11.26.2007,12:47 PM
Dirt School. Session One.
Laying prone over my fallen Sherpa struggling to free my right foot from between the rear wheel and the inside of the deep rut, I couldn't help but laugh. I was thankful when Theresa lifted the rear of the bike and freed my foot. I got back on, shifted down and was off again hoping to get out of that rut sooner than later. And wondering why these ruts claimed me for the third time.

Ed and I spent two and one-half days camping at a private cycle park before we were driven out by the rain and cold. It was my chance to learn and practice skills: choosing lines for the wheels to track, navigating sand and rugged trails, controlling the throttle on hilly inclines and declines, launching the front tire in a wheelie, riding cambered turns, and just getting seat time under me.
They all say the best way to learn to ride dirt is ride, ride, ride. I did. I learned about balancing my weight on the pegs and shifting the center of balance over the bike depending on conditions and terrain, the importance of core strength and leg endurance, how to let the bike move underneath me, what to avoid (ruts) and how to pick the bike up when I and it fall down.

I ache. My right tricep feels like it tried to lift or pull a train. My back is tired and my shoulders ache from falling on them, sleeping on them, and push/pulling handlebars.

But it's all good. In fact, I'm hooked. I love riding off-road. But the cycle parks are schools for me, not destinations. There I learn and practice new skills and techniques on various terrains. The real destinations, where all these come into play, are in the forests, deserts, canyons and mountains. I got my taste of that in Tennessee last October.

There's no going back now. I'm addicted.


Labels: ,

posted by Macrobe
Permalink ¤