Sunday, October 18, 2009

...and Now Back To Our Program, Already In Progress

Hmm movies and ballet,  I seem to have gotten a little side tracked,  so back to the tale of the Rider's Edge Course:  Sunday monring came early and it was time for our second day on the range.  My son and I grabbed coffee at McDonald’s and headed for the range. The morning was very foggy and as we pulled into the lot, it was a pretty cool view: the bikes sitting ready in formation surrounded by the fog.

Things had cooled off the night before so the fog was being caused by the temperature rising, so riding would be comfortable. When everyone got there we mounted up and pulled to the far side of the range to start the day’s exercises. I was surprised Blondie showed up, since she had bought her Harley the day before I figured she would be out riding it, but she stuck out the course with the rest of us.

Because of the cold from the night before, the bikes were cold and hard to keep running. EMT had us line up for the first exercise (tight turns, quick stops and handling down shifts for curves). My son went first and after stalling our repeatedly finally got moving, PreMed was next and had just as many problems getting the bike moving. Finally EMT called a halt and told us all to just do some laps to warm up the bikes and us. So, we did. I needed the warm up to get in the groove again, to feel the gears shifting and to get the comfort in balancing the bike. I also enjoyed just riding without worrying about new maneuvers.

After we warmed up, we all did the exercise no problems there so we took our first break. During the break Dharma showed up. Very nice lady who was a student instructor. She reminded me a Jenna Elfman, both in appearance and demeanor, hence the name. We did another exercise that had two quick stops in it. After the first run through I got it down pat. I could now stop the bike in total control and using a downshift to to start the slowdown.  Riding is a lot of fun,  but like in skiing the ability to stop without wiping out should never be under rated.

We practiced passing and obstacle avoidance. No problem there either, I was getting good at maneuvering the bike tightly and being in better control. Then came the Figure 8.

I have no idea when I will actually need to do a Figure 8 on a bike, but it was part of the course and the test so I had to learn it. We were doing this inside of a rectangular box about 30’ long by 20’ wide. My problems coming into the initial left turn was going too slow and then putting my foot down when I felt the bike leaning too far. The turn back to the right was okay, but it also took me out of the box when I did it. EMT worked with me on it, most of the problem was keeping my head up and speed. Then on the last go round I did it (keeping my head up and at speed) and I kept it in the box – in fact way inside the box. This was the hardest exercise for me and one I plan on practicing when I get on a bike again.

We practiced running over objects (2X4s) and doing more curves. Both were easy, I was surprised how easy it was running over something, I thought it would be worse than it was. My curves were golden. Inside/Outside, shifting up or down in the middle, good acceleration coming out – I was on the money. I really hated getting stuck behind PreMed since he seemed to have so many problems with stalling the bike out. It made things slower and delayed my turn – made me feel like I was kid waiting on the swings at recess… playground anxiety.

At one point Blondie was riding in front of me and I noticed that she had a cute butt. Now this is not Earth shattering information but it was interesting that it was 2 days before I noticed. Just an observation – or I guess lack of observation (to a point).

It was different having two instructors on the course, we were getting better feedback and more information on our progress. Dharma was a lot of help. She was very encouraging and gave me a lot of tips and tricks on braking and corners.

We broke for lunch and when we got back we would do the riding portion of the test.

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