If you do something- you progress. If you like what you are doing there- you progress faster. If you like, and have the goal to progress- you’ll progress more and fast. It’s as simple as that. Why does it take so long with motorcycle riding and especially racing?… because of possibilities of breaking things, getting hurt, or even to die.
First, we need to agree that making progress isn’t endless (there maybe are some things you want to share with me, but not in this sport). Sorry to say, but your clock is ticking. It’s just like the progress of growth, where your body comes to the pivot point. You hate me for diagnosing this huh?! :-)
There is a up-side to this though. Just like your body- your progress as a rider or racer goes further when physically and mentally in shape. Don’t feel discouraged by this if you are not in a hell of a shape or on the older side. Just accept the fact that progress has its limits and that this is depending on many factors. I mean… there is a reason why racers retire, right?!
Let’s use a other metaphor for progress. Like climbing up a real high ladder, all the way up into the blue sky. That ladder is so high that you can’t even see its end. Cool huh?! Yea, I’m saying that because you actually don’t know how far you’ll come. So get your ass up there, because so far we know:
- the ladder is the progress
- the sky is the unknown height/progress
So all the way down there when mastering those first rungs, there are a lot of people who could help you with that. So you rush up that ladder real fast, but you realize that most people can’t reach you anymore to hold you. Luckily there are some who brought some ropes, but also they are going only ‘that’ high up. Hmm….
- the higher you climb, the less help possible
But the fun you’re having doesn’t scare you and you don’t think of possible gravitational consequences. You realize though, that you are getting slower though. That’s might be your body gets tired and the air gets thinner up there. Ahaaa…
- ya not getting younger you know :-)
- competition gets stronger
But you still have that smile on your face while climbing, and you still can’t see the end of that ladder. Though, we’re having thoughts now about loosing a grip and we’re looking down. You still can see some helpers all the way down there- real small and you can’t even hear their voices anymore.
- the higher you climb, the more mental it gets
You keep going up, but some rungs are missing. You stuck, cuz’ you don’t have the tools on ya to fix it on your own. But there are professionals who have them- and they have absolute no issue with that height. They are waiting for you to call them.
- at this point you might think… damn, if I would have a guy like that helping me climbing earlier- I might have found only one rung missing instead of five
Well, enough of that and be more realistic. How about lap times. Oh boy, there is nothing more in your face than time man. Let’s go to Laguna Seca :-)
Let’s say it’s your first time sitting on a motorcycle. I probably could keep track of your lap time by just using a calendar. We go back there two years later, and you are about one day faster around the track. Another year later your lap time is good for C group. Half a year later you’re timing for B group… but all of a sudden… it weirdly takes two years for making A group lap times. Somehow you need a long time to run all of them out, but you do and go racing. Now you’re backfield in amateur leagues, but you still progressing lap times by seconds. It took two years to become champion and you are a semi-pro now. Your lap times progressing by only half of seconds now, even though you and your equipment are way better now. Hmmm?! Another year or two go bye and you are a professional and you compete on world stage now, but from there it takes you another one or two to become the guy to beat. Your lap times are progressing by only a hundreds of a second which makes you standing on pole position.
- Progress is a timeline with acceleration to a pivot point where it slows and narrows to its end
You need to understand and accept. But hey, I’m sure that there is still one or two more rungs beyond this point :-) :-) :-)
Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp
This was your best article ever. The analogy between learning a skill and the ladder works so well and the way you described it was so vivid and easy to understand.
It works for improving moto riding skills, as well as anything you want to achieve that is challenging.
This one’s a keeper!
So appreciated Kirby, especially when this comes from a teacher like yourselves.
Really good article Coach! Your explanation of the missing ladder rungs really helps me understand and put in perspective what I got out of attending Cornering School Days 1, 2 and 3 (which I loved!).
When I recommend your classes to friends and acquaintances, I usually tell them that I learned several key riding skills, or had several epiphanies occur to me at each of the classes where the information you presented filled a gap in my understanding of riding motorcycles.
Your analogy of the missing ladder rungs explains it much better. Your coaching helped add missing rungs in the learning and experience ladder that I had trouble climbing because of the missing rungs.
You helped me fill several missing rungs on my ladder at each of the three Cornering School days and my riding is smoother and more enjoyable, and I have more confidence on the bike because of that. Much appreciated! You just filled another missing rung on my ladder with this article😀
John, this is the most wonderful comment I’ve ever read. You just made my day son!