“Go, because you want to. Because wanting to leave is enough.” – Cheryl Strayed “Tiny Beautiful Things”
The only way to make the 10-hour drive (plus gas stops and bathroom breaks for me and the dog) to Asheville more bearable was making sure I was good and sore from riding the day before. So, Thursday I loaded up my dirt bike and headed to the Croom Motorcycle Area near Brooksville for one last ride down the flat, sandy trails – my old stomping grounds and where I started riding when I was in single digits.
A friend and I pounded out more than 17 miles in just over an hour. After our first 30-minute session, we rode back to the truck for a Gatorade and I noticed a grey-haired rider approaching me.
“You ride pretty good,” he said and I could hear the disbelief in his voice. I laughed, wondering why he didn’t tell the guy I was riding with that he rode well, too, and said, “Been doing it for 25 years…” I imagined he saw us tearing it up though we never ran into him on the trail, or maybe he just heard me reaming out my two stroke when he was sitting there in the pits.
In the woods later, after we stopped for a drink of water from our Camelbaks, my buddy asked if it bothered me when the guy said that.
“Kinda,” I admitted. “Why didn’t he tell you that YOU ride good?
We shared a laugh.
“And why is it still expected that I wouldn’t ride good?”
We talked for a minute catching our breath. He said he could tell I was a little irritated by the guy’s question.
“I just hate how there’s still this gender gap or whatever. I wasn’t raised like that. And we have a woman running for president!”
He nodded before rolling his helmet back over his head.
“As far as I’m concerned, you burned your bra for this,” he said, kickstarted his bike and took off.
I haven’t been riding a lot lately because it’s too long of a drive to ride anywhere in Florida but that will change now that I’m living in North Carolina and can literally ride from my dad’s house.
I have been doing a lot of yoga though, and my upper body must be stronger than ever because I can’t count the number of times I almost crashed the other day but was able to pull it off even as my front tire washed out around a corner. Somehow I was able to muscle it out and ride through my mistakes instead of just letting go of the bars and crashing like normal. I did crash once when my wheel hit a slick spot in the leaves and I lost control for a split second and face-planted into the dirt. I actually laughed at how well my body took the hit as I was spitting sand out of my mouth.
I arrived in Asheville just after sunset on Friday and spent the weekend getting acquainted with “Dysfunction Junction,” where interstates 26, 40 and 240 meet in Buncombe County. Yikes!