Wednesday, July 5, 2017

FAQ's (continuously adding info here)

1 - HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? - I was kidnapped by a few girlfriends and taken to Myrtle Beach - Bike Week.
My 1st ride ever on the back of a friends, friend's bike who only rode 55 mph and who couldn't see in the dark (poor thing) - In my defense I didn't know the child was blind. I drove faster than 55mph in a car on a regular basis, I knew that wasn't going to suffice. Thankfully we went to "the strip" where (there were so many bikes for show) we could only go about 12 mph. Plus it started to get dark and well I didn't wanna die at 55 mph with a blind guy (I found out the guy couldn't see well while on the strip). It was then that I sought a faster, safer, rider with much better eyesight and the ability to teach me how to maneuver NYC traffic safely. During the same summer I found a teacher. He was at least a 20 yr. street rider who had never been on track. By 2009 I was Class M licensed and ready to fly. My sense of speed was beyond beginner street rider and the bike I started on was above my skill level (which a lot of street riders hop on and find out that fact a little bit too late). Luckily, I was aware enough to know that I wanted to go faster but it wasn't going to be safe in the streets. 
I sought out a Track Day Organization to gain more skill on the street. From then on I've been riding and racing on track and that my friend, is how it all started for me. Currently, I am fully supported by Absolute Cycle Experience Track Day Organization

2 - WHO TOLD YOU WHERE TO LOOK? - Google (duhhhhhh). Look up "motorcycle track day near your zip code" I didn't know the 1st thing about what I needed to get started on the track. So I actually searched for Women Track Riders. The initial search brought up only 2 women M. Paris and E. Meyers. I read their start stories and the most relevant one was Melissa Paris'. I saw all of the gear she wore, and the way she looked on the bike in those turns. Yep that's what I wanted to do. I did a little more research because I still hadn't found a way to get on track. Well I typed in the above quote and ran across a Track day Org. that frequented the closest track to NYC. Know that any track day organizations website should tell you what you need to bring for your 1st day on track. I had all of this street gear but only the helmet was acceptable for a track day. Pay attention to every thing you need or you might not be able to get on track. Some organizations rent gear but your size and sit may not be guaranteed (esp. if you're a woman)

3 - HOW MUCH DID YOUR GEAR COST? - A lot. It's truly rider preference but I certainly recommend not skimping on your safety. My gear costs what I thought my body parts were worth. Basically, it was an investment. I still have my 2-piece Spidi Race suit (in the photo) till this day and it still fits. The boots lasted until I started racing and the gloves well... I wore those out quickly. The helmets are good for 5 years or a good drop on the floor. INVEST whether you want to just hit the track one time or become a track junkie or a racer, INVEST IN YOUR BODY. Thank goodness for Nexx North America Helmets, sponsors since 2013 check them out here 

4 - DO YOU HAVE HELP IN THE PITS? -  Yes, Always. It's not like I always have a pit crew of my very own, that I can pay to be there but there has been one person that has assisted me from the beginning. Remember the blind guy who rode 55 mph? Yeah NOT HIM  (LOL) but the one who truly taught me how to ride has definitely jumped through plenty of hoops to assist where he could to be there especially since I've gotten faster. Personally, I think he digs seeing me whoop some of these guys butts. Also, I had to basically hog tie a gentleman that I call "Mr. Bishop" to assist me for the last 2 years. A former racer himself, he tells me what I need to hear and makes me think about the important things. I have a mini Pit Crew who does come through for me regularly along with my knuckle head Track Family and fellow racers, who look out for me if I need anything. WE ALL HELP ONE ANOTHER OUT NO MATTER WHAT. We know what we need. Racers are racers. I have a few "secret weapons" that i can reach out too at the drop of a hat who will surely have me covered. Overall, all racers are there to help all racers its just how we take care of each other.


I used to think that also when I first started.If you're over 21 and have a full-time job or jobs and your parents never rode anything other than a bicycle than guess what? You're paying for everything on your own. Oh, SPONSORS? My sponsors are: Nexx North America Helmets, Absolute Cycle Experience and Porsche Taylor (owner operator of Black Girls Ride Magazine) These businesses p
rovide FREE product and services to me at all times.
Those providing racer support are: Vortex Racing, Moto-D Racing, and Armour Bodies Race Plastics. These companies provide discounts for their product, which means I still pay for their products just not full price. Financially, THREADER24 RACING is primarily funded by myself, and by my pit help if I can't cover something like my race entry fees. WINNING or reaching the podium pays them back 10 fold they said.  

6 -  ARE YOU REALLY THE FIRST LICENSED BLACK WOMAN IN U.S. HISTORY TO ROAD RACE in an AMA SANCTIONED EVENT?  YES! I Joi "SJ" Harris received my race license in May of 2013. I began racing in 2014 with the American Sportbike Racing Association/Championship Cup Series a.k.a. ASRA/CCS who is Sanctioned by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA). Feel free to Google that fact also. I researched this fact in 2012, I would be the 1st of my kind in the U.S.A. (I've always posed, if anyone would like to dispute that I am not the first African American Woman in U.S. history to achieve licensing as a motorcycle road-racer to please present proof, I will gladly relinquish the crown and honor her as she so well deserves). 

7 - DID YOU HAVE TO GO TO A RACE SCHOOL? Yes. Every racer has to attend a race school to receive a race license for their respective race circuit. These schools are usually offered the Friday of the ASRA/CCS race weekends. Absolute Cycle Experience offers Race Schools throughout the schedule of their track day events. Race Schools are not based on speed and technique, they are based on making sure that every First Time Racer is capable of executing a race track safely and knows the signals and flags that come along with racing. JUST REMEMBER: DON'T CRASH IN THE MOCK RACE. you won't get your license. (That's what I did) I went straight when I should have turned (whoops).

8 - AREN'T YOU SCARED TO CRASH? Not quite scared, but it crosses my mind at times, but a racer can't let it stop us. Weren't we all scared of crossing the street before we understood what made us scared? It wasn't us actually walking across the street, we were more afraid of the possibility of getting hit by a moving vehicle. Once we became confident in our ability to look both ways before crossing a road the fear diminished. THAT'S have to analyze WHY YOU ARE AFRAID, then the fear is lessened.
Track riding and racing, teaches us to analyze why we crash so that we do NOT make the same mistake again, and basically learn from it.
We become confident in in our riding  abilities and grow. When trained properly, which I wasn't, many racers learn on dirt bikes or mini bikes because they are much more forgiving during a crash than a sport bike, and not to mention much less expensive to repair. In short when it comes to crashing, I've learned to accept that I am not the greatest rider that exists and that there is always something to learn when on track and pushing limits. Sometimes I'm going to eat it if I'm impatient. Everything takes time. Face your fears you never know what you can missing out on.

9 - HOW DO YOU GET BACK OUT THERE AFTER A CRASH? - Me? I get back out there and go just as hard as before like nothing ever happened.
In the last question, I mentioned how important it is for a track rider/racer to analyze why they crashed. Since I began racing I've learned the importance of this more an more. If I don't know why I crashed than I am bound to do it again and be hesitant and tentative every time I go back out. For example, if I low-side crash, the first thing I'm thinking about is what type of low-side was it. was it a front tuck or rear slide out? In which I've done plenty of one and recently experienced the other for the first time. Once I figured that out, Then I'm analyzing what I did to cause this crash. After, I get up from the crash and learn that my body is ok, more things become clear. I can say "oh, I chopped the gas", or "I grabbed the brake instead of applied it smoother", or "did I check all of my tire pressures before I went out?" "Could it have been cold tires or did I lose focus" etc. It can be anything at any given time because conditions are always changing while riding and racing on the track. In my opinion, the faster we're able to understand what we did to cause the crash, the quicker we are able to overcome it and seek to do better next time. No one ever gets out there to go sliding on the ground deliberately. JUST GO BACK OUT THERE AND GO FOR IT AGAIN THE RIGHT WAY. Don't dwell on things because crap happens. (Read my other blog post gives a bit of insight into my brain after crashing "Big Glove, little glove")