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Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Resolution #2

I resolve to do at least two track days this year.

Track Days - It strikes fear into the hearts of otherwise fearless riders. And endless excuses. 

  1. I don't have a track bike
  2. I don't have the right leathers
  3. My bike isn't in good shape
  4. I'm not in good shape
  5. I'll be embarrassed
  6. I'm broke
Taken in order I think #5 is the #1 reason a lot of riders don't do a track day. The thought that all the other riders, whizzing past, would beat their egos into submission has more people staying away than would like to admit it. Riders who would do heroically stupid things on the road suddenly get shy when it comes to the relative safety of the track. Maybe they're afraid of finding out that their visions of being a great rider are tragically flawed. Hard to find excuses for why you suck on the track when everyone is watching. Is it better to live with our delusions than to try to get better?

This is exactly why each of us needs, to get out on the track with some expert instruction. A day on the track will make us suck less. It's not going to turn us into instant Rossis or Haydens. But it will put a lot more skill in our brains which translates into more, and safer, fun on the road. Plus, it's a blast to be able to go as fast as you want without fear of some  texting freak cutting you off and killing you.

The cost can be difficult in this economy but a little juggling of priorities could easily cover the cost. A couple of pizza nights instead of Chez Pierre with the money saved going directly into an envelope in the back of the sock drawer would cover a lot of it. Wine from Trader Joes instead of Chateau LaPrixGrande would help too. Think of the budget you survived on in college and you get the idea.

I've seen bikes of every sort at track days. Good tires and a little bit of safety wire and you're in business. You are riding on good tires aren't you!? Leathers are available for rent at the track or look for bargains on CraigsList. eBay has new ones as cheap as $179 and a used one for $31 (Item number: 330390859853). Vanson Leathers has an Open House twice a year with half price bargains on some racing suits.

USCRA has a one day track school for beginners for only $75 that includes a one year membership to race. On my Christmas Wish List #12 I posted a few other track schools to consider.

Who knows? You just might find out that you don't suck as bad as you feared and you are guaranteed to have the time of your life! See you in Turn 3.