Staying motivated through the early falling down stages

Discussion in 'Trials' started by fprintf, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. fprintf

    fprintf Been here awhile

    Oct 24, 2017
    Connecticut, USA
    In the Trials videos discussion Heffergm posted:

    So what did you do to stay motivated to ride trials through the early falling down stages?

    I suppose it might also make a difference but when you began riding trials were you an adult or child?

    If you have any recommendations for new riders starting out, what would you say to encourage them to keep at it and not fall into the 90% that give it up?

    I'm asking this for myself since I have a habit of getting just good enough at a hobby and then giving it up (windsurfing, radio control sailplanes, guitar, bagpipes and more!) But I'm also thinking if it is that common for people to give trials up that it is a problem that needs solving in order to keep enough people interested in it!
    Ontario GS likes this.
  2. jonnyc21

    jonnyc21 Trials Ninja

    Feb 8, 2011
    Boise aria
    For me not giving up fell away early, and two things played into it me staying with it.

    First, I wanted a bike sport that my wife and daughter could do with me and I saw this as a much safer and more effective way to do that.

    Second, I had a great pair of mentors that showed me the ropes and warned me about the difficulties I would have so I was more prepared for the up and coming challenge.

    That and I enjoyed my first day on one and the challenge in itself even before I got my fist lesson from my friends, so maybe I was just destined for trials from the start? :dunno
    Kiharaikido, DyrWolf and fprintf like this.
  3. Kiharaikido

    Kiharaikido Been here awhile

    Dec 22, 2016
    I started trials to learn how to better ride my adv bike and because I could ride on my property. The challenge is what I like, the finess. I teach/learn a form if aikido that was refined down to balance, momentum and timing. All power based movements were removed. If the smallest girl could not perform the movement on the largest guy, it was not 'pure' thus removed. Aikido was the one thing that will occupy my brain to the point I can ignore everything else. There are two things now. Trials is aikido on two wheels. Its the combination of my two favorite (solo) activities, Aikido and dirt bikes. I can't speak to helping someone keep interested in trials. Its the end all be all of motorcycle riding for me so losing interest is unlikely. I feel like you either 'get' it or you don't. My only problem with trials is I didn't discover it until my late 30's.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  4. I don't know if it's 'that common' for people to give up trials, I'm just extrapolating based on myself, which is bound to be wrong since I'm abnormal ;)

    In any case, I can answer for myself:

    - I started riding dirt bikes at around 12 years old or so, just trail stuff with friends. I probably rode for 4 or 5 years
    - I moved all around after uni, and gave up any dirt stuff in favor of street bikes and a brief road racing stint for the next couple decades
    - in my mid 30's I started running and cycling again (I did both as a kid/young adult), and a few years in promptly detonated a knee. So no more bicycle and no more running, at least not without some amount of agony, so that's done
    - to find something to use to stay in shape outdoors, I decided to get a dirt bike and do some enduro stuff. It was fine for a year or two, but (a) it turns out I'm slow, (b) I'm old and (c) the crowd was ok but nothing I wanted to hang around for. Plus the fear of eating a tree is way higher than a trials crash....
    - I happened across a trials event ~4 years ago, signed up for a morning class they were doing where you could borrow a bike and get a feel for things, and promptly sold all my enduro bikes (by 'all' I mean 1). So my first time on a trials bike I was 39 or so.

    So that was sort of my path into trials. The next two years consisted of:

    - me DNF'ing half of the events I entered (which were probably around half of the total events that were on offer in a given year)
    - feeling beat up enough to wonder if I really wanted to continue doing this
    - me practicing a ton in the yard (I have a couple acres, nothing crazy)
    - trying to find a club to join

    The two years after that I decided to go full bore, do all the events, get in as good a shape as I could, and try for a class championship... I ended up third, which I took as pretty decent considering the competition, and the next year moved up a class. I ended up fourth, which if you subtract Wayne (don't ask) puts me third again, and again, the competition is pretty good, so I'm happy enough. I'm riding the same class again this year, where I'll be going head to head with a guy nearing 60 and a kid graduating high school... Probably won't find that in a lot of sports.

    So I guess in answer to your questions, I'd say this:
    - for new riders starting out, before you put any pressure on yourself in an event, recognize that you're going to need to be in decent bike shape to just ride the loop. Don't feel bad if you're destroyed, the fitness will come, but you'll probably need to put some effort in unless you can ride a lot outside of events.
    - in regards to staying into it, I'd say come at it with a goal... whether it's just to hang out, get in better shape, get better on the bike, win, whatever. You need something to keep you pointed towards coming to each event (assuming we're talking about riding events being synonymous with staying 'in' trials)

    With trials, you're never going to be 'perfect' at it... but whatever your level, it feels to me like it's a sport you can keep progressing at, which I think is what has kept me into it (aside from the fact that I just like things with two wheels). Plus the people are good, it's relaxed, if I podium it's a great day, and then everybody hangs out for a bit and talks about their day.
    grizCP, Huzband, hdscarbro and 7 others like this.
  5. BEEF706

    BEEF706 King of the dumb dab

    Sep 29, 2006
    Rio Rancho NM
    Wait some people stop falling down?:muutt
  6. Greebe

    Greebe Been here awhile

    Aug 6, 2010
    I just started last year and have learned much more then I thought I would in such a short time. Mostly that is because I am persistent and dedicated to learning. Falling is a part of learning. You will get good at the basics and stop falling, but then you will start to fall off the bike again when you attempt harder skills. Just part of learning and nothing to be discouraged by.

    One thing I learned this past year which was my first season competing, was ride an appropriate class to fit your skill level. I started in Intermediate for the first event and then rode Advanced. While I learned a lot riding advanced from the other riders, I also got more frustrated then if I had stuck to Intermediate. Since I plan to do this for a long time there is no reason to push my self too hard and risk injury or get discouraged and not have fun. This coming season which starts first of May, I am going to drop back to Intermediate and enjoy the sport more and get more experience and then maybe next year go back to Advanced.

    The biggest thing is to push yourself to learn, but do not overdo it and loose interest or get hurt. That is just my advice as a noob as well.
  7. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

    Dec 1, 2004
    Itasca, IL
    I'm sure you're going to get a lot of answers that seem similar but they're really all about the person that posted them. Staying motivated has to come from within. If you don't REALLY want to do something, you never will. That said, it's a lot easier if you have some friends that ride. Someone will always want to go play and then you'll have peer pressure keeping you on the bike and riding/practicing/learning.

    I began learning to ride (not just trials) in my late 20s. A good friend located a Honda Reflex (TLR200). I rode on and off until the early 2000s and then sold the bike. I got into dual sport riding (DR350SE, DR250SE, Trans-Alp, DR650SE, XR250R - in that order) for a while. About 4 years ago, a friend was selling his old Aprilia 280R Climber. I bought it because it reminded me of days past and was just too fun. After riding one event, I decided I enjoyed it enough to get something new(er). A 2014 Sherco 3.0 ST fell into my lap, courtesy of my local Sherco dealer. I won the Novice class (2016) that year while learning a lot. Last year, I managed to miss the entire season due to conflicts (my wife runs her own business and I help at trade shows). I rode one event, in Intermediate, and was rudely reminded how much practice and dedication this sport requires. I've competed in one event, so far, this year and am planning to run about 3/4 of the schedule. I'm still suffering from lack of practice.

    My issues are a lack of practice space (I live in a townhouse community in the 'burbs of Chicago). To go someplace to practice is at least an hour away. While I've made friends, none live close to me so I'm always riding alone. These two things are keeping me from progressing at a decent rate. So, there are times when I know I can ride better but don't and that's really frustrating. What keeps me going is that I enjoy it and my wife wants me to ride. I just need to get more practice (and some serious instruction).
    Huzband, DyrWolf and fprintf like this.
  8. MT 007

    MT 007 Been here awhile

    Mar 8, 2016
    Nova Scotia
    I stick with it because most people don't think I should, could or would ride a trials bike. When I went to watch my first event with my wife there was a guys observing with his head bolted to one of those halo things... my wife said "no way"! The next year I went to buy my first trials bike it was an old Fantic the dealer said I could ride it around the parking lot to try it out... I was putting around went to shift gears but given the shifter wasn't where it is on normal bike I lost my balance and somehow managed to go over the handlebars onto the pavement just as my wife was driving in... the dealer just laughed and asked if I had seen some spare change... again the answer was "no way"! A year later I bought a TLR200 to warm up to the sport (after all it had a seat)... but quickly realized it wasn't "a real trials bike"... so a year later I got the GG200 (promised my wife it would shave 15lbs off my belly in 2 months or I would sell it - and it did). Next problem was nobody was hosting events East of Quebec (1000 km away) so I started hosting events without ever actually riding in one that someone else had put on... I actually enjoy organizing events as much as I enjoy riding them. Been almost 10 years and I am still a novice at 55 riding a ST250 but I get out there and am constantly giving it my best and really enjoy the people. This year my goal is to loose that 15lbs again!
    Huzband, DyrWolf, Kiharaikido and 2 others like this.
  9. Greebe

    Greebe Been here awhile

    Aug 6, 2010
    Living in the city would definitely make it harder to practice. I am fortunate enough to live on 40 acres where I have set up trails in the woods and have been putting in sections to practice on. I also have started setting up practice areas in some of the field near the house. So until we get lots of snow, like we still have, I usually get to ride about 30 min to an hour each day as much as I want through the week. Usually I will practice 4-7 days a week when the weather is good. However living in the far north I have not been able to practice since late November because we have had so much snow this year. We had over 3 feet of snow at one point and keep getting more snow, currently we still have around 1-2 feet of snow in most places. It really needs to melt off as my first event is on May 5th.
    Huzband and fprintf like this.
  10. wheelieman14

    wheelieman14 Been here awhile

    Apr 14, 2014
    Though I started riding Trials in my mid-fifties I'm preparing to start my 4th competitive season. Having watched & worked at a few Vintage events, then the World Round in July 2015 sparked my interest to purchase a used modern bike. Rode 5 events in Novice (Senior C) class and finished 3rd overall. 2nd season plans were to take 1 step up to a slightly harder class and worked the 2nd event watching the next higher class ride the Expert Sections (Intermediate) and felt I was capable of that class sections. That was a disheartening experience; always finishing at the bottom of the results, but still managed to complete every event without a DNF, though many crashes took their toll.

    My GF, suggested that "you need to learn to HOP" to get better in the harder class. The problem with watching experienced riders in the harder classes - is that they can have countless years experience learning the basics and make navigating through a section appear to be "so easy"; you can easily get frustrated with your class selection. Until you can comfortably "balance in place" with minimal effort, you have no place trying to Hop; since that is really a more advanced technique.

    As far as falling down goes... You really need to wear proper protection (think elbow, forearm and knee guards) along with proper boots, gloves and helmet. The time I skipped out on protection while "practicing" sent me to the ED to irrigate an arm puncture.

    Trials can best be summarized as a fun time riding many different types of terrain with others of similar skills and learning from your mistakes. Last year (2017) I dropped down a class to focus on what the winners were doing and emulate them. It was my most successful season with several wins and podium finishes in Senior B to secure #1 plate for 2018. I plan on staying in this class for one more season, then possibly move up to Intermediate in 2019, where heffergm now rides.

    Find someone else that lives in your area and make an effort to practice riding together. Most people quit MotoTrials, because unless you have someone to ride with - it is easy to get bored and lose interest. That was the reason the seller of my 1st Trials bike sold it to me. fprintf - my suggestion is for you to "Ride" at the Trials Skills Clinic event in RI; rather than spectate it. We need to spend some time together at the club and I have a loaner bike for you to try.
  11. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

    Jun 5, 2008
    I too have to drive, but only about 1/2hr to an hr. There are some good practice spots but they are all under the radar. Two of my enduro friends got bikes they never ride so I mostly ride alone. I've ridden BMX and MTB my whole life, picked up dirt bikes at 24, got my first trials at 29, and am now 33. Been going to events for a year...

    It reminds me of hanging out as a kid on my BMX bike at the skatepark and I love the feeling of getting a new move or perfecting something I've been working on. That is what keeps me motivated and I don't take it very seriously. Because of the other stuff I do the fitness isn't a big draw, i'm mostly there for the mental challenge. If I'm sucking at turns I'll do something else that brings me more joy and come back to them when I'm in the groove. I pretty much have 3 or 4 things I'm "working on" at any moment and try to keep it relaxed.

    I agree about having goals, my initial goal was to comfortably ride the expert class in "my" club and I think I'm pretty close to that goal currently. After that like to be pack fill in "my" club's master class within the next year and also ride a national.
    grizCP, Number Seven, Ditch and 2 others like this.
  12. FYI guys, I think 'the falling down stages' was just a euphemism for being a beginner, lol.
    fprintf likes this.
  13. BEEF706

    BEEF706 King of the dumb dab

    Sep 29, 2006
    Rio Rancho NM
    I know now I just fall off of slightly bigger stuff. :jackI started pretty late and at 60 hav3e no illusions about ever really being good but I have never had more fun on a motorcycle than I do on a trials bike :clap
    NMTrailboss and Harry Potter like this.
  14. Brewtus

    Brewtus Buffoonery, Inc.

    Jul 30, 2008
    Portales, New Mexico
    Started at age 40 after Roadracing and Flattrack got too expensive for my poverty-stricken ass. Had been riding DS with NMTrailboss for a few years when he dragged me kicking and screaming into the Wonderful World of Trials. Been hooked ever since. :D

    Oh, and how I stayed motivated? Well, I drink.... :lol3
    NMTrailboss, Huzband and BEEF706 like this.
  15. 2whlrcr

    2whlrcr gooligan

    Jan 30, 2005
    Dubuque, Iowa
    At some point you just have to realize...that you're just going to suck.:1drink
    Bucho, Norman Foley, 10K and 2 others like this.
  16. Huzband

    Huzband Team Dirt

    Oct 4, 2006
    Cowford, Fl.
    I started riding trials when I was 14, so motivation was never an issue. Now that I'm 60, I wouldn't call what keeps me at it motivation, but rather pure bullheaded stubbornness.
    slicktop, Brewtus and VxZeroKnots like this.
  17. lineaway

    lineaway Long timer

    Oct 1, 2011
    Falling off is just par for the course. You need to learn when to grab for the clutch and save yourself. Or quit riding things that are out of your ability. Speaking of ability and the humbling experience of the first time attempting to ride a trials/ or just the bike itself. I find most people that quit right away cannot come to terms with there own lack of ability, with all those years of thinking they can handle a bike. Just get over the fact the rest of us really do not care if you suck. (Although it could be entertaining.) Trials is about you against yourself. the obstacle and then becoming a part of the bike in motion. Riders in general will help you get better and feel more confident. We have so many riders in our club that have just got slowly better through the years. Myself I used to crash alot when I first started. Mainly since I could not touch the ground on my Montesa. Now 46 years later I have started to crash alot and it is mainly I wait too long to dab. (Or my brain is getting slower). Just keep with it and remember to have fun.
  18. NMTrailboss

    NMTrailboss Team Dead End

    Mar 1, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    You're welcome! :nod

  19. Norman Foley

    Norman Foley Devotee of the Husqvarna Supporter

    Mar 20, 2004
    New York... The Finger Lakes
    I'm not naturally talented and every bit is hard earned.... I ride with a good bunch and they are very encouraging of new riders. Right now my bad hip is holding me back and I crash at times when I shouldn't. My hip surgery is a month away and I look forward to less pain and more flexibility. I'm hooked, determined and trials is just too much fun!

    I have a friend who started trials about the same time as me and is a gifted MX rider, who made a good transition to woods riding. He gave up on trials as it's a hard transition for him. He can't be bothered by a long learning curve. A big loss for him and us, as he's a great guy.

    It goes the other way too though.... Another friend is a good Intermediate trials rider and a fast MX rider. He begged me to take him trail riding and has a nice Beta 300RR enduro bike. We ride tight technical woods and I thought he would excel at it. Not the case at all.... He really struggled reading trail and going at any pace. He quit on me and just rode the vintage MX track portion of the loop. Guys on vintage bikes race portions of this woods loop in an AHRMA XC race, so it wasn't a total death march and I thought a good introduction to woods riding. I didn't expect that at all.
    fprintf likes this.
  20. Buschog

    Buschog Long timer

    Nov 13, 2015
    Carson City, NV
    For me, trials (mentally) is like golf. I can ride like shit all day. And then that one move goes perfect, smooth, fluid.

    I like competition. It's fun to see how I compare to other riders in my class. But mainly I'm my only competition.

    I have to be able to step back and see my own progression, and not compare it to other riders. I don't get to practice as much as I'd like, so my progression seems slow sometimes. I rode this past weekend and was amazed at some of the stuff I was doing. Big (for me) ups and downs that I thought 2 years ago were simply impossible. Huge adrenaline rush. Even more so, or at least more pertinent to my growth...

    Going downhill, off a 2-foot rock, into a tight (for me) 180° off-camber turn, all within 1.5 bike lengths in soft sand. I ran that sumbitch a dozen times before I listened to fellow riders say "ALL of your weight on the outside peg". I instantly went from no-friken-way, to cleaning it 75% of the time. I must have rode that section another hundred times over the weekend because... well, because I learned how to do it.