A big weekend of keen riders had formed some big, beautiful ruts. Rhys and I had some really fun times seeing how far we could tip the bike over, eventually finding the limit the hard way. But they were also quite long, starting well before the corner itself. John had the hard job of being the first of my students to hit them.
There was just too much going on at once as John was sitting at the same time as he started turning. Standing in a rut is a great thing, but only if you can stay standing until past the halfway point. The problem is that most people will involuntarily sit the moment they start turning.
Sitting just as he started to turn made him sit near the back of the seat. That meant he was also leaning forward, making for a combination that resulted in a bike not wanting to lean or steer. Popping out of the rut was almost a sure thing. He tried standing past the halfway point, but that just wasn’t working either. Fortunately I had another trick up my sleeve.
Sitting before the turning point was what he needed to do. With the pressure off, he would have time to sit forward on the seat and lean back like he should, then put his leg out when he needed to lean. Unfortunately even this was easier said than done, because John had so many years of trying to stand into ruts.
Forcing himself to sit early, he really did improve. With the sitting sorted he could focus on leaning, on front brake and then on a gentle first turn of the throttle. He was then able to take this new confidence to the Auckland Champs, where he said that the ruts practice is what made all the difference.