Normally when setting out on a decent run, particularly solo; I kick the ride off by talking myself through the "12 second rule" observational process for a short stretch as I find it helps to bury it in the subconscious, especially if I haven't been on a run for a time. This particular trip to have new tyres fitted was no different and I soon settled into a decent pace in clear, cool conditions feeling content with the world. Closing in on Hamilton, I was dog-legging down country lanes that I wasn't all that familiar with. Now you might think that it would call for a little extra vigilance being on unfamiliar territory and you'd be right. Looking back, my concentration at that time might have been mainly directed at figuring out what turn to take next.
Anyway, I was bowling along at open road speed down one of the country lanes and noted a low humped bridge spanning a fairly small creek in front of me. It was a straight road but the bridge hump partially obscured the immediate far side. What I should have done and didn't, was to ease off until I had unrestricted vision. Whether it was figuring out where the next turn was, seeing the straight road stretching out or whatever; I hardly backed off at all.
This was a BIG mistake because as I got onto the bridge, it became apparent that in my previous blind spot, someone had dug up the road and there were several metres of broken-up road surfacing mixed with some fairly big lumps of under-surface dirt. Pleased to say that the training kicked in - no panic and certainly not hitting the brakes - far too late for that. As soon as I hit the rough stuff, the front swung way out of line but I steered into the slide then the back kicked out the other way, correcting itself as I countersteered and then we were through it. I must say that the Triple handled it magnificently but it might have been entirely a different story with the mass of my old Blackbird swinging about.
It all happened too quickly for any fright but for the rest of the journey, I mentally beat myself up for poor judgement. I think any experienced rider is far harder on himself or herself than anyone else can be; which is only right and proper. It was a powerful reminder that no matter how much you care about your riding, you can never, ever afford to be complacent.
I've left the fact that there were no warning signs out of the equation as you should always ride to the conditions. I didn't and the fault was entirely mine; getting away with it being partially a matter of luck. A few years ago, a very experienced friend of mine wasn't so fortunate. He entered a blind bend and encountered loose gravel which had not been properly cleaned up after resurfacing. That wrote his Hayabusa off and gave him 6 weeks away from work to recover from a number of injuries. The message is that you can never risk lowering your guard for an instant. We get away with it on most occasions but as previously mentioned, that is largely a matter of good fortune.
Ride wisely, Guys and Gals!
A few hundred metres from home and all is well!