Lately, I’ve been pushing myself to try new things. Try new foods, experience unfamiliar things, learn something new. This was one of those experiences.
During our AMA Staff Appreciation Picnic on Sept. 27, a trials competition was held. I hemmed and hawed the day before whether I was going to participate or not. The morning of, I threw my dirtbike gear in my truck, but was still undecided.
The Trials Inc. volunteers had ribboned off a course in the woods and creek section of the AMA campus. (PS — If you haven’t visited the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum set on the AMA campus, you should set aside an afternoon!) The volunteers warned me that it was a bit above beginner level, but that I should try it anyway.
I decided that I couldn’t let the guys have all the fun. There needed to be some female representation. So I geared up and practiced riding a 250 Sherco around the field at the AMA campus. The Trials Inc. volunteers warned me to be gentle on the throttle. It’s not like riding the KTM 250 Freeride I’m accustomed to.
I felt comfortable with the bike but had no idea what I had in store for me. I teamed up with our Director of Racing, Kevin Crowther, to share the Sherco, since we only had a few bikes on hand.
There were four sections that formed a loop. The loop was to be completed four times.
After the first loop, I could not breathe! I was gasping for air, not to mention confused. Running three to four nights a week after work, I thought my endurance would be good. Plus, I was the second to youngest one competing! I learned running is not the same workout as balancing on a trials bike. I used far more muscles maneuvering the bike than I do when I run. Rest and rehydration between the loops was key!
Kevin took the bike to complete his loop while I rested. We alternated using the bike so I could regain my energy to go another loop. After every loop, I told Brad Baumert of Trials Inc., that I thought I was going to be done. I was simply too exhausted. He and the others coaxed me to keep going. “Just one more loop, and then see how you feel.” I knew deep down, I couldn’t be a quitter.
Riding trials brought out all kinds of emotions. At first I was scared to even participate, then I was frustrated while participating and eventually I was proud after completing the trial. The frustration came from making dabs or even letting the bike hit the ground (it’s hard to “crash” a trials bike at such slow speeds). I had to keep telling myself that it’s asinine to think that myself (or anyone else for that matter) would be a master of something they have never done before!
With each loop, I felt more confident. My coworkers and the Trials Inc. volunteers were encouraging and provided me with several tips on how to position my body and the bike. I was amazed by the power the Sherco had pulling me up the bank of the creek.
It was an afternoon full of trial and error. At the end of the competition, I was physically beat. Not to mention, I had earned a few battle scars along the way. (I bruise if someone pokes me) If you’re looking for something fun to try or even one heck of a workout, get a trials bike!
Join me in stepping out of your comfort zone. You might even have some fun!
Be sure to shoot me a message after you give it a try, and let me know what you think of it!
Photo credit: Jeff Guciardo