Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Bloody Orange Cones.....
Well, Phillip was good enough to organise another observed ride for me on Monday night. Simon my appointed mentor has been pretty busy with the Rugby World Cup (God I hope the All blacks win!) and the Pacific Island Forum (more political drum beating) . So I was most grateful to have the opportunity to ride with Phillip again. The fact that this man gives up his time into training me cannot be under estimated, and I am very very grateful.
The weather forecast was for rain and thunderstorms, thankfully we only got a bit of rain, although the route we took through the Waitakere ranges ensured the road was wet!
I arranged to meet Phillip where he does his other training courses. This is a car park behind a gym and while we were there he decided it would be a good opportunity to try some slow speed manoeuvring exercises. Now this could be interesting. Although my slow speed skills have improved a great deal, throwing the 220kg sprint around a 15 foot wide turn with lots of little orange cones, was perhaps a little optimistic on Phil's behalf. Of course never one to turn down a challenge I thought bugger it lets give this a go............and I did...again (fail)....and again(fail)....and again(fail)....and again(fail)....and again(fail).....and again(fail)....and again(fail)......shit this is hard! So Mr McDaid...aka Phil steps in. So I then get to watch this little man..and yes he is not a big fella, throw this Honda ST, all 300kgs of it through this obstacle course as if it is a GN125! Shit, feeling a bit like a plonker now.
OK Phil so you proved a point, now let me have a go on one of those little 125's you have on the back of the trailer there? Whoop.......I am away. At least I nailed it, perhaps not the first time, but I did eventually get this bloody little bike around two fingers of this orange cone obstacle course. In case you haven't noticed I am beginning to get an aversion to "road cones"!!!!!!! Of course I did try my best to destroy as many as possiable but the little bastards pop back into shape.....no matter how many times you run over them.
With my helmet sufficiently soaked with sweat and my hands sticking to the inside of my winter gloves, we ended the obstacle courses challenge and set out on a ride. Enjoying Auckland's peak hour traffic and intermittent rain.
The route took us through Scenic drive in the Waitake rangers, a very picturesque part of suburban Auckland, and from a bikers point of view a great road. Certainly a challenging road. Full of speed zone changes, hidden driveways, 25km bends and anything else you may want to through into the mix.
Once stopped the feed back begun. So the negatives were. Missed a couple of shoulder checks when the lanes went from two to one. I did check my mirrors but as Phillip pointed out it is easy for a car to enter theses roads from a driveway and the mirror check is just not adequate. Was a bit lapsed on my indicating on a couple of round abouts. And was not chasing my vanishing point as well as I should when exiting corners. This is an area that I am aware is a weakness in my riding.
So now the positives. It is clearly obvious in my riding that I am applying the skills that are associated with Advanced riding. I am using the full road , altering my position when I need to, watching my following distances and making a degree of smooth progress in most cases. It comes down to a lot of fine tuning and working on the little things that need work. The big thing for me is that I have improved from my previous observed ride. It is there, I just need to continually reinforce the small stuff.