vroom vroom?

On my usual mission to terrify and potentially bankrupt myself, I decided to try dirt bikes. I figured, they’re just a cross between mountain bikes and street bikes, both of which I at least sort of know how to operate. So how hard could it possibly be?

Well, pretty hard, actually. While some two-wheeled basics carried over well between genres, the toughest part was definitely overriding my own muscle memory to adopt dirt-bike body-positioning, which at times is weird as hell.

Photo: Hollywood Voltaire

Here pro AMA rider Joel Burkett attempts in vain to get me out of MTB “attack position” and up on the gas tank (???).

All that aside, it’s amazing what even I can pick up in two days. It was probably less than eight hours of saddle time between “Wow, this is not my scene” to “Wow, I really want to race these things.” I imagine it’d be everything I loved about racing cyclocross, minus the stupid dismounts and the nagging sense that my race results were already decided at birth.

That I came around so quickly is a credit to the group, a surprisingly diverse assortment of—I’m sorry, there’s no other word—fierce women, from wonderkids to working moms. Every one was a) faster than me and b) really cool about it: generous with their experience, their encouragement, and their chocolate.

Photo poached from Emily Hart

Smiling for the sponsors. But I legitimately do like Wallaby yogurt.

Motocross is of course a totally impractical proposition, given my budget and my zip code and the 98 other things I want to get competent at. Nonetheless, the weekend was a good reminder of the rewards located just outside my comfort zone—of how satisfying it is just to try and to try-try-again. If nothing else, forcible relocation to the central valley is no longer quite the nightmare scenario it once was. I’ll get a 125cc and a pony, no big deal!

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