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Jonesing for track
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442 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
What do you guys do to face your track side crash demons after some nasty spills? What has/has not worked for you in the past?

I have my 1st TD on Monday the 13th and I am having a ton of bad juju and anxiety. In both 2011 & 2012 I had season ending crashes/injuries early in the season. In April 2011 I lowsided on a right corner at about 65mph and ended up with a rotator cuff injury to my right shoulder. Then in May 2012 the front tucked on me at 90mph on yet another right corner and I fractured both ankles. Front end of bike clipped a small 2'x2' drainage grate out in the grass and obliterated my front wheel and forks. Both crashes were at the same track.

I was an advanced group rider in 09-10' but after basically 1 TD combined in last 2 years I have lost the ability and confidence for race pace. I'm down right nervous as hell thinking about facing those same right corners on Monday.

Anyways, me and bike are now both in reasonable shape with a fresh set of gear and a shiny new parts, wheels, and Dunlop KR448/449 slicks.

I'm wondering if I should put myself in Novice and run 1-2 sessions before advancing to intermediate group to try and get my lines & race legs back. Or just mingle towards the back of intermediate most of the day.

Just venting and looking for some advice on how to stop being a pansy :eek:
 

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Premium Member
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35,477 Posts
Just relax and seat time. Don't over think things and go have fun. Your pace will slow down but don't let that bother you.
 

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Dangerously Irish
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9,552 Posts
IDK If I have crash demons. I've high sided, low, death wobble, lost the rear end and got it back, I've tumbled, I've rolled, I've slid, I've even hit a tree. :laugh

But as long as I can walk away it's a good crash to me. If you are afraid of crashing you will... As sherman said stay in your comfort zone and you'll be fine.... Maybe take it much easier in the right handers. Your fear of them might be whats effecting you subconsciously causing a serious uneasiness.

I will admit I am not as strong in right hand turns as my left.
 

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I think a really important part of overcoming crash demons has to do with making sure that you understand WHY you crashed in the first place. I know a lot of riders tend to pass off crashes as just something that happens and they don't really do a lot of investigation to find out why they crashed. Once you know WHY you crashed you take take the appropriate steps to learn how not to make the same mistakes again.

For example, when I first started racing I had a couple of highsides and I didn't really know why. I knew that I must have gotten on the gas too hard or slid the rear in the wet and what have you but I didn't know that I was chopping the throttle and that was what was most likely causing me to get tossed off the bike. It wasn't until I talked through my crashes with Keith Code and rode the slide bike at the Superbike School that I really got a handle on highsides and I stopped crashing.

Arming yourself with knowledge and constantly working to better your skills is a helpful way of overcoming those demons and of increasing your overall confidence.

Good luck and have fun riding today!!

Misti
 

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Dirt track racing!
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1,982 Posts
Stay confident out there, and don't let your old mistakes get to you. Don't beat yourself up over them. Learn why you messed up as said, and try to keep that in the far corner of your mind instead. Keep your mind on the tasks at hand, and keep a steady and smooth concentration. Try to relax and stay smooth. Also like said, if you think and worry about it, it is all the easier to have happen yet again.

Read some driving books, and books drivers have written. Running a good pace and line has a real good amount to do with your mental, and physical state.

I haven't even scratched the surface, but you get the idea. Good luck on the track :)
 

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I think a really important part of overcoming crash demons has to do with making sure that you understand WHY you crashed in the first place. I know a lot of riders tend to pass off crashes as just something that happens and they don't really do a lot of investigation to find out why they crashed. Once you know WHY you crashed you take take the appropriate steps to learn how not to make the same mistakes again.
I agree fully with this. I have had some good ones and as long as I have been able to understand what happened and how to help prevent it in the future I am able to get back out there and put the hammer down.
 

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When in doubtThrottle out
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Background: Last year after 4 race weekends I had a bad off and ended my season with a bad concussion, bleeding on the brain, bruised lung, broken wrist, and broken foot.

In April I went back to the same track and signed up for the Advanced sessions not knowing what pace I would actually run. I went two or three sessions before being to an "advanced" pace. Took it slow getting confidence back in the bike and my abilities. After one day I was within 2-3 seconds a lap off of last years lap times. The second trackday I was back to practicing sliding the rear driving out of corners. Didn't help that it ended in a highside that broke my foot but two weeks later I was at the CCS races anyway. This weekend I have BFR. A track I have never been to.

TL;DR take it slow and build your confidence back the way you did in the beginning. Since you've already been past the limits that held you up the first time it is easier.
 

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Jonesing for track
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442 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I know what caused my last crash, I was carrying a lot of corner speed and I put a tad too much input on my right clip on while in the apex, which caused my front wheel to tuck.

Just a follow up to yesterdays TD...

Yesterday went pretty well. No crashes so that's a successful day in my book. The morning sessions I rode like a grandpa...like 15-18sec slower than my usual lap times. In the first 3 sessions I focused on breaking/throttle control, choosing my lines and consistently hitting my reference points. It took me about 4 sessions before I started trusting the bike again. Session 5 I started being more aggressive on entry speeds and trail breaking and shaved about 3 sec off my lap times.

The track conditions at Hallett have worsened since last time I went. Sooo many bumps, patches, and cracks. In every apex there were patches and uneven surfaces in the track so I never pushed it hard. Also, I've never used slicks so I was pretty hesitant to push them in the cooler morning temps. Maybe it was just me, but there seems to be quite a bit of difference in feel with the Dunlop USA NTEC Slicks vs. say the 211 GPA.

All in all it was a fun day and while taking a huge step back in pace, I re-learned a lot of things and started trusting myself and the bike a little more. It felt nice to gradually get a bit faster and gain back some much needed confidence.
 

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worrying about crashing = crashing

worrying about not crashing = crashing

don't use the c-word and you'll be fine.
 

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Meh
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9,250 Posts
Background: Last year after 4 race weekends I had a bad off and ended my season with a bad concussion, bleeding on the brain, bruised lung, broken wrist, and broken foot.

In April I went back to the same track and signed up for the Advanced sessions not knowing what pace I would actually run. I went two or three sessions before being to an "advanced" pace. Took it slow getting confidence back in the bike and my abilities. After one day I was within 2-3 seconds a lap off of last years lap times. The second trackday I was back to practicing sliding the rear driving out of corners. Didn't help that it ended in a highside that broke my foot but two weeks later I was at the CCS races anyway. This weekend I have BFR. A track I have never been to.

TL;DR take it slow and build your confidence back the way you did in the beginning. Since you've already been past the limits that held you up the first time it is easier.
Damn, now that is what I call gettting back in the saddle like a boss. :cheers
 

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Track=Cocaine
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Damn, now that is what I call gettting back in the saddle like a boss. :cheers
:secret When I high-sided last year I fixed the bike and was back out within the hour... With a shattered foot...

:laugh

Then I went home and took my boot off and literally couldn't walk...

:lmao

I feel in these situations the sooner you get back on the better. Also, your time spent off the bike in between(after a wreck, and your next time on the track) should be addressing what caused the crash in the first place, much like Misti said. Learning why it happened will always help in the long run, otherwise you'll keep making the same mistakes, causing yourself needless pain, and endless bills rebuilding the bike constantly...

:cheers
 

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I know what caused my last crash, I was carrying a lot of corner speed and I put a tad too much input on my right clip on while in the apex, which caused my front wheel to tuck.

Just a follow up to yesterdays TD...

Yesterday went pretty well. No crashes so that's a successful day in my book. The morning sessions I rode like a grandpa...like 15-18sec slower than my usual lap times. In the first 3 sessions I focused on breaking/throttle control, choosing my lines and consistently hitting my reference points. It took me about 4 sessions before I started trusting the bike again. Session 5 I started being more aggressive on entry speeds and trail breaking and shaved about 3 sec off my lap times.

The track conditions at Hallett have worsened since last time I went. Sooo many bumps, patches, and cracks. In every apex there were patches and uneven surfaces in the track so I never pushed it hard. Also, I've never used slicks so I was pretty hesitant to push them in the cooler morning temps. Maybe it was just me, but there seems to be quite a bit of difference in feel with the Dunlop USA NTEC Slicks vs. say the 211 GPA.

All in all it was a fun day and while taking a huge step back in pace, I re-learned a lot of things and started trusting myself and the bike a little more. It felt nice to gradually get a bit faster and gain back some much needed confidence.
Sounds good!! Most of the time going back in pace and re-learning some of the fundamentals will get you back to your regular pace quicker than if you go out and just try to go fast. You know what pace you are capable of, get comfortable with the skills and the speed will come. Glad you had fun!

Misti
 
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