9/24/06

Dragging hard parts....

I had been looking forward to yesterday's events for a very long time. Riding on the track had been an unrealized dream for over two years. By working a full day for RideSmart at Texas World Speedway on 9/4, I was able to enjoy it at no cost. Closed course instruction, track time, making new friends, and initiating new addictions.

In order to get up to College Station with enough time to unload the bikes and prep, Frank was at my house shortly after 4am and we had the bikes loaded and on the road just after 5 (and a very large welt on the side of my leg from the bracket that stick out of the trailer - it can't be seen when the sun isn't even up yet!). We hit a snag when all traffic was diverted off 290. We realized we'd be running late, but we called Moe and Charles to hold us a spot near them in the paddock.

Once there, we unloaded and were set up in no time. A quick run through tech inspection to earn my green dots (and a video camera in my face asking me stuff for a DVD they're making?), and it was time to suit up for the pre-ride meeting; rules, regulations, and reminders.

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Twenty minutes of class talk later, and I was mounting my steed and heading to the staging area for the round robin. Each instructor lead a group of 6 or 7 riders combined from group 1 and group 2. Each rider got one full lap directly behind the instructor to learn the "lines". It was done at a moderate pace, but it felt pretty fast the first time or two around. I scraped both my left and right peg feelers (something that happens infrequently for me during street riding) before we were called back into the pit.

Ok, so the first session after the round robin, I scraped so hard and for so long through turn 10 (the horseshoe) that I decided I'd drifted wide enough that I'd stand it up and ride off into the dirt. It annoyed me to no end that I had a run-off, but my excuse was "It's a Strom! It wants to play in the dirt!" I slowed it down and kept straight through the dirt, did a quick mental check, then got myself safely back on the tarmac.

When we went into the classroom my first concern was to learn to lean farther off because I obviously didn't have any more lean angle left on the bike - the rest of the leaning had to come from me. I started learning to hang off, but it still just wasn't enough to get me around turn 10. I continued to scrape all the way through the rest of the morning sessions.

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During lunch, Charles and Frank agreed that I should take the feelers off my pegs to give me a little more clearance. That, combined with even more leaning off the bike, and I was scraping less but still scraping. The bottom of my peg is now a "badge of honor". I was hanging so far off the bike that by the last session, I was dangling my outside leg. The instructors recommended I pump the rear preload up as high as it would go, and it helped but turn 10 just wasn't made for a bike as un-sport as the Strom. I almost got Moe to let me take his Raven out for a lap or two...

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Now only 24 hours later, and I'm sore. Mostly in my quads and calves. The second half of the day was sooooo much better for me, but I've noticed that on local rides too. Maybe I just need a good meal in me to relax?

A big thanks to everyone that helped and encouraged me.

Kent - the suit was flawless. Want to sell it?
Frank - you can be my bike chauffer any day!
Charles & Moe - Thanks for holding us a spot in the paddock and helping out with tires & stuff. It sure helps to have you mevchanical guys around.
Deb, Curt & Adam - Thanks for coming out and watching/supporting me!

When do we go again?!?!?!

2 comments:

Brently said...

U looked great out there. I followed u a bit through the shoe all the way to the front stretch. Thats when I passed and waved thumbs up and pinned 160 on my bike. Weeeeeee wassa matta u didnt like me interviewing you for the DVD LMAO. See ya next go round!

Gamba said...

hey was looking for some pics from the day and saw your blog, I actualy spoke to you at the end of the day, I was standing with dave at pit out when you almost wanted to go out with level 4. glad to see you enjoyed your first day. welcome to the drug. I started with ridesmart last year and now I'm racing,(you think track days cost) but keep it up, next thing you know you'll be in shiny leathers draging knees and pasing up the inside on some superbike :-)

Gamba
Cmra #230