Moving to the Countryside
Not so long ago they moved from Auckland to the Thames area. If you have ever heard of “The Wires” track, it takes them 30 seconds to ride on to it. Hence, I had no reservations in teaching them skills that would help them get up and down hills.
Zac was quick to snap into the standing style I had taught him at Patetonga six months earlier, meaning he mastered the downhills quite quickly. Mark hadn’t had that advantage, and he was understandably apprehensive at the pretty intense downhill that I chose to kick things off. I suggested he got started down the hill by sitting forward on the seat and leaning his upper body back, a technique that soon led to the kind of scared/joyful hooting that will always put a smile on my face.
In the meantime, Zac had noted an uphill that I “happened” to tackle on one of my demonstrations. He took the bait. It was a good challenge that took a few attempts to get up, and even after that he found it difficult until I did some demonstrations on his own bike. Keeping the throttle on a consistent setting seemed to help his 125 drive better, combined with some of the clutch slipping skills I had also taught him last time. It was especially effective when his speed and rpm dropped near the top. When combined with some focus on which footpeg to put his weight on when falling to one side or the other, he could suddenly conquer the hill every time.
Back on the downhill, Mark was ready for the advanced skill of standing down the hill, but we needed to get his knees back. Anything else that he did was just not working until that crucial aspect was fixed. It proved the importance of personal coaching in a small group to see him suddenly suddenly click with everything else once that one aspect was fixed, leading to more nervous laughter and hoots of joy.