I Am So Backordered!

Dainese Xantum Lady D-Dry (3/4 rear view)My birthday, as you might know, was three days ago. Papa wired 200 € to celebrate the occasion. Cool. What to spend it on? What to spend it on? The money arrived on the 5th and I’ve spent over a week trying to decide where to unload it. So many toys, so little cashola! Bellypan for the the Priate? Color-matched OEM seat cowl to get rid of that superfluous seat cushion that mars the beauty of my S1000RR’s awesomely fast looking tail? Carbon fiber case guards? Or some shark fins? Maybe I could buy that canopy in red and black I need for the track? Ahhhh… so many things… but what I really want, but necessarily don’t need, is a waterproof Dainese textile jacket for cold weather riding. I want something I can zip to my Dainese Hooper pants I scored for $100 less than MSRP but a few weeks ago. I’m such a Dainese gear whore. I Devilhead ME. Yeah. I’ve wrestled with options and then finally settled on the Xantum Lady D-Dry in Nero/Rosso to match my bike’s colors, the truck’s colors, the team’s colors. Painfully obvious that this broad color-coordinates. Now if someone could tell me where to get a (cheap) roll of 4-inch wide, no-residue removable, medium tack, 10mil vinyl tape in red or black, I’d be a happy girl.

Of course, I can’t find the blasted jacket anywhere. Dainese.com wants $40 for S&H and I’m not down with that. So off to Kneedraggers.com to special order it, which ends up in an email telling me that this specific item is backordered indefinitely and Dainese in Italy is currently only manufacturing the jacket in either blue or black. Yeah. No thanks. I have the order cancelled.

This money is positively burning a hole in my pocket!!! And rightfully so, because if I hang onto it too long it ends up getting wasted on more responsible things like bills. No! Birthday money can’t be wasted like that, it’s just not proper.

I end up aimlessly clicking around the Interwebs and just so happen to come across the JenningsGP track schedule and amuse myself with finding a date that coincides with one of my Saturdays off; Mondays are cheap, but then Mr. Slow can’t come with me, and I don’t want to go by myself, not to a new track. While checking dates I remember that I had previously thought about taking the Ed Bargy Racing School there, because it would count as one of the two required race weekends to rid my Novice Racing License of that annoying PROVISIONAL tag. Construction Worker Orange is so going to clash with my leathers AND my bike. That’s just hideous! I can’t ride if I don’t feel coordinated. ;P As a matter of fact, I was planning on going to the Ed Bargy school in October of 2009, when it was still at Road Atlanta (I think it was Road Atlanta anyway), but they ended up canceling it, moved it to some track in Tennessee (if I remember correctly) and the rescheduled dates were all on days I had to work. Every single one of them! That’s how I lucked into getting to go to the Kevin Schwantz School the following June; hubby must have felt a twinge of compassion for my sorry ass and bought me a slot for my birthday last year.

Eureka! I now know what great cause my birthday cash was supposed to support all along. Hmmm… I could do a three-day track special for $50 less. I dismiss the thought. What I need right now is three days of unsupervised track time to grind in some more bad habits, like I did on the Hayabusa when I was left to my own devices and a stack of motorcycle riding skill books. It took Kevin Schwantz and his team of instructors to help me unlearn all those bad “Hayabusa Habits”. I have a proper supersport now, I might as well ride like I have one and look like I kind of know what I’m doing. Ed Bargy it is. Click. Click. Click. Ca-ching!

The next day I had to call the school and ask if I could get a $100 refund. I found out not five minutes after registering that I am eligible for the upgrade price since I graduated from the Schwantz School. I actually talked to the man himself. He sounded nice and made me feel at ease, he was very friendly and eager to help; he even answered a question I had about the WERA licensing rules, then issued my refund and told me to just bring in my certificate when I come in. Cool. It is confirmed! Wooohoooo! I jumped up and launched into a how-low-can-you-go, hip gyrating, arms waving little solo dance number to celebrate the occasion and got promptly caught by some dude looking through my window. I straightened myself, brushed my tousled hair out of my face, smiled and asked if I could be of assistance.

Now I better hit the gym, race prep the bike, finish my suspension tweaks, take it to get the 12K service performed which is hideously overdue, finish the safety wiring to bring it all up to WERA’s liking, study the track map, watch some sighting lap videos for both directions, since I don’t know whether they are going to run clockwise or counterclockwise that day, and re-read A Twist Of The Wrist. Hopefully I can break through this plateau I have hit in my skill development, gain some more confidence by having my riding evaluated (and maybe even validated), maybe even shave a few seconds off my game. Definitely need to do that. I know where most of them are hiding, too. I ride like granny drives her Oldsmobile. Do we really have to come to a complete stop before turn-in just so I can stomp on the gas again? I really don’t know why and what, but I can’t bring myself to go in deep, slam on the brakes, pound it down a gear or two and crank that puppy over. Shit, I’m already finished braking and completed downshifting before I even hit the “3” of the brake markers, then I realize I’m just tooling along (la-dee-da) and I have to get on the hammer again, just to make it worth my while to actually push on the bars. *shakes head* No wonder my knee sliders skim over the pavement only barely coaxing a kiss out of the asphalt. Of course, that in turn leads to exit speeds that are probably not quite optimal and way too early, since the bike sill has way too much lean angle. Not that it matters much at my average speeds… I only slide it a little… more or less, sometimes, here and there. I have to admit, though, that is quite the guilty pleasure when it happens. Gawd, I can be such a damn squid!!! It’s a kink and I need to correct it before it starts to matter because I’m starting to ask too much of my tires.

I have a little over a month to grow a set. Better get to work on my mental game to pull out the stoppers and reduce the length and improve the timing of my approach. If I can’t set my entry speed quicker and later, I might as well quit ripping on that dude in my KSS class. I got stuck behind him on several occasions and it was frustrating because I had to either brake really hard while mid-corner or go wide to offset myself so I wouldn’t stick my nose up his tailpipe. Sometimes I had to do both. I just about fell out laughing when he let loose with the following little gem during the after-session review, and I quote:

“I don’t like to haul ass in the straights. I don’t see the point. You just have to slow down again when you get to the end of it. As a matter of fact I don’t really like to go fast in the corners either…”

I just couldn’t help myself and piped up from where I was standing towards the back by an industrial strength fan that was almost as tall as me, cooling my sweaty ass (and arm pits) sipping on a bottle of water: “I noticed! I was right behind you! And I’m a Hayabusa girl, I happen to like speed.”

I want to get to the lower 1:30s, but I’m not going to make that a goal. I know myself, I’m going to fret over crap I need not worry about. Speed comes naturally with increased skill and improved application. Worry about being good, not being fast. Yeah. Mwah. I’ll try.

I can’t wait! I hope Mr. Slow gets his vacation day because I want him to be there with me and this time he better actually watch me ride my scrawny bum around the track. Not like he did at Barber, where he elected to be a no-show because it was “so unbearably hot”, but in reality it wasn’t the heat that got to him. He finally admitted after I graduated that he was too scared and he didn’t want to watch me wreck. Well… Thanks for the vote of confidence, buddy!

Saturday, February 19th, 2011 is the date. Jennings, Florida is the place. Just a little over a month… finally something to look forward to in this drab winter existence.

OMG! I’m so excited it took me almost four hours to write this thing… I can’t keep focused. I keep getting sidetracked, I keep thinking about what I need to do to the bike… holy crapola! Woooohoooo! I’m…. damn! Finally…. yeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhh! Somebody got a Valium?

*bouncy bouncy*

9 Comments on “I Am So Backordered!”

  1. Mr.Slow says:

    Good gosh. I’m never gonna get a freakin’ camera. To be honest, don’t really care. Keep those two wheels spinning. Love you much. TEAM PLD

  2. Strega_Rossa says:

    You could/should get a dirt bike and get accustomed to getting slidey in the corners. If you look at great roadracers they came up from the dirt (Shobert, Roberts, Spencer to name several). Get cool with sliding & you’ll be able to out more focus on your exit strategy. You know you should be thinking smoooooth not slamming on the brakes in a corner (especially if you’re going to use your street bike as transportation and track bike). I’ve seen racers arrive that way and leave the weekend on the graces of someone’s trailer.

    Anyway, rotsaruck. #scooby-DOO

    • MissBusa says:

      I have been thinking about that, not just because of sliding and getting a better feel for m/c dynamics, but mostly because I’m scared of dirt and that I cannot let go on indefinitely. LOL Sliding the rear almost killed my will to learn when I first started, for two weeks I was scared shitless of that damn Harley, but I had to work through it, since I was lacking the luxury of a car and my boss would have probably not really liked for me to call in scared. Hahaha… Now that I overcome that fear, I’m actually quite enjoying my little baby drifts. LOL

      Thank you for the encouragement, girl. =D

      Oh, I forgot: Smooth, of course. The way I worded that was more along the lines of what it would feel like emotionally to me trying to grow the balls required to execute what I know I can do. I do it all the time, but at slower speeds on the street. And for some reason, on the track I change the behavior… weird. Must be all that wide open space that I have and I get “lost” in it and start “Sunday driving”. I know it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, it really should be the other way around, but I have always said I’m weird… maybe it’s because I know that if I wreck my shit on the street I’ll be outta my insurance deductible, if I wreck it on the track… well… also silly, but could be a contributing factor. Who knows, but the kink will be taken care of in four weeks. That is what I’m concentrating on, getting my corner entry sorted.

    • Ms XX Fast says:

      Amen. She does need to get on dirt. Em it reeeeally helped me and I know it will help you 🙂 Although I don’t back my racebike into corners like my db, lol. BTW I have been relearning baking earlier, but not as much and then carrying it to apex with front instead of charging, then *SLAM!* brake late, piss off the bike and throw it in. lol

      You change your behavior because the track and being around other bikes like that makes one more competitive. It happens to me. I greatly improved three sector times in one lap on the last lap of the day after a practice start against another female racer. It is difficult to get over the mindf*** that ‘you have to go slow to go fast’. Because in my head I am going slow already. lol

  3. Jamie Lynn says:

    So excited for you…and Geesh…buy that guy a camera. LOL Hugs and congrats!

  4. Awesome post, as usual Em!

    My vote also goes to more dirt experience!
    I’m sure they taught you this in the Schwantz school, but have you done a lap without brakes? I mean, using no brakes, not removing your brakes from your bike?
    Lots of good advice here, from faster people than I. However, I’d like to throw in my 2c as well.

    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Experience is the best teacher. I found that I used to over think things a lot. I hear a lot of other people do too. Riding fast (racing) is like dancing. You and the bike. The bike will do it’s best to follow your inputs, to it’s limits, so if you give it clear, smooth inputs, it will dance in whichever fashion you want.

    Seems like you’ve got the fox trot, waltz and lindy-hop down, but that the Tango is giving you a hard time. It should, it’s difficult. So be patient with yourself, and allow yourself to learn and grow. Forget about the brakes and just dance a couple of laps.

    • MissBusa says:

      As a matter of fact, Kevin did say that, and I try to quote (as verbatim as I can remember): “When I get to a new track, I do the first five laps without braking.” And it makes sense to me and I find it a good strategy. Even though I blatantly stare at track maps and study track geometry ad nauseam before I get to a new track, it doesn’t really make sense until you’ve done a few laps, and then your brain puts all that “senseless subconscious knowledge” to use. The first time I did it, I gave up with: “This doesn’t make any sense, who cares… I’m just going to wing it once I get there.” But once I was there and did my first laps, something must have clicked because I was already faster than I should have been without even breaking a sweat quite yet. So, doing that must have helped enormously, in some strange way. Maybe it’s like speed reading. You retain more, if you don’t consciously focus on the words but just scan the big picture. Who knows… I will continue doing it, because I believe it helps me. LOL Isn’t that how superstitions get started?

      Smooth is what I always practice. Street, track, wherever, whatever. Heck, I take race lines through curves on the street (even on the Interstate), even though it’s totally unnecessary, but I want my brain to keep thinking properly and my body to move properly. Same with counter-steering and hanging off, I always go through the conscious motions like I would if I were racing, so my muscles don’t forget. If that makes sense. Along the lines of “needing to go slow to go fast”…

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