Best Accomplishment in 2010

This is Topic #3 for the Post A Day 2011 Challenge. The Daily Post asked:

What’s the single most important thing you accomplished in 2010?

I had to think about this, since there are a few things that I’ve done in 2010 that I’m rather proud of, astonished by or surprised with. It has indeed been The Year of the Fast. Fast, as in velocity, not self-induced famine. In retrospect 2010 came and went in a hurry. I experienced a lot of motorcycling firsts and came to learn a thing or two about myself.

I would have to say that my best accomplishment of 2010 is graduating the Kevin Schwantz School at Barber Motorsports Park as “Runner Up Most Improved Rider”. I was the only woman in attendance. I was nervous as hell, I had never ridden a 600, nor had I never been to a track.

KSS Graduation

2010 Graduate of the Kevin Schwantz School: Yay! I'm getting my security deposit back! (read: I didn't wad up a bike in some corner somewhere, not even a CBR... LOL)

I did best (and was at my fastest) when the instructor let me take the lead and I could run a lap at my own pace without having to worry running my nose up somebody’s tailpipe. Passing was not allowed unless instructed to do so and only in the straights; I ran almost exclusively in the Intermediate group and most of the time I felt like I was being held up by the riders in front of me, but stepping up to the fastest group wasn’t an option, I would have not learned anything by riding at 100%+ of my skill level. It was tempting, though. Especially on Day 2, after my brain had a chance to process all the information collected during the previous sessions. There was a distinct jump in speed and skill improvement between the last session of the previous day and the first session that morning. I had wanted to move up, but they were faster now, too. My reason finally overcame my competitiveness. After all, I had a $1000 security deposit to consider and I wouldn’t get that back if I took a short vacation on Pebble Beach stretched out on my backside with a wadded up sport bike to keep me company. Kevin Schwantz and the instructors also impressed upon us that we should concentrate on technique rather than how fast we could make it around the track. I decided to take his word for it, the man obviously must know what he’s talking about. So, I behaved.

Here’s a little video courtesy of the camera bike of one of my earlier (and slow-as-molasses) laps of Day 1. I think it was during Session 3, because I had already quit switching sides on the bike between T7 and T9 and my body position, although still too much ass and not enough torso, had already improved somewhat. The Hayabusa had taught me very, very bad habits. Add to that teaching yourself without anybody with enough experience to check up on your progress occasionally and you have the perfect recipe for hanging on versus hanging off and dragging toes as supposed to dragging knee. And even with all that to work on and having way too much lean in relation to my cornering speed, I still felt I was being held back. I need a group in between Faster and Fastest. Seriously.

I edited Kevin’s lap out, because while he’s leisurely crossing the finish line of his first warm-up lap, I’m still tooling around a little past the Museum Corner’s exit and we really do NOT need to compare the two. No. Really. We don’t. It’s embarrassing. And that’s the last we’re going to talk about that. Thank you. Now bugger off. 😉

Oh, and I almost forgot: I finally got my knee down! w00t!!!!! I’d have to get my notes out, but it happened in Session 4, I believe. Shortly before the apex of T9. I didn’t expect it, it scared the piss out of me until I realized what the hell was happening and then I was screaming out of that turn doing a mini fist-pump with my clutch hand and kicking my clutch foot out, all the while yelling cheerful obscenities into my helmet. Then when I got back to the pits and took a peek (while nobody was watching) it was a total letdown. Hell, my toe sliders have more damage on them! 😦 Like the time when I screamed down the road doing 147 mph just to later find out that my odo is way off and the GPS admonished with the fact that I was doing more like 139. Bummer! Somebody (or something) always has to piss on your parade, I swear it!

Turn 9 (Barber)

The Scene of the Crime: The place my knee pucks finally lost their virginity. At least the right one did. About where the third painted section is, shortly before the apex. This is T9 at Barber.

Knee Slider (Right)

The first sweet and innocent kiss of asphalt. So sad. It sounded more like french tongue action and all I find is a peck on the lips. Well, dammit, man!



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