Back to the track

I love motorcycle track days. I am a pretty conservative street rider, but I enjoy speed, lean angle, and acceleration as much as the next trackday junkie. I even love the hot weather that often accompanies summer track days at our regular track, Thunderhill Raceway. Temps hitting 100 F and above are not uncommon. Hot weather means sticky tires, lots of traction, and your bike feeling loose, lubricated, smooth. Mmm.

Track days provide a controlled, safe(r) setting to push yourself and your bike, and to hone your skills. They are also an opportunity to hang out with friends, immerse yourself in bikes. You can walk through the pits to meet people and check out bikes, you can watch the riders in different groups to learn from them (and make fun of them), and you can talk to the instructors to learn from their experience.

My first track day after ThrottleGirl was born was a marathon day. I left home at 4am, got to the track at 7:30, rode all day in 100F weather, had dinner with friends, and then drove home, arriving at 10:30pm to put ThrottleGirl to sleep. I learned a few things:

  • It is possible to use a breast pump while driving
  • You need to drink a lot more to stay hydrated if you are lactating
  • You need to pump at least every three hours or else your boobs will not fit in your leathers
  • Being off the track for 7 months really had a (negative) impact on my confidence and comfort on the bike, particularly in my brakes and tires

Overall it was a great day with friends and bikes. It was the longest I’d ever been away from ThrottleGirl, and I did okay (so did she, as it turned out). A huge part of the difficulty in the first year of being a new parent is adjusting to the changes to your lifestyle and identity. This day was kind of like a vacation back in time to visit my old self, and an attempt to find a new balance between my new identity of “mom” and my old identity as just “me”.

As far as the riding goes, the R6 started out feeling cumbersome and I had a lot of trouble moving on the bike. I was so heavy on my bars my wrists started going numb. My best session came towards the end of the day when I decided to just relax and work on flowing from one corner to the next. My first lap was slow and smooth – the next was a little faster, still smooth. My confidence and my pace increased with each lap, and by the time the checkered flag flew to signal the end of the session, I was buzzing with that good energy and adrenaline that comes when things are clicking into place. It was a good day, and it left me hungry for more.

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