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Friday, May 23, 2008

A conversation

about Page and Plant...

After all, they did Stairway to Heaven.

"They did?"

Baby steps forward...

Had one of those "oh SH*T" moments this morning...

I was headed on a many mile downhill section with some pretty tight curves. Its steep. In the few seconds between leaning left and then right and then left (that's how close the curves were) I would brake to get my speed back down ...in the middle of this downhill section I went into a skid!

I was braking through the curve (major oops!) - and immediately let go of the brake which stopped the skid - but I was really shaken, heart pounding, and dang it, there was the car that made me pass her 4 miles back was now on my tail!

Was I going too fast - had I really needed to brake? (yes) Was I too confident? Did I hit a small wet patch of dew? Was I trying too hard to stay in front of the car behind me?

So I continued ... carefully, took some big breaths, went through the curves at a slower speed, finally had a straight spot to let the car by me safely, and kept my mantra going... "slow, look, push/lean!, roll" . And 'it's ok, you made a mistake, it's ok, you didn't have an accident, you did the right thing ..." plus when I got to the intersection with the faster road (45 mph and more curves but wider road), I pulled over onto the pull off and did a quick meditation on being confident, etc.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Visual Fixation and Hummocky Roads

Boulder Canyon is an amazing road with over 90 serious curves. Being a neophyte rider, I joined into the experience on the last 6 miles of the lower section where Sugarloaf road intersects the main road. This is a road I've known for four years + via my car and by bus. Some drivers want to go fast, some go 35 mph. You never know but the basic mantra is, there's only one way from here to there, so just deal with who ever is in front of you because that's the speed you are going to go.

And with this knowledge I'm joining, as I said, as a fairly neophyte rider. I've taken the MSF course. I've been practicing on the Peak-to-Peak. I can do 45 mph and curves.

Well. I discover that the lower Boulder Canyon road is very rutted with the years of traffic - the road is not smooth. So the classic 'start on the outside of the curve and cut the corner and back out to the outside' creates an ever changing lean angle that is most disconcerting! I have not encountered this before. And being courteous, after a few curves of this hummocky ride, I pull onto the wide berm and let a small set of 4 cars by.

I re-evaluate the road and decide that keeping a stable line through the curve is probably safer... changing lean angle as one traverses across little humps in the road does not seem to make sense. So after the last set of vehicles goes by, I join back in... and follow the curve in one of the 'grooves' - this feels so much better!

Fast forward 8 hours after work. I'm a little freaked out by my morning ride, and want to take those curves better. I'm headed up hill now through Boulder Canyon. My eyes are dissecting the grooves in the road and I'm doing horribly! What is going on?

Then I realize, I'm fixating on the details of the road! Relax... see the whole curve... see through the curve and suddenly I'm taking the curves more smoothly at the speed of the traffic ahead of me.

So THAT is target fixation! I go through the tunnel and honk my horn. What fun!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Fogged Mirrors and Delicious Scents

My first trip to Boulder via Sugar Loaf Road. There had been a heavy rainfall the night before... the kind where you wake up and hear the rain rattling on the roof. What a cornucopia of scents were in the morning! My goal was to deliver my scooter to Sportique for its first oil change and service.

Little did I know that I would be treated to the heady smells of pine, water, dirt, and a few flowers! The first few miles along the road are dirt - so I took it slowly. I'm very tenuous about going around dirt road curves... the feel of loose gravel mixed with slightly slippery clay makes me feel uncomfortable. Ah to be 10 years old and impervious to such worries!

A few miles in, the road dipped into a hollow and not only did my visor fog up but my mirrors fogged.. first time for that. At the convergence of dirt to asphalt, I pulled over to turn on a blinky light; the theory being that drivers will notice movement and changes... as I'm grappling with my backpack, a guy drives by, gives me thumbs up and then stops and asks if I'm OK. I'm awesome! Positive signals all around and he cruises on. I get my light blinking and notice this most awesome curvy uphill. Wow. I'm going to ride that. And I do.

The cool thing is... the speed limit is 30 mph. Yeah, a lot of folk exceed that, but there are a lot that obey the limit so there's this feeling of "ok, cool, you're doing the speed limit, I won't run you over". Except there are these curvy downhill sections that I'm still not used to, so I pull over to let even the laid back folks by. I mean there is a limit to being laid back after all.

About Me

Join me in my adventures as I learn to ride a scooter and experience the world through two wheeled transport.