Feb 1st 2017

RYP Rider Blog - January - Pat Smage

Welcome to the RYP Rider Blog. Check back here each month to see what a different rider is up to. We are kicking things off with Pat Smage and his January travels. 

Hello everyone, I hope your 2017 is off to a great start! Mine has been busy with shows almost every weekend and riding scattered between. I usually head out West to find some big dry rocks in January, but this year my schedule did not allow time for that. 

I am actually going start with December 31st. My grandpa used to do a motorcycle ride on New Year's Day every year, and I plan to do the same for as long as I can as a memory of him. This year it fell on a weekend that had such good weather just a bit south of us that I decided I wanted to get some riding in both days. My girlfriend Hannah and I headed down to Attica, IN to the Badlands Offroad Park and had a great time. It is known as an OHV park, lots of trails and sand dunes for quads, dirt bikes and side by sides, but there is also an awesome spot for trials. It's a rock quarry where the jeeps and rock crawlers go, full of a variety of different types of rock. We spent most of the day here and found plenty of challenging lines for both of us.

On the way back to the van I found a circular sand berm and had to give that a go! I managed to drag my foot peg around it cruising in 4th gear, feet up of course. Only crashed once trying to get used to that feeling, haha. I even convinced Hannah to give it a try and after a couple slow attempts that put her stuck in the soft bottom, she pinned the 125cc and made some good laps. This little spot reassured me how fun and versatile trials bikes really are.

The next, January 1st, day we came back home and did some riding in the snow. This was Hannah's first attempt at riding something so slippery, so she stuck to the crusty snow piles and some dry logs. I have been enjoying the challenge of riding such slippery sections. We usually have so much snow that I stick to riding in our shed in the winter, but when there is only a few inches or less, it's great practice.

The next weekend was off to Little Rock, AR for shows on the Nitro ArenaCross Tour. These shows have been nice since we don't have to take our normal trailer so there is no setup. The track is our obstacle and it's been fun to find out what we can do to entertain the crowd. Trying to wheelie the whole track has been a good challenge. With the shows only at night, we have time to look for local places to ride during the day. Although it was the coldest weekend they have had in a long time down there, we still managed to get some good riding in on some very slippery snow covered rocks. Thanks to the Hoffman's for the great hospitality!

After that we headed to St. Louis for a more typical demo at the STL Motorcycle Show. There was a huge ice storm scare for the weekend, but luckily it was indoors and motorcycle riders are die hard, so we still had some decent crowds. After getting used to the short ArenaCross shows, our normal shows are a workout! About 25 minutes of nonstop hops and wheelies makes for some ridiculous arm pump. 

The weather in Wisconsin has been quite the roller coaster, going from highs of below zero to mid 40's. Once most of the snow we had in December melted, it has actually made for some great training. It has been a combination of snow, ice, slush, and mud depending on the temperature. Finding traction where there is none, and I mean none, is difficult but it's great practice. It's not, "oh that rock is as slippery as ice!", it actually is ice. Keep an eye out for a winter training video I am working on for an episode of RYP TV.

We had another Nitro AX show in Kansas City, MO on the 20th-21st. The shows went well, they actually had to be even shorter than normal due to the huge racer turn out. We stayed at Scott Carpenter's house, which happens to have what seemed to be endless potential for riding not far from his backyard. A huge group of riders from the MATT trials club came out to ride. It was awesome to see such a good group come out and ride together. Huge thanks to everyone that helped us out and made that happen! 

Hannah and I had planned on going south to ride again over the last weekend of the month. But since the weather was looking pretty chilly, we decided to go north to Michigan where the temps were similar but the snow depths were way more! With pretty much all the rest of my weekends this winter booked with motorcycle riding trips, I thought it would be fun to get a snow trip in, most likely my only one of the season. Marquette has been known as one of the best places to go fatbiking and I have been wanting to check it out for a long time. Fatbiking can be a lot of fun, but it is also great cross-training. Not just for cardio and strength, but overall bike control that relates directly to trials. The trails did not disappoint, and as much as I love trials, it is good to do something different once in a while. But now I am ready to find some dry rocks!

Thanks for reading,