come along for the ride
Dirt biking is probably one of my favorite forms of motorcycling. First of all you get to spend your day outside in the fresh air, often seeing beautiful scenery along the ride. Second I love the challenge that dirt biking presents me. Not only is physically challenging, but it is also a mental challenge. Racing off road has provided me a sense of accomplishment that no other form of riding has. Even though my past results weren’t as great as I wanted them to be, I wasn’t about to give up on off road racing. The past couple of months I have been able to see the improvement in my riding and I was excited to see an off road race that I would able to make, The Lilliputian Hare Scramble.
Getting Ready for the Race:
Getting ready for a race includes a couple of things for me. First off I have to get the bike ready to race. My KTM needed to have its oil changed, air filter changed, competition numbers applied, and chain maintained. While these things are pretty simple to do I still feel a sense of accomplishment when they are done and more of a connection to my motorcycle. I was also pleased with myself that I didn’t wait to the last minute to get things done.
The second thing that I decided to do for this race was something I really never focused on doing before. I felt that I needed to get my head in the right place for this race. Even though I had done a couple of off road races before I felt that I needed to go in with a positive feel. Previously when I entered into races I either had someone telling me I shouldn’t do it because I couldn’t handle it or someone tried to create a sense of fear within me about the course. This race was going to be different, I wanted to get myself fired up to go out there and do well. The night before the race I went to the gym for a short workout. During my cardio exercise I watched motocross on Fuel TV, which got me all excited for the next days race. I pictured myself pushing hard, ripping by my competitors, and taking a home a trophy. Mentally I was set for the next day!
The Day of the Race
Luckily my friend Eric was able to come with me to race and help me out, which I greatly appreciated. Things are always easier with a support crew. AS we pulled into the parking area of the race I could see that part of the course went through the Hangtown Motocross track, which was a little daunting to me since I am not a fan of large jumps. Eric told me I was going to be fine and to just be smooth. I was still nervous, but tried to put it out of my head.
I pulled up to the starting line and killed the engine on my bike. The first class went out and us beginner women were next. Slightly nervous and not quite ready to go the starting shot went off. Quickly I pulled myself together and kick started my bike. I was the second person off line out five people in my race. Quickly I closed in on the woman who had gotten the hole shot in the race. I passed her quickly and found that the jumps weren’t actually all that bad. During the third lap another rider passed me on a KTM and then I promptly stalled my bike out around a turn. Luckily the rest of the pack was far enough back for me to get restarted without anyone passing me. I knew that it was time to start trying to pick up the pace! I had been tentative the first two laps, but now was not the time. I caught up quickly to her and was able to watch her for about a lap to analyze how she rode and to see that she wasn’t pushing hard through the fast section, but was slightly faster through the tight stuff. I finally got past her after two previously failed attempts. Keeping a level head was the next step and making sure I pushed hard through the fast sections and kept it upright through the tighter turns. The bike-stayed upright the whole race and when I saw the checkered flag I had the greatest sense of excitement I have ever had at the end of the race! I had won my class and finished second or third out all of the riders on the course! My first race win felt awesome! I just wanted to go back out and do the course again. Now I am gearing up for this weekend’s race at Hollister Hills.
Eric for coming with me as my support crew
The Dirt Diggers for putting on the Hare Scramble
District 36 for creating the off road series
Rich Oliver and The Mystery School for making me a better racer and rider
Go Pro for creating such a great camera for me to use at these events
Brian Bartlow and Feel Like a Pro for being a great mentor and friend
Cycle Gear Racing