Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dirt Riding - By the Numbers

Last Friday we headed to Portland to the Aerostich pop-up store.  While disappointed with the organization of the event, going to Portland was still a great idea.  Not only did we have lunch at Native Foods, but we also stopped at Beaverton Motorcycles on the way out of town.  They are one of the largest motorcycle gear providers in the valley.

I purchased a white HJC CLX-6 off-road helmet,  SPY Whip mx goggles in purple (they didn't have blue), and a white/black MSR off-road jersey to go with my motocross pants.  Unfortunately they only had 4 pairs of ladies mx boots and none were my size.  I also bought a sticker for the helmet and one for the bike.

Saturday was spent going to coffee, getting groceries, filling the car with petrol, and loading the bikes on the trailer.

Sunday was our planned day in the dirt so the helmet and goggles were necessary.  Because I didn't take as many pictures as I typically do or would have liked, I figured to do a by-the-numbers post to make it a little bit more fun.


5:00am - the time our alarm rang Sunday morning

6:30am - the time Troubadour and I left the house to meet PolarBear, SweetPea, and the PolarCub by I-5

2 - the number of hours it took to reach Huckleberry Flats Off Highway Vehicle Area

65 - the number of miles of trails in Huckleberry Flats OHV

5 - the number of riders and dirt bikes in our group

65˚ - The temperature Fahrenheit when we arrived at Huckleberry  (18.3˚C)

1 - the number of pictures I took in staging when we arrived and were unloading the bikes

(Huckleberry Flats staging area)
1 - the number of times I'd ridden the TW200 before Sunday

1 - the number of miles long the warm up track is.

4-5 - the number of loops of the warm up track I completed before PolarBear deemed me fit to ride on actual trails.....maybe not the ones I should have started on.

(Map of the full OHV area)

(A closer view - the red SA is the staging/parking area -
the squiggly 300 to the lower right was my problem area described below)
301 - the number of the trail we started on

300 - the number of the trail PolarBear turned left onto and where it was time to put me to the test.

3 - the number of times my bike took a nap in the large uphill ruts.

1 - the number of times I could pull it out of the shrubbery myself and get going again before they knew what happened.

2 - the number of times Troubadour and PolarBear had to finish the hill for me.

3 - inches taller I wish my boots were.

1 - How many times I showed off how clumsy talented I can be while falling over.  Grace will never be my middle name.

I managed to get stopped on the last large uphill section.  Troubadour had already been stopped half way up and managed to restart and power on.  I too got stuck in a rut and after stalling and restarting the bike 4-5, maybe 6 times I gained forward motion, only to have the back tire sucked back into a rut.  This in turn threw the front end to the left, which then swung the back tire out to the right. It happened quick enough I hadn't let go of the bars.  I knew enough to get my right leg up and out of the way but wasn't quite quick enough or my leg wasn't quite high enough.  The spinning back tire caught my right shin.  It stung a little at the time, but I kept calm and carried on.  Hence the wish for taller boots.

0 - tears were shed, but I may have swore a blue streak in between laughing and shaking my head.

I've never been so happy to see a gravel road as I was when that trail ended.  A little further up the road PolarBear made another left turn.

100 - the trail number he turned onto for the ride back to staging.  A much nicer newbie friendly trail.

PolarBear stopped for a wee break in the shade and I took a few pictures.

(Stopped on trail 100 heading back to staging with PolarBear)

(The trail ahead)

(TW 200 taking a break)

(The sticker I bought for the side panel - it's a little dirty now)

(Troubadour's XT 250 taking a break)
1 - the number of hours we were gone on the trail.

When we got back to staging we were so hot we took the chest protectors and jerseys off and had a nice relaxing lunch break.  Sandwiches,  potato chips, and fizzy water were consumed.  Yes, we were eating Tofurky sandwiches and drinking sparking water at an off-highway vehicle area.  What do you expect - we arrived in a Subaru.

At one point PolarBear went off and road another trail while the rest of us relaxed.  SweetPea and the PolarCub took turn on PolarCub's little 100 and rode the warm up track and another warm up loop.

When he returned we decided to go out for one last hurrah.  Just a quick jaunt down the 100 trail.

Parts of the trail were closed due to logging so we ended up on a gravel road before too long.   And then another gravel road.  Soon thereafter we came to a junction where the guys informed me the trail led to quite a technical area.  I politely, but empathetically stated my desire to just take the gravel roads back to staging.   It was frackin' hot and I was getting tired grumpy.

95˚ - the high temperature Fahrenheit for the day in that area (35˚C). 

We went directly back to staging and proceeded to change back into our street clothes and hang out with the PolarCub while PolarBear and SweetPea went on a trail.

2 - the number of riders in our group that never fell over (Troubadour and the PolarCub)

Not much later we were loading up the bikes and rounding up our gear.  We were all hot and worn out, but had a wonderful day with great friends.

We arrived home around 6 pm.  We unloaded the trailer, showered, had blueberry smoothies for dinner, and then held down the sofa before heading to bed early as we had to be up at 4 am Monday morning.

While PolarBear had his GoPro on for part of his solo ride, I don't know if he managed any footage. I did find the following video on YouTube filmed in May 2012.  It gives you some idea of the trails.  Since it is long, I don't expect anyone to watch it all, just skip ahead and see different sections.

It has been three days since our adventure and I am ready to go again.  We'll see if I can stay on the bike next time.

I want to say a big thank you to Troubadour for taking me out mountain bike riding several times prior to this adventure.  I really do think it helped me learn to choose my lines over rutty paths and also to keep loose on the bars and get used to a narrower trail.

5-6 - the number of times someone (usually me) said 'Never let fear and common sense stand in your way." - it seemed to be a theme for the day.

- Au Revoir

" You can totally make that....." - Anonymous


  1. Trobairitz:

    all of you are having too much fun. Nice way to enjoy nature without using too much pedal power

    bob: riding the wet coast

    1. We did have fun, and yes, a throttle was nice up those hills.

  2. 'Never let fear and common sense stand in your way."

    I'll say it again...
    This was a great post even without pictures you are very credible so I have no reason to doubt that any of this happened.;-)

    1. I have the scab on my shin to prove it, but I really didn't think anyone wanted or needed to see, lol.

  3. Trobairitz,
    Loved the sticker! You done good for your first time. I've got a fair amount of experience but would have been challenged with your temps. "ready to go again" a very good sign.

    1. Thanks Doug. The sticker makes it an official girls bike, lol.

      I think it was the temps that got us more than anything. Brad can go out all day without as many breaks and not usually be that tired. We need to go back when it cools down.

  4. Trobairitz - well done and well described. We have several trails around here but many of them are closed (or partly closed) to motorized traffic.

    1. Thanks Karen.

      We are lucky in how many motorized off highway trails we have, coupled with all the non-motorized hiking/mountain bike trails it is an outdoor feast.

  5. Damn jealous! Sounds like a ball of fun! I miss trail bikes (it's been nearly 20 years). I used to love it that you could go out and spend all day (and only 1 tank of fuel) having fun and come home absolutely stuffed - it's great workout!

    1. With as much as you are out on your bikes, no need to be jealous. It was nice to not be fuelling up the bike a lot, but then it took a full tank of fuel in the Subaru ($50) to get to the OHV area and back. A trade off I guess.

      It was a workout, my shoulders and legs were a wee bit sore the next day.

  6. The words fear and common sense have no place in dirt biking. Neither does the word pride for that matter. Scab is a great dirt biking word though.....
    Glad you had fun and swore some. ;-)

    1. Without fear there would be no courage. At one point I think I said "What's the worst that could happen?" I just follow along where they lead.

      Funny thing with my leg is that it broke the skin though the pants and mx socks (I finally looked when we got back to staging) but it hasn't bruised. Weird. I expected it to be quite purple.

  7. 1 great sticker
    2 thumbs up for getting dirrrty
    3 times green with envy (that would be me...)

    Love your bikey! Want one too!

    1. Thanks Sonja. I think we are jealous of your beautiful Black Forest roads and being so close to all those passes. A mutual trade off in the jealousy department. :-)

  8. Great writeup even with the lack of pictures....I find the more technical the ride, the less pictures are taken so no worries.

    1. Thanks Dom. I think you are correct, the more technical, the less topping for pics.

  9. Trobairitz,

    Wow! You're a superwoman. It sounds fun but a little unnerving at the same time. I'm glad you're okay and that you got back on and finished the day. I like your quote about fear and common sense...funny thing is I'm working on a post about fear right now. You're a prime example of what I'm writing about... not letting fear get in the way of living.

    Thanks for your inspiration!


    Live Free. Ride Hard. Be Happy.

    1. Not quite superwoman, but I do let the boys lead me down the primrose path......

      For some reason I just follow along. The quote is actually something Brad (Troubadour) came up with and I think he even has it in his blog title. He gets all the credit.

      I remember back in 2002 when I was taking my Team Oregon endorsement class and had a healthy dose of apprehension. Brad asked me: "What would you do if you weren't scared?" And I use it as a mantra today. Take a deep breath and go forth.

  10. This is a fun post!
    I have no interest in riding a dirt bike. It looks like so much work, and everything I don't really like to do. Believe it or not, I'm not a fan of hard work. HAHAHAHA!! I love twisties, just not rough roads.
    I certainly admire you.
    4 - the times while reading your article I had better riding skills, like you.
    Sash-The Rude Biker Chick

    1. Thank you Sash - high praise coming from you. I wasn't sure how I would like dirt bike riding, but turns out I really enjoy it. Maybe not quite the technical trail next time though.

  11. great pictures and words once again
    was getting a bit lost doing the maths though

    1. Thanks Dunc.

      If you were having trouble with the math you forgot to take off your shoes and socks again :-)

  12. Hi Brandy
    Looks like you guys and gals had a nice day out in the forest. I'd be surprise if you didn't fall of whilst out dirt riding, its part and parcel of of dirt riding really.

    1. It was fun playing in the forest, but damn it was hot and dusty.

  13. You are one brave woman!! Fun to read about, not sure I'd find it fun to actually do it.

    1. I don't know if brave is the correct term, a little crazy to chase the boys around I'd say.

  14. Looks like fun!
    I was getting interested in trying this one day until the
    reality of the bike taking a nap and the pulling it out of the bushes part!

    Keep the rubber side down...!

    You've got kahunas that I don't have so go for it!

    1. I didn't fall over on the parts the pictures are taken. You might be able to do those on a scooter.

      You could always go gravel roads and easy trails, but then again, you could do those on your scooter. The bad trail was actually marked green for beginner, it just happened that it was very rutty.

  15. It looks pretty but sounds exhausting.

    1. Yes indeed, but we all had a good nights sleep that night.

  16. Sounds like a grand day! I haven't done trail riding and it sounds fun. I have MotoX and liked that, but was exhausted at the end of it and sore. Apparently I had a death grip on the bars and finally figured out that if I loosened my grip it was easier on my body. Hope you get out again soon.