This past weekend was, from a coaching perspective, a mixed bag of highs and lows.

The event was more or less designed as race practice for racers in the region who would be on the track the following weekend. As a result, there was no Novice class, only Intermediate and Advanced. I was fortunate enough to have the weekend off from coaching (officially), so I was able to do some riding just for me and work 1-on-1 with some friends and established customers. One of my friends crashed, for which I felt, and still feel, wholly responsible. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to shake that sense of responsibility even though I know I’m not the one actually controlling the bike.

Though I am not paid in any way to coach, I take it very seriously. I love our sport, and making riders safer and faster is my passion.

To see a rider who is new to the track have what I call a “light bulb moment” is my ultimate reward.  That’s when something I’ve told them or shown them suddenly clicks with them and makes a large and positive impact on their riding.  I can see it in their eyes when they smile through their helmet as we’re reviewing the session in hot pit.  It doesn’t happen every weekend, but when it does it renews my devotion to serving others on the track.

This past weekend I had that devotion renewed and my efforts validated in a way I never expected.  I was lining up on the grid for a session when I was told I was being called over the PA to see the event director.  Uh oh…the boss wants to have words with me.  When I spoke with him I was told an anonymous customer was very grateful for what I had done for him or her some time ago and wanted to repay with a gift as way of saying thanks.  I have been giving it some thought and I just can’t imagine on whom I had such a positive impact, but it’s indescribably rewarding to know I did so.  Needless to say, being offered a gift in that way is wonderful.  What really touched me, though, more than the monetary aspect of the gift, was the generosity of character this rider displayed.  I can’t imagine this sort of thing happening in any other sport; we truly are a bike family!  It really means a lot to me, more than I can put into words, that I made such a positive impact on a rider that her or she felt compelled to reach out in such a way.

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The point of this this article is not to encourage you to buy gifts for your favorite coach, but rather to serve as a reminder to you, as a rider, to tell the people in your life who make a difference that you really do appreciate them.  No matter what kind of riding you do, I consider you part of my bike family.  We all need a little encouragement at  times, even -especially- the people who are usually providing it.

And if by some chance you are the rider who got me that gift, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.  Even though I tend to move my residence with a disappointing regularity and tend to get rid of all but the essentials, I will keep this gift as a reminder both of you and to always give my utmost to my fellow riders.

~Swodi
Trackday Instructor and avid RSR trackday junkie