Well, it finally happened. Exactly two years after my first track day, in fact the same track and track organization, I finally crashed. To add insult to injury, it happened during the second lap of the very first session. Yea, I was “that girl”. I always knew that it would eventually happen but I always hope that the track day I’m attending at the moment is not going to be the day it happens. Crashing sucks. You ruin what could’ve been an extremely fun day, you take away riding time from the other riders at the track, your bike is trashed, your body aches, your gear is ruined, it’s a shitty situation. However I always try to find some sort of positive in every situation so I’d like to think of my crash as a learning experience and here’s what I’ve learned.
It’s almost always your fault
Yes, the temperature at the track was particularly cold that morning, about 42 degrees. And yes my tires didn’t warm up enough before I started to pick up the pace on the second lap. But no one forced my hand to twist the throttle. Having known how cold it was, it was up to me to adjust my usual routine to the current weather conditions and I failed to do so. So whether you crashed because your tires were too cold or you grabbed too much throttle on your way out of a corner or you ran into someone who parked it coming into a corner, you are at fault in each of those situations because you control your actions.
Crashing is expensive
The damage to my bike seemed minimal at first, just some scratched fairings and a messed up throttle tube. As I started to take the bike apart, I quickly realized that there was a lot more damage than meets the eye and I think that’s most often the case with crashed bikes. Whether you damaged three expensive parts or 10 inexpensive parts, it all adds up quickly. If you ride your bike in a certain, more extreme way, make sure you have full coverage insurance or an emergency bike fund to cover the repairs that you will inevitably need.
It’s not that bad
Don’t get me wrong, you can get very seriously hurt during a crash. But thanks to the amount of gear we wear at the track and the controlled riding environment, your chances of walking away unharmed are pretty good. My body was sore for a few days after the crash and I got a few bruises on my leg but it was a lot less scary and painful than I imagined it to be in my head. I now know that I can crash and survive. I am not hoping I will now start riding more recklessly but rather more confidently.
Your motorcycle family got your back
As I stood in shame next to my mangled bike, I was trying really hard to avoid making eye contact with the other riders as if not making eye contact would make me invisible. The drive back to the pits on the tow truck was even more mortifying as you are parading your big mistake down pit row for everyone to see. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I definitely wasn’t expecting so much concern and kindness from my friends and even strangers at the track. People in general, and especially people in the motorcycle community, are far kinder than the world would have us believe.
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