Sunday, December 30, 2012

Part 4 - Now That THAT's Out of the Way

So I made my first attempt at riding in Real Dirt (OK, sand), didn't fail miserably, found out my limitations, and actually had a bit of fun.  Unfortunately, since it wiped me out so quickly, I made the decision to wrap up early and head home.  Fortunately, the lengthy ride home gave me time to reflect and recoup. 

Of course, getting home means cleaning up, putting stuff away, etc.  Which means - since I'm responsible for maintaining my own bike - I get to clean my own bike.  When I first brought the bike home and my friend and I went through checking it out, giving it an initial bath, etc., he also used some spray wax (super easy spray-on-wipe-off sort of stuff) on the plastic to help make it easier to clean.  Since I didn't ride much or hard all it took was a quick rinse off with the hose.  There will be more about maintenance later; but for this initial ride, all the bike needed was a quick hosing.

Of course, we were talking while putting gear away and cleaning up and it was suggested I might want to ride around in the yard a bit if I was feeling up to it.  Well, that sure sounded like a challenge to, put my pants, boots, gloves, and helmet back on and rode around the front and back yard to get a better feel for the bike.  Nothing crazy, especially since I wasn't wearing my armor and had only a tank top on, just riding around in slow ovals and Ls pretty much....until the pit bike came out.  I have a Kawasaki KLX 110 that gets used as a pit bike, and now as a demonstration/practice bike in the yard.  My friend grabbed the pit bike out of the back garage and started running around the yard on it; first just for kicks and grins and then started having me follow him in a big L-shaped loop in the backyard and imitate what he was doing. 

The main thing we practiced was sticking my foot out to corner and powering through the corner.  We ended up going clockwise, which turned out to be the side I need to work on the most.  When we were still at Croom, we rode the little practice oval counter-clockwise and sticking my left foot out in the corners was absolutely natural - I didn't think about it the first time or any time I did it.  Just threw it out there; don't get me wrong, I was surprised when I did it and even more surprised when I had a positive outcome by doing so, but it didn't require any thought.  For some reason, though, my right foot just doesn't want to leave the peg and when it does leave the peg, doesn't want to quite touch the ground or ends up getting dragged rather than what it's supposed to.  Hmm....question for the future - what IS my foot supposed to be doing?  Pushing?  Being a pivot point?

He spent a little time following me to see what I was doing correctly and not correctly.  He also had me hop on the pit bike with him so we could go around the yard together and he could show me where/when I needed to put my foot out, how it needed to be touching the ground, where the front wheel needed to be pointing, and when to start powering through the corner with the throttle.  (I soooo wish I had a picture of that!  Imagine a 6'4" beanpole squid* (my friend) with a 5'8" half-geared up newb (me) in front of him on a KLX 110 riding around the backyard!  I'm sure we made quite a sight, lol!)  So I kept practicing on the pit bike while he then hopped on my bike and followed me around until I got tired and started getting worse rather than better.

This is me on the KLX 110 and my friend on his track bike.
Now imagine BOTH of us on the KLX!

I'm glad I hopped back on the same day and did some practicing; it made me feel a little more confident.  I'm just as glad I quit each time when I did so that I didn't get so frustrated that I wouldn't want to do anymore - I'm pretty good about knowing my limits and when not to push them.  I'm still not planning on going back out, though, until January - I feel I need to get some physical conditioning started before I attempt another run in the dirt.  I've been told by many, and I certainly believe it, that more riding will lead to better cardio and physical conditioning, but I feel that I need a much more solid baseline than I currently have!   Can't wait to get back out there, but until then....

Next step - get fit! 

* See Side Notes - Part 4

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