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Setting off for the riders meeting at 7am, i'm wondering if I made a mistake thinking I could ride in each day. It's a long day already, and maybe commuting an hour each way in highway traffic on the big Tiger 1200 isn't the best preparation.
Either way, I'm tired by the time I arrive and its the kind of tired that no amount of red bull can assuage.
The timing of the sessions don't really help either. The 8:15 riders meeting is followed by a three hour wait and then the first riding session, which is only twenty minutes long.
As we already qualified yesterday, I opted for new tires for today's practice. As usual, there's a scrubbing lap, followed by a more earnest set of laps, only my lapping is far from earnest. My best session gets me down to a 2:07, but thats a long way short of everyone else. Its the same story: I'm not committing to corners and I'm scared of the patches. In all honesty, I'm quite embarrassed about my performance, but I also can't seem to get past it. I'm trying to relax into corners, but while the lefts are ok, I can feel my arm tense on the right and my body position is way too high. I'm also not looking around many of the corners beacause they are blind and nor am I being smooth on the bike today and I can feel it move around under me as I move. It's weird as I know I can ride better than this. In short, I am not happy.
I spend more time with Jeff, walking to various corners and watching other riders' but none of it seems to be sinking in. In fact, it all seems to be too much.
I also received a note this morning for Rob Harris at CMG. Even though they all but won the series, he's still keeping a keen eye on the scores. Apparently, I am second and still have a mathematical chance of catching Costa who's in the lead. For some reason, this increases the pressure. The way the series is scored, DNFs are the enemy. The field is small enough that you can score a reasonable amount of points if you finish the race, irrespective of position. I'm now left contemplating that I could crash and lose second place, which would be just my luck.
Maybe this is why, but come race time, I've lost those extra couple of seconds i had in practice. I'm back at a 2:08 lap after a race in which my highlight was an awful start. Still, I'm enjoying it around here. Surface aside, this is a truly glorious track and for my first eight laps, I am alone and have a chance to enjoy it, even if i am not actually attacking it.
Lapped in eight I'm happy to see the flag. A few more points take me closer to second, and I'm wondering just where rob Harris is seeing the standings. I'm also reflecting that I have just one more day of this left and I'm going to spend the evening mentally attacking each corner faster in the vain hope that will help.