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Old 12-11-2007, 10:20 PM   #1
Patrick
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Good Article On Reference Points!

Good Article On Reference Points!


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Old 12-12-2007, 02:23 PM   #2
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You and Valentino Rossi

It's not often we are treated to the kind of excitement that Moto GP racing is providing us with today and we see a huge difference in what he can do compared to the other riders out there on the circuit.

With Val Rossi we know that the equipment makes little or no difference, he has won on slower and less developed bikes; he breaks lap records on the last lap when everyone else complains about their tires going off and he has the same rubber as them. He's not noted, like some top racers, to maintain any sort of rigorous physical training regimen. What's up with that?

I suppose we'd all like to be able to ride like Valentino Rossi. We admire him and then we ride and can't figure out how a Human could be in such command of so many aspects of riding when we are essentially doing the same thing on the bike as he is. You work the same controls that change the speed and direction of your bike as he does.

So if it isn't the bike then it must be the man. And if it is the man it is the mind that guides it. If it is the mind that guides it, then the fuel for the mind is the perceptions of the individual rider himself that rules.

When we look over the number of perceptions that we can have it is actually pretty staggering. We perceive, line, lean angle, traction, speed and the timing and degree of control application to put them all in some kind of sensible order for ourselves.

There is the difference?what is a sensible order? When you pull on the brakes in a set of esses and someone else is wide open and upshifting you start to get some inkling of the difference between your perceptions. Leading the way on perception is our ability to process visual data. Or, more accurately, our sense of location in space.

It is easy to see that location rules when it comes to working the controls. What one rider sees is vastly different than another, even though the things that are available to use as reference points are exactly the same.

One rider's line is different than another's. How much different? Well, you might have a track that is 4 DOT lanes wide but the actual usable space for speed and control narrows down quite a bit from there. The amount of that space that you can use is limited, maybe 10 feet of it would be the amount of variance from one rider to another, maybe. That would be a generous estimate, it is probably more like 5 feet. Unless you are Valentino who seems to be able to make any line work.

What's all the fuss about lines? Big fuss. When you break it down the only logical explanation is that a rider can choose and run any line that he can see. The corollary (an easily drawn conclusion) to that is, if you can't see the line you can't choose it and you can't run it.

I can't count the number of times we've shown a rider a line and then followed him to see how good his "monkey-see-monkey-do" skills were only to find his line varied only slightly from what he had been doing and markedly varied from what we demonstrated.

What someone uses for Reference Points (RPs) and how they use them is the key. This was my first real discovery on riding back in 1976. It changed my riding and everyone that I worked with made huge leaps in their own skills by simply becoming aware of this simple fact.

What I now know is: there ARE other points that must be cemented in for a rider to have a solid enough foundation to even get to the point they can find and use good RPs with certainty and with confidence. When we take up Reference Points, and the other visual skills, on Level 2 we get to the real core of riding and it isn't that easy to master it.

So what about Valentino? Our Australian school director, Steve Brouggy, has a great way of putting it. "If you could record what you see and record what Valentino sees you would have two totally different movies." I agree.

As I have seen with lots of top riders, their biggest ongoing breakthroughs come in their ability to use their visual abilities, their perception of location. Why can a rider go through a turn 300 times and all of a sudden have a massive breakthrough and finally "understand" the turn? It happens all the time. I hope it has happened to you. If it hasn't then I know why.

Valentino does it on the fly and it seems that he has honed this ability to its finest possible point. You can see it if you look closely. Watch his lines and see not only that he can use any line in a pinch but that the differences in his and the others out there really is different.

Have fun watching for this. Truly, if you have difficulty seeing this from the camera's perspective you would have a very difficult time doing it on your own. What I'm saying is this: it's good practice to notice lines, your own and someone else's, it may give you a new idea on how to use your own eyes. Once you become interested in your lines, I hope to see you for Level 2 and sort it out.

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Old 12-12-2007, 02:35 PM   #3
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Thanks Patrick, always helping out your fellow rider
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:52 PM   #4
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wow i feel like a noob
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