trials

Handlebars are mean (but I love them anyway)

Bruises are a fact of life for me. I bruise pretty easy. And some of the bruises you can even see.

I’ve been up since 3 am. Seems to be that’s when I get the urge to write, when I remember that hey, I have a blog. When I’m up at 3 am and I really have nothing to do but sit at my computer and type. I’m not really sure what woke me up today. But once I was up, my leg made it pretty clear that it was unhappy. And I wasn’t getting back to sleep tonight.

This is the bruise I got Saturday. My boyfriend and I finally got out trials riding after almost three months of not riding at all. I wish I had some exciting story to tell of the amazing crash, but I don’t. I was turning around a tree in a new section and somehow between all the dead sticks and leaves on the ground and my body position, something didn’t go right and the bike fell out from underneath me. It wasn’t a bad fall at all. Until the handlebar smacked my leg.

I knew it was bad. I’ve been hurt enough during this sport to know when something is just a minor whack, and when its going to hurt the next day (or later that night). But I kept riding. Because I was outdoors in the sunshine with my friends. I was doing the sport that I loved. I was doing it with the man that I loved, sharing it with him, so proud of him seeing him conquer turns and steep ups over slippery roots and things that would have scared him last year. Seeing the improvement in myself after taking up Tai Chi. Seeing the lines and things that I wouldn’t even have tried last year, and yet Saturday I felt like I had the confidence to take on any obstacle in the world.

A lot of people give motorcycle riders crap. They say they are polluting the world. They take away our trails and riding areas. They look down at us. But the truth is, we are all after the same thing.

To enjoy this world around us. Trials is unlike anything I’ve ever done in this world. It has given me confidence. Family. Self-reliance. It has pulled me out of my introverted, hermit shell. It gave me hope, when my anxiety and depression had stripped every ounce of it away from me. And it taught me that bruises are not something to be scared of. It helped me deal with my bruises from emotional abuse. It helped me deal with my scars, while giving me cool new ones to brag about to people because they can’t believe at 30 I started riding motorcycles.

Without trials, I wouldn’t have traveled all over the United States. Wouldn’t have had the courage to pick up my life when it was darkest. Wouldn’t have met the love of my life. Maybe wouldn’t be here today to write this post.

Yes, my leg is killing me today. The nerves finally woke back up. But I wouldn’t give up these bruises for anything in the world. Because these bruises are my badge of pride. Because I’m having the time of my life getting them.

I needed Saturday. My boyfriend and I have been going through remodel hell. Not only that, but I’m going back to school, carrying a 4.0 GPA, dealing with debt issues, and trying to start a new trials club something I’ve never done before. Not to mention just the stress of a long, cold winter. I needed a day out in the sunshine with my other riding friends.

I guess this came up because its getting so hard to find places to enjoy this sport I love. To spend that time outside with great people.

I know a lot of people will disagree, that there’s other things I could do other than trials that would bring me joy. And I would maybe agree with you. Until I get on that bike. Then there is nothing else.

Before you hate something and ban it, think of the people who might get something out of it. Something that they desperately need. Something that brings life and hope into their life. Talk to the person. Learn about their love. It might not be your cup of tea. It would be a pretty boring world if we all loved the same thing. But maybe we could understand each other enough to respect each other’s choices and loves and get along together instead of constantly fighting.

Find something that brings you joy, even if other people say its weird or odd. Even if it brings you bruises. Pottery. Skydiving. Mountain biking. Riding a motorcycle. Whatever it may be. Don’t give up on life just because the world tells you its wrong or you can’t do it.

Yes, my leg is killing me today. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This bruise is telling me I’m out living my life, not letting it pass me by like I did before. Because that’s the scariest thing in the world to me. Getting to the end of my days and regretting the things I didn’t do, because I was too scared to try for fear of getting hurt. I want to live a life of hope and no regrets. I hope you do too.

 

Monday Meditation: The Power of Disconnecting

Soft music plays on my computer. Incense burns beside me, white sage and lavendar, to calm and cleanse. The crystals are arrayed in a grid before me. Tiger’s eye for focus. Selenite to cleanse. Citrine for happiness. Carnelian for energy. Amethyst for clear thinking. Snowflake obsidian for protection. Dragon’s blood for creativity. I close my eyes, taking a deep breath in. Letting my mind drift, falling into the music. Clearing it of all the clutter that bogs the modern mind. All the negativity and drama. All the fear and uncertainty. It’s like a shower for your mind. Coming out clean and refreshed.

I posted a little while ago about my discovery of crystals and meditation. I admit, I used to laugh at it. I was taught to fear it. That is was evil. That it was going to send me to hell. But growing up has taught me a few things. That the only truly evil thing in this world is to live with a closed mind. To not be open to new things. Because sometimes the thing you need the most is the thing you never thought you would do.

Like a lot of other people in this world I’m caught up in electronics. I’m on Facebook way too much. I’ve been haunting Instagram lately, trying to get my photography out there. And even though I try, you can’t help but be caught up in the latest ‘oh my god can you believe this’ drama that the media cooks up. The fake news, the people that believe it, the storm that never seems to go away.

Sometimes its nice to remind myself that I need to disconnect. To get away.

Yesterday I went trials riding with my boyfriend and some other friends. The place is off the grid. No phones. No messages. No media. Just a whole day in the sunshine. In the mountains. Talking. Laughing. With nothing but the bird song and the thrum of the motorcycle engine. Working to perfect that wheelie. Speaking of which, finally got my nose wheelie! Working to get up that rock without hitting that skid plate. Working every muscle in my body until I’m exhausted. Happy. Cleansed.

Tomorrow I’m going to go horse back riding. No phones. No messages. No media. Just me and the horse, talking to each other. Working together. Feeling the power of this 800 lb animal beneath me. The energy of it. I always end up exhausted and dirty, but feeling amazing.

Tomorrow night I’m doing yoga. Started doing it two times a week with the boyfriend. 45 minutes of no messages. No media. No phones. Just stretching and listening to the calming music. Feeling the energy flowing through my body. Feeling the muscles stretch. Discovering the muscles that haven’t stretched in a while!

And meditating in the mornings. As I was meditating this morning, I felt driven to write this little piece. Because I’m realizing how connected I am to my phone. I was on it first thing this morning, before I even got out of bed. And why? What was so important? Nothing, really.

It’s easy to get caught up in drama. In news. In negativity. I don’t realize how much of that stuff I carry within me, long after I’ve shut off the phone. How much it affects me.

Not to say I won’t ever get on Facebook again. Obviously I will. I’ll message people, talk to them on the phone. I’ll watch a TV show tonight. Because there’s nothing wrong with technology. With the modern world. With entertainment. I mean, this blog is my journal. I want to grow my photography, and that takes social media. I’m going to school to be a technical writer, and most of that’s online nowadays.

It’s when we get too caught up in the negativity. In binge watching (oh yes, I’ve lost many days to watching TV). In obsessively scrolling for the latest ‘news’ from our friends. In the fake news and drama that it becomes hurtful. Harmful. Wasteful.

But I wanted to write this piece as a reminder to myself. And to whomever else might need it this morning. We need to take time to cleanse ourselves. To disconnect from the world. To wash off all the negativity and drama that life sometimes feeds us. To stop that ‘blah’ feeling, the one that seems to drag us down but we don’t know what it is.

So find the things that cleanse you. Maybe its exercise. Maybe its curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee. Maybe its crystals. Or meditation. Or playing a game of pool with your friends. Whatever it is. Just disconnect from the phone and go do it.

Find the energy that feeds you. That cleanses you. Disconnect and find your own peace.

 

Fun and Friends at the Gallup Trials

Wow, what a weekend!

We just got back from the Gallup trials down in New Mexico, and it was amazing. First off, I’ve never been to Gallup period, let alone to ride. But I love anything down in New Mexico. I love my trials family down there. And I grew up falling in love with the Tony Hillerman books, and everything here was like stepping right into one of those novels. The desert landscape, the mesas and mountains rising up into the distance, places like Gallup and Shiprock.

So first impressions…

I love the town of Gallup. It’s very quaint and full of touristy stuff, but also full of a lot of history. The whole town just gives you this quiet, slow-paced sort of vibe. Everywhere you look is color, and a lot of the stores have gorgeous old original signs that are just really cool. There’s a lot of open, free parking and parks and stuff to do. And the food! The food is outstanding. We ate at four different places while we were there (Sandra’s Cafe, Jerry’s Cafe, Gerrano’s and El Rancho) and each one was better than the last.

Going into El Rancho was fun. There’s so much history there. Wandering down the red carpet halls, looking on the name tags to see who had stayed there. Hearing the story of how John Wayne rode a horse all through the hotel and into the bar. Seeing all the old photos. The giant amethyst geode. The furniture made up out of cow horns and wagon wheel motiffs.

But now to the main event. Trials!!!!

We got there on Friday and just spent some time playing around. It’s an amazing motorsports park owned by the city! It’s huge, and what’s more, people want us there. It’s really sad how many times motorcyclists get kicked out of places, so having an entire city welcome us with open arms is absolutely awesome.

It was actually kind of scary pulling into the pit because instead of the field of trailers we were used to, we actually stumbled into some kind of National Guard war games. Oops!!!

Friday night was when we visited Jerry’s Cafe. It’s small, and there’s not a lot of seating, but the food was so good! I don’t really handle spice well, but since I’ve been dating Dave I’ve been getting a crash course and getting accustomed to it. The green chili was so good, and the rellenos were to die for!

Saturday dawned sunny and warm, and it was FUN TRIAL day! Of course, Dave and I went out scoping the numerous trails in the area first. It had been three weeks since we had last rode and it wasn’t long before my legs were crying. But the views! Riding along ridges, high above the desert and the city, nothing to obstruct your view.

So what is a fun trial you ask? Basically we all spent some time setting up five sections, and ran a ‘gate’ trial. By gates, meaning that we put gates in the section on obstacles, and each gate was worth a certain number of points. To get your points, you had to ride through the gate and ride the section clean (meaning no putting a foot down). Put a foot down…no points. So even though you might have been completely awesome and gotten every gate (including not crossing your tracks or backing up), put one foot down and all your hard work and eleven points goes down the drain. The New Mexico group did something really cool too, where they gave a points bonus to the lower level riders who maybe didn’t have the skills or confidence to rack up a ton of points. Meaning that novice riders got 9 points, amateurs got 8, etc etc down to champs.

We got in groups of five or six and headed out. It was so much fun just competing to compete. No medals. No year end trophy. Just pushing yourself to see how many points you could get, balancing that against having to ride clean. There was even an ‘endurocross’ section, with hills and tires and a twisting track that we raced on. Best time would get points. I knew I wasn’t going to challenge anybody for time, but it was fun racing! Especially because I could have taken the lower level route, but I chose to take the harder route over the hills and big tractor tires and actually managed to make it around without crashing. The guys in our group were having a blast trying to go faster than each other.

The end of the day came, and I didn’t win anything (the winner got a brick with Gallup scratched into it), but I ended up 18 out of about 33, which was pretty cool. But I couldn’t stop smiling. This is what life is for me. Good friends, good fun, and spending the day with people that make you smile and laugh. Not to mention I put in some kickass riding.

Supper that night was Gennovo’s. If you ever go, get the chile rellenos. You will not be disappointed!!!

So Sunday came, and it was another amazingly gorgeous day. And it was time for the regular trial. Lower classes were up first, and I wasn’t really sure what the day was going to hold. Gallup is dirt and rocks, but the dirt crumbles, so the possibility of not having traction in certain places was a major possibility.

The sections were everything I could have hoped for. Tight, twisty technical. Unfortunately, my score didn’t really reflect my riding. I ended the day with four fives. Once because I slipped off a slanted rock. Once because I popped over a rock and Spitfire (my Beta bike) decided to pop herself into neutral and dump me on the other side. Once when I missed a gate (all the rocks look the same on the hillside!) and once more just because at the end of the trial when apparently my bike was tired in a turn and decided that she needed to lay down. Unfortunately that meant I ended up in a thorn bush with a bent clutch lever. Bad bike!

But I also had some really awesome saves. I’m getting better at riding things in second gear. I hope to actually get some video of me soon, but of course I always think of video AFTER the event. Which is so helpful.

I fought for a lot of things Sunday. To save points and get myself in better position to ride well. And that’s what I love about trials. It’s not really a competition against other people. It’s a competition against yourself. To ride that section clean after fiving it. To make it up the scary rock. To find that line that sets you up perfect for going in this curve. All the people that watch and encourage you. Give you tips so that next time you can pull off the perfect line. That one moment when you try so hard and finally clean the monster section that defeated you the first two loops.

I ended the day four out of eight for the amateur class with 37 points. Kind of sad point wise because I felt I rode a lot better than that, but I did have the four fives. And it was still a really great day, so I’m proud of my ride.

In the afternoon we checked upper section 3 (sportsman class up to pro). I finally pulled out my camera because I wanted to play with my polarization lens. I also had read some tips to start using a new more manual function on my camera. The section we were in wasn’t great for what a lot of people think as “action shots”, the big jumps off of rocks and stuff. But I loved the way our section was. It was a fight uphill, turning around on the face of the cliff, then back down through a slick dusty section filled with large rocks that moved and constantly shifted during the afternoon as people hit them. Still, most people rode it clean or with just a dab. However, more than one person got to the top, turned to go back down and exclaimed “That’s a lot steeper than I thought!”

Everything looks bigger when you’re actually on the back of the bike.

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It was a great afternoon, and sadly it had to end, but it was a great ending to a great weekend. That was the evening at El Rancho, and then just chilling out in the hotel room after a long, happy day.

I love the New Mexico group, and I can’t wait to go back. So until then, Trials Up!