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Old 08-26-2007, 02:46 PM   #1
tomLSTD
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Back on track... (loooong)

After a long lay-off, I finally got back on the track at Cresson. Man, was it good.

Things have been mildly stressful with work and life, so I was soooo looking forward to getting back out on the track. Things always seem better after a good track day... sometimes I think it's because of the physical aspect of riding that takes the stress away, but mostly I think it's because you concentrate so hard and have so much fun on the track that it melts away the other things that were stressing you out. I dunno, maybe that's the Zen part I remember from reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance so many years ago. I used to know that feeling when I was younger and took lots of long distance solo rides. I know that feeling at the track now.

I started getting the bike and gear ready about a week in advance, because I HATE doing things at the last minute- so maintenance and loading gets done early. Calimarikid showed up on the day of our departure, we loaded up and hit the road. We decided to take 45 because Big Comfy warned of the added time on 35 with construction and I don't like hauling that big azz trailer on the back roads. That turned out to be a bad idea, but had some good aspects.

I always talk, and talk, and talk when I'm on the way to the track or when I'm on my way back (just ask some of my close friends who I call all the time, or my Wife to see the cell phone bill...). I used to love riding with an old teammate of mine when we made the trips to the track and we would have great conversations. Until recently, I was riding mostly by myself since other teammates live out of town and the other guy quit racing. Riding by myself sucks big time. Riding with Chaz (who also likes to talk) has been nice for a change. So we had plenty of time to talk (in the 6 hour trip), along with seeing a kickass sunset. The only drawback was that it seems the roads are not as well kept as they are around here (surprised me too). I felt like I was driving a boat in rough water most of the time once we got up there! Charles' daughter rode with us too, and I'm sure that her opinion is that we're a couple of weird-o's; mostly because she told us so! I guess I'm officially "old" now, my high school hockey players tell me the same thing. I went from being "cool" and young, to now I'm just a dorky "old" guy

We arrive at the track and hook up with Glenn (team mate) at the "Pimp Palace". Yeah, one of those big houses on the track by the long straight between Big Bend and Tombstone corners. We've stayed there before, it's nice to get up after a nice slumber and already be at the track, the house is owned by some friends who offer it up to us for race weekends. Charles and his daughter get the toy hauler set up (where they stayed) and then come by the house for a brief visit before we all turn in.

We got up the next morning, beautiful sunset, the sound of bikes warming up, the smell of U4 and new tires... mmmmm... the track is so good!

After getting all of my responsibilities taken care of, got the grids and operations going, I settled in and started working on un-loading my bike and getting my gear going. Tough to do while listening to the radio for track issues and operational issues, but I got everything ready pretty quickly (it pays off to be prepared early). I got on the new track first since it is so technical and tight. I figured that would be the best way to sort out how well or poorly the new bike was running and handling. Everything felt good at first, but I was going really slow and didn't want to upset the bike on a cold track with cold tires.

I didn't get to ride too much- I had to keep an eye on operations for the day and didn't want to have anything go wrong while I was on the track. The guys were doing a bang-up job of working the grids though, and I did get freed up to ride enough to know that I was not ready to race yet. I don't know what my lap times were on the big track, but I'm sure they were well off the pace. The good news was that my collar bone/ shoulder didn't hurt and I felt more confident as the day went on. I won't say I wasn't spooked a bit- I got pucker'd up every time I had a little wobble or the rear tire spun up or stepped out. The bike was very stable though, especially mid-corner. Turn-in sucked, and I was working way too hard to get around the track on the bike, but I'm sure Patrick and the boys at Motorcycles Unlimited can get it set up for me by the next track day.

All in all, the tires worked really well and tire wear wasn't an issue at all. The new track polishes the tires like a shoe shine machine! Of course, the big track is tougher on tires, but mine seemed to hold up just fine (likely because I wasn't going fast enough...). I need to jack up the ride height on the bike so I can have a better turn-in, and get the sag set, but other than that, I really liked the GSXR. I did question a couple of times why I sold the SV, especially when one of the guys I race against passed me on the outside of Little Bend on his SV... but it quickly passed when I took him on the straight and in to Big Bend!

Anyway, that's a little bit of what I did a the track day. All the boring parts were taken out for content

Oh yeah, Tim Brister is the luckiest guy in the whole world. Candie and he showed up to cornerwork for the half/ half deal, and Candie took a seat in the corner ALL DAY so Tim could ride. Tim, you're a lucky devil! I hope you hooked her up with something nice!
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Old 08-26-2007, 04:21 PM   #2
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Oh yeah, Tim Brister is the luckiest guy in the whole world. Candie and he showed up to cornerwork for the half/ half deal, and Candie took a seat in the corner ALL DAY so Tim could ride. Tim, you're a lucky devil! I hope you hooked her up with something nice!
Yeah, I am lucky! She said she just didn't feel it that day and didn't want to push it on a new track. So I was the lucky one to get to ride all day while she sweated it out CWing. Now I know how Jimmy feels!Only I'm much slower! Thanks again Baby for letting me ride!
Glad you were able to get back on the track Tom! And thanks for letting us CW to earn track time. Worked really good for me this time!!! We'll see you again on the 10th at TWS (Texas World Speedway)!
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Old 08-26-2007, 04:42 PM   #3
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:10 PM   #4
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Nice to hear you're back again.
I can't wait myself
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Old 08-26-2007, 05:33 PM   #5
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Nice to hear you're back again.
I can't wait myself
I was really disappointed in my pace. Glenn kept telling me to forget about that, and I bet if I would have raced Saturday I probably would have gotten back on pace, but it was pretty disappointing.

I'll very likely be making several trips to OHR in between LSTD dates, I'll try to post up if anyone is interested in making that trip. I gotsta get me some mo seat time!
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Old 08-26-2007, 07:58 PM   #6
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I was really disappointed in my pace. Glenn kept telling me to forget about that, and I bet if I would have raced Saturday I probably would have gotten back on pace, but it was pretty disappointing.

I'll very likely be making several trips to OHR in between LSTD dates, I'll try to post up if anyone is interested in making that trip. I gotsta get me some mo seat time!
I'm hoping to get back in the saddle very soon and I'm sure I too will have lost alot.

But, It's in our blood bro, It's gotta come back
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:59 PM   #7
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Old 08-26-2007, 09:10 PM   #8
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is that oak hill if yes let me know i go with you and we helkp each other out on improving, i know how it is after my crashes it took a while to get back at it but im slowly geeting my groove back
Yes, it's Oak Hill, and that sounds like a great idea.

This is the first time I didn't just jump right back in the saddle- it's been a long lay off.

Being on a new bike didn't help either. I have some suspension work to have done too. It's a good bike, we just haven't developed a relationship yet...
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Old 08-26-2007, 09:19 PM   #9
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Glad your out there again maybe next time we can go out and do some laps.I'm sure you will need somone to pass!

So are you saying it was my fault it took you so long<insert WTF mang comment>??? hey I waited and off roaded b/c of that contruction.
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Old 08-26-2007, 10:14 PM   #10
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So are you saying it was my fault it took you so long<insert WTF mang comment>??? hey I waited and off roaded b/c of that contruction.
Nah, I didn't want to take 35 anyway because of the trailer. Your information was helpful in making the decision though... so yeah, I guess it is your fault!
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Old 08-29-2007, 12:29 PM   #11
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Good to hear you are back in the saddle. I guess it is my turn next.
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Old 08-29-2007, 02:07 PM   #12
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Good to hear you are back in the saddle. I guess it is my turn next.
Come with us after the event on the 10th to OHR!
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:12 PM   #13
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Good read,
almost felt like I was along for the ride.
That must be nice having one of those track side houses to stay at.
I'd be happy just having an a/c unit on my tent.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:27 PM   #14
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Good read,
almost felt like I was along for the ride.
That must be nice having one of those track side houses to stay at.
I'd be happy just having an a/c unit on my tent.
Thanks. Yeah, those houses rawk. Some of the owners rent them out to racers, but not all of them. It's expensive, and there are rules (like you have to clean the house before you leave and things like that). Waking up on race day is awesome- especially when the endurance race is after lunch. Sleep in, watch the mini-endurance, go get the bikes ready, then hit the track.

Yeah, it's pimpin'.

I'm still mentally reviewing my sessions. It's hard not to be disappointed in yourself- I was really slow. I don't think I even broke in to the 20's on the big track. Maybe low 30's, but I doubt it.
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Old 08-29-2007, 04:33 PM   #15
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Thanks. Yeah, those houses rawk. Some of the owners rent them out to racers, but not all of them. It's expensive, and there are rules (like you have to clean the house before you leave and things like that). Waking up on race day is awesome- especially when the endurance race is after lunch. Sleep in, watch the mini-endurance, go get the bikes ready, then hit the track.

Yeah, it's pimpin'.

I'm still mentally reviewing my sessions. It's hard not to be disappointed in yourself- I was really slow. I don't think I even broke in to the 20's on the big track. Maybe low 30's, but I doubt it.
Erik and I have discussed lining up one of those to rent next season for race weekends. I just need to find some contacts and I will definetly be down for OHR with you guys. I really enjoyed the time I did get to spend on it.
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Old 08-30-2007, 02:13 AM   #16
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Good to hear your back on the track.
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