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Old 11-05-2009, 05:49 PM   #1
tomLSTD
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So... trackdays? Racing? What's the big deal?

Sponging off of the other thread (http://www.motohouston.com/forums/at...7&d=1257364814) and the perspective the author gave on racing kinda made me think of personal perspectives. I love it when folks speak in absolutes like there is nothing else out there 'cept what they perceive as correct- all too common in racing; I'm sure I'm guilty of it too.

For me though, racing is/ was something special. A feeling I can't achieve anywhere else, no matter how pretty she is Track days don't give that to you, not even close. The author of that post was right, it's like a coke addict's perspective- Jeff doesn't refer to it as the "track pipe" playing off "crack pipe" for no reason.

You know that feeling you have when you get ready to head to the track for a track day? Can you magnify that feeling of anticipation/ nervousness/ elation/ trepidation/ excitement times 100? If you've never gridded up for the start of a motorcycle race, probably not. I've been involved (and still am with some sports) in competitive sports all of my life. My Dad was a great athlete, he was also a college coach and a Marine Corps Viet Nam vet who served 2 tours there. It was foregone conclusion that I was going to be active in some type of competitive activities and it was ingrained in me from day one. I LOVE competition, but I can easily be classified (now in my old age...) as a passively competitive person who was once a (possibly) overly aggressive competitive person consumed by the need to pummel my competition to the point of embarrassment. In the many sports I participated (and still do) in growing up, NOTHING compares to the mix of emotions and feelings that gridding up to race does.

Track days provide the feelings of speed and personal satisfaction to your body that is easily enough to satisfy most "A" type personalitie; competitively or otherwise. Where things go haywire is when "Ricky Racer" says, "Dude, you could run with most of the novices at this track during a race." Funny thing is at most places, "Ricky Racer" doesn't (race or otherwise), but you start to believe that because he looks the part and seems to know what he's talking about. I mean afterall, he was able to spot all of your talent and ability...

Track days allow you ride with your friends and have fun. They also allow racers to work on certain aspects of their craft, but that's another topic. Track days let you ride against yourself by lowering lap times and increasing your speed to ride with the "fast group". They also challenge your ability to conquer tough obstacles like blind corners, fast sweepers, uphill chicanes and the like. There is plenty there to challenge anyone competitively.

Remember your first track day? You've seen the threads on multiple message boards I'm sure where folks try to relay their feelings and experiences. Problem is that if you've never done one, the author may as well be speaking a different language because honestly you won't understand him. The first track day for the major majority of mortals is just a scary and anxious day full of nerves. I know mine was. The feeling of being scared out of your shorts on the first lap, making sure you don't let everyone know you're a noob by killing the bike on pit out, going through the first corner with the bike straight up and down; scared to lean it over even though on the street you'll take a similar corner at 4 times the speed dragging your Levis on the pavement. It's natural, you're human, these feelings come to everyone. Usually, after that first session, the complete fear starts to leave- that is until someone passes you in a corner and you think, "jeez, am I going slow or is that dude just fast?" That's where it starts for most folks; the competitive juices start to perculate.

Competition is all of that- fear, excitement, joy, sorrow, and then some. The level of intensity changes with the various activities. Take the feeling you had at your first track day, sitting at pit-out with all of the ball of feelings in your throat and magnify that by at least 100. That might be equivelent to the feeling you get when you see the 2 minute board go up and you begin to tell your right hand to raise the RPMs to launch mode...

Close your eyes... think of yourself rolling up to a painted line on the pavement at TWS (Texas World Speedway)' hot pit with 20 other folks who surround you and will do all they can to muscle the best spot they can on the pavement just to get through the first turn in front of you. You look around a bit to see everyone roll up to their painted line, you look over your bike on the left, then the right side to make sure there are no dripping fluids or smoke that will force you off the grid. You flip your visor down and lock it just so you don't have to deal with it flipping up and maybe off your helmet at 120+ mph. Give a bit of a tug on your gauntlet gloves to make sure you don't have the fingers bunched up and can feel the levers, scooch back in the seat a bit and check your temp guage because it feels like forever since you gridded up already and you're ready to get on with it. The starter walks to his platform and you know, it's almost that time, the 2 minute board is in his right hand, a green flag in the left. The start means nothing to him, he's started 100 races this year and this one is no different, he's just going through the motions at this point; but not you. This is a new race, your first race ever, and you are watching him like a hawk. You can feel your pulse in your throat right next to that lump of nerves... his hand moves to raise the 2 minute board and you start to raise the revs- not too much, you dont' want to loop the start, but you don't want to kill the bike or get run over either!

You start to wonder about all kinds of things... have my tires cooled down too much to push it in turn 1... what line am I going to take... off the start am I going to try to go outside if I get a better launch than the guy ahead of me... I gotta feather the clutch if I start to wheelie... I hope the dude on the bike ahead of me doesn't stall on the start... all of those thoughts for me take place in about 0.000001 seconds or about as long as it takes for the 2 minute board to flip to the "1" side. Now you're just watching for any twitch of the green flag and you're going to wring that throttle and feed the clutch... any second now.... it's coming....
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:01 PM   #2
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Great post as always Tom!
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:07 PM   #3
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Wow Tom! Excellent write up. I'm at work right now, and for a second I was gridded up with my heart trying to bust through my chest. Way to take us there!
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:10 PM   #4
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Great writing, Tom. I always enjoy your posts.
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:21 PM   #5
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great write up. in high school i was always like that before football games i was playing in and lining up for sprints at track meets. i true athlete will feel that spike in adrenaline the moment they get to the part bout gridding up.
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:24 PM   #6
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I cant wait to get the feeling of gridding up
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Iím really happy for you and Iím going to let you finish but AJFlo is one of the baddest mother fockers of all time!!!
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:37 PM   #7
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I get the same feeling when I wake up the morning of a track day. Mostly because I know I will be around some of the coolest people there are, doing what they love and being an instrument it achieving the best result possible for all of them... Guess I am just a junkie who needs some more of the ol mighty track pipe

Is it February yet?
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:39 PM   #8
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no chit what pam said!^^^
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:13 PM   #9
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I love the smell of U4.2 in the morning....
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:14 PM   #10
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Tom, You !
I'm always looking for reasons NOT to race.
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:18 PM   #11
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no chit what pam said!^^^
You coming out to the track soon!!! Get ready to be addicted and broke!

I'll be getting my race license next season hopefully

Race license aka License to "Murder the Streets" Just Kidding... I dont ever speed
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Iím really happy for you and Iím going to let you finish but AJFlo is one of the baddest mother fockers of all time!!!
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I love the smell of U4.2 in the morning....
oh how I love the fumes of the bikes and
the feel of the wind rushing past me as I lay near the line in a turn snapping pictures
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:34 PM   #13
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Great post like always tommy boy!!!!!
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:50 PM   #14
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inspiring read Tom
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:32 PM   #15
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what you said

I raced almost all endurance and in my feelings it was about half of the way between track day and sprint. I did one half of a track day and it was sort of like practice with no racers on the track very fun but not the same. I also autocross and race I like autocross better but because there is no pressure.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:40 PM   #16
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I'm scared as to ever race, but I want to. I went to most of the CMRA races to cheer Alonzo on and he was always a nervous wreck before the races.
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:59 PM   #17
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I'm sitting in my chair at home and I'm nervous already. At the same time, OHR in February cannot come soon enough. When will the 2010 schedule be out?
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:45 PM   #18
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Nice stuff, Tom... and you are 100% correct about the overload of feelings when racing. It's extremely hard to find something that remotely compares to it!
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJFLo View Post
You coming out to the track soon!!! Get ready to be addicted and broke!

I'll be getting my race license next season hopefully

Race license aka License to "Murder the Streets" Just Kidding... I don't ever speed :top secret:
that may be truer then you think after racing some riding fast on the streets is sort of anti climatic. The Truth is that no matter what you can't go fast enough to be fun and when you get close it has so many more problems it is just not worth it.
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Old 11-05-2009, 09:57 PM   #20
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that may be truer then you think after racing some riding fast on the streets is sort of anti climatic. The Truth is that no matter what you can't go fast enough to be fun and when you get close it has so many more problems it is just not worth it.


I think that all depends on your mindset. I have plenty of fun on the streets. A race is probably a LOT better, but compared to just a trackday it's just as fun, albeit a different type of fun.
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