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Mid life crisis?


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My daughter wanted to learn how to race motocross but I didn't know a lot of the techniques etc so I read everything I could. That is what brought me to this awesome site. She grew up on snowmobiles and trail bikes so she wasn't a complete newbie but lacked the fundamentals. I found it hard to sit on the sideline and try to help her find her style and push her abilities. So there in-lies the problem, questions, issues or insanity lol. I had read the other posts from the over 40 crowd and I know it is possible to do what I want to do. I turn 42 in a week and need to loose 70lbs so you can see I am not in the best of shape and I am asthmatic. Looking at those stats you would assume many things about my riding ability but you would be wrong. I am as strong as an Ox and almost as smart lol, and I am very athletic for a big guy 6'1 and 285 lbs. I have pretty good stamina and lack fear(Bad trait I know!). I have grown up riding snowmobiles, trail bikes and street bikes but never raced on a track.

My daughter rides a CRF150R and I bought a CRF450R so I can be on the track and show her what I do know about riding, cornering and jumping. We went to a track in Southern MN called Moto River Raceway a 1.5 mile track with huge hills, long straight away and plenty of jumps. We were both intimidated at first especially me since it was my first time on my new bike. After 2 or 3 laps I could tell she was getting more comfortable and started to pick up speed but I needed more time. I took 4 laps and came back to the pits to adjust my suspension as it was a little too hard. I backed off a 1/2 turn on the forks and 3/4 on the back. The next few laps where much better as the bike showed me what it could do. I ride a Harley Ultra so I am used to a heavy bike but the 450 seemed to be light as a feather so I was very surprised and impressed with it. The jumps for me were easy to try and they became higher and longer and at one point I was getting too comfortable and I was taking risks. I stood the bike on end on a tabletop but managed to land it. That brought me back to reality and I slowed down a bit to work on my form. My daughter was gaining speed on the corners and learned how to pin it on the straight a ways but she still wasn't jumping like she should be. How do I get her to trust the bike and her abilities and try to hit the jumps harder? I have had her follow on my 7:00 to lead her at a comfortable speed but she backs off right before the jump. I know everyone earns their own wings and needs to be riding at their own pace but to advance her skills she needs to gain confidence and trust. It is happening on every other aspect on the track but the jumps. Does anyone have a suggestion other than more seat time? Are there training techniques I should be working on with her? Sorry for the long post!!

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I began riding MX at age 40, I am now 43. I am currently in the process of building a fullsized mx track for the town I live in N.Canada.

Don't try and pick-up tips on how to ride by watching people who are waaaaay better than you, it is useless. You need to pick-up tips from riders who are marginally faster, so you can better adapt what they are doing as they are approaching a jump. For example: Most good riders will remain seated as they fly-up the take-off ramp, and push-off the pegs an get their weight off the seat as they become airborne.

If you or your daughter try that method, you will pre-load the rear-suspension way too much, leading to getting pitched over. When you are first learning to jump a table-top you must go up the take-off ramp standing and with your body perpendicular with mother

earth. So as you go up the ramp you will lean more and more forward...then as your bike leaves the ramp you bring your body position back to the middle of the bike.

Remember!!! Grip the bike between your knees as you are standing and going up the take-off ramp, and while in the air. It keeps your feet firmly on the pegs and it helps if the lip of the jump is less than perfect.

You must remind your daughter that 4-strokes will engine brake...so approaching a jump in say 2nd when you should be in third will result in a dangerous situation where the bike will pitch forward in the air, if you leave the ground with the center of gravity moving forward, instead of the middle or going rear ward.

The good thing about a thumper is you can ride one gear up, and the torque will pull it out of a bog...Teach her not to ride with the revs up...it only increases the engine brake when she lets off the throttle. If she lets off while in 3rd it won't slow the bike so much and send the weight forward.

The best way for a thumper to jump ( for a newbie) is with the throttle being held steady.

The problem with riding trails as your only experience of riding is you have to unlearn your comfort zone. The method of riding track is so much different, and while poor body position is not the end of the world for trail riding...excessive sitting and incorrect weight movement while negotiating track obstacles will lead to a wreck.

You must also walk the track and identify which jumps have ruts or a kicker and choose a line ahead of time that will be safe and the launch will be predictable. Your bike won't do a whip that you weren't anticipating.

Another misconception of table-tops is that they are idiot proof. Wrong! While you may be able to work your way down the table-top as you jump further and further, once you are landing about 3/4 of the way down the table, and thinking you only have a little further to go, a problem will arise.

Because most tracks are not groomed all the time, a depression usually forms at about the 3/4 mark of a table from all the short jumps, so when you come down hard and hit that depression, your front wheel hits the upward part of the depression. When you combine that with the massive rebound your suspension will do when you flat land on top of the table, you will be pitched over the landing ramp ( the result of bouncing hard and over the landing ramp), but because the front wheel nailed the depression, you will be sent bouncing of the table at a squawnky angle.

So the moral of the story is, eventually you just have to give it the gas and land it. That is why a new rider should practice jumping a small easy jump that they can land so they are used to how to land it on the down ramp. Don't go around the track trying to clear everything...Too much risk. Take it easy on the lap and focus on cornering for the majority, take it easy on the longer jumps, and focus on one jump. That ways you can measure your progress and really get to know how the take-off works. Land it..Move on to the next obstacle.

This is how I learned. Have fun...40 is the new 30..Don't you know!

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Thanks for the reply! My main concern is for her as she sets out on this adventure. Both of us have our first race on April 11th (next week) yikes. I know my limitations and have learned a lot in my 42 years of riding, she on the other hand has not tested herself to even the middle of her abilities. Without the jumping component of her game she will be left behind so I am trying to bring that part out. I don't expect either of us to place in the top 10 but I know her psyche and last place will deflate her enthusiasm.

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Jump for show, corner for dough! If she can corner decent and she is hard on the gas everywhere else, the jumps won't let her down too much.

She must be tempered to race at her own pace, if she feels pressure to be too competitive too soon, it will all end at emergency, and that will be then end of her enthusiasm. 👍

Dealing with a petulant child who doesn't take defeat well, is a very common issue at the track. You see all sorts of tantrums after races...My wife would attest that sometimes I can be a little biatch, after a race too.🤣

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Thanks for the reply! My main concern is for her as she sets out on this adventure. Both of us have our first race on April 11th (next week) yikes. I know my limitations and have learned a lot in my 42 years of riding, she on the other hand has not tested herself to even the middle of her abilities. Without the jumping component of her game she will be left behind so I am trying to bring that part out. I don't expect either of us to place in the top 10 but I know her psyche and last place will deflate her enthusiasm.

Are you racing at Kellogg by any chance?

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my step son has been riding a crf 100 for a year now and wants a 85 and it took me to tell him I am not buying you one until you are damn near blowing the engine up on the 100 and using all of the bike then we will talk on upgrading. A funny thing happened I gave him a goal and now he lays it down in corners and is jumping it like a supercross bike. I don't know if it was him getting comfortable over a year or me challenging him but something all of a sudden clicked one weekend at a rut track we have and his speed picked up tremendously and now when he goes around he is laying it down in the corners and trusting the bike will not tip if he just uses the suspension and slingshots out. Long story short I think she will jump when shes ready but sometimes kids need some motivation just to do it and then once they do it they will see its not that big of a deal and actually start to progress fast.

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well trust me a 150r has a ton of power, but for some reason the light clicked on when i challenged him. The only reason I want to get him a 85 instead of a 150 is so he is forced to learn how to keep momentum up and not be lazy. Hope everything works out but the biggest thing I have learned is PATIENCE and through it all he has went from mister know it all to now we can go out and he looks for advice from me and actually tries it like i stood in the middle of a burm and I told him you are sitting way to much and explained how he needs to stand up as long as possible then sit down on the tank throw a leg up and hit the throttle and sling out and I said I will stand here and tell you when to sit. Well 15minutes later he got over the uncomfortable feeling and now he can go out and sling it around and controls the bike. Its an awesome family sport and brings precious bonding time and a great reward when they actually do it and look to you for advice and assurance. Keep us posted on progress and be patient she will try it.

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I'd say get off the track till you learn how to ride ... You are gonna hurt yourself, your daughter, or someone else. You don't even know how to ride a dirt bike and you are gonna teach someone how? It would be laughable but if it was not so dangerous ...

Get out in the dirt somewhere on a trail ...

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Theres nothing wrong with learning to ride at the track. Just hold your line, the faster guys know how to get around you! and do not ride over your head. try to find a track with more forgiving jumps/tabletops.

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No offense ... but how do you ride UR whole life and not have a clue on jumping? .. I read all I could before I went out there? I just purchased a new 450? I ride harleys? I was dead tired after 3 laps? Maybe you need to re-read it grasshopper ... lol ..

Nothing much worst than going to a track and seeing the little ones or old ones or anyone else out there with very little skills and risking injury to themselves all others around them ... But then you might like looking up and seeing drain plugs flying past you?

Just be safe out there and use your head, OK? On most tracks, about 95% of the riders are going for it and are not cutting alot of slack to anyone ...

Finding a track with forgiving jumps is a good idea ...a private track would be even better ... and you really have no choice but to hold your line and hope the local crowd holds theirs also 👍 and I'm sure the local amateurs are world class and know their track well ...

Edited by ray_ray
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No offense ... but how do you ride UR whole life and not have a clue on jumping?

See my brother. He has ridden trails for years, and has no interest in jumping. I have only been riding tracks for about year now, and I can jump a lot better than he can. Of course, I do a lot of reading and practicing.

To the OP, I would suggest watching a couple of races at your local track before you enter. Some tracks attract much more aggressive riders than other tracks. I found a track near me that is fairly laid-back, and the riders are not overly aggressive (at least in the beginner and vet classes). My son and I have raced there on several occassions without any problems.

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I agree when you do race don't worry about what place you finish just make your goal to finish your first race. Then work on what you need to do to get better, you'd be supprised after a race what you learn,. And in the mean time if you can go on a stationary bike and just work on trying to keep your heart rate around 165 for 30 minutes streight and then bump it up to 170 for the last 10. This will help you tremenously in a race because after a couple weeks of this you will start getting used to having your heart race and be able to breath and finish a race safely and strong and not out of breath. Good luck to you and your daughter and if you can post pics and results.

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I am not new to riding, I raced cross country snowmobiles and know the feel of a 650lb sled under me. The issue was jumping a MX bike as it is feels very different. My daughter grew up riding a CRF80F,CRF100F,Z120, Jag 340, ZR440 and my ZR600. So no we are not new to motor sports. As I said in my post my jumping came easy on the bike so my original question was how to teach her to trust in the bike and her abilities. I have had her follow behind me at a safe speed but she was backing off before the jump. Even though I was only taking her a couple feet of the ground. Not enough to get her in trouble with a high or low front. I know it is just a mental barrier to get over. I think I have my answer with what Kevin said. She wants a bigger bike so now she has to show me what she can do with the crf150r at the track before she graduates to the 250r. Thanks for all the positive and constructive reply's. Staying off the track is a ridiculous reply Ray, that is why we have a class C rider designation for new riders. It lets us race with similar riding ability and age riders so we can learn to get faster and have fun :0)

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I can see where Ray is coming from, but...his experience is probably on hard core tracks where beginners are a menace and dangerous to others (ie stopping/stalling in the middle of doubles and triples). I know places near me where beginning mx'ers have no business being and other tracks that are beginner friendly. It just takes finding tracks or race series(s) that accomodates the aspiring beginner. Theres room in mx for the beginner. (kinda has to be dont ya think?)

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