Sunday, August 21, 2011

A stiff fork of a Sunday morning......?!

I think the expression could be one step forward, two steps back.
Whilst being all for plans coming together at the last minute, even by my standards, this is cutting it a bit fine!
My (new to me) Honda CRF 250X arrived on Friday - spotless, 4 stroke, push start loveliness in scarlet (matching nails opportunity?!) What with work, life, general stuff I didn't get to ride it properly until this morning.
Team outing; Gary, Mr T and myself (very excited), just as we were setting off, I was thinking, well it's not sublimely different, in fact my riding seems to be just as pants as it's ever been. 'Keep at it, girl' I thought. Novice, as I am after a small amount of road work and onto the byway, I couldn't help pondering why my hands were aching so much and hard as I tried, couldn't seem to stand up properly, or effectively anyway (I need some bar risers too). Of course, it could be that it's sulking - do bikes sulk? I dropped it before I'd even ridden it!
In a straight line all was well, however slow speeds and corners I was finding a tad challenging. Funny moment then ensued, I was in front at this point and was going round the edge of a grassy corner knowing that on other side there were some ruts. Chap appeared coming the other way on a KTM I think, with a bit of a lick on and the slightly horrified look combined with a possible "are you changing course or am I" look in his eyes was priceless! Huhh, I held my line. He was with about 15 or so others, bikes of all shapes and sizes - only a handful said hello or acknowledged ( in fact 4) and there I am telling anyone who will listen that bikers are mostly fabulous and really friendly (the exceptions to that rule were out in Hertfordshire this morning!).
So, back to the Honda. We stopped at a little clearing on the top of a hill with stonking views, there's a couple of banks which I now have the know-how to jump - yeehah! I can't remember if it was Gary or Mr T that asked if my forks were a bit stiff, I learnt over the front of the bike and pushed. "Try harder than that","I am trying" I replied - nothing! They had a go, nothing. To say I had stiff forks would be the understatement of the year, no wonder I'd been struggling.
I hopped onto the KTM - Mr T's 400- cripes - what a difference! I'll ride this thanks and I did. Mr T rode the Honda from then on and back home, didn't enjoy the fight by all accounts. I rode the KTM, my new best friend (BFF!). The good news however, is that now I know I'm progressing, hitherto, I felt so intimidated by the KTM, too heavy, too high. I had oodles of fun on it this morning. I even got a bit of air - a proper jump on it (both wheels)!
Last leg of the trip, situation normal, I was bringing up the rear as it were. Stopped at a main road where the Icknield Way crosses it, there was a stream of road-bikers, they all said hello, nodded etc, there were one or two rather aesthetically pleasing leather/ kevlar clad backsides too?! Devil's in the detail!
The boys were considering whether the bike was indeed even run in, it's not yet done 200km. Oh well, if I leave today I'll reach Biarritz in time and the Honda should be run in too!
Hopefully, Martin of TorqueRacing will work his magic otherwise I might yet be riding the Pyrenees on the GasGas!
16 days to go, more wonderful donations in last week for GOSH and KidsCo and I think I can almost, nearly call myself a bit of a biker, albeit one with dodgy forks!!

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