come along for the ride
A couple of weeks ago we took our first real trip in our trailer down to Hollister Hills for the weekend. The plan was to get there early in the afternoon Thursday so we could set up and ride. Of course it didn’t go as quickly as we liked since this was the first time we packed up the trailer to go somewhere. First thing that happened was the anchors in the brand new toy hauler ripped out of the floor as we went to tie my bike down. Luckily the bike didn’t fall directly on top of me or on the floor of the trailer. So we decided that in the back of the truck would be the best place of this bikes this time around. We didn’t have time to take the trailer in to be fixed since I would be racing Saturday.
Finally we had gotten packed up and off we went for the first time on the freeway. Neither Tim or I have ever driven a trailer ourselves, so it was a slightly nerve racking experience to hauling around a 22 foot trailer on the back of our pickup truck. Since I have been driving trucks almost since the time I could drive and been a truck while others have pulled horse trailers I coached Tim based on my observation on how I had seen that being done. Generally the trip went well, with me driving the last leg into the Hollister Hills offroad park. By the time we got there is was close to five and would be getting dark soon. I tried to convince Tim into letting me get the bikes off the truck and take a quick ride, but I was shot down since he wanted to set up before dark. Which actually made sense since we have never set up camp before. Luckily when we got there very few people had arrived for the long weekend ahead. So it was easy to pull the trailer in and park.
Friday we rode for most of the day until I somehow twisted my knee. Probably when I was pulling over to stop to wait for Time. I got too close to the side wall of the burm I was going to put my foot on. The peg dug into the dirt upsetting my balance and over I went. I don’t really remember my knee being hurt, but didn’t fall any other time during the day. When I got back to trailer I could feel slight pain in my knee and decided since I was racing the next day it was best just quit for the time being.
Early on Saturday morning I could hear the rain coming down outside. It had been raining a good portion of Friday, but you couldn’t actually hear the rain itself inside the trailer. This meant that it was coming down hard outside and that there was going to be lots of mud on the course. In the past I have said that I don’t like mud, but the reality of it was that I just wasn’t experienced in riding in it. Generally when I start doing something I go through this phase of utter frustration of wondering why I can’t master something. In some ways this frustration drives me to do better and figure things out, but at the same time it hinders me from moving forward more quickly. Mud was just another frustration for in the process of learning to ride a dirtbike. Not to mention there isn’t just one type of mud, but many depending on what type of soil and how much it has rained. A dirt bike reacts differently to all them. Learning to ride in the mud is just another aspect of becoming a better rider. Thankfully the rain stopped as we drove up to the upper ranch where the race was being held.
AS we pulled up the experts were on course at that time. The course was being run through the motocross track at the upper ranch and it looked like mud soup. The mud looked about a foot deep and sloppy. In some ways I thought it might be fun to ride to through it, but on the other hand I pictured myself falling multiple times. Not to mention the amount of time it would take to clean my bike after going through all of that. No Feel Like a Pro to clean my bike here. Luckily though they decided the newbies didn’t need to go through the mud.
After the course had been changed and the youths had run their race the c group of riders was up next. While the group I was in was technically supposed to be for beginners, there was probably many that weren’t, but you run into sand bagging everywhere. As I pulled up to the starting line I had to make a sharp turn and immediately fell over when I put the wrong foot down. This is a great start to the race, but I was at the back of the line so hopefully not too many saw that. The joy of being short! We were let out onto the course one at a time, which made for a neat start at the beginning and nobody running anyone over. I was able to pass a couple of women quickly that had been let out shortly before me. I tried to be polite as possible passing them knowing that the trail was not particularly that wide and on the edge of hill, plus I didn’t want go falling down the edge either.
For the first two laps I was probably in third place out for thirteen women, but worked to hard on those two laps that I needed to slow down a bit to rest. My muscles weren’t sore, but were not responding in a way they should. Even though I could feel my body fighting against me I was riding well. I let the two girls that were directly behind me go past. Funny thing is I probably could have kept them there since they only passed me when I pulled over. Even though I ended up finishing in sixth place overall I was pretty happy with what I accomplished that day. I had finished four laps total in a good time, far better than I would have done the year before. I didn’t feel out of place with the more experienced riders on the course and was able to navigate around fallen riders and pass people when needed. My light KTM handled the course perfectly, especially through the small single track section that was in the middle of the course. Every time I go out I feel like I am getting and more aggressive so my goals were accomplished. Can’t wait for the next one!