5.24.2007,11:56 AM
Ozarks High: Lessons

I'm not going to elaborate on the ride up except to mention again how well it was coordinated and conducted. Coordinating and managing a group of eleven bikes and twelve riders on 450 miles of winding twisting roads is complicated. Kudos to Bill and his team for that.

And then some....

New experiences:

1. This was my first large group ride and first long distance ride with anyone but myself and I (and the many voices in my head). I tend to ride in the rear on group rides for several reasons. One is I prefer my own pace, I tend to alternate between segments of riding for the ride and riding while soaking in everything around me. But mostly because I don't like the distractions of numerous riders/bikes/etc around me when I'm riding. No, I'm not anti-social, I 'm just a loner.

2. On the return trip from Tennessee I rode 1140 miles in less than 24 hours. We rode well over 450 miles in 12 hours (from my place) and I was beat 3/4 of the way there. I was up at 4 am, had 5 hours sleep, and the concentration required by the group dynamics and road conditions added up to fatiguing sooner than normal. Recognizing that, I slowed my speed and was more cautious in the curves the last 50 miles or so. I know my limits and when pushing is dangerous. When the mental acuity isn't there, fall back.

3. I can do U-turns. But I still hate them. The first one I nearly wiped out by going off the shoulder onto loose gravel. Trying to recover back on the pavement, my rear tire went squirrelly in the gravel. Over the next two days my two attempts at U-turns were successful and with no negative event (Tim's my witness on one of them). I realize that my issue is psychological; I went down twice while attempting U-turns (once on gravel). The two successful turns on this trip have helped me begin to overcome my issue and I have been practicing them in the parking lot at the train station in the morning. Soon I'll take that to the road.

4. I need a track day. I know that will cross-over to riding roads like we did in Arkansas. I want to learn more technique on cornering with my bike to increase my confidence. I know how far I can lean; I've gouged the pavement with a peg and boot before. But that scared the crap out of me. (it was unintentional)

5. When visiting parks, ask about park roads. My unintentional dualsport/off-road adventure at one of the AR parks left me a bit....... full of adrenaline. That story later.

6. Never overestimate how far you can go on a tank of gas. That was just a reinforcement of an earlier lesson.

7. Although I know Whee is not a Thoroughbred, now I know Whee is a quarter horse. Several times on this trip I rolled that throttle wide open and was pleasantly surprised at how quick, smooth and fast that little mustang can sprint. It was as if we were flying at take-off. But it can't maintain that high rpm and speed. It's a sprinter. Regardless, it is good to know that power and capability are there when I need it, and I did need it several times.

8. My enjoyment of a trip was restored. This time I had both: with other riders, and, as is my usual, alone. Good mojo is back.

Next: My lone sojourn for a day.

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posted by Macrobe
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