After a glorious weekend of coughing, sneezing, and otherwise congested misery, Spring is undoubtedly in the air. Sunny and 75 Saturday and Sunday I was, unfortunately, relegated to couch almost the entire weekend. Fortunately I broke the shackles on Monday long enough to take Lola for a spin around some of my favorite topography in search of a moto-tag. Ripping through sections that I’ve probably ridden a dozen or more times in the last 12 months I suddenly realized just how “rusty” I was from the winter lull. I generally like to consider myself a proponent of motorcycle safety (proper gear along with sober, competent, riding), there were a couple times I found myself uncomfortable with the conditions. Albeit I’ve undoubtedly ridden those roads faster in the past, but given the circumstances, I assume my mental “sharpness” simply wasn’t there and I found myself less prepared to negotiate a given curve. Fortunately, there were no calamities, however it was a fresh reminder that despite the mental eagerness, muscle memory, and the motorcycle’s enthusiasm for speed, the lack of mileage over the winter months takes a toll on your concentration, “road focus”, and alertness. I should also note that despite the heavy rains over the past few weeks, the backroads are still in considerably poor condition; with occasional hints of salt and sand, combined with significant areas of “cold-patch” scattered throughout the lane in some places. I assume that also played a role in my awkwardness when I found myself “less-on-my-game”; the thought of “an unseen patch of gravel could have killed me just then!” flying through my head.
Fortunately this (Tuesday) morning I felt much more prepared to attack the roadways on my morning commute, culminating with the encounter with some four legged wildlife. Coming around a curve in the freeway I (fortunately) spotted the unmistakable silhouette of a deer crossing the road. GoPro on as usual for my morning commute, I watched the video several times asking myself why on earth I moved over into the next lane. After the fact I realized that my initial fear was that the deer I saw was potentially just the first of several and I wanted to put some space between me and the possible threat. Whether that’s of any merit or not I have no idea, but it seemed like a good idea at the time right? Thankfully, the bike and I escaped unharmed, hopefully that fawn was equally lucky despite the conditions; along with the other motorcyclists I didn’t even notice until watching the film.
Now that it’s spring (here in the northern hemisphere) I’m curious: How do other riders “tune-up” after winter? Do they “feel” the difference in skill level from late fall to early spring?