Today we accidentally got up at 4:30
We have those auto set clocks. They are great but they where not DST compatible so we moved them forward. Well they decided that it was time to move forward and the alarms went off at 5:30. It was about half an hour later, downstairs, on our computers, that we realized what had happened.
As for class. The short story is that we all passed.
The long story…
My mind is jumbled. I tried to start writing this last night but exhaustion and exhilaration where at war inside of me. Amazing how tired we wound up, in the end. It was not really *that* long, yet when we staggered out Sunday afternoon I was sure it was around six pm.
The weather prediction for Sunday was rain. It was cool and overcast. Many of us where a bit chilled as we huddled around our bikes. The boyfriend and I made sure to nab our bikes from the previous day. The little duel sports where doing so well for us that we both are debating buying one in the future. They may be ugly but they are so capable.
Ferrari woman and I talked. She felt that she was going to fail the class. She had gone home and told her husband she had dumped the bike and said the look of horror on his face was priceless. He had offered to let her ride on his and she asked him how she was going to ride his enormous 1800cc Harley when she couldn’t handle a bike in class? She also felt the course was moving to fast. She couldn’t keep up because she was having a problem interpreting things to words she understood. Roll on the throttle = give it gas and etc. Seems her husband also did not think to go over his bike with her. She had been riding on the back and assumed that she knew. She was planning to go and take Harley’s riders edge because she felt it would go slower and she would get more personal instruction. I suggested she talk to the instructors. They don’t know she is having issues if she doesn’t tell them.
We got to warm our bikes up and take them on a few laps around the range. I was very excited from the day before, but this started a somewhat bad morning for me. My bike kept dying it was so cold. Choke out, sitting idling, apply some throttle and zot. I missed the first half dozen laps around the course and felt like a moron as it died on me several more times.
Eventually I yanked the choke all the way out and took off. By the time we stopped in a single file line I had enough warmth that I was able to turn it down. However, I had to leave a small bit open or it would die on me at idle.
Our first exercise was the box. I stared at these blue lines. I didn’t feel to bad, I could do this. We where split into two groups of 6 to do the box. I watched some of my class mates do it and I felt okay.
Until I got into the box. My self esteem went from ‘I can do this’ to ‘You are the most pathetic fuckup ever’. I was absolutely unable to stay in those lines. I wavered, I swerved I hit my throttle and shot off in random directions. When I came around for my third attempt I realized I was not counter weighting, in fact I had been leaning into my turns.. This allowed my box to start getting a little better, my first figure eight was neat but the second one was still a bloated deranged thing and by the end I was in tears and saw my future as a motorcyclist delayed by my inability. I didn’t drop my bike, which was a bit better then one of the ladies. She grabbed her front break and in a classic maneuver went straight down. She was fine and her husband had to restrain himself from shooting across the course to aid her.
The next step was curves. My eyes a bit blurry from my tears and my boyfriends words of encouragement bouncing off my helmet (I was much to deep in my own misery to be rational) we started doing the 90 degree and 380(?) curves.
This was better. The curves I was able to peg one after one. I started rolling onto my throttle and dropping my bike into them like it was meant to go. Each time, for a handful of seconds I had the briefest taste of what it must be like to go out on the road and have an entire clue.
Why couldn’t they have done this exercise first? My bike was finally warm, I was warm, and I felt capable again. Perhaps, I would be able to pass. I would screw up the box but if I nailed everything else it would be fine. Again there was a lack of leaning. The lady who had not passed previously was not getting her speed up. Two of the other guys who where riding for the first time also had serious problems increasing their speeds. Both did a good job of their figure eights, nice and neat, but they never put speed and lean into their exercises and the instructors where constantly after them. Ferrari woman also had a speed issue.
Next we went into straightening and stopping in a curve. This went very well for most of us. The young man on the ninjaette dropped his bike. He was still in the turn when he braked and bam over he went. The bike seemed undamaged from it. The lady that had previously failed kept anticipating her stops and along with her complete lack of speed she wasn’t even making it to the instructor. Ferrari woman missed the breaks and took off across the course for a bit.
We moved on from there to some emergency swerving and breaking. This started to restore my confidence. He also had us look at the start of the weaves we needed to do to get to the line again and stare at them while accelerating to show us that the motorcycle went where we looked. The first time I missed the weaves because I stalled out at the end of my swerve, and my shot nerves made me hit a big depressed bubble. I got back on my feet however, shook it off, because I wasn’t going to do well if I kept brooding over my inabilities.
I found the emergency swerves uncomfortable. Not because I had a problem but because I was holding my head up. I was doing well and getting a thumbs up from the instructor but the desire to LOOK at the lines to make sure I was clearing them was so great, that I was fighting it the whole time. But I had to fight, learning how to look properly is so important, but I had to keep asking if I was clearing the lines because I couldn’t see it.
We had about two small breaks. We kept pushing on because of the overcast sky and occasional rumble from it. Every time I got back on my bike it was cold again and I had to choke it and work with it to get it to run. This was making me a bit nervous.
We did lane changes, which wasn’t that bad. Helps understand the bikes balance a bit more. I think that was the bulk of what we did because as we where doing the lane changes a guy pulled up on something big and shiny with a custom paint job. He strolled over and talked to the instructors and we got the feeling that he was their boss and was coming to make sure the test was evaluated properly.
Then we got in line, got another break and they set up the practice course for the test. My boyfriend told me to relax, but I was sure that the box and I where going to destroy my hopes and dreams. I tried to compose myself as we went into the first emergency stop. I needed to go to that box and practice it. When I did it, one of the instructors had a card at the back of his book and sent me to the stop. I noticed him reference this card as he sent people to more emergency breaking or the box or alternated them. He had been taking notes, something I noticed the first day.
Well when I got up to the box this time my eyes where the size of dinner plates. Others where wandering around the liens as well. I noticed a lot of feet going down, and the lady that was retaking the course was meandering out as far as I had been. That might not be so bad then. I listened to him tell everyone to look at the two sets of ones, one at the entrance and one at the exit as you do each piece. When I finally went in, I stayed in first, pulled in my clutch and snapped my head around like it was broken to stare at the entrance cones. I worked my clutch like my life was depending on it and snapped to look at the exit cones. I could hear my throttle roaring away because I was turning it without meaning to, but I had to clutch in and let just enough out to move me forward and poof I was out of the box. I kicked up into second and went to the emergency swerve and back into line for the emergency stop practice.
Flush with success I took the box a second time and nailed it again. Oh god. Maybe I would pass? I was shaking by the time I stopped and looked at the duel thumbs up my boyfriend had tossed at me. I watched the lady doing her retake finally nail the box. She then completely missed the emergency serve box in her glowing joy at getting the figure eight.
We did this for about twenty minutes and then we started our test. They asked if we wanted lunch and everyone said no, we just want to get it done. In between those points, Cat’s husband asked to sit on my bike. He was on a rebel which is quite low. He liked the position and feel of my bike a lot better then how low slung his rebel felt. I nodded and told him in a playful way to back away from the bike, we where a team.
The test started with the figure eight. I was eighth in line. First to go was Cat’s husband. He put each foot down once and went outside the box. The instructor told him “Keep going forget about this and go!” to the swerve. You could see him tense up and my heart was in my throat. My boyfriend, yet again, did a perfect and beautiful figure eight and flowed into the swerve box. The guy in front of me, one of the newer riders did his figure eight fine, but went so slowly into the swerve that he was called back to redo it.
My eyes hot and wide I went into my figure eight. I started the first U and my head snapped around to hold onto my entrance cones. I cleared the first U or felt I did and went into the second. The exit was my goal and I don’t think I blinked. I could hear my throttle revving up again but I feathered my clutch like a maniac and suddenly I was back upright and headed for the exit. I kicked up into second gear and made my swerve, stopped, got my left foot down and took off to the back of the line for the emergency stop.
I was in the box, I think. I know that I didn’t go wandering across the course this time. I had made it, and not been called back. I watched the remainders go through. The lady that had repeated did good with her box and made her swerve this time. Ferrari lady was last and her box went all over the place. They got her to go, but her body screamed dejection as she made a nice set of emergency swerves and came to join the line.
The emergency breaking was a bit smoother. Some went over a bit. Two had to repeat because of slow speeds. One was the guy in front of me again, and the other was the lady retaking the course. This took a little bit because they had to measure us. I did mine and for the first time noticed the white lines laid out at the end of the stop box. They also had a stop watch to time us to make sure we where moving fast enough through the various pieces.
Having nailed two out the three exercises I was feeling positive. If I could nail the curve I would pass this, even with failing the box. The curve was nice. The first guy to go through stopped to soon. He stopped at the instructors. Whoops. Then more went through and the 6th person also stopped at the instructors. The rest of us stopped where we should and no one had to repeat for speed.
With that, it was over. I felt a bit ill but we lined our bikes up at the storage containers and they told us we had all passed. We stared at them, shocked. “Everyone?”
“Yes everyone. Ha-ha, you failed, April fools, okay I’m done you passed dismount and get inside!”
We staggered off of our bikes and went inside. Cheers, yips, bounces, cries of joy abounded. We had passed we where done!
We got out cards and he said we could have our scores. He said that his boss said some of the skills on the course where very advanced for the class and Cat pointed at my boyfriend to say, “he used half the box on his figure 8!” Our instructor looks up and goes “So did she,” to me and I stared at him with my eyes huge going “huh?”
Most of us stayed for our score and he said, “Three people aced it. He called out my boyfriends name, who said “huh” and then got quite excited, then he called out *my* name! I was like “WHAT?” oh yes, he said, and I was going “you can use the whole box but no you didn’t need to.” The third person as Doug. At this point my boyfriend insists I was the star pupil. I disagree but he insisted I add that otherwise he will come and add the comment. He says that Doug has been riding forever, and I hadn’t ever ridden and got 100% on both parts. We’re not sure what Doug got on the written.
So we said goodbye to our second instructor and went to Outback.
Now we are about to go tot eh DMV. We have to take a little written test with them, but we took a bunch of the online