Thursday, October 16, 2008

So, about 3 weeks ago I raced my FIRST Motocross Race!

Yep, I entered the Motocross races and ran 2 Motos (heats). As y'all may know, I live 5 miles from 3 Palms Extreme Sports Park and often ride during the week at lunchtime. I also have several regular MX friends I ride with on weekends.

I've ridden motorcycles all my life and was in the "holding onto the handlebars" position while inside my mother's womb. I'm innately gifted and talented with all things mechanical! I was the most "wrenching" little kid anyone's ever seen! So consequently I worked on bikes throughout childhood/junior high/high school/college. I had never actually been to a motocross track because that wasn't the main attraction for me.

While living in San Antonio, I amassed no shortage of motorcycles and had/have plenty of dirt bikes. We would go riding at a less-than-hardcore track pretty often. And the less-than-hardcore is a GOOD thing if you're out there to have fun and don't want to get RUN OVER by the REALLY fast guys! The track we rode wasn't representative (I guess) of real motocross tracks because it was hard-pack terrain. So my bikes of choice were Kawasaki KX-100's. I'm 5'8", pretty compact. I can ride big bikes, having owned 125's, 250's, and even a Honda CR-500 (INSANE BIKE!). But the 100's fit me really well. It's WAY different than the bigger bikes, even the 125's! There are things you don't do on the small bikes that you will do on the bigger bikes. But I was plenty quick riding the 100's.

Skip forward to my relocation back to Houston. I grew up here. My stomping ground was the Champions Forest/1960 area and spent summers on Lake Conroe. I relocated here for a number of reasons, but that's another topic.

Upon moving here, I loaded up the KX-100's and a KX-125 and went to 3 Palms. Had a MISERABLE time! OMG! The tracks are NOT hard-packed ground, but loose, deep sand, mud, dirt. It's a nightmare trying to get the small bikes around the track because they don't have deep broad power output. With hard-pack, you launch out of a corner and the hard ground offers little rolling resistance. Launch out of a corner and build speed that is very easy to maintain on the hard ground. NOT the case here! You gotta put power to the ground and you've gotta KEEP IT COMING! The loose deep ground takes A LOT of horsepower! Even the 125 is heavily taxed.

I bought a very slightly used (like 10-20 minutes old) 2004 Honda CR-250R the day after Christmas, 2007. Even after riding it a good bit, I was still struggling. I still wasn't enjoying the track as it's really tough to get around the track. I quickly reasoned that the problem HAD to be me! All of these other guys are flying by and having no trouble.

I learned of a really cool MX instructor, excellent instruction! I took 8 hours of professional Motocross instruction, four 2-hour "classes" over the span of a month. TOO COOL! Best value in education EVER! It took me a while to realize that wheelies, jumps and general hooliganism IS the premise of this particular form of "continuing education". The guy really got me straightened out and got my form and riding position corrected! Money well spent.

So after months of recreational riding, almost exclusively on the "Main Track", I'm pretty damn competent and certainly comfortable. I LOVE riding the Main Track! If you drive by on I-45 and look over, it could be ME that you're seeing there! WooHoo!

So I entered the race on the "Gran Prix" track. I don't like it as it's very fast. You've gotta REALLY go very fast to catch air....and it's LONG AIR. Just not my thing. I entered the "Over 40, 250 Novice" class. There were TWO things that needed to happen:

1) Do NOT get hurt!
2) Do NOT come in last place!

Well, having never launched out of a Motocross starting gate ever before, I was last out. After the first turn I looked back and there was no one behind me. "#$%^" OK, I'll just chase 'em down! WRONG!! Geezus! You know what it is about the Over 40 class that makes it so tough (it never occurred to me until after the race)? Every one of these guys were riders all through their lives! These are guys who REFUSE to let it go!

So I came in LAST PLACE! Do you have ANY idea how demoralizing that is?? I'm very good at my running and work/career stuff. I'm just not wired to accept failure. Hell, I would have GLADLY traded a minor injury for not coming in LAST PLACE!!

Between Motos, I went and practiced my "launch" in another area of the facility. I got it down much better than the first. Starting in 2nd gear, not 1st. Sitting WAY up on the seat/tank and modulating the clutch to keep the wheelie from getting too high.

Second Moto, I was ready for the launch, but still blew it. I bogged the bike, then got too aggressive with the clutch and had a hell of a wheelie, but was drifting out of my line to the right side. NO!! Can't do that as there's a bike RIGHT there! DOH! Had to shut off and let 'em go past. AGAIN last around the 1st turn, I was PISSED! I did manage to get around 2 guys!! WooHoo! But I really didn't like it! I was riding much harder and taking chances that I REALLY wouldn't have otherwise taken. Six laps per Moto will WEAR YOU OUT!!

I don't think I'll pursue Motocross racing (not on the Gran Prix track, anyway), as I just pushed too hard and am not willing to take the chances that I was taking. I WILL try the same 'Over 40, 250 Novice' the next time they have races on the Main Track, as I'm really comfortable there.

Coming in LAST PLACE in the 1st Moto SUCKED! Scoring 13th out of 15 riders in the 2nd Moto was much easier to take.

Don't think for ONE SECOND that the Over 40 guys are wimps, they HAUL ASS!! I learned a lot that day!! Just thought I'd share this with y'all....

Carry on.....:):):)


Bill D said...

There is a very fine line between getting the hole shot (first to the corner) and bogging down. Bottom line is you were out there and it's fun.

Motocross is all about the start, it's very hard to pick off very many in a 6 lap race. I always started in 2nd have to be a little patient with the clutch and know that you'll gain about 15 ft on the pack when everyone who started in 1st gear shifts.

Evan Guy said...

But I was SKEERED! Call me a wimp, but I didn't really want to get caught up in that 1st turn BRAWL! The first turn is a hell of a melee, just the kind of stuff I avoid. AND, these guys have their hole shots well sorted out!

I hear you on the holeshot, the start IS critical to the outcome of the race....just unnerving, eh!

Hey Bill (or anyone else reading this), if you wanna go riding out there just lemme know...we'll 'load up' and head out! There's plenty of riding besides the deep sandy tracks. Trails/easy stuff. Bill, I'll put you on my CR, you'll love it! Anytime!

L said...

I was going to offer to come race with you so you could get another place higher in the standings, but I realized the only way to do that would be to sacrifice the bike and the rider to take out some of the other competition. Next idea is to try to make you feel better by showing up and giving you someone to lap.....a couple of times. The CR rocks, does not matter when you call the thing, it answers.....and how.

It is not the holeshot that scares me it is the Banzai Holeshot (as in Kamikaze)that make me quiver with fear.

I want to do it like the little girl on the front of the CR.....whooohooo!!! Just can't. She loved it.

Membership Required said...

TOOOO funny (Lance speaking)! As a complete beginner rider, Ev' made me take a few laps at 3 palms. Super fun facility but I felt like a high school kid at the masters... sorry sirs, I'll just try and get out of the way!

Funny post! At least you had the humility to get lessons from a pro. Bahhahhaahhaahaaa

Adrienne said...

No clue what all that "Moto jargon" is about...but props for having the guts to do it! I'd be super-scurd!!