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Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic

This is an excellent course, well worth the money. It is designed for people who have been riding for awhile, minimally 3,000 miles on the street, and want to increase their riding skills. You bring your own bike. All of the aspects taught can be translated to the street and it also helps immensely with track skills.

For those of you who have taken Level 1, you'll be interested to know about why there's not many Level 2 courses yet. This is because it's currently limited due to it still being relatively new and they're fine-tuning the curriculum. There are only a few instructors currently trained for teaching Level 2, however some Marines had taken the classes and got the military to agree to train 400 in both Level 1 and Level 2. If that goes well, then the Marines will roll it out to thousands. By then there should be many more Level 2 courses available with plenty of instructors in various locations.

If you have read the book, Total Control, this is what the two courses covers. However, just reading the book barely compares to actually getting instruction and having discussion in person. You might misunderstand the text or get the wrong idea, and some what is explained is difficult until you experience it. It's as different as reading stories about being drunk and then actually being drunk for the first time.

I had mentioned the class to a co-worker. Initially he balked at the cost ($350 per day) but I loaned him the Total Control book and explained this is what they teach in the class. He read it and decided to take the class though he still seemed skeptical, especially in regards to street riding. Well, at the end of it all, I asked how he liked it and he enthusiastically said he had a great time, learned a lot and even wanted to take Level 2 again next year already. I completely agree.

General Information

The course is held in a large parking lot, specifically chosen for its levelness and asphalt quality for traction. The paint lines were nearly completely faded. They clean the surface to make sure there will be no problems with gravel or sand. You deflate your tires to 30/30 psi. Nobody crashed and there were no bad incidents. Lee said that crashes were very rare.

If you think parking lot exercises are not worth it, think again. Slow speed maneuvers are much more difficult in general than doing them at faster speeds. Try knee dragging at 20MPH and watch those amazing police competitions.

The students were of every background and various riding levels. Some guys with decades of experience to people with only a couple of years under their belt, and one guy there was still fairly new to riding. Saturday even had 2 MSF instructors in the class.

Class was scheduled from 8am-5pm, however each day the class ended more around 6-6:30pm. No aspect of the class felt rushed and if a little more time was needed, it was taken. I appreciated this a lot.

If it looked like you were getting close to the ground and you had no knee pucks, there were some temporary velcro strap-on ones for you to use.

Lee Parks was teaching, as well as 2 other instructors, John and Pilot. Exercises were normally shown first on how to do it improperly and then properly, sometimes with different kinds of bikes.

Level 1 (Saturday)

There were 18 students, split into 3 groups by type of bike. It ranged greatly from a V-star to quite a few BMW tourers and sportbikes, a Goldwing, etc. I was in the group with 4 Ducatis (3 Monsters and a 999) and a Speed Triple. Talk about a lot of noise, with all those dry clutches...

The day is spent split between classroom and range exercises. Here's the breakdown in general, with most topics having at least one range exercise:

Traction
- Discussion about tires and other aspects of traction such as conditions, forces involved and bike parts.

Throttle control and brake transitions
- Discussion about how the throttle controls the suspension as much as the speed. Controlling front brakes while using the throttle simultaneously, such as trail braking in a straight line.

Mental aspects of riding dealing with fear, concentration and attitude
- Some people would overlook this but it is one of the most important aspects of riding. If your mind isn't in the right place, then you will have greater chances of doing damage to yourself and your bike.

Body position - comfort, rider centerline and 10 steps to proper cornering
- You sit on your bike to learn proper body position for your motorcycle. 5-6 people support, then it is leaned over rapidly to mimic leaning in a corner and pushed back up to neutral a few times. This was great because you could feel what proper body position should feel like when done well before attempting it while riding. It also took a great deal of trust for some people. The guy with the 999 seemed nervous about his bike, and a rather large gentleman on a Monster kept apologizing about his weight. Everything went fine.
- Instructor John was mighty impressive with showing how he could knee drag a Goldwing fully kitted out with luggage.

Vision
- Discussion regarding sense of speed and using peripheral vision to mark turn-in points, road boundaries, hazards, etc.

Line selection
- Explaining and showing premature initiation, slow steering, fifty pencing (not a smooth curve but multiple turn points) and proper lines.

Suspension
- Discussion and actually looking at student bikes to measure static spring sag and other aspects of suspension. Fairly technical and I learned a lot and am very glad I did. The instructor John immediately wanted to show off the V Star's suspension, giggling with glee. Wow, that thing bounces around! Some of the students had their bikes adjusted there. It was interesting because there was such a variety as well and being able to see it and compare was great.

Level 2 (Sunday)

9 students on this day, 4 of us originally from Saturday and the rest had taken level 1 at some time before. One other girl besides me. We were split into 2 groups again by similar bikes. One of the students was actually an instructor for Level 1, getting a feel for the class itself. All bikes there were faired, sport or sport touring, excluding the guy with the V Star and myself.

There was less classroom than Level 1 and more riding with a mini track setup with tight technical corners at the end of the day. Breakdown is thus:

Riding psychology

- Why we ride and risk management.

Speed shifting
- Upshifting and downshifting. Upshifting was clutchless from 1st gear up. Downshifting combined near-instant clutch, shift and throttle blip while steadily braking with the front brake. Doing it properly does not upset the suspension at all.

Quick stops
- Use both brakes, then trail off the rear while increasing the front brake. Lee teaches you to transfer the last bit of energy into a (small) stoppie, lifting the rear if you really need to as it can stop you 1-2 feet shorter for emergencies.

Trail braking in corners and on the street
- Reasons for doing so, doing it with front brake vs. rear, and how it can tighten your line as opposed to stand your bike up.

Decreasing radius turns
- 3 ways to tighten your line: steering, rear brake, front brake. Also how to use the techniques to move around a hazard while leaned over.

Chassis setup

- Ergonomics, comfort, geometry.

Suspension
- More technical topics. Damping, various types of springs and cartridges, emulators and shocks. There were actual parts to look at as well.

TC Solo (mini technical course)
- The range was set up in a quarter mile track, quite technical and you are supposed to use everything you learned in the courses. Huge amounts of fun!

Overall

I felt that I improved a huge amount. I also wanted to wait for some instruction before I began to ride much more aggressively and I'm glad I did. I do not like unlearning bad habits. I now know why I did or didn't do something properly, not just wonder at the aftereffects. I can continue to build on what I've learned in the courses. It's hard to explain what all was taught, I'm still in "WHEE!" mode. It was one of those weekends where I felt highly satisfied in learning and skill building while having a completely great time.

As it happened, I was the only one to get knee down on Saturday. All bikes being equal, it was explained that it was also hardest for me because I'm the lightest rider and getting into a proper riding position is more extreme as I simply don't have the weight to affect the bike as much. Men also have it easier as their center of gravity is generally in their upper body and not their hips.

On Sunday I was the only one to get the rear of the bike off the ground, excluding Instructor John who abused my bike repeatedly. Ha ha. John said my bike was the best of the bunch, but I think he is biased. I did finally get to hear my bike when I wasn't riding it for the first time as they kept wanting to take my bike out to do demos (I've never allowed anyone else to ride it before). John said it sure sounds great and I think so too.

Trivia: Lee Parks has a SV650. He said he would have had it there, except he had blown a fork seal.

Lee also forgot to take pictures! We were all too busy having fun.

Bonus! Racetech is one of the sponsors and for each class you get a Racetech gift certificate. I don't recall exactly how much (still waiting for mine in the mail) but I believe it was for $100? I will verify as soon as I receive the certificates. This is excellent for me as I was planning on getting some emulators.
 

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Awesome, I'm glad you had a good time. I would love to know about that Racetech G.C. because I sure didn't get anything like that when I took it. :)
 

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awesome!! I will be heading out to California on the 19th to help teach the military classes that are scheduled, level I and Level II

Sure looking forward to getting to the coast.
 

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Fantastic write up frick. I bought the book off of Outlaws Justice when I picked his brain at the Rally last year.
I really wish they would hold some classes north of the border.
 

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awesome!! I will be heading out to California on the 19th to help teach the military classes that are scheduled, level I and Level II

Sure looking forward to getting to the coast.
Oh yeah? That's great, I hope it goes well. Let us know!

Fantastic write up frick. I bought the book off of Outlaws Justice when I picked his brain at the Rally last year.
I really wish they would hold some classes north of the border.
Yeah, the book is great but to actually have things explained to you in person, shown to you, and you doing them is completely different. Now I can use the book as a reminder as to what I learned from the class.

Awesome, I'm glad you had a good time. I would love to know about that Racetech G.C. because I sure didn't get anything like that when I took it. :)
Guess it's new. :) Waiting with bated breath now for mine...
 

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Got the "gift certificates" today, one for each class. While not exactly gift certificates, they are discounts for:

$100 off $500 (parts and/or labor) or more, OR $50 off $250 (parts and/or labor) or more. It expires 6 months from now.

Still very useful for me as I was intending to get stuff anyway.
 

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I just finished the book, and can already see improvements. I'm going to take the class next year, maybe the end of this one.
 

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I just finished the book, and can already see improvements. I'm going to take the class next year, maybe the end of this one.
Heck you are at Total Control Central, California is where Lee does most of his classes. Sign up and take a Class with Lee right there this season.
 

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Heck you are at Total Control Central, California is where Lee does most of his classes. Sign up and take a Class with Lee right there this season.
I'm 3 hours from San Mateo, are there any dates that will be added for the latter part of the year? When will the 2010 schedule be out?
 

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I'm 3 hours from San Mateo, are there any dates that will be added for the latter part of the year? When will the 2010 schedule be out?
As the classes for this year progress, we start working on the schedule for 2010
 

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For any members interested, I am going to travel down to Maryland to teach a class with Tracy Martin at Frederick Community College for April 10th. Be a good chance to come over, get the cobwebs out and practice some good body position, knee draggin as the new season kicks off!
 

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Been awhile Since this thread has been up, but wanted to let everyone know I will be in Nashville April 1st and 2nd 2011 for classes. There are still a few slots open.
 

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The April Classes in Nashville Went really well, had a few members of the forum present for both days.

We are planning to do it again in Early June so if you have been thinking about taking a level one class this would be a great opportunity and a great location.
 

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I higly recommend these classes. The book is great but being able to do it in practice with people who are trained to help you...priceless.

I was riding for about 20 years before I took this course and I learned better ways to do almost everything on a bike in 2 days...
 

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I higly recommend these classes. The book is great but being able to do it in practice with people who are trained to help you...priceless.

I was riding for about 20 years before I took this course and I learned better ways to do almost everything on a bike in 2 days...
No Better review than that right there!

Bump for the program, if anyone else has taken it, post up.
 

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I am now on the West Coast! I will still be flying back to the East to do Classes, but being Part of the Total Control Team here is California I will now also be teaching classes here in California, and also maybe Alaska, and Hawaii. Check out the schedule if you want to take part.
 
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