Monday, July 15, 2013

July 8-9 Max BMW Offroad Class

See how nice and shiny he is?

I purchased a 1200 GS, Captain USA, at the end of 2012.  I had seen "Long Way Around" and "Long Way Down" and had visions of riding the world in my head.  What better way to spend a year or so, but to hop on a bike and go adventure?

Only a few things stood in my way:

  • I am broke.  Can't afford to take off a year
  • I have responsibilities I can not put on hold
  • I have ZERO off road riding experience
The first two are easily overcome.  I have a plan to handle those two.  Can you say POWERBALL?  I know, I know, I am a genius.

The third item requires actual work on my part.  UGH.

My friend Bruce pointed out that I was the only person in the world who owned a GS in case I ran into dust on a paved road somewhere.

So where to learn how to ride off road?  Why, Max BMW, of course!  Best. Dealer. Ever.

Bill Conger was the instructor and he was excellent!

Kate, on Herbert,
and I got into the class.  We needed to get knobbies? knobblies? off road tires.   Both our bikes were about due for a 6K service, so we headed up to Max's in CT on Saturday.  Had our services and tires done and Kate had an upper crashbar added to Herbert.

Notice how Herbert looks like a proper adventure bike now?

We had decided to go right up to Hunter Mountain from CT instead of riding home to NJ only to ride up to Hunter the next day.  The plan was just to sit and relax on Sunday in prep for two hard days of class.  Sunday morning came, and that plan lasted 15 minutes.

So we are on the bikes, headed out looking for adventure.  NY shares something in common with NJ.  Overzealous tree huggers and "Keep Out" signs.  We went to breakfast and I jumped off at every dirt road, only to be met with "No, you can't ride down here and have fun" signs.  Ah well.

We did, however have a nice little ride around the area.

We rode a dirt(y) road and found some fun stuff.  At the end of this road was an entrance to an old Jeep trail.  Which, of course, was closed to motorcycles because people want to hike.  So we stopped and I took a few cool pics of Herbert.

I thought the two bikes looked cool together on this road, and Kate looked particularly hot in her gear with her adventure bike, so more photography commenced.

All this photography was wearing me out (how DID Ansel Adams do it?), so we went into the woods and had hot sweaty monkey love.....I mean we hung out by a stream and cooled off.

Somewhere along the road was this cool flower bed, flowing out of the back of a dump truck.  I thought it was neat, so I took a few pics.

Later we came upon a home made memorial to 9-11.  Very simple, but tasteful and touching to find in the hinterlands of NY.


But enough of this artsy farsty, mushy, lovey dovey crap, on to the class!

Bright and early Monday AM a group of intrepid riders gathers for what will be a day of abuse, I mean learning.

There were two other women riders besides Kate and one other 1200 GS besides Captain USA.  The balance of the bikes in the class were F650s, F700s and F800s with a KTM and a 450X for good measure.

The class was taught by Bill Conger, an accomplished rider and instructor.  Here is is demonstrating how to do a fist pump at the disco, while Ben Stratton shows the proper technique for standing against the wall and observing in said disco.  (insert base line here. unta unta unta unta)

We eagerly lined up and learned a bunch of skills. We went through slow riding, Trials stops, slow turns, fast turns and emergency braking.

It was a hot one and everyone was enjoying themselves.

Kate was having a good time.  Any time you get hands on the hips, it is a good time.
Ben played the part of "Water Boy" while riding, um, female dog behind Max.

Here we have Kate doing her cone weave.  Notice how much prettier she is than I.

 And here I am. tadaaaaaaa.

We then went for a short ride up and down the mountain.  Nothing crazy, but a good exercise of the skills we had picked up so far.  This culminated with our arrival at a large grass field where we proceeded to run around a course laid out by our instructor.  Part of this course was a muddy area, about 20-30 feet long.  You had the option of crossing over it, or riding through it.  This was an offroad class, so I tried to run through it.

I was never successful in riding through without having to touch down, but I did manage to get through 4 or 5 times.  Captain USA was now properly christened as a GS.

 Now here is an important tidbit about that mud.
 You see, it wasn't all mud.
 Uphill from the mud area was a stream.
 And uphill of that stream was a barn
 And in that barn there reside horses.
 And as you know, horse poop and pee.

And water transports said poop and pee to the lowest lying area.
And here I stand, smiling, my bike and I covered top to bottom in mud.  and poop.  and pee.


A bunch of us got together at the hotel pool, then had dinner and drinks.  A very eclectic group of people, and great company.  By the end of dinner, my energy reserves were tapped and I just passed out, once we were back in the room

The following day we worked on some more advanced skills, recovering from a stall on a hill, turning your bike around on a hill, picking your bike up on a hill, high speed turns, slalom and so much more.

We then rode to the top of Hunter Mountain and rode some single track stuff that was very intimidating.  Due to this excellent nature of this class, I was able to handle the single track stuff, which was pretty tricky, without any major issues.  I would NEVER have even thought about trying these trails before the class.

My skills increased more than I can count and my confidence level sky rocketed.  I was willing to ride a dirt road before the class, but would not have been happy.  After the class, I am willing to go anywhere the bike is capable of being ridden.  I am no expert by any stretch, but I now am confident I can make an effort at most anything.

Thanks to Dawn for most of these pics.

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