Having missed the morning riding sessions while I sat in class, I suited up for some afternoon laps in the dry, cool desert air. Because I'd ridden this snaky little 2.2-mile circuit once before, I soon started to pass a few of my fellow street-level students who'd been riding all morning. But just when I was starting to feel like Mr. Whoopass, I was waved in by instructor Mark Gallardo. In a brief, to-the-point exchange, Gallardo revealed why my cornering was sluggish and how, if I wasn't careful, I might leave Nevada with a big, purple bruise. "You need to stay on the balls of your feet because you have no balance and you're dragging your weight across the seat, upsetting the suspension," he explained. Grasping my bike's fork between his knees, Gallardo secured the motorcycle while asking me to stand. With my heels draped over the pegs, I couldn't. But move my size-14 Sidis up and back, and balanced on the balls of my feet, I was suddenly able to scoot around like a 280-pound Dani Pedrosa. One session later, the instructors were all nodding at the improvements I'd made. I can't wait to apply what I've learned on my favorite back road.