After several weeks of excitement, anxiousness, nervousness, anxiety, etc. I finally had my first trackday. The lead up to the trackday was painfully slow. It just seemed like it would never get here. Pretty much every day, I would do something to get me 1 step closer to fill the time, taking the signals off the bike, pulling out the gear and equipment needed, shopping for new toys online..ummmm...I mean required items for the trackday, etc. I had decided to pull out Sunday night and camp at the track overnight. This would get me there faster and allow me to get some extra sleep, since I don't need to wake up at 3:00am to hit the road.
Pulling into the track was a major adrenaline rush. I was there! It was really real! The paddock areas were first come first served, and one of the online forums I am in had about 15 people signed up for the trackday and most would be there Monday morning. I met up with a couple of the people from the forum and we unloaded the truck and "accidently" left my truck parked across 1 paddock and stuff spread out through another paddock.
That night, the trackday organizer had a spill on his pit bike and ended up in the ER with a broken arm and a gash on his head. I always enjoy events more when I get to help out with the event. Because of the unfortunate mishap, I got to help the registration process. Really not too much for me to do, but still enjoyed getting to help out. Roamed around the paddock area that evening looking at the bikes that were there and talking to other riders. Finally decided at about 12:30 or so that I should really try to get some sleep. Was really excited and have all the adrenaline flowing so I wasn't really tired, but I didn't want to be too tired in the morning.
Decided I would sleep inside the truck. That really didn't work very well. I would have probably got more sleep staying home and driving there in the morning, but would not have had the chance to talk with the people at the track or hold the paddock areas for the group. Don't regret the decision to come down early at all, but think I will bring a tent next time.
Woke up at 5am on Monday so I had a chance to shower before the rest of the paddock area woke up. After the shower, I just sat in the paddock area and rested until about 6, watching as sleepy people started stumbling from their tents, trailers, trucks, etc. At just after 6, the gates opened up and the flow of traffic began. It was hard to believe how quickly the place was filling up. All the leftover spaces in the covered paddocks dried up quickly, so I was glad to see the first of our group show up so we had more bikes to hold the spaces.
I had registered Sunday night, so I was set except for the bike inspection. Took the bike and the helmet over to get inspected and everything was golden. I had passed tech with only being asked to loosen my chain up some, and was ready for the track. We had the required riders meeting and then had the first classroom session. Following the classroom, it was time to suit up and get on the track for Round Robin. The instructors each lead a group around the track showing the group the proper line for the track. The rider directly behind the instructor follows 1 lap, and then falls to the back of the line so the next person can follow 1 lap, etc., until all the riders have ridden behind the instructor.
We then went back into the classroom to talk about the track, and began going into the technical sessions. In level 1 they cover proper body positioning on the bike, braking, throttle control, show the proper lines for safety for the road or track, etc. After each 20 minute track session, there was a 20 minute classroom session followed by a 20 minute rest period. I found these classroom sessions informative, though several of the topics had been covered in the MSF classes I had taken. It was still good to have it reinforced, though.
When on the track, you could work on whatever skills you wished to work on. Some people were trying to get a knee down, some people were trying for speed, I was just wanting to work on cornering better and control of the bike. I picked 2 sections of corners to work on building my skill on for most of the day, and the other areas of the track I would just try to work on the lines the instructors taught. I became more and more comfortable throughout the day cornering with more speed in all areas of the track, especially those areas.
During the riding sessions, instructors would follow you around the track to see your lines and make corrections as needed or have you follow them to see the lines they use. The lines were similar for each instructor, but all the lines I was shown varied to some degree. Some people would stay on the outside of a patch on the asphalt while others would stay to the inside. Some would turn in to a corner later than others. When I had an instructor follow me for a couple laps, he said my lines through the corners were good, which was nice to hear.
I do know I need to work on my form. Looking at the trackday pictures, I am not off the bike enough. I could also feel it in my lower back by the end of the day. The day after, my thighs and back were very sore. I think I need to find an exercise that works the thigh muscles the same way you do on the track so I can stay off the seat and move around on the bike more.
There were a good number (well, a high number, no crash is good...) of crashes throughout the day, which gave us less time on the track. Every time the ambulance transported someone to the hospital, the track would be stopped until it was back, which was about 30-40 minutes each time. I wish we had more time to spend on the track and I can't wait to get back out there.
Now, I find myself looking at trackday schedules and trying to decide which is the next one I will do. Do I want to work at one for the credit so I have a free TD, or do I want to just pay for the TD. As many people have said when I announced I was doing my first trackday...."Welcome to the addiction!"