Tag Archives: racing

!MotoGP SPOILER! Fitness is Foundational.

4 Apr

After many blog posts, I’ve realized that I may be leading many people think that if your fitness is up to par, then there is no reason that you can’t ride at the top of the class and you’ll keep the bike upright all day long.

Well, after watching the Argentina MotoGP race, I was brought back to reality (rather harshly, as I am a Ducati guy).

When 8 of the worlds best motorcycle riders fail to complete the race, that’s not an indication of a lack of fitness. Instead it’s an indication that some other factor has come into play.

It’s tough to say that MotoGP guys aren’t in as good of shape as they could be. Nobody in the paddock is overweight or even average sized for their height. All are on the thin side. However, they are definitely strong with great anaerobic endurance. While their body shape and size is definitely an asset in a sport that relies on an optimal weight:power ratio, most track day riders are not that same size.

Back to the race this weekend. As rider after rider spilled to the tarmac, it was evident that these guys are strong enough. After hitting the deck, sliding 20-30 meters then sprinting to their bike and picking it up, their heart rate is going. Yes, adrenaline plays a role. Yet, many of these riders were operating at their highest levels of fitness!

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Espargaro and Crutchlow run to bikes after crashing in Argentina. Photo: http://www.crash.net

You start to look at the riders who can sprint to their bike and pick it up out of the gravel pit and get back to riding. Then look at those who can’t get their bike going. This is where fitness definitely plays a role! Fitness allows us to keep riding even after a spill. It allows us to keep going after a long day at the track.

And if you’re Andrea Dovizioso, it allows you to finish the race!

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Dovizioso pushes his Ducati the final 2 corners to secure 13th position in the Argentina MotoGP race. Photo Credit: http://www.zigcdn.com

So how does this play into your trackdays? Fitness is the foundation for sport. Athletes who are not fit for the sport will not be participating for long. Just because you’re currently riding track days does not mean that you have to stop and “get fit” before continuing to ride. Any improvement in fitness will pay dividends.

As for fitness advice following the Argentina GP, if you can put treadmill pushes or plate pushes into your training program. To do treadmill pushes, turn the treadmill off, get on it, grab the handles in front of you and start driving the belt using YOUR power. Lean into it and drive your legs into the belt. You’ll find there is a lot of resistance there. March on the belt for 15-20 seconds followed by a rest of 60-90 seconds.Repeat 10-times. As you improve in your ability to do this, try to push it as hard and fast as you can for 15-20 seconds. You’ll find this is incredibly exhausting but it will prepare you for those maximal effort situations such as dragging your bike off the road or pushing it for a bump start when the battery dies!

Have a great week and don’t forget next week’s MotoGP race at Circuit of the Americas in Texas!

You, your moto and crappy fuel

9 Nov

Have you ever put low grade oil in your motorcycle? Have you ever switched oils or brands of fuel because you read that a different brand or type improves performance? Most of us have.

Oil selection is sure to incite a riot of some kind on most message boards or email lists. I know on Ducati.net, it’s a running joke that if it’s a slow day for moto news, starting an oil thread will liven the list up. And it happens for good reason. 

castrol robot racing

If you were a robot, what you put in your bike would be the only thing that matters. But you’re not. Eat better, ride better.

We know our motorcycle performance can vary based on oil. We know first hand that a low quality oil or even just a different brand can change the way the bike runs, shifts, cools itself and delivers power. 

Now stop for a minute and think about this: If you’re bike is this sensitive to fuel selection, how sensitive do you think your body is? 

Now if your eating habits aren’t the greatest, you probably can’t tell if a performance difference in your body. If you’re eating a lot of high sugar cereals or pastries for breakfast chased by a coffee with creamer for breakfast, a burger and fries for lunch and an over-cooked chicken burrito with a sweet tea for dinner you probably don’t realize how bad your body is running.

But like changing the oil or grade of fuel in your bike before a trackday or race, changing your eating habits can have a positive effect too! When changing to a better oil for the bike, you might think “wow! the bike is running really well today!” Similarly, when you add veggies or fruit to a meal and replace any calorie containing drink (ie soda, juice, milk, sweet tea or beer) with water or unsweetened tea or coffee, you’ll discover you feel better.

You may not know why, but you’ll feel like you’ve got a little more energy to ride your Ducati, BMW, Aprila or Yamaha to the limit. You’ll improve reaction time, move around on the bike better and ride harder longer. 

Want a kick-start to improving the fuel going in your body?

Check out Gourmet Nutrition and start eating better. It’s the cook book that every moto-athlete needs to lean up and become a better rider. Image

The BEST thing to eat during a track day…

15 Aug

MotoGP, World Superbike and regional superbike riders the world over might be asking this question of themselves: Does what I eat effect my riding? Does how much I eat effect my riding?

Well the simple answer is “yes,” and “yes.”

Motorcycle racing is one of the most energy demanding sports in the world. Studies have shown that the average road racing pilot has a heart rate that floats around or above 85% of their maximum heart rate for the duration of the race. Now there are some anomalies. I remember in the movie “Faster,” the section of the movie was discussing the difference in heart rate of Max Biaggi and Valentino Rossi.

Rossi’s heart rate floated around 130 bpm or so while Biaggi was up around 150-160 bpm. Now the higher the bpm, the faster your body burns through energy.

So although your last name isn’t Rossi, I know when you’re on the track, your heart rate is up there and your body is working.

To keep your body doing this type of work during a trackday (much less a race), you have to give it the right type of fuel.

Much like any other athlete, carbohydrates are the fastest energy source in our body. Once carbohydrates enter the body, depending on their complexity, they can be in the blood stream in as little as 10-minutes because carbohydrate breakdown begins in our mouths.

Carlin Dunne Pikes Peak

No matter if you’re racing a track, or hitting Pike’s Peak full bore, nutrition plays a big role in concentration and endurance. (Photo from: http://www.digitaltrends.com)

Now superbike racers aren’t often viewed by the public (or researchers for that matter) as athletes. Thus, the need to evaluate their nutritional demands isn’t deemed important.

But hey, I’m a rider. I do trackdays. I ride hard on the weekends. And I always want to be at the top of my skill level. So nutrition IS important to me.

So what should you eat during a track day? Well, the first step is to look at the demands. Is it hot? Are you in class between sessions? How often are you on the track? Every 20-minutes or every 40-minutes?

More often than not, you’ll want and need a lot of carbohydrates. But these don’t need to be in the form of cookies and cake.

No, you need NUTRITION. Other than sugar, cakes, cookies and soda have nothing to offer. Now fruit, whole wheat bread sandwiches, honey, peanuts, raisins, salad. These are all carbohydrates that have the vitamins and minerals to keep you at the tip of the spear.

When winning is coming down to tenths of a second per lap, you better be able to pour every last drop of effort and energy into your laps.

When the difference between life and death on your favorite canyon road is a tenth of a second in reaction time, you’d better not be delayed. Having not just adequate, but optimal nutrition is imperative!

Hot weather, poor ventilation and poor nutrition will do this to you and me both. This is not a good state to be riding a motorcycle in. Photo credit: http://www.motorcyclenews.com

So foods like oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, yoghurt, chicken, almonds, sunflower seeds, and let’s not forget PLENTY of water is imperative. I know when you’re on a day ride with your buddies, enjoying the food you eat is part of the experience. But first and foremost, food MUST BE NUTRITIOUS.

When you wake up the morning of a trackday, be sure to have a few eggs with some veggies and cheese. Then have yourself a bowl of oats and a big glass of water and some coffee. Bring a snack of chocolate covered almonds, or the po’ boy version: almonds and chocolate chips. Bring plenty of water to the track with you, even if it’s cold outside. You will still sweat while riding.

For lunch, keep in mind you are replenishing and preparing for the afternoon. So lunch should consist of primarily carbohydrates, with protein and fat lower on the priority list. But again, just any carbohydrates won’t do. Sandwiches are obviously very easy to pack and eat. But whole wheat or even better, sprouted grain bread should be the bread you’re having. As for meat on the sandwich, turkey is usually a good source primarily because it is lean. Foods higher in fat such as baloney or roast beef will sit heavy and can cause gastrointestinal distress. Eat slow and be sure to stop eating when 80% full. Food coma is not something you want just prior to heading back into the track.

Turkey Sandwich

Turkey, avocado and veggies makes a great track day lunch! Wash it down with some water and feel free to have some chocolate covered almonds with it!

Bring a Gatorade or Accelerade with you too for later in the afternoon when blood sugar tends to drop even without hustling a bike around the track.

For every session you’re on the track, you need to drink 500-mL of water. If it’s a summer day, bump it to 1000-mL. Trust me. Dehydration of just 2% can lead to decreased reaction times. You don’t want that when you’re relying on a few a 1/4 inch of rubber to keep you right side up!

Intuitively, we know what is healthy and what’s not. You can eat the stuff you want, but nutritious food needs to be a priority when you’re out on the track. You’ll enjoy your day more, you’ll be safer and yep, you’ll probably be faster. – TDF

The BIGGEST mistake a rider can make…

28 Mar

As I was having my tires changed on my Ducati SuperSport, my buddy and I got into a discussion about the amount of effort it takes to ride a Ducati fast. He too is a Ducatisti. He had owned a 1098 but sold it for something a bit more “practical” – a Ural.

We got into talking about why it is a Ducati just feels so heavy to turn. Eventually the bike gets into the turn, and once it’s there it sticks well. But man do they feel heavy.

This got me thinking about how much better riding would be if it took less effort. So aside from switching to a different bike, how can we become a better rider and make ANY bike want to turn easier?

First thing is knowledge. You have to understand the dynamics of how a bike works. If you’ve ever watched somebody try to turn the handlebars the direction they want to go, it’s usually a battle for the bike to be turned if it turns at all!

Technical instruction is a crucial part to being a better rider.

The second thing is instruction.

Having somebody teach you how to ride a motorcycle is an invaluable experience. The MSF safety course is great for urban riding skill and slow speed maneuvering for beginners. However, a high speed riding school such as CLASS, is amazing. Even with a heavy steering bike, after a day there I headed up on my favorite back road ride and I was amazed at how much easier it was to ride the bike.

But thirdly, rider fitness plays a role. And THIS is the BIGGEST mistake a rider can make: ignoring their own fitness or pretending it doesn’t matter.

How might front squats benefit the weekend rider?
Leg strength and endurance as well as core and postural endurance!

Denying that rider fitness plays a role is akin to saying that fitness does not play a role in golf (or any other sport for that matter). We’ve seen what the new breed of golfers is doing to the older generation that just played multiple rounds a day and tried to improve that way.

So two riders with the same experience and same bike will be separated by what? Fitness. Most of us aren’t riding in 5-10 minute clips and then heading back into the garage for suspension adjustments. No, we’re trackday riders, out there for 20-minutes at a time and doing it for 8-hours a day. Or we’re back road riders, heading out for a 1-2 hour jaunt that throws a lot of unpredictability your way.

And the rider who can stay focused and minimize fatigue is going to be the safer rider.

So although fitness is not a highly sought after quality of most riders, it can definitely be an asset to every rider of every type. Any type of exercise will benefit a rider, but a plan like Grand Prix Fitness is geared toward building total body strength, core strength, and a challenging finisher that will make your legs scream like nothing else.

Keep an eye out for Grand Prix Fitness in the coming weeks! Subscribe to this blog to get updates when new posts are put up as well as when Grand Prix Fitness is released!!