Thursday, October 27, 2011

Baby it's Cold Outside

It was a cold ride to work Wednesday morning, the thermometer read 28° when I left the house. Not even close to my record low but it was the first frost this fall and fortunately it was dry. I was still able ride.

According to the news Denver, Colorado wasn't as lucky as Charlie6.

The weather just changed so quick, not letting us ease into it.

This morning was a bit warmer at 37° and the sun is making an appearance today. Although my photography skills pale in comparison to Bluekat's talent I had to stop on my way into work for these.

My favorite season is Spring, but Fall has to be my second choice. I do not like daylight hours getting shorter, the promise of the upcoming rainy season or my heating bill rising I can appreciate the sunrises, rustling leaves, the Autumn colors and the return of hot soups, comfort foods and spice tea.

Brr its cold...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Second Audit Complete

I arrived to class Thursday night and recognized Elvira right away, Irondad had pulled forward in a parking spot to allow me to share. There was plenty of parking but this was a great spot at the end of a row with high visibility and just mere steps across the parking lot to class.

Dan is the only man I know where his sticker holds true.

I was excited and so looking forward to this particular audit because who better to teach a motorcycle rider course and to learn from than the legend himself?

Dan is a fantastic instructor and learning from him during my Advance Rider Training last year inspired me to begin the journey in becoming an instructor. His enthusiasm is certainly contagious and his knowledge vast. It is an honor and privilege to have this opportunity.

Notice the head turn and eyes up.

I was busy all weekend taking notes, observing coaching technique and running around helping set cones that the only time I had to snap any photos was when Dan was doing a demo and even then I was following along listening to Kory, the other instructor. I stayed behind the students and discretely took these photos, they are already nervous and don't need to see me taking pictures.

Dan has mentioned in his blog and again on the range how a parking lot becomes your world for the weekend. It truly does. All of our attention is on the students, safety on the range and following the curriculum of the range cards.

The hero walk.

When we're not on the range, we're in the classroom. This is where it is easy to fall into the role of the student but I am there to observe the instructor, learn how they facilitate and keep the students focused and engaged.
Dan's enthusiasm in the classroom is just as impressive as it is on the range, even if his artistic ability is not.

Is this an FJR1300?

We all see Irondad as a legend, this tough guy to be feared and tremble in his presence. Dan is just one of those guys, you know, the nicest guy you'll ever meet and although not a great singer, he has a great sense of humor and is a lot of fun to be around.

I met several other instructors this weekend, each one as nice and courteous as the next. There is a mutual respect between the seasoned instructors, the interns, apprentices and even toward a greenhorn like me. Thank you gentlemen, I certainly feel welcome and I am anxious to get started.

Thank you Sir.


No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. ~Author Unknown


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Humble Pie

Thanks for the new header photo Irondad.

I passed my skills test this morning and get to move forward with my training, although I did not receive a "perfect score" I was well within the passing curve.

I went out with Trobairitz after coffee Saturday and practiced the off set cone weave just to make sure I had the technique down before the test today. Trobairitz mastered the technique and was doing the weave on her bike within a couple of passes.

There is a swivel of the hips required to master the maneuver that a certain instructor in the Advance Rider Training taught us. If you ask him and no one is looking, he does a great Elvis impersonation, even wearing full gear.

Fortunately the class today was full, so there are only twelve bikes allowed on the range at a time, which meant I had to share a bike with someone and was able to pick the bike. Oh darn, I guess I'll share the TU250, heh heh.

Needless to say, I nailed the off set cone weave, the emergency braking and the avoidance swerve portion of the test. ART class paid off, but the instructors just wouldn't overlook the fact that I came into the cornering portion "a little hot". I was afraid I may have been a wee bit too fast into the turn but they did say "to exit rapidly" and that little TU250 is just too willing. Can you blame me?

I also have to work at shaking that dirtbike mentality in the tight 90º turn, even though I made it, they dinged me points for not turning my head. Stupid move, because I knew it the moment I did it too. Had the instructor asked me, I could've have told him exactly what I did wrong before he told me.

So I'll keep practicing. Besides, it's for the better, a perfect score would have gone to my head and this keeps me humble. I'm looking forward to auditing my next class and the interview.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Novel idea

I stumbled upon a video for you photographers Bobskoot, Irondad, Bluekat and others. You may know of this trick but I didn't and thought it was pretty ingenious.

This one is a bit lame but it might be fun to try.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

All this talk of cones...

Moto-bloggers practicing technique, acing exams and crushing cones what more could you ask for?

More cones of course.

"On the range"

I applied to become a Team Oregon instructor and I am beginning the journey of learning to train other motorcyclists. I get to audit two weekend classes and pass a rider skills test to be considered for an interview. This weekend is my first audit, I went to class Thursday night and observed the instructor teaching the class and took notes. It is interesting to sit in class and view the students and instructor from another perspective than taking the class itself. I am familiar with a lot of the curriculum and although I cannot comment or assist in class I am sheepishly picking up a few tips and tricks to counteract the bad habits I've picked up from years of riding.

Saturday morning started early, I arrived just before 7 am to audit the range part of the class and to hinder the instructors as they set up cones and prepped the bikes for the day of training.

I wonder if they're thinking "oh great, another photo nut taking pictures on the range"?

The afternoon consisted of more classroom, what to expect for Sunday's range session and more rider training for the real world.

Sunday is back on the range in the morning to practice breaking, more skills and a few practice laps before their skills test; mine won't be until next week but at least I now know what to expect. I'll insist on using my own bike and all I can do is mimic Roger's cone crushing attempt before I humbly beg to use one of the smaller training bikes. At least I'm familiar with riding the TU250, the new bikes that they use in class.

Fortunately another instructor arrived today on his Harley to see if he could do the offset cone weave. He did great on his first and second attempt but had to push his luck the third time and crush a poor innocent cone with the rear wheel of his hog, if I hadn't heard his verbal exclamation of his foul up from across the range none of us would have known.

I had tremendous fun today, I look forward to tomorrow, my skills test next week and my second audit the following week.

My neighbor who is an instructor goofing around on a scooter.

Teaching is fun.