Good morning my lovely people. It’s four a.m. which means it’s time to write, but you should have seen the struggle when it came to getting out of bed this morning: not waking up, but the actual moving bit. I rode enduro yesterday and now Everything Hurts. I even groaned when I had to bend down to shove my dusty jerseys in the washing machine. If you could see me hobbling like an old woman you would laugh; I’m laughing. Serves me right for not having ridden dirt since Pattaya.
Now there’s a reason for that, which is scarcity of dirt bikes – yes, all those dirt bikes you see in my photos, none of them are mine – so I was more than stoked when my mate Phil decided to roll into town toting no less than two off road machines. I was in like Flynn.
We joined up with a couple of our local hard enduro riders and a couple of less hard core guys, on the understanding that it would be a day of chicken enduro. But there’s always an unexpected fallen tree to fuck up your cruisy ride, and yesterday was a doozy. The two-stroke KTMs and Husqvarnas were relatively easy to throw up the river bank (and by easy, I mean by people twice as strong and six times as skilled as me) but the two CRF250Ls presented a different school of challenge. Did you know that CRF250Ls are partially comprised of dark matter, especially when they’re falling from a height onto your leg? Well now you know.
I am fortunately in the position to assure you that it was not my leg (sorry, Phil) because I was practicing one of my newest skills: accepting help. One of my biggest challenges is running out of strength in my arms towards the end of the day, and one of my biggest weaknesses is that I am horribly stubborn and don’t like to accept help. I want to prove that I can do it, too! Well, here’s the bottom line – sometimes I can’t. And when I refuse to accept help, it just means that my arms get tired quicker. Tired arms means poorer clutch control and poorer clutch control means ending up upside down underneath the bike more frequently.
So yesterday I practiced accepting help, and I am so very appreciative of all the lovely people who so kindly gave it. Yes, I can pick up the bike, but it’s a better investment in a long and enjoyable day if one of these lovely strong people gives me a hand sometimes. Until I get stronger myself, it’s a gratefully accepted compromise.
I also had a great day of coaching. I absolutely love it when people explain technique to me – how I should tackle this obstacle, and why. When you get good advice, put it to work, nail the obstacle – it feels like winning the lottery.
I now have several voices inside my helmet.
Phil: Once you’re on the hill, you need to maintain momentum, I don’t care if you think you’re unbalanced: don’t touch the clutch. Commit commit commit. Sit further forward so you can pivot more sharply without washing out. Change your body position more dynamically.
Tom: Send iiiiiiit.
I am told that I smashed the last hill of the day on one wheel. Advice taken.