Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cripes - it's all gone west!

This weekend, it all went pear-shaped big time!
We set off early on Saturday morning and I think it may have been in a North-Westerley direction - Gary drove and quite spectacularly squeezed 3 and 3/4 bikes (his son Joe, a stonkingly impressive rider has a 150CFR) into his van. Not a millimetre was un-utilised. I think Gary can do the packing when we head Pyrenees-wards.....there's hope for my make-up bag yet!!

It dawned on me fairly early on that the day was perhaps going to be 'a tricky one', shall we say! I was chatting to delightful Michele at Enduroland, whilst Mr T and I were making a general melee of paying - fortunately Gary was stashed up, Mr T and I evidently can't count!! Anyway, Michele dropped lightly into the conversation that everyone loved this 'one' as it was one of the best. I think it was at this point that I realised that if all these fabulously capable guys think this is great, as a beginner of variable confidence, my idea of 'best' and their idea of 'best' was for sure going to be at polar ends of said continuum!!

The Enduroland track for Novices and Newcomers and Kids & Dads at Chacombe was technical and challenging (from my perspective anyway) and it was only a small part of the main track!! Descents, ascents, loose surfaces, logs, little hillocks (that look surprising innocent, more of that later) with quite a few hairpin type turns with obstacles in the middle , trees, logs.....

Pretty much one magnificent mess up followed another all the way round! Whilst wanting to provide a bit of detail it's mostly a blur. I had such a meltdown in confidence and therefore had lost any clarity of thought and recently acquired knowledge - helpful when in charge of one's uber capable 200EXC GasGas! I knew cognitively from my work as an executive coach that it was the fight/ flight response (amygdala) part of the brain that had kicked in and therefore I needed some complex scenarios to consider to get me thinking properly again!

Lost count of how many spills I'd had - rolled down the hill several times! Forks out of alignment and had used one my hand guards as a shovel - on one of the many spills - could have planted a geranium in there!

Lunch laid on by Enduroland - with lots of sweet tea. Funny, I only have sugar in my tea when I've frightened myself on the bike!!

The next session went 'Pete Tong', I believe the expression is, entirely! It started okay then it all went downhill, pardon the pun, of course if I had been going down hill - on the bike more times than not, that would have be perfect! Dropped it, fell off and .... ditto ...ditto.....Finally after a turn with a lovely swooping camber in it (actually really liked that bit) followed by a little ridge coming through some trees, for one reason or another (accidental back brake I think), I stalled then dropped it, fell off and blubbed! First time I've actually blubbed since I've embarked on this challenge!

Girly tantrum followed thinking I never want to get on a motorbike ever, ever again! I couldn't pick the bike up - so I turned the fuel off and sat on it, I thought, at least I can admire the view - well the middle of a small clearing anyway. I then heard the kids and Dads on their second event, well that sealed it - there was absolutely no way that I was going to venture out on to the track with them on it, that would be hairy. At one point, I did chuckle, as from where I was sitting on upturned bike - it sounded like I was in the middle of a beehive full of very angry bees(on two and four strokes obviously!!)! In the face of adversity gotta laugh.........
I figured that at some point Mr T , Gary or Joe would notice that I'd vanished and I also knew that a marshall would be along soon.

A chap swept up to me and asked if I was okay which was very kind. As I'd been blubbing I decided to keep my helmet on and sort of hide in it.

Barry from Enduroland then appeared on a quad, he was incredibly patient and kind, realising that at that particular moment I would quite like to abandon the bike and the clearing and wander off sort of Reggie Perrin styley. He very calmly said, some days are like that, draw a line under it and tomorrow's another day. I think I may have said that my bike would be on eBay that evening. It wasn't and I did get on it again, rode over a few taped out areas and escorted by Rob, I went back to the pits!

Rob, as ever, and Tony were hugely supportive and encouraging - goodness I've a long way to go to the Pyrenees. Tony made me laugh, shortly after my meltdown. He suggested that as I liked the bowl with the camber and the loose log so much, perhaps next time they could set one up for me like a mini speedway and throw in a sandwich and a cup of tea every now and there's a thought!

Gary's son Joe's bike skills are superb, so inspiring and impressive! I know absolutely where I'm headed just struggling with the achieving it bit! Mr T had a top day and felt a lot more confident that he ever has, off-road. (One down, one to go!) Gary is always an inspiration and does keep the pressure on, spills happen to the best of them too! When I say spill, it was more of a launch! He hit one of the aforementioned grassy hillocks at speed; front of bike reared up, as it were, then the back did - he and bike parted company and landed twenty feet away from the bike! Oop - fortunately no damage done - bit of bruising and easily fixed wonky forks! It transpired later that the red mist may have descended and the speed at which he hit said hillock was because he was trying to catch up with his son (year 6)!? Teehee.....

The Enduroland gallery pictures were up yesterday and I took a look at them - see attached of Mr T, Gary and Joe. Alas, not one of me .... perhaps it was all just a bad dream. Though the sheep dung that I found wedged in my clutch lever is testament to that not being the case!

So.....the next day. If at first you don't succeed......

We loaded the bikes up and went to an old gravel pit where I mastered going down and up steep hills 'in control', lots and lots and lots and lots of times! On the pegs, at walking pace, using the engine, using the brakes - properly! Even lost the back end at one point but brought it back. Hurrah, yippee! Now, if I'd mastered that on Friday, my mess up at Enduroland might not have been quite so mighty. Hindsight and all that....
But hey as they say, it takes both rain and sunshine to make a rainbow!

Then this morning we got a massive donation in for Great Ormond Street Hospital which is awesome and what this whole thing is about - raising as much money as possible for children, sick, vulnerable and in need.

Thanks Enduroland; Nigel, Michele, Tony, Rob, Barry and of course Mr T, Gary and Joe!

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