Originally written May 10th 2020 by Tiffany Ritchie
So it turns out that 200XC from the other day is for me!
I wish Alan had been recording when he told me because I was completely caught off guard. While I assumed it would take a bit to find the right bike at the right price, Alan heard "I want a bike" and chased that down before I had time to even think about changing my mind!
On Saturday, Alan, Keith (part of the RPM Team) and I staged in behind the Frank Interpretive Center and rode the Lille Ghost Town Trail. The first stretch up the cut line has a rocky little climb, which to my very green eye felt like a giant, steep, boulder-infested mountain, but I prevailed! But after that, it is about a 15km mix of rocky trail, bridges, huge puddle-pitted gravel road and dirt paths. Side note: it is actually not legal to ride the cut line here, you are to ride the road to the trail head.
Keith actually has some helmet cam footage of me on this ride...but it's mostly me seated, riding way slower than it felt and peppered with struggles to kick start my bike.
A few of my take-aways from the maiden voyage:
-I spent way too much time sitting, boy did I feel that the next day!
-I can almost always get away with being in second, that bike will do a lot of lugging through second without stalling, but then you've got the snap of second gear when you need it.
-Getting a feel for the rear brake is so freaking difficult in dirt bike boots! It felt like all or nothing, if I could find it at all. At the halfway point, Alan and Keith brought the rear brake pedal up higher for me. This allowed me to start trying to feather it. This was not successful, but I tried.
An awesome thing I learned was that I can pick my bike up all by myself. I didn't crash, I just stepped off onto lower footing than I expected and down she came behind me. I knew well enough to keep the clutch in, so kept it running while I got it upright without stalling it to boot!
There's a certain kind of tired after a day of doing something that is both physically and mentally demanding, and the first of those days you sleep like no other!