Listen, mistakes are going to happen, the goal is to mitigate those mistakes as much as possible. One of those ways is to set up self-imposed rules. It's not fool-proof, but it's a step in the right direction. 👍
Let's talk about my TWO mistake rule.
Over my few years of track riding, I've come to adopt this rule. It's worked for me, though it may not work for you. I encourage you to consider it a starting point, adjust from there. Perhaps you prefer a strict one-mistake rule or expand to a 10 mistake rule. 😅
It boils down to riding within your limits and recognizing when you're up against those said limits. Yes, this video below qualifies as a "mistake". 👇
The rule: make two mistakes, exit the track
If you happen to make two mistakes as you've defined below, exist the track to regroup, drink some fluids, rest up or even call it a day.
Defining what a mistake is
This does not include being the receiver of a black-flag pointed in your direction. Instead, the mistakes I'm referring to are the perceived smaller, subtle poor judgments that could be warning signs of what is to come.
Let's talk about some example mistakes:
Keeping in mind if you're in traffic, or reacting to an event on track these events may not be actually mistakes. Having said that being smooth, consistent, and hitting apexes while in a crowd is what you should be doing anyway.
- Oops, wrong gear - We've all been there, miscounted the gears going into a turn to find yourself stuck in the wrong gear exiting a turn,
- Missing a brake marker or turn-in point is usually a result of my focus beginning to drift,
- Frequently not hitting apexes is a symptom of missing braking markers, turn-in points, vision, and or a slew of other things,
- Find myself being lazy by not staying on the throttle as long as I normally would, a.k.a feel like I'm cruising. This not only is endangering myself but those around me trying to anticipate my speed,
How to avoid making mistakes in the first place
We all make mistakes, we're human. I've seen novice riders send it into the grass on the first session, to advanced coaches low siding into a turn they've nailed hundreds of times. With no trophies or prizes to be handed out, your goal is to end the day with a shiny bike.
- It's okay to sit out a session. Track-days are not cheap so your brain will calculate how much money you're throwing away by not participating in a session. How much does it cost to replace your bike, and or a ride to the hospital? Veteran track day riders typically sit out at least one session,
- You do you. Don't feel like you need to catch the person that just passed you, they're not "beating you". They're doing them, you're doing you. Enjoy the track for what it is,
- Stay hydrated. I touch on this a bit on my track-day guide, though hydration should be one of your biggest concerns while at the track. If you start hydrating after your first session, you're already behind.
- Nerd out. Embrace all the things you don't know, stay curious, and always keep learning. Bust out track maps, ask coaches to follow you, and or tow you around the course.
I'd be curious what ideas or rules you've given yourself to keep your mind clear and focused while out there on the track. Share them below!