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Wink Pitt Race Motorcycle Track Day and You vs You

Who better to compete against than yourself? You vs You at Pitt Race Motorcycle Track Day may be the answer.
Why do you go to the track? For some (ok probably a lot of you) it’s the thrill of going fast, for some it may be to learn how to ride safer, for others it might be to check something off their bucket list, but one of the many byproducts of riding a trackday with Evolve GT Track Days, is improvement! One of the ways that we help with that, is our You vs You program. We pair you with one of our coaches for insightful 1 on 1 training all day, where you will compete only against yourself. We help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and work closely with you on the track and in the paddock to gain confidence and understanding in order to build a stronger foundation for your riding.

I wrote this article because I was recently asked by one of our members to help them with their riding through our You vs You program at a Pitt Race Motorcycle Track Day. They wanted to make some progress and work on a few problematic areas. To be honest I was humbled and nervous at the same time. Humbled because I was requested personally, and a little nervous only because I had never coached someone on such a personal and specific level for an entire day. What happened on that day was amazing, but first, a little story on why I always wanted to coach from the very first time I rode on the track.

I had recently heard about a friend of mine going to his first local track day, and it sounded exciting and terrifying at the same time. I was not a very skilled street rider. In fact, I was surprisingly bad. I was terrified to lean the bike, and often found myself running wide towards the edge of the pavement or worse, a guard rail even at slow speeds (very slow speeds actually). When my friend was telling me about his day on the track, it sounded surreal. A whole day of riding as fast as you want? Sounded awesome, but kind of scary at the same time. I was the one who always wanted to ride in the back for the group rides so that I wouldn’t hold everyone up in the corners and embarrass myself.

After a few conversations and some serious peer pressure I was talked into going. I went all out on race plastics and trick parts for the bike so that I could “go fast” without worrying about scuffing up my prized possession. The night before I couldn’t sleep. When the morning finally came and we were headed to the track I was incredibly nervous. What if I embarrassed myself? What if I crashed? What if everyone just went flying by me, I mean this was a Pitt Race Motorcycle Track Day , a race track after all! We unpacked and got the bikes ready and before I knew it, it was first call for beginner group. I felt sick. My whole face was pale and sweaty. My friends thought I was going to throw up (I was pretty close actually). When I finally threw a leg over the bike and lined up on the grid I was shaking I was so nervous.

We were instructed to follow our coach at a low speed in small groups for a few laps to familiarize ourselves with the track. When we got back into the classroom many of the other riders were bored with how slow we were going and impatiently waiting to go faster. I on the other hand wasn’t sure that I could go any faster than the sighting laps we did. After some additional instruction and time in the class we lined up again for the next session. This time we were going to go faster and start working on building skills. I wasn’t even paying attention I was so nervous. When we went out again we were all in a line coming down the front stretch. A coach pulled up next to me and tapped his tail section (indicating he wanted me to follow) and pulled me out of line for some one on one. He led me around the track taking me turn by turn, showing me exactly where to look, and exactly where to turn the bike. He showed me the race line, and put me into a rhythm that just felt right. It was immediate. My anxiety was gone. I gained more confidence, and knowledge about riding my motorcycle in that magical 20 minutes than I had learned in the whole year that I had been riding previously. It was a strange feeling.

I fell so madly in love with the track, and my bike in those 20 minutes. I couldn’t thank that coach enough and remember those laps still to this day. It was a complete transformation in just one short session. I was star struck. I could almost feel my DNA transforming into something different. I knew I had to ride, and more so, I wanted to help someone else feel the way that I just felt. I wanted to be able to give that confidence, and that transformation to other street riders. I wanted to be a coach.

Ok, that was a long backstory thanks for sticking with me. Fast forward to my recent You vs You with one of our (amazing) members. Over the past two years of coaching, I have helped a lot of riders (or I like to hope I have anyways). Following or leading them for a few sessions, working with them in the paddock, and it was beautiful seeing them learn and progress. Worth so much more to me than my own personal journey to get to the advanced group and ride with the “fast guys”. (Fast is such a relative term anyways). The You vs You felt a little different though, it was personal, it was specific, and it was a awesome to watch someone learn so quickly and progress so much in a single day. I was thrilled to be able to help work on specific techniques that helped them not only gain confidence and speed, but seeing them have the “ahh Ha!” moment where things just started to click was awesome.

The really cool part for me though, is how much fun it was not only on the track at the Pitt Race Motorcycle Track Day, but back in the pits where we talked about riding technique, told jokes and laughed. I got to spend the entire day with many of our members that were kind enough to let me pit with them and heard such great things about our club that truly made me feel like what we do makes a difference. I felt like I had paid back, a little but more of what was given to me on my first track day. It had come full circle. Even though I had been coaching for years, I felt that not only did I get to help many riders find their moments of bliss, but I had become part of an organization built off of that feeling. It’s hard to put into words, but Evolve GT Track Days really embodies the feeling that I had on my first track day. I was fortunate enough to join Evolve at the start, and I knew what our goal was. We had always gotten great feedback from our members, and I knew that we were working hard to give those deep down good feelings to our riders while teaching them skills and techniques that would help take their riding to the next level.

That “You vs You” day was not only a success for our member, but it was for me as well. I felt like I was competing with myself to be the coach that I set out to be all those years ago. I feel like all our coaches compete with themselves to be the best that we can be for our members. I know this was a long read, but all of this to say was really to say thank you. Thank you for riding with us. Thank you for trusting us. Thank you for challenging yourself to be better at something that you love, and thank you for being a part of this amazing sport, and this wonderful family! I hope I get to ride with you all very soon.

Don’t forget, It’s always You vs You. On and off the track. A Pitt Race Motorcycle Track Day at evolvegt.com/quick_event/pitt-race-428/ is a great place to start.
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-Johnny
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