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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all.

So I just completed Level 1 training with the California Superbike School, and it blew my mind.

Not kidding, I learned more and improved more in ONE DAY at that school than in the last few YEARS of learning and riding on my own.

Rather than write up another review, I will just post the same thing that I posted over on their Cornering Forum.

I hope that you enjoy the write up, and for anyone looking to improve their street and track riding.....TAKE THIS CLASS!!! Its worth twice what it costs, maybe 3-4x.

My post from the other forum:




Hey all.

So I just finished doing Level 1 at Barber (August 24th, 08) and I can't say enough, how much I learned just in one day.

I told this to Keith, but I feel that my riding improved more in that one day, than in the last 1-2 years of working on my riding on my own.

When the day started, I was slow and unsure of myself....I was not able to pick and hold a line to save my life...every time I went into a corner (especially #2) I felt like I was doing something totally different than the last time (and NOT intentionally).

Man...with each on track drill, I felt a small piece of the puzzle click into place.

First, the throttle control drill got me out of using the brakes (SR) when I didn't need to, and gave me the confidence to enter some of the more tricky corners (#4, #6->7, #9) with much more entry speed than I thought was possible for me. It took me out of my 'comfort zone', and then I realized that my actual comfort zone was not based on the limits of the bike, but the limits of my MIND. This was an absolute REVELATION for me and my riding...and I have never had a single epiphany give me so much real confidence in my riding.

Next, the turn entry drill...and that was the beginning of where I could start to see myself developing cleaner lines. I realized in this drill, that I was never really choosing a defined entry point before...I was just coming up on the turn and deciding to "go for it" when it felt right....and I wondered why I couldn't run consistent lines!!!! ARRGGGHHH! I wish I had taken this training YEARS AGO!

The fast turning drill. Holy cow. Keith really hit a home run on this one when he said: "Hey, how many of you *feel* like if you turned the bike over really fast, that you would wreck?" Of course we all raised our hands. Then he says: "Ok, well I have surveyed dozens, probably hundreds of racers and ranked riders and I can tell you the number of them that has managed to lean a bike over fast enough to wreck....ZERO!" I know clearly that you can lean a bike over too FAR...but I always thought (another SR probably) that if I flicked the bike over fast, that it would destabilize things too much. Boy was I wrong. Again taking me out of my normal comfort zone, I trusted in the drill and trusted in the instructors and just flicked the bike over with real authority...and WOW. Not only did the bike get settled faster, but I was pointed SO much better that I could roll on the throttle MUCH earlier and still run a tighter, faster line. This drill was where I really started to see my corner exit speeds start to improve. (The speedo was taped over, so I don't know how fast I was going, but I always used the same gears for each turn and with each drill I could see the RPMs go higher and higher through the day as I exited).

Then came the relax drill. LOL. Boy did I blow this one. I was so focused on "trying to relax" that I was all tense and my lines became super crappy. Cobie was really helpful on the track (more on him later), but I still just found myself out of "the zone" and struggling worse than in the first drill. This was NOT the fault of the instructors or the class room prep, this was 110% my fault. I just got so caught up in telling myself "RELAX!!!" that I psyched myself out completely. I returned to the paddox a little frustrated with myself, thinking about what might have been in my way of trying to relax. I decided to put it behind me and focus on the next drill, and interestingly enough, it was the next drill that finally brought EVERYTHING from the day together into a cohesive whole and then I was *super* relaxed.

Last drill: Choosing an apex, or two part turning. This is what I needed....this is why I couldn't relax. The reason I wasn't able to relax, is that the previous drills had given me a LOT more speed to work with on the track, but I was still not able to exit where I wanted. I was exiting faster, and entering faster, AND turning the bike faster, but I wasn't able to relax because I wasn't sure where the bike was going exactly. It was more of a "wait and see where I will exit" kind of thing....and that was why I was tense. This drill made it all click. Not only did it get me looking MUCH farther ahead on the track, but by focusing on an apex point and saying "THERE...go THERE" I was able to finally nail the line I wanted. As soon as this happened (which was the first time I tried it...turn #1...I came through #1 SO much faster than before, and on a tighter line) I was instantly relaxed as can be. My hands and arms relaxed and I was really feeling the bike and what it was doing. Instead of wrestling with the bike, I felt like it was my dance partner and I was in the lead (not the other way around, which is how I started the day).

That last session....I felt like I FLEW around the track and it felt effortless. I found myself passing a few guys that previously had pulled away from me, and of course the really fast guys were still blowing past me at light speed...lol. I know that I am NOT FAST compared to the truly skilled riders there, but for me, I was absolutely flying compared to how I started the day.

Even the off track drill...Josh was awesome. He pointed out that I was using poor head position which was actually causing me to use some counter lean and as soon as I took his advice, those low speed turns felt a LOT smoother and safer.

Now, at this point, I have to take a moment to thank Cobie. He was my instructor all day, and for our sessions it was one on one. I cannot possibly say enough how valuable his input and guidance was. Every time we got off the track, he asked me a series of hard questions that I did not have an immediate answer for. They forced me to *really* think about what I was doing instead of just experiencing it. He challenged me by asking me to focus on the corners I had the least comfort with, and by the end of the day, those became my absolute favorite corners on the whole track (#2, #4, and #6->#7).

Jeez, I feel like I could write a book on all the things I learned yesterday. I haven't mentioned the awesome classroom experience, or how Judy is really a great mom to everyone out there, always taking care of all of us. I haven't mentioned that Barber is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL facility and that I was completely in awe of it. I haven't mentioned that we started the day with a drenched track and ended it dry. That was *perfect* because it really forced me to use smooth throttle control (what better circumstance to work on throttle control than a track with tons of water on it...), but by the end of the day, AFTER I had all the building blocks put together....the track dried up and I got to really increase my speeds and push my limits in a safe way.

I came to the track with three goals:

1) Stay safe, keep myself and my bike in one piece.

2) Learn as much as I possibly can.

3) Have a great time.


I can say that I got #1, #2, and #3....so much more than I could have expected. The skills made me safer, and greatly expanded my comfort zone. The amazing drills and classroom filled me with new tools that I can use on EVERY corner I ever take on the street or track, and as for the last one....well....there is really nothing in the world that is more fun than spending a day on the track with some of the most talented riders and instructors in the world.


I will be back for Level 2 next year, probably at Mid-Ohio because I have always wanted to run that track.

I cannot possibly wait to get back in the classroom with the CSS.

For anyone reading this who is debating taking this training: DO IT!!!! Its worth any price. If it seems expensive (which its really not) just remember that you will spend more in GAS just trying to get this stuff down over a whole summer or two, and still you will never grasp it like you will when you are a student with the CSS. I can only say that I wish I had done this years ago!!!!

THANK YOU CSS!!!!

Parabellum.
 

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Wow, great write up! I felt like I was right there with you! :p

I really want to take this class as well. But it will have to wait until next year most likely, if I ever get to do it at all.
 

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sounds great I had the same kind of experience on my first trackday ever. IT was with team pro motion and we went to the poconos and did the fusa track wich is a real fun track around 2.5 to 3 miles long and it was pouring when we started and the rain eased off by the end of the day. I took the art basic class which is mostly for new comers to the track anyway It was my first day on the track and i was a little uneasy at first but the instructors were great and told me how t use the gas the right way anyway after the first 20 min session on the track I was ready to go and as the day went on i felt i learned so much and got so much smoother that by the end of the day I was keeping up with guys that did it more times than me and it felt safe. the best was the next trackday it was sunny and warm and It felt so much easier to go faster and it still felt safe all the time . I have done a few days since than and my next day is sept 8 at the new thunderbolt track in nj I cant wait , now i just need to make enough money to do trackdays every day of the year at all the great tracks around the world haha
 

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Nice work bro- I've been racing for a few years now and during particularly intense and close racing I still have to say out loud in my helmet "PAUL... FUCKING RELAX YOU DOUCHE!!!!!" (Yeah I talk out loud to myself in my helmet, wanna fight about it?) Relaxing on the bars is going to help you a ton. There are some turns now where I can (nearly) just let go completely while fully leaned over and just let my knee do the job of keeping me on the bike.

I'm glad you had fun, what are you planning to pawn so you can get get a racebike...then a truck to tow your bike...then a trailer... than the best suspension $$ can buy... then new tires as often as possible... than a data acquisition system... then finally- an umbrella girl LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice work bro- I've been racing for a few years now and during particularly intense and close racing I still have to say out loud in my helmet "PAUL... FUCKING RELAX YOU DOUCHE!!!!!" (Yeah I talk out loud to myself in my helmet, wanna fight about it?) Relaxing on the bars is going to help you a ton. There are some turns now where I can (nearly) just let go completely while fully leaned over and just let my knee do the job of keeping me on the bike.

I'm glad you had fun, what are you planning to pawn so you can get get a racebike...then a truck to tow your bike...then a trailer... than the best suspension $$ can buy... then new tires as often as possible... than a data acquisition system... then finally- an umbrella girl LOL.
Tell me about it. Now that I am starting to get the skills to really go around a track properly...I am even more addicted to it than before.

My limiting factor is space....I cannot get ANY track stuff (trailer, track bike, etc...) until I am able to get out of my rented condo and buy a house.

So...next summer I will hopefully buy a house and then I can start looking at a dedicated track setup. At this point I am hoping to find an already tracked (read, beat to hell) SV650 on the cheap and use that until I eventually "outgrow" it.

Here is the track map...as you can see, Barber has some GREAT elevation changes. Not too much off camber stuff, but a lot of ups and downs...

 

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Go #214!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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My Dad is selling my bro's racebike since he decided he was quitting...

Price - $2600. First Gen with brand new Elka shock, Computrack GSXR 600 front end (big ass GSXR brakes are the shit). Woodcraft clipons, OSF rearsets, Factory shift kit, HotBodies race glass, cam mod. All safety wired with hardly used Pirelli Supercorsas. You could just add gas and go to the track with no prep work needed. Just an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My Dad is selling my bro's racebike since he decided he was quitting...

Price - $2600. First Gen with brand new Elka shock, Computrack GSXR 600 front end (big ass GSXR brakes are the shit). Woodcraft clipons, OSF rearsets, Factory shift kit, HotBodies race glass, cam mod. All safety wired with hardly used Pirelli Supercorsas. You could just add gas and go to the track with no prep work needed. Just an idea.
If I had a place to put it, I would be writing him a check right now.

If its still available in the spring/summer, let me know for sure.
 

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Hey man, I was there on Sunday...I probably saw you there. I can't wait to do level 2...my visual skills need all kinds of improvement.

:banana
I was in the slightly rashed/repaired silver teknic leathers.
 

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Great write up!

Man I miss racing at Barber, I love that track! :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was in the slightly rashed/repaired silver teknic leathers.
I remember a guy in silver Teknic leathers...man I wish I had introduced myself or something, its always great to meet forum members in person.

:cheers

Great write up!

Man I miss racing at Barber, I love that track! :(
I know...Barber is, imho, the PERFECT racing facility. Really, the only thing I would like to see added is a nice bar/restaurant and maybe a small but nice hotel for guests who come to the area ONLY for the track.
 

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Parabellum - what was your experience before going to the track? how long have you been riding, what kind of miles, what type of riding, etc.?
 

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Fantastic write-up! I've read other accounts of CSS, but that is probably the best one I've read.

I've done STAR school several times, and understand how large an impact quality instruction can have. I've always thought about doing CSS, but have never gotten around to it. I'd also really love to do Freddie Spencer's school, but I understand that it is uber-expensive. Ah, maybe some day...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I know a guy who did the Freddie Spencer school and CSS and says that he got way more out of the CSS school which cost probably 1/4-1/2 the money of FS.

You get a full day of basically one on one (max is 2:1 student:coach ratio) for less than $700 (assuming you use a school bike, its under $500 if you bring your own bike), food all day, some free promo stuff, and a factory discount on dunlop tires that is good for months after your school day. ((I have a standing offer to buy a set of Qualifiers shipped for $200)).
 

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Sorry to post pics, I couldn't send them in a PM. This is the SV650 racebike for $2600. Delete if it's not cool for me to post pics. If you do delete it let me know how to send pics in a PM. I couldn't figure it out.
 

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I used the stock qualifiers for my first 3 track days in rain , heat and cold weather and they worked great but I am only in the novice group, I would still be using them but I ran over a key so i called a co in tennesse I think it was raceday tires or something like that and got a set of dunlop 209's for 318 dollars shipped so I had to take them they are soft compound , I cant wait until the 8th to give them a try, I love stories about the track it makes me think how fun it is ! man if I wasn't 42 and have 4 kids 11 4 3 and 1 I would defenitely be a broke struggling racer and loving every minute of it ! but doing tracvkdays is my escape from everyday life !
 

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Hey Parabellum!

Great write up of the school :) It is very rewarding for us coaches to hear about our students experiences and to know that we were able to make a difference. That is why I love coaching so much! I wasn't at Barber this year but I am I'm catching a flight shortly for California to coach at the Streets of Willow over the next four days. Let me know when you do Level II. The visual skills are the ones that I am constantly working on and that made the biggest difference to me and my riding!

Ride safe :)

Misti
 
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