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Old 10-11-2007, 06:30 PM   #1
Blurvfocus
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Red face First AX last Sunday. What a panic!

The trouble started when I first got there. I registered, then somebody (who was obviously trying to sabatoge "the new guy") told me to run 45psi rear, 40 front. Everybody had their own little compressors, and I saw they were all adjusting their tire pressures. Not a good time to try to borrow a compressor. So fine, I scoot off to town to get air. The first machine I found was free, but it only let air OUT of the tire, so I eventually gave up on that one and, with 22PSI in the RF tire, went off to find another convenience store with a compressor. Well, that machine ate quarters like I eat M&M's. And it took forever and could not go above 38psi.

When I got back to the track, they were almost ready to get started. I had to get inspected and only had time for a quick jog around the track, which I did wrong in my haste anyway.

First heat, first run- I got lost about half way through, DNF. Some guy offered to go with me for my 2nd go-round to spot cones, so that was good, but I went pretty slow to try to "take it all in." Third shot, lost again at roughly the same spot.

Second heat- It was my turn to work, and by the time the 2nd car finished his run I understood where I went wrong, and I understood the layout of the track. And I also understood how foolish I must have looked missing something so obvious. No matter, by the time the 2nd heat was done, I was confident there would be no way I could get lost now. Nontheless, I walked the track carefully over the lunch break, drew it out on paper, and studied it until I knew where every cone was and what it meant. Since I knew I couldn't do much more than that about my own performance, I thought I could possibly do something about the competition. I approached several drivers who had brought their own lunches - brown baggers- but none would relinquish their banana peels. I think they sensed what I had in mind; all I got were some fishy looks. So much for the generousity of this group.

3rd heat- first run- stayed on course but spun out which put me on the wrong side of some cones, DNF again. Now I'm really starting to get bummed. Second shot- by now, I have to admit, I was a little ticked at myself, and I was screeching left and screeching right all the while shouting NOW THAT ONE OVER THERE, @#!$%$ NOW OVER THERE,%#%$#@*, NOW AROUND THAT ONE, etc. It actually seemed to help- A CLEAN RUN! TA-DAAA! Last run- Stayed on course, not bad, but I whacked a cone.

Wait till next time... I'm bringing my OWN bananas.


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Old 10-11-2007, 06:51 PM   #2
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Yikes! Glad you have a good sense of humor about it

One thing to remember for next time - reduce the course to as few cones as possible - 75% or more of the cones are just noise, and you shouldn't be looking or thinking about them.

Perfect example of something that used to fog my mind - looking down a course you see a whole sequence of offset gates that blurs into a 'sea of cones'. What it really is is just an offset slalom - concentrate only on the cones that define the line. For me, I walk once or twice until I have the line down, then as I walk one more time, I stop and close my eyes for a sec and take a mental picture of the key cones being twice as bright, and all the other cones dimmed down to grey.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by eventerke View Post
Yikes! Glad you have a good sense of humor about it

One thing to remember for next time - reduce the course to as few cones as possible - 75% or more of the cones are just noise, and you shouldn't be looking or thinking about them.

Perfect example of something that used to fog my mind - looking down a course you see a whole sequence of offset gates that blurs into a 'sea of cones'. What it really is is just an offset slalom - concentrate only on the cones that define the line. For me, I walk once or twice until I have the line down, then as I walk one more time, I stop and close my eyes for a sec and take a mental picture of the key cones being twice as bright, and all the other cones dimmed down to grey.

Good luck and have fun!
Welcome to AX...

Don't think that you are alone in the nightmare.

To the point above, a LOT of success can be derived from segmenting the course.

Personally, I like to do it in 1/3 increments. You finish the first 30% and you start fresh. Connecting the dots is key.
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:42 AM   #4
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my 1st run a always take my time around the track, i dont go slow...but i may very close attention to everything, usually the 1st run i know how the course is if not i get it on the 2nd one, just pay very close attention, it sucks usually i go in heat A but when i get to work the course 1st it helps a ton!
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:19 AM   #5
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Welcome to AX...

Don't think that you are alone in the nightmare.

To the point above, a LOT of success can be derived from segmenting the course.

Personally, I like to do it in 1/3 increments. You finish the first 30% and you start fresh. Connecting the dots is key.
^^Yeah - what he said. I should have been clearer - I take those mental pictures of each segment, for example, slalom-offsets-turnaround-slalom etc.

OP - on the tire pressures, nobody was trying to sabotage you. Some people do put more air in the rear tires on a FWD to help induce rotation. The best starting point is 10psi over what you run on the street all around.
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:51 PM   #6
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but when i get to work the course 1st it helps a ton!
Yes. If next time I run in the first heat I'm going to get to the end of the line so I can maybe watch the cars ahead of me go through. Working the cones helped big-time.

I expect to do a lot better next time.
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Old 10-12-2007, 08:40 PM   #7
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The first time I ran I DNFd the first three runs. The second three I constantly improved because I had a chance to watch the other cars go around the track and see where I was screwing up. That's pretty much how it works.

The good news is, now you've got your bearings and you know hopefully certain layout types for the cones, and your tire pressure. That will save you headaches later on. It's tough to learn if you don't know you're doing anything wrong.

One more piece of advice, coming from a perfectionist. Hit a cone or two as you're improving your laps. If you don't hit one or have a few close calls, you're probably not using as much of the track that you can and you end up going too slow. But it's a balancing act I'm sure you know, and you don't want to go faster that the Focus will handle.
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Old 10-12-2007, 09:31 PM   #8
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During course walk, I only look at the turn cones, and memorize turn to turn to turn cones. Noting where to input steering,brake or gazzzzz!
Then slowly and smoothly connecting turns during 1st lap-always my slowest lap. Getting on it a lil more each run.

blervfocus,
Once u go and have fun u will be alot more excited about a/x.
Bring a banana and a friend.And try to run in 2nd heat...so u can course work(learn) first.
Better luck next time.
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Old 10-13-2007, 06:28 PM   #9
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Once u go and have fun u will be alot more excited about a/x.
Oh- I had a great time. True, I was a little disappointed in myself for having so much trouble with the course, but I very definately had a great time. Besides, I thought I was having trouble with something that was just obvious for everybody else, but now I see where you guys really have to work at learning the course yourselves.

Talk about the steepest part of the learning curve- I'm on it! Anyway, I have a brand new hobby where I can put my little car to good use.
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Old 10-13-2007, 10:01 PM   #10
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It's much easier to learn the course the second time around.
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