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Old 01-13-2010, 12:09 AM   #1
nicomama OP
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Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
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Solo Chick Nicomama Kickin' it New School in San Diego's Back Country

Well, since I'm signed up to get down and dirty for my first time with March Madness Death Valley ride's wild 2010 group, I thought it'd be wise to get some top notch dirt schoolin' from one of the best dirt bike schools around this last weekend...



Thanks to J Sheets, or jjustj around here whom I met through my solo Grand Canyon ride report, I was introduced to two of the neatest and accomplished MSF and ASI licensed instructors and motocross racers...Bonnie Warch and Andrea Beach of Coach2ride.

I signed up immediately and was thrilled to find out that I was only sharing Bonnie's instruction with another rider, Paul, out of Calabasas, CA.



Here are Bonnie and Andrea showcasing the motocross talent and experience that they bring to back up their easy-going and adaptable instructional style.

Bonnie and Andrea adjust the course based on your current riding ability whether you are a green as Kermit beginner, advanced MX shredder or studly world ADV rider. All types of riders can benefit from Coach2ride's custom tailored dirt school.

Make sure to sign up for the oh-so-popular 2 day dirt course that has you tackling proper riding technique drills the first day and then hitting some exciting trail rides to put your recently acquired knowledge to the test the second day.



Since I wanted to use my own bike, Bonnie suggested I trailer my DRZ for the 3 hour trip from Los Angeles to Ramona in the back country of San Diego where the school is located.

So, I borrowed a Mototote and no sooner did I load the thing before I realized that there was a hitch in the plans. The new lockable hitch pin didn't fit and the old one was misplaced.



So, what does any respectable adventure rider do for plan B? Hop on the bike, of course! Sure, I had to streamline my duffle bag contents, but at 4 in the afternoon on a Friday on the infamous 405 freeway out of Los Angeles I sure was glad that splitting lanes was in my vocabulary.

I whipped out my handy ratchet straps to crank down my load before zipping off on my adventure. For those of you who need a reminder of how to work these straps I took a few extra shots to show you.

They come in two pieces like this, so...



first I grab the long strap with my right hand and thread it all the way through the underside of the pin...



Then I thread it up around the back side of the pin and down into the half-way slit of the pin...



Then you pull it through the bottom of the pin back over the other part of the strap and take up the extra slack...



Then you secure the hooks into your rack with the ratchet side of the straps facing up...



And lastly, you grab the rubber ratchet release with your thumb and squeeze it as you crank it back onto itself to start ratcheting.



Voila, now I have a load that won't budge on the Rugged Rider 2-in-1 DRZ cargo rack that I designed.

Here's my DRZ with the Sport Rack that follows the lines of the fender for daily cargo carry...







And for those longer adventure rides just bolt on the Adventure Rack...



And you're ready to strap on larger adventure loads...







Off I flew as I navigated through LA traffic with a smile on my face. How great it was to be greeted by my old UCSB roommate, Chris, and her family in Carlsbad for a night of great food, lots of laughter and endless catching up.

It sure felt like home...




Got a little beauty sleep before hitting the road in the morning for an hour long sunrise jaunt to Ramona on scenic hwy 78 to the Barona Speedway in the gorgeous back country of San Diego. Post more tomorrow guys.
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:11 AM   #2
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Thanks for the pictorial introduction

On to Plan B
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Old 01-13-2010, 06:43 AM   #3
refokus
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I will be waiting for the rest of the report. Good Luck.......
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Old 01-13-2010, 07:36 AM   #4
jeff_in_rc
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Laugh

Looking good so far and I just LOVE your rack!

Woa there guys, I'm talking about the rack on the DRZ, now get you minds outta the gutter!

Which mount did you use for the Cycra hand guards, the bar mount or the top triple clamp mount? I just put a set of Cycra's on my DRZ and used the triple clamp mount and they sure seem soild.
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Old 01-13-2010, 07:58 AM   #5
DaFoole
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That is a nicely set up DRZ!!!!

What kind of headlight/windshield set up is that??

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Old 01-13-2010, 09:16 PM   #6
nicomama OP
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Thanks Gadget Boy and Desert Rider.

Jeff in RC, I have the triple clamp mount for the Cycras like you and absolutely love how solid they are when the bike takes a dirt nap. Thanks for the compliment on the rack. I knew you weren't in the gutter.

DaFoole, love your name. My headlight is a Baja Designs Sol Tek 8"er. It sure lights up the way after the sun drops fast. As for the windshield, I got the Dart flyscreen for the Triumph Scrambler out of the UK. It looked like it was close enough to jerry rig to the DRZ, and I did. You can check out the 7th page of my Grand Canyon ride report about half way down to see my homemade bracket setup that cost me a couple bucks at the local hardware store.


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Old 01-13-2010, 11:19 PM   #7
nicomama OP
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On to the Dirt Class

Saturday morning's sunrise 38 mile ride on the 78 hwy through Escondido was a little slice of heaven what with its farmland, horse country and hill twisties. Didn't know I'd have this much fun even before I got my dirt legs.

Lovin' the scenery...




And, then a bigger smile took over as soon as I spotted the twisties up ahead...




When you live in the city there is nothing like a little country to brighten your day. Make that a little horse country...



Got to the Barona Speedway outside of the quaint little city of Ramona around 8:30a. This track is a popular spot and apparently the only clay track around, so the dragsters, muscle cars and race bikes had already started lining up to try their hand at an ego boost...



As soon as I pulled up, I noticed that Andrea was already helping her two kid students for the day and their dads unload their bikes...



One of the great things about Coach2ride is that Bonnie and Andrea match the wide array of loaner bikes to the ability of the rider, and the cost of renting the bike and protective gear is included in the $175 course price. What a bargain!!

As introductions were beginning, I quickly scanned the range and noticed cones were already set up on slightly sloped ground for Paul and I to get some good practice turning and braking on uphills and downhills...



Andrea coached the two 8 and 9 year old boys that day on a separate range. One of the boys had no experience on a bike whatsoever. But, with Andrea's easy-going way, kid-friendly instruction and lots of encouragement, she had him using a clutch and confidently tackling technique easily by the end of the day.

Here Andrea goes over the features of the bike...



How Bonnie and Andrea slowly move from theory to practical is a brilliant confidence builder. They have the riders sit or stand on the bike to get a feel for the maneuver in a static position, while holding the bike in place...



Here Andrea stresses the importance of elbows up for a stronger riding position and easier reaction on the grips and levers...



In no time the boys were cornering and braking smoothly with Andrea's expert instruction...



Then it was our turn to get started. Bonnie grabbed a Yamaha WR250 for Paul and began going over the features...



We couldn't wait to hop on our bikes and get out for some practical experience on the range. With only two of us in the class we got extra special attention and were able to pinpoint what techniques we needed additional work on and put the extra time into nailing them.

What's wonderful about Bonnie and Andrea's instructional approach is that even with a larger class with various skill levels they customize the curriculum to engage and challenge on all levels. Everyone walks away thrilled with the new knowledge and riding confidence that they have acquired by the end of the class.

Here Bonnie demonstrates the technique for lightening the bike to get over obstacles...



We really worked on controlled slow speed, which was somewhat difficult for my DRZ's touchy throttle in first when practicing standing and turning. But, like with all things, practice is key. You just need to get out there and run it over and over again and then take it to the trails.

Bonnie and Andrea have chosen the most perfect venue for this dirt bike school on the Barona Speedway grounds. You not only have plenty of range room for practicing technique drills, but there is also a wide spectrum of types of terrain to practice on throughout the immediate area ranging from ruts, hills, obstacles, gravel to sand. Plus, right off the range there was a challenging little single track that gave us some good practice for our 2nd day trail ride.

By the end of Saturday, Paul and I had gained some great confidence in our dirt abilities and were so ready to take Bonnie's thorough instruction, inspirational riding ability and encouragement to the next level.

Andrea loaded the trailer...



before posing for a photo with Bonnie and the rig...



We had definitely worked up an appetite after a day of drills and could already feel our bodies and the effects on unused muscles.

So, it was off to the nearby town of Ramona, where the local coffee shop has a feed post to tie up horses as you sip your brew.

We opted for a family-run colorful Mexican restaurant to satisfy our hunger. Although, we got momentarily side-tracked as we walked past a furniture store only to find a miniature furry donkey on a leash out for a walk.

Bob, one of Andrea's racing sponsors who owns Ramona Cycle Supply joined us for lunch with his wife, Pat, and granddaughters.

Here is one of his granddaughters totally enthralled by the "oversized doggy"...



As we stepped into the El Michoacan, we were greeted by colorful decor, a wonderful warming fire place and an oldfashioned jukebox that got the girls dancing to work up their appetites...



I ordered a chicken salad to keep it on the small side, so I would still be hungry when I got back to my friend Chris' house and their delicious bbq...




After an enjoyable late lunch and a fun recounting of the day with the group, I hopped on my bike and was met by a sky on fire with one of the most gorgeous sunsets I've seen in awhile. What a way to start my ride back.

Once I got to my friend Chris' house, her husband Steve slapped some fillet mignons on the grill while pan grilling sliced onions. Chris took care of the roasted asparagus and we were salivating while the aroma filled the air...




What a way to end an already perfect day. Ahhh, sitting down to this tantalizing and flavorful meal and sharing stories over dinner really made me count my blessings. It's these beautiful friendships that are the true wealth in our lives.

This slab 'o' beef aint half bad either...




After continuing hours of catching-up conversation, I hit the sack to be ready for my initiation into dirt trail riding. I was chompin' at the bit.
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Old 01-14-2010, 02:12 AM   #8
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I'm in. Crap. Sucked into another ride report. What a loser.

By the way, some nice trails up there around Ramona. I haven't 2 wheeled it there, yet, but I've done both kinds of 4 wheelin' up there, quad and truck....
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:39 AM   #9
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Looks like you're havin' fun! Keep it comin'
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:51 AM   #10
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Interesting stuff............
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:59 AM   #11
rockjohn
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nicomama, I love your rack . I just picked up a 400E for my son so I"ll be ordering one next week, also he's only 5'7" would you recommend the seat your using. Good luck and thanks for another great post.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:36 AM   #12
nicomama OP
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JPDude, yeah the trails are loads of fun in a beautiful setting and with varied terrain like dust, rocks, boulders, sand, big ruts, etc. Plus, they are all fairly close together, so you could keep going back to the area and not see the same ones twice for awhile. Let us know when you get your bike out there.

Gadget Boy, thanks for your devotion

Thorne, thanks for your interest.

Rockjohn, good to hear from you again. Thanks for the support on the rack. Your son and I are just a half inch in height apart. I'm 5'6 1/2". I had the DRZ lowered, because it's such a tall bike. Slapped some #3 Kouba links on, which bought me about 1 3/4". I then got the Suzuki gel seat, which was slightly better than stock, but not nice enough to my backside on longer rides. That's when I discovered the amazing Renazco Racing seats.

Chris Hickson out of Washington state will treat you right and give you a piece of art custom carved to your specifications that looks incredible on your bike. I couldn't recommend them highly enough!

I put some good miles on that seat for a week straight on my Grand Canyon trip and came out the other side with a happy butt.

Notice the wider lines of the seat from above to cover the "spread"...



Mine is black suede on top, which provides great friction to stay in the seat on the trails...



Thanks for your interest guys. We're having a ball aren't we?!
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:37 AM   #13
simon@vic
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nice bike!!

what headlight is this?
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:50 AM   #14
DougZ73
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Hey Nico...good repping of the DRZ.

I am surprised you left the rack side extender mounts on for the course??
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:42 AM   #15
Colemanfu
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Nice rack - I also like the close up pix of the strap.
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