TEN THINGS ABOUT MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TRACK DAYS
(1) Prepare. Prepare for a productive practice day by having your bike ready the night before. If your bike work is done, the morning will go a lot smoother. You will see riders drive to the track without having done any maintenance to their bikes since their last ride. They planned to get their bike ready at the track, but soon realize the front tire is flat. What was supposed to be a few minutes of work turns into 30 minutes or more. Their good day has gone bad before it got started.
(2) Warm-up. Warming up isn’t popular with moto guys, but it does help prevent injury. There are a wide range of activities you can do to warm up before riding. Most of the top Pros do light cardio, like cycling, running, rowing or even basketball for 20 minutes before going to the track. Warming up can also help with arm pump and mental sharpness on the bike.
(3) Food. Arguably the most important key to having a good day at the track is to make sure you have enough food and water. Depending on who you are, this could make or break your day. Some people can go all day without eating and some scoff at the idea of missing breakfast. It’s good to think of food for your body like you think of fuel for your bike. Our bodies need gas too.
(4) Riding plan. It’s easy to show up to the track, excited to make progress towards achieving your goals and then get sidetracked and lose motivation. It could be that the track isn’t how you like it or your bike doesn’t feel like you think it should. There are many variables that could cause you to lose focus. This is why it’s important to make a riding plan before you leave for the track. This plan should include your own version of a warm up, technique drills, section drills, motos, sprints and even breaks. Scheduling it all out will keep you on track for a successful day. All of the top Pros have a clear goal for each day.
(5) Mentality. Having the right mental attitude will carry you through the easy and the hard days at the track. With the right mindset, you can push through the fatigue and feel more accomplished at day’s end. Even if you’re tired from a big week of training or a big week in the office, you can create a short riding plan for that day and still get the same sense of accomplishment afterwards. Quality is better than quantity.
(6) Accountability. Having someone at the track with you is a benefit in multiple ways. They can hold you accountable to the goals you set for yourself that day and help you stay motivated. It’s also smart to have a friend with you in case you get injured and need help loading up or even driving home.
(7) Sections. One of the best ways to improve is to break the track down into sections and focus on the section that is the most challenging for you. When you narrow your focus into one section and repeat it, you’ll find that it’s easier to make progress. Instead of thinking about the whole track, your targeted attention will help you make gains. If you work with a trainer, they’ll usually have you work a section because it’s easier to train someone when they focus their energy into one part of the track.
(8) Lap times. If you have someone at the track willing to take your lap times, it can be a huge asset for you. The clock doesn’t lie. Mark down your lap times at the beginning of the day after your warm up, then work on specific drills or techniques that you think will help. Then take your lap times again to see what progress you’ve made.
(9) Bike setup. Be aware of how your bike feels and make changes to learn what makes your bike feel better or worse. The only way to know if your bike can be better is to make changes. Making your bike worse is just as valuable as making it better over the long haul. Bike setup is a learning process. If you need help deciding if it is better or worse, record more lap times!
(10) Have fun. We all want to get faster, but slavish devotion to speed often takes the fun out of your day at the track. We all ride motorcycles because it is fun. Don’t be so serious that it takes the fun out of it. Even if the track isn’t any good or your bike isn’t as nice as your friend’s, a day on your dirt bike is always better than a day in the office.