Author Topic: Separating street from track, riding from racing  (Read 2170 times)

Offline SilverZZR

  • www.tnmountaintours.com
  • True Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 931
  • Suzuki FTW!!!
    • Brothers Cabin Staining
Separating street from track, riding from racing
« on: December 25, 2010, 11:07:47 pm »
The Pace
Separating street from track, riding from racing
From the February, 2009 issue of Motorcyclist
By Nick Ienatsch

"The Pace", first appearing in the November 1991 issue of Motorcyclist magazine.

Racing involves speed, concentration and commitment; the results of a mistake are usually catastrophic because there's little room for error riding at 100 percent. Performance street riding is less intense and further from the absolute limit, but because circumstances are less controlled, mistakes and over aggressiveness can be equally catastrophic. Plenty of roadracers have sworn off street riding. "Too dangerous, too many variables and too easy to get carried away with too much speed," track specialists claim. Adrenaline-addled racers find themselves treating the street like the track, and not surprisingly, they get burned by the police, the laws of physics and the cold, harsh realities of an environment not groomed for ten-tenths riding. But as many of us know, a swift ride down a favorite road may be the finest way to spend a few free hours with a bike we love. And these few hours are best enjoyed riding at The Pace.

A year after I joined Motorcyclist staff in 1984, Mitch Boehm was hired. Six months later, The Pace came into being, and we perfected it during the next few months of road testing and weekend fun rides. Now The Pace is part of my life - and a part of the Sunday morning riding group I frequent. The Pace is a street riding technique that not only keeps street riders alive, but thoroughly entertained as well.

THE PACE
The Pace focuses on bike control and de-emphasizes outright speed. Full-throttle acceleration and last minute braking aren't part of the program, effectively eliminating the two most common single-bike accident scenarios in sport riding. Cornering momentum is the name of the game, stressing strong, forceful inputs at the handlebar to place the bike correctly at the entrance of the turn and get it flicked in with little wasted time and distance. Since the throttle wasn't slammed open at the exit of the last corner, the next corner doesn't require much, if any, braking. It isn't uncommon to ride with our group and not see a brake light flash all morning.

If the brakes are required, the front lever gets squeezed smoothly, quickly and with a good deal of force to set entrance speed in minimum time. Running in on the brakes is tantamount to running off the road, a confession that you're pushing too hard and not getting your entrance speed set early enough because you stayed on the gas too long. Running The Pace decreases your reliance on the throttle and brakes, the two easiest controls to abuse, and hones your ability to judge cornering speed, which is the most thrilling aspect of performance street riding.

YOUR LANE IS YOUR LIMIT
Crossing the centerline at any time except during a passing maneuver is intolerable, another sign that you're pushing too hard to keep up. Even when you have a clean line of sight through a left-hand kink, stay to the right of the centerline. Staying on the right side of the centerline is much more challenging than simply straightening every slight corner, and when the whole group is committed to this intelligent practice, the temptation to cheat is eliminated through peer pressure and logic. Though street riding shouldn't be described in racing terms, you can think of your lane as the race track. Leaving your lane is tantamount to a crash.

Exact bike control has you using every inch of your lane if the circumstances permit it. In corners with a clear line of sight and no oncoming traffic, enter at the far outside of the corner, turn the bike relatively late in the corner to get a late apex at the far inside of your lane and accelerate out, just brushing the far outside of your lane as your bike stands up. Steer your bike forcefully but smoothly to minimize the transition time. Don't hammer it down because the chassis will bobble slightly as it settles, possibly carrying you off line. Since you haven't charged in on the brakes, you can get the throttle on early, before the apex, which balances and settles your bike for the drive out.

More often than not, circumstances do not permit the full use of your lane from yellow line to white line and back again. Blind corners, oncoming traffic and gravel on the road are a few criteria that dictate a more conservative approach, so leave yourself a three or four foot margin for error, especially at the left side of the lane where errant oncoming traffic could prove fatal. Simply narrow your entrance on a blind right-harder and move your apex into your lane three feet on blind left turns in order to stay free of unseen oncoming traffic hogging the centerline. Because you're running at The Pace and not flat out, your controlled entrances offer additional time to deal with unexpected gravel or other debris in your lane; the outside wheel track is usually the cleanest through a dirty corner since a car weights its outside tires most, scrubbing more dirt off the pavement in the process, so aim for that line.

A GOOD LEADER, WILLING FOLLOWERS
The street is not a racing environment, and it takes humility, self assurance and self control to keep it that way. The leader sets the pace and monitors his mirrors for signs of raggedness in the ranks that follow, such as tucking in on straights, crossing over the yellow line and hanging off the motorcycle in the corners, If the leader pulls away, he simply slows his straight way speed slightly but continues to enjoy the corners, thus closing the ranks but missing none of the fun. The small group of three or four riders I ride with is so harmonious that the pace is identical no matter who's leading. The lead shifts occasionally with a quick hand sign, but there's never a pass for the lead with an ego on the sleeve. Make no mistake, the riding is spirited and quick in the corners. Anyone with a right arm can hammer down the straights; it's proficiency in the corners that makes The Pace come alive.

Following distances are relatively lengthy, with the straightaways taken at more moderate speeds, providing the perfect opportunity to adjust the gaps. Keeping a good distance serves several purposes, besides being safer. Rock chips are minimized, and the police or highway patrol won't suspect a race is in progress. The Pace's style of not hanging off in corners also reduces the appearance of pushing too hard and adds a degree of maturity and sensibility in the eyes of the public and the law. There's a definite challenge to cornering quickly while sitting sedately on your bike.

New rider indoctrination takes some time because The Pace develops very high cornering speeds and newcomers want to hammer the throttle on the exits to make up for what they lose at the entrances. Our group slows drastically when a new rider joins the ranks because our technique of moderate straightaway speed and no brakes can suck the unaware into a corner too fast, creating the most common single bike accident. With a new rider learning The Pace behind you, tap your brake lightly well before the turn to alert him and make sure he understands there's no pressure to stay with the group.

There's plenty of ongoing communication during The Pace. A foot off the peg indicates debris in the road, and all slowing or turning intentions are signaled in advance with the left hand and arm. Turn signals are used for direction changes and passing, with a wave of the left hand to thank the cars that move right and make it easy for motorcyclists to get past. Since you don't have a death grip on the handlebar, your left hand is also free to wave to oncoming riders, a fading courtesy that we'd like to see return. If you're getting the idea The Pace is a relaxing, noncompetitive way to ride with a group, you are right.

RELAX AND FLICK IT
I'd rather spend a Sunday in the mountains riding at The Pace than a Sunday at the racetrack, it's that enjoyable. Countersteering is the name of the game; smooth, forceful steering input at the handlebar relayed to the tires' contact patches through a rigid sport bike frame. Riding at The Pace is certainly what bike manufacturers had in mind when sport bikes evolved to the street.

But the machine isn't the most important aspect of running The Pace because you can do it on anything capable of getting through a corner. Attitude is The Pace's most important aspect: realizing the friend ahead of you isn't a competitor, respecting his right to lead the group occasionally and giving him credit for his riding skills. You must have the maturity to limit your straightaway speeds to allow the group to stay in touch and the sense to realize that racetrack tactics such as late braking and full throttle runs to redline will alienate the public and police and possibly introduce you to the unforgiving laws of gravity. When the group arrives at the destination after running The Pace, no one feels outgunned or is left with the feeling he must prove himself on the return run. If you've got some thing to prove, get on a racetrack.

The racetrack measures your speed with a stop watch and direct competition, welcoming your aggression and gritty resolve to be the best. Performance street riding's only yardstick is the amount of enjoyment gained, not lap times, finishing position or competitors beaten. The differences are huge but not always remembered by riders who haven't discovered The Pace's cornering pureness and group involvement. Hammer on the racetrack. Pace yourself on the street.-MC
« Last Edit: December 25, 2010, 11:10:34 pm by SilverZZR »
Dustin
2013 GSX-R1000
ETB Founder

www.tnmountaintours.com

Offline Marid2apterbilt

  • 1-SLW-LCL
  • Legendary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2806
  • Dumb Mtn Hermit
Re: Separating street from track, riding from racing
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2010, 11:25:26 pm »
Always a great read and reminder for those who like to ride in groups.

I havent had a Group (4 or more) of other unknown riders yet where someone didnt go down behind me for 1 or more reasons stated in this article.  Usually the Biggest Faults were "Riding over ones head to keep up" Or Lack of atttention - Getting tunnel vision on the bike ahead.

The last 2 groups I lead.
First day A newish rider tucks the front in a left hander. (Nc28)
Next Day, Same rider drops it slow speed making a very technical right hand turn. (sc28 and warwoman rd)
Day 3, An experienced rider Lowsides right behind me in Damp conditions (ga197)
Day 4, Yes this was all in a single weekend trip. Another Newish rider I was told could handle a bike well goes down after recovering from blowing a right hand corner. Lowsides in the grass in the next Left almost sliding off a 100ft drop Ravine. A tree stopped his Bike. The bike stopped him. (Back road near my house)

Riding with a buddy on Ga17, He loses the rear and starts a headshake @ 65-70mph, 4 shakes and he is tossed ahead of the bike. Bike hits Curbing destroying the ENTIRE right side. Shatters Clutch cover, Shears the clutch basket off Etc. Rider turns out OK but wont ride with me anymore LOL.

Another ride a Newb from ATL joins us, Im told he is blowing corners so we have a talk. A little later he goes down trying to keep up. Find out he doesnt have a clue about COUNTER STEERING. Spend the next 10 miles trying to get him into countersterrring on abandoned back roads. Told him if he blows another corner its $1 to each of the other riders. On Tn68 he blows the curve with the railroad tracks. I seen it in my mirror. Later when asked Riders claims he didnt.. Thats one rider I will never attemp to help or ride with again. If he ever joins one of my groups and goes down he us on his own.  You havve to be truthful to yourself and others out here , your LIFE depends on it.

And the last rider I had go down behind me was on joyce Kilmer due to Mud. We preach stay in your own lane but there are times where crossing the yellow other than to pass is acceptable "Like MUD across Your Lane"

All came out lucky with minor damage to the Bike's
If you dont know the road, Dont be afraid to ride your OWN PACE. Its easier to wait 5-10 minutes than waste an hour getting your Bike out the ditch and having to go find a place for parts.

So who wants to go for a group ride  ;D ::) ::)
« Last Edit: December 26, 2010, 09:40:44 am by marid2apterbilt »
Quote from: Hot Blonde young Waitress
Fine dont eat my CUPCAKES then

Just because your a Touron doesnt mean we Locals should kiss your......

 http://129slayer.com



http://www.easttnbikers.com/forum/

Ha! Not gonna happen.

Offline 8Ball

  • Mr. Clean
  • True Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 881
Re: Separating street from track, riding from racing
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2010, 09:58:16 am »
Yeah, I met some out-of-towners at CROT once and they wanted to got to The Skyway.  I took them throught the Joyce Kilmer cut-off (at a slow pace).  We got met in a blind turn by a guy in a truck flyin' through in the opposite direction.  Everyone in the group made the turn except the last guy who went straight (in front of the truck) and into the ditch.  He was on a KLR 650 and was able to ride it out, and the only damage was a broken rear brake lever.

What the guys didn't tell me, was that this dude had only been riding for 3 months....and that he had already crashed TWICE that week at the Gap!!  He decided to turn around and one of his buddies went with him.  The third guy went with me and we had a great ride for the rest of the day.  (He was a bit better and experienced rider) We turned it into a rider training session and I spent the day the day giving him tips on sprot riding.  :)

Moral:  Get to know the guys you ride with.....and their abilities, so you can adjust your speed and route.
Quote from: jeff5150
just follow 129 on the map towards nc til it looks like a kid drawing it had a siezure
Quote from: Tomsljr
Know the difference between crack heads and Gap addicts? I have heard of people quitting crack.

I find a Soap Box comes in handy when getting on and off my High Horse!

Offline Trav-A$$

  • True Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 225
  • Track or Street.... It's still riding!!!
Re: Separating street from track, riding from racing
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2010, 10:21:10 am »
Good info!  It's been awhile since I've read it....
Track Addict....

Offline Marid2apterbilt

  • 1-SLW-LCL
  • Legendary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2806
  • Dumb Mtn Hermit
Re: Separating street from track, riding from racing
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2010, 10:29:21 am »
The Pace makes for a challenge when riding the gap. If your ever up there bored Make up little games to play on the road or with friends.

Can you make a complete pass without touching the brakes for any reason ?

Stay on the White line ?

Not look at the speedo at all.


The no Brakes game willl make you very smooth and help with deciding the right corner and entry speeds.
Quote from: Hot Blonde young Waitress
Fine dont eat my CUPCAKES then

Just because your a Touron doesnt mean we Locals should kiss your......

 http://129slayer.com



http://www.easttnbikers.com/forum/

Ha! Not gonna happen.

drop

  • Guest
Re: Separating street from track, riding from racing
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2010, 11:41:12 am »
YA MARID, THE BRAKES GAME WOULD BE HARD, FOR ME ATLEAST, LAST TIME I WENT UP THERE WAS HARDLY ANYONE THERE, SO I GOT TO WORK ON ME, MY RIDING, AND MY POSTURE ON THE BIKE... ALSO, I DID IT IN ONE GEAR... 3RD...... STOCK GEARING...

Offline Marid2apterbilt

  • 1-SLW-LCL
  • Legendary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2806
  • Dumb Mtn Hermit
Re: Separating street from track, riding from racing
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2010, 11:47:09 am »
I tend to get Impatient about 3/4 thru while playing the Nobrakes game. It seems south bound is even harder.
Quote from: Hot Blonde young Waitress
Fine dont eat my CUPCAKES then

Just because your a Touron doesnt mean we Locals should kiss your......

 http://129slayer.com



http://www.easttnbikers.com/forum/

Ha! Not gonna happen.

Offline Curtie223

  • Moderator
  • Legendary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7556
Re: Separating street from track, riding from racing
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2010, 12:47:38 pm »
Marid, Personally I like to ride in the back. lol

 2001 KTM 300exc 
 2004 LTZ400



-When you see another rider keep in mind that is another friend you haven't had the chance to meet yet!!
-Riding is about doing what you love! No matter what you ride or how you ride. Just as long as you

Offline easyr6

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 146
Re: Separating street from track, riding from racing
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2011, 09:30:53 pm »
great read!