Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A ride of two halves.

Last night I met up with Phillip McDaid for another observed ride.  It has been three months since my last one, and I will willing admit I was eager to show my improvement.

The forcast was not promising, and right on Que as I left work it began to drizzle.  The time I met with Phillip it was showering, a few minutes later it was raining. Added to that was a strong norwester wind. It was pretty crap to say the least.

We rode out of west gate for about half hour before we pulled over.  I had completely screwed the ride. Barrelled into a 60km zone doing 80, Hit a 100km zone and didn't see the sign so carried on doing 80.  Was two ginger around the corners, and overshot an intersection....one word sums it up pretty well...FAIL.

I was demoralised, really pissed off with myself, and as I was listening to Phil, questioning my own stupidity and why I was even doing this.  I felt I had worked so hard over the last few months and here I was making some very basic errors. I was not a happy chappy.  I have set high standards for myself, and felt I had let myself down.

We hit the open road towards Helensville, where I completed two passing maneuvers.  The first one I felt I missed an opportunity earlier, although I executed both maneuvers well. Out of Helensville Phil lead for some of the way, before I took over and redid one of the roads that I had miss read earlier in the ride.  The rain was heavy now, but I started to get back into the groove of what I should of been doing in the beginning.
I was feeling a bit better during this part of the ride and back too Phil's factory.  We went inside for the debrief...

It was a ride of two halves.  The first half was poor. Even I knew that, He gave me a (C), the second half of the ride, I rode like an advanced rider, and showed all the skills that I had been working on. This half of the ride Phil gave me a (A).  The clouds of despair which hang over me like the rain of the day lifted slightly as I heard this.

I am annoyed at my own inconsistency, and lack of concentration in the early part of the ride. I seemed to have left my observation skills back at the office before I left work. Once I get my mind into gear, I ride to a high standard, but I felt I let myself down yesterday.

I rode home in the pouring rain, with lunatics all around me. Wet, cold, and  wondering why I put myself through this.  But I wont give up, if the standard was low then everyone would accomplish it with out even trying. When I do finally get there it will be all the more satisfying. At least the wine tasted good....


  1. Of course it had to be raining on you. First observed ride in 3 months and no sunshine, sigh.

    Two halves make a whole. Can we combine the A and C and give you a B+ average? We are our own worst critic and are harder on ourselves than others are.

    You know you will be successful if you persevere. Give yourself a moment to kick your own butt and then move on. Don't dwell on the negative, look at the positive and how you nailed it on the last half despite weather.

    Turn that frown upside down. ;-)

  2. Rog:
    Sorry I haven't got in touch more quickly. Had visitors for the last 4 days, but was thinking of you last night! Sorry to hear about the first half. Knowing how you normally ride, that was a complete aberration. I know you wanted to nail it and perhaps it was simply a case of trying too hard initially, especially given the conditions. The second half is ample proof of what you can do, even more meritorious given the weather. I'm with Trobairitz - you'll be absolutely fine next time.

    Remember the highs and lows I went through - it wasn't a linear improvement by any means. And being the unbelievably tough standard that it is; the end goal is so worth fighting for. It's not empty words, you'll be fine because you're so focussed.

  3. Buck up. Everyone can have a bad day...or a bad part of a day. Could have happened for many reasons. But it seems like you were trying too hard while raining. What about just treating it like a normal ride with a friend?

    Remember that at least you were able to shake it off and salvage it. Shows skill. You could have bombed the second half and should consistent, poor riding.


  4. Rog:

    As discussed, it's a pleasure to ride with you. You "Follow the System" impeccably, and I would identify you as an IAM trained rider instantly following you on the open road.

    We all have our bad days, though, and riding in heavy rain under close scrutiny of an Irishman on a purple Pan European is enough to put anybody off their stroke.

    Now stop feeling sorry for yourself and enjoy a fabulous 2 weeks on the bike... I'm jealous as.

  5. Trobaritz: Thanks for the kind words...yes i will take a B, but would of preferred a !!

  6. Roger, everybody can have a bad day, and you made it up in the second half. Keep your spirits up!

    Wait a minute, aren't you supposed to have summer down under?

  7. Geoff: Yes mate, I know it has it's up and downs but I did have high expectations that is for sure. Still the road to perfection is never easy.

    Lori: should of expected a smart kick in the pants from you, would of been disappointed if I hadnt of got one! Thanks.

  8. Richard: Thanks mate, you probably know my riding as good as anyone, so I really appreciate your comments.

    Trust me I wil enjoy slogging it out around the South Island....I do hear though that Auckland can be a great place at xmas time.........

  9. I have this crazy self-grading system -- A=I pass and anything else is fail. It really is no fun to have that much pressure. Worse is it is crazy making. Others telling me to just relax and get on with it never helped, even though that is exactly what I needed to do. I share this with you just in case it might sound familiar. If it does sound quite familiar, then I'm impressed you were able to shake off the poor beginning and end strong. Good job.

    Thanks for the share.

  10. Sonja: I have no idea where summer is....when you find it let me know/ rain/wind /cool temps...just gos on and on.

    Keith: Thanks mate, I have always been determined to be honest about this journey, so writing about the good and the bad is important. Failing is not an option....neither is a B!

  11. Sorry to hear apart the first half, but I was glad to read that it got much better.  We all make mistakes (as the Dalek said, climbing off the dustbin) but look at it this way.  You knew why the first half was going wrong, so that is a good thing.  It got much better - that's good thing number two.  You got an A for part two, so that's very good.  It eventually stopped raining.  The wine was good.  You are about to get two weeks on the bike.  Christmas is around the corner. Roger - you've got it made!  Next time you won't have the same issues!

  12. Ginger around the corners? Sounds like you were being prudent! Don't beat yourself up about that!

    Overshooting an intersection? you muppett!!!

  13. We all have bad days....no one got hurt, so that is excellent in my book.
    This wet weather we have had all week would not be a pleasant ride under any circumstance!


  14. Gary: You have put things into a nice perspective!

    Nikos: You way with with words is both encourageing....and humbling!

    Tina: Thanks Tina, where the hell is summer?

  15. Sorry for the bad ride day.
    I think most of us can relate. Even those half and half days, crap one minute and good the next. I don't know why it works that way sometimes, but it does. I can relate to that demoralized feeling afterwords - sucks. But, I think your last paragraph says it best - "I won't give up"... I guess we would never learn to persevere if it was always easy.

  16. Roger

    In a perfect world with perfect riding weather & no pressure every ride would be an 'A' ride, but the world isn't perfect. Just the fact that you are striving for perfection makes you a better rider than most, so hang in there. Savour your victory of the second half of the ride, your instructor paid you a compliment by giving you the A and he believes in your skill. As a recently trained new rider I know how hard it can be to perform when being observed and graded, it is very stressful. I am thankful that I had a great instructor who was willing to help me build on my errors and make them strengths. We aren't all 100% all the time, but we can be pretty close and on a motorcycle it is that striving for perfection that keeps us alive.

    Your summer sounds like the one we had on Vancouver Island this year. I guess mother nature got tired of hammering us here and as moved to your part of the world.

    Enjoy your bike over the next two weeks!

  17. KAri: I must admit I wonder sometimes wonder why it takes me so long to get going....a good learning curve all the same.

    Dar: Becoming a good rider is a lifelong journey, We should never sit amke an say we have mastered it. Summer is coming.....just not sure when.

  18. Hi Roger interesting post and your self ctitisism.
    Phillip your Observer will be looking for an advanced style of riding and although readily pointing out your lack of attention in places will not be too concerned, unlike yourself! He will be pondering his approach to what to do to concentrate your practice as the whole path to your green badge is more his worry than yours. I suggest you stop trying to ride for Phillip and just enjoy your riding otherwise Phillip will be side tracked as to your development needs. Get out on your bike and try giving a verbal demonstration ride to yourself as though you were training someone, it helps focus your obs and really helps with spotting limit signs.
    Sounds as though you are well on your way to your test, are you thinking along thr lines of training to become an IAM Observer like young Geoff?