03-28-2013, 05:55 PM
What will break next
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Colonial Beach VA
After a fantastic lunch, the class gathered up for our after lunch festivities. We started out with a little “get back into it” trail ride. This one included a few more challenges then the previous ones. After looping around the ranch a bit we were back at the hill we left off with before lunch. A couple more times down and we were headed off to a longer, steeper, more rutted down hill.
Using the techniques the coaches had provided with the before lunch drills, the hill was actually pretty easy.
With everyone getting to practice this down hill a few times we reversed course and started our hill climbing exercise. Balanced on the foot pegs, holding the tank with your knees and leaning into the hill…it was a piece of cake even with the street tires. Though it was a steeper and longer incline then we had gone up previously, it was still not what I would call really steep.
The key item of knowledge the coaches made sure we got was the downhill wheel was the one that controlled the braking of the bike. When you were headed downhill, being able to stop the bike on the decent was only possible with good front brake control, often to the point of threshold braking. Quite a few times, the front wheel started skidding on me. By releasing the brake slightly and reapplying kept things under control.
After the hill climbs we were off to the sand pit area…no not to ride the deep sand but to use the flat grassy area near it to do counter weighting drills. Del set out a couple sets of cones in a square about 3 feet across. The object was to circle the cones in as small of a circle as possible by putting your weight over the outside foot peg. To do this you straightened your inside leg and bent the knee on the outside leg. You also moved “Moesha” outboard. “Moesha” was what Del referred to when he wanted you to stick your backside somewhere. Yes, he demonstrated…and yes, every time I hear that name I picture a Del shaking his “Moesha” to emphasize his point .
Once we had a few goes at going around the cones, he moved them a bit farther apart…and had us turn inside the cones. To do that, you pretty much had to keep your handlebars turned to the stops and shift your weight to control the turn. Of course Del thought that was still to easy for us, so he had us do figure eights. The key to staying within the coned off space there was to shift your body position pretty quickly and smoothly. Just to make things interesting after that, they open up the “pen”. The pen was a fenced in area with very tight S-turns. The turns were so tight that if you tried to turn the bike without leaning it way in, you would go wide and have to back up to make the turn. Very tight, very technical and very fun…no, I didn’t make it through without baking up…a couple times.
Then it was time to pick up the pace a bit. Slide turn time…
The cones were rearranged into a series of S-turns about 20 feet apart. Del and the other coaches demonstrated the affects of skidding the rear wheel then trying to turn and starting a turn, then skidding the rear wheel. Big difference in the amount of travel of the rear wheel with starting the turn then skidding. The goal was to pick up speed, start the turn and skid the rear end to pivot around the cones. Took a bit of practice, but just about everyone was able to do that fairly well.
Every one seemed to do it better in one direction then the other. By One direction or the other, I don’t mean left or right, I mean coming or going. If they were coming back towards the group, there was a lot of room, not that anyone used it, but it was there. Going away from the group, you were headed towards a ledge. You still had all the room needed to do the exercise, but I think just the thought of going towards it kept the going away speeds a bit lower and we got less pivot out of the turns. A few times during the day, I had missed the brake pedal on the F800…and sure enough headed into the turn closest to the ledge I missed it again. Nothing like expecting to stop and your foot not touching anything to get a bit of vacuum at the seat. Had plenty of room to slow down and turn, but still got my attention.
Another trail ride around the ranch and it was back to the off camber switchback section we started on in the morning. This time we were using a new slide turn skills to pivot around a couple of these switchback turns. If done right, you could make the turn much sharper then trying to round the turn.
Time for another trail ride. These trail rides got progressively harder each time we headed out on them. They generally included something new that used the skill exercise we just completed. They got longer and more challenging. On this trail ride we headed down a long, fairly steep down hill the had quite a few twists and turns as we headed down. The whole track down was a mix of hard pack, loose dirt, small racks and grass. It was cool being able to use the slide turns out on the trail. It really proved the usefulness.
On this trail ride we ended up stopping near the teeter-totter area. This area also had a few hillclimbs and Del was letting those who wanted to climb the hills. From left to right the hills got more challenging. The first slope was just a straight up run. The one next to that had a small step at the top so you had to get your speed right or you would get a bit more air than a BMW should see. To the right of that was another step up, but this one was about halfway up and consisted of two rail road ties.
(Andrew headed to the rail road tie step up)
Being an unruly bunch of hoodlums, we asked about when would we get a chance to try it….No time like the present, so off we went…It was actually quite a bit easier than it looks. Proceed up slow and steady, hold your position as the other side drops and be ready for the bounce…then roll off. Easy…but fun.
(Mark and Roman conquering the teeter-totter)
That ended the class for the day...back to the compound.
EOD3MC screwed with this post 03-30-2013 at 03:34 PM
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