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Discussion Starter #1
We often hear people say that you have to go "Slow to go fast." (I say it too)

What does this mean to you? Have you implemented this, or tried to implement this strategy in your riding at all?
 

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It's all about pacing yourself to build skills. If you ride faster than your skill level you're in the danger zone and you'll spend more time trying to survive than learning and improving technique.
 

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Oz pretty much summed it up.

I've always heard it as "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." If you practice being smooth then the speed will come.
I've ridden with some guys that ride like raped-apes on the straights but are afraid to lean in the corners. They burst way ahead then you catch them in the twisties, then they are way ahead again on the straight bits.
 

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It's all about pacing yourself to build skills. If you ride faster than your skill level you're in the danger zone and you'll spend more time trying to survive than learning and improving technique.
This is absolutely correct.

Its a proven fact that if one rides over 75-80% of ones ability, they fail to learn. The best way to learn performance riding skills (or even general riding skills) is to work at this threshold and below. How do you know where that level is? Panic, pure and simple. When muscle memory and skills are acquired then negotiating a motorcycle through turns becomes easier. Because it is now easier and there is confidence, the panic subsides. The rider must go faster to get the same feelings of panic (survival reactions). Then the game is upped and new skills to go even faster can be obtained.

Some also relate this to "slow in, fast out". It means to not charge the turns. Going in at a more comfortable speed and cracking open the throttle as soon as the bike is lent over is a much better option than going in too fast and having to try and recover inside the turn. That typically doesn't end well. Its best to slowly increase entry speeds than charge it and have to worry about not crashing. Go in where you know that you wont crash, get on the throttle and smoothly roll on the gas...as soon as possible, which is typically way before the apex.

Either way, operate at 75%. Once the skills are acquired then your 75% is what used to be your 80-85%. Slow to go fast.
 

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I have to agree here. You really need to learn the skills involved. I've only have one season of riding under my tail, but I've learned alot in that one season, but my learning is far from over. The best advice I have recieved was that you need to learn to stop before your speed picks up. I was like, huh? How can that be? But once you know you can do an emergency stop at 55 mph, and not lose control, you aren't afraid to twist the trottle a bit more. Speed was something I was afraid of at first, I'd have friends joke with me at first asking if I'd ever get out of second gear. My response was I don't give a flying flugger nutter, I'll learn at my own pace not to appease you. I Ride My Own Ride. You can follow or you can lead, the choice is yours, but I choice to ride within my abilities.
 

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Koda, I agree with you except for your use of the word panic. I think the threshold should be when we start making correctable mental mistakes or sloppy physical inputs. That should be the signal to slow down and regain control.

The word panic is too strong because it implies the rider experiences overwhelming fear inhibiting one's ability to think. A rider who can't think is a danger to himself/herself and other on the road or track.

Maybe I'm being too picky about the semantics. Riding involves mental skills in addition to physical skills. We often survive unexpected hazards by staying calm and remembering our training.
 

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Panic: "Sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior."

Plenty of riders panic. Then crash. At the bottom of this timeless ideal is the concept that pinning it on the straights and parking in the corners is not only dangerous but costs you time in the end (speed). It's a "Slow and steady wins the race" philosophy.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's all about pacing yourself to build skills. If you ride faster than your skill level you're in the danger zone and you'll spend more time trying to survive than learning and improving technique.
Well said. If you ride faster than your skill level then you will spend more time trying to survive then learning. Excellent. So the goal then becomes to ride at a pace that is comfortable for you to learn new skills and then pick up the pace gradually right?

So when do you know that you are ready to being brining up the pace and then how do you go about doing it?

M
 

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Well said. If you ride faster than your skill level then you will spend more time trying to survive then learning. Excellent. So the goal then becomes to ride at a pace that is comfortable for you to learn new skills and then pick up the pace gradually right?

So when do you know that you are ready to being brining up the pace and then how do you go about doing it?

M
I don't think there is a magic marker. As you gain the skills necessary you'll begin to say to yourself that you could have taken that curve faster. The next time do it. The real key is to start a curve slow then power through and out. Doing that you will go faster naturally. Each new curve then is based on your past.

I have found the throttle to be much more important than brakes on curves. It's all about how much of that curve can you see and base your speed on that. Once you see the end you can be back to full throttle. Slow in fast out. On a track you learn how deep you can go before you make a change.

I'll let the track you guys talk about that. What I describe is pleasure but spirited if you want.
 

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--

I believe I ride faster and, more importantly, better than when I first got back into riding five and a half years ago. I say this as when looking at the miles on my tires before wearing thin, they have declined since at first. Ergo! I'm moving faster around turns, etc. Plus, I can recover from mistakes more easily.

That's the thing with my riding, it's that I get so comfortable that I sometimes don't pay attention to what I'm doing--then I'm in a spot where I wouldn't have chosen more sensibly.

I suppose it fair to say I perform at 75% now which was 90% in the past.

--
 

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...So the goal then becomes to ride at a pace that is comfortable for you to learn new skills and then pick up the pace gradually right?

So when do you know that you are ready to being brining up the pace and then how do you go about doing it?...
I'm not a track racer. I'm sure other forum members have more experiences to share.

However, I know about training to improve performance from my years of distance running. I believe there are some similarities. If practice is limited to what's comfortable, then there's little chance of improving. To gage when you're ready to increase intensity there has to be some measures. Having confidence is good, but it is not an accurate measure. Time is good because the clock doesn't lie. But form and technique are also important to judge and a coach is the best way to get unbiased feedback.

Building a solid foundation is the "comfortable" part of training. In running that's building endurance running slower than race pace. On a bike this is building experience riding within your comfort zone.

Interval training takes runners beyond the comfort zone to build speed and strength. There's a lot of variety in training drills, but the common element is to repeatedly run short distances faster than race pace followed by running a slower recovery distance. On a bike this would be drills to repeatedly practice individual elements - starts, individual curves right versus left, chicanes, passing, etc.

Tempo training is running at your target race pace to train your body to be more efficient. On a bike this would be timed practice laps putting together all the individual elements.
 

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Koda, I agree with you except for your use of the word panic. I think the threshold should be when we start making correctable mental mistakes or sloppy physical inputs.

The word panic is too strong because it implies the rider experiences overwhelming fear inhibiting one's ability to think.
I believe that there are levels of panic. To me, crossing the threshold you described as causeing correctable mental mistakes IS panic. Being overwhelmed or in confusion, in any degree, to me is panic. Maybe that helps a bit. How about "mild panic" instead? If ones mental state is not calm, calculated and serene then, to me, that describes panic. Its intensity can be higher or lower.

Regardless, I think we are on the same page.
 

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I believe that there are levels of panic. To me, crossing the threshold you described as causeing correctable mental mistakes IS panic. Being overwhelmed or in confusion, in any degree, to me is panic. Maybe that helps a bit. How about "mild panic" instead? If ones mental state is not calm, calculated and serene then, to me, that describes panic. Its intensity can be higher or lower.

Regardless, I think we are on the same page.
Agreed, I think we're on the same page. I was thinking correctable mental mistakes would be due to fatigue not fear. Either way that signals it's time to slow down.
 

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the advice is excellent.

for example, every Spring I go and ride a lot of curves on mountain roads. I don't aim to ride these curves at the highest speed I can handle - although a lot of other guys on sports bikes are doing that. I ride those curves at a speed where I can really evaluate how I did in every single turn. How did I enter the curve, how was I doing at the apex of the turn, how did I exit the turn. Most importantly, did my "plan" for a line through the curve actually work out, or did I miss my goals?

It takes time for the brain the think about all the stuff that's going on with the bike, while also riding the course. hence ... you have to slow down. it's definitely worthwhile, in my opinion.

just my $0.02

dT
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm not a track racer. I'm sure other forum members have more experiences to share.

However, I know about training to improve performance from my years of distance running. I believe there are some similarities. If practice is limited to what's comfortable, then there's little chance of improving. To gage when you're ready to increase intensity there has to be some measures. Having confidence is good, but it is not an accurate measure. Time is good because the clock doesn't lie. But form and technique are also important to judge and a coach is the best way to get unbiased feedback.

Building a solid foundation is the "comfortable" part of training. In running that's building endurance running slower than race pace. On a bike this is building experience riding within your comfort zone.

Interval training takes runners beyond the comfort zone to build speed and strength. There's a lot of variety in training drills, but the common element is to repeatedly run short distances faster than race pace followed by running a slower recovery distance. On a bike this would be drills to repeatedly practice individual elements - starts, individual curves right versus left, chicanes, passing, etc.

Tempo training is running at your target race pace to train your body to be more efficient. On a bike this would be timed practice laps putting together all the individual elements.
Love this, especially about building a solid foundation. This is key. You need to build a solid foundation of good skills and riding technique BEFORE you try to add the speed. Once you have a strong sense of how to ride well, then you can add pace.

Taken from an article I wrote here:

"Once you feel like you are executing a skill well then you can begin to up the pace a little until you begin to feel a little excited or rushed, or even scared. Then back it down again until you are comfortable again and then push it a little bit again. The idea is to push yourself in small increments so that you aren’t riding off the rails or way over your head."

When I was racing AMA I was lucky enough to work one on one with Keith Code. Each session I was out during AMA practice, Keith had me focus on one technique and I tried not to worry about my overall speed or lap times as much as good form. When it came to the qualifying session I asked Keith what I should work on and he said, "Just ride. You've put in the hard work not it is time to put it all together and just ride." It was amazing how my laps came together and without trying to go FAST I went faster...
 

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Panic

Two times I have written a lengthy reply, and two times when I tried to post, the system told me I was not logged in. Then the messages went to God knows where. So, you will not be hearing any words of wisdom from me on this subject.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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........ If you practice being smooth then the speed will come...........
Just like anything. Practice the guitar riff slowly until it becomes automatic (without thinking about it). Then you can play it fast.

On the motorcycle it's the same. Although my objective is not "speed" in the riding of the bike, it is "speed" in the way I react and "use" the motorcycle as I travel. Making the bike "one" with me, if you will.

-Soupy
 
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