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Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by gastone, Nov 13, 2012.
Thanks for the info about turning on dirt. It is not intuitive, and tough to master.
At the end of the day, we had a "free ride". Basically, we ride with the instructors and they make us look stupid. They make everything look so easy and fluid.
Here's my poor attempt to keep up:
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Dean, we got beat for a whole slew of reasons, including elbows and gas. In fact, I thought my name was 'Elbows Up' by the end of day one.
Saturday evening saw me beat up pretty bad. My left knee hurt like hell and I was starting to show a little road rash... on my elbows... knees... forearms... shins... and back. But that's it, it didn't show up anywhere else, not even on Sunday. Outside of the physical punishment that I took, mentally it was tough as well. I was forced to unlearn a bunch of bad habits I had developed on the street over the past 5 years. Trying to put everything together was tough. And I was afraid I wasn't getting it.
The entire group, including instructors went out to eat at Outback Saturday night. There were 15 of us total. Aaron has an arrangement where we get free appetizers. A nice perk, but from wait to check was close to 3 hours.
Sunday morning had us arriving to a very saturated track. The 'corkscrew' was disturbingly wet and I couldn't for the life of me make it around without duck walking. After 20 minutes or so of that punishment they saw fit to have us do the same lap one handed. As in with our left hand affixed to the gas cap. We had done a few one handed activities on Saturday as well. Surprisingly enough it was a bit easier than two handed. You were forced to use your core and lower body to manipulate the bike instead of defaulting to handlebar manipulation. I never would have thought that I'd be able to do it, and I still wouldn't say that I did it successfully.
Station 1 - The Circle. The idea was to turn the circle into a triangle. There were three cones forming a triangle circumscribed about the circle. The idea was to push hard for the first cone. As you get close, brake hard, turn your head to locate the next cone, leverage the bike over with your knees and then hammer it to the next cone. Rinse, repeat.
Here's Matt doing the circle:
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I'll be back later with more. Gotta run out for a spell.
Ha! Love the Vid commentary.
Nice! Keep it coming, any footage of you tearing it up?
Bruce, none, nada. In fact, they aren't any pictures of me riding. So either:
A: I didn't fucking ride.
B: Matt never got off the bike to take pics/vid.
Hint, mostly it wasn't A. Matt definitely did more laps around than anyone else over the course of the weekend.
Station 2 - The Ribbon. The idea was to work on transitions. The course was a straightaway, sharp right, immediate 180 hairpin followed by some tight/technical curves leading back to the straightaway. We were told repeatedly to take fast turns fast and slow turns slow. This course is where it really came into effect. You hammered down the straightaway, braked hard getting the rear end loose, swung the bike to the right and got on the gas again. Brake hard once more, but this time you had to be cautious with the throttle or the hairpin would screw you over. Definitely my favorite station. No time to take pics/vid as we were immediately off to station 3.
Station 3 - The Kidney Bean. Depending upon which way you were going it was either an uphill or downhill 180 hairpin that was off camber. Downhill fucking killed me. I'd blow the turn cause I couldn't get my head around, go off the track and re-enter at the next turn. Coming uphill was much easier for me but we were only able to run it that way a few times before we had to move on.
Lunch break followed by more talking. Aaron is a great talked and full of stories. He works/worked for Speed TV and knows everyone in the racing industry. He would hit us with excellent impersonations of famous racers and great stories which related to our instruction.
After lunch we hit the oval track. It was wet down pretty good so we had to spend 20 minutes or so packing it in. Sixteen of us on that little track was scary, especially with the mixed experience that we had going. I know my lines sucked and I know the fast guys who were lapping me pretty regularly definitely had to keep an eye out lest I take them out. We ran it in our groups, first counterclockwise and then clockwise. I was definitely beat to shit by the end of it. I ended up rolling my back off the track as group three was coming on. I waited, hung over my bars, for someone to come over and kick the bike over for me. It didn't happen.
Back down to the main track for the remained of the day. Putting it all together. This was playtime. I ran for about 40 minutes or so, but at the end I was just plain tired. I hadn't suffered any serious injury and therefore it seemed like a good time to call it a day. Matt and Paul continued to ride which allowed me to get some more vids/photos.
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Tim riding his son around the track:
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More of Matt:
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Well c'mon your not done yet! We need final thoughts, best part, best thing you learned, biggest misconception about riding before the class and now after, etc. We want more!!!!! Remember they still have my money so I will definitely be going this coming year. Oh and what kind of preps could one do prior to going to the class to ensure you get the most out of it?
so final thoughts from my end
-work out more. I think I'm in decent shape and manage to hit the elliptical machine a couple times a week and do some core exercises, but I should have done more. Its amazing how much you engage your core muscles when flipping the little bike around during the class. My legs, shoulders and hands are still sore after a week.
- riding the track is different then riding the street. on the track you can practice different lines and setups and push everything. there's no guard rails or drops offs to worry about. There are a lot of skills that will transfer to the street / trail riding, but there's no way I'm riding on the street like I road in the class.
- who ever design motorcross clothes is on acid. Thats the only way the patterns and colors make sense.
- always go to the bathroom before Gastone.
Thanks, that helps a lot!
What riding gear did you use and was it adequate or what would you have changed. Garrett seemed to talk about being on his knees a lot , was the padding in your gear good enough?
I brought my own boots and padded shorts, but used their gear otherwise. The full package includes, knee pads (I swear mine didn't work... I think they were made of concrete or something), elbow pads (see knee pads), padded shorts (I lent them to Matt as they didn't seem to be as substantial as my Klims), boots (I can't remember what they were). I used my TCX Dunes. It would have been nicer to have something lighter to help modulate the rear brake. I don't think the danger of foot damage is significant at the low speeds and with the light bikes we were using. I used their helmet and goggles. The goggles were cheap, but both worked fine. I also used their riding pants and jerseys which I found to be effective. I forgot to bring my gloves so I used theirs.
I would recommend that you bring your own equipment if at all possible. Matt mostly wore his street gear, which sufficed as far as protection goes, but he thoroughly soaked them even in the mild temps we had. If you get there and you realize you've forgotten something, they can rent to you a la cart.
I think the only gear I really need to buy would be padded shorts or a decent set of KLIM pants, which are ventilated, with knee and hip armor.
Looks like great practice for when you come visit out west!
The whole class was great and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I believe Garrett did some research and a repeat offender gets a nice discount. As a result, I may join you in the spring
When I go back I will rent their gear. My street gear did a nice job of protecting me from the myriad of spills but it wasn't designed for the hot conditions that we went through. I know it was only 70 as a high but it was brutal and you work your ass off the entire time.
I was pretty sore on Sunday and Monday from achy muscles. My shoulders were killing me from having to keep my elbows up. The only lingering effect I have is a loss of feeling in my right thumb. I'm not sure what I did but I have partial feeling and it's been a week! :huh
Here's some tips:
Tip 1: drink a lot of water!
Tip 2: drink even more water than you think necessary!
Tip 3: if staying with Gastone bring a plunger
Tip 4: get a mx helmet and goggles - it is muddy, dirty, and dusty
Tip 5: knee pads are a must! You'll be on them so much even the Pope will think you're catholic.
That would be awesome! I can't guarantee Spring but definitely not summer! :eek1
The class is great. Paul said he's going to sock away $25/month so he can go every year. I can see myself doing the same. I think I can take away something new/something more for quite a few seasons. In fact, I would definitely take 1.0 again before I moved up to 1.5. At the end of the class I was more confident and moving faster, but a lot of my decisions and movements were still of the conscious variety. That is, I had to think about what I was doing prior to doing it. And plenty of times I would think of one aspect of instruction while completely forgetting another. Until the skills get to be second nature I don't see any reason to muddle them with more skills.
The class is pricey for first timers, 525 solo and 475 with a friend. But, repeat takers is 325. Only problem is they won't let you reserve a spot as a repeat taker further than 1 week out. Take into account travel costs to/from, hotel for at least 2 nights, food, etc. and you are looking at closer to 800+ for a first time student and 600+ for a returning student. If I go again I'll probably leave after Sunday's class. There was plenty of time left in the day to get home (5 hours) and the pain wasn't any better Monday morning.
I guess the big question is how will it translate to the riding that I do. Currently I ride a R1200GS. A big, pig of a bike. My goal was learn skills to help me keep it upright on the fire roads and such of the GW forest, where I do most of my play riding. I hate the fact that I'll get to a tight corner, scrub off a ton of speed, plod my way through it and then get back on the gas. I hate that douche that rides like that on the street and I don't want to be the douche that rides like that on the trails. So I've learned some things that I hope to apply. Bit of a difference between a 140# dirtbike and a 500+# dual sport bike. I'm not opposed to practicing on my bike (anyone that's ridden with me knows that I'm not afraid of dropping her), but I'd rather do it in a controlled environment. Many of the dirt roads in WV can be quite unforgiving with long drops into oblivion if you make an untimely mistake.
Edit: one more thing. This ain't Rawhyde or the BMW class. If you drop the bike nobody comes to help. Which didn't phase me until about the 30th time that I went down. Then it started to suck.
Edit 2: I wouldn't do this class in summer. I think Kevin and Stacy had a hell of a time with the heat. Even when the temp rose to a balmy 70F we were struggling to stay hydrated.
Nice Garrett et al. Thanks for the tips in the "Final Thoughts". Looked up their calendar and they've got classes going on every month; may have to start saving up some pennies to see about heading down around March 'ish before it get's too hot down there.
Thought I'd add on here instead of adding yet another thread.
Great class, learned lots and had a blast. Would do it again - in the winter.
Started with 8 students. One showed late as he battled food poisoning with frequent trips up the hill to the port-a-potty. His buddy tweaked his ankle pretty well and they were no-shows on Sunday. My buddy from work grabbed a handful of front brake, fell, broke his collarbone. It was right before lunch on day one, so I took him to the hospital where he got scanned and drugged. His wife came to retrieve him Sunday morning. Class was down to 5 students on Sunday, so lots of time for riding w/o waiting and good ratio of teachers to students.
Unfortunately, I missed all the braking drills of Sat. afternoon - having had to deal with my friends breaking drill. So Sunday was lots of riding to "catch up" and that plus the heat and humidity made me lose concentration and the ability to focus well - learning stopping for me and sloppy falls started. I still have bruises and scabs that are healing from last weekend. It was fun and I need to go back to "make up" the parts I missed.
The good: lots of seat time in changing traction conditions. The track started with wet slick patches on the NC clay that made get offs in those sections look like cake frosting when the fallen rider got up. It glopped off slowly and was slicker than... it was slippery. By the afternoon, the sun hardened things to allow black rubber patches to be laid down with terrific traction. Most of the track never got dry enough to be dusty - slippery.
The bad: No electricity means a generator provides the water supply and power. The fan with a mist-er-izer helped, but the humidity limits the effectiveness of the thing like you'd get in Palm Springs. Lots of hydration was available, but it is hard to keep ahead - in the sun with lots of gear. The weather was damp enough that the flat track never dried out enough to run on Sunday. So we missed that part of the class due to all the rain. The summer months also allow lots of critters to live by the track. Sitting down on the grass in the shade by a tree allows the chiggers to find you. My son now knows what a chigger is.... as well as knowing there is rarely only one chigger that finds you, there are lots.