Posts tagged Girls Who Ride
Meet Caitlin O'Dell

Happy New Year! I cannot WAIT to share the exciting NEW details about Over And Out 2019, but, you’ll have to hold out while I keep some of that stuff under wraps for juuuust a little while longer.

In the meantime, let’s revisit one of the most important things about OAO: community! I know that sounds like a snooze-fest of a topic (believe me, I hate buzzwords as much as you do) but community is a thing that can actually help propel your experience, confidence and skill as a rider.

Over And Out is all about getting out in the dirt and woods on two wheels - hell yes! - but it’s also about bringing together the community of women who ride or want to ride. This matters big time because they get to see different types of riding terrain and bikes, and ride with others who are similar to them, physically and mentally.

Photo by Megan Maloy

Photo by Megan Maloy

In short, community helps riders get more opportunities to do what they love: RIDE!!!

On that note, I’m stoked to keep the community growing and help you get to know more gals who ride in the Northeast with our #FastFriends rider spotlight. Meet one of our most friendly and enthusiastic #FastFriends, Caitlin O’Dell!

Photo by Megan Maloy

Photo by Megan Maloy

CAITLIN O’DELL, KTM 350XCF-W @ceo_810

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO ATTEND OVER AND OUT?

An all girls DIRT BIKE event? What female rider would even hesitate in saying yes to this event?! 

My dirt-biking experiences had always been me and the guys, until this past year. I met an awesome group of girls from Ohio at the North East 24-hour challenge enduro. I rode in that race 2 years ago. The girls thought it was so awesome to see a girl out there, so two years later we all got together and formed our own team! 

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Dirt biking brought us together, and as soon as I heard of an event we could all do together I was excited to attend, and to meet even more rad dirt bike chicks! 

HOW DID YOU GET INTO RIDING DIRT BIKES?

My husband taught me how to ride about 6 years ago.  He’s a woods rider, a fan of harescrambles and the Northeast 24-hour Challenge. And now I am too!

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One day, I told him that I wanted to learn how to ride dirt bikes. He jumped on that request so fast and found a TTR 230 on Craigslist. We got the bike during a snow storm in March, and my lessons started right away in a frozen cornfield! 

I outgrew the 230 and then upgraded to a 250.  Fast forward a few more bikes, and I’m currently on a KTM 350xcf-w. I am in love with this bike. 

Photo by Megan Maloy

Photo by Megan Maloy

I am so glad I met other girls who ride as well though. It has helped boost my confidence and has motivated me to sign up for more races! So, again, I was really excited to continue on to a ladies-only event.

DID YOU FACE ANY TOUGH CHALLENGES?

Yes, a little over a year ago I broke my arm while riding. I hit a tree, and the tree stopped actually me from going down a ravine, so that was actually not the worst it could have been.  It could have been much worse than a broken arm!

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But, as they say, success is determined by how you handle challenges, and I wasn’t about to mope around because I couldn’t ride.  I am an avid trail runner, and had a 1/2 marathon 3 days after I broke my arm.  I powered through and crossed that finish line with a smile on my face!

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you confront fear. So this past year, with each ride I would try to improve any skill that I could to get back out riding with confidence.

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DID YOU HAVE TO FACE ANY CHALLENGES WHEN ATTENDING OVER AND OUT?

Well, immediately after signing up, I thought to myself, “How the heck am I supposed to get my bike there?” It is great having my husband to ride with all the time because he takes care of hauling the bikes, not to mention bike maintenance. But I wouldn’t have him to help me this time, and I had a group of 5 girls traveling together out there from several hours away.

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

So, a week before the event, my husband gave me lessons on how to strap my bike down and how to haul our trailer with his dually truck.  I hauled ALL the bikes while my friend hauled her camper. Once we made it safely to the event, I had a sigh of relief but also this amazing feeling of: “I DID IT!!!!!!” I felt like jumping up and down I was so happy!

I now have a hitch and dirt bike rack for my SUV so that I can go out riding whenever I want. One thing this event taught me is that I can survive riding without my husband and have a really fun time with the girls! 

WHAT TYPE OF RIDING DID YOU DO AT OVER AND OUT?

I rode the grass track and the woods trails.  Both the beginner and intermediate woods loops were so fun, just challenging enough and beautiful!

Photo by Megan Maloy

Photo by Megan Maloy

HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT THE SOCIAL ASPECT AND MEETING A BUNCH OF NEW FEMALE RIDERS?

I was so excited for this part! I follow as many female riders on social media that I can (I mean, don't we all?!)  But getting the chance to meet many of these women in person was awesome! There is something really cool about learning from other females compared to riding with males, even your own husband or boyfriend.  

I met so many rad chicks, and Im looking forward to seeing them all again at the next OAO!

Photo by Megan Maloy

Photo by Megan Maloy

IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE COMING BACK IN 2019 TOO! :D

Currently I am 8 months pregnant with a little girl.  I am super bummed that I haven't sat on a dirt bike since August (though I’m truly grateful for the little blessing that is growing inside of me of course!). 

I am beyond excited to raise our little girl to be the best, badass, most inspirational moto-chick out there.  And I hope she’ll get to attend some girls dirt bike events, just like I have. I’m super thankful for such an amazing event and opportunity. 

So yes, I will be ready to ride in the spring and cannot WAIT to meet even more rad girls that ride at Over and Out!

Northeast 24-hour Enduro Women's Team: Interview with Amelia Kamrad

One of my goals for Over And Out is that it help serve as a gateway for female riders of all levels to discover more opportunities for riding, be it through connection to new friends and a broader riding community or by building up the skills and confidence to join a race or try a longer or more difficult ride. 

For me, as a casual recreational rider, meeting Amelia Kamrad became my own gateway to trying my first race. I was stoked to experience it, but what I actually ended up getting out of it, I never expected.  That is: the addictive high of working hard at something I love, but as part of an incredible team.

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I played team sports all through high school and college, but this experience was different. Maybe because there were only six of us. Maybe because riding enduro is a sport I love more than anything I've ever done...I'm not sure, but I have to thank Millie for recruiting me to be on the team, and I've got to do it again!

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NORTHEAST 24-HOUR CHALLENGE, WOMEN'S TEAM: INTERVIEW WITH AMELIA KAMRAD

I asked Millie to tell us a bit about the race experience. Sure, we're not the first all-girl team, nor did we capture first place, but it's all too common to read interviews with people who are already killing it.  I wanted to share some information for those of you who might be trying new things in the world of riding two wheels, just like we are. 

I hope you enjoy and that it maybe encourages you or someone you know to give something new a try, be it a race, an event or simply riding for the first time.  

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TELL US ABOUT THE NORTHEAST 24 HOUR CHALLENGE! 

The Northeast 24 Hour Challenge is a true test of endurance! Riders tackle an 11-mile course, but aim to complete as many laps as possible within 24 hours. You can form a team of up to six people, or ride as an ironman or woman, aka just one rider for the full 24 hours.

The race starts with a Le Mans-style start - riders start with a run to their bikes, having to start them up before taking off and heading into the woods. Each team also has a transponder that gets handed rider-to-rider to track their laps.

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The race goes for a full 24 hours, meaning riders continue to ride throughout the night, and must make use of headlights and helmet-mounted lights to make their way through the densely wooded course in the dark.

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WOULD YOU SAY THIS IS THE TOUGHEST PART OF THE RACE? 

Riding all through the night definitely adds an additional test of endurance.  The pits get quiet while riders who aren't currently riding try to get some sleep, and some teams aren't able to keep a rider on the course through the early hours of the morning. Managing sleep, hydration, and nutrition are key, so riders can continue to put in laps throughout the 24 hours. 

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Watch Part 1: Team Theft Recovery at the Northeast 24 Hour Challenge.


WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO ASSEMBLE AN ALL-GIRLS TEAM FOR THIS YEAR'S RACE?

Last year I joined a friend's team, and I had a ton of fun. I thought it would be a really interesting experience tackling this with five other women. This was in November 2017, and with Over And Out's first women's riding event on the horizon I realized I'd be meeting a number of female riders keen to take on new challenges.

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There weren't that many female riders at the 24-hour challenge, so I thought if I could gather five other women to join me in a team, I'd be significantly adding to the number of women riding at this event. Hopefully, our participation this year will inspire more women riders to take on this challenge next year!

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WHO ENDED UP ON YOUR TEAM AND WHY DID YOU SELECT THEM? 

We had a few changes to team lineup over the year. Because race entry opens in January but the race isn't until July, naturally some changes came about throughout the year that forced two girls to drop out by early June. 

BUT, Over And Out was set for the end of June so I knew I'd likely meet some more riders game to join.  I met so many positive, awesome female riders at OAO, I was able to fill the open spots! 

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The final lineup of "Team Theft Recovery": Tracy So, Megan Babineau, Ashley Lusky, Liz Kiniery, Kelly McCaughey and me, Amelia Kamrad. All of the girls that joined the team are great riders, but riding ability was only a small part of what makes a good team. 

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I was hoping to find teammates with positive attitudes, ready to take on an endurance challenge, and I couldn't picture any of these girls giving up easily.

I also knew right from the start that they would help to build each other up; it's super important to be team-focused. When we finally settled all six team members, it felt right. 

WHAT DID YOU DO TO PREPARE FOR THE RACE? 

One thing we did was join Erika Hurst's Gnarly Babes Fitness program together!

Erika was one of the first east-coast female riders profiled on the Over And Out blog. She started a fitness program for women who ride, and took us on as clients. 

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The majority of our team committed to the fitness program to improve our strength, modify eating habits, and also stay in touch and motivate each other to stay fit and healthy as the race approached.

In 90+ degree weather, your physical fitness (or lack thereof) really comes into play.  It's a recipe for complete and utter exhaustion if you haven't prepared in advance. By around week 4 I could tell the program was making a difference in my strength and in my riding.

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We also needed to prep our bikes appropriately. While the race lap is only about 11 miles, if you have an issue with your bike it could take you two hours to get hauled back to the pits. That's two hours that you won't have someone completing laps for your team, and it will definitely make a difference in the race.

Solid Performance KTM (based just outside of Philadelphia) came through for us in so many ways: They let us borrow a KTM 250xcw that they professionally lowered 2 inches. 

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Funny story: the bike was actually stolen from their shop at one point. It was ridden in inner city Baltimore for a while before it got impounded and Solid Performance got it back. This is where our team took the name "Theft Recovery" from!  

They of course put a lot of work in to ensure this bike was in top shape to race. Solid Performance is the only WP suspension shop on the East Coast (they lowered my Husaberg for me last year - a MUST do if you've got short legs like me!). A lot of women don't realize the difference that lowering a bike can make in your riding. These bikes come stock built for the average size man, so lowering the bike by 2 inches made it much more accessible. 

Solid Performance even came through big time by lowering Tracy's bike for her the week before the race!  They gave us assurance, confidence and amazing support!

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I Imagine (and hope!) we might have some women who end up reading this who are curious about trying a race for the first time. During the actual race, WHAT WAS IT ACTUALLY LIKE FOR YOU GIRLS?

Well, like I described above, a 24-hour race is inherently a test of endurance. It was fairly exhausting! Basically, when you aren't expending energy actually riding, you're trying to chill in between rides, conserve energy, hydrate, eat, fix things on your bike that you may have broken on your last lap...and a million other things.

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It helped to be organized.  We had organized areas for food, gear, prep, stretching and recuperation. And we helped each other. While a rider got geared up in anticipation of their riding time, other riders helped them do whatever they needed: bring them food, help find a piece of gear or tape or some other solution they needed. 

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The weather also threw in a few challenges.  We had a few thunderstorms roll through, so overnight the course turned into a soupy, muddy mess! 

Not only is it extra challenging to ride in sticky, slippery rutted-out mud, it's a bummer come the morning when you're already getting sore, and you have to put cold, wet, muddy gear back on for your final laps...  


Watch Part 2: Team Theft Recovery at the Northeast 24 hour Challenge.  


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Oh yeah, by the time morning came around, putting the gear back on felt a bit like punishment. But before you know it it's time for the last lap to be ridden and seeing your teammate cross the finish line is an incredible feeling.  

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We may have been exhausted and ready to get home and into a shower, but as we packed up our pit, gear and bikes we were already thinking about doing it all over again next year!

@millieonthemove @kellymccaughey @lizismoto @tracysowhat @motogal315 @alluneedisluff @solid_performance @erikahurst_ @hurststrengthct
Images and video by Steve Kamrad @steve_kamrad
Meet Meghan Milligan, Coordinator for Over And Out
Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Meghan Milligan - Pittsburgh, PA - @meggymilly

KTM 200xcw

HOW DID YOU GET INTO OFF-ROAD RIDING?

My fiancé Adam was the one who got me into riding off-road. When I first started riding in 2014, I only wanted to ride street and never have thought that I would get into riding dirt. Now if I ever had to choose between the two, street or dirt, I would choose to ride off-road, hands down! I would always watch videos of Adam ripping through trails and was completely mesmerized — I wanted to experience that same adrenaline feeling. 

I first learned how to ride dirt on my 1992 Suzuki DR350. It was a great bike to start out on, but once I got a taste of a 2-stroke dirt bike that was it — I needed something more compatible for the riding style I craved.

Photo by Adam Frye

Photo by Adam Frye

Adam then surprised me for Christmas one year with a 1996 Kawasaki KX125. That's the bike that made me completely fall in love with riding 2-strokes. The power completely changed my outlook on riding off-road and I couldn't stop smiling underneath my helmet.

However, my KX was at times challenging to ride due to some minor imperfections. I wanted to desperately advance in my skill set so instead of putting tons of money to fix up an old bike I decided to sell it to RIDE ORANGE!  I am now the proud owner of a 2009 KTM 200 XC-W and couldn't be more pumped! It's an incredible bike to ride trails and help me grow as a rider. 

Photo by Adam Frye

Photo by Adam Frye

WHAT KIND OF TERRAIN DO YOU LIKE RIDING THE MOST? 

There is nothing more thrilling than riding through the woods trying to get through each obstacle that comes your way. You get to ride through nature's very own playground — log crossings, rocky terrain, ruts — the list goes on. What really keeps it exciting that you can ride a route one weekend and by the next one it can change completely! Riding trails really improves your technical skill set — especially when riding tight single-track. And let's be real, it doesn't hurt that you're surrounded by the amazing scenery of the woods. 

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WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT RIDING? 

I love that you are constantly challenging yourself off-road. There is always something new to learn and you’re continuously working on improving your skills.  It's an incredible feeling when you are able to get through an obstacle that you once struggled with.

WHAT IS YOUR INVOLVEMENT WITH OVER AND OUT? 

The first I heard about Over And Out was when Kelly mentioned to me that she wanted to create a ladies-only off-road event here on the East Coast. There was no event like that on our side of the country and Kelly was determined to make it happen! While she worked on plans for a public event, she organized a smaller trial event with a handful of women (of all levels) and women loved it. After that I was ECSTATIC to hear the official plans for Over And Out were a GO, and that we were finally getting a women's off-road event here on the East Coast!!  

Photo by Adam Frye

Photo by Adam Frye

As far as my involvement with Over And Out, I'm helping to bring in great items for the raffle, am assisting with event set-up and...pretty much whatever else is needed to produce an event like this! It's really fun to coordinate all of the exciting things to come! 

WHY IS THIS EVENT IMPORTANT TO YOU?

I feel honored to help assist Kelly in the planning of OAO — it's great to have an incredible woman in the off-roading community be the brains behind this event, but even better to help a friend that I have connected with through the love of riding dirt bikes! We met at the first Babes Ride Out East Coast and I was pumped to meet a woman who loves riding trails like me! 

When Kelly first told me that she was planning Over And Out I immediately volunteered to help in any way I could! I always wished there was a dirt bike/off-road event out here for women and I couldn't be happier that it is now a reality.

Riding dirt bikes has become such a huge part of my life so being able to help with Over And Out is very important to me. I can't wait to meet more great people, and I can't wait to RIDE!

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

A Girls' Event: A Recap of My Trip to Babes In the Dirt

This was my second year venturing out to Babes In The Dirt from the East Coast. Last year I was connected to some CA locals to help me make the trip out, so this year I knew exactly what to do. So I connected with some other East Coast ladies to make the trip together.  

Something that really stood out to me through all the planning and travel was how I'd met all the girls that I flew, drove and rode with through motorcycling - specifically through all-female events. And while we're still practically acquaintances, having kept in touch mostly through social media, everyone was a perfect pleasure to make the journey with!

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not that outgoing. I'm an introvert, and when I attend an event it's not uncommon for me to retreat to my own tent or van for some alone time to recharge.  I've also never been particularly a girls-girl; my dude friends have always outnumbered the ladies.

SO...how did a girl like me end up traveling with a cluster of other women I hardly know?  The answer is: I love riding, I love an adventure, and I just so happen to meet the best people on two wheels! 

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Babes in the Dirt was a whole other animal this year! It grew in size to almost 700 women! And, it occupied a new event space in the Quail Canyon Motocross Park and Group Site, complete with multiple tracks and a pavilion. It was inspiring to see what event co-founders Anya Violet and Ashmore Ellis have grown this event to be. 

It was equally amazing to see all the sponsors (Husqvarna, Fox, SENA, Thousand Oaks Powersports, See See, WLF Enduro) that once again went above and beyond to make this event special for all the ladies riding! 

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

One of the best things about this years' event was the addition of more training classes with Garrahan Off-road.  The Garrahan team did an amazing job getting ladies rolling.

I ride pretty frequently, but every rider can benefit from training, so I signed up for a training class. At the last minute I offered it up to a new rider (and new acquaintance!) in my group, Catherine.  Somehow she'd missed the original signup, so she was beyond stoked to have the opportunity. Well, Catherine loved every bit of it, even the inevitable bumps and scrapes. She walked away with a nice little elbow "trophy"...and a big smile!

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

It was a great experience to once again ride in a different type of terrain than I'm used to. I don't ride in sand much, and the landscape is just so different (to me at least) from the East Coast landscape. 

It's visually different as well, the height and exposure, the angles of things. I see a lot more in my range of vision than I do in tight woods - so it becomes a good learning experience to adjust to some of these changes.

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

And, when the day of riding is done, it's so great to just hang out and do whatever you want to do. We grabbed camp chairs, kicked back and watched the mayhem and carnage of the the mini races run by the See See Motorcycles crew!

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

And it's always awesome to grab some food, maybe a drink, and spend some time connecting or reconnecting with other girl's like you who are just happy to be there having fun!

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Photo by Sarah Van Tassel

Over And Out is proudly sponsored by Babes In The Dirt, and inspired and motivated by the fun and adventurous ladies in the motorcycling community. 

@babesinthedirt  All photos by Sarah Van Tassel @sarahvtp
New to Riding? Babes In The Dirt Explains The Best Way To Get Started.

Our sponsor Babes In The Dirt has been encouraging girls to ride for years, so we're happy to have a little advice from one of the co-founders, Anya Violet, about getting started and how riding dirt is a great way to begin!  

Photo by Genevieve Davis

Photo by Genevieve Davis

NEW TO RIDING? BABES IN THE DIRT EXPLAINS THE BEST WAY TO GET STARTED.

By Anya Violet, Co-Founder Babes Ride Out, Babes In The Dirt

We have had a lot of ladies reach out to us recently asking for advice on how to get into riding motorcycles. I think everyone will answer this question a little differently, but I would like to share my thoughts on this with you.  Everyone's journey to two wheels starts differently. Everyone will tell you something different and really you just need to see what is going to work best for you!

Photo by Genevieve Davis

Photo by Genevieve Davis

In my opinion, if you are thinking of learning to ride, I would recommend starting on a dirt bike (preferably one that is small enough to where you can lift it off of you if you need to). This will get you comfortable with the feeling of being on a bike and with the mechanics of shifting, breaking and braaaaaaping!

Photo by Genevieve Davis

Photo by Genevieve Davis

Make sure you always wear proper gear because you will fall several times. We all do, that’s part of the fun! You can probably rent or borrow a bike from someone if you don't have one,  but you'll want to spend a solid amount of time riding it. One weekend probably isn’t enough. Get to a point where you feel confident hopping on it and maneuvering it through a variety of terrain. 

Photo by Genevieve Davis

Photo by Genevieve Davis

You don’t need to be able to shred massive hill climbs and jump doubles, but finding the confidence in turns and being comfortable with shifting and breaking etc. is key. Ask yourself how you feel after learning to ride a dirt bike. Does it still scare the shit out of you? Is it fun, but more scary than fun? Or is it the most fun ever? It is important to check in with yourself and decide whether this is for you, or not, before taking the next step. Riding dirt bikes before hitting the road will make you a much better street rider! I promise!

Photo by Genevieve Davis

Photo by Genevieve Davis

Once you feel good on a dirt bike, take a motorcycle safety/training course!!! This is a super rad learning experience and they have great instructors. A lot of people that take these courses have never even sat on a motorcycle so don’t be intimidated.  

For more tips on riding dirt, check out babesinthedirt.com@babesinthedirt

And, follow along with us on Instagram @overandoutmoto as we head out to Babes In the Dirt in Lebec, CA this coming weekend, April 27-29, 2018. We're flying and rolling into the event from the East Coast and will be sharing a look at our BID riding adventure!

@babesinthedirt  @husqvarnamotorcyclesusa @genevieve_davis
Meet Our Sponsor: Babes In The Dirt!

I was beyond excited when Babes In The Dirt came on board to sponsor Over And Out, because it's like having a stamp of quality!  Creating a great event takes dedication and detailed planning, for sure, but a dirt bike riding event also takes a lot of passion and experience. There's no shortage of any of these things at a Babes In The Dirt event!

Flyer are by @desirae201

Flyer are by @desirae201

This April is Babes In the Dirt's 4th annual event in Gorman, CA and I wouldn't miss it for the world! Read on to learn more about Babes In The Dirt 4...   -K

Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

For over 4 years Babes In The Dirt has been providing ladies a place to experience a weekend of off-roading with their annual campout in Gorman, CA. For this year's event, April 27-29th, Babes In the Dirt has rented out the entire site at the Quail Canyon Special Event Area & Track

Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

The Quail Canyon site has tons of space and incredible trails for beginners, intermediate riders, and even the pros! It even includes access to the motocross track in addition to the trail areas. 

Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

Husqvarna will be back, bringing out demo bikes; Fox Women’s will be hosting a gear demo, SeeSee Motorcycles will be putting on their annual mini bike races, Thousand Oak Powersports will be on site wrenching on bikes that need a little help getting back on track, and WLF Enduro will be providing firewood and trail patrol to help ensure ladies make it back to camp.

Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

Babes in the Dirt is a ladies only off-road campout for those who want to ride trails and practice their skills. The event is great for ladies who: 

  • Have only ridden street bikes and want to see what dirt is about.
  • Have never sat on a motorcycle. We HIGHLY recommend that new riders start on a dirt bike (so bring those "bike curious" friends with you that always say "I wanna try").  This is a great learning environment.
  • Have a lot of experience as a dirt rider. We have some pro ladies coming out that you can hit the hill climbs and black diamonds with!
Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

Photo by Genevieve Davis Photography

Want to read more and stay connected?  Head over to babesinthedirt.com to register and give them a follow @babesinthedirt to stay connected with all the fun that is Babes in the Dirt. 

 

 

Meet Erika Hurst

The female off-road riding community has no shortage of impressive girls - from creatives, to business owners, to passionate ladies who love life and seek adventure and personal growth.  To kick off the New Year, check out this interview with Over And Out's first FAST FRIEND, dirt bike rider and female fitness boss-lady Erika Hurst. 

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Erika Hurst, 30 - Wallingford, CT   @erikahurst_  @hurststrengthct 

HOW DID YOU GET INTO RIDING?

Ever since I was a little girl I wanted a dirt bike. I thought they were the most badass things ever! But, I never got one and kind of gave up on the idea as I grew up. I ended up getting heavy into off-roading and rock crawling instead.

Then a few years ago, in the midst of a pretty low point in my life, I was seeking something to pull me out of my hole and build me back up again. So I bought my first dirt bike and I have been hooked ever since.

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WHAT TYPE OF RIDING DO YOU LIKE THE MOST? 

The first time I ever rode in the woods I HATED it. I actually ran over my own leg, and two dudes had to help me pry my boot out of my wheel well. (To this day I still have NO idea how I even managed to do that). I had whiskey throttled straight into a tree and took a handle bar through my helmet and goggles right into my face.

I had only been riding for a couple months and didn’t really have any solid skills or confidence, so it really rattled me. At the time I swore I’d never go in the woods again.

That was three years ago and somehow I keep finding myself pulled back out there and craving trail riding because I know it will not only make me a better rider skill-wise, but also when something scares the shit out of me I know I have to break through that barrier if I want to grow.

Needless to say, woods riding has definitely grown on me. Unfortunately, I don’t get to do it very often because of the strict laws in CT. So I spend most of my seat time on the track – which I love too!

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HOW DID YOU GET INTO FITNESS TRAINING? 

After high school I gained some weight and became the girl who ran on the treadmill for hours 6-7 days a week and ate as little as possible.  I thought this would make me fit, while the need for strength never occurred to me.

I started going to an automotive tech school at the time. I could barely lift a tire and I always had to ask for help breaking bolts.  It was hard enough as a woman trying to get hired as a mechanic, but adding a lack of physical capability on top of that I realized I needed to do something about that. So I slowly started spending a little more time in the weight room.

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I soaked up every bit of knowledge I could on how to get stronger. When I spent less time self-loathing about my body fat or trying to use the treadmill to burn off every calorie possible, and spent more time finding meaning in pursuing physical capability, treating myself well and eating to support my body, my life completely changed.

I realized this approach was working; I saw and felt incredible changes in my body.  And, I felt like it was my duty to share this “secret” with other women, so I switched careers and started school for exercise science and human performance. 

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TELL US ABOUT HURST STRENGTH!

I wanted to create a gym where women could go to feel empowered, badass and free of judgement. I also believe what we do in the gym should enhance our lives, make us feel badass and should be used as a vehicle towards becoming our best, most capable selves so we can do more rad things outside of the gym.

So that’s what I created with my gym, Hurst Strength. My goal is to change how women view fitness, lead them to feeling more confident in their bodies and help them embrace proper strength training. This is what I work towards doing every day. 

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I try to let my life be an example for other women and to show I practice what I preach – I don’t spend hours working out, I don’t diet or deprive myself, I continuously chase strength and improved performance so that I can live a more abundant life, and I see food as both fuel and pleasure.

Lifting has also given me the confidence to pursue other endeavors and risks that I would have never had the confidence to do otherwise. I’m constantly asking myself “can I do that?” Which has pushed me to seek out activities like dirtbiking, mountain biking and downhill riding, hiking, snowboarding, the list goes on!

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HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT FITNESS AND ITS RELATION TO RIDING?

There is absolutely no way I could have developed the skills or endurance to properly ride or handle a dirt bike if I wasn’t strong, functionally fit and didn’t have the body awareness I’ve developed from strength training.

I’d also probably still be pinned underneath my bike in the middle of a track somewhere. Haha!

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WHAT FITNESS TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR FEMALE RIDERS?

1. Don’t shy away from weights. Women are often convinced they shouldn’t lift weights or should do “toning” exercises with light weight. But a combo of heavy weight and low reps (1-5X) plus moderate weight with slightly higher reps (6-12X) is the most effective.

2.  Focus on making the majority of your training program basic compound movements (exercises that recruit multiple muscles at once and carry over to movements we do in real life) Think moves like squats, deadlifts, presses, rows and single leg exercises that build functional core strength.

3. Focus on core strength.  Our core needs to be strong and stable enough to prevent unnecessary movement in our midsection.  So core training should consist of movements that involve trying to maintain a “neutral” spine under a load or force that is trying to alter that position.

For example, doing a plank where you have to work to resist gravity VS. a crunch where you’re doing a whole lot of unhealthy bending through your spine. Crunches and other typical ab exercises don’t truly train functional core strength that will help protect against injury and prevent lower backaches while riding. Even despite the “burn” you feel.

A common injury in motocross is lumbar trauma from repeated impacts while riding in a flexed (rounded) position. So this rounded posture isn’t something we want to continue training in the gym by doing crunches and sit-ups. It’s best to strengthen the opposite position.

4. Put an emphasis on upper back strength (lots of rows and chin up variations) and grip strength (I love farmer’s carries or simply hanging from a pull up bar, but rowing exercises and deadlifts build a strong grip too.

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WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT RIDING? 

Seeing how big of a dirt-stache I have when I take my helmet off, haha!

But seriously, I love the rush, the feeling of accomplishment when you tackle an obstacle or develop a skill you’ve been working on, and the high of finishing a ride with all of your limbs still intact. :P

Riding has become SO much more to me. It’s helped me become infinitely more courageous, resilient and vulnerable. It’s also an awesome ego check! It’s taught me so much about myself. 

WHAT'S YOUR SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF ADVICE FOR GIRLS GETTING INTO RIDING?

Get strong...and then get stronger! Seriously!

 

@erikahurst @hurststrengthct @overandoutmoto Photos by @s_tribby #fastfriends