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Saturday was an interesting day to say the least.
3 months ago my riding group had decided to take a group advanced training course, and with 50 members we had way more people interested than the 12 slots would allow, so Candy and I had been put down as alternates. Low and behold some folks dropped out, so we ended up with slots for the course. A week before I started watching the weather, and oh it didn't look good at all, rain, wind, cold. Oh well, some things can't be changed, and Candy and I talked it over and said, hey, we are senior members of the club, group ride leaders, Iron Butt riders, commuters, a 'little' rain won't stop us, right? Friday night we looked at the trailer but said, NO, we can ride there, it's only about 65 miles, putting 2 bikes on the trailer is too much like work out in the rain, yeah, it will be easier to just ride than deal with all
Well, the weather did not disappoint, it started raining Friday, and was still raining today ( Sunday morning), total rainfall is well over 2.5 inches, rivers are flooded, roads are flooded, but oh that didn't stop the course from going on. It did dissuade a couple of club members, we ended up with just 6 participants, and of those 6, 2 of them trailered, leaving 4 stalwarts that rode to the class.
The trip down was interesting, driving rain at 0700, 15-25 mph winds, in heavy interstate truck traffic, puddles, all the fun stuff. My rain gear actually worked and I arrived relatively dry. Temperatures were in the 40s, and it never stopped raining all day, sometimes it did slow down to a moderate rain but most of the day was pouring. We registered and realized we were in trouble when the registration sheets and class papers kept blowing away and falling apart, this was going to be fun.
We started out with some class work, then the bike inspection, then headed to the range.
We worked through some cone weaves, offset cone weaves, tighter and tighter, then went on to some accident avoidance techniques, hard braking, hard braking with a quick divert to get out of the way of a vehicle that isn't stopping, tight turns, a pattern of u turns with a stop in the middle of each one, and then some circular weaves which got smaller and smaller till everyone had some they struggled with. More skills talks and coaching between each one of course, the two instructors were great guys, doing a good job and keeping their sense of humor while soaking wet too.
A few bikes were dropped but not many and none were hurt, more than a few cones may have been abused though...the stories those cones could tell!
The conditions were tough, pouring rain, the water was 1-2 inches deep running across one end of the range, with the wind randomly gusting to 30 mph at the worst times of course, not to mention everyone's visor was fogging and wet. But we got through it and all that started stuck it out to the end and finished, and I can say I learned some new skills, and I want a lot more practice, had the weather been kinder we would have ridden longer but now I know what to practice so it's all good.. we also have one of the instructors in our club so we have a good resource available.
Some of our awesome club members who weren't riding came down to take pictures and they brought a grill and a tent in the truck and set up a burger and hotdog lunch for us, that hot food halfway through was a great energy boost in the tough conditions. The frame canopy didn't survive though, even though it was held down with cinder blocks and straps a big gust destroyed it, oh well, collateral damage happens :cool:
Hot food in your belly really helped as the weather worsened and the temperatures dropped after lunch , it was barely 40F when we finished the last drills, and even though I was dry under my rain suit I was still chilly, with cold wet hands...the heated grips sure felt good, we sure wished we had brought our heated gear.. one smart rider did wear her Gerbings and she was toasty while the rest of us shivered.
During lunch conversations we did discover that this whole thing was MY FAULT, I gave my 08 Vision it's yearly bath right before the course, and washed off 1/4" of winter salt and crud, so of course that triggered an epic rainstorm, I was made to promise to NEVER wash it again before a group event.. LOL!
The ride home was just as much fun, pouring buckets, even more fast traffic and bigger wind gusts, but we knew there was an end in sight and we rolled into the garage safe and sound and then went inside and Candy made a nice pot of homemade chicken rice soup.. oh was that a perfect dinner after a cold day on the range. Later in the evening the rain actualy turned to sleet and snowflakes.. this weather is unreal for mid may.
One of the members who wasn't riding ventured out when the rain briefly slowed down and grabbed a few quick pictures...
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Tire Wheel Sky Automotive tire Motorcycle
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Wheel Tire Sky Vehicle Automotive tire
Wheel Tire Helmet Sky Motorcycle helmet
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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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I was shivering just reading it Mike.
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