Iron Woman | Elizabeth Karcz and the Baja 1000

We caught up with Iron Woman Liz Karcz who is fresh of racing the Baja 1000 in the Ironman class. Yes, that it 800+ miles through the desert in 2 days solo. There is so much that goes in to getting mentally, physically and mechanically ready for a monumental feat such as this. Liz is the second woman in history to complete the Ironman class and finish! Read on to hear about her journey to the finish line.

babes in the dirt
babes in the dirt

Lets start by having you tell us a little about yourself:

Name: Liz Karcz

Where do you live? Albuquerque, NM

Day Job? more like “night job” (I work nightshift) but Trauma/Surgical/Burn/Open Heart ICU Nurse

How long have you been riding? 5 years

What bike do you ride? a 2009 Honda 450X and a 2013 KTM 300 XC  

How did you first get in to riding dirtbikes? My ex’s family was big into dirtbikes. While living in the Tahoe area I really got into mountain biking, and it seemed like the perfect next hobby!

What type of riding do you normally love to do? Desert, but I love some good mountain riding as well 

Tell us about the Baja 1000 and what inspired you to want to do it?

Well, once I got the OK from Mark (Winkleman) to attempt to be the first woman to solo the entire SCORE International series, I started with the San Felipe 250 and progressively moved onto the next event. After finishing the first 3, the Baja 1000 would be the grand finale, so there was no turning back at that point.

The Iron(Wo)Man class is pretty intense, break down what that is all about and how it challenges you as a rider.  

To Ironman a race means you race the entirety of the event on your own. Events as long as these are often done as a team, with each rider focusing on a specific section and giving it their all for a certain distance. There are a definitely a few challenges when committing to the entire distance. For one, you need to know how to pace yourself so that you don’t fatigue out. You need to take calculated risks (more so than a team racer) because if something happens to you, that’s it…you don’t have a backup rider.  You also need to be very mindful of your nutrition and hydration, refueling your body well enough to be able to handle hundreds of miles and hours of exertion at a time. And of course, you need to be both physically and mentally strong. Baja is a beautiful, but brutal place… easily one of the most challenging places on earth to race, and you need to be prepared for whatever she might throw your way.

What bike prep did you need in order to get ready? Any specific modifications? 

Having a Honda 450X to work with was a great foundation for a race bike in itself; they’re proven to withstand a variety of elements and be very reliable down in Baja.  To get Juanita more race ready (yes, my bike’s name is Juanita) my mechanic Greg jazzed her up with the following:  threw in an R camshaft when rebuilding the motor, gold valves from Race Tech for the suspension, Scotts Performance Products stabilizer, Baja Designs lighting (Baja Designs also did a rewind on my stator at the beginning of the season), and converted the gas tank to an IMS dry-break set up. My wheels were built with Warp 9 Racing rims/spokes, Moose steel sprockets, KENDA tires (Washougal for the front, Parker for the rear), and SRT bib mousses. And of course, the best graphics out there to make her pretty were designed & produced by my friend Matt at REV Designs.

babes in the dirt

What kind of training did you go through to get in shape for the Baja 1000?

I’m a pretty active person at baseline, so my training regimen was not far off from my routine. I continued to cross train with mountain biking and road cycling, plus quite a bit of time at the gym doing strength training and cardio  (weights, tire flips, rowing, swimming). To improve conditioning I would try to head up to the crest [Sandia Crest, elevation 10,679ft] every so often and run, and even road cycling up to the crest from the base was a good push (elevation gain of ~3600+ ft in 20ish miles). I usually eat pretty healthy, so didn’t follow any specific nutrition plan, but did incorporate additional supplements like amino acids to help with endurance….and minimizing my ‘adult beverage’ intake helped stay on track.  

babes in the dirt

Tell us about the ride, any mishaps? How was the terrain? Any particularly challenging sections? 

The longest one I’ve been on, that’s for sure! I had no rear brake for the last 50 miles or so (after a tip over onto a rock), but overall no major mishaps! Greg built me an incredible bike. She may have a few battle wounds, but my chase crew did an excellent job servicing the bike throughout the race to keep it running great (I think we did a total of 6 air filter changes, frequent oil checks and topped off as needed throughout the day, and fresh wheels at mile 480). The terrain, variable.  Some fast & flowy sections, lots of whoops, lots of rocks, and lots (and lots) of silt.  The most challenging was everything through Catavina, mostly because of how bad the silt got. The race unfortunately ended for a lot of people between 380-535; stuck vehicles, blown motors, it was a nightmare.

How was your mental state during the race? Were you super exhausted? While you were riding did you ever ask yourself what you were doing or have any doubts that you could finish etc

I was doing pretty well until about 24 hours in. After battling the gnarly terrain between 380-535 for 10 hours straight, sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion was catching up to me and I started to get delirious. I would start zoning out and dozing off riding my bike, and my mind would play tricks with me: was I still on course? Is this the wash I’m supposed to be in? Did I miss a marker? I was tired and sore, and everything looks so different at night. I knew the sun would be up soon and the homestretch was near, so I would force myself to stand as much as I could, and just start singing to myself…anything  to keep my mind active.

I never doubted myself that I could finish, but I did start to get worried that I was going to time out. In the last 50 miles I tipped over the bike on a hill climb (it was just getting so hard to hold on & my form was getting sloppy) and got pinned between my bike and a rock. My bike felt like it weighed over 500lbs at this point, I tried to wiggle myself out but it was hard. I started crying ,cussing, staring at my STELLA watching the time go by. I felt so helpless and trapped. Then I heard a car coming and realized I had no choice but to get myself up, that I didn’t come this far to time out.  I dug down and found whatever ounces of energy I had left to give that bike one last push. I got it up, and kept moving.

Did you feel prepared or un prepared once you started the race?  

I could have used a better night’s sleep, but otherwise, I was as ready as I was going to be. Greg (Sceiford, my mechanic) worked hard with me all year to prepare me from a bike-troubleshooting standpoint, and I had the best chase crew with the right logistics, so I knew I was in good hands and could just focus on riding the bike.

How was the navigation? Did ya get lost at all?

The navigation is pretty easy to follow if you have a GPS. There were still a fair amount of markers left by race day in most sections, but once you got to the coast, they were slim. Unfortunately, after weeks of pre-running it’s just bound to happen so you need to be ready for that. I don’t know how anyone could race without a GPS, truthfully. There is just too much potential for error and to get lost out there.

Was there any other ladies riding that you came across?

When I was riding I was so focused on my own race I honestly didn’t know who may or may not be around me, unless it was at a pit or check point. However (don’t quote me on this) I don’t believe there was any other females racing on a dirtbike or quad…I could be wrong, hard to tell with helmets on; and I don’t believe I was ever caught by any of my  gal pals that race in the other classes (UTV, Truck, Car, etc)…I could also be wrong with this, in the dark it’s sometimes hard to tell, and most of the last 10 hours was a blur as far as my surroundings.

babes in the dirt

Tell us about some of the people you met.

Throughout the season I have been so fortunate to make so many awesome friends! Of course it’s been a blast getting to know some of the other ladies like Sara Price, Ericka Sacs, Kristen Matlock, Julie Boyer, Diane Giannelli, Baja Nikki (to name a few). So many other amazing racers too: Cameron Steele, Steve Hengeveld, Ricky Johnson. But one of the coolest things was having Jimmy Sones come down to help chase me during the 1000. He’s a legend, and so knowledgeable, to have him be a part of my race was really cool.  

Favorite part?

Running into all my friends I’ve made throughout the year, whether it’s locals or people from back in the States. There is nothing like moto family, and even more so, there is nothing like Baja family…it’s just such an incredible place to be experiencing together, no one ever goes home without stories.

Least favorite part?

 I would say it’s a tie between the silt, and having to share a race course with the trucks/cars/UTVs.

Describe your feeling when you crossed the finish line? What was that like?

Relief.  I was so happy to have made it back, me ok, the bike’s ok…. to see my family and friends again, and knowing I was going to get to go back home to my dogs!! The actual reality of what I accomplished would take a few days to sink in, which of course makes me ecstatic…sometimes I still can’t believe it’s over and I did it.  

Would you do it again?

Hard to say. It’s not something that is realistic for me to try to go back to for 2019, but if the right opportunity presented itself in the future, maybe? There are also other events that would challenge me in similar ways which would be fun to try, so I guess we’ll see where the wind blows.  

If you did, would you change anything about how you did it?

I would have definitely started peeing on myself sooner! For the longest time, I was super skeptical about resorting to that as a time-saving strategy…but had I not done it at the 1000, I would have timed out. It makes me wonder how much faster my times would have been at the others if I didn’t overthink it and just did it.

babes in the dirt

Any suggestions for ladies who might be interested in going for it next year?

I would say definitely do your homework. Before doing any kind of racing in Baja, I think it would be very beneficial to get down there for a fun ride beforehand, or link up with another team and go pre-run with them… to get a feel for the terrain around the peninsula, see what roads go where, what towns are where, etc. What a lot of people don’t realize (I know I didn’t until I came down to prerun during the 2017 Baja 500) is just how much the layout of the land plays a factor in planning logistics, whether you are racing on a team or solo.  Not everywhere on the course is accessible by vehicles, not every town has a gas station, not everywhere is ideal for a rider change (if racing as a team), cell phones don’t work everywhere and medical help can be hours away…the list goes on. Does that mean that someone who has never been to Baja can’t successfully race there? No, I’m sure it’s been pulled off before. However, the more you plan and the better you prepare, the better of an experience it will be. Racing down in Baja is not to be taken lightly. It is an amazing thing, but it is also a dangerous thing. You need to know what you are up against, have back-up plans, and then have back-up plans for your back-up plans. That being said, with the right amount of organization and the right people in your corner, it can be a beautiful, once-in-a lifetime experience; commit to it, put in the time and work, and anything is possible.

babes in the dirt

Come Ride With Us! Fox Women's Ride Day

We've got the entire vet track to ourselves ladies! Babes in the Dirt is proud to support Fox Womens Track day along side Husqvarna Motorcycles Jan 26th at Fox Raceway from 9 AM - 4 PM. The track will be yours the entire day but kids and your dudes can still come and rip the other tracks in the park. No need to preregister, you'll simply pay the standard entrance fee at the gate. FREE Fox Women's tank top while supplies last so get there early! 

THE BREAK DOWN: 

  • 8am – 4pm, everyone is welcome / all ages 

  • Free tank top with paid entry while supplies last

  • Designated track / times for women riders only

  • Rest of park is open to all 

  • Fox Racing raffle and giveaways

  • Husqvarna demos

  • NO preregistration, just show up! 

Stacy Dixon & the Dirt Ladies do LA-Barstow-Vegas

2 days and 400+ miles off-road sound fun to you? Us too! Stacy Dixon @pikeylady and @dirt_ladies did the LA-Barstow-Vegas dualsport ride last week and are sharing there awesome story with us. Adventures like these are filled with triumphs and mishaps that help shape us all in to better and more prepared riders. Read on to hear more about her experience and the advice she has for other riders thinking of joining in the fun. Congrats on crossing the finish line babes!

babes in the dirt

Name:

Stacy Dixon (@pikeylady)

Where do you live?

Lancaster, CA 

How long have you been riding?

I’ve been riding dirt on and off for about 8 years, and street for about 2.

What bike do you ride?

For dirt and racing, I ride a 2017 KTM Freeride 250R (two stroke!), and for long moto camping trips or street rides, I use my 2014 Honda CB500X. I’ve turned it into a mini adventure bike.

What is LA to Barstow to Vegas?

LAB2V is a self-guided, two-day dual sport ride that’s been running for 35 years! It attracts hundreds of riders on everything from vintage bikes, to sidehacks, adventure bikes and dual sports. Any street legal bike is welcome, and it’s cool to see what kind of bikes people have used to complete this ride. The routes and mileage vary a bit every year, but it usually totals around 450 miles over two days. It starts in north LA County (Palmdale, CA), stopping in Barstow, CA the first day, then continuing on to Las Vegas the second day. The terrain includes sand, rocks, whoops, gravel, pavement and everything in between. Fortunately though, LAB2V plots multiple route options to suite all kinds of riding abilities. There is the standard “Easy Route”, which is primarily off-road and great for the average dual sport. For those who like to be challenged, there are “Hard Routes” which periodically break away from the Easy Route and contain enduro obstacles like rock gardens, deep sand, boulders and step ups. There are also some “Bail Out” options. If you’re on a heavy adventure bike or need to make up lost time, you can choose to take a stretch of pavement or a well maintained dirt road and give yourself a break.

 

What made you want to participate in LAB2V?

This year it was a matter of continuing what’s become a new Thanksgiving tradition for me, and riding my favorite dual sport event. My first LAB2V was in 2016 after buying my first dual sport and finally getting my motorcycle license. I had always felt so intimidated by street and dual sport riding, but I also couldn’t ignore the desire to try it, and I love a good endurance challenge. One obstacle I faced back then was that I didn’t have a lot of riding buddies, and I didn’t know anyone who wanted to do the ride with me. But I wanted to try it so bad that I was prepared to ride LAB2V solo. I spent months researching the ride and prepping and I had the support of my Mom, who agreed to drive a chase vehicle and help me with pit stops. I also had the peace of mind of there being an amazing volunteer group that puts on the event, including sweep crews, Rescue 3, and experienced riders that were full of helpful tips. The week before the 2016 LAB2V ride, I met someone on a District 37 forum who matched my riding style and also wanted to give it a try. So that year, I showed up to the start, barely knowing that one other person, and we set out on the ride. He wound up crashing towards the end of the first day and couldn’t continue, so I rode and navigated day two by myself. It was a little scary, and my bike gave me a lot of problems that forced me to finish the ride on a bail out. I think I was the very last person into Vegas after dark, but I finished! I also met some good people on that ride and through the social media afterwards, including the amazing Sara Dinges (@dualsportwomen). In 2017, I rode LAB2V again with much better luck, and this year was my third ride!

babes in the dirt

 

What bike prep did you need in order to get ready?

This ride requires a lot of prep! Every year, I’ve actually made a spreadsheet months in advance to keep track of what I need to buy, do and pack so I don’t forget. This year I decided to do some bike upgrades before the ride: a Seat Concepts seat, TUbliss system, JD Jetting kit, new tires, and a Giant Loop gas bag to go with my Giant Loop Mojave saddlebags. My bike’s fuel tank is less than 2 gallons (with no aftermarket options) and LAB2V fuel stops can be 100+/- miles apart, so carrying extra fuel was absolutely necessary. After the upgrades, my amazing friends Ruben Arizaga and Hollie West helped me with hours of bike work including an oil change, new brakes, a carb clean and rebuild, silencer repacking, air filter cleaning and prep, new fork seals, and an overall deep clean and inspection. My fellow LAB2V rider Christina and her boyfriend Giancarlo also provided some much needed mechanical help the weekend before the ride. Then there were the logistics: ensuring my 6-year-old son was taken care of during the ride, booking hotel rooms in Barstow and Vegas, coordinating with the other riders, getting time off work, and organizing the ride home. I also made sure I had all my trail gadgets ready to go: my Antigravity XP10 battery pack (my bike doesn’t have a kick starter) and mini compressor, Garmin Montana GPS, SPOT tracker, Tusk helmet lights just in case, and a GoPro for the fun sections.

Who did you ride with?

This year I was excited to have three women riders with me, and it was their first LAB2V. I rode with Christina (@motorobot), Erica Kim (@itsericakim) and Casey Jaeckel (@tonedapollo), who was recovering from a broken wrist due to a recent street bike accident (such a trooper!). I’ve ridden trails with Christina, who is also on a KTM Freeride, and she put me in touch with Erica and Casey through our Dirt Ladies group.  

babes in the dirt

Tell us about the ride, any mishaps? Did ya get lost? How was the terrain? Any particular challenging sections?

As usual, the ride starts the Friday after Thanksgiving in Palmdale, CA.  We were in line for tech inspection around 5:30am, and there were already hundreds of bikes ready to go! After tech inspection, I picked up maps, a roll chart, rider instructions and GPS tracks for Day 1, then regrouped with the girls to make a game plan. Since I had some experience, I was asked to the group and navigate. Our chase crew included my mom Lori driving the MotoMinivan, Christina’s boyfriend and our team mechanic Giancarlo in a truck with their two pups, and Casey’s friend Kyle, who was also keeping an eye on two other LAB2V riders. We all confirmed where our first pit stop location would be, then hit the road.

As we made our way north to California City, I kept looking in my mirror and thinking how cool it was to see three badass, brave women taking on this new adventure. We kept up a great intermediate pace, and were staying on schedule to make it to Barstow before sunset. Although we carried extra lights for night riding, we didn’t want to use them! After the first gas stop, we headed east towards the lunch location in Johannesburg. Along the way, we decided to test our first Hard Route opportunity in Last Chance Canyon. There were some bottlenecks with other riders once we hit the deep sand and rock sections, which made riding through the obstacles even more challenging. With Casey’s injury, she made the very smart call to preserve her wrist and go back to the less crowded route, with Erica by her side. We communicated to our chase crew that we were briefly splitting up, then continued on. Christina and I put our two strokes through their paces in the long stretches of rocks and deep sand before meeting back up with Erica and Casey at the end of the canyon. It was at that point that Casey was having trouble getting her bike started. Some friends of ours, Billy and Joe passed by and they were able to get Casey’s bike running well enough to get back to the main road, and be picked up by our chase crew. Once again, Casey’s selflessness insisted that we press on while she figured out the fate of her poor CRF.

The trail was from there was fun and flowing, with amazing views overlooking Searles Valley. Then we arrived at a steep downhill with a bit of a rut, which is my biggest fear in riding. I know how I’m supposed to ride downhills, but executing it is another story. As I looked down the hill I saw a vintage XL600 on its side part way down, with its rider looking stuck and unable to fully lift the behemoth of a bike. I got off my Freeride and walked (slid) down to assist. As I helped him lift his machine, I learned he had no front brake! The bike would quickly pick up speed when we lifted it, pulling us all back down to the ground. We decided to push the XL on its side into the rut for leverage, where it could be stood up and walked down in gear, using the clutch as a brake. After the rider caught his breath and expressed his gratitude, he was able to get down the hill more safely. The other riders now had a clear path down, including Christina, who tackled that downhill like a pro. Fearless and confident, she rode down flawlessly as I watched from the rut. Then I realized I still had to walk back up to my bike! This made me realize how steep the hill felt and made me psych myself out even more. Despite being inspired by Christina’s success, I didn’t feel confident about riding down, and I wound up walking my bike halfway down the hill too. I got back on my bike and coasted to the base of the hill, where it plateaued before descending again into a second hill. I tend to be a stubbornly cautious rider, especially in the middle of a 400-mile ride. 

Our entire group reorganized at the lunch stop in Johannesburg, where my mom greeted us with sandwiches, gasoline and ibuprofen. Casey’s bike was still in the truck, where it would stay until we could get to Barstow and let Giancarlo take a crack at getting it running well enough for day two. After a well-deserved lunch break, Erica, Christina and I got back on the road. Johannesburg to Barstow had a lot of fast, flat sections, and it was fun to open up the bikes after all the previous rocks and ruts. The very last dirt stretch of the day was a long, wide whooped out dirt road just outside of Barstow. This is where Erica really showed her speed and skill, as she opened up her 250 and flew across every rut and whoop section with ease. This girl can rip!

We eventually rolled into Barstow to end day one around 4pm, an hour before sunset and ahead of many other riders. I was proud of our pace as we picked up our roll charts and GPS tracks for day two. I immediately started bike prep before my fatigue totally set in. For me, that meant topping off my gas tank and gas bag, swapping out my air filter, replenishing my camelbak, cleaning and lubing the bike’s chain, checking tire pressure, mixing gas for tomorrow’s pit stops, charging all my electronics, loading the new roll chart, and previewing tomorrow’s route options as part of my navigator duties. All I wanted to do was eat and sleep but this ride is all about prep. Giancarlo already had Casey’s bike torn apart by that time and he discovered that, despite his outstanding efforts, the bike simply required new parts and wasn’t reliable enough to ride day two. We were heartbroken that Casey’s ride had come to an end so early in the weekend, but thankful that she stuck around and continued supporting her friends for day two. After carb-loading at the best Italian restaurant in Barstow, we got some rest before another early morning start.  

The next morning we were all a bit sore and were starting to feel the muscle fatigue. Despite how much we wanted to ride the super rocky Hard Route through Calico Canyon that morning, we decided to stick to the Easy Routes and save our energy for Red Rock Canyon at the end of the day, which for me last year, was the highlight of the ride. We left Barstow and rode alongside the Calico Mountains for a bit. It was so difficult to pass up the Hard Route turnoffs into the canyon, but I felt that staying conservative was the best option for the group to get to Vegas while the sun was still up. A small consolation for missing out on the rocky canyon was watching the still-visible full moon hang over the mountain ridges while the sunrise cast long shadows of our bikes on the short stretch of pavement past Calico. It’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace of the ride, but I tried to remember to look up and enjoy the beautiful scenery that we are fortunate enough to be able to ride through.

The pavement faded to dirt and the dirt to sand in a canyon. This turned that beautiful sunrise into a challenging one, as we were now heading directly east in clouds of hazy dust. Ultimately, we popped out onto some fast, wide dirt roads that paralleled powerlines and railroad tracks near Yermo, and the wind helped clear the dust. Giancarlo met us at a railroad crossing so Christina and I could top off our small tanks before the next gas stop in Baker. As we headed off towards our first checkpoint, we turned on to the sandy and curvy Powerline Road. I could see that Christina and Erica were eager to click through some gears behind me, so I waved them on ahead, knowing that navigation wasn’t going to be an issue for several miles. Moments later, I came around a corner to see a group of riders huddled around someone on the ground near a small washout on the left side of the road. Then I saw a Freeride with no one on it and my heart sank. But just as quickly, Christina’s face appeared through the small crowd as she was sitting upright and looking my way with a slightly bloody half grin. I knew then that she was okay… relatively speaking. Erica was by her side and so were a handful of other riders who had stopped to check on her. Christina took some time to recover and felt good enough to press on, so we did. We sped off towards Baker, home of the World’s Tallest Thermometer, and arrived there just before 9:30am. We were still ahead of schedule to be able to ride Red Rock that afternoon, and we took advantage of that with a long break. Giancarlo went to work fixing a few things on Christina’s bike while Erica and I indulged in more of Mom’s sandwiches.

After Baker, it was a quick 50ish miles to Sandy Valley, a tiny little town in Nevada where we were served a hot lunch by the local student council at an elementary school. Once again, the volunteers that come together for this event are amazing! We realized that Christina’s front tire had a slow leak after her crash, so a repair was in order. Giancarlo saved the day with a post-lunch tire fix that allowed Christina’s Freeride to keep going. With a little time lost on the tire change and an ankle issue creeping up on Erica, we decided to take what can only be described as a dirt highway from Sandy Valley to the entrance of Red Rock Canyon to make up some time. On this final leg of the trip, we had a couple other friends tagging along as well: Scott and Ichi.

We arrived at the start of the Red Rock Canyon Hard Route and were immediately greeted with some fun, winding single track leading us to the base of the canyon. We twisted our way through stone-filled dips and climbs until we arrived at a rocky downhill, where sheets of dark red shale were stacked like stairs covered in loose rocks and small boulders of the same color. This place was appropriately named. The downhill ended with a sharp right turn into deep, deep sand where other riders’ tracks wound tightly around Joshua trees and more rocks. I had to keep looking up from the faint trail to find the signature LAB2V ribbon markings and make sure we stayed on course. The sand ended into a deep wash filled with nothing but rocks and boulders, with gravel underneath. Some parts were narrow enough for only a single bike to fit through and the wash’s walls came up over our handlebars at times. But I felt like a kid in a candy store. My little Freeride was built for this type of terrain and my excitement outweighed my fatigue. My bike gobbled up the rocks and crawled up a few small step ups without issue. Eventually the wash widened and leveled out a bit, so I stopped to check navigation while waiting for the others.  

I realized the roll chart and GPS both alluded to a right turn that I had missed, which could get us back to the main road more quickly. This was the first time on the ride that I felt uncertain about navigation, and I certainly didn’t want to lead the group through more enduro riding then they had to, since shadows were getting long and muscles were getting tired. The group caught up and took a break while I turned around and unsuccessfully tried to find a cutoff back to the main road. Other riders passing by confirmed that they didn’t see a turn either, so I double backed to my group. We decided to keep following the wash, since more riders were heading that way as well and none of them had turned back around. It wound up working out and we reached the blacktop a short while later. I linked back up with the GPS track and I knew we were around the corner from the grand finale. 

After a very brief paved reprieve, we were back on winding dirt two track, ascending to the rock garden at the peak of Rocky Gap Rd that seems like the most sought after section of Red Rock and the LAB2V ride itself. I arrived at the peak to find 4x4s blocking all the non-Jarvis lines through the first stage of rocks and step ups. Some riders tried going around the trucks but were having trouble because the lines were nonexistent. Ichi hopped off his bike and assisted the riders ahead of us. Eventually the trucks moved but I was already set up for a less-than ideal line choice. I tried it anyway and dropped my bike. I repositioned, and gave it another shot, and successfully crawled up the first rock face, with Ichi spotting me just in case. He stayed behind and helped some others while I charged ahead with Scott right behind me. There were more 4x4s coming towards us on the trail, which took away more line choices, but we were there for a challenge anyway. I bounced around from one rock to the next, smiling and feeling at home in the rocks. Within minutes, the hardest part of the section was over and it was just a matter of flowing back down some rocky two track before emerging into the beautiful Red Rock Park.

One of the best parts of the ride, is the sense of accomplishment felt when reaching the pavement after Red Rock Canyon. The dirt portion of the ride was over, and I could see a glimpse of the Vegas skyline poking up between the Red Rocks and horizon. I felt so proud of our little group for finishing despite the challenges along the way. I was elated to riding into town, even though we had to jump on the freeway momentarily and caught every red light down Flamingo Blvd on our way to the finish line at The Orleans Casino.  We pulled into The Orleans’ parking garage around 4:30pm, with the last bits of daylights fading behind us. My mom and Giancarlo were waiting proudly at the finish, taking pictures and sharing in our excitement. After some high fives and two stroke revs, we lined up to have our picture taken with Santa Claus and two Vegas showgirls; a traditional LAB2V finish. 

I loaded up my bike and gear in the MotoMinivan, then and rushed to my hotel for that long awaited shower. Next it was time for the LAB2V rider’s banquet inside one of the casino’s ballrooms, which is a cool ending to the event filled with awesome giveaways, photos, drinks and grub. For those who stayed in Vegas through Sunday night, there was an LAB2V bowling event also at The Orleans, which I participated in for the first time this year. My bowling team happened to also win the 50/50 pot that night, so thanks to my teammates Dave, Abigail, and John!

babes in the dirt

 

How was the navigation?

It takes some practice, but this year I felt more confident with navigation and was able to lead the group without getting lost. I use the mandatory roll chart issued by LAB2V, alongside my Garmin, which is loaded with LAB2V tracks before the start of each day. I also carried a SPOT tracker, which was a huge help to our chase crew. They could see our movements every few minutes on an app and receive check-in messages that we were okay when we stopped.

 

Were there a lot of ladies on the ride?

I didn’t hear the official count this year, but the last couple years there were less than 20 women riding out of over 550 participants. That makes it even more awesome to have a group of 4 women take on this ride together! We hope to inspire more female participation by sharing our experience and giving women a resource for information about the ride and how to prepare.

 

Tell us about some of the people you met.

Because of the Sunday night bowling event, I was able to spend time with some of the volunteer 4x4 sweep crews, and learned even more about what they do. One of the volunteers, Abigail Williams, was on her second year of teaming up with her husband and using their truck to rescue several bikes and riders each day. Sweep’s job is stay behind all the riders and help get every last broken bike or stranded person safely off the trails. No one gets left in the desert because of these amazing volunteers and their collaboration with Rescue 3. We can’t thank them enough for their efforts.

Favorite part? Least favorite part?

My favorite part was definitely Red Rock canyon. It offers some challenging but rideable enduro obstacles in the middle of gorgeous scenery at the end of an amazing ride. My least favorite part was that steep downhill, and there is definitely LAB2V drone footage that proves my discontent. Maybe someday I’ll get over my fear and tackle it the “right” way.  

babes in the dirt

Would you do it again?

Absolutely! I hope I get to do this ride every single year, and some day, I’d love to be able to ride LAB2V with my son. He’s only 6, so it’s gonna be awhile! This year, there was an 85 year old man that completed the ride, so there’s no shortage of inspiration when it comes to returning year after year. 

Any suggestions for ladies wanting to participate next year?

Here’s some essential tips:

1)     You don’t need a 500cc, high speed desert rocket to do this long ride. Reliability is key, and you’ll be much happier on a smaller, lighter bike that you’re comfortable picking up multiple times. You’ll need to be able to hold onto it for 8-10 hours straight for two consecutive days. All our girls rode light 250s at a steady, consistent pace and did great.  

2)     You also don’t need a bunch of bike upgrades and gadgets to make this ride happen. My first year, I just used what I had and learned what was essential for the next year. If you love it enough, you’ll accumulate the “nice to haves” over the years as your budget allows. I’ve also borrowed friends’ gear before, and pooled resources with other riders. And don’t forget to get creative! Padded bicycle shorts can be a life saver when an upgraded moto seat is not in the budget. Fuel bottles can be carried instead buying an aftermarket tank. And you can buy an old, cheap smart phone on eBay and load it with a GPS app as opposed to spending hundreds on a dedicated GPS unit.

 3)     Start prepping months before the ride. This includes bike maintenance and training. Ride as much as you can before LAB2V to prevent things like arm pump, blisters and cramps. The gym is helpful too, but nothing beats seat time. The more you ride, the easier it gets.

 4)     Do a shakedown ride during the weeks before LAB2V using all the gear you plan to wear and pack for the ride, and consider the temperatures you’ll be facing. Give yourself time to fix any issues you find before Thanksgiving.

5)     Practice navigating ahead of time, or better yet, find a buddy that’s done the ride before and is comfortable navigating and leading. That way you can focus on enjoying the journey during your ride, and maybe learn navigation along the way. Babes in the Dirt would be a great place to network for LAB2V riders and navigation experts, as well as various dual sport groups on social media, like @Dirt_Ladies and @dualsportwomen.

babes in the dirt





 

Meet Kate McKerroll and her Husqvarna FX 350

It’s not hard to get inspired to ride when you look at Kate McKerroll. We’ve seen her rippin’ her Husqvarna FX 350 up sand dunes, through tire pits and over logs. She met her match when she hopped on this bike and we thought we would reach out to get to know a bit more about her and her life on two wheels. Read on!

babes in the dirt

What is your name?

Kate McKerroll

What do you do for a living? Tell us about your job.

My day job - Marketing Coordinator at VICE Media

My night job – Aspiring writer. Stay tuned for the next issue of Fast Times Mag!

My weekend job – Volunteering at women’s off-road events and competing in as many Off-Road Ontario races as my schedule will allow :)

Where are you from?

Barrie, Ontario, Canada

Where do you live?

 Toronto, Ontario, Canada

When were you first introduced to riding dirt? Who introduced you? 

I first rode a dirt bike the day after I learned how to ride a bicycle, when I was 5 years old. From what I have been told about the story, my Dad was certain he would have a son. His plan was to raise his son to be a bad-ass biker dude just like he was! Spoiler alert: He didn’t end up having a son, he had a daughter, but that didn’t stop him from carrying out his plan to raise a bad-ass biker to follow in his footsteps. Thanks, Dad!

babes in the dirt

How long have you been riding?

19 years! Wow, that makes me sound old.

Why do you like riding dirt?

 This is so hard to express in words. Riding dirt has been a part of my life for so long I don’t remember a time without it. It has become a part of who I am. When I was heavily into racing, I devoted my whole life to it. I won’t lie, after nine years of racing and finally winning a Canadian championship, I was really burnt out. I had lost the love I once had for riding. It started to feel more like work than fun and I felt like a lot of people had high expectations of me.

After I won Walton National in 2012 and scored a few top 10 moto finishes at Loretta Lynn’s Amature national, I decided I would take a break, go to University, and take a stab at a normal ~ non-moto ~ life. This is a long winded answer to your question but, it’s important to mention. After taking a few years off, I realized how much I missed it. I missed the freedom, the independence, the challenge! I missed having something that was only mine, something that no one else really understood. It was what made me, me!

I eventually stopped trying to run away from riding and decided I would change my relationship with it. When I got back into riding dirt I decided to take it down a notch and try off-road riding and racing rather than motocross. Since I have made the shift and started riding for enjoyment and FUN rather than constand competition, my love for dirt is stronger than ever. It is the only thing that keeps me 100% present. In today's world, we have a lot of distractions, riding dirt requires an immense amount of focus and concentration. It is the only place where I feel present and focused, I guess you could say it is my way of meditating.

babes in the dirt

Run us through the list of bikes you have had?

Wow! I have had too many to count. To summarize, when I was 5ish, my Dad put me on my first bike which was a JR50 from 1980-something. It was so rad! After that, when we realized we really wanted to make a go of this whole dirt biking thing, he bought me my first KTM. A KTM 50, for my 7th birthday. From there I moved up the ranks as I grew, moving from a 50 to a 65 sx to an 85 sx to a 105 sx and by the time I was twelve I had my first full size KTM 125 sx.

A few years after that KTM started making the 144 sx and  the 150 sx. I always loved 2 strokes and prefered racing them, so we moved up to the 150 sx and that is what I raced for most of my career. I had a short summer fling with a Honda 250F but, it wasn’t long before I wanted my 2 stroke back. I finally sold my last 150 sx a few years ago. Now that I am living in the city and don’t have a truck, it’s really hard to get myself to an MX track to ride. I sold the 150 sx and got a 500 exc which is my commuter, grocery getter, fun-haver and sometimes race bike! It was only this spring that I got a chance to try out the Husqvarna fleet and have been trading between the FE 350 and the FX 350 this summer. Of all the bikes I have had, the FX 350 is such an impressive machine. It is so fast and handles so well! 

What do you ride now? 

I am currently riding a 2018 Husqvarna FX 350 and a 2015 KTM 500 exc. I also rode a 2018 Husqvarna FE 350 earlier this spring, it is such a killer bike!

If you could have 2 bikes what would your other bike be?

I am so blessed to already have two bikes right now! But, if I would have ANOTHER, I would really like to add a Vespa to my fleet. It sounds cheesy but living in Toronto I would love to trade my dirt bike for a red or dare I say… pink scoot on Monday morning to zip to work for the week. You can literally park them anywhere and they are so cute.

babes in the dirt

Tell us what you love about the bike you ride now?

The Husqvarna FX 350 is an incredible machine. It has so much power. What I love is, it is basically the bike version of me! A cross between motocross and off-road! Haha! It packs the punch of a true motocross bike, something I am used to riding due to my history in MX, with the gearing and handling of an off-road bike. It is the best of both worlds. Do I even need to mention how epic the electric start is? It almost feels like a cheat! I am also so impressed by the handling, although the FX 350 is one of the most powerful bikes I have ridden, and to be fair, a lot of bike for someone my size/weight to handle, I always feel like I am in control. I really respect the amount of time and R&D that Husqvarna puts into engineering these motorcycles. Building a best in class motor is one thing, but building a chassis that can house that power and perfecting the ergonomics to make the rider feel one with the machine is magic!

What kind of terrain do you like riding the best?

I love flowy single track. There is absolutely nothing better than ripping through some smooth, windy, loamy trail after a bit of rain. Growing up in MX, I do really miss the perfectly watered, groomed tracks, but I have come to love the feeling of freedom you get when you are ripping through single track. As I say this I am thinking back to a loop of single track I rode two weeks ago at the Algonquin Two-Day Trail Ride and it was basically an MX course that weaved between trees. It had sandy, bermed corners, some kickers, some open straightaways, it felt like it was right out of a movie!

I feel like this is a bad answer though, considering that is every riders dream terrain. I also love motocross tracks, obviously, oh, and sand! I rode dunes for the first time ever in April and it was SO EPIC!

babes in the dirt

What kind of terrain is a challenge for you but you want to master? 

Wet roots and wet rocks. I honestly do not like anything wet/muddy. As I mentioned before, I am a totally spoiled MX rider who is used to close to perfect conditions on a consistent basis. When I get into the slippery/mucky crap that is in Northern Ontario I have a bit of a tantrum before forcing myself to carry on and try my best to grin and bear it! LOL! I want to learn to love that stuff and see it as an exciting challenge rather than a chore.

What is the most challenging riding experience you have had? 

This Spring I went on a twelve day riding trip to the Southwest. We rode through Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. Before the trip, I had close to no off-road riding experience. I had really only ever ridden Motocross. I had no idea how challenging it would be and I 100% underestimated what off-road riders go through. That shit is gnarly! Not only did we tackle some of the toughest trails in Utah, the infamous 5-files-of-hell being one of them, endurance also played a part in how challenging it was for me. Twelve days of riding is a lot. Half the battle was getting up each morning, popping some pain killers and pushing forward. I was so proud of myself at the end of the trip, I left a totally different rider. Check out the latest Fast Times Mag for a full recap of my trip! 

Where are some of your favorite places to ride?

 My all time favorite place to ride is at Monster Mountain MX Park in Alabama. It is the MOST epic MX track I have ever been to. It is literally motocross Mecca.

Aside from my dream location, the place I love riding that are closer to home are: RJ Motorsports Park, Simcoe County Forest and the Ganaraska Forest. 

What is on you moto bucket list to ride?

Babes in the Dirt  is on my bucket list!!! It looked so fun last year!

It is also my dream to ride down the coast in Oregon, where the trails meet the beach.

* heart eyes *

babes in the dirt

Do you ride with a lot of other female riders?

This season I have been! I was lucky enough to help out at two ladies training days this spring where I met a bunch of female riders from Ontario. This season I met Stephanie Yankovich, a female off-road racer who has started Dirt Riding Dames, a riding community that encourages girls to get out in the dirt! I am hoping to help Steph with a few of her organized rides in the Ganaraska Forest this summer. If you are a female rider in Ontario, check out her Facebook page: Dirt Riding Dames.

Do you have anyone in the moto world that you look up to? (does not have to be a pro rider)

You!! And all the ladies who are thinking entrepreneurially and using their passion for two wheels to create a platform for others. You are all killing it!

There are more ‘for ladies by ladies’ events/brands now than there has ever been. It is people like you who are creating a stage for ladies to come out and show their stuff in a fun, encouraging environment. Because of the work you and other female event organizers are doing, sponsors are noticing the demand and finally stepping up to support us! On behalf of female riders everywhere – we appreciate you! 

What was our experience at Babes in the Dirt/Babes Ride Out events? (if applicable) 

I haven't been to any BRO events yet L, but I am dying to come to Babes in the Dirt!!

babes in the dirt

What advice do you have for someone thinking about getting in to riding dirt? 

DO IT! It is scary, yes, at first, but it is so empowering! If I can do it, you can do it. If you ride street, dirt riding will help you take your riding to the next level. If you don’t ride at all, start! As I mentioned before, there are more events/opportunities for ladies now than ever, for anyone thinking of taking the leap, we are all here cheering you on. 

Anything else you would like to add? 

Just a big thank you to Husqvarna Motorcycles Canada, Fast Times Magazine, Tiger Distribution and Everstoked Adventures for your support as I make my way back into the off-road world. I couldn’t do it without the amazing people behind me.

And - If any Ontario/Quebec ladies are reading this, join me for the Ladies Ride and Social in the Limerick Forest on August 25th!

babes in the dirt

 

 

Let's talk Suspension | Some insight on what you need to know before you lower your dirt bike!

 Photo by Genevieve Davis

Photo by Genevieve Davis

For some of us ladies, we find stock dirt bikes can be a bit too tall to be comfortable on. Lowering your dirt bike and getting the suspension properly set up for your height, weight and riding style will most definitely improve your experience on the bike! We felt it was time to address the issues that we hear so much about from so many Babes in the Dirt!

The first thing you should know is that any high performance motorcycle is set up to have 12”-13” of suspension travel which is why they are so tall. Stock bikes are set up for the average rider which is (you guessed it) a dude that, on average, is taller and weighs more than most females. For some female riders and the riding style they plan on participating in the most, the stock suspension is ideal. To determine what is best for YOU, there are some key things you need to take in to account and a few recommendations we have.

  1. LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONALS. Once you start playing with the suspension in your garage you are majorly messing with the geometry of the bike. The linkage and ratio pressure of the shocks are set up that way for a reason and if you don’t know what you’re doing then you are doing you and your bike a disservice! Shortening the front forks and rear shock requires disassembling delicate components and requires specialized tools. This is definitely a task best performed by a trained suspension technician that understands how to lower a motorcycle properly.

  2. DO NOT USE A LOWERING LINK. Don’t listen to your friends that say “just throw a lowering link on there” by doing this you completely throw off the balance of the bike and all that engineering that took years to perfect goes right out the window. The linkage system is a crucial part of the rear suspension. It is important that the front forks and rear shock act together. When you add longer lowering links, it changes the leverage ratio, which can cause all sorts of problems. Think about it like this; the shock has the same travel but less distance between the wheel and fender which can result in bottoming out.

  3. An important question to ask yourself is: What type of riding do you plan on doing? Mostly trails? Moto X Track? Enduro cross? Fire roads? Dualsport? Different types of riding require a different suspension set up. For example: If you plan on launching your bike off some sweet jumps on an MX track, you are going to need that suspension travel when you land. If you are mostly riding smooth trails, desert riding and fire roads you probably don’t need quite as much travel.

  4. Height is not the only factor when figuring out how much your bike needs to be lowered (or not). Your weight (with all of your gear on) is important to factor in as well. We recommend bringing your gear with you when you drop off your bike to get set up. You will need to jump up and down on your bike to see how much your weight compresses so that they can properly set the sag. Sag is the name given to the amount of suspension travel used up when the bike settles with a rider on board.

  5. Do not over lower you bike just so that you can touch the ground better. Yes, touching the ground is important but not as important as ground clearance. Ideally being able to touch with the balls of your feet is very comfortable but it all goes back to what type of riding you plan on doing.

  6. You can also look in to simply get a lower profile seat so that you can reach the ground better but this does nothing in terms of setting up your suspension for you and your riding style.

Not having your motorcycle set up specifically for you can result in some very frustrating situations. Trust me, I have been there. I am guilty of impulse purchasing a bike that was way too big and heavy for me and had suspension set up for a dude that was twice my weight and about a foot taller. It was not a pleasurable experience once I ended up on some tight single track trails in Kennedy Meadows. In fact, now that i think of it, that was the last tie I cried on a motorcycle. Yep, thats right, I cried! Out of sheer frustration and exhaustion from trying to battle the beast on some pretty technical sections. I call this experience PH (pre Husqvarna) Everything changed for me once me Husky came in to my life.

When I got my Husqvarna FE 250 I wanted to make sure that I got it set up just right for me. I was determined to take my riding to the next level. I am 5’6” 125 pounds and do mostly trail riding that can involve some more technical terrain like single track, rock quarries, and an occasional log and river crossing. I had my bike professionally lowered 2 inches and I can touch on the balls of my feet which I am very comfortable with. Getting my bike dialed was a complete game changer and I credit that (and the overall superiority of Husqvarna engineering DUH) with my progression as a rider these past few years. I highly recommend that riders spend the money and do it right! You wont regret it!

Here are some places that I recommend having your suspension done.

Northern California:

http://www.santacruzsuspension.com/

Southern California:

https://gbcapodieci.wixsite.com/espsuspension

Thanks you to Suspension Guru Rich Dandalo of #SantaCruzSuspension for helping to go over the technical details and consult on this blog!

Meet Stephanie Anderson @throttlefortwo and her Husqvarna FE350S

She has been riding for over 20 years and been coming to Babes in the Dirt for the past 2! Stephanie has ridden some of our bucket list locations and constantly has us drooling over her awesomely remote photos on the trails. We caught up with her to hear more about her life on two wheels, love of her Husqvarna FE 350 S and her lust for the new fuel injected 2-stroke TE 250i.

babes in the dirt

What is your name?

- Stephanie Anderson

What do you do for a living? Tell us about your job.

- Well, for a few more days I am a Property Manager of a mobile home park, but as of next week, I will be unemployed for a few months.  Me, my husband, and our two Siberian Huskies, will be traveling around the country with our travel trailer and motos in search of a new place to call home and start our own business.

Where are you from?

- San Diego/Temecula, CA

Where do you live?

- Mammoth Lakes, CA

babes in the dirt

When were you first introduced to riding dirt? Who introduced you?

- When we moved to Temecula in the mid-90’s, dirt was pretty much everywhere, so I was lucky enough to make friends with kids in school that grew up riding quads and dirt bikes.  Unfortunately, my parents never let me have my own dirt bike as they were always worried I would seriously injure myself (which, now that I’ve crashed at least a dozen times and broken my fair share of bones, I can see why J).  So I spent most of my younger years on a variety of friend’s loaner bikes cruising around the wine country and out in the southern California deserts (Ocotillo Wells/Glamis).  

How long have you been riding?

- About 20 years, but more actively for about that last 10.

Why do you like riding dirt?

- I like riding dirt for too many reasons to list!  But one of the main reasons is that it opens a whole new world of places to go and things to see.  There’s no better feeling than being able to take a spontaneous trip down a random dirt road and find that it leads to a secluded lake, or takes you to the top of a mountain with 360-degree views.  Not to mention, you can take dirt detours when there is traffic J.

Run us through the list of bikes you have had?

- Handful of CRF/XR 50s

- 2013 Honda CRF150R

- 2014 Kawasaki KX250F

What do you ride now?

- 2016 Husqvarna FE350S

- 1980 Honda XL250S

babes in the dirt

If you could have 2 bikes what would your other bike be?

- A new fuel injected 2-stroke Husqvarna, of course ! Actually, as much as I would absolutely LOVE a new TE 250i, I would really like to add more of an adventure bike to the collection.  Our ultimate dream is to take an international motorcycle trip, and having a bike that can still handle dirt, but also be able to put down some serious road miles with a full load of camping gear would be optimal.  What exact bike that is, I really have no idea yet, but I am hoping over the course of the next 5 or so years, manufacturers will continue to cater to smaller riders such as myself, and I will have more options. 

Tell us what you love about the bike you ride now?

- The FE350S is the ultimate adventure mobile!  There aren’t a lot of motorcycles that you can say are completely capable in (and meant for) the dirt, but also street legal.  We can be on technical single track one minute, and then cruising the highway through Yosemite the next.  The places we can go are almost endless!  Also, because of fuel injection!!!  You just can’t beat being able to ride at 8,000ft. elevation one day, and then 800 ft. elevation the next without skipping a beat or needing to re-jet (it was a serious problem when I had the CRF150R which was carbureted).   

 

What kind of terrain do you like riding the best?

- Hmm, that’s a tough one . . . I really love it all!!!  But if I had to narrow it down, I would say snow.  I’m not the best at it, and to be honest, I used to try to avoid it, but I’m slowly getting more comfortable with it and it couldn’t be more fun.    

 

What kind of terrain is a challenge for you but you want to master?

- Definitely rocks . . . Being vertically challenged, I am still working on clutch and throttle control to account for the fact that I can’t ever reach the ground to put my darn foot down J.  Thankfully, I finally did some much needed upgrades to the suspension and steering, so hopefully my skill level will catch up to my confidence level sometime soon ha.

What is the most challenging riding experience you have had?

- When we first got the Husqvarnas, we had some friends visiting with their dirt bikes so we decided to take a trip completely in the dirt from Mammoth Lakes to the ghost town known as Bodie.  It was about 65 miles one-way through all kinds of different terrain.  We hadn’t owned the bikes for very long, so I didn’t have the bike set-up and dialed in specifically for me just yet.  We hit some really deep and soft sand/silt on the backside of Mono Lake that just seemed to go forever, so I was struggling for a while to keep the front end stable, and then proceeded to take a literal face plant into an actual plant J.  I was too worked to go back home the same way we came, so I also go to experience my first solo ride on the highway, and at night too.  It was definitely a trip I will never forget!       

Where are some of your favorite places to ride?

- Definitely right here in my own backyard!  The Eastern Sierra is packed full of places to ride, with everything from mellow fire roads and sand dunes, to tight single track and even snow.  It really is an off-roader’s paradise!  And the views aren’t too bad either J.  I also really enjoyed the moto tour we took in Maui.  It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences and the terrain was like nothing I had ever been on before (we went through a sugar cane field that was so dense we couldn’t even see the actual trail).  We were fortunate enough to be the only two riders on the tour that day (which was usually a group tour), so we got really lucky and the tour guide took us on an epic journey which ended so high up that we found pine trees! 

What is on your moto bucket list to ride?

- Australia

- Russia

- Moab, Uta

Do you ride with a lot of other female riders?

- Unfortunately, no L.  My few female friends that do ride live about 6 hours away, and not a lot of women in our area have motorcycles.  99% of the time it’s just me and my husband, but I am really hoping that will change.  I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with some super cool ladies thanks to Babes in the Dirt and Instagram, who I would love to get together with someday soon.   

babes in  the dirt

Do you have anyone in the moto world that you look up to?

- Megan Griffiths . . . girl seriously rips and is ALWAYS smiling.  She really makes everything looks so easy but is always so humble about it.  She is so passionate about riding and it shows!  I really hope to someday be able to attend one of her clinics and learn to go over logs instead of crashing into them J.  Also, because I struggle so much in the rocks, Sarah (aka @spacecat.moto) . . . lady KILLS it out there in Utah in some truly epic terrain!  Pretty sure she eats rocks and vertical walls for breakfast J.

What was your experience at Babes in the Dirt/Babes Ride Out events?

- I made it to Babes in the Dirt both this year (2018), and last year (2017).  Although I always bring my husband and fur kids so we always camp outside of the actual event, it’s still one of my favorite weekends of the year.  The first year, I was solo and ended up crashing attempting to go back down the big hill climb (ha oops).  Within seconds there were several people more than happy to help get my bike upright and down to the bottom.  One of the nicest Park Rangers I have ever met found some ladies to bring my bike back to the road, went and tracked down my husband who was cruising around in my 4Runner, brought me back to the main camp, and treated my wounds.  The Babes in the Dirt staff and many of the other ladies there for the event kept coming up to me and asking if I was ok or if I needed anything.  It was so awesome to be completely alone and not know anyone, but still feel welcomed and right at home.  This year we could only make it for a day, but it was still an epic day of riding and I even convinced my fellow female rider friends from San Diego to attend as well (and they loved it).  From the most experienced rider to the first timer, it really is an event that can be enjoyed by all. 

What advice do you have for someone thinking about getting in to riding dirt?

- Take it slow and start off with something nice and mellow.  There are all kinds of fire roads and open riding areas to practice at that are great places to get a feel for the dirt without having to worry about obstacles or other riders.  As someone who learned to ride in the dirt before learning to ride on the street, I can tell you there is a learning curve both ways, so just do what you feel comfortable with and practice, practice, practice.  And remember, you don’t have to be a pro to have fun!

Anything else you would like to add?

- I would like to say thanks to the Babes in the Dirt staff, Husqvarna, and all those involved with putting together such a rad event.  Seeing so many ladies from so many different walks of life come together for the love of motorcycles is truly an amazing experience!  How many beers will it take to convince you to do more Babes in the Dirt events?!?!? JJJ