A weekend at the track.
Date: Monday, September 22 @ 23:08:19 EDT
Story by Ed Lee.
Well fellow CBXers this could be a long story sooooo.
Going to cut almost to the chase. First have to say it's a long way from Oakland with Subaru, trailer with X and Seca 2. Missed Hwy 58 right about the time saw grapevine ahead. Quick map check found forward progress was up grapevine and make a left to round back.
Up fine, but the left, left me on the side of the road with Marbles for an engine. I'll be back in a few weeks to pick it up - good thing for warranty! A tow to Lancaster and rental truck got on the way.
This was an event set up for Women to get a chance to ride the track with instructors and at the same time test ride on the track models from Apprilla, Triumph, and Moto Gossi. My hats off to all these manufacturers, giving anyone a $15K motorcycle to go ride at the best of ones ability without obligation if ........ really makes a statement! There were more than enough motorcycles!
Saturday was their day and wow, they really had a good time. Two minor off tracks, no harm either way. Groups were arranged; Novice - Intermediate - Advanced each group would ride rotating sessions of 20 minutes each. The course is 2.2 miles so number of laps ranged from 4 to 7 Novice to Advanced. Group instructors would have a class room session directly after average 6 riders per instructor.
This is the set up for Sunday when the men were allowed along with the women. Same set up including Demo bikes.
This was a good thing because Saturday I wanted to get out there so bad I almost though of adding some "Armor", keeping my Helmet on and sneaking on to the track.
So which group do I sign up for. I'm thinking all these years I'm at least Intermediate and the rules for passing and such are a little looser but something of all these years told me to start off slow... Good thing!
They broke the Novice group up into sub groups which I was in the Transition to Intermediate once "checked out".
Well this is were it gets interesting. Number one every bike there is better suited for track work than a CBX, however I win in the sounds best department! I'm being looked at by everyone there in terms of are you really going to ride that?
Here we go, instructor in the lead me number three of 5. First sweeping turn I'm starting to lean and lean an Damn this is getting a bit of Pucker factor. I have not pressed these new to me, Brigstone BT 45's and am starting to get visions of sliding off into the thorns and needles - not a friendly run off of mowed grass around here. I feel myself starting to tighten up, I'm thinking did I make a fool of myself bringing this tank to the track the guys and gals behind me are going to laugh me right back to Oakland. Turn after turn I'm seeming to get worse and worse; slow, wide, missed apex, bad shift damn I'm a rookie!!! What's going on here anyway? Well it gets better, why? I figure out a lot in a hurry. Number one calm the nerves, number two relax, number three, this bike is 300 lbs heavier than theirs, number four get some guts, number five there are spare parts at home and number six you have a whole club you are representing.
Now I was starting to do better, don't follow that line you will always be late, have to get that extra weight in motion a lot sooner and the exit is going to take a lot longer. You know how, so Hang that body big time and help out those itty bitty tires. After completing the first session; inspecting the tires I see still have a lot more to go. They did their job flawlessly. I did get my act together enough the first session, 6 laps, to get a Big High 5 from instructor and the rest. They all said man you are working some kind of hard but you got that thing almost tamed ...... and it sounds totally cool!
This was my inspiration for the next few sessions and I must say the instructor had me doing things I did not think was possible both mechanical and mental. The pressure to keep up focused me and instead of being sure the end was near I was actually very comfortable and confident to think and even keep rolling that throttle on while being halled out and engine guards "just" about scraping the ground. The side effect is now while I'm writing this my legs, calfs and balls of my feet are big time sore!
I know consider myself a World Champion because decided to give the X a rest one session and jumped on and Aprillia Melle; I tell you this is my first time real ride on a modern bike and how sweet it is. I mean riders these days have it made, the thing was so confidence inspiring and easy to ride right up there and even pass those of the group I was working so hard to keep up with that; If I put in the same effort/work I was doing on the X I'd be World Class racer ----- well anyway you get the point.
I did not let yall down. Everyone came by and had something positive to say. Some even said they would think twice before challenging me through some canyon. I felt good, didn't scratch the Chrome and the motor, though puffing a little smoke survived for another day.
Really though it's not a race, it's to sample bikes and improve your skill. It's not a superbike school. It's fast but only as fast as you can control.
I accomplished a lot, I'm calling it finding my nerve through technique, at a place suited to do so. Am I going to go out and test my refound ability -- No, but I will do this again and it's for that one time I'm going to need it, hopefully I'll have it.
There will be some pictures soon.