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Tales of a slow newbie racer...

  1. #1
    Everybody to the limit!
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Winchester, MA

    Tales of a slow newbie racer...

    Allright, well everyone else is writing a race report, I guess I better write one too since I was lazy at VIR...

    Spent the week in DC with 9 teenagers and very little sleep, train rolls into boston at 5pm saturday and I'm up in NH with my truck heading towards loudon by 6:30 (had the forethought to load the bike and gear *before* leaving for DC, shockingly enough). Quick pit stop at my house to pick up a few clothes and I'm up through the gates at around 8pm.

    Pull the bike off the trailer with help from a few CBR/Lowdowners (protip: Appending the question "who wants to help me unload my bike" with the phrase "there's beer in the truck" will ensure that there are plenty of hands around to help), suck down a few beers and bullshit with everyone until about 10, and it's back to my truck to grab all the sleep I can manage before 6am. Which, considering my truck is about 5'5" wide and I am about 6'1" long, was a rather restful night's sleep.

    6am comes, spend the next hour stumbling around getting my gear together and wandering off in search of registration in the hopes of registering in time for first practice...Find out that registration is at the front gate but doesn't open till 7:30...damn, could have slept another hour. Oh well, I get coffee and gas down the street and am first in line to get my (temporary paper) license, transponder, and sign up for NV ptwns. Look at the watch, it's 8am now and I'm standing outside the gates having not passed through tech yet. So much for first practice, no big surprise there.

    Back down into the infield Dan is kind enough to lend me a rear stand (handy stands is now 2 weeks behind on my stands, lazy bastards) so I could pull the bike off that was leaning against my truck and get the chain lubed up and ready. Quick trip to street & comp plus a bit of help from HBerry + Girlie and I had race numbers, 386 (a spectacle of graphics and sound) and was able to pull through tech at 9am exactly, half hour before second practice was slated to begin. Sweet.

    Of course, I shut my engine off for tech and while I'm rolling it out I realize that, inexplicably, my starter isn't working. No clicks, no dead battery, just thumb the starter and get nothing. Huh. Not wanting to alarm the tech folks and risk losing my sticker, I wheel it swiftly around to the outside garages where I learn that I can in fact bump start my own bike. Did I look silly running alongside my bike, hopping on, clicking up into second, then popping the clutch? Probably, but it sure beats pushing the bike back to the infield.

    After the starter incident I leave the bike running, seeing as I only have 10 minutes until second practice, and jump into my gear and pull onto the hot pit just in time for second practice. Good thing, since I wasn't thrilled about missing my first practice and there was no way I wanted to hit my first race on a bike that I'd never ridden NHIS without a few practice laps.

    Practice went ok, I was still half panicked/exhausted from all the running around getting the bike ready and really didn't have my head in the game so I just putted around getting used to the bike and the track again, not really trying to pass and not really focused on getting my speed up. Oh well, at least I'm out there, I was originally going to skip this whole weekend entirely so I figure any laps are better than none.

    Pull out after second practice and begin what seems like the longest day ever. After the manic pace that was getting the bike ready in time for second practice, it was the biggest game of hurry up and wait. Nerves aren't allowing me to relax and enjoy watching the other races, and so the hours between 10 and 5 just draaaag on. I do manage to get a nice sunburn and drink about 10 liters of water in my nervousness, so by the time race 14 rolls around I'm (over) hyrdated and sunsick. Great. My loft goal for the first race? Don't pass out on the starting grid.

    Second call, bikes to the grid. Thumbs up and fist punching all around. Nice to be racing in a class with a bunch of guys you know, definitely makes for less nerves. Warm up lap, I vaguely remember riding around the track but it's mostly a blur. I'm slower than most, but that's no surprise. Grid 6D, right behind Pete.

    First wave out, second wave hands up. 2 Board, rev the engine to 5k. Don't stall. 1 Board, damnit don't stall. Sideways 1, don't fucking stall...Waving flag, let out the clutch, HOLY SHIT I'm moving forward, I did it, I didn't stall...and in my shock and elation, completely neglect to continue rolling on the throttle as I mentally pat myself on the back for managing to get my motorcycle moving in a forward direction...end up dead last into turn one at what was probably 20 mph. Fuck.

    After that, the next 7 laps are a blur. I remember what happened, but it's like I watched the race from someone's tank cam. During a trackday, and even at practice, my mind was always moving, evaluating. I knew what gear I was in, I knew where my revs were, and after each turn I'd mentally evaluate how well I set up the turn and what I could do to prepare for the next one.

    In contrast, racing felt completely instinctual. My mind wasn't thinking about the corners, or where I screwed up (other than a brief mental "fuckshitfuck" when I blew the line at times). It was completely focused on who was in front of me (everyone) and who was in back of me (noone) and that I needed to get up *there* and keep everyone behind me back *here*. The mechanics of riding were all taken up by the subconscious, my mind just wanted to race and was angry at me for being slow.

    Few highlights that I remember...caught up to the rider in front of me turn two of the first lap, tried to pass on the right on the 2-3 straight but didn't quite get enough drive out of two, came out of 4 driving down the right side of the track and showed a wheel just before the first braking cone of 6...or so I thought, on the deep inside of 6 getting ready to square 6 off more than I would have liked I catch a wheel out of the corner of my eye perpendicular to my motorcycle...uh oh, hope I didn't stuff this guy more than I was intending, oh well, too late for that, push it in for 6 and hope for the best...

    ...After I pass that guy there's a rider up in the distance but he's pulling on me a bit and I lose sight of him...ride two or three laps all alone getting into a rhythm, feeling better and better out there...

    ...Lap 3 I think, as I'm braking for turn 1 I get passed by the same guy I passed in 6, follow him around for a lap realizing that I'm beating him in the corners and wondering how he stayed with me...until we get to the front straight, he's tucked and on the gas early and braking late for turn one, where as I realize how much I was dallying out of 12 and braking far too early...as they say, races are won by taking the fast corners fast, and I was losing valuable seconds in the front section of this track. Having figured out where I was losing time on this guy, I passed him fairly easily on the outside of two and made sure to tuck and roll on the gas coming out of turn 12 and started braking where he was braking for 1...Much better.

    ....Ride a few good laps, feeling the rhythm a bit more and blowing fewer corners (other than a nasty mistake in turn ten where I came out of nine too early, ran up the inside of 10 and ended up waaaaay too wide) and am happy to see the checkered flag with the rider behind me nowhere in sight...now remember, stay on the gas through turn one, okay now you can start to relax and roll off a little bit, sit up on the bike, good...hey, why is that guy blowing by me for two? Oh well, maybe he's just in the zone and trying to get another good lap in...wait, there's three more coming by, this is odd, did they not see the checkered? Wait a second...could that have been a white flag? Did I see a white flag the lap before? Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuck.

    Yes, that's right, the stupid newbie did a little victory lap on lap 7 of the race. By turn three my mind had realized that we were still racing, but there was no getting back into it. Once I had saw (what I thought was) the checkered flag, my rhythm was blown and my body was on vacation. Apologies to all the motard riders in the first wave that I held up on my little tourist lap there, it certainly won't happen again. Especially since, to add insult to injury, the lone EX rider that I'd managed to pass in the race blew by me just before the (real) checkered flag. Yup, I was last. Well, I won't make that mistake again. Haven't seen my laptimes yet, but I'm wondering if I broke above two minutes that last lap.

    Overall, a great time. My only real goals for this race weekend were to get some laps in, find out what it feels like to be in a real race, and come back with bike and rider intact. Oh, and get some laptimes so I can find out how slow I am and begin the process of whittling down my slowness. Mission accomplished (except for the laptimes, which haven't been posted yet), time to set some real goals for May. See you all then, and huge thanks to everyone there this weekend who helped us rookie racers, we all appreciate it very much.

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  2. #2
    Lifer a13x's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Warner Springs, CA

    Tales of a slow newbie racer...

    Now that, is just damn funny.

    Good stuff man, glad to hear you got everything together and out there. Better than waiting till May, like some dopes are doing...

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    Boston --> San Diego

  3. #3
    Work U HBerry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Tales of a slow newbie racer...

    Originally posted by a13x
    Now that, is just damn funny.

    Good stuff man, glad to hear you got everything together and out there. Better than waiting till May, like some dopes are doing...
    hey, don't make fun of us dopes!

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    LRRS# 285 - Retired
    04 ZX-6R
    88 EX500 - Broke

  4. #4
    Super Moderator OreoGaborio's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004

    Tales of a slow newbie racer...

    Dude, good times out there, right bro? Glad ya had fun & improved through 1 & 2, that's what it's all about

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    -Pete LRRS/CCS #81 - ECK Racing, TonysTrackDays
    GMD Computrack Boston | Pine Motorparts/PBE Specialists | Phoenix Graphics | Woodcraft | MTag-Pirelli | OnTrack Media

    The Garage: '03 Tuono | '06 SV650

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