One morning at Laguna Seca I woke to weird dream. I was talking aloud to myself about why I didn't like riding fast bikes - a memory replay of a conversation I had with Mike Lohmeyer once upon a time.
Me: There's just something mind-numbing about the long Wide-F-Open haul down to turn 1 where my mind clicks off, and I find myself rolling off. And it's not fear. I just really have no interest whatsoever in trying to learn how to bring a bike down from 160mph.
Voice: I think it's because you don't like pain.
Me: You know, I'm not really worried about crashing. Not at racetracks. Crashing on the street is likely to get you killed. I'm not scared of racetrack crashes, really.
Voice: Not the potential pain of crashing. The real pain you are experiencing.
Huh? I woke up at this point, and I really hadn't a clue what this meant. Great. Cryptic dreams. Nice.
So I laid back and visualized approaching turn 1, how it sounded, how it felt. I felt the approaching corner, I saw the braking points that I couldn't seem to go all the way to. I heard the roaring in my ears, and felt my mind just click off.
Okay, so we're back to square one. Let's think it through -- approaching corners don't hurt. Braking markers don't hurt...
Yeah, earplugs. I've been doing this for years without earplugs because I like to hear the engines and well, I'm lazy. I forgot about this Monday and Tuesday, and I never seemed to reach the braking markers. On Wednesday I picked up some earplugs and voila! I was not only pushing farther, but I managed to hit the corner fast enough to REALLY SCARE ME a few times! I'm currently going through the corner 8-12mph faster than ever before.
Wow. I'm really dense sometimes.