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Thread: How to prepare for a race: Mental and Physical preparation

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    Dec 2015
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    Default How to prepare for a race: Mental and Physical preparation

    After the previous articles, we are well-versed with the history of motorcycle racing, the various disciplines in it, the how-to of getting into motorcycle racing in India and the major events pertaining to that in our country. So, we are ready to race? Not yet. Because this is probably the most important bit of information that one needs before they hit the track. And by this, we refer to the preparation part. There are a lot of areas which need preparation, from the rider to the motorcycle and then some important bits here and there. We are going to try to go over that in this article.

    The first thing that we’ll cover is the preparation part for the rider. Motorcycle racing may seem like something that centres on the motorcycle but in reality, just the opposite is true. It always has been, it always is and it always will be, about the rider. The motorcycle, good or bad, may help the rider (or it may not), but it’s the rider that has to actually ride and race. So, the most important part of preparing for a race is about the rider. So, let’s start there.

    The most important part of the rider is the human that the rider is. Motorcycling in general and racing even more so requires the best version of the human. A rider must be in pristine mental and physical condition in order to be able to compete and win. Motorcycles are fast and the tracks are technical. That ensures that every last bit of processing power of the brain is used to come out on top of them. And then manoeuvring the motorcycle around the tightest of bends at the highest possible speed requires a tremendous amount of physical effort and therefore, the importance of top physical condition is just as much as mental health. But the question is, how does one do that?

    First and foremost, for both physical and mental preparation, practice is the key. The more you ride, the more intuitive it gets. The more you ride, the more it becomes an instinct or second nature if that sounds better. And this fact remains for both physical and mental ability to ride a motorcycle fast, consistently. Although riding the motorcycle on the track as frequently as you can is a huge help, one must not stick to only that. Occasional off-roading or flat-tracking can also arm the rider with the knowledge of manoeuvring the motorcycle even in adverse conditions. Slides, loss of traction and such situations do not short-circuit one’s brain because they have already dealt with that ample number of times during those kinds of outings.

    So the goal is to ride a motorcycle as much as one can, in as many conditions as one can. The mental aspect of preparing for a race relates to the above in a sense of say, muscle memory. As pointed out by a racer in an interview we did with him when riding a motorcycle is a part of one’s muscle memory, they have buffer space in their mind to get them out of sticky situations. This can be considered as a tiny room for error. And in a game where there is no room for error, even that little bit helps. Riding more also builds perception. One learns to look and plan ahead, be it riding on the roads or on the track. While the racer looks at the apex and in the moments before they nail it, they’re already looking to finalize a line for the next corner. And even more so, when one plans to make a pass! After all, they say that ‘On a motorcycle, you go where you look’. Also, the same can be said for all the disciplines of motorcycle racing. Focus and serenity also play a big role for a racer in keeping the right mindset and being able to execute their game plan. One must make sure that they are not bothered by anything on the racetrack except the race, the racetrack and their motorcycle. If one's motorcycle is in optimal running condition, it frees up some more room in the mind of a racer. One must make sure that their motorcycle is in top-notch condition pertaining to all the aspects and especially, the engine oil. A good engine oil can go a long way in ensuring that the engine is working fine which means that the racer is assured of the performance of the motorcycle. When it comes to the engine oil, Castrol POWER1 has been our trusted ally for as long as we can remember and the faith remains unshaken till date!

    From there, we move on to the physical aspect. We have all seen motorcyclists hanging off the motorcycle so far off, grinding not only their knees but their elbows on the tarmac just to negotiate a corner as fast as they can. And we have also seen off-road racers stand on their motorcycles for hours during rally-raids and races. And let’s not even talk about Supercross. Does that look easy? We didn’t think so. So, it’s right there, written on the wall, that racing motorcycles take a toll on the rider physically as well. But then, if you ride more and more, the strain on the body reduces gradually. That happens because the muscles involved adapt and become more efficient in executing those particular movements.

    Now, while the lion’s share of the preparation part comes down to making riding a motorcycle your second nature, there’s more to it still. While the above is surely going to help make things easier for a rider, some degree of non-motorcycle preparation is also needed. And also, too much of something is not good either. Mentally speaking, it is all about being in the right frame of mind and the best space where one can be is where they are happy. So one must indulge in things that make them genuinely happy. Spending time with your pets, occasional gaming sessions (indoor and outdoor) or whatever floats one’s boat. Another aspect of mental health is the focus and for that yoga or meditation works for a lot of racers we interviewed.

    Coming to the physical aspect, endurance training is a staple in the regime of most racers. Apart from that functional training, strength training and working on one’s stamina is also important. Some of the racers we talked to like to mix their other hobbies in their workouts like cycling. But some of them indulge in other sports as well. So while some aspects of preparation vary from person to person, the name of the game remains the same, to be in top mental and physical form. And trust us when we tell you that every bit of it is needed to stay on the motorcycle when you go chasing glory at over 300 kmph!
    Last edited by NewsReaper; 05-30-2019 at 03:12 PM.

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