|Took this photo last year at the pink ribbon ride, Andy, Geoff, Richard, me and my son. Thanks guys.|
Saturday, March 24, 2012
IAM - The Test.
It was raining (again) Sunday morning as I headed up to Westgate to join IAM for it's monthly ride. Buy the time I got to the meeting point the weather had begun to clear though. During the last month Phillip had been to Christchurch to test some guys from down there. I had been busy to, so I had not rushed to sit my test. For those regular followers of my blog you will recall that on the last IAM ride I had passed my check ride (you can read about that here). During that time I been riding to work a lot, in fact every time I get on the bike I am trying to ride to an advanced level. Consistency has never been a strong point so I have been working on that a lot.
Since I completed my very first Advanced riding course I have been really challenged to improve my skills, and many of you will know the failures and struggles I have gone through even to get to the stage of sitting the test. Geoff James who's friendship and support has been indispensable to me as he has gone through the same thing. My mate Richard Turnbull, Andrew Leys, Bruce Everett and the hours that Phillip and Simon had put into my training needs to be mentioned as well. It all came to a head on Sunday morning when Phillip pulled my aside and informed me that since we had an opportunity he wanted to put me through the test today....like now...like in ten bloody minutes......oh crap. Of course the advantage of this is I didn't have time to get stressed , or worry. I just had to get on the bike and ride. Ride like I always do. Ride like Phillip is not behind me.
We pulled out of the car park just on 10.00am, headed north through Orewa, Warkworth, Woodcocks Rd, through Helensville and back towards Westgate. Two hours of riding, various speed zones, overtakes to be completed, various obstacles to encounter and be aware of, (cow on side of the road on SH16, Lady riding her horse along the road) all sorts of stuff. Woodcocks road is a nice tight and twisty back road. It is a good road to test advanced riding standards on. Chasing the vanishing point, right gearing, right speed, all come into play on this road. I was trying hard not to over think any of the situations that arose. What would I do normally if Phillip wasn't following me? After two hours and close to Westgate we pulled over. It was time to see how I went.
I personally thought I had done well, I felt I had missed an opportunity to make progress at a roundabout, and also missed a overtaking chance, I didn't think either was a major. When we began to discuss things Phil brought up both theses incidents.....I was pleased in a way, it made me realise that we are both working form the same page. The end result.............
You *&^$ beauty....
Phillip reached out his hand to congratulate me....I just hugged him, and fought back the tears! God I was feeling a bit emotional.
It has been a 12 months since my first Advanced riding course with Tricia, and 9 months and many observed rides to get to this point. I had suffered setbacks and failure, almost gave up, swore at myself a lot, and at times felt very demoralised. But here I was, a full member of IAM. Phillips words to me afterwards really meant some thing to me, and really summed up what I have been trying so hard to achive. "To me"he said; "You rode to an advanced standard, right gear, right position and right place".
For me this is just the beginning, I stilll have a lot I want to accomplish, observer satus is next on the cards...carnt wait, but for now I will enjoy my recently poured double (actually good be quadruple ) vodka, and enjoy a moment of accomplishment.
For those who have supported me through this journey, and there are many, I offer my sincere thanks. Special note to my partner Terry who's love and support has been awesome.