This year I hope to spend more time riding my dirty bike. The KTM has awakened something inside of me that needs to be explored. I don’t know how or why but I’m just going to hop on this wave and ride it out; see where it goes.
One of my favorite events each year is riding the Berkshire Big Adventure hosted by the Berkshire Trail Riders in Massachusetts. For 2015, the event took a hiatus. Seeing it back on the calendar for 2016 is exciting. I’m looking forward to spending a long weekend in the mountains with friends.
I think I’ve become a better dirt rider because I understand my limitations, why they exist (my mind) and have been able to focus on what it is that I really want out of the ride. That keeps me much more relaxed. Relaxed me is a better rider.
At some point you just come to terms with your shortcomings. I will never be a confident dirt rider. There is something about the looseness of it that I cannot give myself over to. That and the fact that I don’t do it nearly enough to become good at it.
Riding dirt roads, gravel roads, dirt trails – I’m fine. As soon as I see water and mud? Forget about it. I freeze. When the answer is often to keep your momentum going to carry you through I end up shooting myself in the foot and slowing down to collect my thoughts before tackling whatever sopping mess is in front of me.
When we were riding in Berkshires this spring, things were…. damp. I tentatively putt-putted my way through some big, long puddles.
My dude and fellow unicorn spotter Gary directing me to avoid a big rock under the water.
He must’ve been looking out for me after witnessing me fling both me and my bike down an embankment about 10 minutes earlier. Judging by the look on his face when I came back to Earth and looked at him, it must’ve been quite the spectacular wipeout. Oopsie.
I’ll just keep tagging along on these dual sport rides when I can. If nothing else, the scenery is always great! 🙂
My awesome KTM-loving friend Chip snapped a pic of me in my Wonder Woman t-shirt this past weekend at the 2-day Berkshire Big Adventure ride. Thanks, Chip!
I was tickled pink to find out that it would fit over my pressure suit. Between the already huge, distracting knockers, the plastic boob-guards and a back protector, I’ve got a lot going on in the rack department.
This particular shirt actually has a cape that velcros on to the shoulders. I thought maybe the cape would be a little too much for this ride. You know, because I didn’t want to look silly. 😉
On Friday, we packed up the Ridgeline with our bikes, the kid and the dog and headed north to Massachusetts for a weekend of friends, food and riding.
Our home away from home was a cute little cabin in the woods. As soon as the captain turned on the weekend sign, we settled in to “hang” mode. You know – a little barbequeing, going for a nice lazy walk around the lake, just sitting on the front porch and enjoying the fire. We got busy doing a whole lotta nothin’.
While a couple friends and their families trickled in to the campground on Friday, the rest of our motley crew came rolling in on Saturday.
We spent Saturday laughing, grilling, enjoying each others company and managed to make some new friends along the way, too. That is one of the best parts about these events. You’re surrounded by like-minded people so it is easy to meet new people.
On Sunday morning, I awoke not long after dawn. When I walked to the cabin door I found a lovely green Luna Moth staring back at me. It seemed like it had to be some sort of auspicious sign that a good day was ahead.
By 7:30am our crew assembled like a ragtag Voltron and headed off the the start of the Berkshire Big Adventure ride. These friends of mine… they’re just the greatest <3
The start point was 17 miles away from the campground on the tar. It was the first time I’d ever really got to try to stretch the legs of the Husky a little. That type of riding obviously isn’t it’s strong suit but it felt great nonetheless.
Sometimes the universe lines up the sunlight through the trees and the temperature jusssst so and everything feels right in your world. Sunday morning was just like that.
I don’t think I did more than 50mph on that stretch of road to the start but, it felt like the best 50mph ever. Hand on the throttle, I motored up along route 8 where all signs pointed to a great day ahead. The sound of the Husky thumped through the morning. Hell yeah.
Sundays ride would be my first event on the TE310. It is still a bike I don’t know very well. After the 2011 BBA ride, I came away feeling a bit discouraged by my riding on the DRZ. This year I was hoping a better tool might help me to find my confidence.
When we pulled up to the start of the ride, many bikes were already lined up. It never gets old seeing a large group of motorcycles.
During the riders meeting, he delivered a poignant address that left us all with a deep admiration of his courage in the face of such adversity. Live life to the fullest, enjoy each day – those words pierce your heart when you are looking at a man with terminal cancer. But – they ring true for every person, every day. Take it to heart.
As the bikes began to roll out of the start in waves, that excited feeling of finally being on our way came over me. I was probably grinning like an idiot in my helmet. I’m kind of goofy like that.
As you might imagine when it comes to moving over 100 bikes around, there is some clustering and jockeying for position that happens until the groups of riders start to thin themselves out and gap naturally. The first clump came near the first hero section. It was a short stretch of loose mud. From that point on riders began to spread a little more.
Into the slop we go…
The ride was mostly dirt roads with some tar connectors and a couple hero sections thrown in. Those parts were boney, wet and offered something more challenging.
During one of the hero sections a giant puddle swallowed Dan’s bike. The funny thing about muddy water is that you haven’t the slightest idea what’s under there or how deep it is until you’re in it. Ben and Dan managed to dislodge the drowned Husky and get it out of the puddle. After just a few minutes the bike started and on we went.
There was a really nice lady who lived close by who was on hand with a tow rope helping riders who got submarined there. She was kind of excited to see me (a woman rider) out in the muck. She even offered to let me use her bathroom, bless her heart!
There was a good handful of ladies on the ride 🙂
About halfway through the ride, I realized that for the first time I didn’t feel like I’d been working hard, I wasn’t scared and I wasn’t even the caboose for the whole ride. I felt… normal great!
I can only attribute it to feeling so much more at home on the Husky. It is such a pleasure to ride. The weight difference over the DRZ alone is a huge change. But that combined with the suspension, the ergos and the responsiveness of the bike make it feel so. damned. good!
Love, love, LOVE this bike!
Since this was the first time I’d taken the TE on an extended ride, I had no idea how much range I could squeeze out of my small fuel tank. When the route came to a close we still had the 17 miles of road ahead to get back to the campground. With only 50 miles on my tank since last fill up, I figured I’d be fine to make it back.
As I buzzed along the hilly pavement, the miles began to tick by. About 5 miles from the entrance to the campground while heading down hill, the bike began to lose power and… died. Out of gas.
I kept the bike rolling and as the ground leveled out, hit the starter and it came back to life. When the ground tipped back upward enough gas would drain back and I could hammer my way up the next hill and play the roller coaster game. I kept that up until the bike died about 300 feet from the entrance to the campground where I rolled into it’s gravel drive. With one last bit of luck, the bike started one more time and I was able to ride to our cabin. I made it by the skin of my teeth and a measly 67 miles on the odometer. WHEW!
As we packed up the truck and made the rounds to say goodbye to our friends who were doing the same, I felt a pang of melancholy. It was sad that our great weekend had come to a close. I loved every minute of our time there.