Sunday, February 26, 2012

IAM - An Update.

I thought it was important to bring you up to date with my progress through IAM.

As many regular readers will be aware I have done a lot of KM's during the last few months.  My South Island trip. East Coast, numerous adventures on to gravel.  During all theses rides I am always trying to ride to the IAM standard.  Quite frankly once you are into and you realise the benefits of riding to IAM and its system you soon discover no desire to go back.  Once your in , your in, there is no going back.

My last observed ride with Phillip in December produced a mixed bag of crap riding and advanced riding skills. Simon Pampling one of the other observers who I have mentioned before contacted me late January to arrange another observed ride.  I was looking forward to this immensely.  I had certainly been putting a lot of work in and was keen to at least show that I had made good progress.  I  felt that my riding had improved a great deal from the months previous. 

We left from my work mid afternoon and headed through peak hour traffic south.  I seemed to handle all of the issues, speed restrictions and other issues reasonably well. Once south, we started on some country roads.   I was familiar with the roads and thought that if ever I was gonna get it right it would be today ....until........I came across a truck and trailer unit. It was to be the undoing of me as I executed a shocking and badly thought out passing manoeuvre. I knew the moment I had done it that I had well and truly screwed up.  I carried on with the ride trying hard to put it behind me.  That one passing maneuver saw me getting marked down considerably.  I finished with a D.  To say I was gutted would be a complete understatement.  Actually  I really did consider giving up.  It took me a few days to pull myself together and refocus on the bigger picture. I realised that regardless of the fact I had ballsed up on that particular ride, I am still a far better rider than I was at the beginning of the whole process.

So this Sunday I went along to the monthly ride.  As Geoff has pointed out IAM is really beginning to grow. It is exciting to watch and be a part off.  I hope in some small way to contribute to it's continued success and growth.  On Sunday 18 riders turned up, a mixture of Observers, members and associate members.

Once it was sorted who was going with who, I found myself with Phillip the Chief Examiner and my mate Andy, who in my opinion is an excellent rider.  I drew the short straw and was to lead for the first part with Phillip following and Andy behind him.  Earlier in the morning Andy, and our other mates Richard and Bruce had met up for an early morning ride.  This was mainly for my benefit and although that ride was a mixed bag it did help immensely in dialing in for the rest of the day.

When we stopped I felt that I had done pretty well.  I had had a few tricky things I needed to negotiate but over all I was happy......the big question was what did Phil think?

Andy had his go and showed his normal excellent technique, although the "hand on the tank" incident didn't win him any awards with Phil.  But overall it was a pleasure to ride behind two very confident and skilled riders. 

Then comes the DE-brief.   Much to my surprise I discovered it was in fact a check ride.  (A pre test ride to ensure you are up to standard and can go and sit the test) I passed....even got an A.....whoooo.   So some time in the near future I will be sitting my test.  Andy passed as well so we will be out together practising and honing our skills.  The key for me is getting out first and getting a few kms under my belt.  It seems to work wonders with me.   Trying to relax and ride my natural ride. 

So the journey continues, still have a lot more to accomplished, but it was a great feeling to see things clicking for me. The fact remains that I still have to continue to work hard, the standard of riding is high.As so it should be, if they gave passes out with cereal packets there would be no point.  Will go back and continue to read my copy of Motorcycle road craft as well as the rode code. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Pouto Ride..A Rogeys Gravel Rash Adventure....literally.

I got up early....did I say early, I mean the middle of the dam night s I could join the Northern Gravel Riders  club for the weekend.  We were heading towards Pouto beach, west of Dargaville  We were to meet the other riders at Dargaville at nine a good full 2 1/2 half hours from Auckland.  This is where our ride would begin from. As always though it was a bit of an adventure.......

The ride from Kumeu along Sh 16 was in some the foggiest conditions I had every ridden in. The view from the top however was spectacular.  Looking down and seeing the land covered in fog was quite amazing. Never seen anything like it before.

The view from Sh16..fog covered South Head and beyond, right where we are going.

Once in Dargiville we met up with the rest of the team, about 10 of us in total.  We spent the morning criss crossing various gravel roads as we headed towards Pouto Beach.

After a regroup and just some twenty kms from the beach, we encountered some heavily gravelled, marbly roads. It was here while negotiating a sharp off camber, down hill section that I lost control of the back of the bike.  The time I regained control I was on the very edge of the gravel before another slide ensured and I launched of the edge of the road and down the bank, coming to rest nicely against the fence.  

Tim and Jess who were following came to a sliding stop and were quick to check on me.  I was up quickly and reassessing the bike in the ditch, and checking what was hurting.  Ankle was a bit sore as was my shoulder, other wise nothing too major.  Tim was able to ride the bike out of the ditch.  Only minor damage to report, broken nose cone, and the handle bar slightly bent.  Not major and easily fixed.  (So I m reliable informed)

So we were off again...Rogeys Gravel Rash adventures had well and truly began.!!!!

Regroup juts before pouto Beach.

Beach Play.

The Light House.
The sand crossing onto Pouto was not difficult, (although some how managed to make a mess of it) and the guys were having a great play up and down the dunes, some getting as far as the light house.  I was amazed to be honest. It is a lot steeper than it looks and takes a bit of skill to traverse it.  We spent quite a bit of time  playing before Jim suggested we ride "just up the beach" where we would return to the tarmac  and have lunch at Bayleys beach.

Of course when Jim says anything I have learnt to be "just up the beach" was in fact 80kms of blatting along the sand and having fun.  I seriously did wonder when we would get to the end though!  

A truly great ride along the beach, just a neat feeling and seeing a fantastic beach with hardly anybody on it.  It was stunning.

Lunch at Baylys beach, before heading back to Dargiville to refuel.  It was here I decided I had done my dash for the day, and I headed toward our Accommodation.  Kauri Coast Top Ten.  This camp ground nestled  just off the main road is a wonderful place to stay......just be warned camp mother can be a bit .......

I managed to get my boot off OK, and kept it up and packed with ice  for most of the night.  Seemed better in the morning and I was able to ride home no problems.  

We had all brought stuff for the BBQ, and it was great to sit around, tell lies, eat  lots of great food, and have a good laugh.  

I enjoyed my self very much this weekend.  Surprisingly I actually believe my gravel skills are improving all the time.  I will learn from it, analyse where I went wrong and just get on with riding, besides kind of addicted now. 

Terry drove up from Auckland for the  night.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Whangamomona and a Teenager.

When my daughter was born, it was, in my mind anyway, the proudest day of my life.  From day one I fell in love with this energetic bundle of total joy. I felt the same when my son was born, but for this blog I am just gonna talk about Taylor.

She has always been a joy of a child.  She is motivated, sporty, loving, caring and most importantly she loves her Dad to bits.  She is fearsome and is never afraid of a challenge. There is nothing she likes more than to go out side and throw a rugby ball around.  

Some time in the last couple of years my little girl went from being a little girl to a young women.  I can't tell you exactly when. Just one morning I looked at her and realised my little girl had changed, and my life would change also.  She is a teenager now.  Her life revolves around boys, soccer, rugby, ta kwon do, school, face book....any number of things which seems to dominate a teenagers time.  I have noticed how I don't get quite as many hugs as I use to, how she forgets to call me,.....that I have some how become a taxi service and WI-FI supplier.  I know she still loves me and and still cares but things are just changing.  It dawned on me recently that in a few short years she may not even be living with me anymore.  She is no problem, and still brings me great joy, the cycle of life is taking it's normal path and in a way it saddens me a little.  Deep down I dont think father really wants his daughter growing up.

I have always set out to create memories with my kids.  Holidays and events that will stay in there minds until longafter I left this world.

This weekend I took Taylor on a road trip. We have always done day trips and this was actually our first ever over nighter.  She lost interest in the bike for few years and didn't want to come riding with me, but over the last few months she has shown more interest.  I once showed her a trip I did to the Forgotten Highway.  This blog is not about the roads we travelled but is about the time we spent together.  If you want to know more about the forgotten highway have a look at my previous blog from last, there is also a Link to Geoff's excellent blog on the same area.

We did over 88O kms for the weekend.  She never complained once,well perhaps that is not entirely true,   she did say she had a sore bum once.  Which of course I can understand.  It was an awesome experience for me to show Taylor some of the best forgotten roads New Zealand had to offer.  When we finally got to a motel on the first night we were exhausted, we did discuss watching a video but instead collapsed into bed early. 

We often stopped, reading a lot of the historical notes that are placed along side the road, we admired the scenery, we ate ice cream, we discussed life in a small town, we laughed, joked, but most importanly for me..we were together.  Just us.  No distractions.  Just me and my girl. 

Here are some of the pics from what was a great weekend.

I am not sure if I created a a memory for her....but I certaily created one for myself.