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There's a small chance I may be becoming over-confident...
My last race at Eustahce ended well for me - I managed to drop over a second on my fastest lap and I'm starting to think maybe I can do this racetrack thing. I've become so invested in this, I've changed my eating habits and I think I've lost a few pounds, but still not enough to make a major difference. Still, it's a commitment.
Everyone has told me shubie is a fun track. Bumpy, but a wild ride - a real racers track. I've been watching videos of laps all week and it certainly looks like one. I've also been looking at track map and figuring out my corners and what the line might look like.
But now I'm here I'm starting to realise this ain't going to be so simple after all.
The one thing the video does not convey is the elevation change. It's hilly, especially into a few corners and that completely changes the lines. And everyone is talking about how bumpy it is. And it's colder than I thought. And windier. I'm starting to get nervous...
On the plus side (for me) it looks like there are only two of us in the media class. There's an outside chance I may get a podium.
First practice is what is expected. Slow starting with a moderate improvement is about what I anticipated and thats what I got. The first laps were all about figuring out my markers. Unfortunately, I think I spent too many of the laps focused on this as opposed to figuring out where to pick up a few seconds. By the end, I am starting to push it a little more. Earlier on the gas is a plus but im still not carrying enough corner speed, not off the bike enough on my right. It's the same as last time at Eustahce but this track makes it more crucial. Second session is about finding that body position...
First practice was 1:33. Dismal. That's 11 seconds off of Stacey Nesbit, the leader. While I don't expect to run at her pace, I wanted to be closer.
Second practice is an improvement. I'm not so much finding my way around as seeing the track now. Early in the session, the black flag comes out. Not sure it's for me, I slow up a little and the next time I see a marshall, it's for Tomas. Faulty transponder apparently. It takes a while to get back into what little stride I have.
My target is Rob Harris, editor of CMGOnline. Hes ahead of me, and though he has some race experience in his youth, he's also coming off of a knee operation. I'm starting to gain on him lap by lap until about lap seven. Over confident or what, I'm not sure but I head into the carousel (turn 9) too hot and miss the down shift. Time slows down as I drift wider and wider, but there's no panic. I'm so slow, there's no real danger and I pick the bike up again on the outside. I must look like a rank amateur, and that's giving amateurs a bad name. Again, it's my body position screwing me up and I'm searching for a magic spell that can cure it, but i know there isn't one. It's all mental attitude and I need to get into the right side of the bike lower
At the truck, I'm now on the board at 1:32. Harris is still at 1:31. Another second, which I am sure I can do and this might be race. Well, "race" is perhaps a better way of putting it. The real goal is to do a sub 1:30 lap for me. It's still way off the pace, but on a technical track such as shubie, I'll take it.