Have you ever watched Valentino and his buddies winding their way around a track and wondered if you could do the same thing?
Have you ever watched Valentino and his buddies winding their way around a track and thought piece of piss, I could do that?
If you have ever done any of those things then let me tell you a little secret, you can’t. I also know you are never going to believe me, or anyone else, until you try and to try you have to get on the track. Best and cheapest way to do that is of course a track day and loads has been written about them, most of it true but it is still a subject worth revisiting.
Much more likely
Whatever bike you ride, whether you think you are a riding deity or a complete chicken in the corners you should do a track day. Riding gods will find out that they are not and the same goes for the chickens, there is always going to be someone faster than you and there will probably be someone slower. If it is your first time and but you think you are fast as fuck I would suggest talking to the organizers and asking if you can go out with the novices a few times but have the possibility to change groups if you wish. Most will say “yes” because it makes sense from a safety point of view. If you are one of the slow crowd then don’t worry either, take your time, learn what you can do and push it just a little so you learn that you can do a bit more. Most of all, for everyone, make it fun for yourself by taking the stress out of the equation, there is no one going to tell you that you are crap and should get off the track. The very fact you are there proves that you have the balls to do it and so 90% of peeps there will only be too happy to help with advice, if you ask them.
In one ear and out of the other!
And that is another great thing about tracks days, the people there are just bikers like you and me and everyone is there to enjoy themselves. A huge part of that enjoyment is having a good chin wag, so don’t be afraid to say hello to the people beside you, find out what experience they have and then pick their brains.
I guess having done a few myself I am one of the people whose brains you might want to pick and so here is my one bit of advice, that I think is possibly the most important…quit while you are ahead! During the day you will get better and better at riding your bike, you will also get tired, both physically and mentally. These two combined can be a problem, the confidence that you build can lead, with the mental fatigue, to a false sense of security and that combined with tiredness can lead to disaster. You are going to feel elated each time you finish a session, that is normal, and in the next session you will be faster because you are using what you have previously learned. However, as the morning turns into afternoon, and that in turn goes to late afternoon just step back from it all for a few minutes and seriously think about how you are feeling. Do you really feel that you are in the right place to be going out again and trying to beat your own lap record or overtake that guy you nearly got last time? Maybe it would be best to just realize that you have peaked for the day and call it quits while everything, including you, is all in one piece? Think about it, and listen to your heart and your mind, and don’t be ashamed to stop. Learning when you have reached your limits and acting on that is a sign that you have really learned something that will be of use anyplace and anytime. There is always next time, because having done it once you will be back; and when you do come back you will be a faster better rider than the one that is leaving the track now…that is certain.