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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After taking the Evolution school in April, and having an enormous amount of seat time this season, looking ahead has proved to be a 'new mod' in my driving arsenal.

It has been hard, reteaching myself how to look ahead, much like it has been to left foot brake successfully.

I have found autocross courses to become much more flowing with this technique. When I am on a road course, do to all the space/longer range of vision....looking ahead, I suppose becomes more natural.

In June at my first CENDIV event of the season, I noticed at the end of the first day, I wasn't looking ahead enough....so on the second day, I would chant "look ahead" to myself.....I would say it was at least a .4 sec improvement per run. (plus my driving was much smoother)

so if you ever see in pulling up to the start, and my lips are moving, you now know what I am saying

So how many of you look ahead?
 

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So how many of you look ahead?
How far?? I look ahead to the next cone until just about when I'm on top of it. I've been told to look two or even three cones ahead but I don't really see how that's possible? How can you concentrate on navigating the 1st cone while looking and the next ones?? I'm really interested in learning this as I need to develop an A game for a pro-solo meet on Sept 1st.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
a couple of scenerios:


A sweeper: On your vehicle's entry (or just prior to entry of sweeper) your eyes and brain should be determining where your car will be at the exit of the sweeper.

Slaloms: You should never look at the gates....Entry and exit only.

Hairpins: I think these require you to look ahead (past the hairpin) and then back again, quickly...so you can properly adjust your speed and steering ratio. (too bad were not owls!)

Generally, if you break an autocross course into sections, should always be at least one section ahead of where you are.

I found a good example of this at the last race I attended, the start was immediately kinked (very short straightaway)...at the start I was already looking into the entry of the next section.
 

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I learned to look ahead when I was racing AMA Enduros/Hare scrambles back in the 70's after talking to Dick Burleson. Dick would actually go as far as looking up at the tree tops ahead to get an idea where the road was going. Going into a corner, you should already be looking where you will come out. As I leave the start, I'm already looking for the second corner, as you should know where the car is going through the lst. Walking the course is REAL important. That way a "Sea of cones" can be broken down to maybe 20 important ones. I really don't even notice most of them, as I'm driving. (note to Murph, until I run wide because of my abs
) Think about it as you get on or off the freeway. I'm looking half way around the ramp as I enter and may even glance at the surface road. I'm sure you do it too, but don't think about it. Following someone through twisties, I look past the car in front of me at the corner coming up and the exit. Good way to avoid rearending someone, too.
 

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I always try to walk the course enough to figure out where the important marker cones are--turn in, apex and so forth. When I am driving I am really focusing on looking for these "special" cones. Generally I am looking a gate/section ahead of where the car actually is--always keeping in mind where those cones are.

So, yes, you need to look at where you are going, not at where you are--otherwise you will fall behind in your steering inputs.

BTW, Ryan, you looked pretty smooth to me when I watched you run here in Milwaukee at CenDiv--keep talking to yourself or whatever, because it working pretty well for you. Also, did you notice that on Sunday we indexed the exact same for the event!
 

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looking ahead is a very important skill for a mountain biker, so i've transferred most of that skill into autocross. what i tend to do is break up the course into sections (as said above) with critical areas noted. as i'm going through the course, i switch my view between three ranges: close, medium and long.

close is the next critical area i'm about to come up on, like an apex cone, slalom entry or immediate car orientating.

medium is the next turn, end of the line i'm carving, or the end of the slalom. this is the mode i stay in most

long is two or three turns/critical features ahead, and confirms the line i'm taking.

in the minute instants between long and close i'll trace back my line to where i am and make corrections based on my close view. as the day goes on i spend less time in close view and more time in long since i've developed the physical memory of what should be happening.

it seems to work (mostly
)
 

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looking ahead is a very important skill for a mountain biker, so i've transferred most of that skill into autocross. what i tend to do is break up the course into sections (as said above) with critical areas noted. as i'm going through the course, i switch my view between three ranges: close, medium and long.

close is the next critical area i'm about to come up on, like an apex cone, slalom entry or immediate car orientating.

medium is the next turn, end of the line i'm carving, or the end of the slalom. this is the mode i stay in most

long is two or three turns/critical features ahead, and confirms the line i'm taking.

in the minute instants between long and close i'll trace back my line to where i am and make corrections based on my close view. as the day goes on i spend less time in close view and more time in long since i've developed the physical memory of what should be happening.

it seems to work (mostly
)
I used to mountain bike and even race a little bit in Oregon before I moved down here. I always look ahead. When I would walk even the Auto-x course with resident guru Murph he would point out where you wanted your car pointed etc and I would always aim for those spots in my mind
 

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i always look ahead. its something that was beaten into my skull by some of the autoX instructors in houston. roger johnson and james rogerson would constantly yell at me to look ahead untill i did it by habit. now i look WAY ahead without even thinking about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Jinks and Jimmy!

I had them for instructors too! But in PA. I didn't think much about the school when I was there, (is this really worth $220, anyone can tell me what I am doing wrong) But, 1st and 2nd place trophies don't lie!

I'm repeatedly up against AWD turbo cars, V8s, hybirds, etc...in SM competition...

My Focus still has the stock trans., brakes, and only minor engine work....I must be crazy to run that class!

But, I guess I have done well thus far.
 

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I look ahead as far as I can stand it. Sometimes I catch myself cheating and glancing back to directly in front. It has been my experience that looking more ahead only makes me marginally faster (if at all), but it makes the run much more relaxed. In order to go fast, I have to push myself beyond my comfort zone and looking ahead makes that happen.

The Evo school can be good or bad. I was beating one of my competitors usually by a second or so, until he went to school. Now we are neck and neck.
 

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What is this school you speak of?
I'm looking for something I can take over the winter in my own car.
 

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Simon, If you Look AT the Cone you're Navigating, you're 90% likely to HIT it. You tend to "GO" Where you're "Looking", especially when it's Close Range.
If you look at where you want to Exit a Sweeper, 180 degrees away from where you are, you approach the sweeper in a way that your Exit will set you up better for the next segment.
By Looking ahead, you can more quickly establish your "Line" relative to "What's Next".
You can have a GREAT line through a series of corners, but if it leaves you with a poor exit line on the last of the series, you're Screwed for the next segment.
It takes Time to Learn, but it's one of your most Important Skills.
Everytime you think for a Split Second, "Where am I going?", you're giving up AT LEAST a Tenth of a Second, If not More.
 

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Ok I tried looking ahead at an event this weekend with mixed results. By looking ahead I missed a breaking point and blew past a gate DNFing my run. I cleaned my 2nd run by taking it clean and staying in first gear. My final run I tried looking ahead and it worked pretty well I found that by focusing on the exit of a slalom I could carry much more speed out of the last gate into the sweeper, I took 6.8sec of my 2nd run. (I was also in 2nd gear.
)

I guess I have to learn to look ahead while not sacrificing my concentration on what I'm preparing to go through.
 

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"looking ahead" is right up there with "exercising and eating right".

Everybody knows that it's a great idea, and everyone knows the results are pretty good.. but not everyone always does it.

and those that actually do it all the time will probably be quite annnoying......
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
so go eat your veggies!


So you think that racers that look ahead all the time, act differently?

Maybe different if you include their proceedures for remembering courses, i.e.

-closing eyes, sitting in the car, mimicing wheel/brake/throttle movements.

-walking a mini course with their hands clamped around an 'imaginary' steering wheel

-walking the course 25 times

-sitting at the starter, talking to themselves: 'look ahead, car placement, look ahead.'

????
 
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