Sunday, January 30, 2005

Practice

Recently, I've discovered the "Adventurerider" website, an on-line gathering place primarily for American motorcyclists. There are many fascinating accounts to be found here. One was from "Karim", a Brit who planned to ride the African Continent from north to south, primarily along off-road "tracks". The trip was cut far short when he became lost while crossing the Sahara and nearly died. Next to this adventure, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego is a "cake walk".

A clear dry day, I pulled my car out to wash off a week's worth of grime. Every bit of exercise is seen as training now. (I even got down on the ground to do 30 "sit-ups" this morning! It's a start.)

Suited up in my "Aerostich" and took the bike out on the road. Each ride is a test. I'm still uncomfortable on wet streets, in gravel, or whenever I encounter debris in the road. The bike is so responsive, I tend to over steer and lean too far into a turn, having to correct mid-way through. I suspect that even fully-loaded the bike will be no less nimble.

Drove up to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park for a hike. It was very warm and clear, with a slight northerly breeze. Many people in the park today. I parked at the stables and hiked toward Bald Mountain, pushing myself a bit harder this time. Dreams about my upcoming travels floated through my head.

From the summit, Pyramid Peak in the Sierras, 129 miles distant according to the sign atop Bald Mountain, glowed a bright white, clear and sharp. With an adequate line of sight, I'd wager one could see 200 miles today.

Lounged on the west-facing slope, dozing in the warm sun. After a while, I started down the mountain, surprised, perhaps even a bit alarmed at the number of groups and couples out on the trails today. ("The park is being overrun!")

Rode with a long-sleeved t-shirt under my "Aerostich", which seemed just right for the temperature (mid- to upper-60s). I still feel awkward in traffic, with the frequent stops and starts; not fully confident of my instincts and ability to take the correct action, especially in an emergency.

I started to think about taking those intermediate and advanced training courses offered by the same school that provided my basic training.

A quiet evening, reading Breaking the Limit. I'm impressed with Karen Larsen's writing, especially given her young age (31 or so). I read of her difficult decision to forgo the Dalton Highway, after numerous warnings about how treacherous it is. I'm a little less naive now. It's good to read this stuff.

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