women who ride

Roll Call | Meet Babes in the Dirt East Coast Rider Becca Sheets

As we are starting to get closer to hosting our first ever Babes in the Dirt East event in Greeneville, TN, we are getting to know some of the riders who will be joining us. Becca Sheets has been ripping through the woods riding and racing off-road for 19 years. From riding her local tracks with her Dad to racing in the ISDE in France, Becca has lived her life on two wheels. We can’t wait to ride with her in September!

Click Here to register for Babes in the Dirt East | September 20th-22nd at I-81 Motorsports Park

babes in the dirt

Name:Becca Sheets   

Location: Ohio  @Bsheets551 

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I was an Indiana baby but Ohio is where I was raised and where I currently reside. I really love it here as long as it is not winter time. 

babes in the dirt

Tell us about how you got in to riding dirt. How long have you been riding?

My dad rode and raced dirt bikes for fun for a long time. I grew up at the motocross tracks watching him race.  I asked for a dirtbike on my 7th birthday and I’ve been racing ever since. I spent most of my youth years riding motocross and transitioned to off-road in 2011. I’ve been racing for 19 years.  

Was there someone specific that inspired you?

My dad was definitely my OG inspiration. But I was inspired by the Pro WMX (then WMA) riders when I was growing up in the sport, like Sarah Whitmore and Tarah Geiger. I looked up to them for so many years aspiring to get to their level some day.  

What type of terrain do you like riding the most? Track? Trails? Desert? Mountains? Dualsport?

Anything off-road. I really enjoy technical trail riding in the mountains with friends! 

Run us through the list of bikes you have had in your life.

PW50 KTM50 JR  KX60 RM65 RM85 KTM105 YZ125 YZ250f-x KTM 250xc-f KTM 250SX-f

What bike do you ride now?

KTM 250sx-F

 What are your goals as a rider? Any specific technique you are working on?

I am always working on my overall technique on the bike. The practice never ends. 

Wheelie skills are always a good one to practice though. 

My goals as a rider are always evolving, but in a general sense it’s usually just get faster, get better results, and continue to help grow the sport with women in off-road riding/racing.  

babes in the dirt

Tell us about your most epic riding experience.

Definitely my first year doing the ISDE in France. Riding through the backcountry there was so amazing. We got to see parts of the country most tourists would never see. 

When did you first hear about Babes in the Dirt?

I noticed it on social media a few years ago out on the west coast.

Tell us what you think about Babes in the Dirt coming to TN. Are you stoked?  

I think it’s awesome that there are large groups of women getting together to ride and just hang out, and learn a few tips and tricks along the way. 

There’s TONS of women out here on the east coast that love to ride. So any opportunity to attend an event like this is great. 

What do you think is the most different about riding in California vs. Tennessee?  

I’ve only ridden out in California once in a few different terrains. Its very hard, sandy dirt out there in the trails. Or just one or the other. Out in the TN woods, you will get lots of rocks and roots and possibly some slick sections depending on the weather. It’s usually pretty hard clay based dirt there. So I know on the moto tracks out this way, usually add a lot of mulch to keep some moisture in the dirt. 

Any advice for new riders?

Take lessons, learn the proper riding techniques, and put them to practice. It will give you so much more confidence on the bike.  :) 

babes in the dirt

 

 

Babes in the Dirt 5 Official Video

Take us back to this incredible weekend with over 600 women camping and riding in the hills of Southern California. Thank you to all of our amazing sponsors who helped make this event possible! Husqvarna Motorcycles, FMF, Toyota SoCal, Fox Racing, Kurt Caselli Foundation, Thousand Oaks Powersports, National Hare and Hound Association Garrahan Off-Road Training and WLF Enduro!!!

Meet Christina Dixon - Williams | She has been to every single Babes in the Dirt Event !!!

We have seen Christina Dixon Williams smiling face at every single Babes in the Dirt event! Yep, she has battled a hailstorm, weathered the gale force winds and BRAAAP’d allover Hungry Valley State Park with us over the past 5 years. We caught up with her to hear about what the community has meant to her, fan-girl moments (we have all had them) baby wheelies and the progress she has made as a rider over the years. Read on!

babes in the dirt

 

Name: Christina Dixon-Williams

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Instagram handle: @c_ldixon

 Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a Las Vegas native, second-generation born and raised. I went to college in Utah on a softball scholarship and then moved back to Vegas after I graduated. The desert will always be my home. My career is working in finance and I volunteer with the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society. I am also a full-time kitten foster mom (#fosteringsaveslives) while also caring for my resident “fur-children”, with all the help from my husband. Our furry/feathered children are comprised of horses, goats, chickens, dogs, cats, rabbits (all rescues). Any spare time after that is spent on the bikes.  

How long have you been riding? About 4.5 years, although I really got into riding about 3 years ago when I bought my 500.

What/who got you in to it? My wonderful husband! (@dirtbikedave5) He used to race MRAN and Best in the Desert. I am a pretty competitive/ driven person (all the years of being a competitive athlete). I saw him riding and thought “I can do that” and here I am. I like to brag on him since he had to deal with my mental breakdowns in sand washes and on hill climbs for years (don’t be fooled those breakdowns still occasionally occur, haha). 

What kind of bike do you ride? I am currently riding a 2016 KTM 500 EXC – Six Days.

babes in the dirt

Run us through the list of bikes you have had in your life.

2006 Suzuki LTR 450 (I started on a quad and quickly realized 2 wheels was a lot more fun)

2007 KTM 525 XCW

1976 Yamaha YZ125 (Don’t underestimate this little bike.. it flys)

2016 KTM 500 EXC – Six Days

2015 Beta EVO 250 4T

You have been to every single Babes in the Dirt event! We want to know more about your experience!

How did you hear about Babes in the Dirt the first year? I saw a flyer for the event being posted on Instagram.

Give us a little run down of your experience at each event:

Babes in the dirt 1: The hail! Oh my hail! The weather was definitely crazy that first year. I remember when I was unloading my bike and I was just a newbie doing this without my husband and the awesome girls camped next to me were so quick to help me unload my bike.

Babes in the dirt 2: My first year demo’ing a brand new Husky! How awesome is Husqvarna to bring out brand new bikes for girls to rip on the trails? Totes awesome.

Babes in the dirt 3: I was able to join in on a ride led by Ashley Fiolek (I fan-girled a bit). 

Babes in the dirt 4: This event was only a couple months after my mom had lost her battle to cancer. Being able to attend such a friendly event was a heart lift (I know, sappy).

Babes in the dirt 5: Was it just me or was this the first year it wasn’t insanely windy?! It was perfect weather! I joined the Garrahan Off Road Training class on Sunday and had an absolute blast and got a thumbs up from Kacey Martinez (another fan-girl moment). I finally nailed a baby wheelie (if you know me, you know that’s a BIG deal).

babes in the dirt

What do you think about how much it has grown?  It’s really impressive to see how large this event has grown. Even though this event has grown hundredfold from the first year, the same atmosphere of girls helping each other load/unload, kick over their bikes and just pick someone up off of the trail is still there, which is the exact reason why I continue to attend the event each year.

 What does the off-road community mean to you personally?  The off-road community to me is a sense of belonging. It’s a sense of support and welcoming. Each thumbs up from another rider or the help pulling a bike out of a ditch and all while still smiling because we all love this sh%&.. that is community.

The Babes in the Dirt community has been one the kindest communities. At each event I have met the coolest and most badass women riders. The Babes in the Dirt event has become an annual trip that I look forward to and a chance to catch up with new and old babes.

Thank you Anya & Ashmore for hosting these events! You two have successfully created an incredibly inspiring and motivating event for beginner and pros riders alike. <3

babes in the dirt
babes in the dirt

 

BABES IN THE DIRT 5 RE-CAP | Our Best Year Yet!

babes in the dirt 5

What a truly incredible weekend!!! This was our 5th year hosting our ladies only off-road campout at Hungry Valley State Park and by far our best year yet. It has been so rewarding to see ladies who started on dirt with us years ago on borrowed or rented bikes with borrowed gear now coming back on their own bikes with their own gear and ripping it up out there. To all the women that learned to ride for the first time or bettered their skills, conquered an obstacle they didn’t think they could, to those who came out to spend quality time on two wheels with friends new and old, YOU are what this is all about and we thank you! This community is full of such amazing and inspiring people and we are lucky to have you growing the sport with us.

So what went down this year for Babes in the Dirt 5? It was back to Quail Canyon MX park, our favorite off-road riding area just 1 hour north of LA. This private space is now our home and with an MX Track, GP track, peewee track , 6+ miles of private trails and direct connection to the entire trail system it could not be a better place to host 700+ for a weekend of good times, good friends and two wheels!

The weekend was jam packed with awesome thanks to our partners!

Babes in the Dirt 5

Husqvarna Motorcycles came out for the 5th year in a row. Yes, they were with us when we were 60 women in hail storm covered in mud! They brought out a brand new fleet of 30 demo bikes for Babes to enjoy and were able to get over 130 women out on the trails for one of their group rides. We hope everyone walked away as blown away as we are at how incredible these modern machines are and how much they can help to take your riding to the next level. By bringing out the crew of Coach 2 Ride, Husqvarna helped to give over 40 women an opportunity to try out a dirt bike for their very first time and learn the proper skills. We hope to see you all back out there next year, practice is everything. We cannot thank Husqvarna enough for what they are doing to grow the sport! Thank you to the Husqvarna team for believing in us and being such an integral part of growing this amazing community! If any ladies are interested in purchasing one of the demo bikes they rode please contact Jet World Powersports! They are hooking up Babes in the Dirt 5 attendees with KILLER deals! (Ashmore has already bought one of the FE250s from the Demo fleet!)

babes in the dirt

Fox Womens made sure that Babes were kitted out in the right gear that fit by offering roost protectors, Moto Boots, and helmets to any riders that needed them all weekend. We can’t stress the importance of having the proper fitting, quality gear when you are out on the track and trails. Fox hosts a survey at their booth every year where they give you the opportunity to share feedback on product. How cool is it to have a major brand like Fox actually listen to you in a way that affects the products they make. Thank you FOX for all that you do for women that ride! Please note that Cinderella moment above as Joy from Fox Racing fits a rider with her MX “slipper” for a perfect fit.

Toyota SoCal helped to take Babes in the Dirt 5 to the next level by turning our humble little pavilion into an awesome hang out zone! They brought the party by hosting a DJ dance party on Friday night and Karaoke contest on Saturday night. I mean really…. what is more fun than a dance party after a day of trail riding? We saw a ton of awesome Toyota rigs rolling in to camp and each and every one of them went home with a Toyota SoCal swag bag. Trophies ranging from mini bike races, to karaoke and dance contests were handed out throughout the weekend thanks to Toyota SoCal. You make off-roading easy!

babes in the dirt
BABES IN  THE DIRT

FMF was there to support by hosting Mad Moose Media to shoot photos at the event. Each rider got a pro shot of them in action sent to their phone. We can’t wait to see everyone’s shots from the weekend. Post away ladies and make sure to tag FMF and Babes in the Dirt!

FMF has been around since 1973 with a goal of taking the most advanced machinery to its limit by building the world's best performing exhausts! One lucky winner was able to upgrade their ride by winning 1 free FMF exhaust this weekend at the raffle. Thank you for the support and for putting the !!!! in BRAAAAP!!!!!

The Kurt Caselli Foundation has been with us for 2 year now helping to promote safety and providing Ambulance support for our events (no that is not a Franco brother above) Thanks to them and their Riders First Responders Program, 30 attendees came out to Babes in the Dirt 5 as certified first responders fully trained in CPR. KC66 is such an amazing organization and we are honored to have Nancy Caselli participate in our riders meeting and inspire us and remind us that women that ride always have a place in this community and industry.

babes in the dirt

WLF Enduro came out for the 3rd year to provide trail support throughout the park and ride sweep on the Husqvarna Demo rides. It’s hard to even find a place to start with this amazing crew of people. They do so much for the riding community and it is a true honor to have them as a part of the Babes in the Dirt family! They spend the weekend helping to pick up bikes, tow motos back to camp, and guide lost riders and just give high fives to the total rippers! You will not find a better crew of people and their motto of Further Together runs throughout our event thanks to them. HUGE shout out to Brooke, Trieste, Kate, and Jenna aka SHEwolves for all of their help this weekend working the event. These awesome ladies put their time and energy in to helping out and we are so grateful!

Thousand Oaks Powersports spent the weekend wrenching! This shop came out for the 4th year in a row with their trackside support rig to help problem solve any bike issues and help to get ladies back on the trails. Thanks to them many riders were able to enjoy the rest of the weekend even after unforeseen bike issues.! Mark and crew put the tools in the attendees hands and helped to guide them while they fixed the bike TOGETHER. If their crew helped you out over the weekend make sure and give them a shout to say THANK YOU

babes in the dirt

The National Hare and Hound Association came to Babes in the Dirt 5 for the first time this year. They were on site to help answer any questions about getting in to racing. With decades of riding and racing under their belts these ladies provided so much info to so many riders! We hope to see more of you give racing a try! NHHA hosts a ton of ladies classes in their race series so check them out to see what’s happening in your area. The ladies of NHHA took our little mini bike races to the next level this year to say the least. With classes like 50 cc minis, 60-80cc’s, lemans start 125 cc, relay race, obstacle course race and the ever popular 2-Up Friendship race there was some fun for all. Quite the highlight of the weekend and endlessly entertaining to watch! Thank you for your support and to all the babes that participated in the races.

babes in the dirt
babes in the dirt

Brian Garrahan of Garrahan Off-Road Training taught over 100 women the proper skills of riding a dirtbike. With classes ranging from beginner to advanced him and his crew helped to get riders to the next level. Huge shout out to the champ herself Kacy Martinez for being there to coach and demo alongside Brian all weekend. This was such an incredible experience for so many riders. He offers ladies only classes once a month so make sure and check out his website if you want to take one of his classes! You will not regret it!




babes in the dirt

Our good friends at VC London came from across the pond to enjoy the weekend with us. Not only did they get to experience the beautiful terrain of Hungry Valley State Park by hitting the trails and track but they also participated in the Garrahan Off-Road Training course! It was so cool to host them at one of our favorite events. VC London also brought us the first ever Babes in the Dirt Team Talks featuring Leah Tokelove (Pro Flat Track Racer from the UK), Nina Buitrago (PRO freestyle BMX rider) and Kacy Martinez (AMA Lifetime achievement award recipient and 2018 Endurocross Champion among a long list of other outdoor championships) It was so inspiring to hear their stories of how they got in to a life on two wheels. Thank you VC London for sharing this with us!

babes in the dirt
babes in the dirt

To the awesome staff and crew of Hungry Valley State Park. This is our 5th year there! They spend so much time prepping the track and trails for all the Babes and not to mention the clean up crew giving it their all. Thanks to them we have this amazing space to share with everyone on one of the best weekends of the year.

What we all have built together is truly awesome! We are all leaving this weekend with full hearts and sore muscles. If you enjoyed yourself this weekend will be surviving on throwback for the next few months like we will then please join us for the first ever Babes in the Dirt East!

THANK YOU!!!

babes in the dirt

Photos by Heidi Zumbrun

 








Adrienne Hunt and Her New Husqvarna FE 250

Meet Adrienne Hunt @SLOdirtgirl ! After ripping the demo bikes at Babes in the Dirt she decided to get herself a brand new Husqvarna FE 250. We got to catch up with her to hear more about her life on two wheels and why calls the FE 250 her dream bike.

babes in the dirt

What is your name?

Adrienne Hunt @SLOdirtgirl

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

I work in animal welfare and am a veterinary assistant. My job duties range from day to day from assisting in animal welfare investigations, humane education to helping an injured pet in a hospital setting. I recently spent 22 days assisting up at the CampFire near Paradise, California and that was the most heart-warming and heart-wrenching experience of my life. The time, energy and love so many people put in, to make sure these animals were cared for at the front lines and behind the scenes, really reaffirmed that humans can “Be the person your dog thinks you are.”

Where are you from?

Born and raised in San Luis Obispo, California (SLO)

Where do you live?

Still walking the mean streets of “Bubble Gum Alley” (SLO)

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

I started riding mountain bikes in 2012 after losing a bunch of weight, as I needed something to keep me busy after I gave up all the glory and retired from couch surfing. I really got into riding and I did a few downhill and XC races for fun but then started to get involved in other hobbies, so riding took a back seat for several years.

I started missing the adrenaline and physicality of it, but I also had an aversion to big climbs, enter the dirt bike. My fiancé had been riding dirt bikes since we met but it was only until June of 2017 that I was like, it’s time for me to check this out and get up these hills by a twist of the throttle.

How long have you been riding?

I’ve been riding and falling in the dirt for about 1 ½ years now.

I thought that after riding mountain bikes that dirt biking would come naturally for me, it did not, and I learned humility quickly. I had many crashes and made many mistakes when I first started riding but stuck it out, despite a few trail side meltdowns, some tears of frustration and even a few self-deprecating comments here and there, I’ve learned to stick it out and could not be happier with my progression however fast or slow it comes now.

babes in the dirt

Why do you like riding dirt?

So hard to narrow it down, riding through whoop-de-doos or pulling a wheelie, yeah! (Song: Dirt Bike rider)

As you can tell I am super serious person but truly, my favorite part is the progression. I enjoy seeing myself progress and get so pumped when I see other riders and their progression. It is one of the many things that I love about it. Seeing a trail or a section that you said “nope” to and then being able to take it on or seeing your buddy do the same. So cool!

I have made so many new friends and people I consider “family” while riding, I could not be more grateful. I like to throw together impromptu, all inclusive (male/female/squirrel) group rides or little campouts every now and then. I find that this is a great way to have people get together who may not have otherwise met up. It is so fun to see a rider meet another rider who is close to them and see them get all stoked to have someone to ride with near them.

I truly have a good time whenever I am in the dirt so whether it is “going all out” for me or helping newer riders, I love it all.

Run us through the list of bikes you have had?

In 2008 I bought a 1986 Honda Nighthawk 750 and within a few weeks, hit sand in an apex, laid it down and was hospitalized for a few weeks. My family wanted me to take a break from riding, so I respected that. In 2016, things changed and I was able to purchase a Kawasaki Versys with the intent to ADV it out and do some Dual-sport rides. After some fun adventures and mishaps I decided that I wanted something a little more dirt worthy, so I sold the Versys and bought my first dirt bike in May of 2017 which was my 1993 XR250r.  

babes in the dirt

What do you ride now?

We just bought my dream bike, a 2018 Husqvarna FE250 and I could not be more excited for the adventures to come. My first ride on her was just this Christmas at Hungry Valley OHV. We had set up one of those impromptu campouts and I was stoked to get on that maiden dirt voyage. As I confidently threw my leg over my new steed, I put her in first, let out the clutch and promptly stalled it and did a slow-motion fall to the ground.

As we set out on the group ride I knew that I felt very uncomfortable on the bike and I felt I was going to hurt myself if I tried to keep up but didn’t know the bike yet, so I broke off from the group for a few hours and just did my own thing. No pressure, no audience, just me, my bike and my own thoughts. After that I was able to ride with more confidence and a lot less of a death grip.

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

2019 Husqvarna 701. We would love to be able to travel more by two wheels and check off some bucket list items. Having something a bit more street orientated with some off-road capabilities would help get some of that list knocked out.

Tell us what you love about the bike you ride now? Why did you choose that bike?

I was able to log some solid hours on the FE250 at Babes in the dirt last year. I think you could equate it to a groupie who just lingers near the bands dressing room, that was me at the Husqvarna demo booth (Hi Allison, it’s USAdrienne!) After taking it out for several rides, I was hooked. The throttle response, the suspension, right out of the gate it felt like a bike that met my current skill level but would also allow me to level up. The best part is it rides like a track bike but is plated for the times I do hit a dual sport ride or need to get from trail to trail.

It also comes down to how I was treated by Husqvarna and how they support riders especially us women. I was treated like I was family from the moment I skipped up the husky booth with childlike glee. They were great with the barrage of questions I had for them and when they had demos going out but had a bike that was not getting ridden, they allowed me to join the demo ride again.

Where did you buy your bike from? How was your experience at the dealership?

We live at least 3 hours from the closest dealer, so I had to call several places to get quotes and talk about what I needed as a rider and what I was willing to spend. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with a few of the shops I reached out to as there was a lack of willingness to help someone who had to drive to see their product. I get cash in hand talks, but I was talked down to by some dealers or they would not deal with me over the phone at all. I was able to speak with Victor from HYR in Redlands and they were amazing to work with and gave me a great deal on the moto. For us, pulling the trailer, it was over a 5hr drive but it was worth the drive knowing I was being taken care of and my money was going to a shop that seemed to treat everyone with respect.  

babes in the dirt

What kind of terrain do you like riding the best?

Isn't any terrain the best terrain on a dirt bike?! To narrow it down, I really enjoy technical terrain, however you categorize that. It could be the single track that is sloughing away to a steep drop and you keep telling yourself “keep your eyes ahead...” The chunky rock section that has you working that clutch and picking your lines just so, or the steep, rutted, loose hill climb that has you sitting at the bottom of it for a few seconds, trying to pump yourself up for what is to come. I like any terrain that challenges me and helps me progress.  

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

I thoroughly enjoy but am not great at rocky enduro type terrain. I find keeping the momentum through the chunk can be difficult or I’ll get in my own head and start to think too much about a rock coming up in my path and grab a fist of brake. At the same time, I love the feeling of being in control yet on the verge of being bucked off. Lots of clutch control to work on for me but again, that is why I love the braap so much, you generally can grow as a rider, as much as you are willing to push yourself.

What is the most challenging riding experience you have had?

A month or two into first starting to ride, I was all about enduro. @Crystal_loves_moto this, @Megs_braap that. I was determined to Jarvis off and do my own thing one day, so the fiancé and I went to Ballinger Canyon and I was just going to “explore” and putt-putt around for a “chill ride.” So we went our separate ways and I went to explore this little area I had eyed before that had a dry little creek bed next to it. As I explored, I thought in all my wisdom, what a great place to practice these enduro skills that I have mastered in all my two months of riding and watching videos.

I rode to the creek bed thinking I’ll drop in there and play around these rocks, it is narrow but passable. It is about a 4ft drop into the bed and as I started to drop in, I got a better visual of where I thought I could exit out of and realized, it was impassable and... the front wheel goes down. I looked back up to where I came from and there was no way I was getting it back up, so I had to forge on. With the bike being flooded and the kickstand sinking in when I tried to kick it over, I struggled for over an hour to get the bike to start in the mid-day August heat. It ended up being so sandy and deep that I dug my wheel in many times. With getting stuck several times and stalling the bike, the 1 hour or so adventure turned into a 3-hour knock-down, drag out fight with the terrain and my bike. When I got back to camp the fiancé asked how many miles I got in and I think I pulled a whopping 0.75 miles that day but many lessons learned. 

babes in the dirt

Where are some of your favorite places to ride?

Hollister Hills OHV  ranks pretty high on the list for several reasons. It combines two of my favorite things camping and dirt bikes. The park really offers a new rider a variety of terrain in a more controlled setting and for me that was really helpful to focus on my riding more than worrying about traffic coming at me at times, as Hollister has many one-way trails. One of my favorite areas there is the enduro course and the trials course. From my first visit there I eyed this big tire in the enduro course and a log drop at the trials course. I kept telling myself you are going to hit those one day and with knees shaking and heart punding, one visit I mustered the mental strength to do it. The first attempt on the tire, not bad, I made it, hit the throttle a bit too much at the top and front wheel lifted a bit, it made the landing a bit sketchy but I pulled it off. I thought, lets’ do it again, get better at it! I approached it and just as I was about to go over my brain went weird, I got scared and I just rolled off the throttle and stalled at the top and toppled over. Bike upside down, oil dripping down the frame, there was only one thing to do, take a picture. There are a few goal trails there as well that I want to ride now that I have the Husky like Troll trail but the poison oak factor makes me wonder how worth it the trail is, when I get exposed to that evil leaf, it is no joke. 

I also fell in love with Kennedy Meadows my one time there. I wish I could build a little homestead and live there fulltime. The place for me, has been the best overall riding and camping experience for me, it is just so gorgeous. The trees and meadows, the creeks, the wildlife; Kennedy Meadows just meets every expectation for me when it comes to combining my love of nature, camping and dirt bike riding. The trails vary quite a bit but unless you are an adventurous beginner, it has some fairly technical terrain. I was really able to surprise myself there and made it through many spots that myself and others were standing by waiting for the topple. I really look forward to getting back out there in 2019.

What is on your moto bucket list to ride?

Big Bear, Forest Hill Trail 6, B.C area, Moab, Sawtooth mountains, Tillamook area, race the Donner Hare scramble and many more.

Do you ride with a lot of other female riders?

I have a really solid set of ladies that I have a great time riding with, they live 3-4hours away from me but we seem to find the time to meet up and ride together every few months or so. It goes back to how supportive it can be riding with other women and the growth and bonding you all develop over it. I am able to be a small part of a bigger picture in many ways as a female rider and I really enjoy trying to foster those relationships with other female riders. I enjoy going fast and getting out of my comfort zone but at 36, I have nothing to prove, other than something to myself. With that being said, I really enjoy riding with new riders whether leading or sweeping with a group or just going out to have a good time. I like to see how they learn and if I am lucky to ride with them down the road, to see how much they have progressed. I think some of us ladies, and I am guilty of it, get in our own heads and think we are holding up a group or you don't want to be the “liability person,” You're not, ride your own ride, progress at your own pace.

The bummer thing is I don’t really have anyone that I ride with locally, it would be really nice to rip around with some ladies but they are few and far between, if you know of any that want to ride, send them my way!  

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

I look up to so many riders for many different reasons and wish I could list them all but certainly my friend Avila (@avy119). I met her and her husband at one of the random rides we threw together at Hungry Valley. She is a blast to ride with, is willing to try any trail and gets through it with a smile.

My friend CJ (@radical_budhist) also comes to mind. She is someone who I have had the pleasure of watching progress so much since we first started riding together. She was another gal I met through one of those impromptu campouts up at Hollister Hills when we both were pros on fire roads. She is always in a rad mood, keeping the group smiling and willing to push her comfort zone. We all share so many “woohoos!” on our rides.

I look up to all the ladies of the dirt world who are making it happen; @Babesinthedirt and all you have put into this, it has changed my life as rider. Babes has exposed me to opportunities and people I may have never met otherwise. The @dirt_ladies group and what we are trying to do with getting more women riding together and being able to connect with one another.

Last but not least, my fiancé. He has been my number one fan from day one. Always supportive of my riding. Has helped celebrate triumphs, listened to my frustrations and always makes sure that the bike keeps running so we could do it all over again. There is no one I would rather have as my road dog in life. 

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

One of the best experiences of my life thus far! 2018 was my first year at Babes in the Dirt and

I rolled in early Friday and helped volunteer for the morning until my afternoon Husqvarna demo. I was so excited to try a new bike but super nervous as well. The demo was well paced, everyone had everyone's back and the Husqvarna crew made sure that you were taken care of and had a good time. I was able to meet many of the gals I follow on Instagram and that was so neat to put faces to the names and even ride with a few. That night I made my rounds to the many trailers, tents and car campers that I wanted to say hi to. It felt like there was not enough time in this day, I wanted it to go on but sleep was needed so I reluctantly wandered back to camp for some Zzz’s.

Saturday had lots of opportunities, and it was hard to choose which to do; a Husqvarna demo, ride trail or track in the park with friends, play games at the various booths, check out the cool gear at the Fox Women’s booth or just get to know these ladies who you may only get to see once a year. Some of the dirt ladies set up a small beginner’s ride for a few ladies and we had a great time watching these gals really come out of their comfort zone and own the trails. I think that is one of the biggest things I think a lot of ladies can get out of female only events, you get a different support system, you learn that you are doing okay and that many other ladies are in the same boat. You meet ladies that are rippers but just want to support another rider and are just stoked to see you out on the trail. You also meet newer riders and you bond over the same triumphs and experiences.

Saturday night consisted of merriment and karaoke. I may or may not have had a great time embarrassing myself while singing Macklemore’s “Thrift shop” while coming down with a  cold. 

Sunday was time to say our “See you next years.” We shook the weekends sand off and helped each other load up and prepare for our various distances home. Before leaving I was able to take Brian Garrahan’s group training that afternoon and he made that was such a fun experience. I went into the class thinking I knew a fair amount of the basics for riding but found many techniques that could improve my riding or ways to refine what I was already doing but make it safer and in turn, riding into more fun.

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

Just be you. We all get into riding dirt for different reasons and throughout your whole moto journey you will be exposed to different types of riders and types of riding but as long as you are true to the reason you ride, the ride will always be fun and always be yours.

It is easy to get into your own head, to think maybe you are not improving enough or when you are riding with people that you are the one, “keeping them back,” you are not. It may not happen overnight but you will find your “people.” The ones you look up to and the ones that look up to you. The ones that keep pushing you to do more because they know you can and the ones that will help push your bike back up the hill when maybe it did not all go to plan. Riding is an adventure and all adventures have ups and downs, just remember, you are doing this for you and no one else, when that is the motivation that is when it really becomes fun.

Anything else you would like to add?

A big thanks to all the ladies and men behind the scenes who are supportive in getting more women riding and having fun in the dirt. Instagram groups like @Dualsportwomen , @WLFenduro, @National_Forest_Riders (NFR) and @Corva are all doing things to help support all riders and our riding community. Husqvarna motorcycles are at the forefront of highlighting this movement of women riders and putting their money where their mouth is.

Fox Womens with their support and proactiveness with their female riding audience’s needs and wants as riders.

And of course, to ALL who have supported me through this journey of mine. It has been such a fun and wild ride since I started riding a year and some change ago. When I joined Instagram, I wanted to try and find more women to ride with and to highlight the struggles and triumphs of someone my age, who just started getting into riding a dirt bike. I have made so many friends and have been able to follow along with so many adventures of others. I look forward to many more years making a fool….er…improving my skills as a rider and look forward to enjoying that journey with others as well. Cheers to #2019yearofthebraap.

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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