|12-10-2009, 07:58 AM||#1|
Andrew to most
Joined: Jun 2004
Location: Southern Tip of Africa
Riding Sand, it's not about the sand.
Sand from the inside, its about you.
(Photo's are from my travels and the course.)
Recently I had a go at taking some people on a half day of sand riding.
I really like riding sand and because of the work that I do – I help executive/management and sales teams perform better – I have some tools/experience that I thought would help people who have a bit of a hang up with sand.
This was an experiment for me too having helped a few people but never having a more formal approach.
Maybe an overview of what I did might help you.
First, some background on a way of understanding fear;
A way of describing fear is to use the analogy of an edge. It easier to use and is very useful in describing the important dynamics that happen as we both get closer to, and again when we step over it.
An Edge is something that is difficult to say, to think, to do, to feel, to dream, to hear or to look at. Doing so causes anxiety.
Edges are not always created by things that disturb us, attractors also create edges. A person who reluctantly has to cross a sand patch is different from someone who really wants to do the same but knows they don’t have the skills or experience. Both have an edge around sand and both would experience the same anxiety and some of the internal dialogue prior to the crossing. Both would be fearful.
We all have different edges, what one of us will comfortably do, others cannot.
• Edges are places where we are at a growing or inviting place to new experience.
• They are uncomfortable because they are part of what is yearning to happen but require new expression and challenges to our usual way of expressing. For example, attraction to another person.
• Edges have heat. We display behaviour at edges, like movement, freeze, laughter/giggling, forget everything, go red, etc. Called edge behaviour.
• Over edge is often relieving. What was the big deal etc. This especially true when we have support over the edge.
• Edges occur in groups. We might want to say something but feel bad.
A critical aspect of edges is the Edge Figure or internal voice. We all have an internal voice “advising” us or influencing us. These voices or figures are a mixture of reality and perception based on our previous experiences, our culture, our families and our values. This running commentary is the "truth" that we experience. This is referred to as edge voices or edge figures e.g "sand monsters".
As we approach an edge, our anxiety increases and our voices tell us No! I’ll look like a fool! I’ll look bad! You’ll get hurt! The closer to the edge the louder the voice or stronger the figure.
Some of us go leaping over edges; others tread slowly. Most of us find ourselves somewhere in between.
There are some edges that we should not cross. For example, it may be a career-limiting move to tell your boss what you really think of him or her in an unprepared and unprofessional manner. Edges not to cross are those that would hurt you or someone else too much.
There are some ways of crossing edges unprepared and uncontrolled:
1. Under the influence of alcohol or substances. They are the anesthetic that puts our edge voices to sleep.
2. In strong emotion people cross edges more quickly and less prepared.
3. In groups/crowds people cross edges more quickly and less prepared.
We approach an edge because we choose to, or because life pushes us there.
There are edges…
…we need to cross
…we should not cross
…we cross uncontrolled or unprepared
…we are pushed over
To move over edges we need support. Without thinking we can chase people over edges and embarrass or hurt them. It is critical that we never push someone over an edge; that we only support and assist him or her over their edge. The minute you push someone over an edge there are relationship problems. (of course we can all relate to being given a bit of a push as opposed to a shove – sometimes a bit of a supportive, loving push is good)
Ok, so now that the theory is over, the course;
I had specifically asked for people who have an edge around sand, but, where sand is an attractor not a disturber. In other words they want to ride it but haven’t had much success or experience. This I think is a critical vetting step. Otherwise it would be a therapy session.
We then spent the first hour telling chatting this theory and then having a group discussion so that they become more conscious of their internal dialogue. The reason is to get out into consciousness the critical voices that limit performance and listening. When you bring awareness to the edge figure you can begin to separate yourself from it. Until then you believe it, it can crush you, because you have identified with it as truth. The riders should then be able to monitor self performance better and be open to the experience of sand better.
We rode for a few k’s through very easy gravel with a very minor sand patch here and there. The very little sand was easily avoided and it was possible to ride around it. Once next to the bit of sand I wanted to train on it was fascinating to hear the group reflect on what the internal dialogue was and more importantly what the edge behavior was when this happened.
This is the critical step. We so often are unaware of how our behavior changes at edges. In sand the idea is that not being in as much control is actually the goal. Edge behavior often unconsciously dictates to the body in a way that destroys the ability to let sand have some control over the bike. What happens is that the body goes into resistance or inappropriate response e.g.
Gripping the bars and bike in a death grip.
Tapping off or revving the throttle.
Tunnel vision or target fixation.
Over correcting or fighting the bars.
Reflex sitting and putting the legs out.
All of which is counterproductive to getting into a rhythm in sand.
Then we went onto a very few basics of sand riding, bike setup, posture and control. Then quickly onto the sand itself. The sand I had in mind was pretty easy. Unfortunately it was a lot more loose and thick than anticipated so steepened the learning curve a bit. The idea was to experiment. This is where personal coaching starts to work. Getting and giving feedback. I’d wanted to get the participants to coach each other, it is a great way to learn.
A key point was to then see if I could rearrange the relationship the riders have with sand. Most people refer to sand as the “sand monster”. I expect this to be the case with most who have an issue with sand… and worse. If a new relationship with sand can be cultivated it does massive things to the ability to relax and perform.
Personally I see sand as a river and sometimes an ocean (in dunes). It takes me to wonderful new places that normal roads can’t. You can imagine how my relationship with sand impacts my mindset when I see sand as opposed to the mindset someone has if when they see a patch of sand they see a monster.
I was amazed to see just how well they all did. Still a healthy respect, but generally for beginners, a pretty high degree of competence. It was important for all of them to have taken a tumble of sorts. A fall with no consequence does wonders to the edge voices – they lose a lot of ammo.
It went pretty well so I tried a bit of a difficult stretch. One of the guys saw his arse but only because he’d psyched himself out of it and let the edge voices/behaviors dominate at the critical moment. He hurt nothing on himself or his bike and was not too displeased with himself. I doubt his mornings work was for nothing. Sand gets everyone. If you don’t fall, you aren’t trying hard enough.
I don’t really have any strong opinions on best technique for riding sand other than I feel quite strongly about the use of the clutch - in thick sand it stops being a clutch and becomes a switch, no feathering. It's either in or out, rarely anything in-between. Keep your fingers off it. I read a lot of “do this” and “don’t do that”. I say do what works for you and to do this you need to experiment. Experimentation is hard with a constant fear. There are things that make it sometimes easier, but as with all rules, they should be seen more as guidelines than commandments.
Of course riding sand can be made more difficult with the wrong tools, but the wrong tools/tires/fitness, etc. are often just easy ammo for the edge figures.
I felt the course was pretty successful not just because there was a good feeling from the riders about it, but it worked I think because the fear was to a degree minimized by being more conscious of it and how it takes over. The course was about controlling the fear, not the sand.
Hope this helps?
I often wonder where that road goes? And that, has usually made all the difference. Appologies to Mr Frost
|12-10-2009, 08:42 AM||#2|
Joined: Jul 2005
Great post. I love riding in sand, have since I was a kid. Never quite understood the aversion to it. I do tend to ride 250cc MX'ers so that may have something to do with it. The heaviest bike I've had in deep sand was an XR650L - it worked fine, but definitely was more work.
'09 Buell XB12XT, TL1000S, H1F, M620, CR250R, DR250SE, XR650R, Cota 315R
Summer 2009 Ride Report http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...1509c&t=507038
Summer 2008 RR. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=367703
|12-10-2009, 07:40 PM||#4|
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: West Texas
I have no idea what all you wrote (all the corporate team building stuff I have been through was a waste of time, sorry) but somewhere in there if you said "hold the throttle on until the bike planes on top of the sand and don't let off", then you probably taught someone something.
Nice pictures, though.
'06 950 Adventure S
'10 Husaberg FX 450
'01 KTM 520exc
|12-10-2009, 08:55 PM||#5|
Love those blue pipes
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
...and nice pictures as said before
|12-11-2009, 03:20 AM||#6|
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
I find all your posts amazing. I have watched your videos, seen your post on WD, and on the BMW forum. You have great teaching skills and an amazing attitude.
I would love to attend your course if you run another one. I am also in Cape Town. I find the GSA hard work in the sand!
|12-13-2009, 07:53 PM||#7|
I´m too old for this....
Joined: May 2009
Location: Buenos Aires , Argentina
Its amazing how your clearly express the rezionalized process to conquer the "sand Fear".
I never thought about the process I have internally made in order to defeat my fear for the sand.
Thanks for your post!
|12-16-2009, 05:44 PM||#9|
Joined: Aug 2007
Location: N. Arizona
Its an interesting subject about the "edge". While its important for an individual to understand where their personal edge lies, I've been working more within understanding the "margin" and the flexibility one has with that space rather than the absolute limit of space. As an analogy, say a highway has an edge (limit of tarmac), a solid painted line a couple of feet from the edge, which acts as a margin, and path that 90% of people take on anything they do (the dotted line in the middle of the road. Technically, on my bike I can ride into the margin if needed, close to the edge. It's a little scary there, but no ill effect. But if I constantly ride to the edge of the tarmac, I'm asking for trouble. I better slow down and slowly learn what it is like to ride off and back onto the pavement.
Let's say that a person has to ride a bike up to the edge of their current physical and mental limit. Part of my mental sand avoidance is due to the fact that it costs a lot of ducats to fix the 950 Adventure. Whereas loose sand washes filled with basketball sized rocks on the 300 xcw is just part of having fun in the desert. But what I learned on the 950 is to ride it like a dirtbike. Stand up on the tank! A steering stabilizer works good too!
|12-16-2009, 05:53 PM||#10|
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Waynesboro, PA
|Thread Tools||Search this Thread|