New England Trials Clinic (NETA) Trails Cross training Clinic

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Chantal and I…stealing a lil kid’s bicycle?

Sometimes you just need to take a day off and get out of town. So, last Sunday me and some friends from NYC Vin Moto and The Miss-Fires loaded up the trucks and headed up to lovely, lush Connecticut and the Meridan Motorcycle Club….

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Me. ready to ride?

The destination? the New England Trials Clinic (NETA) Trails Cross training Clinic. These clinics are run entirely by volunteers and wholly for the love of the sport. Their theory? How could you NOT want to ride Trials after trying it out. so, the first time’s free kids!

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Kim looking like a pro?

What is Trials? 

Moto Trials (formerly “Observed Trials”) is now the pinnacle of off-road riding, as the riders tackle the most severe terrain capable of being conquered by any two wheeled machine. When someone looks at the obstacles before the riding starts, a frequent comment is a simple “No way!” A big plus for the spectators is that they can watch from just a few feet away as the riders attempt seemingly impossible obstacles. Trials competitions consist of “sections” that are physically defined by marker tape. These sections contain challenging features, both natural and artificial. They may include stream-beds, boulders, logs, and slopes. Tape markers identify different skill class levels for competition; the better the competitor, the more severe the obstacles will be in the corresponding class. A trail loop connects the sections for the event. A typical event will have 8 to 12 sections and the competitor must ride the loop and complete the sections three to five times. Riders cannot practice the sections but may inspect each section just before being judged (or observed) on their ride. Then, one at a time, the riders will enter a section on their motorcycle, as an observer scores the rider’s performance. Like golf, where the least amount of strokes on the course wins, trials are won by the person who touches their foot to the ground the least amount of times over the course of the event. The rider with the lowest score wins. The score goes to a maximum of 5 points for that section if they fail to reach the end gate in time or crash. Riding a section “clean” without footing is the ultimate goal of all riders (score of 0).

The Bikes
Trials motorcycles are very specialized. Years of development have produced a very lightweight (i.e. ~150lbs), very slender, extremely well balanced machine with a powerful 2 or 4 stroke engine. The bikes have high ground clearance, minimal fuel capacity and no seat, creating a highly maneuverable motorcycle capable of overcoming nearly any obstacle.

Competitions
There are many local clubs around the US that host events locally, with some putting on as many as 15 events per year. A listing of NETA’s clubs and events is provided under the “Events Tab” on our website. The United States National Series, governed for the AMA by the North American Trials Council (NATC), hosts the best riders of various classes in America, and consists of 6 to 12 events held in various parts of the country. There are a few select riders in the USA that have the skill to compete at the World Championship level and these riders compete for a spot on the American Trial des Nations Team. The Trial des Nations is held in various countries in the fall of each year, and is a nation vs. nation team competition.

Summing it up
While Trials can be a very challenging and dramatic sport, events by NETA’s local clubs have competition classes for riders of “all” abilities, from beginners on up. Of all the motorcycle sports, it is probably the most
“family-friendly”, and kids can enjoy healthy competition alongside their Moms and Dads and share in an activity that they love. Additionally, trials is easy on the environment. Because of the nature of the bikes and the competitions, environmental damage is minimal, and some clubs have riding areas that have been used for decades with little evidence of any damage to the environment. Trials is also viewed a safer alternative to other forms of motorcycle competition due the lightness of the bikes and the very low speeds (i.e. 1 to 4mph) involved when traversing sections. For this reason alone we continually see veteran enduro and motorcross riders switching to trials competition, and why we commonly to see riders as young as 6 and as old as 70 competing. Lastly, Trials riding also serves as a great cross-training tool for all types of riding such as enduro, endurocross, and motocross. This evidenced by the successfulness of our nation’s top endurocross, and motocross riders (Jeff Aaron, Cody Webb, David Knight, and Taddy Blazusiak) all of which are top trials riders.

Summary courtesy of NETA. READ MORE ABOUT TRIALS FROM THE NETA WEBSITE.

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Charles, Neta President

Though i’m sure they regretted ever inviting us first the first five minutes of the dingbat Miss-Fires girls trying to figure out how to mount a Trials bike with no seats…Charles and the staff were incredibly patient, and knowledgeable.
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Graduation photo

By the end of the clinic…just a few hours later (though it felt like days we were so hot, worn out and beat up), every single one of us could not only balance on the pegs, but manage the slow speed turns, wheelies and rock climbs. Pretty F’in cool for some city slicker motor bike riders!image2

Kim, counting points

After the clinic, and a bag lunch provided by Neta. Yea, they’re that awesome…They put us to work helping judge that days Trials competition. One of the reasons I got into Motorcycles so heavily and that they are now my life, is the community of it. Events like these are only possibly with volunteer support and we were more than happy to help out.

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how it should look.

The riders competing ranged in age from 8 to 80 and as with all moto sports, everyone is patient and supportive. Truly incredible to have been part of it, learn a new skill and challenge myself to be a better rider, risk taker and face my fears. God damn those rocks are scary when you’re staring them down from the pegs of a Gas Gas!

Corinna Mantlo

1962 Ford Ranchero, 1968 BSA 650, 1971 Yamaha AT1, 2014 Royal Enfield Continental GT

Adventures in riding ice

15_0207_IceRacing_116APhoto by Ryan Handt Photography

Winter in New York is always hard for motorcyclists. As ice and snow cover the streets, we put our bikes in storage, and spend hours reminiscing about summer, longing for spring, and cursing the Instagram feeds of our friends in warmer climates. This year has been particularly long and hard, and so I decided to make the most of it and use every minute and dime I had repairing and sprucing up my two bikes, as well as learning something new!

I’ve done a little bit of flattrack, by way of American Supercamp a few years back, and last year on the track with the help of fellow Miss-Fire Kara (Check out that story HERE). Kara races with Five & Dime Racing and just split town to defend the #1 plate in her class (ead her story HERE). So this winter, my goal was a similar, but even crazier sounding sport, Ice Riding!

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drilling screws into tires for grip.

It took a few weeks of talking to friends, asking technical questions, and inquiring about secret locations, but after not too long, I’d found a schedule for races 3 hours away and hopped in the car with some buddy’s to check it out. In short, it was everything I’d hoped for, cold, crazy, and so much fun to watch.

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We had a great day, and that started the ball rolling. More friends popped up with advice, and even offered to take me up to a private track on a river upstate. So, after getting the best text ever (above), I ran on over to Works Engineering and we spent several nights eating pizza, drinking beer and drilling thousands of screws into knobby tires.

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Photo by Ryan Handt Photography

Bright and early the next morning, we packed up the trucks, and headed upstate. The track was cleared and waiting for us along with a fire pit to keep warm in between turns courtesy of our gracious hosts, a lovely couple who race motorcycles, including flattrack.

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Jason wailing around a turn. Photo by Ryan Handt Photography

It was great to watch everyone from the kids to the pros, find their way around the track. and I quickly came to understand the techniques that had been explained to me prior.

15_0207_IceRacing_036AOur host Scott. Photo by Ryan Handt Photography

On dirttrack (or flattrack), you accelerate down the straight-aways, then lean and slide he bike around the turns with your leg extended out and into the turn, and that arm pushing into the handlebars, while your outside arm is raised high, and that leg is on the pegs and pushing against the tank. Looking all the while far down the track. That lesson of looking where I want the bike to go and it will go there, is something I originally learned riding horses years ago and it’s still one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned in regards to motorcycling, and I use it every day.

15_0207_IceRacing_087AMe. Photo by Ryan Handt Photography

With the addition of the screws into the tires, the amount of grip is surprising. I had envisioned sliding all over slick ice, as if I was ice skating in dress shoes but in fact, The bike felt completely in control, and powered through the ice with grace and stability. Getting it to slide was indeed very similar to conditions of a dirttrack and after only a few turns, though I was slow and wobbly, I was starting to get it!

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Me. Photo By Miss-Fire Erika

Being new to not just ice riding, but motorcycle as off-road sport in general, gear was daunting. I did a bunch of research and found that it’s very similar to motocross, with some cold weather additions. You want to be warm, protected, and yet still able to have a full range of motion. I also found that an open MX helmet and Goggle combo was necessary as a full face helmet with flip down shield was prone to fogging badly.

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Photo by Ryan Handt Photography

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Jeanette. Photo by Ryan Handt Photography

Jeanette (above) riding her first day on ice. She got her foot down on the very next lap!15_0207_IceRacing_080AErik showing Henry the track. Photo by Ryan Handt Photography

All in all, an amazing day spent with friends learning a new skill and challenging myself with every turn on the track, and the only think that’s almost made me wish winter will last just a little longer…ALMOST.

Corinna Mantlo

1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1971 Yamaha At1 125, 1962 Ford Ranchero

Birthday Ride To Bear Mountain!

 

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Last Saturday, on a lovely cool morning, We gathered to celebrate Miss-Fire Amanda’s birthday, and what an amazing day it was. Happy Birthday darling from all of us!

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We met at Tar Pit Cafe (owned by Miss-Fire Kerry), for early morning coffee.

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It was pretty clear right off the bat that it was going to be a magical day…

10492132_10204212004037377_2749304013105666398_nThe Birthday girl presented with a custom made gift from Miss-Fire Rachel Quinn Jewelry!

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tough guys…

10562970_10152338694449608_354921372504867898_nDirections…

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The route…

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Group photo. Ready to ride!

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Scenic Overlook from the Palisades.

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View from the chase truck.

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We made it!

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birthday cake river surprise!

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Crossing the Bear Mountain Bridge to find some much needed food and beer after a long day…

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such fun.

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Perfect sunset skyline as we return happy and tired to the big city. a perfect day in every way.

 

Corinna Mantlo

1971 Yamaha At1 125, 1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1962 Ford Ranchero, 1971 BSA Victor 250 desert sled race bike.

Strange Days 4

This past weekend a bunch of The Miss-Fires rallied with some of our favorite fellas to head out to Strange Days Motorcycle show/meet-up/camp-out/live music festival/swap meet in Vernon, NJ.  It was Brandon’s (Death or Victory) first ride since his unfortunate wreck 16 weeks ago to the day – a wreck that left him with a broken femur and a totaled bike.   We all met up at his garage and waited while he did some last minute adjustments to his “new” 1985 Harley FXR.

Brandon fixes up his new FXR

Photo by Rich Gone

Assortment of bikes

Photo by Rich Gone

Photo by Suzanne

The crew

Photo by Rich Gone

We hit the road and ran directly into some pretty rough Manhattan traffic.  We did our best to stick together and made it though the Holland Tunnel with everyone except for our girl Rachael and her friend (never got his name!)   It was a hot and humid ride so we took a quick break to gas up and hydrate before navigating some fun scenic back roads of New Jersey.

Photo by Suzanne

It was a great ride until we turned a corner and basically ran directly into a scary situation.  We had found Rachael and her friend, but under the worst circumstances.  She had taken a turn a tad too wide and wound up in the woods off the side of the road.  Aside from being a bit shaken and muddy, she was FINE (huge miracle).  Her Sportster, on the other hand, was a bit dinged up.  She lost her plate and her clutch lever.  We all hung around while John, Scott, Brandon and some of the rest of the crew worked on rigging her lever well enough so that she could ride it to a nearby dealership to have it fixed.

Photo by Suzanne

Photo by Rich Gone

We hit the road and headed to our first destination, the Chatterbox Drive-In Diner.  We just happened to roll in during their weekly car show.  The “mayor” of the car show wasn’t too thrilled that our bikes were taking up their precious parking spaces, so we ate and drank our rootbeer floats as quickly as possible and got the hell out of there before we overstayed our welcome.

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

Photo by Lynda Lucas

At this point a few of us who needed to get back to the city (my dog has a small bladder) broke off and took the scenic route back – through Bear Mountain.

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Photo by Suzanne

The rest of the crew – I’d say at least 20 people – made it to Strange Days and partied into the night.

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rachael Becker

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Photo by Leslie Padoll

Kristen Reed 2

Photo by Kristen Reed

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Photo by Rachael Becker

becker 3

Photo by Rachael Becker

Kristen Reed 1

Photo by Kristen Reed

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

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Photo by Rich Gone

Let’s do it again for the Gypsy Run!  Save the date, September 12-14…Be there!

Wow! What a Ride! …Hellbound And Down, part 1

photo-31(photo by Miss-Fire Kristin Johnson)

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride! ― Hunter S. Thompson

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 In life there are sometimes opportunities too crazy to pass up. Hunter S Thompson lived it, and it’s a moto i’ve decided to live by, or as I call it the decision to just ‘get in the van.’

Get in the van‘ is basically the conscious decision to quit talking about things you want to do, making excuses, or put plans and dreams off for another day, but instead to embrace life, look fear in the face and tell fear to get lost. It’s how i learned to flattrack (read the GET IN THE VAN flattrack post here) among other things, and I wish i’d been stronger and more confident to do this in my younger years but the past is the past and so at 34 I am becoming the daredevil, badass, juvenile delinquent i wish i’d been at 15.

So, when my dear friend Greaser told me about his plans to race the Norra Mexican 500 this year (yep…500 miles across Baja on vintage motorcycles in brutal terrain), I was totally supportive and encouraging. Of course, THEN he followed up with, ‘hey you should race too!’

I thought about it for a minute…and I was fucked. I had to do it. His offer came with a van, a mechanic, and the support of his club The Yellow Jackets MC who have been racing motorcycles since they formed in 1938. Basically all I had to do was find and buy a vintage bike ($2500), a bunch of gear ($$$), learn to ride off road (i’ve never even done 1 mile on dirt, and this is 500!), and raise thousands of dollars to cover entry fees ($1800), transport gas ($1000), race gas ($200), food and lodging ($$$), etc. and do it all in time for the race in early October. Uh, no biggie. Sure, why the hell not? I’ll get in the van!971995_10152189932989608_8264714705718617213_nMe and my 1971 BSA Victor 250 desert sled race bike

A few days later I bought a bike. A 1971 BSA Victor 250 from my motorcycle mentor Hugh Mackie at Sixth Street Specials. I had to borrow money to get it, but i wasn’t backing down. Buying the bike meant this was a reality and not just talk, and though i woke up in a panic every night after for a week, i was excited and determined to pull this off, and the first time i went ripping around the neighborhood, i was in love with this brat of a baby Beezer, and the idea of racing as a woman and a Miss-Fire.

photo-4(photo by Miss-Fire Kristin Johnson)

I mean seriously, its an adventure to end all adventures. a girl on a tiny, old british motorcycle alone (well hopefully not) in a race against the clock for 3 days and 500 miles in Mexico. HELL YEA! I’d be a fool NOT to do it. Right?

photo-21(photo by Miss-Fire Kristin Johnson)

Well, there it is. I’m doing it. My bike has been gone through. I’m ordering protective gear and knobby tires this week. A Bell Powersports helmet and Von Zipper goggles are on their way to me from our wonderful friends at Hell On Wheels MC in California, i’m being trained in core and overall strength building by the wonderful Coach Ray, and in just two weeks Team Hellbound And Down will be hitting the Pine Barrens for the the first of what will be weekly, all day off road training sessions. So, See you in October Baja!

10491086_10152286393714608_6560630621284729587_nThe amazing race jerseys for Myself, Greaser and our mechanic Doc from Jill at Hometown Jersey!

Stay tuned for updates on the race prep here, and be sure to follow us on our dedicated website HELLBOUND AND DOWN where there is information on us, the race, upcoming fundraisers, and even a paypal link to help us get to Mexico. Every dollar helps and we’re blown away by the outpouring of support we’ve received so far. Most importantly from my dear Miss-Fires family who support me in all of my motorcycle shenanigans and came out in force for our first FUNDRAISER a few weeks ago. thank you Miss-Fires from the bottom of my heart…or the gears that are there in place of one.

 

Corinna Mantlo

1971 Yamaha At1 125, 1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1962 Ford Ranchero, 1971 BSA Victor 250 desert sled race bike.

 

I wanna RIDE!

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It has been 25 years since I last drove a motorcycle. I felt like it is well over due, I needed to get riding once again. Being that it has been so long, I figured I would do the responsible thing and go and take a class. I started from the beginning. Even though I rode in the past, I wanted to make sure I approached this with patience and caution. I was anxious to get riding. I see all my gal pals ripping it up,having a blast as we all go out on weekend Rides and such. Being a Miss-fire would be a lot more fun if I had a motorcycle and not just my classic car. So instead of asking one of my friends to help me learn or refresh my memory, I figured I would go to the professionals. I signed up for an introduction to motorcycle. If I was starting over, why not start off with the proper know how of this powerful machine. I always feel like anything that has that much power deserves respect.
So it wasn’t the nicest day. Gloomy.. Almost rainy. I have heard that if you learn on a rainy day it may be better for you since you are learning in more difficult conditions.
I was excited! Just like a kid going to Disneyland. Again I told myself to focus and listen.
I was greeted with a big smile. I met Adam Wood.(Yowza!!) A very knowledgeable    instructor at MSS. We went into it right away. Even if I felt like I already knew some of the things we were reviewing, I knew it was important to take it all in. I know a focused rider is a smart rider.

image(So focus Lori, focus!) We started with what is the proper gear and which helmets, pants, jacket and gloves were best for riding.(Damn! my pin-up polkadot dress and flower will have to stay at home :/) Adam made us all think about what kind of rider we were going to be so we could start thinking about the proper bike for us. I couldn’t get Grease’s “cool rider” out of my head. He helped us understand why certain gears were better, not in a fashion sense but in a “how it is made” and how durable they will be in an accident scenario. You really don’t want to talk about accidents before you get on such a powerful machine, but like I said, you must respect every aspect of riding, safety and all. Being properly prepared is where I needed to start.image

After we went through the basics of getting to know a bike like what goes where we moved onto the proper way to orchestrate them all together. That is a good word to use, Orchestrate. That’s how it should all be. All the main controls working together like an orchestra. When used in the right way you will smoothly coast out of first gear and into second like a beautiful song. If used wrongly, you will most likely stall out and need to start up again.
The introduction to motorcycle truly allowed us to get to know the bike (introduction to motorcycle..ehh..it’s in the title)
We covered all the things you need to do to start and take that first ride. After spending a few hours getting to know my bike, I feel like I am more properly prepared to start my next phase – get off of the back seat and finally start riding! I am READY!!
Bitch no more!
I will keep you posted!….image    THANKS MSS !
❤ Lori Erlitz

SO YOU WANT TO RIDE OFF-ROAD PART 2

Or maybe I should title this, “What not to do the first day you do an off-road event” or “What to do when you’re in over your head”. The phrases of this ride were still “I’ll try this“, but added to that were “I don’t know how” and “Oh shit“. I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first off-road event, which there is a correction from part 1. This event was sponsored by the Berkshire Trail Riders Association , not NETRA , but they tend to overlap in some ways. Anyhow, I was pretty psyched to try my first trail ride.

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We loaded up the bikes into the truck and took off for Tolland, MA on Friday to settle in the night before the ride. There was an option to camp out on a farm, but someone in our group found us a nice cabin to rent. We sure were glad to have a cozy place to sleep that night because it rained cats and dogs all night and into the early morning. We were wondering what that much rain would do to the trails we were about to ride Saturday morning. Luckily the following day was crisp and clear with plenty of sunshine.

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We headed where they would hold the rider’s meeting at 9:00 AM to go over rules and helpful information about the routes we were about to adventure onto. We were given route sheets with turn by turn instructions and descriptions of the terrain. Most roads were gravel and dirt and some pavement to get from section to section. Mixed in were “Hero Level” sections that if you had the know-how and the right bike, you could go be challenged. To give you and idea of what that is, here is the description they gave with the packet:

HERO LEVEL DESIGNATIONS:

LEVEL 1: Loose gravel/sand; shallow water/mud with firm bottom

LEVEL 2: Rocky; deep water/mud with firm bottom

LEVEL 3: Deep ruts; deep washouts; large rocks, logs; deep water/ mud soft bottom

LEVEL 4: Ledge; rocks the size of Volkswagens; deep long water crossings; bottomless mud holes, greasy, exposed roots

LEVEL 5: It doesn’t get any worse than this. Don’t go alone. NO BIG BIKES!

After going over the packet the night before, we decided who would ride what. Since I was the newbiest, I was to ride with our friend J. who said he’d like to take it easy and wouldn’t mind being my mentor. He had his Transalp with street tires, so he didn’t mind taking the easier roads. Peter also decided to ride with us, since he felt he didn’t have as much experience either. Don and Dan, who had dual sports with street tires, also ended up riding in our group of five. Jason and Adam decided they would try the “Hero-Level” sections of the route, so they teamed up together. As I looked around the riders at the meeting, I could kinda tell who would be the daredevils. Lots of knobby wheels and armor that resembled exo- skeletons.

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I was glad to notice I wasn’t the only lady-rider. Some seemed like me, just trying this out, and some seemed like seasoned pros.

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There was a que to head out to the trails so we didn’t get all bunched up. Jason and Adam took off sooner while our merry band of five waited a while, since we knew we’d be slower. J. took the lead with me in tow and we headed out. Most of the roads were a lot like the dirt roads back by the cabin, and even easier. J. suggested that we start there and if I felt I could try something more challenging, then we could do that. I was having a blast, letting the tires slip about a bit. But we were told to not be jerks, since these were residential areas and trail rider associations are already on thin ice. So if there were mailboxes, keep it down, please. So not so much sliding about for me like I was back by the cabin, but I was still letting it slide a little bit.

I believe we came through a few level 1 sections, and then right before lunch, I met my first challenge. It wasn’t marked on the route sheet as a Hero Section for some reason, but J. and the guys think it seemed between a level 2 and 3. There was a mix of tennis ball and baby head sized rocks with water flowing through and some mud. I felt worried at first, but was glad to have knobbies and made it through to other side with some bumping and sliding. It even was fun after a few minutes once I figured out how to control the bike by getting off the seat and up on my pegs… like riding a horse. I was even given the glorious scene of men peeing into the ravine at the end of hero section. The surprise hero trail must’ve shook the piss out of them or something.

After a lunch break, we headed back to continue the route. J. stopped near a Hero Level 2.5 and asked me if I wanted to try that. It would have deep water and a rocky downhill. I was feeling uncertain about it, since the last hero section tired me out. I said, “I don’t know… I’m feeling intimidated.” J. walked over to the guys and asked something… I could see them shrugging. So he asked me again and I said, “Well, I guess I could take a look and see what happens.” We came up to the start of the section and there was a large puddle with a lot of mud. J. went right in and crossed at the side.. his feet up to the ankles in mud and his bike sputtering and churning to the other side. I’m muttering into my helmet, “Oh shit.” I look back at the guys and they are looking at me wide-eyed as if, “If she does it, we’ll do it.”

So I take my knobbied-self and get in the mud. What do you know… the bike could care less and made it over without dropping me into the puddle. Great! Let’s give this a whirl! Then I look back and Don is on his side against a rock with his bike pinning him down. “Oh shit!” We help him up and he’s ok. “Are you sure this is a level 2.5? Maybe we should turn back with these street-tired bikes.” But peer pressure ramps up and Dan says, “This isn’t enough to turn me back yet.” So off we go over some rocks like the previous hero I went over before lunch. Then we come up to rocky covered hill that runs upward. There are about three waist-high boulder/ledges with water running over them. I wish I had taken a picture, but I was too busy panicking.

“Oh shit! I don’t know how to do that!” J. says… “Just remember to keep your momentum going… don’t stop, just keep going!” Then he climbs right up those ledges with street tires. I look back… the same wide-eyed guys “If she does it, I’ll do it.” Oh man… I should’ve stopped there. Because I knew once I went up, I’d be like a cat stuck in a tree without knowing how to get down. But up I go…. and my bike stalls right before the rock ledges.

“I don’t know how to do this. I don’t think I can get up there.” J. comes back and say, “Come on, don’t wuss out on me now!”… “Oh shit. Ok… I don’t know what to do though, J.” So he tells me to follow his line… and he shows me by walking over the ledges… and also sliding on them since they are wet. “Ok, Erika… I did this with street tires, it’s not as bad as it looks. Now back up by Don and get your momentum going and follow that line.” So I back up, block the voice of reason out of my head… and I charge forward. I stand up on the pegs with my weight forward and up the bike goes! Right over all three ledges. Yahooo!! Then… Thud… whack. I hit a rut and fall over and smack my head on a rock. Luckily I wasn’t hurt… my back protection I just bought recently and my helmet did their job. But I was feeling pissed off.

Why in the hell did I fall for peer pressure? Whey didn’t I follow my instincts and turn back? This is just stupid! Then the guys come up and say… “You did it girl! And you looked good doing it!” Well… heh heh… ok then.. I guess I did do that insane climb. So I continue on, mostly because I don’t know how to get back down. But we come across a very large puddle, bigger than the first one. Some guys from different group come up behind us and we let them go through… and they plow through… get stuck… sputter in knee deep water… and with difficulty manage to get to the other side.

J. says, “Ok Erika, you go first.” This time I say, “No way! I’m not doing that! I don’t know how.” So J. gets on my bike… gets stuck, but managed to get it through… you know… with knobbies and all. I find out later he also took it through a second water crossing up ahead. The guys then proceed to get stuck one by one with street tires, but with help get through.

At this point, only J’s bike is on the other side and as he contemplates that, Adam appears. Now I know for sure that I’m in over my head if he’s showing up. Not that my inner voice wasn’t screaming at me the whole time, “You big dumb dumb!” Anyhow, I wait to see what strategy he will take, and he goes straight through the middle. I think this area would probably not have been so bad, but since there was so much rain it was worse than usual. Adam get stuck in the mud right in middle. The bike sputters and dies, flooded.

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At this point, I start to wonder where Jason is. “Hey, where’s Jason?”. “He’s right behind me, maybe he stalled or something.” That isn’t too far-fetched. He had a kick starter, so he may be wrestling with that on a hill. I don’t think too much about it until another 15 minutes go by. “Maybe we should look for him.” But right at that moment he comes up over the hill. We show him where not to cross, now that we watched so many get stuck in there earlier. He looks at me with surprise probably thinking, “What the heck is she doing here?” He crosses and sits down by a tree. “I think I sprained something, I stalled on that ledge and came down on my foot. I’m going to make like Rip Van Winkle under this tree for  little bit.”

Long story short, the guys take some straps Jason had on him and pull Adam backward out of the mud. He managed to get it started, but goes back the way he came while J. followed behind him to make sure he got back alright. I tried to get through the rest of the Hero section, fell over again, and became completely defeated. Jason rode it down most of the way and walked back up for his bike, which I feel bad about now that I know his foot is broken. Peter rode it another section to help out. Once we got to a section that resembled the first Hero section, I took it the rest of way through that.

Lessons, I learned so many lessons. Peer pressure… at my age. I am amazed that still works on me, but now I know it does. Mind over matter… keeping my mind on the task at hand worked wonders. Being defeated… don’t be too hard on myself and just take away what I learned from it. Will I do Hero Sections again? Probably not in the near future. Will I give up on riding dirt bikes? Not likely, I had too much fun at times to drop it completely. But I won’t soon forget how unpredictable things can end up.

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