Getting Caught Up…

I am sorry, I have been slacking on my blogging lately. Consider this entry me getting caught up, so it will be a mixture of the last month or so of riding, which honestly hasn’t been a whole lot, maybe once a week or so with the ever-changing weather. I’ll just start most recently and work my way back.

Last week I got to ride the Tiger twice, once on Monday when I rode to work (something I rarely do since I work night shift and am sometimes sleepy when I get off work), and again on Saturday. Both of those were relatively short rides, considering most of my day trips are 150+ miles, but I really wanted to capture some of the fall foliage colors before the leaves were all gone.

There really isn’t much else to say about those rides, other than it was 38 degrees Tuesday morning when I got off work so I bundled up in my new REV’IT! base and mid-layers under my Neptune suit, and I stayed nice and warm for my 22 mile ride home. It is amazing what good gear will do to make riding more enjoyable in weather that is not ideal.

On Tuesday last week I rode the WR250R in a womens only dirtbike class offered by Nathan Smith of The Complete Racer and Brianna Mahon, who is a former womens pro rider. It was technically geared towards racers, but my friend Shannon and I brought our dual sports and had a good time anyways. We learned a lot about proper body positioning, and then they let us loose on their practice turn-track to try to implement what we had learned. Of course, all of this was completely new to Shannon and I, as that isn’t the type of riding we generally do, but it was so fun to get out of our comfort zone and push ourselves.

I will say that I have a lot of practicing to do before I get anywhere near comfortable doing that type of riding, but I always enjoy a challenge. The class was supposed to be 2-days, but the second day got rained out, so I’m hoping they will offer another class in the spring and I will go again.

A couple of weeks ago Dwayne and I took the Tigers out for a ride up to Brown County, Indiana. We ride up there pretty frequently, and I thought I had hit most of the good stuff by now, but I heard about two more creek crossings we had never hit before, so we went in search of those that day.

The first was just a shallow crossing, but it was still fun and made for some cool pictures…

The second crossing turned out to be the deepest crossing I’ve done up to this point. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t want to do anything much deeper because it was nearly up to my exhaust at one point. The pictures from this one really make me laugh, because in the first one I will post, you can see the look of surprise on my face as the front wheel dropped off a ledge unexpectedly, diving even deeper into the water, and the second picture I am visibly laughing at how much fun that was and how glad I am that I didn’t give Tora an unwanted bath, lol!

Unfortunately the weather is getting cool quick, and there is a chance of snow next week, but thankfully with all of the new winter gear REV’IT! has supplied me with, I am hopeful that I will get to ride occasionally throughout the winter, instead of parking the bike for months. My thoughts are now starting to turn to next year and what trips we will take and which events I will attend. There are so many good ones to choose from, but only so much vacation time to use. As amazing as this year has been, I’m hoping it was only the beginning and that there will be much more to look forward to in the future.

Barber Vintage Festival

Every year for the last 4 years we have attended the Barber Vintage Festival just outside of Birmingham, Alabama. The first year we went we rode the Yamaha’s down, the last two years we drove down in hopes of bringing something back with us, and this year we rode the Tigers down.

It is 6 hours, 415 miles if you take the interstate the whole way, but we always try to avoid the interstate whenever possible, so I found us a route that was 450 miles and 8.5 hours with zero interstate riding.

We loaded down the Tigers and hit the road around 7:30 Wednesday morning. The festival doesn’t start until Friday, but I wanted to go down a day early so we could do some riding in the nearby Talladega National Forest on Thursday.

With fuel and lunch stops, it took us about 9 hours to get to our hotel in Pell City. We like to stay there when we take the bikes down because we can avoid all of the Birmingham traffic, and it is a 20-mile straight shot across the interstate to the festival each day. It was a really nice ride with no issues, and nice weather other than the fact that it was almost 90 degrees the last few hours of the day.

Thursday morning we had a quick hotel breakfast and hit the road around 8am. It was about 20 miles of interstate in the opposite direction of Barber to get to the Talladega National Forest, and it was nice and cool to start the day. The forest has a really nice, twisty road that runs along the ridge top called the Skyway Motorway, so we started the day on that. From where we got on it, which was near the middle, we rode South a little ways to a lookout to snap a few pictures, and then went back to the North.

I honestly could have ridden up and down that road, soaking up the back and forth curves all day. The pavement was nice and smooth, and there were almost no other vehicles up there that morning. Of course, I’m always going to pick dirt/gravel over pavement though, so we headed for the far Northern section where the road turns to gravel.

There are side roads off of the motorway that are a mixture of dirt and gravel, so we decided to explore some of those. Dwayne went ahead a couple of times to snap some pictures of me as I passed.

I also snapped a couple of pictures of him as well, but the lighting wasn’t great.

We played around on these side roads for a couple of hours, but I never did find the dirt trails I had seen mentioned on the ADVrider forums. I should have researched it better before we left, but I didn’t. We still very much enjoyed the ride and the beautiful scenery though, so that was okay. Next year I’ll find out exactly where the good stuff is before we leave, this time it was more of a last minute decision.

About midday it was starting to get really hot, so we decided to head back to the hotel and have lunch and get cleaned up. I was happy to see that I’d collected some dirt on Tora, even though we never found any mud.

Friday morning we rolled into Barber right at 7:30 when the gates opened and headed straight for the KTM demo truck to sign up for demo rides at 8am. I signed up to ride the 1090 and Dwayne signed up to ride the 690. It was the same guys who had been out in Utah at the KTM rally a few weeks ago so of course my “Dirtbike In A Tree” incident was brought up and there were some more laughs about that.

Our demo ride was at 9am, so we had about 45 minutes to kill, so we rode over to the swap meet area and did a quick walkthrough before heading back to the demo rides. There wasn’t really anything that caught my eye, but I wasn’t really looking for anything either.

The 1090 is definitely on the tall side for me, but not uncomfortably so, I just had to slide just a tiny bit to either side to get a foot down, which might be slightly problematic when trying to maneuver the bike around when backing in/out of a parking spot, or trying to turn around on a trail or something, but when just riding, it isn’t an issue for me. They did have a 1090 there that had been lowered 2″ by Solid Performance in Pennsylvania, which felt about the same height as my Tiger, but I wouldn’t want to go that route unless I absolutely had to, because you’re obviously going to give up a bit of suspension and ground clearance. I don’t think it would be that much of an issue for me, I would get used to it quickly. Not that it matters, because although I liked it, I wouldn’t trade my Tiger for one.

The 1090 felt a lot different than my Tiger, which is obviously to be expected. Being that my Tiger is actually a “roadie” model (not that I treat it as such), it has better street manners, and is quite a bit smoother. The 1090 definitely has a bit more of a vibration to it, and I felt like I felt the knobby tires more on the pavement than I do on the Tiger, and it had the exact same tires on it that I’ve been running on the Tiger.

I absolutely loved the sound of that deeper, throatier exhaust. I’m a big fan of the triple on my Tiger, as it has a very distinct and different sound than any of the other bikes, but I definitely wouldn’t mind listening to that 1090 either! It was a bit more work in the curves, where as my Tiger just naturally falls into them, but again, that’s due to the smaller front wheel on my “Roadie”. The Tiger XCa I demoed in Montana felt the same way with that 21″ front wheel. It also felt a bit bigger than my Tiger, but it IS bigger, so again, to be expected.

The seating and standing position were both really comfortable, but like with the Tiger, I would want to add bar risers to bring them up and back just a touch. I only got about 15-20 miles on it, but the stock seat felt plenty comfortable from what I could tell.

The only concern I had with it was that even though it was a demo bike, and I realize they go through some punishment, the fuel gauge wasn’t working on the bike I rode. The maintenance issues are the only thing that really keeps me from considering owning a KTM. They are certainly fun bikes to ride, but I am getting ready to roll 30k miles on my Tiger, and other than my TPMS sensor occasionally acting up on my first cross-country trip on it back in 2016 (it hasn’t done it since), I’ve had no issues with my Tiger. The Tiger still feels like the perfect bike for me, but I’ll be interested in taking the new 790 Adventure for a spin when it comes out, just out of curiosity, as well as the Yamaha T7, if it ever actually makes it to the states.

After our demo rides we rode the Tigers over to the Fan Zone to park them in the official Triumph parking behind their truck and tent. We checked out the bikes they had brought with them and talked to their PR manager, Phil, for a bit, before heading across the street to the REV’IT! tent to say hi to Joonil and the guys from Savannah Triumph who are also REV’IT! dealers and always help out with the tent and bring merch to sell at the event. We met them at Barber last year, and we went to Savannah when we left Barber, so we visited their dealership and I bought my Airwave jacket from them. Then I saw them again in New York at the dealer meetings back in June. Great guys, and I always enjoy chatting with them.

Shortly after that our friends Steve and Kim from Indianapolis arrived and met up with us. It was Steve’s first time ever at Barber, and he was like a kid in a candy store! We walked around with them for a while until we all decided it was too hot out, so we headed in to the museum to enjoy the air conditioning and drool over the hundreds of incredible bikes in there. It is 5 levels high of some of the most beautiful bikes you will ever see. They have everything in there, including some incredibly rare bikes you aren’t likely to see elsewhere.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed exploring the museum with them. I’ve been in there every year and have been all over that place, but seeing it with someone who was a first timer and someone who is an absolute wealth of knowledge was incredible. Kim can tell you something about just about every bike in that place, and I swear I could have spent days in there with him letting him educate me. This weekend wouldn’t have been half as much fun without them there to share it with. Kim suggested we all pick a favorite bike for the day and we would discuss them later over dinner.

Bonhams was also having an auction in the museum this weekend, and one of the bikes that they were auctioning was Steve McQueen’s Husqvarna that he rode in the On Any Sunday movie. That was a really cool bike to see, because come on, it was Steve McQueens!

After the museum, it was 5pm, and we decided to head back to the hotel and get cleaned up to go to dinner. Luckily our bikes were in the shade at this point and it wasn’t too terrible trying to get our gear on and get moving.

We went with Steve and Kim to a nearby Golden Rule BBQ restaurant. I just always enjoy hanging out and talking with those two, and we ended up closing the place down because we got so wrapped up in conversation. We discussed which bikes were our favorites for the day, mine was a 1925 Sunbeam 500cc Light Solo that was in the Bonhams auction. It sold for $25,875. I stole this picture from the Bonhams site because I forgot to take one of it…

Saturday morning we got to the festival about the same time, and we went straight to park the bikes and get our gear off this time. We wanted to hit the swap meet before it got too hot, so we could take our time and enjoy it. I still didn’t see anything I was too interested in, but I did want to steal these two…

We spent some time at the REV’IT! tent and then watched some racing from the shade on the hill. Steve and Kim eventually joined us, and we headed back to the museum to have lunch and see the stuff we had missed on Friday, which was mostly the really old bike section. We all chose another favorite bike for the day, there were a lot of front runners, but mine was this 1915 Iver Johnson, it was just beautiful.

I didn’t take any other pictures from the museum because I do every year and then I never end up looking at them anyways. They all look so much better in person.

While at the museum I noticed someone had taken a picture of my bike and tagged me in it on Instagram, and it turned out it was Phil from Triumph. So while the guys headed over to the VJMC area (which had no shade) I hopped off the tram and went to talk to Phil some more, before heading back to the REV’IT! tent for a while.

Around 2 o’clock the guys caught up to me and Steve and Kim said their goodbyes and decided to head back home since they weren’t staying the night again. We decided we would leave at that time too because it was too hot to want to stick around any longer and we had seen and done everything we wanted to at that point. Unfortunately this time the bikes were still in the sun and it was rough trying to get the hot gear on when we were already sweaty. I was really ready to get moving by the time we fired up the bikes!

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and getting things ready to head home. The next morning we walked next door to Cracker Barrel for breakfast and coffee, then loaded up the bikes and hit the road just before 8am. It was really foggy out for the first 40 miles or so, but it eventually cleared up, and then it started to get warm.

We stopped for lunch about 2/3 of the way home and it was 90 degrees. By the time we were back on the road it was 92, and we were starting to reconsider our decision to avoid any interstate riding. We decided to knock 45 minutes off the rest of our trip and hop on I-65 at Elizabethtown, Kentucky and take it the rest of the way home. Traffic was heavy and it was definitely less than enjoyable, but we were happy to get home and out of our gear a little quicker than we otherwise would have.

This will likely be our last “big” moto trip of the year, so from here on out it will probably be mostly day trips. The weather is supposed to cool way off after tomorrow, so it will be time to pull out the cold weather gear and put the mesh away most likely. The Tigers are also way overdue for their next major service, so we will definitely be taking care of that sometime soon as well.

REV’IT! Womens Team at the KTM Rally

Fair warning, this is going to be a LONG, detailed blog entry. This is as much for my future memory as it is for sharing all of this with you. With that said, at some point this weekend, my bike ended up like this, so it’s worth the read…

Thursday morning I was up bright and early at 4:30am to get ready to head to the airport. I had everything packed and ready to go the night before, and my flight was at 7am. Dwayne drove me to Louisville to the airport, and I had him stop at Starbucks on the way so I could grab a breakfast wrap and an extra strong latte to wake me up.

I had an hour layover in Chicago before heading on to Park City, but luckily that all went smoothly other than us not taking off until about 30 minutes after we were supposed to. I was supposed to be the first of us girls to arrive in Salt Lake City, followed by Erika 15 minutes later, and Amelia 15 minutes after that. As it turned out, Erika arrived a few minutes before me, and Amelia ended up being delayed by 2.5 hours due to mechanical issues with her plane.

Erika and I took an Uber to a hotel nearby where one of our REV’IT! contacts, Joonil, had stayed the night before. He invited us to come there and leave our bags while we went out for lunch. Once Amelia arrived, she took an UberXL to us, where we loaded up our things and on to Park City the three of us went. There were a few times I thought we might not make it due to our Uber driver being a bit of a madman, but he just managed to get us there in record time!

Once we got to Park City we went to the condo that REV’IT! had booked us for our stay at The Lodges of Deer Valley Resort. It was an absolutely gorgeous condo with a huge open concept kitchen, dining, and living area, complete with a beautiful fireplace and a door out onto a private patio. It also had two good sized bedrooms and three full bathrooms, as well as a jacuzzi tub. We definitely felt spoiled getting to stay in such beautiful accommodations for the weekend.

Once we got checked in, we headed down to the Rally area to meet up with Joonil and Josh from REV’IT! When we arrived, Joonil had bad news for us. The bikes that he had rented for us 2 months prior, and had been assured on a weekly basis would be ready for us to ride both on street and dirt at the rally, had not been properly insured by the rental company for street use, and they were not going to allow us to ride the bikes on the street.

Amelia and I were immediately upset. We hadn’t flown across the country to go on a guided tour of a state park, which is what the rental company suggested they would allow us to do. Luckily, Amelia knows a lot of awesome people, including Mike Lafferty of KTM. She introduced me to Mike, and we explained our situation to him. He was just as upset by our situation as we were, knowing that wasn’t what we had flown out there to do, and he set to work trying to figure out an alternate plan for us.

A short while later he was introducing us to Russell Bobbitt and Cole Kirkpatrick who are two KTM pro riders who run a tour company named Gnarly Routes. They had their KTM rental fleet with them at the rally, but were not intending to rent their bikes out because they were already prepped for a tour they were hosting the following week. Luckily, they were happy to help us out, so they allowed REV’IT! to rent two of their 250 XC-W TPI rental bikes, a 350 EXC-F, and Cole’s personal 250 XC-W TPI for the weekend.

Once we had the bike situation handled, we went back to the room to get cleaned up so we could go out to dinner with Joonil and Josh. The 5 of us piled into Josh’s company truck, which is a super badass Toyota Tundra all decked out with a REV’IT! wrap, which I really wanted to steal.

We ended up at a delicious sushi restaurant named Yuki Yama. Joon and Josh kept the sushi and sake flowing for us, and we all had a really great dinner with good conversation.

Once we were back to the room Amelia and Erika turned in for the night, and I stayed up to wait on our other teammate, Louise, to arrive. She had to work that day and wasn’t able to fly in until late.

The next morning we all got geared up and ready to ride before heading down to the huge event tent KTM had set up for breakfast. We helped ourselves to some scrambled eggs, bacon, and fruit, and decided what route we were going to ride for the day. By the end of breakfast our photographer for the weekend, Julia LaPalme had joined us, and we all got acquainted with her. I instantly knew I liked her, and she fit right in with our group.

Also during breakfast, Amelia ran into Dakar rally racer Bill Conger, who she is also friends with (Amelia knows EVERYONE!!!), and she introduced us all to him. As it turned out, he didn’t have a plan for the day, and he decided to wait around for us and ride with us on his BMW 1200GSA. How cool to be able to say that I spent the day riding with a Dakar finisher!

After breakfast we gave our GPS to Joon so he could take it to the Rever tent and have our route for the day loaded, which was a route that was recommended to us by Mike Lafferty. Meanwhile, we went over to the Gnarly Routes truck to check out our bikes for the day. Russell had set up the two rental 250’s to sit as low as possible for Erika and Louise, as they are both a bit shorter than Amelia and I. He softened the suspension a bit on the 350 for me as well as he said it had previously been set up for a heavier rider, and Amelia had him adjust the levers down on Cole’s 250 for her.

Cole snapped a picture of us for their Instagram before we headed out for the day. That is Julia on the left, then me, Amelia, Louise, and Erika.

We tried for nearly an hour to get all of our Sena headsets to connect to one another. The best we could do was to have two groups of 2 and 3, we never could get all 5 of us connected at once. It was extremely frustrating, and a bummer that we couldn’t all be connected at once. Sena really needs to make that process easier.

Once we finally decided to just roll with it, we hit the road with Bill and Julia bringing up the back of the pack. We hadn’t made it very far out of town when Erika pulled over onto the side of the highway. Her rear wheel had a nasty wobble to it. Bill checked it out for her and found that the bib mousse they had installed inside the tire (rather than a tube) had not seated properly. According to Bill, the fix for this was to loosen the beadlock a little, rip the bike hard on some dirt, and then tighten the beadlock back up. So we were all treated to a show of Bill ripping around on the dirt hills alongside the highway to get it to seat properly, which was very fun to see. As it turned out, he was right, it fixed the issue right up and we were back on the road quickly.

The scenery on the way to the trails was increasingly beautiful the closer we got. We stopped for a quick bathroom break once we got to the trailhead, and I took the time to snap some pictures.

We started off down the trails, occasionally letting Julia go ahead to take some pictures as we passed. Bill kept his distance so he wouldn’t end up in the shots, and he couldn’t have been more patient with us. I can’t imagine that it was terribly fun for him, but he insisted that evening when I mentioned it to him that he had very much enjoyed riding with us.

At one point we found a cool little spot where the leaves on the trees had turned bright yellow, and there were some fun little short trails for us to play around on and take pictures. We took turns riding the REV’IT! Husky 501 that they had brought for Julia to ride, and Amelia and I played around on the trails while the other girls were taking their turns.

Once Julia had all the shots she wanted from that spot, we all saddled back up and headed back out on the trail. We encountered a few slightly technical sections, one of which was a rocky uphill in which we met a side-by-side head on and had to stop. Julia got stuck on the 501 in some rocks, so Amelia had to help her get it dislodged and on up the hill.

After we got through that section, we found a shady spot to stop for a break so Julia could cool off. She was wearing the REV’IT! Horizon 2 suit, which is a waterproof suit that does not breathe very well in warm conditions. I also have that suit, so I knew that she was most likely getting overheated and easily fatigued between that suit and the huge, heavy backpack full of camera equipment she had on her back. Bill insisted that she strap the backpack to the back of his GS to get the extra weight off of her, which I think made a big difference.

Once everyone was ready to hit the trail again, we went on to where there was an optional addition to our route. which, Mike lafferty had suggested we take if we had time. It started off with a pretty decent, rocky hill climb. Amelia led the pack up the hill, with me and Erika behind her. Louise was behind Erika, and we heard her in our headsets as she bobbled on some rocks and down she went. Luckily she was unharmed and joined us at the top a few minutes later. The view was spectacular, so we stopped to snap a few pictures.

A short distance on up the trail, we were treated to a cliff overlooking a gorgeous vista. We stopped here to allow Julia to get some more photos of us, and Bill found a nice rock to take a break on.

When we were finally done with pictures, we continued on the loop until we made it back to the main trail. Somewhere along the line we picked up a lost puppy named Matt. Matt wasn’t really a lost puppy, but Bill and Julia neither one realized that he was actually a friend of mine from Instagram and I had told him what route we had intended to ride that day. They both thought that he was just some random guy who saw a group of girls and decided to follow, haha!

Once we made it back to a paved road, we stopped to regroup and figure out our plan from there. Stopping so often to take pictures had taken up more time than we had anticipated, and we knew we were not going to be having lunch at this point. We wondered if we should continue on the dirt route as planned, or if we should hop on the pavement and head back for Park City. Bill was our voice of reason and suggested we had time to do at least the next leg of dirt, and we could slab it back from Strawberry, which was our intended fuel and lunch stop, if need be. Matt claimed that the dirt road ahead of us was fun, as that’s the way he had come from, so we took his word for it and decided to continue on.

As it turned out, the road ahead was not as fun as Matt had led us to believe. It may have been fine for him, a solo traveler with no one ahead of him whose dust to consume, but for a group of 7, it was increasingly less enjoyable the further back in the pack you were. Dusty doesn’t even begin to describe the conditions, and on top of that, the road texture was extremely silty, which felt very unstable pretty much the entire time. Amelia was cussing Matt over our Sena’s, not that he could hear her, and we were all hoping we didn’t have far to go before we would find pavement again. Not something our group usually wishes for, but none of us were enjoying that road at that point.

At some point Erika had enough of eating my and Amelia’s dust, so she went around us to lead the pack. I don’t remember how, but I also ended up in front of Amelia, behind Erika, who was now hauling ass, hell bent on getting off of that road as quick as possible. My rear tire got a little loose in one of the righthand curves, but I managed to stay upright and ride it out.

Not long after, Amelia realized she no longer saw Louise behind her. Our Sena’s had screwed up again and Amelia was the only person I could talk to, and Erika was no longer connected to anyone. Amelia told me to keep up with Erika, and she fell back a bit to see if Louise would catch up. She never did, so Amelia caught up to me and said we really needed to get Erika to stop because something must be wrong. About that time, Erika must have noticed she only had two of us behind her, because she pulled over. We let her know that we hadn’t seen the rest of the group in quite a while, and we thought something might be wrong. We decided to wait a few minutes to see if maybe they had just slowed way down due to the dust and unstable road surface.

Along the way, the air had grown thick with wildfire smoke, and once we were stopped, we took in the scenery around us. The sky was tinted red, and everything looked eerie, almost apocalyptic. We were also all three completely covered in thick dust.

We waited for about 20 minutes, becoming increasingly worried, but also not wanting to backtrack down that road knowing that there were already 4 people there, and it was highly unlikely that they were all injured. We saw a vehicle coming down the road and decided to flag them down and ask if they had seen the rest of our group. When the vehicle stopped, Erika went to talk with them and found that there was what appeared to be a 12 year old kid driving! As she was talking to them, we saw the rest of our group coming slowly over the hill. As it turned out, right after my rear wheel kick-out incident, Julia had lowsided on the 501 on one of the next lefthand curves. She was mostly okay, but had scraped her arm up, and they had stopped for Bill to bandage her up, and for her to regroup.

We decided to hit Hwy 40 back up to Park City at that point, but to stop at the first gas station to fill up the bikes and take a break. We went past a resort that looked like it might have a gas station, but we didn’t see any, so we kept going. Bill came flying around us shortly after to signal for us to turn around, he had seen a couple of gas pumps on the far left side of the property that we hadn’t. He said that the 501’s fuel light had come on, so he didn’t think it would make it to the next town if we didn’t turn back.

As we pulled back out onto the highway to head back to the gas station, I heard Amelia yelling in my headset, freaking out. I had no idea what was happening, but she explained that a wheel had fallen off of the boat trailer that had just passed us and went whizzing past her right towards Louise and Matt behind us, narrowly missing them. We pulled into the gas station and stopped, and Louise immediately fell to the ground, crying. We thought she was just in shock, but then we saw the long black mark going up her right leg. The wheel had missed her, but some other debris had definitely hit her. She was in pain, and freaked out, but it could have been a whole lot worse!

We filled the bikes all up and had some jerky and granola bars for lunch, and allowed Louise and Julia time to regroup from their accidents before hitting the road back to Park City. The issue with taking the highway back is that Cole’s bike that Amelia was riding is geared so low that it would only do 52mph max, and the speed limit was 65.

When we got back to the rally grounds, we pulled up in front of the REV’IT! booth so they could get pictures with all of us. There was a small crowd gathered around and some other people were taking pictures of us too, which felt both odd and awesome at the same time.

When pictures were over, we wheeled our bikes back over to the Gnarly Routes truck for the night, and we headed back to the room to get showered up. We invited Bill to come shower in our room as a thank you for supporting us all day, since he was camping. We were all pretty worn out, so we decided to just invite our whole REV’IT! group, including Julia and Bill to hang out in our room and have dinner ordered in. Josh went and got us beer and wine, and he and Joon picked up and delivered the food. We enjoyed a family style dinner at our huge dining table, with great conversation, and it was such a nice way to spend the evening.

Saturday morning was much the same as Friday morning, we all had breakfast together in the dining tent, and took some pictures of us planning our route for the day. Mike had told us of an OHV area where the Ultimate Race Qualifier Top 10 would be for the day and suggested we might like riding there as well, so we decided to head over there so there would be more options for some more difficult trails for us if we wanted to hit them.

This time I swapped bikes with Amelia and she rode the 350 and I rode Cole’s 2-stroke. I never dreamed I would get an opportunity to ride a professional riders personal motorcycle, so that was really cool for me. I was less than comfortable as it was my first time on a 2-stroke and I tend to be a bit handsy with the throttle at times. I quickly got a feel for it, but wished that I hadn’t forgotten my earplugs in the room that day, because 2-strokes are obnoxiously loud, lol!

We stopped at the welcome center to get some paper maps and use the restrooms, which is when I realized I had forgotten my water pack back at the Gnarly Routes truck, which also had my wallet with all of my ID’s and insurance cards in it. I called Joon and had him go get it for safe keeping, but I felt naked without my water pack on my back. I never ride without it, so I can’t believe I forgot it. Amelia bought me a bottle of water and Erika let me put it in her tank bag so I wouldn’t be thirsty all day.

The ride into the OHV park was beautiful and a lot of fun with plenty of curves. Once we finally hit dirt, we only made it a couple of miles in when we stopped to regroup and Julia let us know that she was uncomfortable and in a bit of pain riding on the bumpy road surfaces. We knew this was a possibility, and Louise’s leg was bothering her quite a bit as well, so we decided to find a trail to ride back and forth on to get some more of Julia’s shot list knocked out before heading back.

Once Julia was content with the photos she’d gotten, we started back out the way we had come in. We figured we would just head back and get cleaned up and go back out to do some mingling before the awards dinner that night.

On the way back out, Amelia wanted to stop at this gnarly uphill trail with huge embedded rocks to make a run at it. Of course, what I lack in skill I make up for with confidence, so I was more than happy to follow her right up the trail. Right before we went to takeoff I was second guessing my choice to do so on Cole’s bike though, being that I was more comfortable on the 350, so Amelia agreed that she should switch with me.

The two of us went up the hill fairly easily. I did have one “Oh shit” moment, but I rode it out and we continued on to where the trail split. We decided we should turn around and go back so the others wouldn’t be worried that we had been gone so long, so back down the hill we went. Amelia stopped me once to give me some pointers, and then again to video me as I passed her.

Once we got back down, she asked if I wanted to go again, and I said, “Of course!!” This time didn’t go quite as smooth. Julia was a short distance up the trail waiting to take our pictures as we passed, and I was following Amelia’s line. There was a large embedded rock that Amelia hit to get a little bit of air, and I naively decided to follow her over it. When I did, I took a bad wheel bounce, and it directed me up the hillside to my right, and rather than react appropriately and steer myself back onto the trail, I whiskey throttled a bit and ended up in a small tree on the side of the trail, upside down and vertical, as pictured at the top of this post. It didn’t hurt at all, and the bike was fine, except for a bent front fender and some oil in the airbox from being upside down. We snapped a few quick pictures while I waited for the other girls to get there to help me get it unstuck. A family in a side by side pulled up to us from up the trail and the guy helped me lift the front of the bike over the tree and back it down onto the trail. I turned it around, and rode it back down the hill.

Amelia was worried about the oil that had leaked out of the airbox, so we flagged down a couple of passing KTM riders to take a look for us. As it turned out, it was the group that my friend Matt was riding with, and he pulled up a few moments later on his Tiger.

Once the bike was deemed to be rideable, we saddled back up and headed back to the welcome center for ice cream. We had planned to find an actual ice cream shop, but we settled for the drumsticks and ice cream sandwiches they had there.

When we got back to the rally site, we left the bikes at the Gnarly Routes truck. Russ and Cole were still out on rides, so I couldn’t tell them about my bike-in-a-tree incident yet, so Amelia and I went back to the room to get cleaned up.

We went back down to the vendor area later to wait for Russ and Cole to come back. In the meantime we went over to the REV’IT! booth to show Joon the pictures of my incident, and he introduced us to Jesse Ziegler from Cycle News. He was super cool, and we both liked him a lot. After chatting with him for a while, she and I went over and introduced ourselves to Brandon from Upshift Online. He gave us free beers, water, and stickers, so he immediately became our favorite person.

Eventually Russ and Cole rode up and we went to tell them about the bike. They were very understanding and cool about it, and when I showed them the picture Cole demanded that I text it to him so he could print it and hang it in their trailer.

Eventually it was time to head into the tent for the awards dinner, which was great because Amelia and I were both absolutely starving after missing lunch for a second day in a row. We piled our plates full of salmon and steak and delicious bread. Then we saw the cake. Chocolate and Carrot. The lady serving it said we could take one of each if we wanted, which turned into our table being covered in cake because everyone decided to take two. It was good cake, and we deserved it!

During dinner they told some stories from the weekend on the stage, one of which was the story of my bike ending up in a tree. I waved to everyone and proudly claimed my failure, as I was amongst friends, and everyone loved it. They also told the story of the boat trailer wheel and told Louise, “At least it didn’t hit her in the face!” to which she enthusiastically agreed.

The biggest announcement during the dinner was which two riders had won the Ultimate Race Qualifier to go to the Merzuga Rally with full KTM support and ride their new 790 Adventure. I had some friends who had entered, including a couple who made it to the top 10. As it turned out, the guy who got 1st place lives 30 minutes from me in Indiana. He was one of the two KTM riders in the video of the water crossing I posted earlier this year at the Riders for Striders event.

After dinner there was an after party at a bar that we were invited to. We all went back and forth on rather or not to go, and in the end everyone went but me because I still needed to pack and I had an early flight out the next morning. I was still packing when Amelia and Louise came back to the room. I stayed up until after 1am talking to them, knowing full well I had to be up at 6am to get ready to head to the airport. I ended up getting 4.5 hours of sleep, and was in major need of coffee, but didn’t end up getting any until 2 hours later at the airport after I made it through security.

My flight to Chicago was uneventful, but my flight from Chicago to Louisville was delayed by 30 minutes due to communications issues. My parents were nearly to the airport to pick me up before my plane ever even left the ground.

All-in-all it was an absolutely incredible trip. Sure, we had some mishaps, and not everything went as planned, but that is to be expected, and is part of what makes it an adventure. I absolutely adore all 3 of my teammates, as well as Julia, and I had so much fun riding with them and hanging out. I can’t wait to see them all again, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I feel incredibly lucky to be given the opportunities that REV’IT! has given me this year. I loved this company when I was just a customer, and I love them even more now that I am a part of their team. The support that they give to us, as well as other riders around the world, is just incredible, and should not go unnoticed.

Next up for me will be a two day dirtbike class on the WR250R on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the Barber Vintage Festival in Alabama in a couple of weeks. I am hoping to ride to/from that as long as there aren’t any active hurricanes going on in the area, and I get my flat rear tire situation taken care of on the Tiger before then. I’m waiting to hear back from Michelin about a set of tires they’d promised me, so hopefully they come through in time. If not, I’ll just order a new rear tire and slap it on there, because I don’t feel comfortable going on a long trip on a patched tire.

Stay tuned!

Sand and Puddles…

Today we met up with our friend Steve Hoy to go to the Badlands Off-Road Park in Attica, Indiana. I took the WR250R out for the first time off-road, and Dwayne rode Steve’s TTR-125, while Steve rode his CRF250F.

The Badlands has a LOT of deep sand, which was completely new territory for me. We started off slow so I could get the feel for the bike in those conditions, and did some loops on some short trails.

After a while we ventured off into the deeper stuff so I could get some practice on that. All was going well until we started doing a hill climb. You had to get some speed up across the sand pit before hitting the hill, and I did it fine the first time. The second time I got a little too cocky and tried to go faster and got a little wobbly in the sand pit, almost saved it, but the front slid out and over the bars I went! Luckily it was a nice soft landing, so I came out unscathed, but the WR lost the plastic above the headlight (it isn’t broken, just lost a clip), and the mirrors came loose so I had to just take them off for the rest of the day, not that I needed them.

After that we took a break for a bit. When we went back out we hit a trail that was about 75% huge mud puddles after all the rain we got the last few days. The guys were going around them, but I was having none of that, so just like the little kid I am at heart, I went flying straight through all the puddles.

Afterwards when we got back to the truck, I had to dump water out of my boots and wring it out of my socks.

That’s a sign of a good time if you ask me!! I can’t wait to take the WR out again. It has officially been named “PJ” by Dwayne, which stands for “Puddle Jumper”. I like it, I think it’ll stick.

Tomorrow we will be going out on the Tigers, and I may have some videos to upload from today if Steve gets them uploaded and sent to me.

Day 4: Plan B and Plan C

We decided to wait for Maverick Motorsports to open this morning and have them check out Dwayne’s rear wheel hub. While we waited we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then came back and took a nap.

One of the kind gentleman we had spoken with on Monday was happy to help us remove the thing making all the racket, although none of us ever could decide exactly what it was. Dwayne thinks perhaps it is a piece of the cast aluminum from inside the hub, perhaps it broke off during one of the epic rocky hill climbs yesterday. It certainly seems too hard to be shale, and it did have some shine to it where he had scraped at it with a screw driver trying to break it last night. It sounded metallic inside the hub as it rattled around too, but who knows. It is possible it was something kicked up off the trail that somehow magically made it into the hole that it was almost as big as.

We hung out for a little bit and chatted with an older local gentleman who had traded in his Harley for a Tiger a couple years ago and never looked back. We also bought a couple of shirts to show our appreciation of how kind they were to us this week, and because they were pretty cool shirts.

Once we left there, we were kind of at a loss for what to do the rest of the day. It was almost 11 o’clock, and we hadn’t really mapped out a route because we weren’t sure we would get to ride today at all depending on what was up with his bike. I found a gravel road that went up to a radio tower about 20 miles from our hotel that looked like it had spectacular views, so we decided to check that out.

The road that went out that way was beautiful with some farm land surrounded by mountains on both sides, but unfortunately we only made it part of the way up the road before we hit a gate with private property signs and a security camera and we had to turn around. We knew it was a slim chance that you’d actually be able to ride up there, but I was bummed to not get to see the view I’d seen on Google Maps.

We didn’t really know where to head from there, but we ended up going back down to Hwy 12 for one last trip across to check out a bridge across the river. I, of course, had to go stand in the river while we were there because I was hot and the water was cool.

On the way back up Lolo Pass, we stopped again to get a picture with one of the best signs a motorcyclist can see…

From there we enjoyed one last trip back across Hwy 12 to the hotel. We are now doing laundry and getting stuff ready to pack up and leave for home in the morning. It may have been a short trip as far as the riding goes, but it was well worth the drive to get out here. We had an amazing time, and I proved to Dwayne that we can take the Tigers on some gnarly terrain and survive to tell about it, although at one point yesterday I think he questioned rather or not that would be the case, lol!

Day 3: The Lolo Motorway

Initially, the plan was to head South today to ride the Magruder Corridor, then ride the Lolo Motorway on the way back tomorrow. We made the decision last night to not head down to the Magruder this trip, and instead just ride the Lolo Motorway today.

We slept in a bit again and didn’t hit the road until 8am. I’ve found that I have to wear my REV’IT! mid-layer jacket under my mesh jacket here in the mornings as it is only in the 50’s to low 60’s to start out, and today was no exception. I hadn’t needed my heated seat up until today, but when the temp dipped to low 50’s for a while, I was happy to have it, since I didn’t have any liners in my pants. Poor Dwayne had forgotten to bring any layers, so he was a bit cold to start out.

We took Hwy 12 to Lochsa to hit 569 up to the Motorway. Once we got to the motorway, I went ahead and shed my mid-layer jacket and cut off my heated grips and seat, as I knew I would be getting hot soon enough.

The Motorway is a dirt road with varying surfaces. There is some loose, sandy stuff, and there are a lot of rocky sections, but there are also some fast, hardpacked surfaces as well.

The views are absolutely incredible and you really have to concentrate on not riding off the side of the cliff while trying to take in all of the beautiful scenery. Unfortunately wildfires have once again started nearby, so there was a lot of smoke lingering, making the mountains in the distance a bit hazy. It wasn’t as bad as last year though, and hopefully it won’t get that bad again.

Things started off pretty tame with mostly hard packed surfaces with some rocks sticking up here and there, and the occasional washout. We were enjoying the incredible views and stopped a couple of times to take pictures.

Eventually things started getting a little rockier, and required a bit more concentration, so I wasn’t able to admire the views quite as much other than what was in front of me.

I had remembered my GoPro today, and I was doing good about using it, but for some reason it shut itself off on me a couple of times. Once, of course, was right before the most intense part of the day, when we hit a really steep, loose-rock-filled section with switchbacks. I’m pretty certain Dwayne was wondering what in the heck I’d gotten him into at that point, but we gave it hell and made it up without issue, and unfortunately I have no video to prove it.

Speaking of the GoPro footage, I’ll have to wait until I get home to upload it because I had it mounted upside down on my SoPro helmet mount so it wouldn’t be in my way, and I’ll need to flip it before I can share it.

The only people we saw on the Motorway were 2 side-by-sides, 4 ATV’s, one of which came around a blind corner half in my lane like a bat out of hell, and 2 jeeps who stopped and talked to us for a minute before continuing on. Luckily we met all of those in relatively easy sections, so it wasn’t hard to pass.

After some particularly technical rocky sections, we decided to stop for a minute to rest and take some pictures of another great view. It is crazy how much of a workout riding these trails can be, especially at higher elevations and when you were slacking on your cardio for a full month beforehand, lol!

We had planned to hop off the Motorway at Gravey Creek Road to go back to Hwy 12. We were pretty worn out from the last two days of riding, and Dwayne had a bit of a headache, so we stuck to this plan and did just that, and we went back to the rest area at the Idaho/Montana state line to have a picnic lunch like we had done on Monday. Gravey Creek was an easy gravel road, which rewarded us with a nice creek to behold at the bottom.

During our lunch break we were graced with the company of this little guy. He is a Columbian Ground Squirrel which Dwayne named “Chuck” and he is a chatty little critter. Chuck almost became lunch when a fox hopped out of the woods beside us unexpectedly, but luckily he hopped back up into the woods just as quick as he hopped out. I would have been pretty mortified for my new little friend if he had gotten snatched up.

After lunch we took 12 back up to Missoula and went back to the hotel. Having ridden 12 a handful of times now, I can safely say it is officially my new favorite paved road. Between the incredible scenery and the perfect alternating sweepers, it is the perfect paved road. You can keep your Tail of the Dragon, I would rather ride Hwy 12 any day!

We were already unsure of what our plans were for tomorrow, but that compounded when Dwayne went to lube his chain and heard something clanging around inside his rear wheel hub. We can see there is something in there, and we kind of thought it might be a piece of slate, but it sounded metal, and upon trying to break it apart with a screw driver, we found it wouldn’t break and it looked shiny where he had been poking at it. So now we are trying to decide if we want to wait around for Maverick Motorsports to open in the morning and have them look at it, or possibly just rent a bike for him from them for the day, or if we are just going to find something to do other than ride and get ready to head home on Friday. I can’t imagine that something broke off inside there, but I also hate to risk it and end up being sorry. I guess you’ll find out what we decide in tomorrow’s post.

Day 2: Local routes and a demo ride…

We got a bit of a later start today due to sleeping in a bit and not knowing where we wanted to ride. We needed to swing by Maverick Motorsports for some chain cleaner, so we didn’t want to get too far from town. Dwayne suggested we hit Petty Creek Rd between I-90 and Hwy 12, so I found us a dirt/gravel road that ran along the river to get us there so we didn’t have to take the interstate.

The road started off a wide well-kept gravel road with a bit of local traffic on it, and it eventually got narrower as we went.

A couple of times Google Maps tried to route us on “roads” that actually didn’t exist. I’m not sure if there were roads there at one point, but there was no sign of any road now. The second time this happened was right in front of a huge, fancy cattle farm, and across the road from their driveway was a huge sign about trespassing and extremely pricey fines. We were unsure if the sign was intended for their property, or what we assumed was a continuation of the road we were on, so we started to turn around, but then decided it was for their property and not the road, so we went to turn around again to continue on towards our destination when Dwayne said something was wrong with his bike, it was making an awful sound and vibrating. I turned around yet again and went back to him, and checked my phone for cell service in case there was actually something wrong. Luckily, although we were out in the middle of nowhere at this point, i actually did have cell service. He had me hop off my bike and remove my helmet to try and listen to see where it was coming from while he started the bike again. When he did, a rock shot out of the fan, alleviating the noise and vibration. Whew, thank goodness!

We continued on to Petty Creek Rd and took it back to the South. Shortly after we turned down it we saw three Bighorn Sheep near the road, one of which was standing in our lane and was wearing a tracking collar around its neck.

The North side of Petty Creek Rd is paved for the first 12 miles, then it turns to gravel, and later to dirt. At one point we stopped to take a picture, and I had parked my bike close to the center of the road, but still on my side where a vehicle could pass if needed. I was taking pictures when Dwayne heard something coming, so I hurriedly put my phone back in my handlebar mount and threw my gloves on, and I had just got moving and to the right side of my lane when a huge logging truck came barreling around the corner. That definitely wouldn’t have been able to pass, or stop in time, so poor Tora would have been demolished if Dwayne hadn’t heard it coming.

Once we got to the end of the road where it meets Hwy 12, we decided to head back to Missoula to go to Maverick Motorsports to get what we needed and grab lunch at the hotel before heading out again.

What started as a quick stop for chain cleaner ended up being a great conversation with the guys, and a demo ride on the newly updated Tiger 800 XCA, which is the off-road version of my bike. Technically my bike is a “road” version, but don’t tell her that, because she doesn’t seem to know 😉

I loved the new TFT display, and the fact that the cruise control buttons are now on the left handlebar, as they should be! I was surprised that the XCA didn’t feel any taller to me, but I keep my seat in the high position and they had this one in the low position, so that made the height difference negligible.

Although I did like a lot about the bike, it felt harder to corner than my roadie, probably due to the 21″ front wheel, which I’m not used to. I am sure that’s something I would adjust to quickly, but during my short ride, it felt a little awkward to me. I did love that they made the tall first gear issue a lot better with the new model, though, and the throatier sound of the exhaust was like music to my ears. I think I’ll be keeping my Tora though, for now.

When we got back to the hotel we ran into three gentlemen we had talked to yesterday who were supposed to be heading across the Magruder yesterday and today. As it turned out, one of them had gotten sick in the high temperatures, and they had decided to turn back to be on the safe side. They showed us a route up 9 Mile Rd that went over Siegel Pass to Quinns. We decided to take their advice and ride that route after lunch.

The ride started out as a beautiful cruise down a gravel and dirt alternating road in the valley between two mountain ranges. There was a bit of local traffic, and it was very dusty, so we got dusted out a few times. Eventually we turned onto the road to go over Siegel Pass, and we never saw another vehicle the rest of the way. It also became a less-maintained, narrower path.

The scenery was incredible, and the road was a lot of fun. There were some rocky sections, though not quite as challenging as the Beaver Ridge ride we did yesterday, and a lot of twists and turns. It was a fantastic road, and we were so glad we took their advice. I did put my GoPro on, but I’ll have to go through the video when we get home and upload it then because I forgot the sd card key for my phone and I didn’t bring the laptop, so I can’t view the footage until we get back.

At the end of the road, it intersected with hwy 200, which ran along another river and offered beautiful views. We stopped for some pictures before slabbing it all the way back to Missoula to end the day.

That’s it for today, I need to figure out plans for tomorrow and get some sleep, so I’ll write more tomorrow night!

Day 1 of riding: Missoula, MT to Beaver Ridge and back…

I am so sorry I have not had anything worth sharing since the Conserve The Ride and REV’IT! NYC trip. Since then, we purchased a WR250R, which I’ve only gotten to ride once due to intense heat and working overtime. We also had to change our plans to haul the bikes to Colorado and ride. A week from when we were supposed to leave the wildfires were still raging near Durango, where we were supposed to be staying, so we made the decision to cancel those plans and haul the bikes to Montana/Idaho instead.

This is the first time we have ever hauled the bikes instead of riding, and it came partly out of necessity, due to wanting to mount more off-road specific tires on the bikes for the trip, and partly due to us just being plain sick of riding interstate for 3 days and ruining our tires before we even get to where we want to ride. Living on the far East side of the “Midwest” is hard, ya’ll! So we decided to try something different this time. We left home in Indiana on Friday morning, and arrived in Missoula, Montana yesterday evening.

Today was our first day of riding, and we took some local advice to ride up to Beaver Ridge Lookout. I mapped us out a route that kept us mainly off-pavement to get there, and then had us take Hwy 12 back to Missoula. I had told Dwayne that we would just take it easy on the first day to get used to the riding, but as it turned out I lied, haha!

We took Hwy 12 to Elk Meadow Road, which was a beautiful dirt/gravel road that was well maintained. It was a great start to the day, getting used to being on the bikes off-pavement again after a month or so of not much riding, and the scenery was just beautiful.

Google Maps wanted to spit us out onto Hwy 12 for a ways before putting us into the road that leads up to the lookout, but I saw a forest road that connect Elk Meadow road with Beaver Ridge Rd, so I mapped our route to go that way instead.

It turned out to be a narrow two-track road with a lot of overgrown vegetation. A short way down it Dwayne asked me, “What kind of goat path have you taken me down?!” to which I chuckled and replied, “An awesome one, obviously!” Luckily, he agreed, it was a fun road, and also had some gorgeous views that we had to stop and take in.

Once we got to Beaver Ridge Rd there was a bridge crossing a beautiful creek that we also had to stop and admire.

From there we started the climb up to Beaver Ridge. The road had so many different surfaces to offer, from packed dirt, to thin gravel, to the really awesome stuff, baby-head riddled uphill climbs! I can’t tell you how much fun those sections were, I was having a blast!

At one point Dwayne joked that his bike kept flashing a message on the screen that said, “Hey! I’m an XR, stupid! The ‘R’ stands for road!” and I told him I thought it stood for “rocks”, lol!

Truth be told, the bikes handled it all with ease. Okay, maybe not “ease,” per say, they are roadies after all, but they never skipped a beat, and never tried to throw us over the side of the mountain, so I’d say they handled it just fine.

Unfortunately my dumb self failed to mount my GoPro and video any of the awesome stuff, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it was a really great ride with some really fun gnarly sections.

Once we made it to the top, there was a fire tower with a super nice lady on watch who let us come up to the tower to take in the view. She also suggested I walk down a short trail to the edge of the cliff and take in the view of Beaver Lake. I was very glad that she was there to suggest that, because I would have likely missed it otherwise, and it was a gorgeous view.

We had hoped to eat a picnic lunch we had packed while up there, but the mosquitos were swarming us, so we decided to head back down instead.

After we got back to Hwy 12, we found out that everyone who had said that it is a really fun road were correct. It is nothing but high-speed alternating sweepers, all of which were well-paved, so you could really get into the curves.

As we were cruising along we saw a sign for a visitors center and decided to stop and see if they had somewhere we could eat lunch. As it turned out, they had a really nice covered pavilion with large picnic tables. The mosquitos were nowhere near as bad here, and we had the added bonus of watching and listening to the Columbian Ground Squirrels nearby while we ate.

From there we booked it back to Missoula. As we came down from the mountain it got hotter and hotter until it reached 91 degrees in town. We were very happy to get into our cool hotel room and take a cool shower and get out of our incredibly dirty gear.

I’m not sure yet what tomorrow holds, but Wednesday and Thursday will hopefully lead to us riding the Magruder Corridor as well as the Lolo Motorway.

Conserve The Ride/REV’IT! In NYC

I had planned to write a post as the weekend progressed, sort of a timeline format, but it was far too much of a whirlwind for that, so I’ll do my best to recap the weekend without getting into too much detail and making this way too long.

On Friday morning Dwayne dropped me off at the Indianapolis airport and I flew to Newark, New Jersey. The plan was for me to arrive at 9:15 and my teammate Erika was supposed to arrive from Arizona at 9:45 and another teammate, Amelia, was to pick us up. Unfortunately, Erika’s flight got delayed and she missed her connection, so she had to take a flight 2 hours later. Amelia decided to pick me up at 9:15 and she and I went to IKEA across the street to hang out in their cafe so Amelia could do some work until Erika arrived.

Once we had Erika, we made the 3.5 hour drive to Woodward, PA to meet up with Amelia’s husband, Steve, who had already taken the bikes and camping gear over. That night consisted mostly of meeting tons of new people. Amelia and Steve are best friends with Spurgeon from RevZilla, so we camped with the RevZilla crew and met all of those guys, and we met Jeremy, the CEO of AltRider, as well as many other people who I’d known from Instagram but had never met in person.

Steve and his infamous Tiger (it’s had a rough life):

Jeremy, AltRider CEO giving riders meeting:

On Saturday morning we all got up early and had coffee and breakfast before gearing up for the ride. It should be mentioned that the food at Conserve The Ride is gourmet. I would gladly pay good money for the food they serve at this event, it is incredible.

The REV’IT! 95 bike:

I was riding Amelia and Steve’s friends Husqvarna 650 Terra, and Erika was riding their DR200. The way CTR works is that there is one large loop that can be ridden as a scenic ride, where you would skip all of the “options”, or there are 10 advanced options that you can choose to take.

My bike for the day:

The plan was that we would hit the first option and see how we did, and we would decide from there how much advanced riding we wanted to do. The first technical section was a rocky downhill, and it was unlike any riding I’ve ever done. The bike I was riding is 75 pounds lighter than my Tiger, so it is still a very big dual sport bike, but it was more manageable than my Tiger would have been, I’m sure. I was smiling from ear to ear, nervous as hell, but having an absolute blast.

Erika, Amelia, and I:

Amelia was our leader, Erika followed her most of the day, and I followed Erika. Riding with us was Steve and Spurgeon, as well as a few of their other friends. Throughout the day we also had Jeremy from AltRider, who was riding a KTM 1090, and Tyler from Triumph of Harrisonburg, who was a complete badass on a new Tiger XC popping in and out of our group.

My funniest crash (Klaser is the owner of the bike, Spurg posted this on IG):

I did have a handful of crashes, but they were mostly just silly mistakes, and each time I would laugh it off and continue on. On one crash, Erika and I were synchronized as we both had the exact same kind of crash at the exact same time.

Spurg working on my bike’s faulty killswitch while I “supervised”:

In the end, we finished all 10 of the options, and we had an amazing time doing it. Erika and I were beyond proud of ourselves, as neither of us have ever done that aggressive of off-roading, and we were on bikes we had never ridden before. Steve, Spurgeon, and Amelia all told us how proud they were of us and how great we did, which was a huge boost of confidence, and made us feel even better about what we had accomplished. We both agreed that we were going to go home and buy smaller bikes so we could do more of this aggressive riding, because it was the most fun we’ve ever had on 2 wheels. Part of that was due to the awesome group of people we were riding with, but it was also just the fact that that type of riding is just so much fun.

Steve and Spurg working on Erika’s bike:

After we got back to camp Saturday night, we got showered up and went and had dinner with everyone, which consisted of even more amazing food, and then we all hung out while Jeremy auctioned off some items that REV’IT! and RevZilla had donated to raise money for the SMCC who works tirelessly to maintain those awesome trails, and to ensure that Pennsylvania continues to allow those trails to be used for motorcyclists.

After that Erika and I got all of our bags packed up into Amelia’s car so that we could make a quick getaway in the morning, since we were 3 hours from NYC and we needed to get there and get cleaned up by 1 o’clock. As it turned out, that was a good decision because it was pouring rain when we woke up that morning. We packed up our bedding so Steve wouldn’t have to do it later, but we had to leave the tents and things for him to take care of later so that we could get on the road.

We stopped at Amelia and Steve’s house on the way so that the three of us could shower and get cleaned up, and then we drove on into the city to go to the hotel and meet up with Anna, another one of our teammates who was unable to join us for the ride. We got our stuff put away into our hotel rooms, and then the 4 of us took a Juno from Manhatten down to Brooklyn to the REV’IT! office to have a meeting with Tracy Motz. She had lunch waiting for us, and we spent a couple of hours going over product and company details, which was so eye opening and educational for us. It was a great meeting, and Tracy is just wonderful, we all adore her.

View from the rooftop of REV’IT!’s office building”

From the meeting, we went back to the hotel with Tracy to get ready for the rooftop cocktail party with the different dealers from around the country who were invited. We were introduced at the beginning of the party, and we spend the rest of the evening mingling with people and getting to know everyone.

When the rooftop party ended, anyone who was willing was invited out on a bar crawl, which ended at midnight in Times Square. The four of us went, but didn’t drink, and by the time midnight rolled around, we were wore out and ready for bed.

Breakfast was at 7:30, and then after breakfast we attended a presentation before everyone broke off to go do individual showings of the different gear offerings for 2019. During that time, the four of us went into a meeting room and had a 2 hour Skype session with one of the lead product designers at the Netherlands headquarters. That was one of the highlights for us, because it was so great to give our individual input and to see how receptive he was to what we had to say. We actually would have went longer, but we ended up having to stop so that we could sit in on the last presentation of the ADV collection. He requested additional meetings with us in the future, though, so there will be more opportunities for us to discuss things with him in the future.

Anna, Amelia, Myself, and Erika:

After lunch, we spent time talking to more dealers and REV’IT! personnel before it was finally time for Erika and I to say our goodbyes and head for Newark to catch our flights.

The plan was for Erika to get us into the lounge at the airport, where I would hang out after she left at 6 until my flight at 9:20. Unfortunately it turned out that she and I were flying out of different sections of the airport and we couldn’t be together once we got through security, so I was on my own. That would have been fine, except my flight ended up being delayed by 3 hours due to weather, so I ended up spending over 8 hours at the airport since we had gotten there 2 hours before her flight. It was 1am before my flight actually left Newark, and it was after 4am before I actually got home.

So as crazy as the weekend was, it was one of the best I’ve had, and I won’t soon forget any of it. I can’t wait to see those girls again, and I can’t wait to see what else REV’IT! will have in store for us.

Conserve The Ride and NYC

There are some exciting things happening for me this weekend. On Friday I will be flying out to Newark International Airport where I’ll be meeting up with my REV’IT! teammates Amelia and Erika and the three of us will be attending AltRider’s Conserve The Ride event in Woodward, Pennsylvania. Amelia has all of the camping supplies and bikes for Erika and I, so all we have to do is show up with our gear and have a great time!

I’ll be riding a Husqvarna 650 Terra, and Erika will be on a Suzuki DR200. I’m pretty excited to try out a bike I’m unfamiliar with, and do some off-roading on something a little bit lighter than my Tiger (about 75 pounds).

After the AltRider event, we will be heading into NYC to meet up with one of our other teammates, Anna, who unfortunately couldn’t take the extra time off to attend CTR with us, where we will all be attending REV’IT!’s 2019 line preview. We will have a rooftop cocktail party at our hotel near Times Square on Sunday evening, and Monday we will get a chance to meet some vendors and discuss with them how to provide better customer service to female riders, which I’m very excited about.

All-in-all it should be a really great, fun filled weekend, and I can’t wait to actually meet my teammates in person. I will definitely have a write-up about Conserve The Ride for you sometime next week, and I’ll do my best to take pictures to share as well!

Stay tuned!!