Monday, October 15, 2007

Gettin' Dirty

I finally got a chance to take my KDX for a ride this weekend. I was able to get a hold of some of my old friends in the TSBA (texas sport bike association) and meet up with them for a day at the Red River Motorcycle Park near Muenster, Texas. Its a beautiful, huge chunk of land on the Texas side of the Red River with miles and miles of trails as well as large chunks of sandy beaches to play on. Its a lot of fun and host to the infamous RedBull Last Man Standing.

I was a little nervous at first because I have been out there once before on a friends DRZ400. Its a decent bike, but it was big, heavy and didnt' have great tires on it, so it beat me to death. i didn't walk right for a month after straining my back from picking it up so many times. This trip was much different. My new bike is light, easy to ride and was built for the kind of terrain we were on. It was great.

I had a few spills, but nothing too bad. At one point i found myself at the bottom of a hill trapped under my bike. I was trying to cross a 10 foot deep trench where you have to go down one side, ride across the bottom for about 10 feet then attack the other side and try to make it up. It wouldn't have been a big deal except that there was a 1 or 2 foot deep rut that i was trying to go through on the up side. I got stuck about half way up and was trying to back down the hill and have another go at it, but I used bad technique and ended up falling over backwards, hitting the back of my head on a tree, my tail bone on the hard pack dirt and found my self trapped under the bike while i waited for one of my buddies to come help me... good times.

The highlight of my day of riding was towards the end of the day. We came upon a challenging, sandy, rutted, seemingly never ending hill climb. The whole thing curves around to the left as you go up, so you can't see whats coming. I already had a fair amount of momentum going for me, so i decided i was just going to stand up on the pegs and pin it in second gear all the way up. I looked ahead, tried to keep a nice line through the ruts, and leaned forward to keep my front wheel down as i worked my way up. As i came around the last bend i see that there is a 1 or 2 foot vertical ledge at the top of this hill. This presents a mental challenge for several reasons: 1. i got stuck on a smaller ledge while hill climbing earlier in the day, 2. if you don't make it, or loop the bike there is a lot of hill to fall down behind you, and 3. you're suppose to wheelie up the ledge and let your momentum carry your rear wheel over which means you must stay on the gas. My split second decision was to keep up the fast pace i had so far, and just attack that ledge like it was nothing. I know i successfully unweighted the front wheel but i'm not sure if i managed to wheelie it up or not, either way, i hit it hard and fast. It practically launched me off the top of that hill onto the nice flat ground where the other riders where waiting to see if i was going to make it or not. Well, i did... with style. they were all impressed and my adrenaline was pumping. I had a hard time going to sleep last night as i replayed that hill in my head over and over. I can't wait to go back again.

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