come along for the ride
(To see the rest of the Pictures of the weekend click here)
A couple months ago after seeing me flat track a little TTR 125 at the Rich Oliver Mystery School Peter Diaz offered to sponsor me for the day on a 250 flat tracker at the Lodi Cycle. Peter Diaz is the father of Danielle Diaz a talented young road racer, who previously was a pro flat tracker. I was pretty honored that someone confidence in me to let me ride their bike for the day at the TT at the Cycle Bowl in Lodi. The date of the TT coincided with an all dirt Supermoto race, but I decided that I should take up the opportunity. I definitely feel I made the right decision.
Tim and I arrived at the Cycle Bowl around 2 in the afternoon and shortly thereafter my friend Eric arrived. Originally he was just coming to be supportive, but we twisted his arm into getting on Dani’s 450. The Cycle Bowl is blue groove track, which means that is clay that is watered, packed down, and dried. The bluing comes from the rubber that is put down from the motorcycle tires. We were able to watch them water the track and go over it with rollers to pack it down. Once the track was ready practice started and the A riders started to put rubber down on the track. The practice sessions were short and I think I only got two in, but I had a blast.
Following practice were the heat races. I had entered the 250 C and Eric entered the 40+ C. There are actually a multitude of classes that one can enter depending on your engine size and experience level. I will say that there is not true beginners class. Basically it’s fast, faster, and fastest. Bike control of all the riders that I was watched was very impressive; never did I see a person and think “Oh, that person is over their head.”
Eric’s heat race was up first. He was doing well till he went wide on a turn and had a slight incident, but was able to get back on track to finish the race. My race came quickly after Eric’s. I had no idea how the starts exactly worked since it wasn’t gone over in riders meeting. There was a light post at the starting line so I knew I had to go when it went green, but didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. I must say I much prefer a human with a flag. You can study their body movements to figure out when that flag is going to be raised. Other than getting off the line late I got going quickly without the front tire getting off the ground thanks to a second gear start. I had a blast during the race. I was at the back of pack, but I never got lapped and was about a third of lap behind the leaders. The main race went pretty much along the same lines.
Even though I didn’t finish near the front I felt like I went out there and tried something new that I had never tried to before. I tried to come to the even with an open mind about me riding a full size flat tracker. Nervousness and apprehension would just end up doing me in the long run.
On Sunday I was able to come back to the cycle bowl to practice, which was another awesome opportunity since you either have to be member or be a guest of a member to practice their. Dani helped me to focus on my body position on the bike in order to make me a safer rider. The correct body position allows you sit more on top of the bike so that you can allow the bike to move underneath, but still maintain control of it. I really enjoy focusing on my riding technique because I feel that is what truly allows you to go faster and to be a great rider. Often people loose site of the basics, but it is the basics that allow you to soar.
Danielle and Peter Diaz for inviting me to the Cycle Bowl and for the great instruction.
Eric for coming to support me! If you want to read Eric’s race report click here.
Tim for supporting me and taking great pictures of the event.