Wairoa is one of my favourite venues, which we visit twice a year to get the locals together again. With twelve riders making my life easy with their good behaviour, I was free to move beyond the basics to some flat tracking skills that will interest plenty of people.
Even with such an awesome main track, it wasn’t hard to lure my riders onto the paddock next door. Shorty had made a very basic track that still had a bit of everything, with the kind of traction that money can’t buy.
We kicked things off by identifying the tightest part of each turn, because that is what limits your speed the most. After that identification, then your challenge is to get wider before and after that moment to spread the turning load. It is very effective, but certainly not natural to most people. One of the faster riders was struggling the most– being so used to a tight entry and a wide exit that he struggled to break that habit. It was obvious that he needed something outside of the box.
A Hidden Key
Pushing hard on the outside footpeg through that tight part of the turn is nothing new, but what our rider didn’t know is that he wasn’t able to push on that peg on left hand turns because of another bad habit he had. What was this great thing that held him back? Using his rear brake too deep into the turn. He wasn’t alone in this.
At the same time I realized another rider, one who has been with us forever but it was something of a mystery as to why he struggled to sit forward on his seat for tight turns. Suddenly I clicked- he is so flexible that he rides with his foot on the footpeg and the rear brake at the same time. He needed to get off the footpeg when on the rear brake. Both riders needed to get that foot solely on the footpeg early.
The moral of the story is that there are two keys in this business. First, that the rider or coach can figure out what is needed for each rider, and secondly that those riders proceed to put in the effort needed to make a new habit. It is always hard when you are practically a part of the furniture at our camp, but familiarity is no excuse!