Category: Berkshire Big Adventure

2011 Berkshire Big Adventure Dual Sport

2011 Berkshire Big Adventure Dual Sport

Muddy ADV stickerI opened my eyes around 6:30 on Sunday morning. I could hear the tap, tap, tap of raindrops on the roof of the RV. As my brain started coming around my thoughts immediately went to wondering just how muddy the ride would be.

Everyone seemed to start coming together all around the same time. It was kind of like an organic happening. There was the general excitement in the air of knowing that soon we would be heading out on our ride.

The bikes at Tuckers

At 9:00am, the riders for the 100 mile dual sport loop were set loose. It was go time.

I could ramble on and on. Instead, since Kenny and I were wearing our GoPros, I’ll let the video tell a better story of our ride than I can in words:

I tried just ride my ride and not immediately hesitate when the course looked like it was going to start getting tough. I feel like I approached the riding with a little bit more of an open mind. And most of all I think I did my best, riding with my head and not over it.

I’m so glad I went. Now I just need to work on what’s between my ears and learn to give myself a little bit of a break.

The gang at Tuckers before the ride

I had a great time, learned a lot, made some new friends and came home in one piece.

Fuzz at Tuckers before the ride

Life is beautiful.

Saturday Warm-up to the Berkshire Dual Sport Ride

Saturday Warm-up to the Berkshire Dual Sport Ride

Team Free Candy VanBright and early on Saturday morning , with the bikes loaded into the “Free Candy” van Kenny and I made our way to the Port Jeff ferry.  We were meeting up with F’n Hal and F’n Jacqui and heading to the Prospect Pines campground in Granville, Massachusetts.

Sunday would mark the 2011 Big Berkshire Adventure dual sport ride. But before then, we had a whole Saturday worth of hanging out to do.

We stood on the deck of the boat and I watched the land fade away. Seeing as how “the rapture” was supposed to happen on Saturday, sailing away into the fog to get to “the other side” was kind of funny. But… probably only to me.

On the Port Jeff Ferry in the fog

We shadowed the F’n RV heading up route 8 to the campground.

The Fn RV

When we arrived, GL and Nef were already there, had already eaten bacon, had already been out riding and already discovered that GL’s battery wasn’t holding a charge. This would prove to be a little bit of a problem later on in the evening.

A little spark for the battery

The F’n family set up their swanky RV which became homebase for our motley little crew. In so many ways, hanging out at the campground before a ride is as much fun as the riding itself. Each person in our little universe bring something hilarious to the table. There is no shortage of laughter when we all get together.

Home base - the Fn RV

Some of the guys went out and did a little pre-ride riding while the rest of us, sat around drinking beer and NOT getting soaked by the flash rainstorm that popped up.

By the time they returned, GL’s battery had bitten the dust. It was early evening on a Saturday and he would have to try to track down a battery for his DRZ. All told he was gone searching for a battery for a good two hours. We were getting a little worried that he might strike out. That would’ve been a huge disappointment not only for him but to the rest of us as well. Luckily Tractor Supply came to the rescue.

Replacing the battery in GLs DRZ

With the crisis averted we could get back to the business at hand: eating BBQ’d foods, drinking beer and talking crap. Does life get any better?

Good people, good times.

The Offroad Noobie Blues

The Offroad Noobie Blues

I just need a moment to be honest and to get this stuff off my chest. Maybe some of you can relate.

I had a great time this past weekend doing the Berkshire Big Adventure dual sport ride. I found it to be pretty challenging at times and introduced me to terrain that would have been outside of what I would say is my comfort zone. I managing to keep myself upright and rode through to the end. I wasn’t fast, but I got there eventually.

Overall I felt good about my riding and thought I made some progress. Until the following day when I began to watch videos of the ride. Holy crap.

Hanging my head in shame
Hanging my head in shame

I … Suck

Now with the gift of hindsight and video to back me up, I find it depressing. I just want to pack up all of my dirt gear and put it out at the curb for the garbage man to haul away.

Video is a blessing and a curse.

In our group no one at any time did or said anything to make me feel like I was an anchor. As a matter of fact, they gave me a lot of encouragement when I would make it to where they were waiting at the end of each trail section. But damn it, watching the videos back and seeing just how long they were waiting for me in some cases was absolutely cringe-worthy.

I feel terribly embarrassed.

The point of riding isn’t to compare yourself with others. I’ve been riding motorcycles long enough to know this. But here I am a noob all over again and find myself asking – when moving with a group, how can you do anything but? When you are the cause of people having to wait or worse yet worry, it can be hard to just brush it off.

Finding the time to go to an organized event for busy people with families can be tough. I just cant help but wonder – if you make them stand around waiting for you would they prefer if you didn’t ride along with them?

I don’t know if I’m cut out for this type of riding. It seems like I lack the right constitution or something. Maybe this off road business isn’t for me?


Embarrassed on Long Island

Berkshire Big Adventure Dual Sport Ride

Berkshire Big Adventure Dual Sport Ride

On Saturday afternoon with our tent and sleeping bags packed, Kenny and I hopped on the ferry to cross the Long Island Sound. We headed towards Winsted, Connecticut to the White Pines Campground. Sunday morning we would be joining the LI ADV gang on the Berkshire Big Adventure dual sport ride. It is an annual charity event held by the Berkshire Trailriders Association.

We arrived at the camp to find 80% of the gang already there and suiting up to head out for a ride. We said our “hellos” and watched them as they rode away to get dirty. In the meantime, Kenny and I unloaded our stuff and set up camp.

Berkshire Dual Sport Ride

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As a few more stragglers arrived we decided to take a road ride around to see a little bit of the area. In reality we really went to get beer but just happened to take the long way around. We arrived back at camp to find a BBQ in full swing and spent the remainder of the evening laughing, sitting by the campfire and just enjoying being outdoors. It was a great night.

On Sunday morning we headed off to Tuckers Pub in Sandisfield for the ride sign-in where there was already a good crowd of bikes assembled.

The ride was listed as a big bike friendly dual sport ride. It was a mixture of some paved roads, dirt roads and unmaintained woods roads. There were also 5 hero sections available to riders who were looking for something a bit more challenging. I avoided those altogether, even the one marked as ‘easy’  near the end of the route. Everyone told me that it was no more challenging than some of the regular route sections when I met them on the other side. I guess I was completely put off by the fact that it was tagged as a hero section. My biggest hurdle is apparently my lack of confidence, not so much my lack of riding ability.

White Pines Campground DRZ Fuzzygalore Girlie Motorcycle Blog Berkshire Big Adventure Dual Sport Ride
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Kenny is officially my hero

Initially I was going on this ride alone but at the last minute Kenny was able to come along on the big bomber GS, which is fitted with regular street tires. Between the two of us having little and  no experience riding offroad we didn’t know what to expect from the route. My brain imagined something like hard-packed dirt roads. Neither he nor I imagined ruts, golf ball sized gravel and wet rocks. I’ll chalk this up to both of us being noobs.

It was Kenny’s first time riding offroad. He bravely navigated that big, heavy beast through everything that came his way. Sure there was some cursing and a few scary moments but he clearly has a skill that I was unaware of. I would have cried and packed it in at the first sight of a rocky uphill climb. But, he didn’t. He soldiered on and I’m really proud of him. I see a dirt bike in his future.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Up to this point any of my wimpy tip-toeing through the dirt had been a scary and frustrating exercise. Everything changed during this ride. I don’t know if I was just in a better mindset being with people that I know and trust or if I was finally mentally ready to just hand myself over to the process a little more.

Thank You Come Again - Fuzzygalore Motorcycle BlogI felt great all through the ride. I worked at keeping my speed up and my eyes looking further ahead. Both of these things helped tremendously. I was able to stay with the group and wasn’t gripped by fear. That’s a new sensation for me on something other than tar. In retrospect, I feel like it was the speed that helped most.

I came away from this ride feeling excited and very much looking forward to next time!

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