It was awful, wonderful, spectacular but incredibly, quiveringly exhausting. I cycled to the training centre - about 8 kilometres uphill, knees trembling even before I arrived. They assigned us each a motorbike. I had a red one, a gigantic beast, Suzuki 125 (ha ha). Never driven a bike before, I was in shock most of the weekend. At first I was tickled pink I'd let out the clutch. After four hours of solid rain with mascara running down my face, hair flat against my head in rat's tails and wet jeans clinging to my legs, I spent the lunch break lying flat on my back beside the bike. 2nd half, I staggered back, willing but wasted. 5:30 I pulled up at the crossroads. An instructor bellowed
What are you sitting there for?
Go park your bike you're done for today.
With a sigh of relief I made for the bike hut, parked the beast, got my leg halfway over and collapsed underneath it. Helpful instructors pulled it off me. I could have done it myself I swear, given time. But still, the battle scars were worth it. Legs covered in bruises but the bike's okay!
That night I downed pain killers and slept like a baby. Unfortunately I had to drink a lot of coffee to wake up at 5:30 so I was hyper all morning, responding to instructions with rather abrupt heads-up reactions, slightly popping eyes, lots of revs and false fart-starts all across the course.
I took the test, purely determined, looked over both shoulders, let out the clutch smooth, stopped with front tyre inside the square, until I saw a set of exercises that looked easy. I'll ace this one. No problem here.
And of course, it was the one that did me in. I cycled home that night, slowly, feeling pretty sorry for myself. I fell into bed supported by lots of cushions and a tub of ice cream. As I tried to compose myself for sleep, my body was vibrating brrrrrrrrm brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrm, squeeeeeeeal! skiiiiiid! brrrrrrm brrrrrrrrrrrm!
I was bowed and bloodied but determined to try again.