For the first couple of weeks I was back in the “saddle” I was tentative and apprehensive. I was a different biker for a while, until I could get my “mojo” back.
If we’re honest, I would venture a guess that this has happened to all of you at one time or another. Maybe when you dropped your bike, or you had an accident, or maybe you had a “close call” and you lived to tell the tale. Whatever it was, it’s not a real good feeling and you start second guessing yourself.
This past weekend, while in the Smoky Mountains, the weather was not the best. We had a great first day of riding, and on the second day, we managed to get about 7 hours of good road time before the rains set in. Colder temperatures and slick riding conditions were in front of us. There were forecasts of 40-80% chances of rain, but we were hoping for the best.
On Saturday morning, it was cloudy, but no rain as we took off for Helen, Georgia. To get there, we were going to ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Normally on a good day, this is one of the most beautiful and invigorating rides, with sweeping turns and elevation changes that we all live for.
With the rain the night before, there were wet leaves everywhere and while we were both conscious of that, they were out there so caution was the order of the day.
As we climbed the mountain, we rode into a fog that was SO thick, I could only see a couple of feet ahead of me. Now, we’ve all ridden through fog but this was different. We were coming down the mountain, it was wet, and the leaves were in every corner. I felt like I was riding on a sheet of ice.
There was no sense in pulling off the road, besides, I could see where to go anyway. So the two of us kept riding, being careful along the way. Jay wasn’t having any problems, so I was doing something wrong or my tires were slick.
Then, as I took a corner, in second gear mind you, I slid out into the oncoming lanes and couldn’t get control of my bike for a few feet. I just knew I was going down, and just prayed there wasn’t any oncoming traffic in my way. I managed to get back in my lane, slipping a couple of more times before we came off the mountain, but I must admit, I was a little shook.
For the rest of the day, I just didn’t have it. Negative thoughts kept racing through my head and as I took every corner, I just wasn’t as smooth as I should have been. I told my buddy Jay that I was shook and couldn’t get my Mojo back and we both shook our heads as to why I was sliding like I did.
My tires only had about 5,000 miles on them, so I didn’t think my tires were the cause, but as always, I have to take responsibility for my skills and just have to realize that I was probably going too fast when I slid. Maybe a combination of bad braking, or “pilot error” but it was on me.
Regardless of why, it’s an uneasy feeling to be nervous at every turn. On our way home, a ride through the Devil’s Triangle didn’t do much to boost my confidence as it was littered with leaves and debris, but, “suck it up Buttercup” and move on!
You can’t do this with ANY lack of confidence. Trust your skills and trust your bike.
Now, where we going tomorrow?