By Marissa Baecker
As I began packing up my gear and getting ready for some dirt bike riding, the aura known as ‘coolness’ came over me. Just the visual in my mind of those unbelievable motocross professionals ripping through the dirt and flying over those tabletops got my adrenaline pumping. The last item I put in my truck were my brand new Fox Comp5 dirt bike boots – still in the box.
As my glossy metallic grey truck turned a matte sand beige, my dust vapour trail began taking on a route of its own, as I blazed through the trees in the direction of the imminent ‘Braaaaaap’.
Standing in the sea of trucks unloading machines, listening to the sound of bikes on the track and putting on the necessary gear somehow tricked my mind into believing that I, as I approach another birthday and yet another fitness regime to battle the aging bulge, was a capable dirt bike rider – actually no – a capable motocross rider. As I pulled the plastic bags off my new boots, another rider walked by and commented, “Oh, straight out of the box hey?”
That’s right! As I snapped up those buckles, and began my fancy walk over to the KTM250 XS, motocross specific dirt bike I would be riding, the pride in my stride was sprinkled with a bit of attitude and the bike as new to me as my boots but I was up for the challenge.
After stalling the bike twice en route to the track entrance, I reasoned that it must be a touchy clutch (not me). After the third rider raced past leaving a big enough space for my grand track entrance, I opened throttle and attempted to change gears but missed the shifter. Hmmm. That must be my new boots (not me).
However, after attempting to navigate the first corner with shin deep dirt, then a rutted straight away with fresh sand, followed by a table top jump to which the rider along side felt the need to ‘show me how it’s done’, the adrenaline began flowing like lava spewing from an active volcano and fear kicked in, along with the realization (or recollection perhaps), that I am a pathetic track rider.
This was my Charlie Brown moment. You know, the one when Lucy pulls the football away, again, and Charlie Brown realizes that he isn’t going to make that fantastic kick into the end zone?
I remember now! I am terrible on the track. It is hard work. It’s exhausting. The whoops are frightening and I hang on to the bars so tight that when I land, I open throttle accidentally sending me higher over the next whoops, only to accidentally open the throttle again as I land and this sequence of events repeats itself until there are no more whoops and my neck is approaching whiplash.
As I rode off the track and continued to more open trails and dirt, I stopped clenching my teeth, the smile returned to my face and once the screaming in my brain settled down, I pondered, “Maybe I should leave the track to the young, quick and nimble?” A question that was answered in the negative, as when I brought the KTM 250XS back to the trailer, the fellow said, “Oh, hey, the back tire is low of air. Was it hard to ride?”
It was the tire – not me – and my delusion began again but, hey, my new boots got out of the box and into the dirt.