Enjoy riding a bike that just works? Yes Enjoy riding a bike with more modern suspension? Yes Enjoy riding a tire that fits the wheel - that can lean over all the way? Yes
But I think that I figured out the real thing on my drive home last night. Do I like racing? Yes, I love it Do I like being competitive? Yes. Do I know how not to be?
To put a fine point on it, I *LOVE* racing really hard, really tight. I love pushing a bike through a 60mph corner feeling the wheels start to lose grip ... and doing it repeatedly to find that limit because it just might be the thing which keeps me in front, or lets me pass. I love braking into a corner so hard the rear is in the air. I love tossing a bike into a corner fast and hard, braking at the limit and scaring the crap out of the person behind me... and then trying to do it just 1mph faster the next lap. And the next.
There is something about pushing oneself as far, and as hard, as one can just to find what we're really make of... that is satisfying in a way that I just can't describe.
Okay, so I'm an adrenaline junkie. Check. What's holding me up from getting a big modern bike and racing with the fast guys? Well, I think it's actually speed.
Let me clarify. I *LOVE* braking from 120mph down to 60mph for a tight turnaround. Turn 7 at Infineon and Turn 14 at Thunderhill are some of my favorite turns, and I'm pretty darn good in these.
I *LOVE* going 60mph around off-camber, technical turns. The carousel at Infineon, turn 15 at Barber, turn 3 at Thunderhill are some of my favorite turns. This week people were calling me a turn 3 specialist because of how often I was passing in, through and out of that corner.
I *LOVE* Infineon and Streets of Willow. Two of my favorite tracks. Why? I know it's because they are technical. Is it also because there are no really fast corners?
See that last statement? I think that this is a key to my struggle with lap times. I just don't really like turn 1 or 8 at Thunderhill, which are two of the fastest corners on any of the local tracks. Or even turn 1 at Infineon really, even though it's not much of a corner at all. So I tried analyzing how I felt about the corners. And the surprise was that I wasn't scared by them... I was bored. I was really and truly uninterested in trying to go 100+ mph through a corner.
Do I get scared? Yes. Exiting turn 2 at Thunderhill with as much speed and as much lean angle as I'm carrying now is scary. Ditto with turn 10 at Infineon, with the bonus addition of really, really close walls to slam into. These are scary.
Turn 1 and 8 don't really scare me. I mean, they scare me because I'm not a total idiot. Blowing those corners will really hurt. But they don't scare me because they're fast. They bore me. I roll off coming through turn 7 because I'm uninterested in going that fast through a corner. Of course, when I'm trying to catch someone I keep the throttle pinned and my lap times drop significantly.
Make the corner a little tighter with hard braking on the entry, and I'd be loving it. But right now it's just fast for the sake of being fast, and I'm just bored. If I don't have someone to chase, my hand just rolls off until I get near the corner -- where I pin it just before corner entry ... damn, I am one sick fool.