Yikes! So, here it is, time to talk about My First Time! Well, I'm ashamed to say - I didn't last very long, lol! Now, I knew going in that it was going to be hard and that I was going to need to get into better shape. I didn't know I was going to half have a heart attack after 10 minutes! Here's how my day went:
My friend and I drove up to Croom Motorcycle Area at
Withlacoochee State Park
in on a Sunday morning after it had rained
Saturday evening - so the sandy trails would be a little firmer. We ended up getting a bit of a later start
than expected, but still got out there before lunch time. The day was beautiful - warm but not too hot
- a bit overcast/foggy. Brooksville, FL
Once we got geared up and bikes started up we headed out on a trail my friend remembered as being slightly less sandy, slightly firmer than other trails. The first part of the trail went up; nothing too bad but seeing as I was new to this whole dirt slippy slidey stuff I sort of wiped out into an embankment. Nothing too bad (wasn't going fast enough to do any damage to anything) and I didn't even notice really that I had fallen over other than the fact that I was no longer moving forward and was sort of at an angle in the sand, lol. This is where I made my first mistake - I tried pulling the bike toward me off the embankment - and exerted too much energy. Once it was pointed out that I needed to get on the embankment and push the bike - it stood up a lot easier.
So we kept going down into a little bowl and back out (no problems there - just watched what my friend did and did the same thing myself) onto the trail. This is when we started hitting the "whoops" - little hills and dips in the trail. I did OK on these but started getting tired quickly and ended up wiping out again (and this is where I burnt the hole in my pants - oops). This time, though, once I got my bike upright again my heart was racing, I was breathing really hard, and felt like I was going to vomit - between wiping out twice and picking my bike up and probably no more than 10 minutes of riding I couldn't go any farther. I seriously had to sit on a log for 30 minutes (and have my friend get me some water) before I was no longer light headed (and no longer felt like vomiting) and could ride back to the truck.
Wow - talk about embarrassed! I mean, I knew it would be hard - but I didn't realize that it would be THAT intense (and that I was THAT out of shape from sitting behind a desk for the past 4-5 years with little working out). So, wanting to understand where I went wrong, my friend and I discussed what I did and didn't do.
The first thing is that I exerted myself way too much trying to pick up my bike the first time, which led to getting tired a little quicker than I otherwise would have (not much, but a little). So that's one thing to work on - picking my bike up more efficiently.
While I was recouping before heading back to the truck, my friend asked if I was remembering to breathe, as that would have an effect on how quickly I tired - so I paid attention on the ride back and discovered that, sure enough, I was forgetting to breathe. I don't have this problem on the street so I'm not quite sure why I'm not breathing normally while on the dirt bike. So that's a big thing for me to work on.
Taking things in stages for now, I think, is going to be key. After I spent more time recouping at the truck we spent a few minutes riding around in a circle in the parking lot just so I could get more comfortable on the bike, putting my foot down in corners (which is oddly instinctual for me - but more on that later), and throttling to make the corner. So, after wiping out once I had been around several times, and not having the energy and strength to pick my bike back up again, I decided to call it a day. I think for the time being I foresee a day trip being 10-15 minutes of riding followed by 30-60 minutes of rest and then another 10-15 riding, followed by rest, etc.
Despite being super embarrassed about not being able to ride more than 10 or so minutes without feeling like I was going to die, I thought the day was a success. The three times I wiped out I hardly even noticed; which, surprised me, honestly. I figured it would be pretty noticeable and I would hurt right when I wiped out. Instead, my soreness came later in the day, but it was a good kind of overall sore - like when you have a good workout, rather than like when you bark your shin on the edge of a coffee table or something.
There's more to the day, but I'll save that for Part 4 - Now That THAT's Out of the Way.