Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Miller Motorsports June 8-9, 2013


Copyright 2013 Lyndia I. Zarra
This track weekend was the start of a very busy two weeks for me. I booked this weekend as I wanted to experience the full track at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah and I wanted to see what I could do on the 3500 foot long front straight.

I have been to this track before. Last July I spent two days here with California Superbike School. However that school was running a different configuration of the track. This track is fairly unique in that it can be split into two completely separate tracks. Miller East and Miller West. When I was here with CSS, we ran Miller East which is a much shorter configuration than what was planned for this trip.

Starting with this track, I have made a change to my practice. Most of my riding has been at two tracks, Sonoma and Thunderhill. Now that I am expanding my tracks, I need to start keeping notes. Naturally, I turned to my iPad to store those notes. Starting off, I found a track map and took a picture of it with my iPad. Then I took that image and used it as the background in "GoodNotes". From there I can zoom in and make notes about each individual corner.




With that said, this is a fantastic track. The pavement is great, the corners technical enough to keep everything interesting and the runoff areas are nice and wide, giving you plenty of safety.

The first morning was about exploring the track. I had never ridden the east section of the track so there was a lot of exploring to do on that side. What was also interesting is that my "entrance" into the west section of the track was changed. I had ridden it so that there was a left and then I hit the "Attitudes". With the configuration we ran this weekend there was a right and then the "Attitudes". Doesn't sound like much right? Wrong! For the first two sessions the Attitudes were surprising me in that I did not expect them to be after that right. It took a significant amount of retraining to get into the right position to be able to aggressively attack them. By lunch on the first day I felt like I was hitting them properly.

The biggest challenge of this weekend was the front straight. 3500 feet is a really long distance to go with the throttle pinned to the stops and banging through the gears. For the better part of the first day I was only taking her up to fifth gear as I did not have a solid braking marker and I certainly didn't want to overshoot corner 1. I had originally believed that there was a 30 MPH corner at the end of the front straight but fortunately that was bad data, it is a 70 MPH corner :)


↵ Use original player
← Replay
X
i


By the end of the weekend I was able to get into 6th gear on the front straight and was able to hit a final top speed of 155MPH. While my bike can potentially go over 200MPH there were several factors working against me. First, I am not a jockey:) My size definitely works against me. Second is the altitude. Miller is at 4000 feet above sea level which robs some power from the bike. Third is the gearing and configuration of my bike. I am running a +1/-2 configuration which means I have changed the front sprocket for one that has one less tooth and changed the rear sprocket for one that has two more teeth. This change helps to offset the 90MPH first gear that this bike comes standard with. In addition, I am still running her in 60% power mode. I plan on running her for at least this year in 60% mode and so far have seen no reason to change that.

All of those factors combined to produce the relatively unimpressive 155MPH top speed. However I did learn that 155MPH is a lot of fun :) Perhaps if I ever return to this track I will play with the gearing and see if I can get a higher number. It would be interesting to see what the top speed limiter feels like which kicks in at 186MPH.

An interesting factor I learned while at this track is that the top speed of my bike and that straight did not alter my lap times very much. 155MPH vs. 145MPH on that front straight changed the sector times by a very small number. Changes in my corners impacted my lap times far more than the front straight did. So that was another useful piece of information.

I also learned that just because you are on a faster bike does not mean you are going to lay down faster lap times. I learned this in a very fun way. In one of my sessions on Sunday I ran across this Panigale. Now this is a more powerful bike than mine even at full power. At 60% power he is impressively more powerful than me. I ran across him as he was entering the track. Since it was his out lap I didn't think much of it and figured that I would be seeing him again soon once he warmed up his tires. Sure enough, at the end of that lap he flew past me on the front straight and into turn 1. However, I was pretty close to turn 1 myself when he passed me so I thought, lets see if we can catch him.

I was able to catch up to him fairly quickly but I didn't feel like I had the strength to pass him right away. However, in the back half, the east side, I am very strong. While we were in that second half of the track I saw an opportunity to pass him, so I did. Yay for me. I hit the front straight hard since I know the final corner very well and proceeded down track. About 70% of the way down the front straight, he flew past me again! This time there was a bigger gap between us going into turn 1. Game on!

I was able to catch him again in that second lap and again in a third lap. In the fourth lap he got snagged up in some traffic and I passed him and the traffic on the inside. When I passed the group he decided to blow through the center of the group and pass me again. At this point I realized that egos were getting involved and someone was going to get hurt. After that I backed off and prepped myself to exit the track.

The lesson I learned was that more horsepower does not directly equate to faster lap times. The only reason he ever past me was because I was running at 60% power on the front straight. I was stronger than him in at least the west portion of the track and I was therefore able to "beat" a stronger bike. A very valuable lesson.

I have to say that I love this track. I really wish that it was closer to where I live as I would frequent it often if it were not 700 miles away. I think its location also contributes to its lack of use by other riders as the track is green enough that I went through two rear tires in two days. Damned expensive track day!

Worth the trip? Absolutely. Unfortunately a lot of other people did not feel the same and the track was definitely under utilized. Will I return next year? Doubt it. That is just too long of a drive and the track really tears up rear tires.

Copyright 2013 Lyndia I. Zarra
Immediately following this trip I had to be in San Francisco to speak at a conference less than 24 hours later. So Lyndia and I did a marathon driving session through the night and returned home 14 hours after leaving the track. This was further compounded by the fact that we had to head down to Streets of Willow Springs on Tuesday to attend Code RACE on Wednesday. Details of that adventure to follow in the next post.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sonoma: May 28, 2013

Another single track day, but with Sonoma you take what you can get.

Turn 11, Sonoma Raceway
Copyright 2013 GotBlueMilk.com
I arrived at the track early as I knew that I needed new tires, front and rear. The track was wet. Not moist, not foggy, but wet. Fortunately I knew the forecast for the day and was confident that it would dry out quickly. I got the bike off the trailer and up on her stands and removed the wheels before anyone else showed up at the track. Seems I got lucky and missed most of the traffic as even the track provider, Zoom Zoom, was running late that morning.

When Chris of CTRacing saw my front tire and learned that I had 8 track days on it, he recommended that I drop to the sticker SC1 front tire while keeping the harder SC2 rear. Considering I went through two rear tires and my front tire still looked very good it was a good choice and I was looking forward to playing with the super sticky tire.

The turnout for the track day was surprising low. Maybe because it was the day after a 3 day weekend, maybe because everyone woke up to a cloudy and wet morning, maybe both. I believe there were around 50 riders the entire day and very few people in my group.

The beginning of the day started different than any other track day I have been at before. Because the track was wet, Z2 asked if any of the A riders were planning on going out in the first session. Since all of the A riders (three of us?) were interested in going out they made a change. First session of the day we took our tow vehicles (in my case my Jeep) out onto the track for the first 20 minutes with the express goal of helping to dry everything out as well as get a look at the conditions. Afterwards, the A riders would ride the first session with the B riders so that we would still get our first session which is historically the warm-up session.

Taking the Jeep out onto the track was an interesting experience. I got to see the track from another perspective and got to experience how much energy it takes to get around the track. Energy in terms of horsepower and torque. For example, I could really feel the effort it took for my Jeep to go up from T1 to T2 and how T6 felt. Plus it was fun playing in the puddles :)

Once I was done with the Jeep I went out on my track bike and started warming up. I had the tires nice and warm from the warmers but I knew from experience that Sonoma was going to suck that heat right back out again.

I took it easy on the first session, warming up the body and the suspension, gradually going faster each lap as we warmed up. In addition to warming up I was sharing the track with the B group which means that their passing rules were in effect (6 foot bubble around each bike) and B group has the largest delta in skill sets. Plenty of reasons to be taking it easy. Even still the track was damp enough that my rear was getting moody as I went around the track. Nevertheless, a good first session and no one went down.

As the morning progressed I focused on the skills that Dave and I discussed the week before. Consistent, short and aggressive braking. Unlike Thunderhill which is a very flowing track, Sonoma is far more "point to point" so there is a lot more aggressive braking zones and less "flowing" corners.

By the end of the morning sessions I was pleased to see that my lap times started to drop. Even though I was not focusing on going faster the improvements to my braking were causing them to drop. By lunch I had reached my goal, I broke 2:00 at Sonoma!

Now I have proven that I can break 2:00, next goal was to be consistently below 2:00. Having one fast lap is great for getting pole position in MotoGP, but I need to consistently be below 2:00 if I ever hope to be competitive in AFM.
After lunch the schedule changed. Due to the low turn out Z2 decided to change the groups. A/B at the top of the hour and C at half past. 30 minute sessions but riding with B group passing rules. This increased the difficulty of getting consistent sub 2:00 lap times. Getting fast laps with no one on the track is definitely easier than trying to go fast and navigate through traffic at the same time. Game on!
First session out after lunch and my GPS decided to misbehave, refusing to turn on. Without the GPS I can't gauge lap times. So I toss the GPS on the charger and head out without it. Since I am running a video camera also I can get approximate lap times later. I go out and continue to focus on braking skills. I completed the full 30 minutes but I was sore! 30 minutes is a long time in the shape I am in!
Between sessions I got the GPS back on line and went out in the next session with lap times on my mind. I also wanted to work on smoothing out my riding so that I could expend less energy each session and be less sore at the end of the session. The results were pleasing:
The rest of the day went smoothly. Very few crashes on the track, no serious injuries and everyone had a great time. My only remaining issue was my front tire. After the 6th session of the day I noticed a strange wear pattern on the tire and took it over to Chris to get his opinion. He called it cold tearing and suggested that I increase the pressure in the tire a bit to get it to perform better. Adding another pound I went out for the last session.
While the tire performed fantastic, the tearing was much worse after the last session. Bad enough to be concerned about.
Since it was the end of the day and I knew I would be seeing Dave Moss at the next track day I didn't worry about it. Worst case I am out a tire.
This Tuesday was easily the best day I have had at Sonoma, weather was fantastic, the traffic was light and my skills are improving. I look forward to where I am going to be at the end of this season. I am definitely on target for racing in 2014. Big question now is what class do I race in? I am torn between the 450 class and the 650 twins. Both are very appealing.

Breaking my 2:00 barrier

 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sonoma May 20, 2013

After my last two trips to the track, I can say that I was looking forward to this trip to Sonoma. The rear axle has been rebuilt. A new chain and sprockets has been installed.

With the rear end effectively new, she is ready for a good track day.

Arrival at the track, tech and sign up went smoothly. Keigwin's surprised me by allowing garage rental so I was able to get a garage instead of being squeezed out of my original pit space. I am always amazed that people would rather squeeze into your space then move 50 feet farther away from the track entrance.

Setting up inside of the garage was quite a treat. The garage stayed significantly cooler than the asphalt outside and having power was a lot nicer than needing to start up the generator each time I came back in from the track. I will definitely be looking for garage rentals in the future. It was a nice bit of comfort added to the experience.

The day was warm and the track looked to be in excellent condition. Fortunately I am familiar with Sonoma and know that she is deceiving in the morning and will bite you in the ass if you do not respect her. This was confirmed as I saw no less than two yellow flags on my out lap and during my first session of the day. She was biting hard.

On my last trip to Sonoma I was running fairly consistent 2:04 lap times so I signed up for B+ as I was slower than the recommended cut off for A group. I started off the day peeling off 2:08 laps as I started to warm up, both the bike and my head. The goal for the morning was to get the bike dialed in for Sonoma and to get my references set up in preparation for my afternoon with Dave Moss.

The morning proceeded smoothly for me and I was soon turning consistent laps with a few dips close to 2:00 when I could get a clear lap away from traffic. Unfortunately B+ was extremely busy and it was hard to get a clean lap. On the advice of Dave Moss I gave A group a try. First session goal was to make sure I could hold my own end was not creating a dangerous situation. Since I found myself pretty much in the middle of the pack I decided to stay for the rest of the day. A group was far less busy than B+ which is good news for coaching in the afternoon.

Unfortunately the day did not go as smoothly for other people. By lunch there were at least two red flags including ambulance runs which threw everything off schedule. Once the post lunch red flag got sorted, Dave and I went out for our first session. As last time at Thunderhill, I was nervous knowing that I was being watched and tried to focus on keeping my lines consistent. After four laps Dave passed me and started to show me some corrections to my lines. Unfortunately we were running short sessions due to the red flags and we did not get very long for him to correct me.

Copyright 2013 GotBlueMilk.com

Being that I did not have very much seat time at Sonoma I expected my lines to be a complete wreck. Therefore I was surprised when that was not the case.

There was absolutely room for improvement! However, most of my lines were good or at least good enough.

Dave walked through the session with me using the video that he recorded during the session. He pointed out both my strengths and my weaknesses, asking questions and offering suggestions on how to improve my performance on the track. After our debriefing I was looking forward to getting back out there and implementing his suggestions.

Unfortunately, between our sessions someone had a serious get off which required not only a red flag but a helicopter. Hopefully the rider is ok but it caused a significant delay and caused everyone to lose a session.

By the time Dave and I were able to get back onto the track some of his suggestions were starting to fade and I found myself with my attention split between watching him (he lead in this second session) and trying to remember what we talked about an hour+ beforehand. During the entire last session I felt "rough" and really wished I could have gotten another session in with him.

According to Dave though I was picking up the changes in some areas and he offered additional suggestions for my next trip to Sonoma. Specifically some braking drills to improve my depth perception and then some corner specific drills once my braking is stronger.

Overall it was an excellent day at the track. However it also reminded me of why I prefer two day track events to single day. When the track is vicious one day you have the other day to help balance things out. When you are on a single day event it really throws off the entire experience.


Brushing up against 2:00 at Sonoma Raceway

Fortunately I will be back at Sonoma next week for another one day event with Zoom Zoom. WIth the videos from this week in hand I should be able to break 2:00,

Interesting Lesson Learned

As I was packing up for the day and putting my bike on the trailer, I noticed a new wear pattern on my back tire.

Wear through the carcass of the tire

I drove over to Dave's trailer to ask what it meant as I had not seen it before.

Those indentations are wear through the outer carcass of the tire. This means, not only is the tire done, but that it was done a few laps ago at least :)

So new wear pattern for me to watch out for. I only had 3.5 days on that tire and I got 5ish days out of the last one. Faster tire wear is a good sign :)

 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thunderhill, March 22-23, 2013

After riding at Sonoma at the end of March, I had a signficiant number of repairs to complete before Thunderhill. Fortunately I was able to order them from BikeBandit.com and after some drama the parts arrived in time.

Considering the damage I decided to replace everything in the rear axle, the third bearing (two had already been replaced at the track), all of the spacers, washers, even the axle itself. I didn’t want to risk any failures.

In re-assembling the rear axle I learned more about how an axle works and I learned that the factor and/or dealerships put on way too much axle grease. When I finished my repair I had feared I did something wrong. The axle looked clean! Fortunately I had spoken with Dave Moss before doing the re-assembly and confirmed how much grease is really needed.

I was really looking forward to this event as I was spending the afternoon of the 22nd with Dave Moss in a coaching session. I had already learned so much from this man off the track that I was quite excited to see what he could teach me on the track.

Considering he can get around Thunderhill on a 400cc bike faster than I can get around it on my 1000cc I was very much looking forward to learning.

Day One

My morning went smoothly, I was primarily focusing on hitting my marks, getting re-aquatinted with the track and looking for any changes in its surface, etc. Getting into my rhythm.

After lunch, Dave and I went out for our first session together. Per his instructions I was not running at 100% but more like 85% with a focus on hitting my marks. While I was doing this, he was behind me on his GXSR 750; both filming me and making audio notes/comments while we rode.



A few laps later Dave passed me and I was to follow him. He kept my pace (thankfully) and started showing me better lines through the corners. Unbeknownst to me, he was continuing to make audio notes while doing this; the goal being for me to listen to them later and cement the changes.

Dave ran about three laps with me in tow and then had me switch back up. Now it was my turn to show him what I learned just by following him. I felt some improvement in a few spots but not a great amount of improvement just yet. I was making the motions without understanding them. Time to get off the track and debrief.

I was surprised when Dave pulled a memory card out of his bike and popped open a laptop to review the video footage. I was expecting to get the videos “later”, not view them immediately. With the video playing on his laptop we discussed the session and the problem areas that he was seeing. Here is where the knowledge aligns with the motions. Through this debrief he explained to me why I should be making changes and what impact those changes are going to make to my riding and lap times.

Once the debrief was complete, Dave went off to fill his radiator (he had caught a rock in it recently) and I went off to finish hydrating for the next session.

Session two started in the reverse of the first, I followed Dave for a few laps while he pointed out the reference points we had discussed in the debrief. Again, a couple of laps following him and then a few laps of him following me. Listening to the audio commentary later, I can hear that there is already some progress. Not a lot, minor improvements, but the change has started.

Following session two was another debrief, a review of the second video and some additional points to change and focus on for our third and final session. Finished the debrief and then it was back to hydration for the third and final session of the day.

Session Three was both better and worse. Better in that I was understanding the goals better and seeing the markers better. However it was also worse because I was tired. Not tired physically, but tired mentally. I have gotten comfortable with the tracks that I run and in that comfort I have mentally relaxed. Today, everything was back in the forefront of my mind. I was focusing on every detail of the track, far more than I have done at THill in a long time. As a result, mental fatigue set in.

Watching the videos later I could hear it from Dave on the audio commentary, he guessed it was fatigue or frustration. It was fatigue, plain and simple. During the debrief he asked me if I was tired and I immediately assessed my physical condition; answering him that I was “fine”. In reality, on reflection, my body was fine but my mind was shot. I will need to expect and plan for this when I next work with him.

I ended the day with a great track walk. I still cannot believe I went an entire year without ever walking a track; easily the worst mistake I have made. Walking Thunderhill really opened my eyes, as it did at Sonoma, to the little things. The angles, the altitude changes, the corners. Touching the paint with my hand, seeing how sticky things are. These are important.
I need to walk every track I ride.

Day Two

Overnight the wind was so horrible that I initially decided to cancel the day. I was worried that the wind would continue and make it hazardous to ride.

Fortunately a quick chat with Dave changed my mind. Lyndia and I went to a nice breakfast and came back to a windy, but much calmer track. I decided to go out for session 2 and determine how it felt.

As part of my conversations with Dave, I decided to reduce power on my bike. I have heard from multiple sources that they were “glad” they came from an under powered bike first as it helped them to get everything they could from the machine. Therefore, to play with that concept I turned the power down on my bike to 60%. Now this does not mean that I am suddenly riding a 600cc motorcycle! But it does mean that my power is significantly reduced. If I want to go fast at 60% power, I need to find that speed in me.



First session was all about hitting those markers. Finding the points I saw in my walk, doing everything Dave talked about in the sessions. Repeating his advice over and over in my head as I went around the track.

I was slow, best lap from session one was 2:16. However, the interesting part was that my best theoretical time was a 2:13. That shows both that I am still inconsistent by a large margin and that I can go faster.

Session two was better. Still hitting my marks but I am feeling more “aware” of the track. I am used to this feeling and believe the lessons are starting to settle in a bit. Lap timer confirmed this. Less delta between my best actual lap and my best theoretical lap. In addition, discounting lap one, the delta on my laps is less.

Session three was my best and worst. Still not hitting the marks 100%, they are feeling more “mine”. I was also feeling like I had more time mentally between decisions. These are both signs that I am able to hit the marks without 100% focus. I am spending less attention on the markers and able to spend more attention on the rest of the experience. All positive things.

Unfortunately, session three ended my day early. On my sixth lap around the track, just as I hit the front straight, shifted between third and fourth, the bike screamed like she was in neutral. Damn; another false neutral, the transmission is not happy with me.

Shift again, still in neutral, oh shit; there went the transmission.

Shift again; neutral.

Raise my left hand to signal a problem and get off the race line. Hope that no one is going to rear end me at 130+.

I get the bike off the track, and with the help of one of the coaches, see that the sprocket is broken, not the transmission. Good news for sure, but the end of my day nonetheless.


Wrap up

Good trip? Yes.

I think the sprocket failure is a continuation of the bearings failure from Sonoma. I believe that the additional strain on the sprocket after the bearings started to go caused the sprocket to weaken early.

The coaching with Dave Moss was fantastic. It was exactly what I was looking for. He pointed out my errors in a way that I could comprehend and learn from. He has a great way of sharing knowledge without making you feel stupid. This in and of itself is priceless. Far too many “teachers” have knowledge but are incapable of sharing it in a consumable way.

If you are reading this and going to the track in NorCal; I highly recommend meeting Dave and getting to know him. You will become a better rider. If you are not going to the track, watch his Facebook page and attend one of his tuning sessions. Your bike, your butt and your back will thank you.
Next track day is back at Sonoma on May 20, 2013. Another day with Dave and I am very much looking forward to it.

I am still on my quest to break 2 minutes at both ThunderHill and Sonoma, with Dave’s help I expect it will happen this year.

Video

Here is a short video of my last session of the trip.  It includes the breaking of the sprocket on the front straight.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sonoma, March 29-30, 2013


What an exhausting weekend at Sonoma Raceway!

First, on Saturday during the very first session I heard a clicking sound coming from the rear of my bike.  I came off the track and checked everything but could not spot anything wrong.  Went back onto the track and was immediately black flagged (which means exit the track immediately, at speed, and return to the pits).  The grid marshall informed me that there was a VERY loud clicking sound from the rear of my bike and that I needed to investigate it.

Going through Turn 2 on Saturday; focusing on hitting my apex
I returned to my pit and could not find where it was coming from. I decided to pull the rear tire and check that I had re-assembled it correctly.  Axle nut came off easily but the axle refused to budge.  It felt completey siezed in the axle, not good.  Since I could not get it off and I was lacking the tools, I took the bike over to Chris of CT Racing.  Chris put the bike up on stands and started banging on the axle with a sledge hammer.

Chris gets the axle out and finds the problem, I had forgotten to install all of the washers in the rim (missed one) and had pinched the swing-arm causing the bearings of the rear axle to sieze. At this point I figured my weekend was done.  Fortunately Jose was working with Chris on Saturday and started making calls.  He found some in stock -- in San Francisco.

Lyndia and I load up the Jeep and headed to San Francisco.  The goal at this point was to get the bike repaired so that I could get back on the track Sunday.  We leave at 10:30, make it to San Francisco and back in 90 minutes.  Had the bike put back together before the afternoon sessions started.  Only lost the morning sessions, not a total loss.

First afternoon session we got a sprinkling of rain and it seemed like half the field crashed in front of me.  10 minutes into the session and we got standing black and yellow flags.  Translation, slow down and get off the track.  Session complete.

The final three sessions ran quite smoothly and I started turning fairly consistent 2:03 laps which made me question the GPS since I was not trying to go fast, I was working on other skills all day.  I went fast by accident!

Sunday morning started with a completely wet track (two corners were completely under water!). I was running slicks, a deadly combination. While walking my bike over for tech inspection I hear a squeek coming from my rear axle, more issues.  After tech I took her back over to Chris to see what is going on.  Jose determined it was a problem with the rear brake caliper and gets it temporarily fixed.  After that I pull the tires off and picked up a set of competition rain tires and have Chris install them on the rims.  Time to play in the wet!

Meanwhile, the other riders on the track have a fairly significant crash in turn 3 and drop oil on the track.  Dropping oil is the worst thing that can happen and the track is shut down. By the time they get the track cleaned up the rain has stopped and most of the track is now dry. This is bad for me because the wet tires only work in the wet. If you run them on a dry track they will melt; fast.

I decided to go out anyway and hoped there was enough water to keep them cool. I literally was running around the track looking for puddles to hit. Got over my fear of racing in the wet, got to play in the wet and had some fun.  Session ended fairly quickly as they were trying to get everyone back on schedule.  Meanwhile the track continued to dry out and the people running wet race tires were actually helping push the water off the track (part of the effect of the wet tires, they push a LOT of water).

Rain going down the front straight. Worried about breaking for turn 1
Next session the track was nearly dry with the exception of one corner. I went out again on the wet tires just to see what would happen, first hand experience is always better than potential myths.  I did not push the pace too hard, and at the end of the session I checked the tires. I can confirm first hand that wet tires wear out FAST on a dry track.  I did not destroy them but I could see the damage it was doing.  Time to go back to my racing slicks.

I skipped the next session while I waited in a long line of racers switching back to slicks. Finally got the tires back and broke my torque wrench installing them, yay. As I finished installing the slicks the rain came again. Definitely not my day! The track provider had been running sessions through lunch with the expectation that there would be some rain and called a late lunch as soon as the rain showed up. The hope was that the rain would stop before the end of the lunch hour and we could go back out in the dry.

Fortunately the rain was light and the track was dry-ish by the time we could go back out. Got another session in after lunch to play "dodge the puddles" on my slicks.  Spent the session still focusing on skills and not focusing on going fast (did not even take my lap timer out). Got most of the session wrapped up before the rain showed up again. At that point I decided to call it a day.  To much risk on slicks for very little gain and I was starting to get skiddish about being out there.

Overall I learned a lot this weekend.

* I made a costly mistake in reassembling my rear tire, a mistake I wont make again.  I still don't know the full extent of the damage as the calipar/wheel squeek has not been completely solved.

* I have a lot more confidence in my bike and my skills in wet weather. This will help both on the track and on the road going forward.

* I now know what rain race tires feel like and I now own a set. One set should last me a few years.

* I have decided to pick up a second set of rims to mount the wet tires on. This will allow me to switch tires between sessions if I want instead of having to wait in line for the tire guys to switch them back and forth for me.

* I walked (literally) the track on Saturday night with Lyndia and a friend. That was an eye opening experience and someting I need to do more often.  I saw so much more of the track and was able to feel the curbs, the paint, etc. I walked most of the track barefooted so that I could feel how sticky it was (or wasn't). That experience resulted in an immediate confidence gain in the track itself. After walking the track I was able to pass people in areas that I previously considered to short or tight; I knew I had room. It made a huge difference and it is something I will be repeating at every other track I can.

I now have three weeks before my next track day.  I need to disassemble the bike, find the squeek and order parts.