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769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This weekend at The Streets of Willow Springs with Keith Code's
CA Superbike School was a blast - learned some, that's the good
part; got very frustrated because I couldn't get something very
basic. As usual, the instructors were great and I met some good
people. Weather: chilly in the morning and was warm and sunny
by the time we started riding but not too hot in leather.

Day one:
It was my first time at this track. So I had to "figure out"
the track first - this was an opportunity to test my visual
skills - figure out entry speed, turn point, how much lean
angle to use, apex - if I couldn't figure out all that, forget
about going at a pace where I can pick up where I left off a few
days ago (body position/hang off). It took me 3 riding sessions
to begin riding like I did at Sears. What can I say, I'm slow.
Visual skills had been one of my weak areas so it was good to
refresh. Note to self: approach every turn from outside (this
allows me to see as much of the turn as possible and to determine
turn point), then inside (apex, where I want to be at mid turn),
then outside (at exit). I forgot this simple general rule.
Still with outside-inside-outside, I may have to test and adjust
for the optimal turn point, apex, line and speed at later laps -
not going to have this dialed in at one/first go. So this is
different from street riding - on a new road, we go over it
once so we have to be mostly right at first go. At the track,
we can take as many laps as we need to dial it in.

The Streets of Willow is a slower track than Sears - the course
is not real wide, not narrow either, and has lots of tight turns
and two long straights. This means navigating through traffic
requires good visuals, change lines, and timing of doing
everything else correctly.

We had several crashes in the morning all in my group. We got
a serious talk about riding within our limits. Someone passed
me too close in mid turn - all I can think was just keep steady
and keep my line - it was close but he didn't touch my bike so
I'm fine - then I was mad and was going to have a "talk" with
him. Before I finished all that in my head, I saw the same
move done to the rider in front of me. Next an instructor
zoomed by and pull the a**hole off the track. I had another
guy passed me close and apologized later but that wasn't as
close as the other one.

Anyway, after I was comfortable with the track and riding well,
we worked on my body position. Able to move left-right, position
the body before the usual set up without disturbing the bike
was important at this more technical track.

Day two:
I thought I would see how I was riding before focusing on body
position. I did hang off at the later laps in the first session
because I was at a good pace. But my ride coach noticed a problem:
I held the throttle constant through some turns. Why was that?
Because I didn't quick turn the bike. I am supposed to roll on
throttle after turning the bike, and turning the bike has to be
quick. I didn't quick turn, so I was slow turning and the next
step, rolling on throttle, never happened. So I worked on quick
turn. Noticed that I was sometimes going too far inside.
Rate of turn, lean angle and speed go hand-in-hand. I was going
at the same speed but when I increased the rate of turn and kept
the same lean angle, the bike took a different line. To keep
the same line I had before the quicker turn, I had to lean less.
Note to self: set lean sooner, lean less.

For the rest of the day, this was afternoon by then, I struggled
with quick turn. Ride coach said I improved. But I know
it's not as good as possible. I was really frustrated at that
point. Several classes ago, I thought my lazy steering was
corrected. Since then, I had felt sluggish with my steering
at times and I just let it go. I figured I was doing okay -
I mean afterall I ride the roads and I am progressing with what
I learn at the track. I figured whatever problem would just
go away or it would just not matter. I was so wrong - my
inability to steer limits my riding. I was sent to the off-
track coach to do the steering drill. At that point, I was
not only frustrated but embarrassed. How basic is steering
and I still don't have it right!

Because I was struggling so much, Keith Code himself took over
the steering drill with me. He found my problems. Now it's
up to me to practice and keep from the same mistakes.

Okay, this was long...I'll sign off for now.
Happy and Safe Riding!

Premium Member
3,557 Posts
Only when we go to the great riding school in the sky.

Cheer up Ducky, we never stop learning to ride better [thumbsup]

Premium Member
5,487 Posts
Thanks for the write-up!

For me, riding is a process of learning new stuff and maintaining the previously learned stuff. I often find that if I focus on improving one thing that sometimes I get lax in other areas and have to go back and revisit basic things. Maybe that's just how it goes. I haven't had the benefit of the consistent one-on-one instruction you're getting, so it's hard for me to identify my problems sometimes. At least you're recognizing them early and taking steps to prevent or correct them. [thumbsup]

7,484 Posts
Hey Ducky, sounds like a GREAT weekend. [thumbsup]

I also have problems with lazy turn-in. It's because I'm waiting for the turn to come and trying to look through it too early. It's like "here it comes . . . here it comes . . . here it comes . . . here it comes . . . " and throughout that thought process, I'm starting my turn in.

You probably already do this, but what helps a TON is to pick a turn-in marker and stick with it. That way, you're not already looking through the turn as you approach. I'm watching the turn, but focusing on the marker. Three, two, one, BRAKE MARKER. . . three, two, one . . . NOW! Ok, now look through turn to the next marker. I never *really* focused on markers before until recently. They're invaluable. If you talk to Tigre or datv or anyone who has done track time with Doug Chandler, he is ALL about reference points. He makes the track like a connect-the-dot puzzle.

Check out Chris Keane's post (owner of Zoom Zoom): http://www.ducatimonster.org/smf/index.php?topic=58136.0

769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the cheers you all :)

Good mention about reference points Spidey [thumbsup]
I spent 1/2 day finding reference points at this new track. RP is a weak area of mine and while I got away with this at a familiar track, it stands out at a track I've never been. Until I got RPs sorted out, I wasn't riding like I could.

The problem with my steering is, without me knowing, I steer it more than once and I add input to the bike that disturbs it and causes me to make steering correction in the turn. This just throws off what I'm supposed to do and I can't achieve the result I want. Sucks :'(
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