Sunday, March 6, 2011

An epiphany!

Had my first training session today with Donna Gray -well what a difference a day makes! In this case just a few hours.
I think Donna and Martin (of Torque Racing) became quite aware of my novice level when I announced that I generally get the bike off the gravel in the drive before I start it (loose surface). I didn't quite kangaroo off but it wasn't smooth shall we say.
We covered body positioning, where on the saddle, arms are in a completely different position to that which I've honed over the years on a horse. Some new neural pathways to be crafted there then. Whilst I was warming up - me and the bike! I spotted Donna and Martin put some stakes in the ground - they seemed very close. Currently I'm a biker of the wide space, very wide space variety.....eek!
After some top tuition; turning, where to put ones weight and feet, one very important lesson to always cover the clutch - something for some reason that had passed me by. It will get me out of trouble if I need it - so that lesson is firmly stuck! Lots of loops and turns and then adding standing up on the pegs on the long sides, braking, - hit the back brake and the peg together at one point and nearly catapulted myself. Use of the clutch, feathering the clutch - that was such an epiphany from a control perpsective! Brilliant.
My little bike even had a lean on around the turns - that's a first, me having a security blanket thing of being upright!
Donna also taught me how to pick up the bike when you've dropped it - something I do quite a bit. There's a technique to it - it's good - and I almost managed it on my own. Plan B of course is that you could wait until someone comes along to help - hmm quite like plan B.
From a sartorial perspective - didn't have my body armour on properly! That's now sorted and much more comfortable.
I have lots of homework and practice to do, all now written in a diary. However, Martin of Torque Racing who does all things marvelous with regards to bike tuning and prep has taken the bike away for a bit of attention. So for a few days at least, I have no homework, however I think I may well have one or two aches!!
Every journey starts with a first step and I've a very long way to go however with Donna and Martin's support and encouragement, my confidence at least is in a very different place to where it was first thing. I even had a sneaky thought about the Dakar at some distant misty point in the future (very small, tiny thought..... on some nice some grass in Hertfordshire!).

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