Gospel of Two Wheels #5 OIL!!!

Hey, here is our newest live show that we broadcast on Facebook.  We are calling this show the Gospel of Two Wheels!  If you want to follow us on FB, click here.

This week Morgan went on and on about oil.  He talks about 2 stroke oil, gear oil and 4 stroke motor oil.  He has some pretty strong opinions about this topic that might be counter to what you think.  Take some time to watch this and if you disagree, let us know, yell at us, post it on social media!  We are all about it!

DIRTBIKES!!

Live Shows!

Hey everyone!  How is it going?  We have been crazy busy having fun, fixing DIRTBIKES and now... Shooting live videos at the shop!  That's right, we are going full tilt into live broadcasts, trying to bring you guys good content that is fun to watch and informative.  We have 5 up now and the response has been really good so far.  I haven't been putting out the blog too much because of the time we have been putting into the broadcasts.  Anyway, I figured I would drop a post here with the links to all of the shows so you can catch up if you haven't seen them.  We are doing them all on Facebook Live right now but might include YouTube live in the future.  Here they are!  If you have any suggestions for more shows, please comment below or email me at morgan@highland-cycles.com

 

 

Sargents Colorado

Sargents Colorado is hardly a town at all and you’d miss it if you blinked while driving by but you be making a big mistake if you didn’t make a plan to bring your DIRTBIKE and spend a few days in what is becoming a DIRTBIKE mecca!

Sargents boasts a permanent population of 21 hearty souls and is the smallest town in the country with more than one thing on the national historic register.  Both the schoolhouse and water tank made the list.  It is situated at the Western base of Monarch pass and 32 miles East of Gunnison, which isn’t a very big town itself.  Despite being in “the middle of nowhere,” the Tomichi Creek Trading Post has all of the amenities you really need.  

The Trading post is owned by Yon Iaccio who is a hardcore moto enthusiast and he and his staff have done an amazing job renovating and updating the Trading Post.  The restaurant is great (try the western burger, it's awesome) and the bar is well stocked.  They offer 91 octane Ethanol FREE gas at the pump so you don’t have to transport your's long distances if you don’t want to.  The trading post also offers camping and cabins out back.  While being super close to the Highway isn’t a woodsy getaway, it is incredibly convenient and well equipped.  We recently spent 2 nights in a simple pull-through RV spot with our pop up and it was great.  

The single best reason to visit Sargents Colorado with your DIRTBIKE is the riding!  The trails near Sargents are world class and there are tons of them.  You can ride right from town (definitely no police checking for license plates in town) into some of the most beautiful terrain on the planet.  Imagine Taylor Park (which isn’t far away) but before all of the bikes tore it up.  That’s right, there is still dirt in the trails and it is amazing!  You can access the Continental Divide Trail via numerous routes and you can tie into all of the area classics like Taylor and Crested Butte if you have the skill and a credit card to refuel.  

I wouldn’t say that the trails near Sargents are for everyone.  There really isn’t anything easy or beginner level.  It is the deep end of the single track pool and there are some of the gnarliest routes around out there.  If you like a challenge that is set in the most scenic place in the country, you will LOVE Sargents.  Even the most traveled of the trails have some really tough sections. There is almost always some Erzberg-esque giant rock garden separating you from the next intersection and that is exactly why we LOVE the area.  On my most recent trip I brought my boys who are 9 and 11 and ride a KX65 and CR85 respectively and we managed to get a solid 20 miles of riding done so its not all super hard.  There are lots of roads in the area too if you just want to cruise around and do some sight seeing.  The Dual Sport opportunities are endless too.  

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As with most of the best riding areas, having a local guide is the best way to see the area but there really aren’t any commercial guides in the area so you’ll need to befriend someone or beg Yon to take you out.  Latitude 40 makes a great map of the area and there are quite a few options on Avenza Maps too.  We love to just get out there and get lost, then find our way back when we get to a new area.  That is part of the adventure right?    

If you have any more questions about a Sargents Adventure, give us a call or shoot us an email and we can get you pointed in the right direction!  Below are some helpful links for you to plan your own adventure!  No matter what you do, make sure you have fun and get out and ride your DIRTBIKES!!!

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Black Hills of South Dakota

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Summer is going well and riding has been epic here in the Montrose valley but the lack of winter snow and no rain is causing it to become pretty freaking dusty pretty freaking early.  We had all been talking about our lack of motivation to go breathe dust and then “DING” my Facebook messenger goes off.  I check the notification and see that it's from a friend in Sargents CO.  This dude is a bad man on a motorbike and I have been wanting to ride with him for a long time and I was over the moon to see that he was inviting me to ride.  But there was a hitch, he wants to go to South Dakota??  What?  We live in dirt bike mecca so why travel, especially 11 hours to a state known for flat ground and a ridiculous Harley rally.  

But its THAT guy, and it must be good if he is going to drive that far.  Then there was the issue of getting out of work and leaving the family behind for an extended weekend.  I thought about it for a bit then decided that I should at least ask my amazing wife if it would be ok.  In true 21st century fashion, I texted her the question and then crossed my fingers.  To my surprise, she quickly answered, “Sure, you should do something fun.”  YEAH! I have the best woman on earth.  Now I just have to convince my boss to let me go.  Now, my boss is a hard driving, hard working, jerk of a man but he also understands that some free time is good for the soul.  It also helps that he is ME since I own the shop.  I granted myself the time off and told my buddy that I was IN!  

He quickly responded that the riding is EPIC single track and that I was going to love it.  He also gives me the roster of riders and I realize immediately that I am not going to be one of the fast guys and that I am going to have to bring my A-game to keep these boys in sight.  I was ecstatic!  I love new experiences and I LOVE dirt bikes so this was a match made in heaven.  My friend explained that all I needed was my bike, gear, some clothes and a little bit of cash.  We were staying at the Nemo Guest Ranch in a cabin with a kitchen so we will cook while we are there and can ride right from the front door.  Sounds PERFECT!

We were going to leave Sargents at 4:00 am so I headed over the night before and spent the night with Jeremy in the Single Track Shack.  4 am came… well, at 4 am but I was like a kid on Christmas so I was up and at them right away and we blasted up Monarch pass on the way to pick up Matt in Salida.  After a quick load up we were on the way to the front range to grab the last two Colorado boys in Denver.  From Denver to the Black Hills is a really boring and long drive but it went by fast as we talked about dirt bikes and the rad trails we were going to ride.  A quick stop in Cheyenne for tacos at Taqueria Mi Tierra (go there) and it was on.  The nice thing about a state that is so flat is that you can haul the mail in a van with a trailer full of bikes.  Jeremy made short work of the drive and before we knew it we were in the Black Hills.  

The Black Hills are absolutely beautiful.  Big, rolling “mountains,” covered in trees and deep green grass.  It is like a scene from an old west movie, giant expanses of incredible terrain, dotted with amazing ranches that have been there for a long time.  Our destination was the town of Nemo but we had to go through Custer to get our OHV tags and then Hill City to grab food and dinner.  We rolled into Nemo after dinner time and met the other half of the group.  3 guys from Iowa had driven almost the exact same distance to meet us.  It was like the East/West shootout!  

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The Nemo Guest Ranch is an amazing place, nestled in the heart of the Black Hills.  They have a general store, a restaurant, and some really nice cabins.  The best amenity they offer is that it backs up to the National Forest and you can ride right from the cabins to the trails without any kind of street-legal equipment.  We settled in and got a campfire going.  That’s right, while Colorado is burning to the ground, SD has had a real winter and 2 days before we got there, it rained 2.5 inches.  I was the new guy to the group and it was a hoot getting to know everyone and bench racing around the fire.  Finally, it was getting late and early morning dirt bikes were calling so we hit the hay and drifted off to sleep, dreaming of tight single track and epic traction.

The sun comes up early that far north at this time of the year and since the youngest member of the group was 35, we were all up early and ready to rock.  Kickstands were up at 8 and we were headed out!  The initial riding was on a dirt two-track but we quickly turned off of that and up, up, up into the hills.  It amazed me how steep the climbing was for a group of mountains that never get above 7500 feet at their very tallest.  We pinned it through dense forests, open meadows, and jumbled boulder fields in the tightest, most single single track I’ve ever ridden.  Everyone could ride and we all just hung it out.  It was SOOOO much fun!  No one held anyone up and we were all laughing in our helmets about how good the conditions were. 

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After 35 or 40 miles of pure bliss, we pulled into the Sugar Shack.  The Sugar Shack is a little outpost in the middle of nowhere on a highway running through the hills and they serve some absolutely amazing burgers and fries.  Every kind of burger you can think about is on the menu and the service is great!  They also have a gas pump so you can fuel your body and your bike at the same time.  

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We inhaled the food and topped the bikes off, ready for the second half of the day.  Our leader told us that it was going to get harder and we all began to salivate.  Harder is good and we all wanted as much as we could handle.  The second part of the day did not disappoint.  It was much tighter and rockier than the previous section and everyone on the trip crushed it.  We hammered down and had a blast.  The end of the day was the hardest part of the whole trip and we finished on some really gnarly boulder sections that were jeep trails kind of like the stuff in Dry Creek but a different kind of rock.  We were all tired but the fun meter was still pegged and we all had a blast.  Rolling down the road,  Nemo was a welcome sight.  We rolled up to the cabins and geared down.  After a much-needed shower, we cooked some brats and kicked back in front of the fire again.  The temps were in the 60’s and perfect!  

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Another night’s sleep lead to a bit later wake up on Saturday morning.  Even the toughest of us were a bit sore and welcomed the lazy morning.  My job was coffee so I took care of my duty while uncle John made us breakfast again.  Then it was off to the hills.  This day was tougher than that the previous one and left a few of us (me included) trying some hills twice to make it to the top.  Technical hill climbs are my Achilles heel so it was great practice for me.  To top it off, the trees are really close together in the Black Hills so navigating a 45 degree, rock-strewn slope is extra challenging. 

We repeated the Sugar Shack stop and put down some tough miles in the second half of the second day.   We rolled into Nemo fully worn out with perma-grins on all of our faces.  After some relaxing and showers, we loaded up and headed into Deadwood (23 miles away) for dinner and some entertainment.  Dinner at the Buffalo Bodega was great and across the street, we rolled into Saloon No. 10 for some beverages.  

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The No 10 is a famous place that has been around a very long time and is best known for being the place where Wild Bill Hickock was shot while playing poker in 1876.  While there weren’t any gun fights this night, it was still plenty fun and entertaining.  Since I don’t drink I grabbed the keys to the van to ensure a safe night and it was on!  After a few drinks, a great cover band began to play and the crowd got into it.  “Shuffle” (the band's name) played everything from 70’s rock ballads to Thriller by Michael Jackson.  Everyone was having a blast, including the 5 different bachelorette parties that we saw that night?!  

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When we decided we had had enough fun, we headed back to Nemo for a good night’s rest before the trek home.  The next morning was even later than the one before, but I don’t think it had anything to do with the riding?  We loaded the van and trailer up, said goodbye to our Iowa buddies and headed towards home. 

We stopped in Hill City at the cafe and stumbled on a breakfast buffet that was well supplied and fantastic.  A quick triple americano from the shop next door and we were on our way!   The trip home is always hard but we broke it up with a stop at the Wyoming border for some illegal (in Colorado) fireworks for my boys (and me).  The rest of the trip home was uneventful and fun.  Lots of great stories and great memories were made over the weekend and I count myself as a very lucky man to have been invited on such a wonderful adventure.   Life is short and fun is important.  Get out and have some!  Here is a link to a video of the first day!

My final assessment of the riding in the Black Hills is this:
IT IS EPIC!!!!  That is really all I can say.  I highly recommend getting up there if you like dirt bikes and single track.  I have provided the link to all the places I mentioned in the article and I recommend that you give these people your business.  They are great folks providing great service.  If you need any more info about tire choice, jetting, trails, coffee or anything else, shoot me an email at morgan@highland-cycles.com

Thanks and go ride your DIRTBIKES!!! #gospeloftwowheels

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5 Mistakes A Dirt Bike Rider Must Avoid When Buying Gear

Hey there, we have a guest blog post today that we are excited about sharing!  Check it out!

5 Mistakes A Dirt Bike Rider Must Avoid When Buying Gear

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As a rider new to the sport, purchasing dirt bike gear can not only be confusing but also costly to your wallet and health if you were to make the wrong decision. We are here today to let you know the top 5 mistakes that beginner riders make so you can get a head start towards riding comfortably, and safely.

Not Purchasing Boots

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The most common mistake I see new riders make is purchasing equipment such as jerseys and pants before the essential protective gear. Yes, the jerseys and pants may be made specifically for motocross and we definitely condone purchasing them. Although, you must take safety into consideration first.
Helmets may be a ‘no-brainer’, but it’s astonishing to see so many riders with an expensive race kit and no boots. Motocross boots give you the support that is necessary to withstand the sudden twists and impacts that occur to the foot during a motorcycle tour. Broken ankles are not fun, and the risk drastically decreases with the use of proper protection.
The boots don’t have to be the most expensive on the market to give you ample protection. Any motocross or enduro specific boot will do the job just fine while introducing yourself to the sport. To further increase protection to the leg and knee, I would strongly recommend purchasing knee braces. To most, they may seem like something you wear after an injury, but they’re actually made to eliminate the likelihood of knee damage before it happens.


A Poorly Fitted Helmet

“Video Motorcycle Tech Tips On Helmet Size and Fit | MC GARAGE: https://youtu.be/2u8tXZ1hg”
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Purchasing a poorly fitting helmet is an extremely common mistake that you will see beginner riders make when buying their first lid. We see people do this for several reasons, such as; “I’ll grow into it”, or “It’s a great deal!”.
These are valid statements but it is crucial to avoid any helmet that does not fit you perfectly. When manufacturers develop a helmet, they develop it with the intention of providing protection to the appropriate-sized rider. Although it’s much safer than riding without a lid at all, a helmet that is loose or too tight will take away from the helmet’s overall protection.
If it’s too loose, your helmet will leave a gap that will allow your head to move upon impact, offsetting some of the technology that protects you. If your helmet is too tight, you will find yourself with uncomfortable headaches after and during your trail riding tour, a high risk of biting your cheek/tongue while crashing, and with bothersome pressure points throughout.
If you are unaware of how a helmet should fit, we suggest you do your research or just ask for assistance in store. Many websites will offer a size chart so you can order a product knowing it will fit.


Not Selecting the Right Gear for Your Discipline

Choosing gear specific to your discipline is easily overlooked but can save your life in the long run. If you’re a motocross racer, you will be looking to buy a lightweight, highly ventilated set of gear to withstand your long sessions. But if you are planning to sign up for an enduro tour where you will be brushing by tree limbs, falling on rocks, and attempting hill climbs like Graham Jarvis, you may want to look into an enduro-specific option.
Enduro lineups are designed for durability and longevity as the first priority. Although these gear sets may be lacking some of the weight and ventilation features that your high-end motocross gear will have, they will help ensure that you’ll be coming out of your ride day comfortable and without having to replace anything.
You may be asking; “why should I purchase motocross specific gear if it’s more expensive and less durable?” Well, high-end motocross specific gear will be undoubtedly the most comfortable set of bike gear you can purchase. The breathability, lightweight, and advanced moisture wicking materials will suit the hot days on the track perfectly. It may not be as durable as enduro gear, but that’s not to say it’s not extremely tough and can withstand any day on the track.


Getting Gear That Doesn’t Fit You

All too often we will see riders with gear that does not fit them properly. To avoid this mistake, there are a few extremely important factors to consider when it comes to gear sizing to ensure a comfortable ride:

  • When purchasing pants, waist size, leg length, and knee room are the 3 main factors you should take into consideration. A waist too tight may result in serious discomfort whilst riding; a waist that is too loose can fall down and be a massive distraction when out on the track. Luckily, brands offer a variety of adjustment features that can fine-tune the perfect fit.
  • You’ll need the legs to match your waist. Pants that are too long for you will bunch up in your boot and cause you pain when riding. Several motorcycle gear companies offer regular and short options to avoid this from happening.
  • If you are a rider who wears knee braces or knee pads, it is necessary that you purchase pants with ample knee room for them to fit. If your pants are too tight around the knees, it will limit maneuverability or hurt you while seating.

Choosing the right jersey is a much simpler process. If you’re going to wear a chest protector underneath, allow enough room to keep the shirt tucked and the sleeves short enough to not interfere with your grip.


Buying Uncomfortable Gear

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The worst mistake you can make while buying motorcycle gear as a beginner is purchasing equipment that’s not comfortable. Some riders will even avoid wearing protection because it is uncomfortable, so make sure that when you invest, you invest in the gear that you will like to wear every ride. Always remember to be safe!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Martin Varrand
As a professional motocross rider for over 20 years, Martin has helped riders to choose right dirt bike gear and parts for their needs. Now he is sharing his knowledge with all of us on his site MotocrossAdvice.com

It's REALLY DRY!!!

Hey everyone, I just want to reach out and talk about something that is going to be SUPER important this year.  As everyone in our lovely state (Colorado) knows, it is CRAZY dry this year.  We didn't get the snow we needed and it's not raining yet.  The forest is like a massive tinderbox and we need to be super careful out there so we don't burn it down. 

Now I know I have said that I don't believe fires are started out of the back of dirt bikes and I still stand behind that statement BUT, lets do everything we can to make sure that we don't have a major catastrophe out there.  Also, it's the law that we have to have spark arrestors on our bikes and there is going to be some serious enforcement going on this year so let's all avoid conflict and potentially save our favorite riding areas by getting a SPARK ARRESTOR on your bike!  

I want to talk a little bit about types of spark arrestors here.  If you ride a 4 stroke, there really aren't a ton of options for the type of arrestor.  They are all pretty much screen types and they all work about the same.  The beauty of the modern 4T bike is that a little screen in the exhaust isn't going to make much of a difference in power so go with whichever one you like.  You can either buy a whole slip-on can or one of the bolt-on tips that have a removable screen for closed course competition.  

Now 2 strokes are a different matter.  The screen style spark arrestors on two-stroke bikes are problematic.  Because the 2T bike burns oil with the gas, it emits a thicker exhaust that will eventually clog up a screen and cause your bike to run terribly.  To combat this, you can remove the screen regularly (every 10 or so hours of riding) and clean it to keep the exhaust flowing properly.  This isn't hard and doesn't take long.  The fastest way I have found to do this is to take the screen and burn it off with a low temp torch.  You can also soak it in solvent if you don't have a torch.

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If you know me at all, you know that I like to lower the amount of maintenance and attention that my bike takes so that isn't a great option for me.  I want more ride time and less work time!  So I like to run the turbine core style spark arrestors by FMF.  This kind of arrestor uses a propeller-shaped piece of metal at the end of the silencer to "spin" the sparks out into the packing of the muffler.  Yes, they do restrict the flow of exhaust and YES you can tell a difference in power but it is much less than when a screen style arrestor cloggs shut and your bike basically won't run. 

In a perfect world we would have moist, loamy dirt and no chance of fires but here in the real world when the precip doesn't always fall, we need to pay attention to our conditions and act accordingly.  We also need to work WITH, instead of against our local land management agencies so that we can develop a good, healthy relationship with the people who manage our public land. So get your OHV tags and get a SPARK AERRESTOR!!!

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Need a spark arrestor?  Want to buy one from us?  Give us a call, we can ship you one or get one to the shop and install it for you!  970-240-2197

Spring Break in California

Hey, all of you Moto folks!  Just wanted to give a quick review of my spring break trip with my boys to California.  "Why?" You ask?  Because we had some of the most amazing Moto moments on this trip and I want to let you all know about them and recommend them if you are traveling in the Golden State.  

So, I normally don't get to do spring break because it is such a busy time of year for the shop but this year my wife was out of the country working so the rough duty was laid in my lap.  I am so thankful that it was because we had a blast.  We started off by traveling on Sunday from Montrose Colorado all the way to Buellton California.  That is a long day in a van with an 11 and 9-year-old but we hammered down and made it happen.  Buellton is North and West of Santa Barbara.  You leave the big town and head up a narrow canyon for a way then as it opens up you enter the quaint little town of Buellton.  The sign boasts of 4900-ish residents and it is great.  We stayed at Pea Soup Andersen's which we found out is a famous old restaurant and hotel that has been there over 90 years.  It's a great hotel and affordable at $73/night with breakfast and a pool.  We got to sleep quickly and got up early for our first adventure the next day. 

In the morning we quickly ate breakfast and headed North East into the Los Padres National Forest to meet the brother-in-law of our good friend Anna.  Owen met us about an hour out of town in a beautiful valley at a gate to a private road into the forest.  We rode 13 miles of tight, twisty, steep road to get to the family's 160 Acre in-holding in the middle of the National Forest.  This is where Anna grew up without running water or electricity.  It is heaven!!!   There are cool trails all over and it couldn't be in a prettier place.  Check out the video below for a quick look at our day in this wonderland!

The next day was dedicated to beach time and we did it right!  We started by storming the beaches of Oceana Dunes then moved to Pismo for more fun in the frigid water.  My boys are somehow impervious to the ice-like Pacific Ocean.  We rounded out the day in Avila Beach a little further north.  This was also the first In-N-Out visit of the trip which is super important!  All of the freezing salt water and sand wore us out and we headed back to Buellton for rest and dinner.  On the way, we checked out Solvang which is about 2 miles from Buellton and a lovely little Danish Hamlet that was founded by the plucky Danes in 1911.  

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Wednesday dawned foggy and cool like all the rest of the days but we loaded up and headed to Zaca Station MX up near Los Olivos which is only about 10 minutes from Buellton.  If you haven't heard of Zaca you need to check it out.  It is the setting for lots of Moto Movie segments and is the coolest motocross track I have ever been to.  It's kind of like a speakeasy track.  There is very little info on the web about it and it took quite a while for me to figure out where it was and when they were open.  When we pulled up there were no signs, no banners, nothing but a sprinter van and a really nice lady with paperwork.  We filled out the obligatory waivers and stuff and as we rolled away towards the track she said, "The Combo on the lock is $#$# (not telling), make sure you lock it on your way out."  What?  We drove the long road to the track and found a great parking spot.  There were about 40 or 50 people there and it was a very mellow feel.  We unloaded and geared up.  As we were strapping helmets an old guy walked over and asked if we were planning on riding the smaller track too.  My boys piped up "Yep" and he said he would go water it for us.  After watering the whole track he came back over and told us to give it a few minutes to dry up and then have fun.  A little later the woman who had checked us in pulled up and unloaded her bike and then I realized that they only open the gate for a little bit then it's locked and that's it.  No more people.  It's like a private track.  Only its a private track in the best dirt and terrain I have ever ridden a moto track.  We spend the whole day there turning laps on the small and big tracks and it was amazing.  I cannot recommend that place enough.  It is so refreshing to go to a track that has amazing dirt, perfect grooming, and natural terrain that is amazing and not be overrun with people.  It is a special place.  Check out our pics and video from Zaca below.

Our last day in California was spent down in Long Beach touring the Battleship Iowa and playing more on the beach.  The USS Iowa is such an impressive thing.  We just don't have gunships like that anymore and this one is sooooo cool.  The tour is a little expensive but worth every penny because it is so interesting and amazing to see such firepower!  

From there we headed back east to our amazing slice of heaven that is Montrose for a day of rest before school and work started back up.  It was such a fun trip and I highly recommend a trip to that part of California.  It is so cool and so different from Colorado or anywhere I have ever been.  I also urge you to take time with your kids.  Life and work so often get in the way and make things hard and stressful but in the end, you will not be sad about time you spent with your family!  Get out and have fun everyone!  And hopefully you can involve DIRTBIKES!!!!

Answer Frontier Vest Review

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Hey everyone!  As promised I am here to give a review of the new Answer Racing Frontier Vest. 

We have been waiting (not patiently if I am honest) for the release of this vest for a few months now.  I am a connoisseur of riding vests and this one looked great from the get-go.  I have worn out both Ogio and TLD vests and both of them had things I loved and things I didn't.  The Answer Frontier Vest proved to be better than both of them. 

The Frontier Vest fits like a glove!  It is very form fitting and doesn't slide around at all, even in the roughest terrain.  The strap system that you use to compress the vest is very good and allows you to get it really snug.  Even with it sinched down tight, you can move freely and ride like the wind!  The vest is made to cover a size range from 33-44 (if you know jacket sizes?!?).  What that means is that it fits me at 5'10" and 180lbs great but if you are a plus sized (or Man-sized) person then it will be tight and if you are really big then don't bother.    Answer wasn't thinking of the "Heavy Belly" race class when they built this one. 

The Storage on the Frontier Vest is great.  It has just enough space to carry what you need but not so much that you end up taking more than you should.   The tool pocket out back is perfect sized and includes a nice tool roll if you don't have your own.  The "backpack" pocket is small-ish but big enough to put a lightweight rain jacket or a few other items for a long day.  The hydration area is great but mine came without a loop to hold the bladder up.  I am sure that was an oversight and they will fix it soon.  The front pockets are great and easy to get into.  There is a perfect one for your phone so you can snap pics on your awesome ride. 

Overall comfort was great on the Frontier vest and it is much cooler than the Troy Lee vest.   I can't speak to the durability of the Answer Frontier vest yet but so far I am very happy.  

What's Hot: Fit is great and athletic.  Doesn't move around while riding.  Storage is big enough but not too big

What's Not: Expensive at $225.  Doesn't come with a hydration bladder. Not made for bigger riders.  No loop in bladder area to hold bladder up. 

The Verdict: So far we LOVE the Frontier Vest!  I don't think I'll be using my others any longer!

First ride with the Answer Frontier Vest!

 My vest, all packed up!

My vest, all packed up!

2018 National Hare and Hound Association Round 1

Hey everyone, this is a little late in coming but I wanted to give a race report about the National Hare and Hound Associations Round 1 race in Spangler Hills California.  First off, Spangler Hills is about an hour and a half North and West of Barstow, near the little military town of Ridgecrest.  It is a really beautiful part of the Mojave desert and out in the middle of nowhere.  Which is the perfect location for a desert race.  

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The drive from Montrose takes about 11 or 12 hours but it passes quickly with 80mph speed limits all the way across Utah. 

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I pulled into the race site just after 9:30 pm on Thursday night and set up the inside of my van for sleeping. 

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The night was pretty darn cold, especially for California but the sleeping was good and I woke up as the sun was coming up and made some coffee.  After breakfast, I geared up and got ready to ride.  I had just rebuilt the entire motor of my YZ250 because of a broken piston skirt just days before.  I had started it but only put about 2 minutes on the engine.  So I headed out into the desert easy to break the girl in.  As I got some heat into the engine I decided to wick it up a bit since in 2 days I would be pinning it wide open.  As I got the revs up, I noticed a funny sound coming from below me.  I stopped and began to freak out.  I had been in a hurry when I built the motor and I began to wonder if I had forgotten something.  Crap!!  As I sat out in the desert I thought to myself, "Well, I'm here and I might as well see if it's going to break now, instead of waiting for the race." So I fired it back up and pinned it!  As I ripped through the desert the bike ran perfectly but at a certain rpm, it would rattle just a tiny bit.  I put it out of my head and had a great ride.  The desert is so pretty and the weather was perfect.   

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That afternoon I met up with Travis from TBT racing and hung out with him for most of the evening.  Travis and I have been "friends" on Facebook for a while but have never met in person.  I absolutely LOVE the motorcycle community.  Even if you really don't know someone, if they are a dirt biker then you are already friends!!  Travis was super generous and said he would provide a pit for me during the race.  I headed back to camp for dinner and some sleep.  I still had another free day before the race to check the bike out and get some practice in.

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The next day was more of the same.  Perfect weather and a super fun ride in the desert.  It is so cool out there because you can just go and explore all over the place.  I had a blast and saw some really cool stuff.

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I finished the ride for the day and finally figured out what was going on with my bike.  After the motor rebuild I had installed a new aluminum skid plate and one of the bolts on the bottom didn't line up so I left it out.  Well that allowed the skid plate to rattle on the aluminum frame at just the right rpm and made a noise that sounded like things coming apart.  WHEW!!  I could relax and just race.  I got a great night's sleep and got up early to get ready to race!!

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After breakfast, I headed to the start line to check out the bomb run.  The bomb run is the first 1.5 miles (that distance changes every race) of a desert race that is essentially a high horsepower free for all!  It is the only part of the course you are allowed to pre-run so I rode it twice to check it out and see if there were any big hazards.  After a good look at the bomb, I headed back to the start and picked a spot.  The start of a desert race is one of the most exciting things on earth.  On this day there were 400 people at the start line, all racing for the same point 1.5 miles away.  When they raise the banner, everyone kills their engine and you have at least 1 minute before it drops.  I don't know about you but I can't accurately count a minute in my head so as soon as it goes dead silent I put my foot on the kick starter and waited.  The tension is out of control.  400 adrenaline freaks are dead quiet, waiting to race.  There is nothing like it.  The banner dropped and BAM, we were off.  

I am not a good starter so I was immediately in a ton of dust and could barely see.  The first 5 miles were basically riding by braille in 5th gear.  As the race continued I was able to find my way around some people and the field started to spread out.  The dust abated a little and I started to find my groove.  In the second half of the first loop we got into some rocks and I made some time on the other riders.  The first loop was 40 miles of fun, fast riding and I came into the pits in 1st place in my class.  I couldn't believe it. I was expecting to be a lot slower but I was stoked.  Travis got me some gas and I was back out. 

Second loops of desert races are always harder and this one was GNARLY!  The first few miles were fast and easy and then all of a sudden it got REAL!  The first canyon I came to, I passed a grip of guys struggling by jumping off my bike and just bull-dogging it off to the side through some boulders.  I jumped back on and pinned it.  The first real rocky hill climb came quickly and it was strewn with downed riders.  I took one run at it and botched it.  After a quick run down to the bottom, I launched back up and cleaned it.  I was stoked!  As I fought through the rocky second loop I caught up to a guy who I had met at Travis' pit.  Justin was just ahead of me in the gnarliest section of the race.  It was a heinous downhill canyon with massive boulders and big drops.  I caught Justin and we both made our way down.  From here our battle would begin.  He would gap me in the faster stuff and I would catch up in the hard bits.    After miles of back and forth I caught up to him near the end of the race.  We were both beat down and struggling to find the drive to push hard but I managed to dig a little deeper and passed him.  After that pass, I was fired up.  I pushed hard to the end and crossed the line in 1st place.  It was in the Senior B class which doesn't sound like much but trust me, those dudes are FAST!

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I couldn't believe it!  I really didn't expect to do so well and I was elated!  I want to give a massive thank you to the District 37 people, the Desert MC's and the National Hare and Hound Association for a great race!   After packing up and getting my trophy I began the long trip home.  But somehow winning makes the drive easier!  I can't wait to go back and race another Hare and Hound and I hope I can get some folks from around here to join me.  It is one of coolest, oldest and most exciting kinds of dirt bike racing around!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I liked writing it.  If you are interested in my personal blog you can click the button below.

Highland Cycles OHV Tag Sale Day!

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There has been friction between the motorized community and government agencies for too long!  Highland Cycles and WESTCORE want to end that NOW! 

We have been thinking about this for a long time and we hate it when Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the BLM send out law enforcement right after our OHV tags expire and give out tickets.  Of course, we should all be better at getting our tags and staying on top of that but let's be honest... WE AREN'T good about that and quite a few of us buck the system anyway.  Well, we want to stop that now and get on the same page with our land management agencies. 

We came up with what we believe to be a great idea.  Instead of getting a ticket for not having your stickers shortly after they expire, why don't we have a big fun party at the end of March and sell stickers?!  That is the whole point anyway right? Get people to buy the stickers??  So that is what we are doing!  We are hosting the first ever Highland Cycles OHV Tag Sale Day out at Peach Valley on March 31st!  

The BLM, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Stay the Trail and Colorado Canyons Association will be joining us to sell permits and help educate all of us about why the OHV money is so important to our community. 

Don't buck the system!  If you aren't getting your permits through the mail then come out and buy your permits at Peach Valley on March 31st between 10 am and 4 pm.  You can also meet the WESTCORE guys and learn about how they are helping our community through trail advocacy.  Let's develop a relationship with our land management agencies and work together to help keep our valley AWESOME!

Highland Cycles will be providing food and drinks and there will, of course, be DIRTBIKES!!!

To read a little more about WESTCORE click their name or the button below

Check out the event on Facebook

WESTCORE

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For years the western slope of Colorado has felt immune to the pressures of the anti-motorized movement but recently the push has increased just like the population.  It is time for the off-road motorcycle world to organize and push back.

Since I started riding dirt bike in Colorado, the people in the community have been some of the most wonderful and friendly people I have ever met but also the least organized.  There seems to be a lot of the "I am going to ride whatever I want to ride" attitude and while my more instinctual nature loves that, I realize that itsn't the way to get things done.  The mountain bike community has been organizing for years and consequently they have been getting big things done for good and for bad in my opinion. 

If you don't know, the mountain bike (and other non-motorized) community has been slowly picking off traditionally motorized trails and getting them closed to motorized travel.  I could go on and on and I am sure you could too about why this is annoying and how unfair, and in some cases illegal all of this is but that isn't the point of this post.  The point of this post is to introduce you all to  WESTCORE They are a new club that is building membership and organizing to "...  keep our public lands in Western Colorado accessible to all user groups. Through responsible, cooperative usage, we strive to promote an atmosphere of shared stewardship"

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Highland Cycles wants to support this group and all other activists that want to preserve and grow the motorized community through what we call "The Gospel Of Two Wheels"  Part of that mission is to raise money for dedicated groups so we are hoping to kickstart WESTCORE with a raffle/fundraiser during our Supercross Saturday on Jan 6th at Two Rascals

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We will be raffling off a FULL suspension re-valve including parts and labor.  That is valued at over $1000.  We are working with our distributors to get some more prizes too.  We will only be selling 100 tickets priced at $30/each.  So your chances of winning are high.  Literally ALL of the money we collect will go directly to WESTCORE to help get some money in their bank and get them rolling.  Tickets are on sale now at Highland Cycles and will be on sale at Two Rascals or until they are sold out.  I would also encourage you to visit the WESTCORE facebook page and join the group so you can stay up to date with all they are doing to help our sport! 

Thanks for reading and please SHARE THE HECK out of this post to all of your motorized friends!!

RIDE MONTROSE!

Highland Cycles is super excited to announce that we are bringing "Ride Montrose" back in 2018! 

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Ride Montrose is a celebration of the amazing off-road and dual sport riding that is here in our valley and surrounding area.  As many of you know and many of you WILL know, Montrose Colorado is MECCA for dirt and dual sport bikes and Highland Cycles wants to celebrate that and spread the "Gospel of Two Wheels"

Let me start by acknowledging the concerns that a lot of locals have about bringing more people to our treasured area.  I know that in a perfect world we would keep our little secret and live in our post card world all by ourselves but the reality is that the people are coming.  With the little thing called the internet, everyone knows everything about everywhere now and Highland Cycles wants to support this knowledge with responsible and fun advertising of our area. 

The reality of our sport is that it is being attacked from lots of different angles right now.  One of the biggest threats right now is the mountain bike community.  I don't understand this because we should be brothers on 2 wheels but that just doesn't seem to be the case.  Let me say that I understand that not ALL mountain bikers dislike dirt bikes.  I ride bicycles as much as dirt bikes myself.

But the reality is that a lot of the non motorized 2 wheelers don't like us and I want to change that and fight (responsibly) for our right to ride.  Just think, the more dirt bikers we share our valley with, the more people we have on our side when we need to fight trail closures like the one in Rico recently.  There is strength in number and organization and a fun, exciting, BIG event can help to promote that. 

Of course there is the added economic benefit to our community.  Not just Highland Cycles and Davis will benefit.  Hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and lots more.  Dirt bikers spend money where they go and money into our economy is a good thing for everyone.

So... Lets do this!!  I haven't picked a firm date for Ride Montrose yet because I am waiting for 2018 race schedules to be released so that we can avoid overlap as much as possible.  We are thinking early July so that all of our riding areas will be legally open and we can enjoy all that we have to offer. 

Here is a list of probable events we will be hosting:

  • Group rides of ALL skill levels
  • Riding skill clinics hosted by top level professionals
  • Tire change competition with AWESOME prizes
  • Guided rides
  • Movie night
  • Music and dinner party downtown
  • Moto swap meet
  • And hopefully lots more!!!

Last time we did this it was a great success and we look forward to making this one even better!  If you are interested in staying in the loop for Ride Montrose as it progresses, please click the button below.  You will be added to an email list and we will keep in touch.

Thanks and remember to get out and ride your DIRTBIKES!!!!

Our Conversation with Colton Haaker

 Photo Credit Enduro21.com

Photo Credit Enduro21.com

Highland Cycles is back with our next pro interview.  We all know that practice on the bike and hard work is what it takes to be the best in the business but I believe there is more to it than meets the eye.  That is why I am asking the best in the industry some more questions to find out what makes them tick and who they are.  This interview is with the one and only Colton Haaker.  Colton is an amazing athlete who has won about everything you can win.  Her is a short list of some of his accomplishments:

2016 AMA National Endurocross Champion
2016 World Super Enduro Champion
2015 King Of The Motos Champion


HC: Do you have a morning routine that you practice everyday (i.e. not race days)? If so, what is it and why?

Colton:  My morning routine looks like breakfast, followed by a warm up exercise followed by stretching and foam rolling. This gets my body acclimated and ready for the day.

HC:  Do you have a pre-race routine that you use? If so, what does that look like and what are the benefits?

Colton:  Not so much pre-race routine. I do all my hard work during the week and when its race day I let it all go.

HC: What is your favorite book and why?

Colton:  I don’t really have a favorite book.
    
HC:  If you could only do one training drill, what would it be and why? I am talking about moto skills.

Colton: Trials riding. If there was one thing I would ride trials only.

HC:  Do you have a favorite failure? What I mean is, do you have a failure in your life that, while tough at the time, either changed the course of your life for the better or spurred you on to achieve greater things?

Colton: I would say my 2011 season and finish in the Endurocross series changed me for the better. I had a very hard year with different bikes and injuries that I fought through. I came back in 2012 and won the opener in Las Vegas after Taddy was undefeated for over a year.

HC: Who is the single greatest influence in your life and why?
Colton: My parents are because no one sacrifices as much as your parents. You don't notice growing up but when you get older and start doing things for yourself you do.

HC: What is the most memorable race in your career so far and why?

Colton: The Super Enduro Final in Spain 2016. It was a race that came down to the last turn of the last lap for the World Championship and I made it happen.

HC: What is the most fun about dirt bikes to you?

Colton:  Freedom!

HC: What is one non-motorcycle thing that you enjoy doing?

Colton: Basketball

HC: If you had to purchase a bike and ride it for 1 year and you couldn’t switch at all, would it be 2 stroke or 4 stroke?

Colton: 2 Stroke, Husqvarna TX250

Thanks for taking time out of your schedule Colton.  If you want to check him out on social media you can find him on Facebook at facebook.com/ColtonHaaker10 and on instagram @coltonhaaker

Check out this video Colton did a little while back.  One of the coolest we have seen

My Conversation with Mitch Carvolth

 Image given to us from Mitch (sea to sky race)

Image given to us from Mitch (sea to sky race)

Dirt Bikers are an amazing group of people.  We come from every walk of life.  From the super rich to the guys who can barely scrape enough money together for a tire.  But dirt bikes bind us all together and make us bothers and sisters on two wheels.  A common thread through our sport is that we all want to be better riders.  Some of us have dreams of racing, maybe even professionally and others just want to clean a section of their favorite trail but all of us want to be better.  Its just in our DNA.  There is a ton of value in looking at all of the moto specific stuff that the pros in our sport do but I think there is more to it.  I think that what these guys do day to day plays a big roll in how they ride.  I want to know who they are and what habits, routines and influences make them different!

This is my conversation with Mitch Carvolth.  Mitch is a rad guy who is really fast.  He even came to Montrose for one of our Moto Mayhem races a couple years ago.  Here are his stats:

 Photo: Mark Kariya  (King of the Motos Race)

Photo: Mark Kariya  (King of the Motos Race)

Mitch Carvolth
Born: Truckee, Ca
Riding: 21 years
Racing: 15 years
@mcnasty177 on instagram

3x AMRA Champion
2nd Rev Limiter Hard Enduro
3rd King of the Motos
9th Sea to Sky
26th Erzberg

HC: Do you have a morning routine that you practice every day (i.e. not race days)? If so, what is it and why?

Mitch: I like to get a good stretch in and have a solid breakfast. I've never had great mobility so stretching has helped me gain flexibility and I feel that it helps prevent a lot of injuries as well. Breakfast is usually the first thing on my mind when I wake up so I typically cook up some eggs and vegetables before getting my day started.

HC: Do you have a pre-race routine that you use? If so, what does that look like and what are the benefits? Also, post-race.

Mitch: I’ve never had a pre-race routine. It all depends on the day and the race. Sometimes I like to do some shoulder and hip flexor stretches with a PVC pipe or I'll throw on my headphones and listen to music.
 
HC: What is your favorite book and why? -If you could gift one book, what would it be and why?

Mitch: I don't read as much as I would like to but I find myself re-reading a book called The Alchemist. It's an easy read but for me it's a book that inspires me to continue to follow my dreams no matter what the struggles are along the way. It definitely is a book I would gift someone, I think that's actually how I ended up with it.

HC: If you could only do one training drill, what would it be and why? I am talking about skills drills on the bike.

Mitch: I would pick a drill that I call the one-handed drill. It's something that I teach people when I do lessons. All you do is stand up and ride around without your clutch hand on the bars. This drill really teaches you to grip the bike with your legs. Once you've done that for a minute you can go back to having both hands on the handlebars and everything feels effortless.

HC: Do you have a favorite failure? What I mean is, do you have a failure in your life that, while tough at the time, either changed the course of your life for the better or spurred you on to achieve greater things?

Mitch: I can't recall a favorite failure but I would say any race I haven't finished would be it (not due to bike failure). For me not finishing is usually caused by timing out but nothing motivates me more than a DNF. Pulling off and quitting is never an option.

HC: Who is the single greatest influence in your life and why?

Mitch: The greatest influence in my life would have to be my Mom. She passed away from breast cancer when I was 17 but she did so much for me and my racing when I was younger. Raising two boys, fighting cancer and still having the energy to take me racing on the weekends blows me away. She was by far the kindest person I've ever known and the older I get the more I realize how much I learned from having her in my life. I wouldn't be the person who I am today without her.

HC: What is the most memorable race in your career so far and why?

Mitch: I would have to say it was a race called Ukupacha down in Equador. I got the invite driving home from Endurocross and couldn't book a flight on my phone so I had Taylor Robert, who I was living with at the time book me one. I got home late that night, repacked my bags with clean clothes, gear, parts and flew out early the next morning. That was my first Hard Enduro I had done that was out of the country and I managed to finish top 10 down there. It was one of the hardest races I have ever done but it was a blast getting to spend a week in a different country racing dirt bikes.

HC: What is the most fun about dirt bikes to you?

Mitch: In the beginning, it was all about the rush of going faster and jumping higher. Now I find myself looking for the gnarliest climbs and downhills to get that rush. A day exploring with friends and pushing our limits is definitely the most enjoyable time spent on a dirt bike for me right now.

HC: What is one non-motorcycle thing that you enjoy doing?

Mitch: It might not seem that far off but downhill mountain biking is something I enjoy just as much as riding motorcycles. I don't get to go that often but when I do its one of the highlights of my season.  

HC: If you had to purchase a bike and ride it for 1 year and you couldn’t switch at all, would it be 2 stroke or 4 stroke?

Mitch: 2-stroke for sure! I've had more fun on my 2017 300xcw this past year than any other bike I've bought over the years.

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Thanks for reading!  If you would like to subscribe to our blog and get an email every time we post a new one, just click the link below.

And if you haven't read our conversation with Cody Webb, just click the link below here!

 


 

Sport Align Systems Review!

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Moto boots are a conundrum!  The best ones cost upwards of $600 but they don't even come in half sizes.  For a lot of people that isn't a problem.  But for those of us that have an in between foot size and jacked up feet to boot it is a bummer.  I have always said that if you are going to spend money on protective equipment you need to start with helmet and boots. 

I have been wearing Gaerne SG12's for years now and I absolutely love them but to fit both feet I have to wear a size 11 and that leaves my feet a little loose.  I have always just worn thick socks and its been fine but recently I was approached by Charlie Johnson of Sport Align Systems.  He specializes in setting up bikes to fit people and custom orthotics.  Charlie has followed me for a while and knew about how jacked up my left foot is and he explained that he thought he could help me. 

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I agreed to have him come make some orthotics for me.  I asked where we should meet and he told me he would come to the shop and it shouldn't take more than a few minutes out of my day to get it done.  WHAT????  I have had orthotics made before and it always meant going to an office and eating up a whole bunch of time that I could have been making money or riding. Then you wait weeks to get the orthotics.  Charlie said I would be wearing them that day?!? Charlie showed up right on time and began the exam.  After looking at how I stand, asking me some questions and taking some measurements he did some calculations and then had me sit down in his cool portable recliner. 

He then proceeded to vacuum form the orthotics to my feet, shave them down to fit my boots and I was trying them out right there.  So cool.  I rode in them for a bit later that day but the big test came in Oklahoma with 3 straight days of racing.  Its hard to explain how good they feel.  What were really nice boots that felt pretty good turned into exceptional boots that fit like Geppetto himself had fitted specifically to my feet! Yes, that is a Pinocchio reference.  If you don't get it, google it!  I was so comfortable all weekend and I think my results speak for themselves.  Those orthotics helped me do better than I ever have at that race! 

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If you are like me and your boots are good but don't fit quite right or you have messed up feet you NEED to give Charlie a call and schedule an appointment!

 Sport Align Sytems 970-379-9694

Sport Align Sytems 970-379-9694

Call Charlie at 970-379-9694 or check out his website HERE

Battle!

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The line is set!  Bikes are off! A quick glance to either side reveals a big class of veteran riders all geared up for battle!  The only thing that feels odd is that we are all straddling our front fender, facing the wrong direction.  You can hear a pin drop as we wait for the 1 minute card to drop and the flag to waive! 

GO!!! The flag is up, its time to pin it!  I swing around my dumpster baby Jolene and she lights right up!  And we are off!  Not a great start but its a 2 hour race and I know I am fit, don't worry, just don't make any mistakes.  The narrative in my head is non stop.  "Wait on the brakes Morgan, get on the gas NOW!" 

The first mile is pavement and so much fun but its not my forte at all.  I manage to make up a spot on the asphalt but I am watching the leaders get a way and its maddening!  Ahhh, here comes the dirt, lets do this!!

A 180 degree turn onto the grass and now I can get to work.  I am twisting Jolene's neck to the limit and she not only doesn't seem to mind but I think she kinda likes it.  After a quick dash across grass we are on the motocross track.  Another discipline that I am not great at but at least there is dirt.  I put down a quick lap and its into the woods full tilt.  Time to take some chances and catch back up.  My friend is somewhere ahead of me and he is my main target!

The woods section is sooooo good.  They have changed a few things up with the course this year and it is making it a TON of fun!  There is a fair amount of moisture in the ground so the traction variable is high!  Imagine being on the worlds largest slot car track with the worlds fastest car and that is close to how it feels.  I really can't make any mistakes.  My tire choice is perfect, A Bridgestone M59 up front and a Pirelli Scorpion XC MS out back.  The Lectron carburetor is fueling perfectly and I can't stop smiling in my helmet. 

I charge hard through the woods and pass a few guys as quickly as I can.  Still no Jason but I know that he is really fast, especially early in a race.  I get back out of the woods and hold Jolene wide towards the pavement.  Timing and scoring shows me in 5th!! Damnit, I was really hoping I would be in the top 3 already.  Oh well, more work to do!  I pass my pits and give the high sign as I settle in for a mile of rest on the pavement.  After a solid lap on the motocross track I fly headlong into the woods to make up time!  This lap goes even better, I am still feeling strong and I have my lines dialed.  The few mud holes are getting good lines through them and I remember to take the left split at one of the 2 "choice" sections.  Its way faster and sets you up for the coming right hander way better. 

3 laps down now and I am back out of the woods and turning onto the pavement when I see Jason pulled over in the pits getting gas!  PERFECT!  Just as I expected, he needed gas because he is still running the Mikuni on is 2017 KTM.  I look down and I have plenty of fuel!  I tape Jolene wide open as I pass him, knowing that he will be coming for me with a passion hotter than the noonday sun in Oklahoma in July!  He is faster than I am in this terrain but hopefully I can put enough time between us during his pit that I can hold him off. 

I have one option now, GO FAST!  I put together a pretty good lap and get back through timing and scoring in 4th place.  Still not where I want to be but at least I am beating my good friend.  It's funny how all of us motorcyclists like to beat the people we like the most!  Its a sickness and one I love to live with everyday.  Lap 5 is going well and I haven't seen Jason yet but as I pivot turn in one of the few rocky sections I see him coming.  CRAP!!! He is on me pretty close and we only have a little bit of rocky woods left then its a mad dash in the open towards the pavement.  I know he is willing to hold it wide open and I will have to push it really hard to maintain my lead. 

There is one last wet, rocky section before we break out into the Oklahoma sun.  The grass comes and I give Jolene the equivalent of the whip as I put my head down!  I am screaming in my helmet "GO, GO, GO, PUSH PUSH PUSH!"  There is one last grass section before the 180 onto the pavement and about 100 yards to the finish.  I hear his SX screaming like he as the exhaust inside my helmet!  "DON'T SCREW THIS TURN UP MORGAN!"  Until this moment neither of us know how many laps we have left because we haven't seen a white flag and we don't know the time we have been out but I look down the track and see the CHECKERS!  HOLY (bad word) I might be able to do this!  I feather the clutch, twist the screw and pray for the best!  My dumpster baby gets a hold of the planet and accelerates like a Saturn rocket towards the finish line! 

The workers see how fast we are coming and start waiving us to slow down "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  I'M NOT SLOWING DOWN FOR ANYTHING!"  I cross the line and look at the monitor that is showing position and I am surprised to see 3RD place!?!?  What??  Hell yes, not only did I beat Jason but I ended up on the podium in a very competitive class!  Another level of happiness rushes over me as I congratulate Jason on a great race.  There isn't anything more fun to me than to battle on a bike, especially with a friend!  Racing dirt bikes is as good as it gets! I wasn't the faster rider today but my equipment kept me ahead and that is part of the game too! 

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Stay tuned for the story of our team race the next day.  It was just as close and just as exciting!!

 

 

 

EPIC Road Trip!

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An integral part of being a dirt biker is the epic road trip.  Think about it!  So many amazing days of riding have come from a road trip of one type or another.  Whether is heading to a race, getting out of the cold, or just seeing new terrain, we all love road trips and it was time to share one with my boys!

A few weeks ago I heard that Redbull Straight Rhythm was going to have a 2 stroke class and that the likes of Ryan Villapoto were going to race it.  That news planted a seed in my soul.  As time passed that seed grew into an idea and that idea became a desire which flourished into a need.  I asked my amazing wife if I could take the boys to California on a whim and watch the race.  And of course we would need to take bikes and ride while we were there.  We would need to miss school and work on a Friday and a Monday.  She reminded me that only 2 weeks after that we would be traveling to the Oklahoma Gold Rush and the boys would miss 4 days of school for that.  "We will probably get a letter from the school" she said.  I looked deep into her eyes and asked if she was ok with that and the response came back "Sure."  I do have the greatest wife a guy could ask for.  IT WAS ON!! 

I let the boys know what we were up to and they were stoked.  Villapoto is one of their hero's and I have brainwashed them to believe that 2 strokes are gifts from God that make the most beautiful music known to man so we were all amped. 

4:30 am Friday morning came and all 3 Spradling boys were up and at them.  A quick cup of coffee and away we went!   The moto van was loaded with all we needed.  Dirt bikes, gear, some clothes, swim suits, toothbrushes and a gas can full of pre-mix!

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While L.A. and the race were the end goal, our first target was In-N-Out burger in St. George!  We covered that distance by 11:30 am with no issues and thankfully no visits from any friendly law enforcement officers.  After a quick bite we were West bound again. 

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This time we weren't stopping for anything until B&B Cycles in Victorville to see our buddy Steve and stretch our legs.  We hit the high desert town at about 3:30 and stopped to talk to Steve for a while.  It is amazing how wonderful the moto community is.  Stever Harper is a friend of friends on Facebook and we have only seen each other twice in person.  But when we walked into the shop we were greeted by hugs and high fives!  It is so nice to have brothers in moto all over the country.

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Just a few miles left to get to our hotel in San Dimas, excellent!! (Yes that is a Bill and Teds reference).  Driving into the L.A. area is always an adventure and luckily for us we were on the right side of the median for traffic.  Everyone was headed out of town at the end of the week so our lanes were clear.  On the way down the boys and I decided that we would head over to see Glen Helen Raceway.  None of us had seen the hallowed ground so we figured we would just swing by and take a pic.  As we wound down the road to the track we started noticing trucks with bikes leaving the track.  And when we got to the gates they were open and there were lots of vehicles inside.  I had checked before we left and there wasn't any practice scheduled for the days we would be there so all of this was a bit odd.  We rolled right through the gates and up to the ticket booth.  No one there?!  I scanned the area and saw a banner that said something about a private ride day.  Huh? "Boys, you wanna ride Glen Helen?"  "Yeah dad!" "Ok, lets unload and hustle!"

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We found a spot in the pits, unloaded and geared up.  There were only a few people out riding but tons of vehicles.  We headed to the track and started putting in some laps.  It was eerily quiet except for us.  After about a half hour there was NO ONE out riding and I waved the boys off.  "Lets boogie kids, I'm not sure we are supposed to be here and I don't want to get yelled at"  "Alright dad!"  Everyone was off the track and in the big building in the pits and someone was on a PA system talking.  We loaded up and geared down just as fast as we had gotten ready and we were out of there!  "Boys, we just poached Glen Helen!"  "Cool dad!"

 Selfie with helmets

Selfie with helmets

We rolled into town, grabbed some food and checked into our Red Roof Inn.  We had just enough time for our traditional bed jumping and a quick dip in the pool before getting some much needed sleep.

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7 am came early but the draw of the Pacific Ocean propelled us out of bed and towards Huntington Beach.  If there is one thing my children love, its swimming and swimming in the ocean is the absolute TOP!!  We drove right down to the beach and got a great parking spot.  Keeping the boys with me while I paid for parking was like trying to hold back the wind!  The sun and waves were screaming to them and they MUST GO!! 

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We ended up spending 3 hours on the beach that morning and despite the frigid water (everyone surfing had wet suits on) Thomas and Ewan were in the water for 2.9999 hours of that.  It was a beautiful day and there was a surf contest going on so we got to see some surfers as well as getting pummeled by the Pacific. 

Time to head to the LA county fair grounds for Redbull Straight Rhythm!  We avoided heavy traffic again and made it to the race easily.  Parking was easy and we strolled right in with plenty of time to check out the pits and watch practice.  I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of formality of the pit area.  Normally you go to a big race and you can barely walk through the pits, the racers are all hidden away from sight and you have to wait in lines to get autographs.  This was completely different.  Even Villapoto was just in a van with an EZ-up.  We got to hang out and talk with anyone we wanted to.  I even got to meet and talk to my hero Mike Brown. 

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After hanging out in the pits and checking out all of the vendors we headed up into the grand stands to claim our real estate for the race.  Some of the racers came out early to do interviews and it was at this moment that Thomas and Ewan became massive fans of Ronnie Mac.  Ronnie was there to race the 2 stroke class on his 98 CR250 and in classic Mac style he launched his bike off one of the jumps and himself into my kids hearts.  Hey LOVED him.  I was just cracking up.  Of all the guys to love? 

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The Redbull sky divers dropped in carrying the American flag to a STANDING audience, singing the national anthem.  It was so nice to see that our sport is still respectful and patriotic.  I would be lying if I said that I didn't tear up a bit.  Then it was ON.  The 2 stroke class raced first and the sound of factory tuned oil burners echoed through the crowd!  It was magical!  I won't go into the details of the race because you can YouTube that but I can say that it was AWESOME and my boys loved it which is the point!

 Ronnie Mac, winning his first moto!

Ronnie Mac, winning his first moto!

A good night's sleep prepared us for a trip to the Milestone MX track the next morning.  My kids are huge fans of track riding and this was going to be radical!  We don't have tracks like they do in California...  Period!  We navigated our way through the industrial area outside of Riverside/San Bernadino and found the Moto haven that is Milestone.  We unloaded, warmed the bikes up and headed to the entry level track.  It was PERFECT.  Easy layout, mellow jumps and not a ton of people.  Thomas and Ewan were having fun and getting faster every lap.  After a while I decided to head over to the Vet track and was stoked to find it just a bigger version of the entry level one.  Nothing to big, nothing dangerous and prepped perfectly.  I can see why people love motocross when you have a track like that to ride! 

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We all burned more than a tank of gas and had perma-grins plastered on our faces.  After we filled our space ship (van) back up with gas it was time to head back East.  The goal for the day was St. George and after our third In-N-Out stop of the trip we hammered down and got the work done.  We hit St. George at about 8:30pm and promptly got into our motel pool!  Pizza, TV then bed!  We slept in a bit to recover from all of the fun and then loaded up for the final push. 

The trip back was easy and uneventful.  Like every vacation I began to feel the pangs of sadness roll in, the closer we got to home.  I hate finishing such a good time.  I just want them to last forever and I really struggle with my emotions as vacations come to a close.  Fortunately I am old enough to recognize what is happening and stop it before I get really sad.  I remind myself that it is all the hard work and grind that makes times like these so special.  Also, as we pulled back into Montrose I was reminded that I live in the dead middle of most peoples dreams.  Life is SOOOO Good!

Here are the stats of the trip:

4 days: Almost 2000 miles of driving: 3 In-N-Out stops: 3 Hours in Pacific Ocean: Redbull Straight Rhythm: 2 trips to swimming pools: A day on a REAL motocross track: Memories with my sons that will last FOREVER!

 

 

Quality Time!

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We all know the scenario.  The week is filled craziness.  Work all day, house and family maintenance all night and your sweet ride takes a back seat because those other things are super important.  Friday afternoon comes, you get home, you have dinner with the family or friends and hang out for a while afterwards.  10 o'clock rolls around and its time to get to the garage to take a look at your baby and you realize that you have at least 2 hrs worth of work to do to make her really ready for the big ride Saturday morning.  You've been planning the trip to the desert all week and now you realize that your steed needs more than an oil change. 

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The air filter is disgusting, chain is grimy and a little loose.  Tires are OK, but need some air and the knobs really aren't as good as you thought.  The tubes were new on the last tire change.... Right????  You grab the wheel to check the bearings and... DAMNIT!!  They are loose and so are a couple spokes.  When was the last time you changed that spark plug??  A quick glance at the hour meter and you realize that its been over 50 hrs since the last time you checked the valves (or for your two stroke, looked at the top end through the exhaust port) and it has been starting a little harder recently.   Brakes are a little spongy and.. wait, did someone pour your morning coffee into your master cylinder??  Go, hit the button or kick the starter and lets just do the minimum so we don't blow it up.  CRAP, it really is starting harder. 

OR....

Monday during lunch you drop your pride and joy off at Highland Cycles and tell the boys that you want her ready by Friday afternoon.  The experts who LOVE to work on bikes give you a high five and let you know that you will be ready for a trouble free weekend of two wheeled fun!  Friday afternoon comes, you swing down, grab your baby, and go spend quality time with your family and friends and head out Saturday morning knowing that your bike is ready to rip! 

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Now doesn't that sound like a lot more fun?? 

We all work very hard!  Dirt bikers in general are not the lazy, entitled crowd!  This lifestyle takes a ton of effort both on and off the bike.  At Highland Cycles we understand this because everyone of us from the owner through the mechanics works our butts off to have bikes and time to ride and we know you do too!  Your quality time with the bike and the important people in your life is important!

We LOVE doing all aspects of repair and maintenance but honestly we would rather sell you services, oil, filters, or protective equipment for your bikes than rebuild your motor or replace expensive chassis components that have worn out because of lack of maintenance.  We want to KEEP YOU RIDING!!! 

We also understand that for some of us, doing the work on the bike is just as important as riding the bike.  If you don't have a good system for servicing your bike, click the link below to get our service checklist that our mechanics use to keep your bike in tip top shape!

And here is a menu of some of the services we offer with a quick turnaround to KEEP YOU RIDING!!

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Chassis LOVE!

If you are like most of us you have been riding and riding your sweet, sweet DIRTBIKE all summer and having a blast.  I am sure you have been maintaining your air filter and changing your oil and maybe even lubing your chain every once and a while.  But I have a feeling that there is some neglect going on.  I know I have been putting off some maintenance that I just don't love to do!

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Linkage bearings

 Steering head bearings

Steering head bearings

We all know that the linkage, swing arm and steering bearings need to be serviced but most of us don't do it as often as we should.  Highland Cycles recommends doing it at least once a season or more if you ride in wet conditions or wash your bike a lot.

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If your bike has looked like this??

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And then you washed it up to look like this?? 

You need to service your chassis bearings because if you don't they will eventually end up looking like this

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Rusty bearings aren't only unsightly but also cause your suspension to work like poo.  So its a safety issue as well as an embarrassment. 

Taking apart, cleaning and re-greasing all of these bearings isn't rocket surgery but it is a mess and requires a stand, some room and probably some adult beverages.

If you don't have the time or the desire to take care of that job, Highland Cycles would love to help you out. 

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We can get your bike back to you in a day if you make an appointment via email.  Just click the link below and we can get you set up!

My conversation with Cody Webb

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All dirt bikers are striving to be better.  Go faster, ride smoother, clean sections, have more fun.  In general we all want to improve.  Well I have decided to ask the guys at the top of our sport a few questions to see what it is that makes them so good at what we all love!  This is the first in what I hope to be a series of interviews to try and distill some of the habits, influences and routines that make our heroes who they are.  

I reached out to Cody via Facebook and he was kind enough to offer to answer some questions that I emailed to him.  I really like his answers and I think you will too.  

In case you have been living under a rock and don’t know who Cody is, here is a short summary of his achievements:
2010 NATC Trials Champion
2014 Endurocross Champion
2015 Endurocross Champion
First American EVER on the podium at Erzberg (2nd) 2016

Without further ado,  my “conversation” with Cody Webb.  

HC:  Do you have a morning routine that you practice everyday (i.e. not race days)? If so, what is it and why?
Cody:  I make sure that I stretch nearly every morning. With my long limbs, I can get pretty stiff, so I make sure that I'm always trying to be limber. Just gets the day off to a good start for me and it even helps prevent injury.

HC:  Do you have a pre-race routine that you use? If so, what does that look like and what are the benefits?
Cody:  I’m really not the one who believes in superstition regarding pre-race rituals. I'm a pretty easy going guy and try not to sweat the small stuff, so I'm usually in a good mood and open to everyone before races. If it's cold out, I will do a pre-race warm up to get the blood flowing and warm up the appendages.

HC:  What is your favorite book and why?
Cody:  To be honest, I need to read more! Just like most everyone else probably. I'll be honest though, I'm pretty hooked on the Harry Potter series and have read all the books. Some of them I've read multiple times. Just because Harry Potter is an awesome adventure story and it's easy to read. Anyone could get hooked on it.

HC:  If you could only do one training drill, what would it be and why?
Cody:  I do figure 8’s after motos when I'm fatigued to work on my form and technique. Consistent cornering with the correct technique will help a lot in the long run.  For physical training I like cycling because I get bored in the gym and I'm not training to get muscle gains. Just trying to be fit. Sometimes it's nice to be out by yourself in nature on the bicycle pondering all of lifes thoughts, whether it's on my roadie or mountain bike.

HC:  Do you have a favorite failure? What I mean is, do you have a failure in your life that, while tough at the time, either changed the course of your life for the better or spurred you on to achieve greater things?
Cody:  It probably would've been my trials career in '08-'09. I had a tough two years on a new four stroke trials bike, which was probably my least favorite bike. I struggled those two years and when I made a switch, everything changed for me and got a lot better. Digging through those years really kept me motivated.

HC:  Who is the single greatest influence in your life and why?
Cody:  Probably my father. Without him and his expertise, I wouldn't be where I'm at today. Sure we've had our differences, but he has always told me that character matters. I try to achieve that everyday.

HC:  What is the most memorable race in your career so far and why?               Cody:  Probably getting second at the final Endurocross in '14 when I won the championship. It was unreal and with all my friends and family there, it made it that much better.

HC:  What is the most fun about dirt bikes to you?
Cody:  Striving to go where no one has ever been before. I consider myself a trail blazer, and I want to push the limits where I take my motorcycle. I want people to see my tire marks at the top of a rocky mountain peak and have them wonder what kind of crazy person would ever ride to the top!

HC:  What is one non-motorcycle thing that you enjoy doing?
Cody:  Does riding bicycles count? I know it has two wheels, but I enjoy it. I also enjoy going hiking with my fiancé and my pup. However only off the leash hiking, because he's an oxen and will pull your arm out of the socket.

HC:  If you had to purchase a bike and ride it for 1 year and you couldn’t switch at all, would it be 2 stroke or 4 stroke?
Cody:  2 smoker for sure! If you ain't mixing gas, you ain't hauling ass. Going to be difficult with those new TPI bikes from KTM. Won't be the same, not putting your own premix in.

Big thanks to Cody for taking time out of his busy schedule for us!  Show him some love by following him on all the socials!

If you have any suggested questions or contacts of racers for the next conversation please comment below.