At times you just have to try a long list of different things in order to accomplish a goal. Sam needed more entry speed into his turns, but something was holding him back. Even though I was drawing on all the depths of my experience, the key to unlocking his potential took a while to achieve because it was something so simple that I had overlooked it.
It’s a Set Up!
The corner we were on had a puddle just before the berm. That didn’t give much time to sit properly for the turn, so the revelation came when I got him sitting before the puddle. It proved to not hurt at all, despite his fears, and because he was settled early he suddenly felt confident to carry much more speed in to the turns. Eureka!
It was a similar story for Ethan, except done in a different way. He had a different skill to work on, and instead of focusing mostly on one corner, we literally moved all over the track to practice the same thing in different situations- shifting down before a corner.
Ethan is quite amazing at slipping the clutch to power smoothly out of a turn, which actually causes a problem- he relies on it too much. I began by changing the height of his gear lever to where I think it should be. It worked well on the day, although Facebook informed me he struggled to upshift for the weekends racing. I’m not sure what happened there, but I know that after so much time spent on being able to hear the bike as he entered the turn, the lesson had sunk in.
I also had two very interesting riders having their first session with me, who we will no doubt focus on in the future, but time constrains me to focus on the final rider for this trip, the fine human being known as Shanon.
He has made massive inroads on his riding since our bootcamp last month, choosing to focus on technique during his racing rather than where he ends up in the race. But I felt like his powering and hard braking needed work, so I got out the cones like I never had before.
After trying the loop out for myself, I put two cones quite close together for him to ride through at the point where I was starting my braking, and another two down where I finished my hard braking. It was a dead straight line that also made sure that he didn’t drift wide out of the corner before, which had the added bonus of helping him to power harder.
It worked, but the problem was that I had forgotten how hard this kind of intensity can be on the body. He was riding very fast, but it blew him out despite the high level of fitness he had. I think he will forgive me, being the kind of person he is, and I am excited to see what his progress will after he has spent a month or two working on that skill also- especially knowing how committed he is to practicing what we work on- like the other two we mentioned above.