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Hundred Miles In Cruise Control

I wake up at 3.30am to kiss my wife good bye, and to head out to Buttonwillow Raceway. I had a job to do, a Track Drill 1on3 on Saturday and a 1on4 on Sunday.

It’s gonna take about 3 1/2 hours to get there and my job entitles to transfer knowledge in a passioned and inspiring way and to be on a highly physical track for 2 days, so that I actually try to enjoy this long and ‘quite’ drive. Even my ‘Cleopatra’ dangles peacefully in the straps. That will be quite a different scenario in about 6 hours, when she underlines her diva status ones unleashed.

The coffee is still too hot to drink and it’s pitch black out there. I am still a little exhausted of the work to be done the previous week. Office… requests, planning 2020 dates, preparing classes and 1on1’s. Shop… maintenance, cleaning, tires, oil changes, gear. And so on and so on. My back hurts and my hands show scarf-skin from all the riding I’ve been doing for more than four decades now. Looking at them pops memories up. All the races I’ve done, from an amateur to a professional with a international FIM race license. I’ve done crazy things in live and gave all my heart, sweat and blood to get there. Nothing came easy- nothing came with luck. Same goes for ‘Superbike-Coach’ btw, and now I’m seeing about 1500 students per year. Seven of them during this weekend.

I finally hit Interstate-5. There is literally no traffic and my thumb sneaks to the Cruise Control button. My V8 hums at 2000 rpm’s and the coffee is good to go. But am I really relaxed?… no, cuz’ I realize that I don’t even listen to music. Instead my thoughts are with the students already- with things I might could have done better in the last Cornering Day 2 class- with a program I want to add- with family things- and with the shit going down which probably bothers anyone right now, and hopefully finds and end in 2020.

Let’s watch a movie. I’ve picked ‘12 Monkeys‘, and oh man… Brad Pitt is such a great actor. Meanwhile, the darkness fades away and hills in the distance arising. Memories coming in, when Marion and I came to California in 1997 for our Honeymoon. That was the trigger for us to live here and to finally make it happen in November 2008. What a journey, but also here… nothing came easy, nothing for free, nothing is perfect.  The Sunrise is gorgeous. Oh btw… nature calls and I take the next exit. The off ramp takes me down to a small, very dusty old road which disappears towards the hills. Seems there is another one stopping for the same reason. The scene was a perfect postcard picture. A silver AC Cobra parked half off the road in the desert, driver door open. I know the bridge is long- but that picture was so ‘James Dean’ or ‘Steve McQueen’, if you know what I mean. I wished I’d have take a pic damn it.

Quicker as expected… exiting Lerdo Highway. I finally stop in the paddock and slide out of the truck. First thing I see is Varun walking quickly up to me with his big smile on his face, witch I know from many classes he works with me now and so today. He hugs me right away and from deep down of his heart he says “I’m so glad to see you Coach!”… and I’ve really arrived. Cruise control off!

Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

Does a Track Day really make you a better rider?!

Ever heard the slogan: “Doing one track day replaces 1 year of riding on the street.”… or something like that?! What about statements like: “Riding on a race track makes you feel your bike on the limit.”, or similar?!

Sounds about right and super exciting huh?! Well… super exciting yes- but it’s not right at all to say- or even to think that this would make you a better rider, because where the hell should all of that coming from all of a sudden!? I am saying here, that nothing will change over night just because you have a track day ticket in your pocket. Straight up… the only thing which will move ‘on the limit’ are going to be your guts.

Here is what’s gonna happen in reality… you probably couldn’t even sleep the night before your track day. Not feeling that you are actually totally tired, because the adrenaline pumps through your vanes while you listen to the obligatory riders meeting, which actually freaks you out even more. Then you move out to your first session. You are stuffed with hope because you’ve been told that those four ‘beginners sightseeing laps’ are making a huge difference for you. In fact it does not, cuz’ you are riding in a massive 20 miles per hour convoy on darn pretty funny lines. This btw is the reason why Superbike-Coach track days are not even offering it, because the moment when you go for your second session… your head is as empty as much as your tires, and you still have no clue where you actually are. We have other ways. Anyway- after lunch break, you go an ask an instructor to follow you around, and after you could probably entertain the entire crew with your chicken stripes- he says yes. 20 minutes later he probably says something about your body positioning and a plain “…other than that- good enough”. But naturally, you are alone again in your very next session, and you are actually doing the same BS you’ve done before. You might finish the day early by deciding to skip on the last two sessions without a good reason actually. In fact though- your entire body feels like you got hit by a truck, and mentally hurt because you just realized how much you suck. You are tired and weak, caused of being tensed up and mentally overwhelmed for hours. And then you spend an hour on a monitor to find ‘the perfect shot’ that photographer hopefully took of you. All High-Res and awesomely tilted- but non of them showing you in much of a leaning ankle… not even in your last session when you really felt best. So you are attacking one track day after another for the next 3 years, and a 5 seconds drop- 15 sets of tires and 2 crashes is the outcome, but you still don’t know why those A riders are 20 seconds faster per lap- or why you are still not dragging the damn knee.

I might sound like I would think every rider is the same- but I don’t, and don’t get me all wrong- I know you are excited and I am totally on your page- but ‘excitement’ and the feeling of being scared to death is all what you’re going home with. At home, you’re looking back and you are probably loaded with wish-thinking that your riding performance felt so much better than usual. In reality though… you probably are more solid on line choice and more confident on your favorite canyon road. I even heard riders talking themselves into a ‘better world’ by noticing that there is a slight chance that the photographer f’d it up, because he did not get you at your deepest leaning in that particular turn.

How dare am I, and how do I know all of this?!…well, maybe by dealing with pro racing, ego, 40 years of riding on tracks world wide and 15 years of teaching riders should give me some kinda experience. It is also not just my opinion, based on this experience, because there are also people out there who admit it, which I think is where all what I am saying goes. It also seems that some riders are becoming ‘blind’ after they’ve been to a track day, because they see themselves ‘grown up’ in terms of riding bikes then. This can be literally deadly wrong, because again… nothing is better all of a sudden. If you are going to do a track day- then do it just for fun, and don’t fool yourself.

I know what you are going through and I can help you to really get something out of your track days, and it doesn’t matter if it is at my track days or someone elses. For example… I’ve coached riders who never got their knee down in 15 years of track riding. Riders who spend time and thousands of Dollars with other schools and track days… I’ve made them drag the living dead out of their pucks in one day for $149 bux, including track fees- free photography and snacks. Just sayin’ …

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Headcoach Can Akkaya, Superbike-Coach Corp

 

 

Bunch of Track Drill 1on1 dates added

We’ve just added a bunch of Track Drill 1on1 dates. Check it out: https://www.superbike-coach.com/events/categories/track-drill-1on1-up-to-1on3