I went on the Doc Wong Riding Clinic today, which was a lecture (I showed up about mid-way through) followed by an 80-mile ride through the hills to practice the techniques Doc Wong (a local chiropractor/motorcycle expert) talked about in the lecture. The topic was "Wet-Weather Riding Techniques"; it turned out to be a beautiful day, but a good riding is a good day riding, so there's no complaining. This was my first group ride, and I think it was a good choice: because of the season, there are fewer people, only about 20 instead of several dozen. The route had a couple of roads I hadn't been on before, most notably Jamison Creek Road, which is...well, insane. Steep, bumpy, covered in crap from the trees, and I'd never been on a road with corkscrews before (basically a 270-degree hairpin). I'd gotten stuck behind some slow guys, so when we started Jamison Creek, I got farther up in the pack to be ahead of them. This put me right behind Doc, and I made the mistake of trying to keep up with him. I actually didn't do too bad: after he couldn't see me after the first couple turns, he was afraid I'd crashed, but the guy behind me said I was riding pretty smooth, so I think overall I made a good show of it.
It turns out that in the curves, I'm at least as fast as a lot of guys with more experience and bigger bikes. My bike, at 250cc, is not super-thrilling to ride in a straight line, so my goal for riding the twisties is to keep a consistent pace in both the curves and the straights. Riding a 250, I have to worry less about controlling the power and weight of the bike, so I can just focus on handling it well. I saw a few stereotypes today:
You know, except for the Bad Relationship, I don't think I've managed to have a girlfriend through an entire rainy season. How odd.
Did I mention dating sucks?
That's just my emotional damage talking, of course. I get cranky no matter what my life is like, but with a challenging, good-paying slacker job, a fun motorcycle, and lots of good friends, life is good.