I took a trip to the Dragon yesterday. It was beautiful--not much traffic and no LEOs (sorry no pics this time; oops, I lied). Everytime I have been there before, I ran it in 2nd gear thinking that the ex500 would not have enough to get the bike back up if I needed it and kicked myself for having such poor throttle control. On my 3rd run, I was trying to keep up with someone and found myself taking everything in 3rd gear and it was a revelation! Throttle on and off was much smoother and I was taking turns much faster as a result. It really felt much better and let me concentrate more on my turns. That still didn't stop me from getting smoked by several people, but I had fun!