What a great weekend to be a motorcyclist! I took advantage of the opportunity to learn how to use my new GSA in the proper environment. Gateway BMW put on a one day off-road rider training followed by of course the challenge and also great rides on Sunday.
Around 30 like minded individuals descended on Rogue Creek, just 60 miles south of St. Louis for a weekend of camping, eating, learning and of course crashing. Three instructors who teach for Rawhyde Adventure training came in to teach the three different levels of riders attending the event. Experienced trainers and staff from Gateway BMW were also on hand to help with training and cater to most any need you could have.
I took advantage of the Beginner level class. Despite a couple of decades road riding, it is a new animal to ride a heavy bike on gravel, trail, mud... The training was concentrated on basic skill building and exercises developed to allow the beginning rider gain confidence in the controls and balance of their off road capable bike. There were quite a few nervous participants, but the way each technique and skill was rolled out helped to ease their fear. Time was spent educating participants about the friction zone, trail braking, panic braking, trail stops, simple turning drills and hill ascent/descent. Opportunities presented throughout the day to stray from the lesson plan and cover situations as they happened. Picking up dropped bikes was handy throughout the day
The challenge was the highlight of the day and took place just prior to the fine dinner spread layed out by our hosts. (food was excellent all weekend long, so kudos to all involved!) A changing of the guard took place as Honz' old GSA finally went to the great trail in the sky as his 14 GSA was watching from the side of the course. I think I saw a tear fall from Honz' eye (maybe it was from laughter or sweat, can't be sure) The best time on the course came from one of the instructors aboard an 83' GS. Strong work to be sure. I know my bike will never be the same as mud is in every nook and cranny. For those who insist that pretty/new bikes shouldn't be put through this........that's what they are made for
Good training, good weather, great facilities and local riding, and great people made this experience truly memorous.
Now I get what all of those ADV guys understood all along. There is more to see than what is paved.