June 12-13, 2010  Carolina Motorsports Park with NESBA (Riding in B Group)
Hey All! 

It's Alan here again.  I figure I would hit a couple of the highlights from the trip.  It was a successful trip for me.  I'll get into more of the details in a bit, but the big thing is that I didn't crash!  On Saturday alone, there were around 15 crashes.  They airlifted out one guy who is up and around, and while his bike is a bit trashed, he's out of the hospital.  In addition to the crashes (two of which were right in front of me!), there were a lot of "off-track excursions".  It was very uncharacteristic.

Some conjecture as to the high number of crashes:

That said, I had a good time.  CMP is a new track for me, and I had heard from a number of car track people, that it's a bit on the rough side, and is hard on brakes.  While it wasn't pristine pavement, it wasn't like riding on concrete either.  As for the braking, I never really had any issue with it.  There are some bad patches here and there, which alters your line around the track, but it wasn't too bad.

GOALS - My goals for the weekend (besides not crashing) were:

  1. Get some decent video.  While I didn't get video of every session, I did manage to get some good video facing forward (what I see as I'm riding), as well as some video of my right hand.  This allows me to see how I'm working the throttle and the brake, and also shows how I'm hanging off the bike in right turns.
  2. Get some good data.  As for the data, I recently bought a GPS based lap timer.  In all the time at the track, I never knew what my times were, so lap to lap, I wouldn't know if I was going faster or slower.  The GPX Pro is really a neat gizmo.  You'll see some of the capabilities in the video link Heidi put on the main page.
  3. Improve.  I did indeed learn the track, and improved.  Unfortunately, lap times alone do not give the whole picture.  Remember when I mentioned the beginner riders earlier?  Well, that definitely affects the lap time!  By reviewing the data, even though my fastest lap was 1:56, I could tell that probably 3 seconds of that was "wasted" behind traffic.  I'm betting that I could get into the 1:40s without said traffic.

The bike did really well.  I recently purchased some racing tires (not quite slicks), and they were awesome!  I ran the rear tire edge to edge, and it looks like the tire has been on a cheese grater.  It's pretty cool.  My fitness is a bit better than last track day, so I did pretty good too; even in the heat.  I was really getting my butt off the seat, and getting my knee down consistently.  I normally don't wear my left knee puck much, but I changed that on this trip.  My right knee was also down a lot.  It's a great feeling scraping your knee around the radius of a turn.

It's hard to explain, but as you lean the bike over, before your knee touches, there's a bit of fear about falling.  Once the knee is touching though, the fear goes away.  There's nowhere to "fall".  You're already there!  It's pretty cool actually.

It was nice having Heidi and the kids there, but again, the heat made things a bit harder than normal.  Lars was asking a bunch of questions about various aspects of racing, bikes, etc.  I rented a garage space, and shared it with a few of my buddies that I know from the various riding boards.  It's been awhile since I've seen them, and it was good to catch up, and also meet people face-to-face that you normally only chat/e-mail with.

The BIG NEWS:  I am no longer in the B Group!  I got my "bump" as they say.  I am now in the Intermediate Group.  This means that I'll be able to pass people on the OUTSIDE of the turn, in addition to the straight-aways.  That will be AWESOME.  Lars had been asking me all day if I was going to be an Intermediate, and finally when I showed him the sticker (need to post a pic of that), he was happy for me.  The sticker will go on the bike by the way.

While we cut Sunday short (it was too damn hot!), I had a good time, and I would call the weekend a success.

I've got another couple of track days scheduled (July 16th and August 23rd), so I'll tell you how slow I am in the new group.