Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Could be worse!

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?

I looked to the South. Empty track and paddock. I looked to the West. More empty track. Looking North, I saw this.

I was born at night, but it wasn't last night. An empty track and a sleek bike meant only one thing!

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?"

"Yup."

"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!

For now, though, let me just say this. When your back tire ends up looking like this on a Monday, things could be a lot worse. Not a bad way to start a week. Not at all!

Miles and smiles,

Dan


15 comments:

SheRidesABeemer said...

You're living the life! Nice work!

Charlie6 said...

Living the dream! You Da Man!


Redleg's Rides

Allen Madding said...

that bad boy was getting HOT! :) Somehow I am confident your track day was a bit more challenging than mine.

-Peace

John McClane said...

I was born at night, but it wasn't last night.

Great phrase! I'm going to start using it!

Stacy said...

One day, I hope to have that "fresh from a track day" look on my tires.

Memo to Mid-Valley riders: ODOT has laid fresh pavement (*beautiful* fresh pavement!) on Hwy 34 from the Hwy 20 junction to almost all the way up the fun twisty part (near Mary's Peak Rd). The new pavement is great, but watch out for gravel remnants left over from the paving.

Steve L. said...

The only question I have is...

when is next year's course schedule going to be available?!

Wow, the track, all to yourself....

I am so very jealous right now.

fasthair said...

It's a sh!ty job but someone has to do it!

I was thinking of this as I rode out of drive in the rain this morning... sign

fasthair

Bryce said...

Didn't take long for you to wear off the edges of those skins!
Bully for you and Elvira. Suspect
you'll want to replace that tyre at some point, soon.

Oh and speaking of riding spent a good hour or more learning to do the twist between the sliced orange tennis balls this weekend, actually the holiday Monday. Oh am I stiff!

However the Goldwing handles much better, amazing what a late life rebuild can do including a new clutch, the second one for the bike.

Am going to keep the bike and keep riding until the snow flies and road salt appears...life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.

agirlwithacomputer said...

It is starting to get cold outside in the Northern states, riding your motorcycle is a little more of a task then it was in the past summer months, now you have to bundle up and ensure you have the proper gear for the weather. Helmets, while should be worn all year round, become more popular in the colder months as they protect our faces from the bitterly cold winds that used to be warm rays of sunshine. This fall and in to early winter for the die hards who can not garage that beautiful bike may want to dress up their motorcycle helmets with some bling and maybe even a Mohawk. Helmet hair has become pretty popular, there are some bikers who wear it faithfully and sport it as if it were their own doo. The affordable and fun helmet hair and helmet patches can make your helmet more colorful, get you more attention, and even match your personality. So don’t put away the bike yet, grab that helmet to protect your face and slap on a bright blue Mohawk to that old helmet and make it look like new. You can get helmet hair to match your bike, your gear, or just find one that matches your style.

irondad said...

Gail,
Believe me, I constantly remind myself how lucky I am!

Dom,
It took a long time to get here! See my comment to Gail above.

Allen,
Some was heat and some was rubber left on the track by the carts. What makes the day challenging is trying to help a dozen students polish their skills.

John,
You're welcome to it. That's surely not an original comment from me. I've used it as long as I can remember. Don't know where it came from. You're welcome to it.

Stacy,
Wasn't the rest of Hwy 34 to the coast paved a few years ago? The whole thing should be in pretty good shape. I used to take the CBR and go back forth on that twisty part just for entertainment.

Steve L,
The 2009 schedule will be finalized by the end of the year and on the website.

A track to yourself is a very good thing, indeed. Did I mention that I get reimbursed mileage for 40 track miles, too?

Fasthair,
There was frost on everything this morning. Our rain's coming tomorrow. Keep swimming!

Bryce,
Good for you. Go for it!

Computer girl,
Who are you and why do you keep leaving carbon copy comments on everyone's blog?

Take care,

Dan

Lucky said...

Nice!

So do the ART student all leave with their tires looking like that?

Steve Williams said...

Looks like a fine way to begin a week. Unexpected and serendipitious opportunities are the best.

My Vespa tire always looks like that. *grin* Doesn't everyone's??? Actually I still have a lot of those little needles on my when the center is worn out. I'm afraid you would find my riding style, well, less than fulfilling.

And that girl with a computer is everywhere. She probably works for the government.

Derek said...

That reminds me. I'm about due for some training in the Spring season.

irondad said...

Lucky,
Only the smiling ones!

Steve W,
Fulfillment takes many forms. Let's be bonded by our similarities and not divided by our differences. Although you'd be surprised by how a little steel wool can make your tires loook!

Derek,
Good idea!

Take care,

Dan

Dean W said...

"Dean's as good as or better than me in the classroom."

Go on, pull the other one, too. It's got bells on it...

I thought about running out there Monday morning, but the FJR is still filthy from Kansas, and I spent the weekend in Medford where it was nice and sunny... and 26 degrees at 6am Sunday.