This is taken from the November issue of Trials & Enduro News http://tandenews.com/blog/
At the NEPG banquet after the final round in Indiana, Larry Maiers pulled me up to the stage. He asked me why I ride enduros?
It is hard to believe the 2010 enduro season has come to a close already. For a drawn out season (January to October), it went quick. I attribute that to being one of the most exciting seasons so far. I finished the year fifth in points, right where I sat from round one. So maybe it was less exciting for me than the top four, who constantly battled back and forth. But it was motivating to have beaten everyone at one point or another, and retain championship contention until after the mid point in the year. Bottom line, falling from 4th in ’09 to 5th was no step back, because there is no doubt I stepped up this year. Although the bump back hurts a little, I know where I am and what I can do to better that, so February 27th will be the deadline to step up again, or fall in line.
At the NEPG banquet after the final round in Indiana, Larry Maiers pulled me up to the stage. He asked me why I ride enduros. Normally, I’m not big on public speaking, but I came up with an answer. I said something along the lines of, “I do it because nothing else can take me where enduros can.” By this, I wasn’t talking about Upton Wyoming or Daytona Beach Florida. Visiting all the corners and unheard-of-pockets of America has been great and an opportunity few have, but not the full story.
My job leaves me spending most of my waking time between a few general places, the garage, on the road in my van, or somewhere away from home in the woods or at the track. This is part of the meaning behind my answer to Larry’s question. I have grown accustomed to working on motorcycles every day and like it when it doesn’t take away from riding or training. Being on the road is usually exciting, and if traffic allows, relaxing. But obviously it all is for one cause, to be on the bike in the woods or wherever the riding takes me. That’s why enduro.
I like putting the fewest constraints on what I can do. Why spin laps on a hammered loop when you can sprint across a previously unseen terrain? It is true that with the renewed popularity of the events, they have been required to conform to section lengths and allow for check and pit crew access. They have become friendlier to the amateur rider as well. Despite this, there is no limit to where we race. Crossing rock gardens, fording water, scaling mountains, weaving through whatever vegetation grows on the forest floor, and blasting open fields are some of what keeps it interesting. And if I lose interest, I have trouble holding focus and riding to the level I am capable.
A perfectly tuned bike and being in the best shape of my life can’t replace mental drive. And simply saying I want it doesn’t exactly fuel a winning ride. I have to feel it; I have to mesh with it. This is what I am really talking about when I give my answer to the question of why I ride enduro. Because it takes me somewhere, and nothing else can take me there. That would be the mental state of completely meshing with the bike and conquering the terrain so perfectly that you feel absolutely unstoppable. I can do well in tough races based on pure mental drive and physical might. Some of my best finishes are the result of these situations. But every once and a while, I can let things work for me and I can fall into my groove, having more fun than is describable.
The interesting thing about being in the groove, or my zone, is when I think about it. I realize no one is behind the wheel upstairs. Everything seems to be on autopilot and at most I am picking lines or places to pass slower riders. And when I am completely encompassed in this zone, I win tests, and I can’t remember what happened. I tried taking notes on each section after events. There was not a single thing I could tell you about the sections or my ride when I win a section. To this day, I draw a complete blank. This is the challenge in my program, finding my zone and staying in it from start to finish.