14 December 2016

FUN--the GS Girls (and Guys) way!

The riding season in Colorado can be a little on the short side, especially if one lives in the mountains. Even in the Denver Metro area, it can be challenging to ride through the winter if you and your bike are not prepared, or if you're a pussy. Not that I'm judging...

However, getting into October, there is often a feeling of "Hey! We've gotta get one more ride in!" Even though many of the Colorado GS Girls find ways to ride the whole year, we know the number riding grows smaller and smaller as the winter comes on. So we look for ways to have little events, on the bike or off, to get together with our moto sisters.

The head of the Colorado GS Girls, and one of my dearest friends, Bex Becker, asked if we should do an event three-quarters of the way through November. She and I had discussed one last "skills" day back in September, but with people being busy and me being out of town a fair amount, it was looking like November would be the date. That late in the season can be a total crap-shoot, weather wise, but it seemed the weather was on our side. Mostly.

Bex asked our friend, and fellow GS Girl Guy, Greg Cocks, if he'd help out with the day, and between the three of us and Lee Becker, we figured we'd have enough cat herders/trainers! Josh ordered me some cones from Amazon (I've always secretly wanted to own traffic cones--I DON'T KNOW WHY!), and we came up with a very loose plan for the day.

Greg came back from riding around, and said that he took a turn, and suddenly his bike kept pulling to the left. I wonder why!?!

I put together an invite for the whole CO GS Girls group and sent it out, saying we'd have a day of skills and games. The plan for the end of the season event, was simply to get everyone together, show off skills they had been working on, play some games, and just have a ball riding around a great off-road park. We had hosted an event at the beginning of the season with 13 or so newbies to off-road riding. Some were brand new to riding, some had ridden for more than 20 years on the road, and some were making a return to motorcycling in general. It had been a great day, at a great site, and we were excited for another one.

November 20 dawned a beautifully sunny, if somewhat chilly, day. I rode the hour and a half to the event site in about 25 degree weather. I was really happy with my new gear! My REV'IT base layers and Neptune Suit kept me toasty! It's been a long time since I wore black gear, but it came in handy as I rode south in the sunshine. I was worried I'd have a tough time keeping my hands warm, so I threw my Gerbings gloves into my tank bag just in case. Never needed them. The new REV'IT Pegasus 2 gloves, along with my grip heaters kept my fingers from getting too cold. I so LOVE my new gear!!!

It was a slightly awkward ride down to the springs with nearly 30lbs of traffic cones!

I arrived at RAM Off-Road Park in Colorado Springs, to see a whole bunch of lovely friends, some of whom I hadn't seen in months, and in one person's case, more than a year. If you live on the Front Range of Colorado, especially in the Springs area, this is a must-visit place. It only costs $10 to get in for the day, and there is so much fun and wonderful terrain to ride.

 

We had a gorgeous sunny Colorado day. It may not have been typical for this time of year, but we grabbed hold of it and played. We did a few basic skills and had a "slow race". We had riders of every skill level with us--people with tens of thousands of miles under their belts, and people who had never ridden more than a few yards standing up. It was fun to see one of the riders, Lea, who had gotten her endorsement five days before our first event this season, looking confident and tackling everything we threw at her with skill and grace.

Slow races!
Bettina trying out Greg's 1150GS.

One killer highlight from the day was when Jen dropped her bike. I know, this doesn't seem like something that should be a highlight, but it was. She had never dropped it before, and doing it in this environment, she got to learn that it was a much less scary thing than she had been imagining it would be. She only did it once, and we taught her how to pick it up--using a friend to help--and now she sees that her bike didn't get hurt, and it wasn't as terrible as she had always though it would be. She was our hero for the day!

Our hero, Jen!

We rode and played the whole morning, then took a lunch break back at the staging area. We were greeted by three very happy-to-see-us doggies, and one of our GS Girls who joined us had brought stew to share with everyone!

Greg took Chris's 2-stroke out for a test ride. Who needs a sidestand???

As we all got back on the bikes to head out for more fun, someone asked if I could carry their water bottle for them. I said it was no problem, tossed it in my dry bag with all my other stuff, and we took off.

I didn't check to make sure the cap was REALLY tight...

At the end of the day of playing, Greg and I went back to round up the cones. I opened my dry bag to get the ratchet straps out, and water came pouring out. So much for a dry bag! Unfortunately, my Pegasus gloves were in there, and were soaked. I knew I had my Gerbings in my tank bag, but all too late I realized I didn't have the cords for them. Well, they'd have to do all on their own.

Pouring the water OUT of my dry bag. Oops.

I was so excited about the fact weather was not going to run us out that day, that in my mind, we could play until the sun went down. It didn't even occur to me that would be so much earlier than other events we had done--due to it being late in the year--and that I would have a very chilly hour and a half ride home in the dark. Oh well, live and learn.

Because we were riding in a shared space, I demonstrated the technique for uphill restarts. Everyone practiced on flat ground until they had the steps down smoothly, then we rode on to the trail with a sandy hill to restart on. It was a great success, and a teaching technique I may implement more often!
L-R: Crystal, Lea, Bex, and me. This picture cracks me up when I think about the fact one of the guys who attended asked me if this was my little bike...
Loading up and relaxing!

Bex and Lee Becker kindly offered to take my 30 lbs. of cones home in their trailer, and get them to me at the next GS Girls meet. I gladly accepted, knowing I would have a much more comfortable ride home that night. That ride home was the only truly cold part of the day. Though it was in the low 40s--considerably warmer than my ride south that morning--the lack of sun, and the fact I had to wear my back-up gloves, meant my hands were cold!

Greg and I rode back to the Denver area together, and parted ways just as traffic in his direction got super crappy. I arrived home to a picture he texted me of the amazing breakfast he ordered at a restaurant, while he let the traffic subside. I was exhausted, so I ordered pizza, ate two slices, and fell asleep on the sofa. It had been an exhausting, but oh-so-fun day!

Greg's dinner at The Breakfast King! That's one order...

 

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