WERA You Off To Now?

Bored at work (and feeling guilty about not using my time more wisely), I click my way through my usual haunts on the Internet. You know, the daily menu: Twitter, motorcycle forums, motorcycle sites, looking at engineering porn and so forth. I am supposed to be researching gearing changes for my inaugural LSR race at the Laurinburg-Maxton airfield better known as the Maxton Mile. I’m not in a “theoretical top speed attainable by a known mass within a certain distance figuring varying friction and drag coefficients” kind of mood. I also need to write today’s blog entry, I’m not in a writing kind of mood either.

Then something happens via link shared with me by my girl Marianne (@MsXXFastRR). I watch the awesome drifting video she wanted me to watch and after it is over I click through the “related videos” chain and happen upon a video of a WERA C Superstock Novice race at Barber Motorsports Park, which I would consider my home track! Yeah, yeah, yeah… Road Atlanta should be… who cares! I’ll move to Alabama if that’s what it takes to make it official. Seriously, though: Barber, although technically challenging with all its elevation changes and off-camber goodness and downhill decreasing radius fun and straights so short it doesn’t really pay to upshift or move back center on the bike, if you’re a lazy bum like me out on a Sunday ride, has got to be the most beautiful creation ever to come along in the way of mankind’s effort to pave the planet. And the thing has a rhythm that just speaks to me. Riding Barber’s 2.38-mile track is like moving your body to the music of a sensual Latin ballroom dance number, the Samba perhaps. You know your program, but you get to interpret it as the music moves you. Unless, you’re competition dancing… Yes, I used to dabble in the dance sport in my teenage years, that is why I am so flabbergasted that I can’t get my hips positioned right to stick my knee out farther. It’s a personal insult. Now, where was I?

The Museum Corner (T7-T8)

Barber Motorsports Park: The Museum Corner (T7-T8) ~ Visible in the photo: T7A through T9

At any rate, I watched this video and timed their lap and I couldn’t believe it. I watched it a few more times, checked my math, checked the class, then jumped out of my office chair, heart racing and hands sweaty. No freaking way! My nerves went into maximum overdrive, my electrical circuits overloading and my fingertips starting to tingle. I snatched my iPad off my desk, and jumped down the stairs in two hops, busted through the magnetically sealed door, while slapping the green release button mounted on the wall to my right. Leaped across the outbound lane, through the gate in the chain link fence, sprinted across yet another access road, took another set of stairs in two bounds and fell into the security trailer’s door with my knock. My partner was on the phone and I practically yelled at him: “T, put the damn phone down and look at this!” and I started to explain in the gasping staccato of disbelief. I don’t even want to know what I will do if I ever found out I had won the lottery. My heart would probably explode and I’d drop dead right there on the spot. Have fun spending my hard-won cash… Anyway, he listens and tries to follow, I barely notice in my excitement that he tells the person on the other end of his phone conversation that he’s gonna have to call right back. After he confirms that I am not completely off my rocker I simply tell him in an overly excited voice: “Dude, Imma gonna go racin’!!!” and with that I disappear back through his door. I try to call Mr. Slow. No answer! Shit! That’s right. He’s sleeping… damn! All excited, with the pressure built up and no place to vent. Crap! For the rest of the evening I can’t concentrate, I can’t focus, and I’m good for nothing but to try and seek distraction.

T comes over later and tells me (yet again) that he doesn’t want me to race. That he’s “gonna have to buy me a car to stop all that nonsense”. He’s such a sweety. What is he thinking? Buy me a car? I’d race that mofo, too. Once you get a taste of speed, bogging it down in the granny lane just isn’t an option anymore. I’m a junkie and I’m all for stepping up my tolerance to my chosen drug of choice. =D

I check the WERA schedule, although I had promised myself I wouldn’t look at it until after my LSR meet, so I wouldn’t bum myself out. I am able to run in five of the 13 races scheduled without having to take vacation. I can’t afford to take vacation to entertain my silly notions, since there is time to be spent on being with family. That is more important, since I don’t have a whole lot of family left that I actually care a great deal about and those few people are very dear to my heart and will always take precedence in my life.

What exactly did I find out? I’m not one to kiss and tell…

Barber Motorsports Park (T14A)

Turn 14A at Barber Motorsports Park: Yes, that's Miss Busa in the front. 🙂

Just kidding. I can’t keep my cakehole shut to save my ass on re-cross, I would be a criminal defense attorney’s nightmare. I did it. I’m proud of it, too. Was an excellent execution of the almost perfect crime! Yeah. Suffice it to say: I have a decent enough chance to not come in DFL (you figure it out ;)), there is but a trace of a chance to be lapped (which would just make me so embarrassed that I would consider cutting across the grass and taking the back gate out rather than using pit road like a normal person), and I might just have a shot of hanging and scoring myself some double-digit brownie points. 🙂 However, the chance of a DNS (Did Not Start) are still astronomical, because of life and (bad) luck and (annoying) bills.

I must forget that I found out about this. It doesn’t do my nerves any good. I don’t follow racing (watching sports is boring), I don’t try and look into too much detail, because I have to combat my tendency to become scared and tuck tail and run because I always am my worst critic, judge myself way too harshly, am never good enough, can barely ever reach my own set of standards and am deathly afraid of looking like an ass in public. It also doesn’t do my ego any good, I’m way too competitive. I have to concentrate on what I am doing, not what others are doing or are capable of. That is why keeping myself oblivious is part of my strategy. And I haven’t learned the lesson yet. Every time I try something new I freak myself out with details of minor importance and concentrate on my silly overblown fears and I stress myself out, just to find out (after the fact) that it wasn’t but a thing and I did quite better than I had expected. Yet, here I am.

I am going to race this season. Even if it is just that one race weekend to get rid of my provisional status. My WERA membership application is filled out, the paperwork is done. All I need to do is pay my $110 and get my competition number for the Pirate. But since the racing license is only good for one year, this has to wait until I have a definite date figured out for my first official race. I would love for it to be at Barber, but that would mean waiting until September. We shall see.

2011 WERA Southeast Region Schedule

  1. 2/5-6 Talladega Gran Prix Raceway, Talladega, AL (run counter-clockwise, WERA Riders School available)
  2. 3/18-20 Roebling Road Raceway, Faulkville, GA (combined with National)
  3. 4/16-17 Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville, TN (WERA Riders School available)
  4. 5/7-8 Barber Motorsports Park, Leeds, AL (WERA Riders School available)
  5. 5/21-22 Jennings GP, Jennings, FL (WERA Riders School available)
  6. 6/4-5 Roebling Road Raceway, Faulkville, GA (WERA Riders School available)
  7. 6/11-12 Talladega Gran Prix Raceway, Talladega, AL (run counter-clockwise, WERA Riders School available)
  8. 6/24-26 Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA (WERA Riders School available)
  9. 7/23-24 Roebling Road Raceway, Faulkville, GA (WERA Riders School available)
  10. 8/4-7 WERA Cycle Jam at VIR, Alton, VA
  11. 8/20-21 Talladega Gran Prix Raceway, Talladega, AL (run counter-clockwise, WERA Riders School available)
  12. 9/9-11 Barber Motorsports Park, Leeds, AL (combined with National)
  13. 9/24-25 Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville, TN (WERA Riders School available)

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*