First Trackday after 35 Years, can anyone relate!?

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5/8/2018 3:29 PM

Guys:
Quick summation: "Like wrestling a Python!"


This weekend I got up the nerve to ride my recently purchased, lightly used (6 hours) 17' KTM 350 SXF. Call me a P_SSY, but a few details may help. I am 57, in good shape (run, lift, mountain bike,ski) but a "paper-pusher" and haven't ridden since I was 21. Not even a road bike. What got me back was 10 years of watching supercross/ motocross on TV, reading every magazine I could find. Then I rode on a half day tour on the desert during a trip to Las Vegas in 15'... Most fun I had in 32 years! And that was that... I had to get back... Took me a couple more years to get my employment back in shape, to get the greenlight from my wife of 30 years... See my first topic on VitalMX, "First Bike After 35 Years, need help!"

So yes, until this past Saturday, I can admit now I was a bit nervous. I should also say I rode with a good friend on trails/ fire roads on his sons Kawi KX250F a couple of times last summer. Problem was I went down real hard during my third ride with him. Broke my shoulder blade, along with bruises and scrapes.

So deep down, I was tentative. My buddy offered to take me on those same trails, but I thought the best thing would be to go it alone and do a track-day at a local track. Off to Wareham MX in southeast Massachusetts... Pissaa!

I can remember every turn, bump, rut, jump but to cut to the chase, I took two laps, fell three times and felt like I was wrestling a freek'in Python!!! The track is a true sand track, so probably not the easiest starting point. It got better, the next 10 laps had no falls, and I started to figure it out. Need a lot of work on the jumps... And yes, I am hooked! Can't stop thinking about it, reading stuff on technique, etc.

And for the past three days I feel like I just...wrestled a Python!!!

So are there any older guys like me, who have gotten back after a break with similar tales worth a laugh or two ?



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5/8/2018 3:33 PM

Good for you. I hope to still be turning laps when I’m 57. No real advice other than ride within your limits and just have fun. Oh, and don’t hold on so tight.

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5/8/2018 3:41 PM

Wow that has got to be a record for the longest
Time In between comebacks!!
I can some what relate though
I haven't raced a dirt bike since 1992
And Ridden Very little in between
I am also very passionate about the sport
And read every thing I can , never miss a pro race etc
And want a New bike really BAD
But what's kept me away is finances .
Any way good story and glad to see your having fun
Take it slow getting hurt ain't fun lol

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5/8/2018 3:50 PM

45 here. Got back into the sport 4 years ago after a 12yr layoff but only rode a handful of times each year before something came along and garnered my spare time. Got serious this year, was riding every weekend, feeling good, having fun and getting back up to speed.....BAM broken leg. So fucking discouraged, frustrated, what iffing, bored and tired of hearing "I told you so!"

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5/8/2018 4:19 PM

Just ride in your comfort zone you don't have to prove anything to anyone and know when to say when.

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5/8/2018 4:24 PM

Got back into off road after 20 yrs 2 yrs ago . Was looking for a bike for my stepson to ride so he wasn’t 16 on a sport bike with no experience. Test ride a used 250f, told him he couldn’t handle it, but my wife looked at me and said “you want one again don’t you”. Doing a decent YZ250, fixed it up and joined a track. First time on the track and was thinking this is a huge mistake! Slowly got more comfortable and now am enjoying it more. Still not really up to jumping, age and fear of getting hurt gets to me. Enjoy the rollers, turns, and more technical stuff. Won’t race MX again, too much time to invest to do that. I am going to do some hare scrambles though.

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5/8/2018 5:07 PM

I was out of the sport for 12 years but still watched. I recently had the opportunity to pick up a 2000 cr250 (which i owned back in the day) for a good project bike. After a couple months i finished it up. Went to my local track and couldn't ride more then two corners and my arms were rock hard! it sucked so bad it wasn't even fun. I have 3 track days on it now and i was finally able to ride about 4 laps hard before my arms were toast. Just going to take some time and nothing better then a 2 stroke on the pipe!

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5/8/2018 5:09 PM

My first ride in 17 years happened two weeks ago! I raced mx in the 90's and won several 250c races. I quit racing in '96. I got back into the sport in 2001 and bought a '99 YZ 250 but after a couple bad crashes I sold it. I kept up with the sport and recently the urge grew to strong and I bought an 06 RM250 took it down to the frame and got it ready to go. I was really slow the first time out! Went back to the track for the second time last weekend and speed was better and had fun. I just hope I get better and stay with it. It's been lots of fun! Bike runs great!

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5/8/2018 5:11 PM

Damn!! that's a long lay off. I'm 56 and I stopped from 83 to 2002. After breaking my neck at amateur A1. The missed time is one of my biggest regrets.

To start back up at 57....after breaking a shoulder? Respect!

Welcome back...Go Fast, Have Fun, Be Safe....and oh yeah - Dress for the crash, not the ride

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5/8/2018 6:07 PM

SmokinJoe439 wrote:

Just ride in your comfort zone you don't have to prove anything to anyone and know when to say when.

pretty much my motto every time I hit the track. fun with some exercise and leave like I came in.

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If I'm healthy enough to complain. I shouldn't be complaining.

5/8/2018 6:29 PM

54 ... my long moto lay off was from '90 till '99.

Sand is easier the faster you go. cool

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5/8/2018 7:34 PM

DawnPatrol wrote:

Guys:
Quick summation: "Like wrestling a Python!"


This weekend I got up the nerve to ride my recently purchased, lightly ...more

Welcome back old timer. You'll have some rust of course but you'll be fine.

I'm 58....took time off for some life stuff from 85-1999. Came back to moto on a 1996 xr 600r. Took the lights off and hit it. Racing and riding since....it's all good.

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5/8/2018 7:52 PM

DawnPatrol wrote:

Guys:
Quick summation: "Like wrestling a Python!"


This weekend I got up the nerve to ride my recently purchased, lightly ...more

Forty wrote:

Welcome back old timer. You'll have some rust of course but you'll be fine.

I'm 58....took time off for some life stuff from ...more

Pretty awesome that you older fella's are ripping!! I'm currently in the "time off for life stuff" part of my life lol. Wife, 3 kids under 8 and a business. Feels good to know that when the "grind" years of my life are over and the kids are grown that I can get back into the sport.

Ride safe and have fun gentlemen.

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5/8/2018 8:08 PM

Jumped back in after an extended work-driven layoff in my early 50s, bought a CR250 and headed to a beat up track outside San Antonio after work, steadily worked back into the groove, and after about 6 months started racing again. Never felt better about life! I don’t huck stuff right off the bat, I work up to everything now, cause the jumps are a lot bigger than I remember, but the flame burns brighter than ever before. Enjoy the ride!

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5/8/2018 9:20 PM

Pin it to Win it!!!!w00t

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5/8/2018 9:24 PM

I’m only 36 but hadn’t ridden since i was 9 until picking up a new Husqvarna FC250 a few weeks back. One of those deals where I’d been talking about getting one forever and finally decided to walk the walk. I’ve only made it to the track half dozen times but am already a full blown addict so can completely empathize with where you’re coming from. Like you i suck(although have managed to keep the bike upright so far) but am having an absolute blast even while girls half my age are passing me out there: ) I figure if I’m having this much fun as an F level rider i can only imagine how fun it will be once my skill set improves.

As for advice, it’s orobably too late now but from the sound of it a 350 is probably too much bike for you. Personally i see no reason to move up to a larger displacement bike until i reach the point where I’ve maxed out the capabilities of my 250f and the bike is the limiting factor in my performance not my riding ability. Needless to say I’m no where near that point and most likely never will be.

Other than that just be safe and have fun!

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5/8/2018 9:27 PM

Last Wednesday was my first track day and first ride in a few years. First time on a fuel injected bike too. Also had only ridden at above 4500 feet pretty much my entire life. Riding at Sea level, I gained an understanding of why some people think 450s are too much. It was a bit of a handful for several laps until I got used to it. I was sore for 3 days.

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5/8/2018 9:36 PM

reded wrote:

45 here. Got back into the sport 4 years ago after a 12yr layoff but only rode a handful of times each year before something ...more

Tired of that from my friends/family too. Tired of hearing them say well maybe you will give it up this time. Just had ACL surgery so I am with you. I was mopey for the first few weeks. Is what it is. Good luck, stay positive

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5/8/2018 9:42 PM

OP- im sure you’re wise on all this stuff, but just to double check. I would back off the jumps and difficult tracks until you get your feet wet again and most importantly get that bikenl dialed for you. A well set up Bike/clickers/ Springs/sag can and will save you from a major error. Even if it’s just once. It’s worth it. I have that same bike at 180 pounds, no gear, I copied MXAs recommended settings for the 17 and loved it right away. PM me if you need any help, good luck

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5/8/2018 10:09 PM

I was out of the sport from 2005 - 2011. I took a 6 year break after spending 3.5 weeks in the hospital.

I went on a mission once I got healed to get in really good shape. I did , but I stayed off the bikes more do to mental stuff , and really didn't want anything to do with them.

FFWD to now.....I really wish I came back sooner , because of how much fun I've had since I came back. Don't regret it at all. It's my escape.

And to the OP.....welcome back man , have fun with it and stay safe.

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And there goes Jeffro. One of God's own prototypes. A super high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.

Pimpin' Ho's , Rollin' fatty's......drinkin' beers , beers , beers!! ~ Ja

9/11/2018 4:59 PM

Where am I, 4 months after the first ride in 35 years!

It was rough at first. Like waking up next to a hot, Italian model, but not man enough to satisfy her! I was getting killed in the sand, could barely turn, bumps were like a jack-hammer. 2 laps in I was whipped-out and my fore arms were swollen. Slowly I loosened up, began to anticipate, learned how to gas it, brake, lean, slide and fall...it got better, I improved, which kept the faith. Then an epiphany...

Two weeks ago, I was chatting with a fellow 50 something rider at my track. He has a 17' KTM like mine'. He took one look at my forks, and asked if I had a problem turning? The forks were at the last line down in the triples and the bike didn't want to turn at all. I just didn't know it.

He then asked what PSI I was running in the AER forks. I told him I went up to 152, on the reco of an article on sand riding. And yes, I was getting killed in the cho and bumps.

He said he too learned the hard way, but other guys like us run the forks high in the clamps and soft with the air. we moved the forks to the forth groove up and went to 132 air. He said go out and let me know what you think...

Well, it was like night (wrestling Pythons) and day (sleeping with Sophia Loren)!!!

The bike turned effortlessly. Everywhere. With confidence. I was starting to gas it, close to the apex out of corners and felt great.

Bumps and chop? Well, I could have gone 6 laps and would have still felt less beat up. No arm pump after 4 and the bike felt stable, even on the straights. In the sand I may go up a few PSI, but the combo changed my level of confidence and the fun factor.

Conclusion: After a few tough first dates, I am back in love with riding.

Also, thank you Kenny #44 for paying it forward.

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