11.27.2007,12:19 PM
Dirt School. Lessons.
Dear Dirt,

I learned a lot from you in two days and was reminded of other things.

1. I'm not as old as I am. I'm still a kid inside. Now if I can just convince my aching body that I'm not as old as it thinks it is, I'll be good.

2. Never get cocky. I did a few times and was lucky most times. Once, while going around a corner at the bottom of a hill, I rolled on the throttle too soon and too much. In sand. POW! I don't remember the act of crashing, only the result. Such as my noggin bouncing off your hardpan inside my helmeted head. Now, I do remember a half-second long flash of thinking, 'Man, am I glad I wear a good helmet!', while it was bouncing.

I am grateful to the man that picked the bike up off me and held it, telling me while smiling "Time to get back on the horse." Yessiree! I did, smiling and thanking him; shifted down and up the hill I went, over the jump, on the pegs, around the next corner and repeated again and again. And again. I don't give up. But I did reign in my cockiness.

3. I learn faster than I thought I would. Ed patiently offered constructive criticism and pointers, for which I am very thankful, but I also picked up techniques just by riding trial and error. Sure, I fell down three times in the ruts (they're a challenge). But I picked the bike up and did it again. It took me three falls to find what worked. Ironically the solution was the opposite of what other dirt riders recommend.

4. Indecisiveness can be dangerous. Not that I sit at a spot and ponder over what is ahead. But sometimes stopping is not a good option. Look ahead, pick your line and stick with it. Be flexible and ready to change it as needed. Besides, the more you sit there, the more intimidating things become. Like a tiger that gets exponentially bigger and louder over time.

5. I found my sweet spot. Well, sweet position: on the pegs. After half a day of riding on you and experimenting with Sherpie, the most comfortable position that offers control is standing on the pegs. That way you can use your center of gravity in conjunction with that of the bike to your best advantage depending on the terrain and conditions. I found myself rarely sitting on the bike the last half of the second day.

6. Use your own body weight to
help maneuver the bike under you. Shifting weight side to side, down through the pegs, or even leaning against the tank can add another element of control over the bike.

7. The cycle parks are fun, but for me they are more a school ground. To learn and master techniques and skills for the various conditions you will throw at me out on the trails in the real world: trails and roads in forests, deserts, canyons, creeks, rocks, and mountains.

8. I have so much more to learn. And I am ready!! Take me to your leader.......

9. I'm addicted. Street riding and riding you are different in so many ways. I love both, but you, my friend, are special. You and my dirty bike are becoming my best of friends.

Until we meet again, Mr. Dirt!

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posted by Macrobe
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