Dirt Road Riding - Please tell me it gets less scary!!
(Cape Town, South Africa)
Last week, my husband, a friend and I, did a 3 day dirt ride - my first real exposure to dirt riding, and boy, was it scary! It didn't help that early on day 1 I managed to get into a real wobbly - I think it's called a 'tank slapper' when I hit a patch of sand in the road. I didn't have the guts to open up the throttle, as everything I've heard and read tells you to do, but I managed not to throttle off, and not to try to over correct, ie not fight the bike. I really, really thought I was a goner, but the bike managed to come out of it, somehow. Our friend was riding behind me, and afterwards he talked me through what happened, and what I should have done.
Needless to say, that experience really shook me. We had a fair bit of tar after that, then back to dirt (gravel we call it) in the afternoon. The road got really bad - hectic corrugations - and I was forced to learn quickly to ride standing up - previously that position had just felt too insecure, but the road was so bad it literally was the only way I could ride it.
Anyway, I managed, albeit much more slowly than the guys - they were chilled about that, bless them - but it was still scary, and the bike just felt so unstable under me, by the end of the day, the conversation in my helmet was all about how I was never going to do this again. And my hands and wrists were soooooo tired from gripping too tightly!
So, there were still 2 more days to go, and not being one to chicken out of something I've started, I kept going. The roads did improve - so much so that on the last day the road was really firm, with very little loose stuff. However I was still nervous, couldn't get up to more than 90kmh (59mph), and the guys tell me they generally ride that kind of surface at 120+ (74mph+)!
So, please can those of you who ride dirt regularly, and have experienced these feelings, tell me - does it get less scary when you've started out so nervously? It's not like only the elite riders do it, so it MUST get easier, but why do I feel SO much more scared than I thought I would?
(PS I'm not giving up - I do want to go again, but I'm worried I'll never feel comfortable on dirt roads)