With the holiday season comes a new round of Honda Kids Camps, and so far as coaching goes, this year has been one of the best yet.
Just a short drive south of Whangamata, Whiritoa becomes a haven for bike riders and beach goers alike.
Once again we were swamped with six full sessions worth of riders, and I found a fun loop for us to use with a hill to jump up and ride down. Unfortunately the rain was closing in, so I was fortunate that the first two groups had enough fortitude and vision to keep learning despite the worsening conditions.
They formed some nice ruts, and thanks to some spade work on the jump we had a mean time coaching four groups. The Honda Ezy-Up we had used to shelter from the rain became our haven of shade for this day, although a swim at the beach was still a welcome addition at the end of our day.
The Broxy jumping show made a return and it turned out to be one for the photo album. A little spade work the night before shaped a perfect FMX ramp for some tricks, while the distance jump from a few years ago gave me something to build up to. One slow wheelie gone wrong provided the comedy, with the crowd doing a great job of amping me up to bigger tricks. I did stop short of a real backflip. Of course.
Just two weeks later I was trekking down to the other side of Masterton for camp number two, and it was well worth the trip. This time I made it in one piece, not stopping to break my leg on the way like last year, to find a slice of paradise.
A private station right on the coast, it promised much in the way of riding and sea life, with a seal colony also making their home there. Fewer riders had booked for this camp although you wouldn’t have known it considering how many I had for coaching. There must have been very few kids there who were not enlisted.
I found a brilliant spot for coaching that included a tricky lump to do both ways, and a river crossing option when they needed cooling off.
We weaved up through rocks, then back and forth across the river. Up and down the hillock with arms bent and knees gripping, or braking hard into flat turns.
Two riders made big gains from doing two sessions each. The first session saw them struggle to exaggerate the standing style enough and it wasn’t until they came back for the second session that it all clicked into place, as if the time away had shown them their need to learn. They came back nailing the skills, a good way to launch two more days worth of camp riding.
Instead of a jumping show, it was the gymkhana that finished my trip. This time I gave it a go watching it at Rotoiti. I was in for a shock as the grass was far more slippery than expected, only just saving the front wheel from sliding out numerous times. Spectating was just as much fun with all sorts of lines and action, with one parent being the only rider to have a spill.
Speaking of the lake, Rotoiti is next on the list and I can’t wait to get stuck in. Hopefully I will see you there.