diary of a rider: Success!
July 14, 2008 | Bow before me!
I just spent a weekend camping in Aberdeen. Well, if you can call putting up a tent in a wooded yet highly populated area with working restrooms nearby “camping”. Which I don’t. It was more like sleeping in one’s backyard – surrounded by trees and dirt, but in no way actually close to nature. Funny stuff. Our son didn't come with us, he stayed at a sitter's. Why? Because I . . . was getting my motorcycle endorsement!
That’s right, folks, I am now a fully endorsed motorcycle rider. Woot! Go me!
The course was the GHME BRC course (which, for those not in the know, means “Grays Harbor Motorcycle Education Beginning Riders Course. I think.). It consisted of 3 days – a day and a half on the range, a day and a half in the classroom. I have to say here that I am the awesomest, because I passed my written test with a score of 100% -- yes, that’s right. 100%. One of two 100% scores out of 12 total students. Yeah. That’s right. Bow before my knowledge.
I was absolutely positive I’d failed the riding test. To be truthful, after my last experience in a riding course, I was positive I’d be kicked out at any point during the proceedings for some spurious reason. That obviously didn’t happen.
Anyway, the riding test consists of 4 parts – 3 of which I did perfectly (well, 1 of those 3 I did perfectly on the 2nd try. Heh.). One portion of the test, however, required executing two u-turns, one to the left and one to the right, inside a 20-ft box. I rocked the hardcore at left u-turns, but just kept failing at the right u-turn. Looking over that shoulder or twisting to look to the right just feels so odd. I suppose it’s because I don’t often check my right blind spot in a car -- I mostly just use my mirrors. Bad habits die hard.
When I went in to get my riding test results, I was braced for painful news. The riding coaches asked, “Why the long face?”
I admitted, “I’m pretty sure I failed.”
Rick and Phil (the riding coaches) looked surprised and asked, “Why do you think that?”
“Well,” I said, “I completely screwed up on the box, and I had to repeat the cornering exercise.”
Rick looked at me and smiled, then asked, “Do you remember what we said at the beginning of the test? That we have seen people completely screw up on one portion, and still pass?”
I raised my eyes to look at him and asked tentatively, “Am I one of those people?”
That beat before Rick answered was an incredibly tense moment for me. I was pretty sure, at this point, that my assessment of my skills was way different than theirs – but I always brace myself for failure. So my heart is pounding, and my stomach is curled into tight little knots. I’m so tense, I’m afraid to move, locked into almost military stance. My feet are apart, shoulders squared, chin up, hands linked behind my back, and I’m looking at them, waiting for the verdict, terrified and exhilarated at once.
“Yes,” said Rick. “You are.”
This huge grin broke across my face, and I exhaled once, then did a little hop and grabbed Rick’s hand, pulling him in for a one-armed hug before turning to hug Phil. When I pulled away, Rick put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You are a much better rider than you think you are. You just need to slow down a little!”
I am more pleased with myself than words can say. Bow before my awesomeness!
July 18, 2008 | Celebrate!
Sometimes, you’ve got to be reasonable, sensible, and adult. And sometimes, you’ve just got to splurge. Remember how I wrecked my Ninja a few weeks ago? And I thought it was all minor damage? Yeah . . . not so much. Turns out, one of the forks was slightly bent. It was about the price I’d paid for the bike to replace the forks, so I figured, “What the hey,” . . . and bought a new bike.
I drew on some of the funds I'd put away from my grandma's inheritance and bought myself a black ’08 FZ6. It’s sweet. I took it out today; it handles beautifully. It’s fuel-injected, which is nice. No more messing with the choke to start it up. The dual disc brakes are freaking nice, so responsive – the first time I stopped at a stop sign, I actually stopped about five feet prior to the line, because they are so sensitive. It’s crazy, but I got used to them pretty quickly. The throttle is light to the touch, and the whole bike is just so, so nice. I love it.
Apparently, the Fazer’s pretty popular in Europe, so John found that pretty hilarious (considering I love all things European and have often mourned that my parents came back to the states after living in Germany. He just thinks it’s funny that I didn’t even know – I just gravitated towards the “Popular European Bike”. I’ve been looking up reviews of it online, and it’s funny, because I keep finding European reviews, with things like the litres of gasoline that it holds and the top kilometers per hour, etc. Not very useful to me, but cool nonetheless.