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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Things that go swimmingly in the night~

My mom was a character.
She was a pretty outspoken person with a lot to say, and she didn't mind telling you what she thought. She was usually right , too. And if you didn't t like what you heard, just keep it to yourself, or it would bite you in the end. " If the truth hurts, let it hurt!" was one of her more popular sayings.
I got a little of that from growing up with a doubtful mom. She insisted on honesty, but when it came to me, She was a hard sell. She pretty much didn't believe most of what I said, and it was usually a losing battle to get her to change her mind. Once she figured you weren't on the up-and-up, she wrote you off. I never lied to Mom, but how many can say they believe everything a kid says?
I am very much like her in that respect. I don't carry grudges, but if I feel I've been wrongly judged, I move on quickly and quietly. I never gave up trying to win back her approval, my one strong trait to this day.

Yesterday was Mothers Day, and I spent it taking the Advanced Rider course at the Kutter H-D dealership. It was an all-day event, the weather was perfect! There were 5 of us, 4 war vets ranging in age from their 60's to 20's. I was the only girl, and noticed the approving grins when I first walked into the class.

We had 9 exercises to complete. While the instructor made it clear these were all strictly rider option exercises, we all wanted to come out of there better riders, so we we were to do our best, and not worry if we couldn't do a particular set perfectly.

The first 3 hours in the morning run, went perfectly. Most of the excersises were repeats of skills we learned in the first Riders Edge course. It was a good way to warm up the bikes, bodies and minds. Most if it came easily; the only difference was, we were on our own bikes this time, not the loaner Beulls we rode during the first class.

2 of the guys had touring bikes, and watching them do figure-8's was jaw-dropping amazing! None of us envisioned this as a life-saving technique, but it was a great way to learn to what extent you can turn a bike, regardless of size or weight. Those touring bikes weigh in at 800+ pounds. Stella and I were lightweights at 568 lbs of fun. Still, it was pretty amazing to see seasoned rides take those curves throughout the course, with relative ease. We all found out by way of our instructor, what we were doing wrong. Right away, he noticed I was not using my right index finger when braking, much to my surprise! Funny, I never noticed that, but the seasoned touring guy said he did the same thing... wow. I caught myself later on my return trip, doing it again, and quickly made my correction, an Ah Hah! moment. :-)

We took a lunch, enjoyed Jimmy Johns subs, on Kutter. Then headed out for the second half of the day. The exercisers got progressively harder, and I was starting to feel it in my clutch hand. Halfway I to the 6th set of skill tests, we were to do a quick stop in a curve. I had the concept, but was getting tired and my left arm was starting to wear out from the many tight U-turns, swerves and curves we had already practiced.
I did the first set of quick stops in the curve, fine. But, when I came around to do it a second time, I felt my arm wanting to just give up, and my reaction time was not there. I told the instructor I was beat, and he told me to park it and take a break and rehydrate.

When the group came back in from their rounds a few minutes later, one offered me a couple advil to elevate my now aching left shoulder. After a 10 minute break inside and a full bottle of cold water, we were ready to roll and this time I managed the tests without noticing my shoulder as much. Toward the end of the final tests, I could feel a dull reminder, but told it to stand down and pushed on.

We got our bikes lined up for our evaluations runs, and without further adieu , I did mine effortlessly. The instructor told me later I stayed in the box, I didn't even notice! YAY ME!

We all completed the course and came away with a better understanding not only of our bikes handling, but our own advanced skills, things we will need to survive in most any situation.

I am completely in awe of Stella, my little Sporty! I did things on her I never thought possible, and am totally in love with this bike, can't wait to get back out. My shoulder seems fine, but I'm not going to push it. We'll go gas up later, my light came on as I pulled in last night. We put 23 miles on Stella during the road course, adding 62 miles round-trip. The girl has over 1500 miles since July 31, 2011, 500 since Jan 14 of this year! :-)

If you are reading this post while preparing for your own Advanced Rider course, and are looking for tips, (as I did the night before), you probably won't learn anything that you can take with you on your rides. It did me little good reading others posts, gave me too much to think about. So, don't worry. You will do fine!

Ride safe , rubber side down, shiny side up!

PS: OYeah, Jim, our instructor said he bets I wipe down Stella every day, she looks Showroom new! I do, after every ride! :-) :-) :-)



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