Jun 28 2011

Rutted Corners

There are two obstacles you will always have to face on the track: ruts and corners.  Combine the two and traversing themcan be frustrating.  The power and torque that modern four strokes produce is pretty incredible and lines get dug out quickly.  Corners are the backbone of speed which makes it essential to be extremely proficient in riding at any situation.

One thing that has always helped me is to concentrate on one corner that is giving me problems.  Try to get to the track later in the day when it is rougher and not as many people are there.  Find your corner and enter the track safely in the section before, then hit the corner and go back to the previous section to repeat.  If there aren’t many people, this will allow you plenty of time to find what you need to work on.

The first aspect you need to look at is your entrance technique.  You want to be in the attack position all the way through the chop.  Braking should be gradual; do not lock the back tire up or the rear end can sway side to side.  For inside ruts, putting more emphasis on the front brake will get your front forks to squat lower so you can carve harder.  As for outside lines, it is better to use the back to keep more momentum up.

When it comes time to sit, the process from standing to sitting should be one, fluid motion.  You sit, put the inside leg up, and apply the throttle smoothly.  Some have a tendency to blip the throttle and it bounces them around.  The suspension throws the rider from the flow of the turn as leaning and steering become out of sync.  A simple way to help with this is to just look ahead!  When you approach the corner, look at the apex.  As you get closer to the apex, begin looking further and further ahead to the next obstacle.  You go wherever you look.

One overlooked method is to stay relaxed.  Ride with the turn and don’t try to blast through it.  Don’t tighten up so much and worry about messing up.  You know how to ride a bike so have confidence in your abilities.  Take some time to get this down and you will be making up time on every one.

 


Jun 24 2011

Rough Jump Faces

There is nothing better than a freshly groomed track in the morning that is perfectly tilled.  The track might as well be an interstate which can make anyone feel like a pro.  However, once things get rough, you have pick and choose lines as well as deal with the challenging jump faces.  Those who ride in softer soils know that by mid day, getting airborne can be a tricky ordeal.  Kickers, uneven angles and countless other variables can turn a simple table top into a treacherous obstacle.

To begin with, correct body positioning is essential.  Normally, keeping a neutral position over the seat will give you room to adjust.  The attack position is a sure way to get over an obstacle cleanly and jump faces are no different.  You should be squeezing the bike with your legs to begin with, but you need to put more emphasis on this as the track becomes rougher and rougher.  This will give you more control over the side to side movement of the rear tire.

Another piece of the puzzle is power.  When the track is smooth, you can get away with small mistakes.  However, when that same jump face gets chewed up, applying a steady dose throttle is vital.  When there is no forward drive, all of the weight wants to throw everything forward (especially four strokes).  To ensure you are getting the proper momentum, the right gear helps tremendously.  Trying to rev the bike out will create a bouncing effect in the suspension, which could amplify any mistakes you make. When you put the power to the ground effectively and tract through everything, you prevent the rear wheel from any kind of hopping.

One of the most overlooked aspects is just trusting your ability and remembering that the fundamentals are the best ways to get through anything.  As with most rough tracks, hitting the sides or any line other than the main helps keep you away from the holes, bumps and kickers.  Keeping a consistent amount of throttle will reduce will spin and maintain a straight drive up the face.  Confidence combined with fundamentals will have you ready for any situation.

 


Jun 22 2011

Sickness and Training

This week so far has been a little crazy with my summer class coming to an end.  Finals and projects due in the same day (throw in a little bit of procrastination) make for a hectic morning.  The past few days I have been feeling run down and generally not feeling good.  Add to the fact that Barcia was racing with mono, I thought it would be good to go over training/riding while sick.

There are a few guidelines that should be taken into consideration before training while sick.  The best way to gauge if you are ready is if you feel anything below the neck, do not train.  Simply rest and hydrate.  Anything like the flu that can cause a fever is another signal to rest.  The body is already at an elevated temperature and compounding that with even moderate exercise could lead to more serious injuries.

Although flu’s and colds are not common in the summer, they can still happen.  Extreme stress on the body such as heat exhaustion can cause the body to catch a fever.  When joints start to become achy and you get the chills during an afternoon in the summer, you need to relax and take a few days off.  Children often have this problem during flu season; they are just starting to feel better then they exert too much energy to get hit by the cold twice as hard.  This happened to me a few years ago at a race.  I was starting to feel better the day before and decided to go for it.  I still had a runny nose and felt a little run down, but I raced regardless.  The next day was hell and I felt like I had been hit by a bus.

The best way to avoid this whole situation is to get lots of rest, drink plenty of water and get acclimated to the heat.  You have start listening to your body and you will know when you can and can’t train/ride.  Light cardio is probably the best idea because you are not exerting a lot of force on the body.  Just remember to have plenty of water with you before, during and after your workout.  It is even more crucial when you are sick.  If you are good from the neck up, you should be okay.  Just be smart about it!

 


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Jun 13 2011

Mental Fortitude

After the week long break, we came back to High Point.  The local boy Darryn Durham came out blazing in the first moto and led almost the entire race before giving the race win to Blake Baggett and Payton’s power house.  Always one to root for the underdog, I was pumped to see “Double D” up front.  However, you could tell that as the race wore on, little mistakes added up as he dropped to 4th by the end of the moto.  On a big stage like that, it is good for Darryn to get some lead time, but learning from his mistakes could set up him for much better finishes in the future.  Let’s look at this first moto through two perspectives: first Darryn and second, Blake.

DD37

Being the local at a big race is a huge advantage.  You know the soil, how and where the track gets the roughest and solid lines later in the moto.  However, with that home town feeling comes a greater amount of pressure from not only yourself, but fans and sponsors.  Granted, not every racer is going to feel pressure from sponsors, so this could be parents, friends or anyone that supports you.  Channeling this pressure into confidence could mean the difference between a podium and great experience or a moto you would rather forget.

With the home turf advantage you know the good lines, what gates to avoid and how to ride the track best.  Not to take anything away from Darryn, but Baggett was simply faster than him.  However, getting creative at the end of the day and using the local knowledge will help tremendously.  Durham had solid lines late in the moto, but those silly mistakes cost him big.  This goes directly back to confidence; this is your track and you are fast there.  Ride your own race and charge ahead.

BB57

So far this season, what is there to say about Baggett?  The kid is literally unstoppable late in the race.  When you line up to the gate, you know that you will throw down the fastest lap late in the race and crush those last few people ahead of you.  When you come to the line that prepared, nothing can stop you, but yourself.  He almost reminds me of Mike LaRocco (and RC) because he will hunt you down no matter what.  When Baggett saw Durham, it was blood in the water.

Having the knowledge of winning was a huge advantage over Durham.  Baggett simply applied too much pressure and Darryn cracked.  That comfortable feeling of knowing that you will pass the leader helped BB57 to take the checkers.  He knows exactly what it takes to win and executed it without hesitation.

What this boils down to is mental fortitude.  Staying strong and having confidence in your advantages will help you tremendously.  When things can’t seem to go your way, keep plugging through and things will turn around.  We all have to ride the same track, so have self-assurance in your abilities to make things happen.

 


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Jun 08 2011

The Natural Pain Reliever: Glucosamine

Over the years of riding, I have accumulated a few injuries.  Although, I have not broken anything (knock on wood), I have been knocked out one too many times and had plenty of hard get offs.  With these crashes and mishaps comes the painful morning after where every single bone and muscle fiber aches.  The abuse your joints and cartilage take each moto is more than you think.  The constant wear on these points will have you feeling the effects.  Sure you can pop an aspirin once in a while, but the chronic aches can’t be dealt with this method.

I am not one to get on medication easily, so I look for the natural way first.  One of the best pain “relievers” I have ever taken is glucosamine.  This little gem is an amino sugar that is related to ingredients in joint cartilage and synovial fluid.  Glucosamine is already in your body as it helps molecules that help repair the cartilage and other tissues throughout the body.  As you get older, you lose more and more of this molecule which leads to a decrease in resiliency in the connective tissue.  Often times, you will see the glucosamine supplements paired with chondroitin sulfate.  This draws water into the connective tissue, that the glucosamine is repairing, and gives it even more resiliency.

Often times you can find this at any grocery store or pharmacy.  It normally takes a day or two to kick in, but you will notice a difference.  I have had knee trouble since a first turn crash in 2007 and this has helped tremendously.  The capsules are usually in 1500mg.  With this dosage, I would recommend taking 2 or 3 daily.  This isn’t a miracle pill by any means, but the effects are definitely noticeable.  Like any other type of supplement, this requires you to stay consistent every day, every week.  When you miss a few days, you will start to feel those old aches coming back.

Buy a bottle, stick with it for a few days and I promise you won’t regret it.


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Jun 02 2011

Moto Superfoods

Like the old saying goes, you are what you eat.  Chugging a can of Rockstar and chowing down on funnel cake before the gate drops is not the best method of fueling your body.  Obviously, eating a balanced diet with frequent meals will ensure plenty of energy throughout the day.  However, by adding a few foods that have been dubbed “super foods” by many, you can further enhance recovery and be ready for your next moto.  You don’t need to load up and eat these foods constantly, just add them in to your normal diet.

Greek Yogurt

This is great at almost any time of the day and especially a few hours before riding.  You can throw some fruit and protein powder together and you have an awesome snack.  Greek yogurt is full of pro-biotics that keep your digestive system normal as well as higher calcium content than that of other dairy products.  This is also good for people who are sensitive to lactose and cannot handle milk.  Look for Greek yogurt that has been fortified with vitamin D as well.

Salmon

This fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, iron and protein.  Iron helps the body in the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the red blood cells.  A lack of iron has been known to cause a decrease in fatigue.  The omega-3 is considered to be a good fat that reduces inflammation in the body.   This fish isn’t too heavy on the stomach and is delicious when grilled.  Combine this lean fish with some greens and salsa to make a great salad for dinner.

Nuts

Go to Publix, or where ever you grocery shop, and pick up some assorted nuts.  These little guys are loaded with the “good” fats like the salmon and have plenty of antioxidents.  They are pretty calorie dense, so just grab a handful and you are set.  Munch on them between motos, at night or whenever you are hungry.  Again, like the other foods on here, you can add them to just about any meal for extra flavor and texture.

Blueberries

At my local Publix, these guys were on sale and grabbed 3 cartons.  I ended up eating a whole one in a day and went back for more.  Blueberries are one of the best berries because they are full of antioxidents, maintain blood sugar levels and some say they act as mild anti depressants.  This is a great food for those on the Paleo-Diet.  Look for cartons with darker berries; the darker, the better.

Kiwis

Dig in my friend.  One large kiwi contains your daily requirement for vitamin C, which is an immune system booster.  Not only does this fruit have vitamin C, but it also has potassium, fiber and vitamins A and E.  Just like the blueberries, this is a perfect fruit for you cave men dieters.  Mix some kiwis and bananas at the track for some cramping protection from the potassium.

 


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