Category Archives: Thoughts on Work

Fulfilling Yesterday’s Promise

I just refuse to face reality.

1. How it feels to suck:

To do your best and still get beat badly, to fall short of your goals, and to fail in general, is a terrible feeling. There are only 2 possible outcomes, there is no middle ground. Everyone hates the demoralising feeling of failure. The more you have invested, and sacrificed, the worse the feeling is. Option one is to quit. Most people do that. Others get motivated to work harder and succeed. I guess there could be a 3rd category, reserved for idiots, who change nothing, and just go through life failing repeatedly and hating life.

For me I think setting goals and constantly failing to achieve them is really motivating, it pisses me off so badly. I feel so terrible already that whatever spiteful stuff haters write, really doesn’t get to me, because they can’t make it any worse. Friendly banter and shit talk helps to lighten the mood a bit.

Having said that, looking at the big picture, THECar and my driving have improved a lot in the past year. I am now able to match the best on lap time when things are right, and am able to stay within a few seconds over a qualifier, and occasionally beat them, which was not possible a year ago. Even at this race, although I did not achieve it, due to another car cartwheeling across the track taking me out in the process, I was still on a 10lap run on the 5th lap of the 2nd qualifier, and my best lap was a 32.6 vs 32.3 from David. Had I achieved that 10 laps, I would have been 3 seconds or so behind David’s TQ time. 3 seconds over 5 minutes is in the ballpark. That was not possible a year ago. So there is that.

2. How I suck, and what I need to do in order to suck less:

The difference between very good and great is a slight difference in corner speed and controlled aggression. It’s not a massive difference, it is tiny, but over one lap, it builds up. It is most evident in sections of track where there is a combination of corners that require being stringed together. What great drivers do so well, is pinpoint the limits of the car, and then maneuver and dance around the track without exceeding them, but also staying as close as possible to them. This means going as fast as the conditions allow, without loading the tyres too much where they will lose grip, or pushing the car too much to where it will not stay within the pitch, roll, weight transfer, camber change range that provides the best performance.

This means going as fast as the conditions allow, without loading the tyres too much where they will lose grip, or pushing the car too much to where it will not stay within the pitch, roll, weight transfer, camber change range that provides the best performance.

Basically I can’t do the above as well as the best, unless I get my car really good, and I practice a lot in the exact conditions that a race will be in. I can’t adapt as well. I can match the best at times, and those are the times when everything is perfect. So the way I will become better, is to improve my setup, and make it less “knife-edge”, where you lose speed if you make a slight error. I can already go for as long as needed, being extremely consistent, I can hit the same line for a whole main, I can avoid mistakes. That’s not the problem, I need to be a bit faster all the time, and that will come from a better setup, and learning to identify where I am pushing the car past it’s best performance, and scrubbing speed, and focus my practice on avoiding that.

At this race, I already know what I should have done differently. The track had a lot more grip than I expected, so my setup was too soft. I needed thicker swaybars, and thicker diffs. Now I would go into a corner too hard and the car would roll too much and scrub speed, or I got on the gas a bit too hard and the car would squat and diff out, and I would lose drive. Nothing major, we are talking small errors like that. David could have taken my car and done the same as he did, I’m sure, but I can’t do that. I need to get those things spot on, and then I can be more competitive.

3. Why I think David Ronnefalk will be the most successful 1:8th Offroad driver over the next 5 years.

There are a number of reasons for this, I had an idea for a future blog post about this, that’s why I have been thinking about this subject. I will list the reasons:

  1. Obviously, as far as talent and speed goes, he is right up there with the rest of the best , Maifield, Boots, Battle, Tessmann, Cavalieri etc. One thing he has going for him compared to many of his competitors, is that his clear main focus has been, and more than likely will continue to be 1:8th Offroad, instead of spreading out his time on many classes.
  2. Unlike most of his competition, we haven’t seen the best of David yet, because up until his recent switch to HB, he had never been a paid professional RC racer. Kyosho didn’t pay him a salary, he lived with his parents in Sweden, and went to school. The closest track was almost 2 hours a way. Add to this the short Swedish season, you can see that practice has been limited, and it’s not really until now that his program is getting to the point where he truly is well prepared for the races.
  3. He is still only 20 years old, still freshly motivated as a paid professional, and thanks to his parents I would suppose, clearly understanding and appreciative of the situation he is in, and the opportunity he has.
  4. I don’t see anyone with equal talent, that also has the same level of commitment and dedication as David at this point in time. There are no distractions, there is no family, there are no kids, there are no larger plans outside of winning every race, and that’s a scary prospect for his competition. He is looking at possibly moving to Spain in order to be able to practice and race more, against better competition, and all the year round. He is practicing, racing, or working on his cars almost every day now, unlike before. He is investing in his own career.
  5. He has a solid crew behind him, with HB/Orion fully committed to keeping him winning. His father has been his mechanic since the beginning, and Adrien Bertin has been guiding him for a long time, and is a great help when it comes to approaching the races, motor and car set up. It’s a team effort that is working.
  6. Finally, one thing that I think is very important for continued and constant success, is driving style and setup preference. David’s driving style, as well as the way he sets up his car is very solid, and safe. Some great drivers are so extreme in their preferences that it’s just not going to work out every time, or in the long term, if something changes, like the tracks or the tyres we race, or the car they race for example. I’m not saying anyone can pick up his car and go fast, but what I am saying is that it’s nothing crazy or extreme in one direction. The car does everything well, jumps, corners, turns, it has traction, it stays flat and balanced, it’s not super low, it’s not super high, it’s not super soft, it’s not super hard, it’s a good compromise of everything, that will work on any track, US style or European, and his controlled yet aggressive driving style complements it perfectly. You don’t have to hit your marks perfectly, the car will still handle it, and on the other hand, if need be, he is still capable of pushing the pace to a higher level, he isn’t maxed out all the time.

I would draw a comparison to Ken Roczen, young fast, very confident, very strong program, very solid style, with the difference that no injury will sideline David, so I predict he will be the most successful 1:8th Offroad racer over the next 5 years.

 

24h

Silver state prep! Carpet dusted off!

It’s 1am again. I try, I try to get everything done, and spend time at the track too, but there literally aren’t enough hours in the day! Need to sell some more kits and hire someone!

Unreasonable Blog Post

So you want to know how I really feel? Ever since I started racing RC Cars my goal was always to win. I started late, I was 16 already, so I had some catching up to do. I practiced as much as I could. When I first went to America I entered the Pro class, because I wanted to see how far off I was from the best. Anything less than the best didn’t interest me.

Just before I started my company I was getting fast, I qualified 2nd at the Euros, I had the best lap in a Euros A main, I checked out in a Worlds semi final by 7 seconds (yes worlds) before flaming out. I was a paid driver traveling the world, and I was about to have a breakthrough race. That’s when I had the brilliant idea of making my own car.

6 years into my super idea, and things just were not going to plan. An insane amount of dedication and work, and no financial success, quite the opposite, and no good results at the races either. I spent the next 2-3 years or so rather depressed and mad. Life wasn’t fun at all because I gave up my dream of winning for this brilliant idea I had of making my own car.

And then things began falling in place. I realised that the best thing about what I am doing, is the journey, I need to enjoy it. Regardless of if I achieve my goals or not, the journey is what matters. At the same time I figured out my car and I began enjoying driving and racing. You remember the “Japanese Magic”? Well the BLACK Edition has “Finnish Magic”, I look forward to going to the track, because the car isn’t limiting me, I run out of talent first. I could start working on my driving. I kissed my girlfriend good bye, and began re-virginising myself. It took me 9 years, but for the 10th year anniversary of my fabulous idea, I’m back where I was, only not as fast as before, in relation to the others.

But now I am happy again, because I have an awesome car, and my company is at a point where I can focus more on my driving and my racing, and one day I will kick everyone’s ass. At some race, some day. That’s why I am writing this at 1:30am, and I am going to get up at 8am tomorrow, drive 1h20min to the track and practice.

What I want is unreasonable, and for me to achieve it, I need to be unreasonable too.

BLACK EDITION EXPLAINED

B-Main Blues

jqcrying

You were the laughing stock of the live rc chat during the race. Watching you literally choke as bad as you did was awesome. Keep up choking at big races it’s so entertaining.

-Pat Kivin, an American fan

Well, I don’t know what race people were watching, because the one I was in, I didn’t choke.

To understand choking, you need to understand how the brain works, and how we learn, here are a couple of quotes from Michael Gladwell’s post.

“Willingham says that when you are first taught something–say, how to hit a backhand or an overhead forehand–you think it through in a very deliberate, mechanical manner. But as you get better the implicit system takes over: you start to hit a backhand fluidly, without thinking.”

and

“Under conditions of stress, however, the explicit system sometimes takes over. That’s what it means to choke. When Jana Novotna faltered at Wimbledon, it was because she began thinking about her shots again. She lost her fluidity, her touch.”

So basically, choking means that you start thinking about what it is you are doing, instead of just doing it. Here is a really simple experiment for you. Stand up and walk around. Now stand up and think about every movement and muscle you use to walk and exactly where to put your feet. If you start thinking, you can’t even walk, because it’s supposed to happen automatically.

I have had a tendency to do this right at the end of races, so basically choke, start thinking, and not just doing. At neo I was in the LCQ, and ironically roles were reversed, I caught and passed Savoya from nowhere, with 2 laps to go, then I crashed on the big quad after the burm. At Reedy I was in 2nd in 2wd behind Cavalieri, as good as it’s going to get, and I cased the last simple double. Those mistakes could be classed as choking, because I started thinking, I wasn’t attacking the track, I was being conservative, I was playing it safe, I was “trying to be too butter” like Kirkman would say. Ronnefalk crashed on the last corner at the Worlds, and if he had been really unlucky he could have flamed out on the pipe he landed on. This happens to almost everyone to some extent when they have something “in the bag”.

So why do I think all the haters are wrong about me choking in the B main? Here’s why:

Basically, I was a bit too slow, throughout the race, and at no point did I think that “I got this in the bag”. I knew, as I could see the others catching, that this was going to be a tough race. But as I was out front, I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I went as fast as I could without crashing. First Ogden was coming, then he crashed, then I believe he broke. Then Battle, but he flamed out. Then I saw Savoya and King catching, I had a big lead, but I saw they were catching too fast for comfort. I knew I had to go faster, and actually after the halfway mark, I managed to increase my speed, and I had multiple of my fastest laps right before the last pit stop. After the pit stop I tried to keep up the increased pace but I kept making small mistakes, I regrouped and managed to improve again. I didn’t want to let them catch me, I wanted to pressure them into getting frustrated and crashing. Then I crashed. Up to that point, I hadn’t been marshalled a single time, I had rolled twice early in the race, that’s it. I had an almost perfect race going until that point. Now Savoya was right behind me. The next lap I did the triple the same as I did every other lap I thought, but it launched me nose high, I pushed the breaks but the wind kept it up, and I OJ Simpsoned the jump and crashed. I was so disappointed. I at least wanted to lose with dignity if I was going to lose.

At no point in that sequence did I feel like I choked, I knew I had to go faster to stay in the bump up, and I tried to do that, which lead to a mistake. When you aren’t fast enough, any mistake will be magnified. Truhe crashed more and worse than me, but he was fast enough to still finish 2nd.

So what now?

I felt like my car was amazing. When I got in the lead I remember going through the centre section and thinking “This is going to be a good year”. What I need is a bit more speed, and confidence in my car and my driving. I think if things keep going as they are now, then this will happen during this year.

Long Days Bro

After 13h of wrenching today, and another 3h of company work, there just is nothing left in the tank for a blog today.

The Difference Between a WC’s DNC Prep & an #rcgypsy’s Prep

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If you have been following this daily blog for any length of time, you will have noticed that I am a student of racing, driving, and car setup. In my quest to improve, and achieve something cool one day as a driver, I do not limit myself to that. Preparation is key, and while I am really meticulous when it comes to preventive maintenance, and finishing races, I have not been very good at getting the most out of my equipment. I very, very rarely have a mechanical issues put me out of a race. During the last 10 years, you can probably count on one had the mechanical failures I have had, and since I left Novarossi, you can count the flame outs on one hand too. Actually I can’t think of a single one due to anything else than a marshal stopping my car once, and running out of fuel. I practically always finish. (MASSIVE KNOCK ON WOOD, #NOJINX)

However, when it comes to getting the most of my equipment, I haven’t been very good. Change diff oils? Fuck that, I’m tired, I’ll have a beer instead. You see I am a very calculating person when it comes to my energy expenditure. I’m not willing to push myself into “suffering” if I don’t think it’s worth it. The last few years I have “known” and believed in my heart that I’m not good enough to win with the car I have, so I haven’t bothered to go the extra mile. A year ago I knew that my car was about to be one of the very best, so I began working on my driving. I began going the extra mile. Instead of working on the website (or having a beer), I worked on my driving.

In that same spirit, another change is going the extra mile when it comes to equipment. Studying the very best drivers in our sport, one thing is clear, their equipment is prepared to a clinically determinable OCD level. Unlike your regular OCD Sunday clubracer, for the top drivers in the game, it actually makes a difference. Making the most out of your equipment is essential.

I have found, that rebuilding diffs, going over everything on the car, in addition to working as a sort of placebo “my car is so dialed” way, it actually can gain time on the track. It seems that it tends to average out as about 0.3 seconds a lap on a 35 second lap, and an improvement in consistency. So let’s say in a 5 min qualifying run, that’s about  5 seconds, give or take. That my friends, is a big difference, and all thanks to going the extra mile.

So in 2017, and the next few years, I am going to go the extra mile. Most likely I will still be slightly more gypsy like than Cavalieri above, but you can be sure that what matters, the equipment, will be spot on.

Killer Instinct

degani

Degani just called me, as JQRacing Chief Strategist, and told me that he figured out one of my biggest issues right now, and said I need to figure it out before Nitro Challenge. He says that I’m actually fast enough to do really well, he has seen it. Maybe I haven’t really shown it at races, but he has seen it. But I’m too happy and nice, I need to get pissed off. I need to “get pissed off and just not give a fuck, and go out there and beat everyone”. I need to not be all facebooked out or trying to be everyone’s friend (not like that’s a problem haha), but I get the point.

Degani says that you need that killer instinct, Maifield and Cavalieri have it, they go out there thinking they will smash everyone, they don’t give a shit. Like Richard Saxton, Mark Pavidis, and Jeremy Kortz back in the day, and of course Degani himself. That’s how he won the worlds he said. I guess he must have read my blog about mindset, it’s similar to what I wrote about before. You have to be successful in your own mind, and you have to be winning in your head before you actually do so in reality.

If you doubt yourself, or if you have too much respect or appreciation for others, you think they are better than you for example, then that isn’t going to cut it. That’s not saying you need to start CTO:ing everyone, but just that in your mind you are thinking “I got this”, instead of in a race when say, Ryan Maifield is behind you, mentally going over your own accomplishments, quickly comparing them to his, and determining “I’m screwed”. Instead you need to be thinking, “so what, I don’t give a shit, today I got this guy covered. Watch this whip.”. Mindset actually does make a significant difference.

Tagged

Meaningful Practice

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I have noticed some progress in my skills here lately, specially now that I have been able to visit tracks that I haven’t been to in about a year. It’s easier to notice progress that way I feel.

There are two things that have improved, 1. I’m able to pull off a hero lap that is on pace with the fastest guys, where during the last few years I haven’t been able to do that, 2. I am able to get in “the zone” more often, pretty much every time I go to the track now. I wrote about getting to that level here.

For me to make any progress as a driver, I basically need to be averaging as close to that hero lap as possible, and I need to reach the point where I am in the moment, and driving to my best ability. Anything less and it just isn’t going to make any difference. The best way to make sure to do this, is to have a 5 minute benchmark time, that I then go out and try and beat, but focusing on every corner and section at a time, and thinking about what I am doing, and not just going through the motions.

Today at Dialed In it took a while to get the mojo going, but as the sun was going down I started clicking off fast laps, all within a couple of tenths. That’s what I need to do, a lot, and maybe further progress can be made. There is still too much of a difference between my average and good runs. I can just take a step back, focus a few seconds, start again, and go half a second faster. I should always be going as fast as I can.

Driving Better 3.0 – List Of Excuses

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3rd and last part for now, on the topic of becoming a better racer. We have covered concentration, hitting your lines, slowing down and maintaining corner speed, being confident, having faith, and the importance of being a virgin. Now we head into familiar territory for most RC racers, namely excuses.

There is a fine line between a reason and an excuse. Actually the exact same statement can be both a reason and an excuse, not at the same time though, it depends on the situation, and who says it. The actions of the person following this statement determines which it is. If you win constantly, and then you lose, and you say you picked the wrong tyre, and the next race you win again, I’ll lean more to the reason column instead of excuse. However, even here you have to keep in mind, that a better driver would have still won. And that’s the thing, one man’s reason can be another man’s excuse.

The thing about excuses is that it limits progress. If you always come up with an excuse, you won’t be honest enough with yourself to figure out what needs improving, and you won’t put in the right sort of work to improve. Let’s take a look at a couple that piss me off enough to write about them.

1. “The car doesn’t suit my style”.

Another way to phrase this would be, “I’m too stupid to build and set my car up properly”. Ironically every single person that uses this phrase, doesn’t deserve to use it. Have you ever heard a top driver capable of winning say “This car doesn’t suit my style”? No, and you know why not? Because they are good drivers, and they make their car’s work. Even more ironically, these guys are the only guys that actually could say that. When you are one of the top drivers in the world, you are pushing your car to the limit, at this point, a Mugen or a TLR will be different, and one may suit you better than another. You can still win with both, but you will be more comfortable with the other. And that’s key, let me repeat, YOU CAN WIN WITH BOTH, but you will be more comfortable with the other. Top drivers don’t switch to win, they may switch to win more often, and be more comfortable. The people switching around TO win, will never win, because they haven’t figure out that they need to maximise the performance of the equipment they have, and work on their driving.

2. “I wish I could do this or that but I can’t”.

Another way to phrase this would be, I kind of want this or that, but I can’t be bothered to put in the work, or make any sacrifices. I prefer to be comfortable and or lazy. Read the following quotes to understand fully what I mean.

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Driving Better 2.0 – Mental Strength & Being a Virgin

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It’s a hard pill to swallow for many, to accept that they suck It sucks to suck, remember? I have listed a few points here, of ways I have tried to improve. Tomorrow I shoot down some dumb arguments related to success, because I’m tired of hearing them.

1. Self Confidence: Confidence is important in racing. Many times you are faster in practice compared to racing, because in practice nothing is on the line. In racing you can’t afford any mistakes, you are nervous, and if you aren’t confident, doubt creeps in, and you won’t perform at your best. Confidence pushes doubt to the side, and makes risks seem smaller or disappear. “I got this”. The best description of this I have found is what Tony Hawk says in the below video. Basically, you need to believe in what you are doing, and not thinking that you can’t or you will fail, etc. Think of a successful outcome, and it’s possible.

Driving more and racing more helps a lot, with confidence but you do also have to make a conscious effort to be positive, and to convince yourself, that “I got this” unless this is your natural way of thinking. A side note, and a true story. The 1st club race I won at OCRC in 2wd, where I beat clearly faster drivers than me, the last thing I said to my friend when he wished me luck was “I’m going to win this”. And I wasn’t joking. And then it just worked out. Confidence makes a difference, and that leads me to the next point.

Conclusion: My biggest problem has always been a lack of confidence, I know, hard to believe after I designed by own car and basically put 10 years of my life on the line to do this. I don’t think you need to be confident to do this, an idiot is sufficient. I have been actively working on giving less of a shit when it comes to failing or crashing, and focusing on positive outcomes. It’s work in progress, but it does make a difference. When Notch called me as being 1 second off TQ at Thunder Alley, I didn’t think oh no I better not make a mistake, I punched it and thought “Screw Adam Drake, I got this, he is all washed up anyway.” Your mental state makes a huge difference.

2. Religion: Is it a coincidence that many of the best performing people in pretty much any field that requires some sort of human performance are also deeply religious? Maybe the best example being Ayrton Senna? I think there is something to it actually. This is not a dig at religion, so try to stay focused and not hate me. In order to be religious, you need to be able to completely convince yourself of something that has no evidence, or logical explanation. In fact it has everything going against it, yet you need to be completely sure that you are right.  To do this, you need to think in a very similar way to when you convince yourself that you will be world champion, or you will be the best in the world, or whatever. Convincing your brain of something without evidence. You need to have faith. And in addition, not only are you thinking in a suitable way, you also believe that God is on your side, and if it’s meant to be it will happen. How is that for a confidence booster?

Conclusion: I clearly lack the capacity to be irrational. I have tried, but I can’t convince myself of something I think is not possible. I can fake it, but I can’t sincerely believe it. But what I can do, that many people don’t, is dream bigger than most. I can lie in bed and envision a future that most people would laugh at. That’s what I can do.

3. Virginity: It has been proven over and over that the fastest RC Car drivers are virgins. Recently a couple of the fastest have stopped being virgins, and it will be interesting to see if they can maintain their results compared to the other top performers who still remain in the virgin category. Another way to put this, is that when a vagina enters your life, your priorities change. It’s only natural, this has, and will continue to destroy many a man’s life. This is a very similar situation to getting older. “He is too old”, etc, no I don’t believe it. There comes a point in life when your faculties go all out of sync as you get old, but it’s not at 35 or 40. It’s much later than that. The reason many drivers slow down when they lose their virginity, and 30+ racers slow down even more, is because their priorities change. RC isn’t nr1 any longer, and that matters.

Conclusion: For the past year or so, I have been working on re-virginising myself. I broke up with my girlfriend last year, and I have basically been on a bit of a dry spell in an effort to get faster since then. Time will tell if this strategy of de-vaginaising my life is a successful one.