My first track day was very exciting - scary, exciting and fun. My buddy and I had toured two days to get out there, two long days riding and camping. We got the bikes ready the night before and rode out the two miles to the track from our campsite early Saturday morning. The bikes passed inspection and we did the drive around the course in a trailer. We were at Oregon Raceway Park in Grass Valley ? doing it counter-clockwise. It?s a very tight technical track with lots of elevation, so lots of blind corners (come up a hill with no view of where the road goes!). There were about 9 of us in group C, but the majority of the group had done track days before. We had the usual beginner briefings before the first session and then after the next two sessions.

The first session was very scary for me. After I came in at the end of that session I saw my buddy had taken off his gear, he came off after the first lap and decided it was not for him. Anyway each session I loosened up more and got more and more comfortable and started focusing on the technicalities of the difficult track and trying to sort out the corners I was having issues with. I was clearly the slowest rider in group C, so after the first three sessions where we had instructors lead us for the first two laps, it was open session and I let the other riders start ahead of me and I had the whole track to myself ? at least no one lapped me (except the instructors). In session 4 I felt like I had sorted myself out quite well, had my lines and gearing figured out, and was starting to push a bit harder. But then in my second or third lap of session 5 I came down the straight faster than I had been doing and came out of the corner way wide and fast after a poor set up so I decided to take a little off road adventure. But I kept the bike up and rejoined the track. But then a few seconds later I saw the track was under a red flag because someone had crashed ? it was actually an instructor who is an experienced racer! After seeing the aftermath of the crash, when I came off the track under the red flag my head was no longer in it and I decided that I was done then...figured I was getting mentally tired and did not want to make any more mistakes. Anyway I enjoyed it, rode much harder than I normally get to do and learned a lot.