Ms. Herr On Two Wheels: Heather Goes Dirt Biking Part 2 | Episode 4

March 19, 2019 Tags: , ,

Ms. Herr On Two Wheels: Heather Goes Dirt Biking Part 2 | Episode 4

Heather takes the next step towards learning how to dirt bike. She takes her new found skills to the Arizona desert. She faces some challenges and comes out the other side emboldened to do more.


Part Two of my dirt bike journey started at TEAM Arizona’s Gilbert Headquarters. I was challenged with something new right off the bat.

Alright, Bill is making me earn it today, I gotta load my own bike. Loaded up, we headed to the launch site.

On the van ride out, I was talking with Bill about my feelings for dirt biking. There’s a difference between enjoying something and having a thirst for it. When first starting to ride street, I needed time to build my confidence to know I could handle the machine that I was riding.

In my second year the thirst took hold and I soaked up every opportunity to ride. With dirt biking, the thirst was immediate. Largely because I came into it with a foundation, but also because it is fun. I turn into a giddy little kid, having a blast, playing in the dirt. WOO HOO!!!

The day started with a skills refresher and then developing two new skills. Rear braking and traversing inclines and declines. There was a lot of going around in circles. This may sound boring, but it is still pretty fun. Loops in the dirt are very different than on the street because the conditions change with each pass. Traction levels are constantly shifting so the experience is constantly shifting. It rained recently, so conditions were prime with better than usual traction.

I’ve been told multiple times that falling is part of dirt biking. I believe one big reason I’ve been able to keep rubber side down is because I’m learning in a very different way. While others are likely introduced to dirt biking through friends and family, I’ve had the benefit of coaches, one one one instruction, and being able to advance at my own pace. There’s no pressure to move onto a skill too early or accommodate a group.

In fact, the only pressure I experienced, is that which I put on myself. Being a perfectionist this can be a lot. While practicing rear braking, I got really frustrated. I knew there would be no trail riding until I was able to consistently stop using only rear brake. And I just wasn’t getting it.

Bill: How are you feeling?

Heather : I”m okay Bill: That doesn’t tell me too much. Using that rear brake, what’s working, what’s not working?

Heather: What’s not working for me in a general level right now?

Bill: Yeah.

Heather: Right, we’re doing a new skill. Which is good, but I was feeling awesome because we were doing things I had already done, so I felt comfortable and felt good. I felt confident. But we started adding something where I wasn’t performing as well, and it jacked with my psyche.

Bill: Okay. You’re in the valley of darkness. That’s what we call it in training. It happens quite often. Not uncommon for us to get there; experienced riders included. So do you know how we get out of it?

Heather: We practice?

Bill: We practice and we take a break. Alright? We take a break, we gather ourselves, and we come back out and we do it some more.

I had to give myself space to be imperfect in order to improve and eventually get it right.

I can’t get over how much riding dirt bike connects to my love of dancing. What it really boils down to for me is when I’m riding a dirt bike, particularly in the standing position, it feels like I’m dancing on a motorcycle. You know the correlation I made to dancing, you feel it so much more when you’re actually not in the pit and you’re out here. Constant changes in terrain mean constant balance shifts. Some of which I set up for, some of which happen instinctively. I feel my body interpreting and reacting to the dirt the way it does to music, and I love that feeling.

And riding through mud puddles? YES PLEASE give me more of that! I may have grabbed a little extra throttle while every time I saw one approaching. Getting muddy was just plain awesome.

In the end, there is always the exhaustion. Imma gonna sleep now. I was spent after just a couple of hours, but it is so much fun! This gives me new respect for the pro flat track race I attended last summer.

If any of this resonates with you it might be time for you to get outside of your own comfort zone and unlock a new joy in your life.

Thanks for watching.  We’re working on bringing you a new episode of Ms. Herr on Two Wheels.  In the meantime, check out other great video content from TEAM Arizona and follow myself and TEAM Arizona on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with us between episodes.  Have a great day and a great ride!


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