Editorial by Crew Chief Marcus McBain
September 15, 2013
PRACTICING TO BE A POOR RIDER?
One of the things that continually amazes me is that riders simply think that riding their sport/race bike will make them a more competitive rider. Several riders that we offer regular advice and help to, do numerous track days (at least one a month) on top of their CMRA schedule, yet still continue to not improve or meet their riding goals.
To become a better ride...r/racer, every session on the track should have a goal or task for the rider to measurably achieve. Most riders go to the track and believe that “magically they will go faster”. Yes, riders that have a low skill level(s) will likely improve their riding, but you really need to step back and understand how athletes approach sports across the board. Think about this:
1) Golfer’s do not improve by playing 18 holes every day…they go to the driving range…or work on muscle memorization drills and skills.
2) Football players do not scrimmage all week to be better on the weekend for the game. They work on technique, conditioning, and “chalk talk”.
3) Baseball players do not just get on the diamond and play/scrimmage all week, they do drills and condition their bodies to enhance their performance.
4) Sprinters do not run 100 meter dashes all week to go faster, the undertake training and exercises that enhance the muscles and the techniques needed to get out of the blocks and run their best.
5) Motorcycle road racing participants arguably are the weakest in terms of the training schedule it takes to be successful.
Today’s successful motorcycle road racer must practice a good athletic training schedule as any other athlete would undertake. Many previous (successful) riders spent four times or more time on the dirt as they did on the road course. Dirt riding is one of the best training tools for motorcycle road racers as it helps develop the primary skills of riding without a lot of concentrated effort. There is more to do than just dirt riding for the professional rider. Dirt riding though will do more for 90% of the riders on the grid than anything else they currently do.
The key to understanding “how to get better” is to follow a routine that is consistent with any other sport. That is setup a training routine that enhances the physical and mental skills needed to improve. One aspect of this is conditioning. As my college football coach always stressed when we ran wind sprints, “Your mind will tell your body to quit when the body tells the mind how tired it is.”
Here is the recommended riding/training by our team that most riders can do on their own.
1) Read and understand Keith Code’s Twist of the Wrist and/or soft science of road racing. The purpose of this is that Keith provides a guideline on how to actually ride a track by understanding camber, turn radius, and elevation AND the requirements to successfully negotiate a track without having to “follow the fast guy”.
2) Get a used dirt bike and spend at least one weekend a month riding to improve basic skills.
3) Yes, do an occasional track day…but understand that most track days now are packing in as many riders per session as they can to be profitable…if there are more than 25 riders on the track, you will likely spend more time dodging traffic than riding.
4) Diet and exercise. Most riders lack the physical stamina needed to ride at a level required to setup the machine. Yeah you may be able to turn 5 good laps your first session up, but can you maintain your pace for 20 laps straight?
5) Lastly, spend one weekend or more a month to properly service your motorcycle. Of course change your oil, but service your brakes, steering head bearings, chain, sprockets, and spend time inspecting the details of your machine.
All these principals have worked very well for Danny Kelsey and previous RPSRaceTeam.com riders. We think they will work for you.
Crew Chief: RPSRaceTeam.com