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Sport Rider - - Front Page - Mark Couch Lex­ing­ton, KY

Thanks for the ar­ti­cle by An­drew Trevitt, “Af­ter the Crash” ( Rid­ing Skills Se­ries, Dec./jan. ’17). I have had many of the thoughts and emo­tions men­tioned. Af­ter 30 years of rid­ing, at 47 years old, I re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced my first se­ri­ous crash. Even though I have never had an in­vin­ci­bil­ity com­plex, I never fully sub­scribed to the cliché that there are two types of rid­ers: those who have crashed and those who will. My fresh mo­tor­cy­cling his­tory has now only served to so­lid­ify the cliché.

As a com­mer­cial pi­lot, I am no stranger to do­ing a pre­flight, and it trans­lates well to rid­ing. As in fly­ing, it is wise to as­sess one’s phys­i­cal and men­tal state be­fore swing­ing a leg over the moto.

The day of my wreck, dur­ing my men­tal pre­flight, I noted to my­self that I would be rid­ing un­fa­mil­iar twisty roads in back ar­eas of Ken­tucky’s east­ern parts. In ad­di­tion I wasn’t 100 per­cent be­cause I slept poorly (only about five hours— I am ac­cus­tomed to get­ting seven) and I re­minded my­self I just wasn’t sharp. Phys­i­cally too, I took my nor­mal pre­cau­tions. I geared up. I am a self- pro­claimed gear junkie.

I met my friend Chris­tine and pro­ceeded to fol­low her through bright sun­shine, beck­on­ing hills, and some of the best- snaked pave­ment west of the Dragon. I let her lead me for a half hour, my tires and body warm­ing to the task. That is where my cau­tion slowly took a back seat to my ego, goaded by the ex­cite­ment and thrill that kept stab­bing my mind and body with adren­a­line.

Com­ing through a fast left- hand sweeper my judg­ment failed. My eyes or brain saw a sud­den de­creas­ing- ra­dius turn de­fined by a lime­stone, canyon wall. ( Though later in­spec­tion re­vealed a sec­tion of the lime­stone wall blocked the view of the road. The turn did not re­duce at all what­so­ever and was quite man­age­able at higher speeds.) I had split sec­onds to choose grassy drop- off to the right or straight into lime­stone. I chose the high grass.

I had to wait a cou­ple of weeks for in­sur­ance money, and that left me with­out a ride. Each day that passed a cer­tain doubt crept in that at my age I had no busi­ness carv­ing up roads on a liter­bike. The weeks and months that fol­lowed saw me lack some con­fi­dence at speed and in cor­ners for quite a while. Like An­drew men­tioned, I an­a­lyzed what I had done wrong. I vowed not to ride again when phys­i­cally/men­tally be­low par. And as he sug­gested, if my rid­ing was still be­low my nor­mal skillset, I packed it in for the day and en­gaged in other ac­tiv­i­ties to get my mind off of the neg­a­tiv­ity. Mostly, I paced my­self and just kept prac­tic­ing. Even­tu­ally the fear sub­sided to a healthy re­spect, and I took some track­days and lessons on the track that im­proved my rid­ing.

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