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Two trainees in Wales – feedback

…or more exactly from Visordown!

I’d completely forgotten about these reviews of one of the training courses until it got flagged up this morning to someone interested in doing a course. This one dates from April ’05 and refers to training in Montgomery, mid-Wales.

Went to Wales with Bonners to do some refresher training…we’d both booked in for a general look at our riding, and to make sure we weren’t an absolute liability.

Unfortunately, cos the Dragon in Montgomery is so bloody expensive, me and Bonners had to share a room I pity the cleaner, unless she had nose plugs… :burp:

Had a lovely rideout with Spin, Bonners, Ruby and TRX, up through the Cwmbran (sp??!!) hills, round some gravel tracks, etc. Welsh countrside was beautiful, fields of Oil Seed Rape at it’s most pungent, verges screaming with Wood Anemones, daisies, yellow flowers (Marsh Marigold look-alikes), wide vistas, babbling brooks, and everything

Bonners persuaded me to have the steak in the Dragon. I then pointed out that the 8oz was only £2 cheaper than the 16oz, so i insisted we order that, along with a few pints of Brains (how ironic) and Woods. Fat Bastards-r-us

Hence the room the next morning

Went out Monday (yesterday) for the training. Started off absolutely gorgeous

Did a few roads, Bonners leading, then me, then Bonners, then me

Then it pissed it down – thunder lightning RAIN!!

Just as we stopped for lunch It took us 20 odd mins to get served with standard fares of beans eggs and sausages, and the like. NEVER let it be said that inbreeding is rife at the Morrisons in Newtown

Then it stopped raining – just as we were leaving the caff. For about 30 seconds when the heavens opened again . For a few miles, anyway. Hit the A483…class road, but thankfully we didn’t hit it in the same way as the parked up Gixer appeared to have. Slightly mangled, leaning up against an armco, with a set of leather pants draped over the Armco

It was wet on the way up, but was mostly drying nicely on the way down!!

Headed back towards Monty, where I got the lead, and took Spin for a spin at a less sedate pace for the last few miles – sorry Bonners :burnout:

Best bits were doing the A483 in the rain – I hate the wet roads that I ride routinely, cos they tend to have had loads of traffic and feel fucking greasy and horrible, and it scares me The A483 is a bit less traversed by vehicles, and feels so smooth and grippy it was a joy to ride in the wet. Not particuarly quickly, mind, but brisk enough to bring a smile

Spin’s commentated bit around Newtown was excellent – he even seemed to be able to predict the prescence of skips around blind corners This really was informative as he takes a far wider view than I do – or more notice of things I choose to ignore. Also the way he reads what is likely to be around semi-blind corners is good.

We spent a fair bit of time during the day chatting, which was good – reinforcing some things I knew, introducing some things in a different way, etc.

Not sure what NEW things I learned, but I certainly have a lot of thinking material, maybe slightly different ways of doing things, etc.

Finally, it was nice to do a refresher – make sure I’m still in the correct ball park, and that when I do give her her head that I’m not a total fucking liability, and that I judge each situation on it’s merits, rather than blindly charging headlong into any old situation. And that my obs (which is what was worrying me a few months ago) isn’t so bad.

Well recommended.

Even by hardened battle scarred veterans like meself.

Thanks to Rainmaker for that view of a day out for experienced riders.

By the way, I’ve moved the lunchstop from the Morrisons!

And Bonners had this to say:

First off, Monday’s training.

We started off with a talk for about an hour with Spin, going over some of the principles of what we would be doing, and also focusing on what we wanted to get out of the course. This bit I find pretty essential, as it really focuses the mind on what we are trying to achieve.

Started off the riding with both taking it in turns leading the way, and stopping for a debrief with Spin. He would then start bringing up the next concepts. After he had had a chance to assess both our riding, he started to bring in some slightly different concepts to the training.

We worked a lot on visualising hazards, body positioning, and even Thirds was mentioned Have to say that the whole concept of Thirds still leaves me a bit cold. Having said that, once we had gone over the concept, I kind of put my own interpretation on it, and found my braking in a straight line before the bends seemed to be better judged, and I was getting set up for the bends a lot easier. So, I guess there is something in there, you just have to use these things in the way that makes sense to you. So despite my threat to go home if Thirds was mentioned , it was actually quite useful.

As for the body positioning, again really useful, actively thinking about why you move your body, it also seems to have gone some way to curing one of my main faults of turning in too early on right handers, definately more work needed, but that was something that definately put me on the right track.

As Rainy has mentioned the around town riding was brilliant, I love those commentated rides. Shame about the slow speed control training, but I have to admit my enthusiasm for doing it in the pouring rain and thunder storms was a little ‘dampened’.

There were lots of other things which I’m sure will come to me later, but all in all was a cracking, if tiring day.

As for the rest of the weekend, we had a brilliant time, Rainy actually turned up at my house at the apointed hour on Sunday morning, and we had a lovely ride down, very sensible, apart from the bit on the motorway where the matrix signs were telling ‘bikers save the racing for the track, not the road’ Stupid sign, red rag to a bull, etc…

Met up with everyone at the Dragon Hotel ready for the rideout over the Welsh Mountains (hills?) lovely rideout. I have a feeling that TRX’s ‘Blade was the first one ever on some of those gravel tracks I’m sorry someone has to mention the Goldwings that flew past us, not exactly the most sensible o overtakes on single track roads with blind bends, but hey they seemed happy enough, I’m still not sure when the one behind me saw my right indicator when we turned off for Devil’s Bridge.

Had a lovely snack, also bumped into something like Nick Sanders Moto Challenge, some seriously dirty bikes. Then on for some more cracking B-roads. Just five riders, all willing to go at a nice brisk pace, but no stupidity, lots of fun.

Back to the hotel, I dont think I can even mention the stake without feeling full, ever had a lump of red meat plonked on your plate that moos?

Lovely evening, but I really hope the cleaners had gas masks.

Once we had done the training me and Rainy headed off, great ride back. Got a bit caught up in the crowds leaving Oulton Park (BSB), so we headed for the back routes, and found some more cracking little roads. A perfect way to finish a great weekend.

So, thanks to everyone for a great time, and Spin’s excellent training. The whole thing was very much worth it.

Thanks, Bonners!!

“Thirds” is a means of breaking down straights between hazards into a ‘go’ phase, a ‘steady whilst you think’ phase, and a ‘slow’ phase. The key point is the ‘think’ phase; if the faster rider is encouraged not to leave the transition from throttle to brake as late as possible, the middle ‘think’ phase does away with a lot of “in too fast” errors, which paradoxically means they are happy to carry more speed on the straight!

It also gives the steadier riders something to do in the bit between corners where they tend to switch off and make exactly the same “in too fast” error but for a different reason!

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