19 June 2010

Sore Buttocks!

Well the training was much more pleasant than I expected. The morning was a little slow, but that's because they were teaching people who had never even sat on a bike how to use the controls, start the bike, etc. At the very beginning I was scouting out a bike to ride. They didn't want me to ride mine, so I had decided that the KLX250SF had the highest seat height, so that'd be the one I would prefer. Thankfully, Trevor, the head instructor, must have surmised the same thing and assigned it to me. The instructors were good, although their acting skills could improve, and were very friendly. Thanks Rob, Rene, and Trevor.

Most of the morning, we practiced launching the bike. They equated the experience to a bow and arrow. You have to get the bike under tension then release the brake and your gone. Now this was very foreign to me. I assumed the clutching technique should avoid dragging the clutch at all times, which is true for a car, but they taught me that a wet clutch is completely different. You can drag the clutch all day long and never have to worry about glazing or any of that. I would say this was the biggest thing I learned today. My clutching technique was great for a car, but was inappropriate for a bike. Rene showed me how to essentially ride the clutch and manage my speed with the back brake, which I hardly ever used previously. After today's lesson, I can ride at the speed of someone walking with both feet up for nearly an indefinite amount of time. Very handy!

In the afternoon we got into the more fun stuff. We actually used the pylons, and tried to maneuver around them at low speeds. I was initially pretty cocky, as I have ridden off road recently. Rooty trails, steep hills, log crossings, and boulders littered my path, so I was expecting pylons to be pretty low on the skills list. Now generally, this was the case. The instructors assured me that I was doing well, and challenged me to more difficult procedures like braking to increase cornering in the slalom, and clutching to a stop and not touch down and get moving again.  The big thing I got out of the afternoon was looking 20 seconds ahead. I was riding like I was in traffic and was watching all over the place. Rene told me to "trust the bike less, and trust your eyes more." This solidified to me what I needed to improve. I was taking a lot of corners blind, because I trusted too much in my surroundings.

All in all, I'd say it was a good day. My buttocks may be chafed from that skinny seat on that bike, but I learned some good things that I will take with me every ride from now on. I was really trying to smooth up my riding in the slaloms like Rob told me, but it was hard to fight my naturally aggressive style. Here is a video of some of the instructing and the kind of stuff we were doing. (crank the volume, my mic test was a fail)

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