Modus

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It’s that time of year to renew annual permits for year-round riding seven days a week at Croom Motorcycle Area. I pulled up Sunday morning to fork over $80 this year and was waiting in line with a few fellow enthusiasts when one of them complemented the model of my bike and Nicky Hayden tribute graphics before turning to his friend: “This girl says she’s faster than you.”

I glanced over thinking, “I never said that,” and no one said anything for a second while his comment hung in the air. I finally heard his friend reply something like, “Anyone can beat me on my clapped out Honda” before I walked back to my truck without a word. What a welcome.

Thankfully, I had the forest to myself along with another buddy, and we ripped about 20 miles in just over an hour and a half.

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In other news, I finished a Kenda AMA National Enduro for the first time in months last Sunday. The morning started off slicker than I like and took a minute getting used to riding smart, having been training wide open in the flat sand at Croom. It’s a totally different calculated style of making the right decisions ahead of time for the varied technical terrain, and I was on a mission.

The afternoon was much better once the trail dried out after lunch, and I could hang it out a little more on the throttle, thankful for my long legs in all of the off-camber sections.

By the end of the solid 80+ mile (including transfer roads) day, I’d achieved my goal of a top-five finish by riding smart and finishing strong (thanks CrossFit.)

Thanks, Pops, for the pics and pit crew!

Looking at the times, I wasn’t too surprised at the gap between me and the top two (28 minutes over 6 checks, and they finished 19 seconds apart (and 118 and 119 overall.) Third place was closer, 147 overall, and I was within 2 or 3 minutes behind her most of the day, but she was still way out of my reach 12 minutes ahead at the end. I had to face it: my competition, the world’s best women enduroers, was flying and absolutely on rails. I was no less than 3-4 minutes behind the leader at every checkpoint (and at most 7.) As much as I had tried my hardest chasing them down, pushing my limits and leaving it all out there, I just wasn’t on the edge far enough and finished 197 out of 360+ entries. I can work out, eat right and meditate all I want but when I only get to ride once a week, if I’m lucky, all I’m missing is seat time to get good at riding fast from start to finish.

“There’s nothing like riding a motorcycle fast, especially when you can do it damn good,” said Ryan Hughes on a recent PulpMX podcast.

GPS from the Cherokee Enduro

“All they do is train,” my dad said after we saw the scores. Anyone will tell you: it’s the work on the bike – when two becomes one – and what you gain in terms of knowledge and experience being able to ride every day that makes the difference. Those of us who only ride only on the weekends struggle against those who race for a living. And it’s still one of my wildest dreams: to be No. 1 again at racing – God knows anything can happen.

In racing, as in life, you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. You can’t just ride off of your talent alone, you have to continue developing your skills along the way. I’ve come a long way since I started riding almost 30 years ago! I always come away with more reasons to continue (and keep getting better) knowing this time I was within minutes of the top two who get paid to race at multiple points throughout the day, even if that was only one second better than I was before.

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Throw-in

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Whenever I need to clear my head, I go ride, and it always works. I forget all of my worries going into autopilot until I’m physically and mentally exhausted, and I’ve gone hours without felt any anxiety or worrying about “what if.”

It’s my favorite habit to get into, but what about when riding is not an option due to weather or work or LIFE? Is there any way to reap the same reward of getting out of my own head while satisfying my craving for exhaustion without riding my dirt bike? I’ve joined CrossFit, bikram, meditation, and more, and the combination of all of those things helps, sure, but nothing rewards me like seat time.

Every time I make the decision to go ride, it’s actually a habit that I just do automatically, according to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit.

“There’s a cue, which is like a trigger for the behavior to start unfolding. A routine, which is the habit itself, the behavior, the automatic sort of doing what you do when you do a habit. And then at the end, there’s a reward. And the reward is how our neurology learns to encode this pattern for the future,” he said.

What’s interesting in Duhigg’s research is that the cue triggers the behavior, and it can be anything from a certain time of day, to a place, or the presence of certain people and even a particular emotion. So, whenever X happens, I go ride. And my reward and incentive for enduro-ing is remembering my body and NOT missing out on the world around me by being lost in thoughts – that’s the craving that created my habit in the first place.

Riding requires me to be redirect my attention to the world with laser-focus on wherever my front wheel is pointed and shifts my attention from those “awful future possibilities that may not even occur” to the bars beneath my hands and the silence of the forest. And when I’m done throwing myself in, I carry that mindfulness into the rest of my week while helping to keep my worries at bay: I’m more focused on eating better. I’m more confident. I procrastinate less. It’s a chain reaction that makes me more deliberate in my every day life.

“Something about exercise makes other habits more malleable,” Duhigg said.

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What Makeup2Mud Meant to Me

Kiana Clay wiggled her left glove with her teeth, biting down to get it over her hand, before moving to pull her motocross helmet over her head.
“Need any help, baby?” Her dad asked.
“I got it, Dad,” Kiana told him.
She placed her goggles over her face one-handed and adjusted the strap around the back with one hand before heading out toward the track at Sam Boyd Stadium for the 17th and final round of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross series in Las Vegas.

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If she was nervous and or afraid, I couldn’t tell. With her right arm strapped in a brace, she ripped a few laps down the start straight at Sam Boyd Stadium on her modified CRF150F dirt bike, and the crowd went wild.
“When people see me ride, their responses are, “Wow, if she can do that, I can do absolutely anything I want to as well,” Kiana told me.

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Encouraging females to live life to the fullest was the driving vision of the Toyota Makeup2Mud movement: to spotlight the many ways women are impacting the world of motocross both on and off the bike. Those who were initially selected were featured in a video at each event and on live TV, and it was truly an impressive lineup of women from all walks of life: emergency medicine, law, engineering, motherhood and more. Once the contest for the final spot was announced, very quickly hundreds of females over 18 years of age joined the movement to share their story, and before we knew it, more than 800 applications were received from females ages 18 to 65 as far away as Hawaii. The selection committee announced Kiana the winner and invited her to make an appearance in Las Vegas.

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If you’ve ever met Kiana, who started riding at age 7, you know she’s full-throttle even when doctors said she would never ride again after paralyzing her arm. But she wasn’t convinced and said she was more motivated than ever to attack life, realizing fear is a limitation. She continued to ride and is now training to become the first female upper-limb adaptive athlete on the U.S. Paralympic snowboard team.

“If anything, my upbringing actually challenged me more,” Kiana said. “My parents never wanted me to touch a bike again, but that was my choice to get back at it. They just knew how happy moto makes me, so they were supportive after a while.”

For those of us who were raised riding dirt bikes, riding through life conquering whatever obstacle comes in front of our tire, we live for it. But what about the girls who didn’t grow up with a dad to buy us a bike when we were 4 or an older brother to load our bike (before teaching us to do it on our own) or an uncle, cousin or friend to bring them to the track? Toyota’s movement to ignite females on their journey has transformed many lives, myself included, and that’s what females want to feel: inspired.

“My dad saw my passion from the beginning and simply wanted me to be happy,” Kiana said. “He invested in me and didn’t see the limitations of being a woman. He just knew I wanted to go fast, which helped us have an incredible bond that I can’t have with anyone else. He’s my biggest support system, even after breaking my neck.”

From the absence of a prominent professional women’s motocross league to the absence of any female on the gate at a Supercross race, the need to encourage and empower female riders of all ages continues to increase. Females, after all, often experience greater barriers to entry than do males simply because we feel out of place walking into a dirt bike shop and surrounded by men at the track.

“You have to remind yourself: it’s your life and only you put limitations on yourself,” Kiana said. “If you want to ride a dirt bike, you have every ability to. It’s all in your mind and your attitude. You have to believe in yourself and tell yourself you got this!”

For me, as an avid dirt bike racer for almost 30 years, the Makeup2Mud movement rewarded me the most priceless opportunity to learn and connect with Kiana whom I otherwise would not have been blessed to meet and play a small part in the advancement of the movement throughout the dirt bike community.

2019’s version of Makeup2Mud will pick up right where it left off in 2018 by continuing to celebrate females who ride. As purveyors of dirt bike racing, it’s our duty to share these stories of courage with the world. It’s watching.

“People always make the joke that you get ‘bitten’ by the racing bug, and that definitely happened for me.”

Motorsport is popular around the world, and the USA is no exception. With many different series around the country, often taking place throughout the entire year and in all weathers, the US boasts some on the toughest races on the calendar. I spoke to Kaitlyn Vincie, a reporter and broadcaster in many of these championships, […]

via Kaitlyn Vincie: “Our goal is to continue showing that there are positions for women” — Fast and Fearless

Inhabited

“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

The longer you wait to do something, the harder and more burdensome it becomes, but I finally returned to CrossFit after years of hibernating and recovering from injuries.

I debated even coming back at all, with all of my neck, shoulder, wrists and ankle injuries, but after all of the pressure I’ve been putting on myself to get another pro podium, and all of the guilt I experienced for not even finishing my last race, I needed something to shake things up. It was a crucial decision that I should have made a long time ago. In the two months since I joined, I reached my goal of attending three classes a week among record soreness (and embarrassment.) It’s humbling, being the high-achieving perfectionist that I am, and intimidating being the weakest link having to scale routines, but it forces me to ramp up slowly and focus on my form. “Trying to make something perfect can actually prevent us from making it just good.”

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Come pass

Never yield to remorse, but at once tell yourself: remorse would simply mean adding to the first act of stupidity a second.” – Friedrich Nietzsche 

Over the last week, I’ve had the opportunity of looking at last Sunday’s event at Interlake State Recreation Area in hindsight, and it got me thinking about regret. I pride myself on not having many, if any, regrets in life, because everything happens for a reason: “God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.”

But I regret quitting, especially since I finished just one check and still managed a fifth out of nine – only two completed all five checks.

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Interlake State Recreation Area

There’s power in regret: using it to do things differently the next time I want to quit when something I encounter doesn’t meet my expectations, and rain falls for days leading up to the race and turns the tacky course into an iceskating rink.

From the moment I crossed the starting line and my tires skidded around the first turn, I felt trapped and cold, both my bike and my body uncomfortable skating through water-soaked ruts, and I was terrified of going fast, crashing (check), getting stuck (check) and losing my gloves, goggles and grip (check). Once that happened, I lost focus completely and couldn’t get out of the fog of fear, (nor did I want to), so I pulled off after the first checkpoint. Looking back, I should have pushed through my fears and faced them head-on. I should have just said, “Bring it on,” “I love fear,” and “Fear sets me free.” I should have turned against my fear and pushed back with confidence in my skills and my equipment, regardless of what I was experiencing on the outside feeling unprepared. I should have considered it a learning opportunity, since I rarely encounter knee-deep underwater conditions, especially when it’s cold, wet and raining.

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So, I’m learning to live with it, and I imagine going back and making a different choice. Next time, it will be easier to keep going, and I will be less scared, because I’ve learned that fear is not absolute; it’s relative to the direction you’re going, and if you move toward your fear over and over again in life, you’re less afraid.

Plus, nothing bad would have happened had I forged on (most likely) so I was actually fearful of a situation that did not even exist and more worried about my times at each checkpoint or others’ perception of my finish. When, in order to be fully myself, I should have shoved my fears aside and maintained the stance that I was going to give whatever I had to give, instead of hiding from myself and my inexperience as a mud rider. After all, the only thing that will actually improve my mud riding skill is mud riding.

Too bad I only discovered this truth in hindsight.

“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.” – Henry David Thoreau.

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Enduroing

Heading into this weekeend’s enduro, I’m thinking about the fruits of my labor since the last one, and what I will experience over 60 miles of the never-before-seen trail. I visualize focusing on getting to reconnect with my motorcycle and enjoy myself in nature, pushing through the day’s challenges and attempting to ride calm, cool and confident even when my bike misbehaves. Best case, “she” may even impress me. Worst case, it’s a cold, rainy day, and I have plenty of tear-offs.

“If you want to know the real me, just turn the page in my dirt road diary

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Conditions at Round 1 were cold and wet, too.