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Hitting the Trails That Hit You Back!

Hitting the Trails That Hit You Back!

I got off to kind of a late start on this ride which was a mistake because it was one in the afternoon and already 92 degrees outside. Now, some of you might not consider 92 degrees to be severe weather but where I live in rainy Northwestern Washington it is considered record breaking heat! Let me tell you, It’s hard to adjust to those kinds of temperatures in a place where getting a little sun makes the nightly news.

By the time I really started hitting the trails it’s about one thirty and I’m feeling confident (perhaps overly so) and I decided to kick off my ride on one of the gnarliest trails in the area. Pretty much it was a first and second gear one way trail over 2′ high roots, fallen trees that surprise you around steep up hill corners, and giant potholes. But I figure that because it’s only about a 3/4 mile loop back to the staging area that I’d could handle it just fine.

Now I’m originally from Northern California where we don’t have regular access to trails of this level of technicality so so right away I was surprised to realize that my trail riding skills are about half that of the native riders of the Northwest. These guys have skills! I must say though, it’s amazing up here and I’m up for the challenges Washington has to offer So off I went.

I recently bought an ’07 RMZ250 that I’m just now breaking in and I’m still getting used to the way it feels and handles on these kind of trails. This is the kind of trail that will help you’ll quickly learn what your bike can handle. I’ve gotta say, my biggest problem with this bike (witch is my fault) is stalling it in the worst positions possible. We’ve all been there and know what it’s like to stall in a rut on the side of a hill right? Well for those of you that ride a four stroke MX bike, you know they don’t always like to start when they’re hot. I swear, in some cases I’ve exerted more energy restarting the bike then I did actually riding it.

Well that’s what happened to me within the first five minuets on this trail. I guess I loaded it up pretty good, because it took me about fifteen minuets to finally get it started and to feel that sweet, sweet air movement cooling off the excessive sweat from the excessive kicking involved in getting going again. I think I found the trick now though. I realized with this bike that top-dead-center isn’t important, and the hotstart lever shouldn’t be used through the whole kick. I found the more effort I put into it, the less it wanted to start. If I just sit down and lazily kick it over with the hotstart in half position, it fires right up. It would have been good to know that one when I was up on the trail but at least all that kicking seemed to have gotten me back into shape for this years riding season!

Another thing I came to realize on this trail is that precise clutch/throttle control, loose body position, elbows up and momentum is the only way to get over ridicules logs and other such obstacles. Where I’m from originally in Nor Cal, most of the trails I rode consisted of third and fourth gear semi smooth two-ways and wide open hillsides and switchbacks. Let’s just say I have a whole new respect for those who race Works races!

Well, since there wasn’t anyone else out there at the time and I felt that the trail kind of kicked my ass a little I went down it in reverse direction and back again. By the end of it I was moving along the trail much more quickly and now I’m more confident with those particular types of obstacles. Never let a trail leave you second guessing you’re riding abilities. It’s all in your head; confidence is everything.

So after riding that trail I went and tore up the other less complicated trails with much more speed and smoothness then before witch in turn leaves you with more energy to concur what ever trails lay ahead of you. I spent another couple hours enjoying what trails were left to ride and decided to pack it up for the day. At this point it was close to a hundred degrees in the shade, and I was ready to kick of the Tech 6’s and grab a cold beverage.

Riding in the Northwest is really an experience to be had and well worth a trip if you haven’t had a chance to try your hand at these types of trails. (Just make sure you stretch well before hand).