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  (#1)
Knee Draggin!
 
Modian's Avatar
 
Posts: 576
Join Date: September 30, 2002
Location: Manassas
September 17, 2003, 05:38 PM

I'm trying to solicite some opinions as this is really aggravating me. I have an irrational fear of the tires sliding out from under me if I lean too far. Something I've never had before.

I'm not sure if it was cause of the track or if that compounded the problem. Before I went I had utmost confidence in my bike, my tires, and my abilities. I could lay a bike completely on its side with me hanging off monkey style without a second thought. Actually I wouldn't think at all, my mind was a blank, and I would let my body and bike do its stuff. Getting me knee and foot down was cake. A couple weeks before the track I took a ride up to 42, and had a perfect day. Everything was flowing, and my tires were sticking like glue while everyone else was sliding. I think that was my final heat cycle out of those tires. The next week I went to 211, and my front kept wanting to tuck in every corner. It was very unnerving. I knew the tires were pretty much dead as they had 8000 miles on them. No big deal as I was getting new ones before I went to the track the next week. I got the new ones, but noticed the day before the track that Fast Lanes had given me a Metzler rear instead of the Michelin I wanted. This really bothered me for some reason. I had no experience on Metzlers while I had a ton on Pilots.

So I went to the track. For some reason, the unknown tire kept sticking in my head. Except when I was on the track. I've already talked about what a shitty day I had at the track, but I didn't expect it to carry over this long. One thing I didn't mention is on the first lap of the first session, both tires slid in turn 3. Classic case of too much lean for cold tires. No big deal, had it happen before. Later in the morning I lost the rear in turn 9. And in my final session of the afternoon, I lost the rear in turn 10. I've slid the rear countless times and it never bothers me. I had also slid it even worse on 211 the week before. But for some reason, this one really rattled me. I took it real easy down the straight, then came into the pits after 9. I had no confidence in my tires anymore, or in myself. I don't know why I lost my confidence in the front since it had been rock solid all day, including a rolling endo before 1. The next day I went to Fast Lanes and got rid of that Metzler and got the Michelin like I wanted.

Since then, I have not had a good ride. I can't get in the zone anymore, and I don't feel comfortable on the bike. After a couple weeks of this, I started analyzing what might have happened. I initially thought that it was my riding position. On the track I was coming into those turns so hard that I didn't have time to properly setup and wasn't getting as far off the bike as I usually did. The week before the Sept track day, I figured out how I used to get off the bike, and felt a ton more comfortable. I figured out that I hadn't been getting all the way off the bike like I usually did, which put me in a bad position and my body weight wrong. Instead of using my legs to support myself, I was hanging onto the bars to keep from falling off. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to put it to practice as the track day got rained out.

I've done a couple rides since, and they've felt alright. I went up to my favorite road, which is in WV, and hit another one that is right before it. The first road has some really fast straights that come up to some insanely tight turns. I tried some hard braking on that road and it felt like the track all over again. The bike was really unstable going into the corners. My confidence was dropping again, and I wanted to take a break before my favorite to get myself straight. Doug talked me into hitting it first since it was getting dark out. I agreed and went at it. I took it semi-easy going down to scope it, then hauled ass back up. It felt really good, I was flowing thru the corners, but I still felt a little off the pace of the last time, and not completely in the zone. Doug later remarked though that he was surprised I hadn't dragged a peg or my exhaust, I had it cranked over so far. Maybe it's all in my head.

Jesus this is long. I went up to 211 yesterday with Doug and Travis. Took a slow spotting run up the first time to check for cops and debris, and I did some experminting with how I get off the bike. We then picked up the pace and I tried to get in that blank mind zone phase. It mostly worked except for the really tight corners where you really have to crank it over. In those I kept tensing up on the bars, and lost speed as I slowed down to get more comfortable. I know the thought going thru my head was that my tires were going to let go and I was going to lowside. I never had that problem on that mountain before.

So thinking back to the track, I realize I had the same fears. I don't know if it was from that very first slide of the day or what. But I never felt comfortable on the bike for the rest of the day, especially thru the carousal. I lost time and distance on a lot of people there because I was afraid of cranking it over and sliding, even though I never slid there once. I also had that fear in 3. One of my problems now I think is that I'm overthinking everything. I can't realx and get my mind blank. In every corner, I'm thinking about a mess of stuff. I'm doing a head job on myself and it's killing my confidence. It aggravtes me because I've never been afraid on a bike before and now I'm afraid of something that's never happened. My riding is going downhill because I can't relax any more.

So my question after this long ass story is: How do you get your confidence back? How do you get over a fear of something you've never had a fear of before?

-Mod
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  (#2)
Ballaugh Bridge
 
CrazyMotorcycleGuy's Avatar
 
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September 17, 2003, 06:56 PM

I think part of the problem is going to Summit thinking you can lean the bike over as much or more than you can on the street. Summit actually has less traction than most roads and in particular some of the turns you mentioned (3,6,9). Turn 3 is one of my worst. I know I'm losing time there when I see the way others blow by me at the exit. The carousel has many different levels of traction and only once I put on some race tires did I get comfortable going fast there. 9 is the only turn where I actually had a slide and I had a Sportec rear on at the time. Part of my confidence problem at Summit goes back to when I raced there in '97 and it was very slick. The pavement in some turns actually had grooves in it (kind of like when they grind up the road just before repaving it) and it had a smooth, polished surface. :o Summit really messes with your perspective. Since racing I have a hard time riding less than 10+ the speed limit. :dunno:

Sometimes the only way to overcome a riding fear is by crashing once you've exceeded the limit. Professional racers only know the limit when the find themselves sliding down the track on their ass. You have to keeping pushing to build up the confidence. The street isn't the best place to do that though. Summit's not the greatest place either.

I know I have a mental limit about how far I lean on the street and I don't have any problem with that. Traction can be unpredictable and what's good for one turn isn't always good for another. There's too many variables on the street. It's saved me a few times because I knew I had something in reserve but not how much I had. In those situations I was able to overcome my mental block it push it to the limit until hard parts were dragging and I was about to crap my pants.

Or something might be wrong with the bike setup. You say you bike has 20,000 miles now. Maybe parts are getting fatigued. Suspension's not working as well as it should. I bet your fork oil needs changing. Bearings are getting worn and loose. Maybe the tires weren't constructed properly and don't give the feedback they should. That's a big reason I don't use Dunlops, very vague feedback. I've never used Michelins so I don't know how they compare to Dunlops, Metzelers, or Bridgestones.

Strip the bike down and give everything a good look. Put a wrench to everything you can.


'08 MARRC Expert Racer of the Year
2009 #3 Combined Overall Championship

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  (#3)
Has an idiot exemption
 
Triple X's Avatar
 
Posts: 8,501
Join Date: September 29, 2002
Location: Stephens City, VA
September 17, 2003, 08:55 PM

Damn Travis...that was freakin excellent advice!
Modian...I think it is exactly what Travis said...Summit pavement sucks. Stuff (suspension) might be getting worn.
Let's go over your bike with a fine tooth comb and make sure we remove any potential problems.
You do an excellent job of thinking about your riding.
Let's take any bike problems out of the picture and then go for a ride...we'll figure it out.


Steve
2015 Yamaha R1
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  (#4)
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Join Date: October 3, 2002
Location: Warrenton, Va.
September 17, 2003, 09:35 PM

Hey Mod,

In my experience, riding at speed is more a mental thing than anything else. Riders who have gotten comfortable with riding fast have long since gotten past the technique issues which often confound less experienced riders - leaving the head game as the biggest variable in their riding. And, of course, being able to believe in those tires is a big part of that confidence equation. I'd guess that having that Metzler on instead of your favored Michelin was the start of your problem. Kinda like it would be if you had 33/35 psi when you knew you ought to be running 30/32 - it starts planting subtle seeds of doubt. A slide or two later - which you normally might not give a second thought to - and voila, the head games begin.

You'll almost certainly ride through it. Time and miles are the answer - as they are for most things...


Jeff

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  (#5)
Knee Draggin!
 
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Join Date: September 30, 2002
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September 17, 2003, 09:48 PM

Thanks guys. Given me some things to consider. I have wondered if I'm starting to wear out parts of the bike, but I think it is mostly a head game I'm playing with myself like Jager mentioned. I thought about it some more, and talked to Grendel a little bit since he had the same problem last year, and I think I'm just over thinking things. I need to relax and just have fun again.

About Summit. I think I let other peoples opinions mess with me. Yes, it may be slippery, but other than those three times, I didn't slide at all. But everyone you talk to says it's slippery. And that turn 3 is a nightmare ice coated hell. So I let that plant itself in my head.

I did have one good thing I forgot to mention. On 211 yesterday we were getting ready to leave. Doug told me to quit experimenting and lead. So I said fuck it, I'm going to have some fun. Didn't get stuck behind any cars on the way down, and di exactly that. Had some fun. Result was a very smooth and fast run down. So maybe that's my key.

(I did have one incident. On the way down, near the bottom, I came around the right that is the left after the decreasing radius right on the way up. Very, very short transition before the next turn. I was switching sides and accidently gassed it. While I was in the power band. Big increase in speed when I was trying to slow down. I went oh shit and nailed the brakes. Result being me smashing my nuts into the tank. I had to laugh at that)

-Mod
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  (#6)
GP Racer
 
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Join Date: September 30, 2002
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September 17, 2003, 09:59 PM

Quote:
On 211 yesterday...........

-Mod
hell, yeah! 211 was great!

just as soon as the dayum 'squidz' left the hill all to ME! :o

[3 guys on SS's, 1=redR6, 1=bluR1, 1=silverR1]


“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president,
or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not
only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the
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  (#7)
GP Champ
 
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Join Date: November 12, 2002
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September 17, 2003, 10:35 PM

Nice write up everyone. Alot of good advice, suggestions and questions as i plan to start doing track days next year and get more comfortable and gain confidence on the street and on my bike.


Katie 135
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  (#8)
Licensed Rider
 
Posts: 103
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September 18, 2003, 03:05 AM

oh weird up until this week I was plagued with similar problems like a loss of confidence, not being smooth, confusion of my cornering techniques, etc. All the confusion lasted about 3 weeks and then somehow I got my rhythm back which kinda inspired my sig


Blue '03 Ninja250

~Stop dreaming and Just do it~


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September 18, 2003, 10:04 AM

Its all in your head Aaron. Something happened at Summit that shook your confidence a bit, maybe you were pushing yourself too hard who knows. Go back to the track and have fun and put it behind you.

If you spend all your time on the bike thinking you arent going to have room up there to do the riding, just let it be second nature and forget about analyzing things so much. Be smooth and have fun, dont worry about technique so much and you will surely get faster next track day.
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  (#10)
Knee Draggin!
 
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Posts: 576
Join Date: September 30, 2002
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September 18, 2003, 11:16 AM

Quote:
If you spend all your time on the bike thinking you arent going to have room up there to do the riding, just let it be second nature and forget about analyzing things so much. Be smooth and have fun, dont worry about technique so much and you will surely get faster next track day.
That's exactly what I'm trying to achieve again. I had it before but right now it's gone. And the harder I try to get it back, the more it eludes me. I just need to get on the bike and not think about a damn thing and do things by instinct like before. I also need to exorcise that track demon.

Thanks everyone for the advice and opinions. Your mind is your own worse enemy.

-Mod
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  (#11)
Knee Draggin!
 
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September 18, 2003, 11:58 AM

That was a very good write-up, Mod as well as a lot of good advice!! I followed you for a while that day and, although I wasn't sitting in your seat, you looked to be smooth and real controlled. Here is my suggestion for what its worth...
Go hop on a dirt bike and spend a weekend riding that around. You'll slide it into turns, out of turns, wreck, and everything else that has you concerned. The sliding is one thing that seems to have you real unnerved. Get familiar with sliding around, that way when it happens on the street or track, it wont be that big of deal (it may even be fun ). I enjoy "backing it in", not very fast at it but its still a blast. A good knowledge and background on dirt is real helpful on asphalt (or concrete) as well. Just a thought, but thats what I'd do. Although I've only rode once with you, I think its just a head thing and this will help you get over that.
-James
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Ex-racer TURNED Post Whore
 
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September 18, 2003, 12:08 PM

Quote:
Awesome thread Aaron! Alot of folks cannot even fathom "thinking" things through this much, but some of us understand.
This "thinking" things through is exactly the problem.

I had very little loss of confidence after my low side (except in the turn where it happened)...but had a real hard time gaining confidence back after dropping my bike in a parking lot...weird but true. I just had to ride through it and slowly get it back.

There are some things you should know and things you should work on being any rider, but Aaron, you are already fast and have the technique down...quit thinking and just ride like you always have...
like it's been said before...ride through it and get the tires you want


Honda Cbr600RR NESBA #135
"Your anger makes me Happy"
Ambivalent? Welllll, yes and no.
You are about as useful as a poopy flavored lollipop!
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  (#13)
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September 19, 2003, 04:09 PM

Quote:
IMO, the sign of a real rider is someone who analyzes their every move, and learns from it.
Geez that sounds like a chore. I suppose I would take it that seriously if it were my job, but id rather have fun when Im on the bike.
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