Time to Get Dirty
I'd been riding motorcycles for nine years before I decided it was time to invest in some training. The only riding class I'd done was the NOVA Beginner Riders Course that I took before getting my motorcycle license. I'd never dropped my bike, crashed my bike, or been in an accident, so why the sudden urge for training? Well, I began to think about all the places in the world I'd one day like to go and ride motorcycles... and realized I needed a heck of a lot more than just asphalt-in-the-city skills.
So, time to get dirty...
I spared no expense in 2016 and took a few training courses that came highly recommended by some good friends: Johnny Lewis' 10 Training in Ocala, FL, Danny Walker's American Supercamp in Harrington, DE, and Brian Murray's Socal Supermoto in Riverside, CA. I was all over the map, and lovin' every minute of it!
Johnny's class, 10 Training, was the very first time I'd been on a dirt bike. I was nervous and excited all at the same time. I quickly realized that riding a dirt bike was just like riding a motorcycle (har har)... so I got over my jitters almost instantly! After a few lefts on the little oval dirt track, I was hooked. Elbows up, crack on crack, eyes straight ahead, throttle, brake, turn, throttle and I was flat-trackin' on day one! When Johnny took us down to the MX course on the second day, I was even more hooked! My previous mountain biking years set me up quite nicely for those MX jumps! That course also saw my first crash - I came off the MX jump and went into the corner too fast and down I went. I can't even begin to tell you how thankful I am to know what it feels like to drop a bike, in a controlled environment. Thanks to Johnny, I know exactly how to drop it. Towards the end of our last day, Johnny taught us how to wheelie on the little 70cc... and it was like icing on top of a yummy dirt cake! The smaller class setting worked well for me, and I absolutely look forward to going back to 10 Training the first chance I get!
I learned so many valuable lessons in that first class! When I got home, I noticed a massive difference in my on-road bike-handling immediately and realized my motorcycling world had expanded exponentially from that point on.
10 Training set me up nicely for American Supercamp. While both classes had the same flat track background, they were different and complemented each other well. American Supercamp provides ALL gear (although you might want to invest in your own MX helmet), so no need to buy new gear until you know it's a good investment.
American Supercamp was two full days of flat track skill learning and building. Danny has a couple of assistants helping out on the courses as well, and their amazing feedback propels you to success. The amount of drills we ran in that class was off the charts, and all insanely amazing. I'd have to say that I found riding with my hands on the gas tank the most challenging exercise! How incredible to know you can maneuver the bike without actually holding the handlebars! I probably won't try it on DC streets, but definitely a great bike-handling skill to have! I left American Supercamp still wanting more training. I'd love to go to Danny's course in Colorado and spend a few days there training one on one with him... which you can actually do! ...and I will do... some day!
Socal Supermoto, by far, was my most challenging class. I'd never ridden on an asphalt track (still never done a proper track day)... nor had I ever ridden on an asphalt track, then transitioned to a dirt track (with slick tires), took some jumps, and then transitioned back to asphalt! What a RUSH!
The class was well-worth the trip and I NEED to take it again. I personally didn't do as well as I would have liked, but Brian is a fantastic coach and he did an amazing job in only one day of training! Socal Supermoto offers free rental leathers (which is their preferred gear for the course), so if you don't own any, chances are, they'll have some for you! ...although, as we ladies know, it's not always easy just "slipping" into any motorcycle gear!
Each course had it's own uniqueness... But I came home with the same kinda aches and exhaustion from all three, having worked muscles I never knew I had! I was surrounded by friends at each of the courses, which made the training memorable in so many wonderful ways!
Training in general is fun, but if you can train and learn with a friend or two, it makes it hella more fun! If you're remotely thinking about taking a moto training class, DO IT. It's beyond worth the money... and no matter what, you'll come out a better rider (even if you think you're already the world's best rider). You can never ever have too much training... especially when it comes to motorcycles!