Broken Bones and Egos. What Racing Has To Do With Trading
August 2005 I remember well. I was at one of my favorite Motorcycle Roadracing Circuits, The Las Vegas International Speedway (LVMS). My love fest with LVMS started a few years prior when I won my first race there. I had always been fast at LVMS and today was no different, except at this race on this day happened to be the WERA National race with a $1500 purse to the winner plus about $800 in sponsor contingency. There are only a few on these high purse paying races a year and I never fared well at them. However, this is at what I call my ‘home track” and I’ve got the edge.
From the moment I got to LVMS on Saturday I was clearly the fastest rider in my class. I won a few of the Saturday and Sunday “warm up” races or what they call support races with ease. Of course those races do not pay any real money but a win is a win right? By the time the money race starts I haven’t put a wheel wrong all weekend. As I’m sitting on the starting line right before the start of the race I’m thinking nobody in this class stands a chance against me today. I’m in the zone and today belongs to me.
TheLincoln is on fire
As soon as the race starts I waste no time and get to the front and begin to lay the hammer down. Lap by lap I’m pulling away and my lead is just getting bigger by the turn. By the last lap I’m so far ahead it would take an act from the heavens to stop me from winning this race. Remember the last sentence, we’ll get to this in a second. With just a few turns to go before the finish I’m thinking about how I’m going to spend this $2,300. Maybe I’ll buy something new for my bike or maybe I’ll buy a nice gadget or something. All I know is this imaginary 2k is burning a hole in my pocket already. I then take a quick look behind me, which I don’t know why because nobody is there. Now, if you are wondering how stupid and dangerous it is for someone who is traveling in excess of 100 miles pr hour on a motorcycle to look behind them instead of in front of them ….you are so correct! When I tum my head back around I instantly realize my bike is on the corner of the track. I have just enough time to yell out something my mother would slap me for before I hit the curbing and crashed, down I go….race over!
It felt like it took me 5 minutes to stop sliding and tumbling but in reality it was probably only 5 seconds. When I stopped tumbling instinctively I jump right up to my feet and I notice I cant stand all the way up. This might be because the wind is knocked out of me so I go down to both knees and try to take off my helmet when I realize I can not move my right arm…at all. Of course in this moment you have no idea why you can’t move your arm you just know that you can’t and that’s not a good thing. By the time I regain my breath the pain sits in and I know I’ve done some damage.
Once I know I will survive I start to asses the damage. I know I’m hurt but I can see that my bike is too and because I’m on the ground that means I cant win the race from here and there goes the ego too. Because I was hurt the Ambulance had to take me to the medical center to get checked out. Turns out I have a dislocated shoulder and the doctor looks at me and says ” I want you to take a deep breath and think of something happy ” and then he snaps my shoulder back in place. BTW that hurts like hell.
A few days later the reversal of fortune really starts to sink in. I was 3 turns away from pocketing a cool $2300 and now it is going to cost $1700 to repair my bike, $600 to replace my damaged protective gear, $750 for the ambulance ride, $100 for the Demerol the doc prescribed me and I’ll probably have problems with my shoulder for the rest of my life. That was a $5500 swing in seconds all because I lost concentration for a moment.
Outside of the physical pain this story has a lot in common with trading. We can easily become overconfident and allow our egos to get the best of us. All it takes to erase many great trades or a great month is 1 second of lapsed concentration. One revenge or “rouge” trade outside of your plan or focusing on how much you are already up and down goes your profit. The real villain in this is the psychological toll something like this takes on you. I have never returned to LVMS and not thought about what happened in that turn and I’m sure I go slower in it now than before. These mistakes you make like this in trading cause you to hesitate, become shy and ultimately negative. Sometimes it begins a downward spiral and sends the trader in to a long term losing rut.
As with trading and racing there is a thin line between success and failure .You can not afford to have a lapse in judgment as a racer or trader because the consequences can be devastating If all this sounds familiar take a test drive of the live Lincoln Alerts trading room here. Or for swing traders take a free 14 day test drive to Lincoln Million.