go Sally Field on you all)

 

Oh my God that was so much freaking fun! I had LONNIE as a coach and he was terrific! He was very enthusiastic and, well, you know that kind of speaks my language. grin.gif

 

I never really felt nervous except when I first walked towards the bike thinking "What the hexx did you get yourself into this time? dopeslap.gif ". As soon as I got in 1st I was in heaven. 4th was even better. thumbsup.gif

 

The Code method worked extremely well for me. I improved steadily until I was going fast enough to actually pass someone grin.gif and on the next lap got so full of myself I entered a corner (warm for most) too hot for my sorry self and opted to bail off into the grass. LONNIE was right behind me and for the first time he was disappointed in me crazy.gif. But he understood my reasoning for bailing, but firmly said "Just don't ever touch the back brake in the corner again". ooo.gif

 

I wish I could do a track day every month. What an absolute BLAST!!!

 

I do have one picture of Baker and 2 of myself that my brother Bill took for me. Sorry Steve and Drew you guys must have been too fast. wink.gif I also bought one of the professional shots, as it made me look so fast you wouldn't recognize me but for the familiar bulky First Gear outfit and the tacky orange "Do Not Remove Helmet - Wait for EMT" stickers on my helmet. Oh yeah, and there is that checkboard skunk pattern ala Fernando's reflective stickers. As usual I was a biker fashion nightmare.

 

I know I've said this before, but I'll get the pics up this week.

 

Sorry I haven't got much time right now to type, due to company in town all week. Road a bicycle all day today and actually that was much harder on me. grin.gif

 

LISA - I very sorry to say that I can't do Femoto that 1st week of Oct. I'm currently 1.5 hours from Blackhawk so if you need the 2nd reason to get here I volunteer to be IT. smile.gif

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A friend who was along on the Ely trip, Rich Zebrowski, was in attendance on his SV1000 as well.

 

We just got back from the run home. David giggled when I leaned him side to side and made "vroom vroom" noises. His T-shirt is MUCH too large. frown.gif

 

Lots of discussion on the ride back. Pros and cons of Code. How Drew feels on the bike after the accident at El Paseo.

 

The track was better than I expected, a few friends had commented on it poorly a few years back. There was a water pipe than ran across turn 4, I overheard that they've repaved it, but there is a bump that I found by accident a few times, then later ID'ed. My right peg feeler fell victim to this. The left touched down on 6 once.

 

I had fun. I learned a lot. I worked with Paul, and requested him for day two. Level1 kept us VERY busy, I'm sorry I didn't get to spend more time chatting with everyone there. The activity level on day two was quit a bit slower, we had plenty of time to relax between sessions. Maybe it was the newness of the track time wearing off, but Level2 wasn't quite as engaging as Level1.

 

I did well, but my lap times didn't quite reflect that, maybe a second or two between Level1 and 2. I was holding back on the straights to avoid getting caught up in traffic. Got into 1:44 a few laps. Had a few laps that were just amazing. Quite a few people were impressed with the way I hussled the "GS" around the track.

 

One thing I must say, "Riding Smart" was really effective training. Code spent quite a bit of time driving home big concepts that I had already picked up from RS.

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I'm getting a little misty eyed at the accomplishments of the 'ol Crew - good on ya, yins, yous. thumbsup.gif

 

(This thread is absolutely worthless without pics. Had to be said. tongue.gif)

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russell_bynum

Steve,

I worked with Paul the last time I did Level 4. He had some great things to say and really helped me with some body position/transition issues.

 

One thing that really stuck out for me from that day, was about the 4th session I was sitting in front of Paul's bike waiting for him to finish with another studen't debriefing so I could get mine. I glanced at his front tire, and there was still a generous chicken strip. He'd been running circles around me easily, and my tires were burned all the way up to the edge, so that really brought home the importance of body position.

 

Anyway...

 

The skills in Level 2 are tremendously important, but they're not nearly as finite and easy to comprehend as the Level 1 stuff. Level one stuff is all very physical...push here, twist that, turn there, etc. Level 2 is almost all visual/mental skills that took me a long time to start figuring out.

 

Level 3 gets back to physical skills that really give you some immediate payoff.

 

And if you can put all the skills together at the same time, your name is Valentino Rossi. smile.gif

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Lone_RT_rider
I'm getting a little misty eyed at the accomplishments of the 'ol Crew - good on ya, yins, yous. thumbsup.gif

 

(This thread is absolutely worthless without pics. Had to be said. tongue.gif)

 

Pics?...LOL.....Kathy....what can I say....AWESOME JOB! I have not done a track day yet and have no plans to for a long time so its great to see things like this. Give the Knapps, Ron, EB and the rest of the Chi-town crew a hug for me. I will give one to Jake for you next month when I see him in Alabama. smile.gif

 

Shawn

 

P.S. Kathy, I got to drive a Z-4 coupe the other day. grin.gifthumbsup.gif

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No pictures?

 

 

I tried to get some action shots of the gang, but my numb finger could not work the shutter without a hesitation that spoiled the pic, so I finally gave up.

 

I did manage to get a couple of pictures of Kathy between riding sessions, doing exercises on the funny bike with the handles.

 

I should have taken a pic of the grin Kathy had on her face all day long. All the riders had fun, but paperbutt looked like the proverbial cat who ate the canary.

 

 

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Oh my God that was so much freaking fun!

 

clap.gifclap.gifclap.gif

 

I knew you'd have fun. It's so nice to be able to learn the skills in a pretty safe environment, and get feedback on how you're doing, etc. And passing someone while doing your first level?? YAY!! cool.gif Passing is a real challenge for me. They have to be a lot slower than me before I'll pass. Something I need to work on, but there are so many other things to work on first! smirk.gif

 

I had LONNIE as a coach and he was terrific! He was very enthusiastic and, well, you know that kind of speaks my language.

 

I've never had Lonnie as a coach, but he does look fun.

 

"Just don't ever touch the back brake in the corner again".

 

Guilty of this myself. I got my lecture while riding the steering bike. They were very nice, just explained to me why the back brake isn't my best option.

 

LISA - I very sorry to say that I can't do Femoto that 1st week of Oct. I'm currently 1.5 hours from Blackhawk so if you need the 2nd reason to get here I volunteer to be IT

 

BUMMER!! You would have such a blast. Track riding with a bunch of fun, fearless females! (and you can pick a variety of different bikes to try) Oh well. Russell and I will definitely have to try Blackhawk one of these days.

 

Glad you had fun! thumbsup.gif

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The skills in Level 2 are tremendously important, but they're not nearly as finite and easy to comprehend as the Level 1 stuff. Level one stuff is all very physical...push here, twist that, turn there, etc. Level 2 is almost all visual/mental skills that took me a long time to start figuring out.

 

I didn't find it that tough to comprehend. To implement sure, it's tough. In general (1&2), there were a lot of skills I knew of but needed to work on. Honestly Riding Smart and reading various books (including Code's) put these things on my radar. I found some of the earlier sessions in Level 2 which were trying to lead you to the later skills a bit tough as well, as they were forcing me to fight against the skills I had developed. Now if they were bad habits, that would have been fine, but in the cases that they were good habits it was frustrating.

 

If the same was happening in Level 1 I wouldn't have noticed it, masked by the new-ness of being on the track.

 

For example the "2-step" was helpful, got me turning in a lot sooner. BUT I wasn't focusing on the apex, I was using "wide view" (a later concept)still, but just changing how I worked with that info. Since I turned my head But "3-step" was pushing more towards target fixation. The next exercise, "wide view" felt more normal.

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russell_bynum

For example the "2-step" was helpful, got me turning in a lot sooner. BUT I wasn't focusing on the apex, I was using "wide view" (a later concept)still, but just changing how I worked with that info. Since I turned my head But "3-step" was pushing more towards target fixation. The next exercise, "wide view" felt more normal.

 

Right...I think that's typical.

 

3-step used to be called "vanishing point", (Code's curriculum is always evolving a bit) and I think it was even more prone towards causing target fixation. That drill is inherently flawed on its own, which is why it is immediately followed by "Wide View".

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That drill is inherently flawed on its own, which is why it is immediately followed by "Wide View".

 

Exactly. If they started it with the goal, then worked on getting there?

 

Drew had some misunderstandings on the reference point drill, there were some spots in each corner painted on the track (white, about 3" diameter) that were like a cookie crumb for a line through the corner. I noticed them on the practice lap. He asked his coach if *they* were the RP's he was to pick up on, and was told "yes". He spent a session trying to find these things and follow them. They were faded and hard to spot drove him NUTS. We got him cleared up on that, but it left him frustrated.

 

I did get pretty confident, but passing was still tough for me, espically the folks who had low entry speeds but went WOT on the exit to make up for it (*grrr*). I did start passing people on the straights when they were starting to slow for the first turn, I'd fly by, then diving into the brakes and dart into turn one. Seemed to work well, I was concerned that my corner speeds would be too slow for them, AKA pass someone to go slow, but eventually got over that.

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Steve, I've been following your discussion in here with Russell. And thanks for the kind remarks about RidingSmart. I'm working on the second module now: "Reading Roads."

 

For me, Level 1 was great. Everything new, lots of improvements to make. Level 2 was just incremental. Level 3 was the best. It brought everything together and finally they dropped the artifical "ignoring" of body position. They are so determined to teach fundamental control that they want no confusion. And Ricky Racer always wants to hang off--never mind that the rest of his technique sucks. That's the reason. Another reason Level 3 is the best is because it's always the smallest class since you don't repeeat it like Level 4, and not many people make it that far.

 

Level 4 is just what you make of it. You tend to get the very best Level 4 liaison (otherwise known as the teacher). And you get a lot of on-track coach observation. I probably did 10-12 full laps with James.

 

I admire you for doing this. I know you had some questions about it, and there's always the issue of the cost, but I really think you did the right thing. Having ridden with you a fair amount, I've always admired how actively you control the motorcycle, how you ride within your own limits, and how changing conditions don't spook you. And to put down a 1:44 in your first track day on a new track? Well, that's pretty darn good.

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David, thanks for the kind words.

 

I'm planning on L3 at Barber next year. Might fly down and use their bike to save time, we'll see as the day gets closer. I might also snag some track time from another route just to practice. Hard to say, but I CAN tell you that the few turns on my way to work aren't cutting it.

 

I was going to say "Barber, next time they offer it" but I see that they'll be back down there in a couple weeks. dopeslap.gif

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Francois_Dumas

Just returned from a trip to the Alps and trying to 'catch up'. Sounds you had a GREAT time there Kathy !! thumbsup.gif

 

Francois

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Well, here are the pictures that Kathy promised:

 

 

Ahh, the art of the (green) motorcycle.

 

730495-IMG_0207.jpg

 

Level 1 in staging area. 16-Kathy; Gray Stich-Steve; Black SV- Steve’s friend Rich Zebrowski.

 

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Some Guy on a Tuono.

 

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Some Guy on a Tuono getting dangerously close to scuffing up a perfectly good puck.

 

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Zoom....So fast, an ordinary camera can’t catch her.

 

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Well, sometimes anyway.

 

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Bye-Bye.

 

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Nice pic of youknowhu taken by professionalpicturetakinguy.

 

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Yay Kathy! You look GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and one more "!" for good measure!)

 

Wish we could have been there! cool.gif

 

Oh, and whoever captured the pic of all the school bikes...I like it! Cool shot! thumbsup.gif Should be used in Kawi marketing literature!

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Thanks Ron for posting my brother's shots along with the art shot of the bikes by YOU.

 

Paul - I'm as shocked as you are grin.gif

 

I sure wish I'd done this a LONG time ago. It was much easier than I'd imagined. More fun than I'd imagined. I can see why some folks only ride track. It's perfection. As soon as I took off it was the first time I've ever ridden that I didn't have to put my attention to the road surface, at least to the level I do on the open road. So little danger for me in corners. I realized that much of my caution has been in anticipation unseen of sand, gravel, road snot and it wasn't only just me that was afraid to lean. I am just TOO cautions of my ablity to go in and ride the debris in the corner well. Also on this track you can see the whole corner for the most part. Add that to *doing it over and over and over* and there's the joy. The feeling of improving lap after lap, session after session, is something that's harder to feel as easily on the streets for me. I could easily become a track junkie.

 

I worked to eliminate the thought of where anyone was behind me. I figured that since the bike had no mirrors that it was my job to ignore what was behind me. I also tried to be consistant in my line while integrating the instructions from the previous class session. I tried to keep my straightaway speed in proportion with my corner speed, so as not to rubber band. This allowed faster folks the knowledge that they could get past me on the next straight. At least that is what I hoped. There was little time to talk to anyone. After each riding session I was with LONNIE to review and then into class. Then time to pop salt and potassium tablets and water, jump around like a kid and then boom it was time to get back on bike!

 

Level One

 

Drill #1 Throttle Control

4th Gear no Braking

Easy to learn a rhythm. Reinforced the instruction that this was not a race. It was all about control. I never passed anyone. tongue.gif

 

Drill #2 Turn Points

Big yellow X's mark the turn in point for the corner. One Gear, No Brakes, but Two Gears allowed.

Yes, the X's made me feel like I was making huge progress. That was such a help, as you can imagine. These steps made it easy to build confidence which allowed me to relax and just ride.

 

Drill #3 Quick Turning

Two gears with gentle braking allowed

My brother later said only 2 or 3 people on the track were doing this properly. And there I was thinking "Wow I'm doing this!" grin.gif (Yeah I thought I was leaning too !) crazy.gif

 

Drill #4 Rider Input

Three gears - light braking allowed or stick with earlier formats if they are working.

This was all about not being "busy" in the turn. I learned a great deal in this session. And by now each of the sessions were in my head and I made every effort to keep focused on all that I'd learned. It was building blocks, but easy for me to build one on the other. I had decided that I liked the Code method.

 

I think I passed someone between these two drills and ran off the road soon thereafter, due to my forgetting which corner I was approaching. I was still grinning as I bounced the bike gently across the grass, riding quietly back onto the track. LONNIE pointed at his butt and I followed him in for the yack with he and the fellow who determines if you are going back out. I think since I didn't come off the bike, I was smiling and happy and understood what I did wrong and what I did right - they let me back on. That was the closest I got to seeing the skin piercings on LONNIES face. (He's the only person I've ever met who looked GREAT with face jewelry! thumbsup.gif )

 

Drill #5 Two Step Turning

Full Gears and Brakes or stick with what's working.

See the X in the road, before you get to it look into corner and pick where you want to be at the middle of the corner and without looking back to the track Quick Turn at the X. In the class all this sounded like my downfall, but when I got on the track it was fun and it worked. Amazing.

 

Shawn, I drove home rather fast blush.gifgrin.gif

 

Lisa you were a huge influence - THANK YOU LISA! thumbsup.gifclap.gif

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THANK YOU LISA!

 

Right back at you, PB! If not for you and Laney's excellent adventure so many years ago, I might have given up this riding thing. But after reading about your travels, I just knew I wanted to keep going and getting better at it so I could have adventures like that too!

 

Then I discovered and fell in love with track riding, so I've been spreading the love about that. Glad you enjoyed it too! thumbsup.gif

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russell_bynum

That was the closest I got to seeing the skin piercings on LONNIES face. (He's the only person I've ever met who looked GREAT with face jewelry!

 

LOL!!!

 

I think Lonnie's appearance intimidates lots of people, but he's a real nice guy and a good instructor.

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