Friday, September 4, 2009

Training session

June 29, 2009 - Monday

18° Celsius at five in the morning, blue sky and sunshine... Ah, how I've missed these real summer days. I just hope they hold for a month or two now, and don't give way again to the rain we've been dealing with since May.
Saturday was taken straight out of November. It rained all day, was gray all day and chilly enough for jeans. In the afternoon for about half an hour the precipitation let up and I, who's been reading all sorts of Appenzeller wit and wisdom since I got my latest book order, had a craving to drive out to Schwägalp.
No sooner had I donned my leathers that the rain spitefully broke again. There was nothing to do but get back into normal clothes and settle back in my reading chair with a book. I also worked some more on my Feathers papercut, but all in all, Saturday was a waste of a summer's day. I didn't take Retta out on a nice long walk like I'd been planning to either, because of the nasty weather.
Sunday, on the other hand, was hot and dry. We'd had church Saturday afternoon because on Sunday Florian and I were attending a motorcycle safety course and Stef had a concert session in Zürich.
Attending the safety course had been a spontaneous decision. Florian got a call from a Polo employee who said a group had cancelled their applications for the course, and did Florian know anybody who'd like to come instead? Well, Selim busted his foot last week playing soccer and André was on standby for the fire department, but at 7 a.m. Sunday morning Löchen, Aleks and I headed out to HInwil.
There were 17 participants in all, and one of the two TCS instructors there was Rainer Knoblauch (which translated can mean "pure garlic"), an instructor who'd also been at the Buell Day 2007 in Lignières and had run a bike out of a curve into gravel, causing quite a bit of damage to it. He recognized me again too.
First everybody went through a bike and gear check. The Beast had no problems, of course, being fresh out of service, and when they commented that my gear fit well, Florian said, "I should hope so. You [from Polo] advised her on it." Which took care of that, though they advised me to add a kidney protector to my gear. (I've got one integrated with my back protector, which I don't wear under my leathers.)
Aleks was quite worried his Unreliable wouldn't make it through the bike check. The brake light doesn't work, the front fork is defective, the cowling is full of tears and the frame full of loose screws, it leaks oil and is too loud. Well, he got around most of the problems by saying he'd have to kick-start it to turn the lights on, and the inspector waved him on through, fearing a fifteen-minute stint of fruitless kicking und cussing.
For starters, everybody got a rundown of the day, and we introduced ourselves and our riding styles.
Florian: "KLR 650, all-weather biker, 22,000 km a year."
Me: "Buell, all-weather biker, 32,000 km per year."
Aleks "Husaberg, all-weather biker, 15,000 km per year."
The km numbers plummeted from there., and we three did end up being the speediest drivers present.
We three, two Bandit drivers and a former motocross pro who now rides a Harley ended up being Knoblauch's group. Our first exercise consisted of riding trial bikes, and I discovered that I rather prefer the road, or at least a semblence of it, to climbing straight up or down rocks, grass and gravel. The power of those little bikes was very impressive, though. Florian had a blast and now wants to get a trial bike for himself. He could put it to good use on the Albis.
There followed exercises in braking - which I mostly used for stoppie practice - cornering, circle and slow maneuver driving.
Five o'clock was past before the group broke up and headed home. We'd had a good time, practice is always a good thing even though I couldn't put my finger on anything specific that I newly learned from the day.
I'd been hoping to spend a bit of time with poor neglected Retta after we got home, but Dad had decided to take the family out to dinner so we sped back to Baar after finding out where they were.

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