Thursday, April 7, 2011

Celebrating stuck!

Today I went out on my second trail ride ever! Goodness, it was another learning curve for sure - some of it quite steep - metaphorically and literally speaking!
The ride was preceded by the Easter Service at my daughters school today (which was wonderful), the great headmaster Mr Lloyd was telling us about the fact that this term as a school they have been thinking about getting stuck. In fact, celebrating getting stuck and that in order to learn new skills, we quite often get stuck before we then move on and accomplish whatever it was that we were stuck at.
Interestingly, this week at work there have been many conversations about that mind over matter 'stuff', turning the confidence up when we need to and also overcoming those moments when we're stuck. Sometimes we can do this through a few well chosen words from our teacher or friends or it might be that certain something that we all have within us that we need to access when we need it most.
After the Easter Service, I went straight out with Gary and Mr T.
Friend Catherine, had suggested coffee - very tempting! Anyway, off we went and it was apparent even along the Stret that I really, really still have a lot to learn. The guys were whicking along and some of the bumps and ruts that I generally slow down for I didn't, because I wanted to keep up and all was fine, if a bit bumpy. Then I stalled at the junction - suddenly regressed to my previous inability to start the bike. This was mostly because I couldn't find neutral and boy do I struggle to kick start it when it's in gear (I hasten to add I do have the clutch in!)
Next hurdle came at the next junction when I was on an ascent, so setting off, holding the break and keeping up the revs as the GasGas tends to stall, if the engine not turning enough (there's a technical explanation for all that but my technical vocabulary has for the moment departed & the support team are not here to consult either!). With a little help from Gary, I was off again. I was beginning to wonder if Gary was pondering whether I'd get beyond the outskirts of Biarritz, let alone over the Pyrenees - at this stage we were about 2 1/2 miles from leaving home!
Had a slighty untidy stop after going the wrong way over some ruts - that was funny - especially as I thought I was taking the easy route. Didn't fall off, didn't drop the bike, so all was well - did stall again mind - Gary to the rescue.
Continued to stall and at one point on an uphill ascent - big mind over matter here - I get slightly phased starting the bike on anything but the horizontal (yes I hear you say the Pyrenees is quite steep - something to overcome!). I think it's because, not only is it clutch control but brakes and not letting the bike slip back or forward, also as you have to keep the revs up on the GasGas - this handle is also of course, the front brake. 'Celebrate stuck' was going through my mind at this stage. Help from Gary and a bit of willpower and I was off again.
I was still holding the guys up a bit however was beginning to gain confidence. Then we reached a ditch! A ditch that Gary and Mr T both over 6 ft could stand up in . A ditch that we had to drive into and up out of - a first for me! Arhhh! Anyway, moral support from Mr T and a few pointers from Gary and I did it. Hurrah!
Then came the ruts - big deep and lots of them. Also the smooth edge of a field but for some reason I hadn't spotted that! Progressed relatively well and then sort of lost it and fell off. Was sort of sitting on the bike when we came to a stop - turned out to be quite a nice view!
Tried to pick the bike up, front wheel skywards, anyway then superhero of the morning turned up and helped me out again!
After that I pretended I was Boyd who runs Overlander Trail Tours in the Peaks, my first 'ruts ' instructor - whilst we're of rather different physiques the visualization helped and thereafter I managed the ruts!
The remainder of the ride, I really enjoyed, even going up a steep ascent (another first) which occurred because I was admiring the view and following Mr T! Gary was doing wheelies and generally roaring around looking cool and impressive at the time. We all have to have something to aspire to!
The final success was the ditch in reverse - did it, possibly had to bit too much throttle on as I momentarily thought I might compromise next years wheat crop. Mr T apparently thought I was going to jump him and his bike. I just thought I might part company with it. Result!
Feel infinitely more ready for Saturdays Enduro Event for novices, feel infinitely less ready for the Pyrenees!
So, thanks to Gary for being Knight in Shining Armour of the day, Mr T for not interfering and so much more, Mr Lloyd for the inspiration and of course to Donna and Martin who I could hear from time to time with instruction and words of support.
We have a new sponsor this week too - Eagle Performance - thank you so much.

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