As much as I want to be home with my own kids during school holidays, it is important that I make the most of those times by traveling the country. This time it included a tour from Hawkes Bay to Taranaki with a couple of stops in between.
Valley road saw us coaching a range of racers and family groups, with the highlight coming from the Goss family. While there was a range of experience, from Mum who was the newest to the game to a Dad who had been doing it for many years with two boys in between, they all needed the same skills. It was particularly satisfying to see their confidence in turns and over jumps increasing so quickly, especially considering we had changed their styles significantly.
To Palmerston North and we had some true newbies who I was able to get going safely, with Josh showing that he is well and truly hooked. Their session was followed by Andre of Team Encounter, who fought through some difficult changes. All of the hard work paid off in a big way at the end as we proved in the soft sand of the big track. He was deservedly stoked.
That afternoon was spent at the Stewart family farm with their three boys, this being the first time I had seen their youngest one on two wheels. We simply moved from one paddock to the other while practicing and learning a bunch of practical farm and trail skills, topped off with the least practical (but most fun) skill of racing starts. It was the best session I have ever had with them in my five years of visiting their farm, which is saying a lot, proving that I can go almost anywhere if a few riders simply ask.
The next day was another big one, traveling to Wanganui to coach the quick Trent James who is finally on his 65, before driving to New Plymouth for a session with young Simone on what will be the Mini Nationals track. She cooperated very well and I think that she would really enjoy the Nationals should she brave it.
I was so tired that evening that I turned down a chance to ride my hosts own track. Jesse and his mate showed me how it was done and they happened to have a set of weights I could use once I had recovered a little after dinner. It was exactly the rest I needed to be in good form for my final day on the road.
I had two sessions for riders getting ready for mini nationals, which was mostly a good experience. Helping Cameron sort his jumping out was satisfying, with Jack and Jesse getting some good practice sorting their inside lines and starts off the fairly unique concrete pad.
Finally it was Larry Blair and his mate David who I finished with. Larry kept growing his good vibe with his riding in preparation for the Vet Nationals in New Plymouth, while we made some big changes to help David finally get confident enough to nail the big jump at the top of the hill. We were all stoked, and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish what was essentially two and a half weeks on the road.