Confidence Lost... - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-01-2003, 07:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Unhappy Confidence Lost...

Background: I've been riding for about 1.5 years and going on 9,500 logged miles. I've been pushing for progression of my riding, and I had new Pirelli Diablos mounted in late september replacing the mismatched and bald M1 rear and Pirelli dragon front. This coupled with a new leather jacket, critiqued technique, motivation, and a little bit of balls found me riding better, faster, and leaned over farther than before. Then one day at the end of a ride, going through a really tight left hander in the center of town, someone forgot to tighten their oilpan drain plug, and away went my rear. It started out as a possible low side since i was leaned over a fair amount, then I straightened her out and almost high sided myself, but luckily none of that happened and I rode away.

Since then the temp has dropped, traction has dropped, and my confidence has also dropped. Its been about 3-4 weeks since this happened, ive never been that close to going down before and i seem to be in a slump. Any suggestions on getting out of this before winter? Its a very nice 76 degrees here today so im gonna head out and see what I can do.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-01-2003, 12:20 PM
 
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With the colder weather coming in I would say lay off any long runs. Take a few short runs of like 30 minutes to max of an hr & cut yourself down to 50% of your max riding ability.

Take more notice of the road conditions, traffic & all. It is sort of like riding a horse again after one bucked you off. You would pick a more mild horse so you ride in a more mild manner.

The cold will snuff out the rest of the season, which is unfortunate, but come Spring you will be back on the bike & again riding in a more mild manner (watching out for sand/gravel/salt on the roads for cage drivers AND the fact one needs to educate the cage drivers that m/cs are back on the roads so you need to ride in a more defensive mod) till you feel better. Simple a matter of riding time.

Natch if there is a track open for normal riders then take advantage of it during "track days"-------though in many parts of North America such tracks are a 200 to 400 miles away so not everyone has the time to ride there, ride on the track, & ride back again.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-01-2003, 02:08 PM
 
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I will share a technique with you that has helped me through many years of riding, racing, and near crashes...

When I come across a corner, section, series of corners or jumps that are giving me considerable difficulty or have been the site of a "pants-shitting" moment I make sure to go back and slowly increase my speed through it until my confidence comes back. I repeat this over, and over, and over, and over, until I find myself once again comfortable through that corner or section.

You should start off very slow...depending upon how shell-shocked you are, you may need to get off the bike and walk that corner while visualizing taking it at speed. As your confidence comes back you will see your speed come back as well.

Learning to "get back on the horse" will not only serve you at this particular time, but will help you throughout your riding career. Just take it slowly and you'll get back up to speed.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-01-2003, 06:50 PM
Dad
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Re: Confidence Lost...

Quote:
Originally posted by Kyle
... Then one day at the end of a ride, going through a really tight left hander in the center of town, someone forgot to tighten their oilpan drain plug, and away went my rear. It started out as a possible low side since i was leaned over a fair amount, then I straightened her out and almost high sided myself, but luckily none of that happened and I rode away.
Don't do that in town. Actually, there's some truth to that. Without knowing the exact circumstances, I'll make the general statement that town is a good place to just slow down for whole host of reasons. Traffic can be high, limited sight distance around buildings, parked cars, etc. Too many directions for things to come from such as intersecting roads, parking lot exits, driveways, pedestrians from between parked cars, kids playing, bicycles, police with nothing better to do, etc. There are too many opportunities to find yourself sitting in the road saying "He came out of nowhere!" I'm a lot slower than a lot of riders in town.

More specifically, anywhere that traffic stops or travels slowly can accumulate all of the slippery stuff that cars are known to drip. At speed, they spread it out over miles but stopped or travelling slowly, it becomes concentrated and a drip every 5 seconds from those vehicles has a way of becoming a slippery coating. An extreme example of that is the center of the lane in a toll booth but it applies to a lesser degree where traffic is slow and stopped.

Another problem with extreme lean at extremely low speed is that you're likely in first gear where there's plenty of power to break the tire loose with too much gas. Don't try to acclerate hard in low except for straight line launches.

Another point. At super slow speeds slides are actually more fatal than at higher speeds. May sound crazy but it's true. A slow speed slide can land you on your head in a few feet before you know what happened. At higher speeds, it drags out longer GIVING THE BIKE AND YOU TIME TO RECOVER.

The caps are on purpose and get to another point. As hard as it is to do, you have to stay relaxed in a slide, keeping focused on the exit of the corner. In a rear slide, tightening up on the bars will make it worse. The bike will tend to correct itself in a rear slide with just some very cool inputs from the rider. Stay steady on the gas or ease up slightly if you catch it early but ready to get back on and finish the corner properly. If you tighten up, the bike's steering can't correct itself and you have a good chance of making it worse and high siding. Even if it corrects from the slide, being tight may induce the same list of other riding errors that occur anytime you ride tight and cause you to go down later in the bend, after the bike already recovered, because you tightened, froze, and didn't finish the bend properly. That panic is also going to take your focus away from looking through the corner, and onto what you might hit WHEN you go down, a foredrawn conclusion that goes with the panic. YOU GO WHERE YOU LOOK is a hard and fast rule that gets broken when you're panicked. It becomes the same as the classic "coming in too hot" where the panic hits, the brakes go on, you tighten up, and drive off the road.

A front slide, at least to me, is way more unnerving. With a rear slide there's still a sense of control but with the front, everything gets vague. Some gripping of the bars is necessary because you do have to muscle it from tucking but that still has to be done in a mentally relaxed state, not the whole package of a panic induced "tightening up". I think that may contribute to the unnerving part for me. It's about the only time other than momentary steering inputs that a tighter grip is appropriate so it takes some additional thought, isn't very well practiced, and there isn't time to sit back and review the situation. Relaxed is still key because some quick throttle decisions have to be made and you still have to keep focused on where you want to go. Remember, YOU GO WHERE YOU LOOK! If you're riding at the extremes and sliding going in, but still with good grip, the tire may be overloaded due to the weight transfer from gas off and/or trailing the front brake in. As it slides, it's scrubbing a lot of speed so, early in the bend it may be better to ease off the brake if it's on, and otherwise, let it slide a bit until it hooks OR until you get closer to the apex. As soon as you can, especially if it's still sliding, picking up the throttle will take some of the load off the front and allow it to hook better and then complete the turn. Continuing to look through the turn helps with the timing of the throttle on as well. If it's due to slippery conditions, much the same applies. Stay cool until you're through it.

Notice that the crash option was never mentioned? That's because, if you do all of the right things and it still isn't enough, the crash will take care of itself. This is where Plan B, selecting and wearing the right gear, comes into play.

If that sounds like too much to grasp, that's because IT IS for a newer rider. Nobody's born knowing how to ride properly because riding technique goes completely against most natural reflexes. When you defy that reality, you crash. Most crash stories that are begun with, "I was in too hot" should include, "... for me", because the bike was probably fine with the situation. Its limits are seldom reached by most riders. Cruising for chicks, posing, speeding down straight roads, and all of the other worthwhile persuits on a bike will not teach riding technique. That's where a LOT of studying and seat time comes into play so that most of your riding is completely reflexive. Study the books so you know WHAT to work on, then practice those techniques, not speed, until they're reflexive. Be prepared for tens of thousands of miles, practicing and focusing on smooth technique. If you want to ride faster, that's what you have to do. Also, the track is still the safest place to go when you start pushing, certainly not the middle of town. Good luck!

Kyle, this became a generic answer induced by your question and isn't directed just to you. A lot of folks read these so I got off on a lecture instead of just a simple answer to your question. Take what you can from it, ignore the rest. Hope it helps somebody.

Keeping the "Hap" in "Happy Holidays"!

Regime change begins at home.

Blind patriotism is worse than no patriotism.

Last edited by Dad; 11-01-2003 at 07:36 PM.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-01-2003, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
 
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Nice post dad... lots of good stuff in there. I wasnt THAT shell shocked but enough to wear i question my tires at almost every turn worth thinking about. It's getting better, it hit 80 today and will again tomorrow so i'll be back out again.

Oh and smitty, about the 30 min rides.... what are they?

Once im on, it takes a solid two hours to get me off
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-01-2003, 10:17 PM
 
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Thirty minute rides are just that when one is questionable about their riding. A nice little 30 minute ride or two will give you some confidence then increase the runs to an hr & after a while up them to several hrs.

You were talking about being quite shaken & having lost your confidence. I did not realize you were still feeling hot enough to go out & honk at full ability right front the start. So my mistake in understanding your thread.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-02-2003, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
 
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Yes I understood what you were getting at, and it probably would have been a good idea to start off small again but.... oh well. Advice from the advanced is always welcomed.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-02-2003, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Smitty
Thirty minute rides are just that when one is questionable about their riding. A nice little 30 minute ride or two will give you some confidence then increase the runs to an hr & after a while up them to several hrs.

You were talking about being quite shaken & having lost your confidence. I did not realize you were still feeling hot enough to go out & honk at full ability right front the start. So my mistake in understanding your thread.
Smitty, I thought your response was quite good on the confidence issue. I went off on a tangent, hopefully still of value to the conversation. Your insight from your years of experience across the spectrum of riding is always valuable. I didn't have anything to add to the confidence issue but went on to outline specifically some of the things that can be done to control or deal with a slide. My point was two fold and would hopefully help a person to not put themselves in the situation again, where their confidence becomes shaken.

We are always using expressions like "take it easy" or "don't ride over your head" when advising newer riders. While those statements are very true, the lack of experience often lacks the point of reference for those expressions to be meaningful. Giving some specifics of the inputs required to control that situation may be helpful for someone who is ready for that level of riding but should also be read as a warning to newer riders. If you're reading that and thinking, "How in the hell do you do all of those things in the split second of a slide", then you shouldn't be riding so hard that a slide is possible.

Long before that description is very meaningful, a rider has to be totally comfortable and relaxed with all of the skills that get you to the point where a slide is possible, which is pretty damn quick! Your lines will be good, your throttle control or entry speed that induced the slide will not be so far off that you can't catch it, and at least up to the point of the slide, you'll be totally relaxed. Because practice has made those basics so reflexive, it leaves the necessary time to pay attention to the additional thoughts required to control the situation without overloading your brain and inducing panic.

In many posts, I have used the simple statement that "anytime that you're scaring yourself, you're going too fast, whatever that speed happens to be", or my other favorite, "work on technique, the speed will take care of itself". While simplistic, those are the best way I can think of to define the limits for any skill level. As you work on ANY technique you come up to it from the slow side, practicing at a comfortable level until it becomes your reflex. When you have it right, it will feel right, and will be quick. It leaves you so relaxed that you have the bulk of your attention span in reserve to assess the balance of the picture including riding conditions, traffic, upcoming intersections, etc. and the occasional situation where something didn't go quite as it should have, such as a slide. You haven't overloaded your brain with what should have been elementary.

I define a rider's skill by how much he crashes, not how fast he is. Good riders don't crash and as a result, have the opportunity to get the seat time to become good AND fast... if that's their desire.

There's the lecture again but it is based on personal experience and years of observing riders of all skill levels. Hope it helps someone.

Keeping the "Hap" in "Happy Holidays"!

Regime change begins at home.

Blind patriotism is worse than no patriotism.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-02-2003, 01:39 PM
 
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Dad:Both of your threads were well put & we know your milage on the present bike with no prangs.

I was looking at it from the matter of one being shaken up after nearly loosing bike or actually pranging a bike. I had not done so since '74 & suddenly in June 6th I am on some very tight twisties going uphill at 160kph on max 80kph road when front wheel was lost on a tight left bend as I hit sand/gravel realizing I had partially recovered BUT was headed into some tall concrete barricades so cages will not go over & down a steep part of the mtn. Then saw a gap & threw bike to right, then gearing down & hitting the anchors as I went throug & into gravel/dirt before I pranged.

It was 53 miles to make it back home & while bike wanted to fall to left or right, I made it home with fractured rib cage on right, toren chest & back muscles, twisted ankle, & not able to close swollen left hand for next day or two.

In 3rd day, while it was very painful, I mounted my 929 & did some short runs to bring back my confidence while the ribs were healing along with other tears in the body & limb muscles. Did this almost daily till I was comfortable with 1 hr runs & then started to extend the continual hrs of riding. This is what I have done in the past & to anyone that had lost some of their confidence I was passing on not only my experience from the prang in June 6th, but in prior yrs be they street related or related to road racing or dirt comp.

It does not hurt to hear how others have quickly regained their confidence, but got back into the normal swing of riding even while injuries are still healing. Oh yes the 600 was easy to rebuild & still a good bike to ride for short or long runs.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-02-2003, 04:29 PM
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Nothing to add, I think Dan, Smitty, and Dad offered some VERY good advice...I especially like the part about, Not going so fast around town...there's nothing but trouble to be gained by doing so...save for the track...

Old, Slow, but ...Smooth
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