It’s been over 10 years since I’ve twisted a throttle. Messing around on a dirt bike was routine for me in my younger years. It was a loop of crashing and calling my mom to take me for stitches, understanding zero about the mechanics of a bike and riding with virtually no protective equipment – all pretty normal stuff back then.
I didn’t realize how much I needed it back in my life until this past summer.
Going from a human powered adventurer into an enduro junkie was definitely an interesting transition to say the least. And it came with it’s questions from friends and family (like: is everything okay?)
I’ve been a climber, trail runner, hiker and backcountry skier religiously for beyond a decade now. I also worked as a Park Ranger and did 7 years on a local search and rescue team where I witnessed every possible thing that can go wrong in the mountains. It’s also changed my perception of these sports in a big way. It’s created a heightened risk vs reward mentality – with an emphasis on risk.
At this point, I’ve lost friends in almost every of my beloved sports now. I’ve been on rescues that will haunt me for the entirety of my life. Of course this is just a part of mountain culture, but after a decade of it, I needed some space to breathe. Not forever, just for now.
This year I realized that I needed something new – a sport that I didn’t associate serious trauma with. I needed something that would fuel and heal my soul simultaneously.
Enter: dirt biking.
The smell, the power, the flow of a two-stroke engine. It’s like a perfect powder run – it gives me the fuzzy arm bumps just thinking about it.
When I get on my bike, I feel like I’m processing my grief. The constant problem solving and feeling of being completely in and out of control.
Have you ever had that moment of clarity in a sport where you’re just like – this feels so right. I have that moment every time I kick-start my bike.
I’m currently riding a KTM 105 xc (lil two-smoker). It may be small but it packs a huge punch, . It’s frame is still fairly tall but it’s super lightweight and maneuverable. Being able to pick my bike up and move it in these early stages of riding is a huge plus. I’ve had no problem keeping up with the bigger bikes and my confidence is glowing on this bike.
Getting back on the bike as an adult has been an eye opening experience. Not only do the crashes hurt more, I am being challenged mentally and physically now.
In Squamish, the enduro riding is much like the other sports in this area: hard. A nice sloppy mix of roots, loose rocks, boulders, slippery climbs – will make for some tricky enduro riding. But luckily, the moto community here is extremely welcoming and helpful when you need it. I’ve connected with a ton of women in the sport who have given me advice and stoke to keep going! Check out the Braap Babes!
I’ve also partnered up with some brands to help me safely/stylishly enjoy this experience – Klim has some of the most durable gear I’ve ever owned.
There’s been a bit of shade with switching to a gas sport. Especially since I’ve worked in conservation for so long. But I balance my footprint by staying local, sharing a vehicle, trying to live a simplistic lifestyle – I’m doing the best I can without completely sacrificing gas powered sports.
I’m stoked to progress more and see what next season brings!
If you have any questions about getting into dirt biking – reach out!