Photos & Musings: Golden State Series

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Training hard

Of course, the purpose of our trip was to get race fit and put in some hard work in decent weather before our own season started.

We found a few good practice tracks around the Valencia area and rode pretty much every day. It made it hard work for our mechanics Ian and Chris, as we only had the one bike each, so they had a busy day Friday trying to turn a hammered practice mule into something resembling a race bike. But they managed to do a great job.

In the mornings we would train. I was well into training, and always had been. I trace that work ethic back to Bryan Wade, who from an early age instilled in me the importance of pushing myself as hard as I could physically. I never considered myself a particularly talented rider, but fitness didn't rely on talent. If I worked hard then I could be as fit than anyone out there, and that didn't need a factory bike or God-given talent to achieve. I would run to the gym, work out there for a couple of hours, then find a hillside to do interval running, which was my favourite lung-busting activity.

Mark Banks was coming off a broken leg at the end of 1986, so he was limited to what he could do. Running was out of the question, although I suspect that Mark wasn't a natural runner anyway. He did do some work in the gym though.

Putting in long motos at a worn-out practice track in Valencia Enlarge image

Working on technique was big on the practice agenda Enlarge image

It was surprisingly green for California! Enlarge image

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Trusty CR500. The US models had smaller and slimmer gas tanks than we were used to Enlarge image

Mark pumping some iron, as they say Enlarge image