Persistence pays off, as proved again by the hardy campers who put up with a wet Friday and Saturday morning at the first Honda Kids Camp to ever be held near Aria. By lunchtime Saturday the tracks were no longer slippery and completely dust free, although my coaching groups were absolutely spoilt with one of the best coaching paddocks I have ever had.
Leon, my wingman at these camps, had told me about this paddock, saying it looked good with a nice ridge in the middle. What I didn’t bank on were the sweet bumps and hollows that made it even better, topped off with the fact that it had been mown by James, the farm owner, creating ultimate traction- well except for when loose grass caught James out!
I was privileged to coach James and the other farm owner for the first session of what turned out to be a massive day. What had started out as just two sessions suddenly became five groups bursting at the seams. Was it the slippery tracks that helped them see their need? If so, I needed to find them something more challenging to help them with the more difficult conditions.
A flat area of clay gave me just enough space to weave through some tight and slippery turns. The goal was mainly throttle control, but also forcing the point of pushing hard on the outside footpeg out of a turn. That led to the main point that was going to help them up the slippery hills.
“Are you always able to go straight up a slippery hill?” I asked. When the answer invariably came back as a no, I added the next bit.
“A boxer doesn’t just try to take the hits, he hopes to deflect the blows. So instead of trying to head straight up a hill or along a bumpy trail, pick places you can safely weave to where the traction will be best. Then your can use your outside footpeg on every weave for extra safety and traction.”
We tried it out (after permission from James) up a race that wasn’t being used by the other campers. Sure, this one wasn’t actually slippery but they were able to practice the skill without the worry of crashing, meaning that most everybody actually gave it a go. That was a win, and I had feedback from others saying that they could basically pick out the riders who had done coaching with me and those that hadn’t. Those are the kind of things I love to hear.