Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sorcerer's Apprentice

It has been a while since I posted last, it has been busy at work and I've been busy at home, not to mention trying to catch up on yard work between rain showers. Fortunately since my last post, the rain has subsided, it has finally slowed some at work and we have actually had some sunshine and beautiful warm days allowing us to get in a ride or two the last couple of weekends.

Since Oregon spring consists of nothing but showers we certainly appreciate the sunshine yet remain cautious since the weather can turn on you quickly. We don't fully embrace the warm weather until July and are always looking over our shoulders watching for the gray clouds and telltale signs of rain.

A couple three weeks ago I spent one wet and miserable weekend teaching even wetter and more miserable students to ride motorcycles. Saturday wasn't too bad, but Sunday was blowing-sideways-wet. If I'm running around setting cones, waving students through the exercises while wearing an extra 20 lbs. of riding gear, you know the weather sucks. But I truly feel for the students as they arrive on the range eager to ride wearing jeans, hi-top shoes and hardware store gloves only to be completely soaked to the bone by the end of the day. You can't blame them, many have never even sat on a motorcycle before so this is all new to them and they don't want to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on brand new riding gear quite yet.

They remind me of me when I first started riding; I got by with just an old denim jacket, jeans, worn out stompy boots, work gloves and poor fitting, garage sale helmet. I would get caught in the rain and scramble to find a garbage bag and design a makeshift t-shirt for rain gear, stuff newspapers in my jacket for warmth and huddle under overpasses until the shower passed, or at least let up some. My jeans would be soaked, my socks wicking water into my boots and my hands so cold and wet that I couldn't feel the controls. But just like I was back then, their spirits remain high and they continue to smile through fogging visors despite their uncontrollable shivering. In staging, they huddle over their motorcycles and stuff their numb hands around the cylinder heads praying for any sort of warmth that little 250cc motor will provide.

Whether they know it or not, they just experienced their first motorcycle adventure and now have a story to tell their non-riding friends, co-workers and family that solidifies the fact that motorcyclists are in fact somewhat mentally disturbed (insert maniacal laugh). Welcome to the wonderful world of motorcycles, enjoy the ride.

That weekend was also a great one for me despite the rain and it earmarks another page in my own journal. After numerous class audits, the Instructor Preparation weekend, hanging out at the range and teaching two more weekends I was signed off from an apprentice instructor...

I am now an Intern Instructor, which means receiving my instructor card, my name tag and letter of congratulations signed and "hand delivered" by The Legend himself. I have the full responsibility of an active instructor and will no longer have a mentor at my side to coach me, offer guidance or catch me if I mess up. My mentor will now be all the way across the range. You know how Mickey Mouse felt with all that water? It's time to sink or swim. The next challenge is to put everything I've learned as an Apprentice Instructor to the test by covering certain criteria and "meet standard" in two consecutive BRT courses to be signed off as an Active Instructor.

I got this.

It's supposed to be another nice weekend coming up so if I can catch up on some of the yard work and a bit of the home renovations maybe, just maybe I can sneak out to the range for a bit of a refresher.

And if you haven't been riding lately because of the weather, be careful out there, your skills might need a little refresher too. Ride safe.