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Ride 4 with an Observer

Today’s ride out was a bit of a last minute decision. I happened to call my Observer and he asked if I wanted to join in with a ride he already had planned with another associate. I am always up for a ride out.

It looked like the forecast showers would be done and dusted by Sunday, and sun was forecast. It should be a good ride.
Sunday morning arrived, and whilst overcast it was looking good. All the heavy rain that we had had over the past 24 hours had gone.
I was a bit apprehensive of what the country lanes had in stock.

The day, as usual, could only be described as fun.
The rains had added a twist to the roads, making once familiar roads challenging again.
There was vegetation, gravel and mud here,there and everywhere.

At times it is like playing chicken with yourself.
Everything that you have learnt, and practised, tells you that all is good. You have seen the road ahead is clear of traffic, but you can not quite see all of the road surface until it is slowly revealed to you as you progress.
Part of you is telling yourself that the road is wet, that there could be mud or grit just around the bit you can not see.
Your right foot hovers of the rear brake, one finger stretches out for the front brake, part of you is feeling an element of doubt.

This is one of the hardest parts of advanced riding. It is not being fool hardy, I am sure I will know when I really am pushing it a bit too far, when I am beginning to get close to the point where I am reaching the boundaries of my capabilities.
The thing is, how can you ever improve and how can you find your boundaries if you are not prepared to explore?

At one point, we were negotiating a number of twisties, at speed, when we came around the corner to be confronted with the road being four fifths flooded with about 18 inches not flooded on the left of the road.
I saw the curve of the road, I saw the strip of non flooded road, I saw the grit and mud in that strip.
There was no bottom clenching moment, there was no hesitation. Adjustments where made to my line, I relaxed the throttle a little, bleeding off some speed. There was no need for a gear change, and once clear of the hazard accelerating away looking towards the next bend.
Now if there was ever a good example of IPSGA, that did not involve a text book scenario, this could be one.

Today was a revelation, I knew my riding was getting better, but now I also feel a lot more confident in wet conditions.
It does not mean that I will have moments of doubt when I am next out in the wet, but today’s ride has shown me that everything that I have learnt, about applying the system, in the previous observed rides has improved my wet riding just as much a riding on dry sunny roads.

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