There's a lot worse ways to start a Monday, I'm thinking. Trees and blacktop are whizzing by at a tremendous pace. I'm all alone and loving every minute of it!
A lot of folks dread Monday morning. I used to be in that group. Until I started working so many weekends, that is. Now the only day I'm really sure of is Sunday because the paper is bigger. Not that I have a chance to read it. I just see it on top of the pile with all the rest of the week's newsprint offerings. This Monday morning would end up being a little special all on its own, though.
Last week I was in Southern Oregon. I got off the bike at a rest stop and checked my phone messages. There was a call from Carol at our training program's headquarters. She wanted to know if I would be interested in teaching our Advanced Rider Training class on the upcoming Monday. More specifically, would I be able to take the Lead postion which included classroom? Is a frog's butt watertight? What was she thinking? It was to be the last ART class for the year. The Director had been scheduled to run Lead. He's out of town back East doing whatever it is Directors do. So I would be replacing him.
Sounds prestigious, doesn't it? Being picked to fill in for the Big Cheese. Well, here's the rest of the story.
Due to the limited offerings of this class, and the fact that it's sort of our flagship class, it's been held pretty close to the chests of the Director and the Training Manager, Ray. The Operations Manager, Ron, is also certified to do the classroom for this class. Once upon a time there was another fellow certified but he's now the Director for Idaho. I've taught the track part for a good while, along with my friend Dean W. Getting certified to do classroom was a more recent event for me.
So while there's plans to add a few more instructors to the list, including Dean,the fact is that there's only four candidates right now. Dean's as good as or better than me in the classroom. I just happened to somehow cut in front of him for the training line. The Director is out of town, the Training Manager's out of town, and the Operations Manager is deeply engrossed in working with the colleges to set next year's schedule. Rather than being prestigious, then, I was actually the bottom of the short list!
I don't care, though. Teaching ART is a privilege offered to relatively few instructors. I'll take it any way I can get it! There would be three of us for the track with me doing classroom in the morning. Some extra pressure was felt. This would be the first time I was totally responsible for putting it together and making it happen. As much as I've worked the track sessions, one or the other of the two Big Honchos had always been around. Just for a little more pressure, one of the students is a man from the Governor's Advisory Committee, the group that sort of does oversight on the state's traffic safety programs. As you can see by the photos, dark clouds hid the sun. Would we get the class in before the predicted rains came?
Not really feeling too pressured, but wanting things to go smoothly, I was up and gone early in the morning. For me it's a ride of nearly an hour. The classroom needed to be set up. Any debris on the track needed to be cleared off. Things had to be ready. Setup went smoothly. Everything was ready. There was still around 45 minutes until the students would start arriving. I was the only one there. All around me was a totally empty track. Hmm, what should I do with myself in the meantime?
Soon Elvira and I were in a world of our own. Each lap got smoother and smoother. Along with the smoothness came more speed. With nothing in our way we got into this totally hypnotizing groove. Faster, faster, and faster. On one lap I felt the front tire slip out of line then hook up again. There's been some patches done on the track along the back section. Some kind of silver colored material is spread around. Get enough speed and it can be a little slick. When I felt the front tire push I suddenly had this sobering thought.
If Danny Boy were to crash, it would be a long time until anybody found him.
I can just picture a conversation among students.
"Where's the instructor?"
"See that thing that looks like a bike on its side clear on the back side? Hanging off the edge and nearly plunging into the Pudding River? See the dude in the Hi-Viz jacket spread-eagled on the ground?"
"Well, that would be the instructor!"
Time to exercise a little more wrist management, I was thinking. Too much fun can be a bad thing.
The class itself was interesting. Maybe I'll share more of that in another post. I've at least got to share how awesome the FJR is on the track. Sweet!
Miles and smiles,