8/18 – Cougar Rock Route and Home
After the ride the day before I was a little nervous about Monday’s route. We were doing a shortened version of Mehren’s Cougar Rock route in order to give us time for the ride back home.
Part of it was a repeat of the Sunset Falls ride. I double checked to be sure we wouldn’t be hitting FS-4211 (Whoop d’doops) or FS-38 (Arlis in Wonderland/Rock Gardens). The Cougar Rock route turned out to be mostly fun, easy stuff and a good way to end the ride…safely. The route ended in Stabler where we aired up, said good-bye and went our separate ways.
Norm and I dropped down to US-14 to US-97 and home via Toppenish. Chuck took FS-25 and went by Mt. St. Helens getting some great photos of the area. Check out his Picasa Gallery.
Up “Shit Creek”
I texted the photo at right of my GS laying on its side in a rock garden (which looks like a dry creek bed) to a friend, Steve. In the text I asked, “Where are we?” This is a sort of game Norm started a few years back. Steve responded, “Up Shit Creek?”
A week or so later we met for breakfast. Steve presented the patch below to me.
I’ve learned a lot on the last two DS rides (DS Sasquatch and Cascade DS).
1. I’m better at not looking down. I’ve improved on this but as soon as I hit something technical, the eyes tend to drop down to focus on the current problem which prevents me from preparing for the next problem and maintaining spatial orientation. Looking down is not cured so I still need to work on keeping my head up and looking through immediate technical stuff for problems ahead.
2. I also improved on maintaining wheel contact on steep inclines using the “grey area” of the clutch. Rather than maintaining momentum with speed, using the clutch allows me to go slow giving me time to adjust to the road surface in body position and path selection.
3. I also discovered I need to use the grey area to slow down and analyze what is ahead on flatter surfaces as well.
4. I’ve noticed over the last two rides that I suffer from a problem I’ve had all my life; poor eye sight due to being legally blind in one eye. This leaves me with poor depth perception due to having only two dimensional sight. I have not been recognizing hazards for what they are. I tend to be traveling too fast when approaching a problem because I don’t see it until I’m there; small rocks become bigger-loose rocks, pot holes appear out of no where, light gravel becomes deep gravel and so on. On the Cougar Rock route I practiced slowing down anytime I was at a corner, approaching any kind of possible difficulty.
In simpler terms the big take-away is to slow down, look through the problem, pick a path, and once the path is picked, look further ahead.
For a rider to do this the brain needs to put the current selected path in memory then analyze the route further on. The conscious brain cannot do two things at once. We actually have to multitask by changing from one task to another: Current route in memory to analysis of the next section. I believe this is where muscle memory, skill, and confidence are most helpful. You have to have confidence that your skills and muscles will get you through the immediate path while the brain focuses on the next section.
Here are some clues for me that this is true. I’ve noticed that if I’m aware that I’m in sand, deep gravel, rocks, etc. I tend to look down, lose spatial orientation. My muscles also tightens up and I which prevents me from moving as I should. When I’m unaware of what I’m riding in, I tend to ride right through the stuff with little difficulty because I’m looking ahead, not down which helps with balance and control. I also noticed during the last two rides that my brain could actually keep the immediate path in memory while I looked ahead. When I did I could maneuver through the path I intended and look ahead.
Bottom line, I need to become a better rider 🙂
None of us saw Cougar Rock. We will have to go back.
The Sertao Starting Problem
After publishing the Day 4 post, Chuck emailed me a rebuttal regarding the starting issue with his Sertao. I did take some literary license in simplifying the story. We actually do not know that the bike’s starting issue was only due to it being in gear. He was having trouble getting the bike in gear even though it would indicate 1st gear so it could be an interlock problem. I’m hoping he takes it in to the shop soon to get their opinion.