"It's never too late in life to have a genuine adventure."
~ Robert Kurson ~
Get your motor runnin' Head on down the highway
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to ride a motorcycle. My mother was against it to the point that it did not happen when I was younger, and then, life happened.
This weekend I took a course by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. It started Friday night with a class from 6 pm to 10 pm, after getting up at 3:30 am. Both Saturday and Sunday morning we meet at 6:45 am at the rider course, and then back to the classroom after lunch. I would be using a black Honda Nighthawk for the duration of my training, which I had no idea if I would make it to the final evaluation portion on Sunday.
At first, I was overthinking everything (imagine that) and struggling a bit. As soon as I began to relax, it was coming much smoother and I finished Saturday feeling pretty confident. Sunday, however, was a different story. They started us out on a very complicated set of maneuvers, one after the other. We all struggled. Evidently, this was their intention, to bring us back to earth and build on what we learned yesterday. I began to settle in a bit, until, I saw the clipboard come out. My test anxiety came on full speed and I commenced to making mistakes and getting frustrated.
During our last break on the range, the Rider Coach said that we would start the evaluations after the break. I asked him if he took test anxiety into consideration, and he said that it would be fine, and nothing that we had not already done. He was going to put us in a specific order and we needed to stay in that order for the entire evaluation process. Three guesses who he called first…Holy shit! I might as well go home now. I joked that my last name starts with a W and I have always had to go last, but I was not really joking. I felt completely screwed.
As it turns out, he was doing part of the evaluation when he was carrying the clipboard but we still had some maneuvers left to do. I tensed up during one if the slow moving tight U-turns and put my foot down and entirely tensed up. Now there was only one thing left to do; it was to get going, shift to 2nd, and make a tight turn, get up to speed in the straightaway, then slow to make a last tight turn and stop between the cones. I nailed the last part but, I was not sure if I passed or not. The Rider Coach leaned in and explained the scoring system to me. He said “Congratulations, you passed” and told me to wait in the staging area for everyone else to go.
What an incredible weight was lifted off of me at that moment. I was not really worried about the written portion at this point; I had proven to myself that I could handle a motorcycle after all the doubt and reasons that people had planted in my head over the years. When the coach came back in to talk to us, I said (laughing) “so when someone comes to you and tells you they have test anxiety, your response is to have them go first?” He told me that it was coincidental and he made up the list last night.
We went to lunch and then headed to the classroom for the final part and written test. I got 100% and I am now able to check something off of my “always wanted to do” list. I can legally and safely practice riding a motorcycle.
This was so important to me that I missed my granddaughters third birthday party to do it, for that, I am sorry sweetheart. I will make it up to her, but I really had to do this for me. I know it is selfish but, I have done so few things in my life just because I wanted to do them. At this point, I need to “roll on” the throttle.