Sunday, 20 March 2016

Inch Perfect Trials: A Solo training session...

For my birthday, Lucy bought me a half day 1:1 training session with the boys at Inch Perfect Trials near Clitheroe, so with voucher in hand and my little Sherco in the van I turned up in the beautiful grounds they use for their business.

The place is in a lovely little hidden valley just at the end of the Trough of Bowland, it's really picturesque and one of those little forgotten corners of the UK...

Once I'd parked up and signed the paperwork I got changed and pulled out the Sherco to get it warmed up only to find the clutch had seeped all the fluid away again. I tried to re bleed it but it was coming out of the seals in the master cylinder. This would mean a strip down and would take time, time that was wasted from a training point of view as I'd booked the morning 3 hours. So at a suggestion from Arran, my trainer for the morning I hired one of their Beta 250's for £40.00

I couldn't start it at first with the left hand kick start and to be honest although I got better at it over the morning I always found it pretty weird and something I had to think about doing before I could get it right. It wasn't the bike at all, it was all me and my right side bias!

Still I actually found I liked the beta, it was a great little 2010 bike that had done 100's of hours yet was still perfectly sound and far more capable than I was!

Anywany... back to the training... Arran was a pretty handy lad on a bike, he's competed in about 7 Scottish Six Days Trials and usually comes pretty high in the rankings each year. He was also a good teacher, patient, intuitive, calm and seemed to be able to chop and change things to both challenge yet still achieve goals for me. A great set of skills! He's also from West Cumbria!

We started with some basics, figure of eights on flat ground, with lots of chat about the weighting of the pegs and using the outside arm to weight the handlebar. I have a habit of slipping the clutch a lot which for trials makes the bikes jerky and a little off balance, yet on an enduro it helps a lot, so I had to unlearn this for the trials bike and then learn the smooth throttle and easing around the ever tightening turns using just weight and a smooth throttle, mmm more practise needed for this...

We moved from the flat area to a small bit of woodland, mainly to put this into practise. Arran would make a small section with the bits we were working on, then ride it a couple of times, talking me through things as he rode. I then jumped on my bike and had a go...

At first I found the turns pretty difficult, I really struggled with when to switch the weight around, and of course my co-ordination wasn't there yet, so although at each section, I got better, by the last bit I would drop off massively and ride wide or fluff it up and have to dab my foot.

The second section was a dry river bed, I'm a nightmare at these, but by the third time I had it sorted and completed the next 3 ascents cleanly, even the rock steps...

Mistakes were;
1. Slipping the clutch
2. Head looking down and not up and where I was going
3. Slowly dropping to the handlebars which reduced my ability to steer and balance
4. Too little power too late
5. Big handfuls of throttle at the wrong time

Once I'd understood this I felt I could do this all day... happy days already!

After this we did a section with a descent, a couple of tight turns and a short hard climb over some tree roots with a final two tight turns to end the section. I could do it all except the tight turn into the climb, after falling off about 5 times we called it a rest there and moved back down to the river for two sections down there.

The river had recently recovered from all the flooding, but was now wider with some fallen trees, ace for a trials bike. Arran marked out a section with a tight turn on a steep descent, the a rocky bit of river to a tree in the beck, then out up a short steep climb. I fluffed it completely on the first go, then cleaned it every time there after... Happy days...

The final section for the day involved, some tight turns around some trees, a pop over a log, a ride up the wet river bed, a short steep exit into a really tight left turn and back around to the right before another tight turn  to exit left. I cleaned every time, with one exception, I slid out on the log as I hadn't lifted the front wheel enough.

By this time 3 hours had flew by, so we headed back to the shop, me for a great lunch of Shepherds Pie and Arran for a sandwich and his next group, 2 guys and a lady from near Manchester.

I thoroughly enjoyed the morning, the drive there was lovely and I really feel I've benefited from the training. I learned lots of new little tips and developed some skills too plus I got to ride a totally different kind of bike.

I love my little Sherco but I am now tempted to sell it and get a Beta for a little while!