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Peaks Take 3 – trainee review

The problem with blogs is that you have to find time to write ’em. Apparently, according to something I read somewhere, the number of submissions to Facebook and the other top blogging sites have dropped off in the last 12 months or so, suggesting that all those people who enthusiastically started a blog in the last few years have now realised why they never did manage to keep a diary.

It’s already a fortnight since my last post on here, and part of the reason for the delay in posting is that I’ve been busy training again; back to the Peaks last week for a third visit this year, and another training day in France on Monday.

The ride up from Oxford to Matlock on the Thursday morning unleashed a rainstorm of surprisingly violent intensity. It didn’t last long, but in the short time the rain came down, the M69 was awash. I seem to have had gales, snow, floods and just about everything else except plagues of frogs this year!

By the time I’d got to Derbyshire, I was frozen and regretting having packed the heated bodybelt in the tailpack – so it came out pronto, and spent the rest of the two days plugged in. One would have to say the weather was chilly for mid-June.

However, the training was on dry roads, with just a couple of showers, so we didn’t do too badly! Here’s Ernie’s notes on the day: “1 Day Bends Course last week

“First of all a big thanks to Spin last week, I am a relative noob to biking a have only been out on the road for a solid 3 months after passing last year.

My main problems were based on the old 50 pencing corners, road position and lack of forward planning (I did not realise the last 2 were issues until Spin talked me through them).

The days started with a debrief from Spin and both Alan C and myself were able to provide feedback on what we were struggling with. From the off it was clear the course was going to help and there would be a lot to take in.

Without giving all Spin’s tips n training away, I feel my riding style changed significantly through the day, a lot more planning, control and better positioning. I honestly believe my technique improved and know there is a lot more to come with practise.

I spent the day out on Sunday with frends and they commented on “My new lines” and it felt a lot better than before. We have done the same route a few weeks running and I had messed a few corners up on all the previous runs, typically running wide mid turn and generally on and off the gas trying to make the corners, this time I had that nice glowing feeling (Tis difficult to explain) when you get a corner right.

The missus keeps telling me to remember I am only a noob and not to be so confident as I have chelped on about how much I feel my riding has improved in such a short period of time. Hopefully applying the new techniques and remembering what was taught will help me for a long time to come.

As some one else stated “Just book one” you will not be disappointed.”

I’ve had some more good feedback – it’s always nice to get some happy customers!

The “Bends” course in France went well, albeit with a small hitch after I dropped the trainee off at 4:45 local time and decided, as I only had 25 mins to get to the terminal, to take the fast route back to the tunnel via the autoroute.

I somehow managed to turn onto the wrong carriageway headed for Boulogne instead. Fortunately it was only 4k to the next exit where I could reverse directions, but that left me perilously short of time to check-in; it’s all automated and if you miss your slot, you get “bumped” to the next free space – that happened to me a couple of years ago and it was 2 hours sat drinking moderately foul coffee in the very unappealing terminal at Sangatte.

I arrived at the check-in with 6 minutes in hand, to find queues of cars on the way back from Le Mans. I know it takes about 2 mins to actually do the check-in itself, so spotted a lane with only two cars and rather rudely cut straight in front of a car towing an Aston Martin trailer that was headed for the same short queue.

After the two cars ahead got through the system, I got the credit card in the machine with 1 minute to spare, and thus got on the booked train, so was home by 6.

I’m not a fan of the tunnel, but it is a slightly odd feeling to have lunch in a french bar yet be home a couple of hours later! In time, in fact, to rough out an entry for this blog!

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