Posted by Unknown |

Dirty Week Ended

Dirt Bikes.jpg

I'm home from Dirt Bike Camp. Pwoah! What a camp. It was one of the most full on camps I've been on. We were in a meeting at 6:45am every morning and we didn't stop until about 10pm every night, no breaks. Spending that much time with boys in years 5 and 6 is a very long time.

Actually I had some breaks. There were days when I would take a session (3 hours) off to work on my talk. But it doesn't take 3 hours so I would have to sleep to fill in some of the time. Although I didn't get to do that too much.

There was lots of dirt bike riding. About 3 hours a day each in two sessions. My job was usually Crowd Control which means that I sent riders of from the waiting area to the bikes. It was fun. My conversations with the boys would usually go something like this:

"What do you want 80 or 100?...80...You're a 100? Ok... Right you take the 100...No you can't take the CRF, take the XR...Take the XR! Go!...Get yourself a helmet then you can go...You take that 80. Go!....Oi! Come back here. Did I say you can go? Sit down!...Now you can go...Ok. There's an 80. You want an 80? Go!...Who here wants a 100?...Get yourself a helmet than you can go!...Go take the 100! Now, Go!"

It was fun. I may not have had the most highly skilled job on the course but I reckon I had on of the most mentally challenging. Everyone else just had to ride a bike or watch a track. I had to juggle everyone's bike preferences, watch the bikes, mediate in the fights, discipline the people who misbehaved on and off the track, have conversations with the kids, mediate between kids and leaders, and make sure everyone got on a bike in as swift, orderly and safe fashion as possible. I enjoyed the challenge.

I did a little bit of riding. On Sunday I learnt how to ride for a few hours. I wasn't very good, the whole clutch, gears, throttle, hands, fingers, feet, brains things didn't quite gel with me. But I got better.

On Tuesday I rode a second time. I was up to a Level 2 track by that stage (out of 6 levels) and I wasn't doing very well. By the end of the session I had the track pretty much down. I decided to have one more circuit before I moved up a track. I was doing a hair-pin bend in what I thought was 2nd gear but turned out 3rd. I put in too much throttle. Instead of going around the bend I rode straight off the track, up a dirt wall and into a fence. I put the front wheel of the bike straight through this wire fence. The bike got stuck completely in the fence. When the rest of the riders found me they laughed profusely at my feat and the head bike man told me he had never seen a leader ever do that well with crashing a bike before.

I didn't ride after that. Not cause I was scared ,more because I was lazy. I was too lazy to have to learn how not to ride into fences. I figure I'll do that later.

Bikes are a little dangerous. We were very blessed we had so few injuries. Only one kid finished the camp with a broken arm and finger. Other than that it was just a few scrapes, grazes, bruises and sprains. I cut my finger too.

The weather was terrible. It was so cold some days. After Sunday's scorcher, it was freezing. I was wearing two jumpers on some days. It was like winter. I wanted my money back.

My talks (which is what I was there for) went pretty well. I put in effort to make appropriate illustrations for young boys which meant farts, poo, pus, cars and crime. They seemed to like that. And they seemed to respond well to the serious bits too, which is more important.

All up it was good. The kids were great. There were times when I was reminded of Lord of the Flies and was very glad that we leaders were around to stop another Piggy incident. But mostly they were just fun. Lots of very friendly guys who I enjoyed hanging out with. It was great to have an all male week with lots of macho stupid stuff, silly jokes and 12-year-old guys trying to beat you up. Out of all the leaders I certainly felt rather un-manly being unable to ride a bike properly and the only one still on a lower bike skill level at the end of the camp than the majority of the campers were. Oh well. They were a good leadership team.

I'm glad I did the camp. Maybe I'll learn to ride properly this year. That'd be fun. Right now I'm stuffed.