After twenty-five years (25 years!) of street riding, I finally got onto the track. The truth is, I kind of got bullied onto the track, by one of our bloggers, AJ. I guess she was tired of hearing me talk about “one of these days.” Somehow, she got me to sign up for a track day with Pacific Track Time. My excuse that I didn’t really have a track-worthy bike was eliminated with a visit to Feel Like a Pro. And last month, for the first time, but certainly not the last, I got onto the track. Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA. What a beautiful place for my first time. Of course, I’m told — and from what I’ve seen I believe it — that everything after Laguna will be a let down. (Ask me in two weeks after I visit Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.)
But on August 5, I spent the morning — my first two track sessions in particular — wearing a frown. I certainly looked stern, or deep in a particularly unpleasant concentration. Like I was trying to solve a difficult math problem. I was not really enjoying myself. After decades of street riding every single day, and feeling confident (or even cocky) about my ability as a rider, I found myself in uncharted territory. “I really don’t know what I’m doing — at all!” That’s all I could tell myself. It was humbling. And I don’t love being humbled.
But then something happened. In the third session, I started to find my grove.
Ok, turn 2, this is the hairpin. Get in position, here it comes. Hold steady, hold steady, plenty of real estate left. Yeah!
Approaching turn six, the corkscrew is just over that crest, line up with the overhead power line, hit that crest like a bat out of . . .
By the end of the day (with the help a tip here or there from our blogger AJ — “get those feet up!”) my turns were getting faster, my lines were becoming more deliberate, and my smile, well, my smile couldn’t get much bigger. I left knowing I needed a track bike. A month later I picked up my first, a small-displacement sport bike from our friends at Palm Springs Motorsports. More on how I decided which sport bike was right for me next week . . .