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 wonderkinds 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!

Mendocino

Basically, just look at this beautiful fish:

MUAH!

Sean speared it Saturday between bouts of vomiting into the Pacific—seasick and still a killer, who knew? I’m wary of the world subsurface, personally, so it was enough for me to swim around sparring with grabby strands of kelp and watching the hunter-gatherer types disappear and then resurface in surprising places. It’s novel simply not to be cold: I in fact felt so inspired by this magical device, the “wetsuit” that I am considering learning to kiteboard in the spring. Pending a lottery win.

Sunday, armed with the new guidebook from the lovely folks at Mendocino Bike Sprite, we managed to ride the Double Loop unsupervised without getting lost in the enchanted forest. A short ride, but time enough to marvel again at the quality of the trails and the power of revisionist history—by which I insisted several times that there was “basically no climbing” on the route. (Dude, what?)