Monday, June 11, 2012

ITSA Trials at Joe Terry's farm

This past Sunday I rode in my first Trials event at the ITSA (International Twin Shock Assoc) event that local legend "Pappa Joe" Terry graciously hosted at his place in Lenoir City. The "Twin Shock" designation means that this is pretty much a vintage trials organization.  Being Twin Shock also means that this was more old school trials than modern. No huge jumps, big rocks, or anything that could break you or your bike in half if you didn't make it.
 About a year and a half ago I picked up a 86 Honda Reflex to play on, so I had one of the newest bikes there. These old Reflex's came as a Trials / Dual Sport bike. They are decent trials bikes, but horrible dual sports. I took off the street stuff, geared it lower, and moved the foot pegs to make it more trial worthy. Due to work travels I wasn't able to get practiced up as much as I wanted before the event. My total trials riding experience consisted of tight figure 8's around tree stumps in the back yard, and 1 ride at Joe's. Perfect. Lets go jump in the deep end!

The course had been laid out the day before with ribbon, and sections were rated A,B,C,D, with A being the hardest. As a first time novice I rode the C and D sections. You made three loops of the course, and each loop included 5 C and 5 D sections, for a days total of 30 sections. 
Of course the whole idea of trials is to "Clean" a section, ride though it without dabbing (touching your foot), stopping, rolling backwards, or crashing. I did manage to clean a few sections throughout the day, but I scored a lot more 5's (max) than I did 0's. I had a real hard time breaking my dirt bike habit of touching the ground, and some turns were just beyond my novice skills.  I told my mentor (Dan) that I had a 3 touchdown lead after the first loop! He said that I seemed to be a little confused on the whole scoring thing!
 I got paired up with two great guys, long time trials rider Bruce Carmon from Hendersonville TN. who was riding a super cool, tricked out, 1968 BSA Bantam, and Darren Shepard of Elizabethton TN who was also on a Reflex, and also in his first event. The catch was Darren had rode a Reflex years ago, and had just now got back into riding. Both of them rode great, didn't mind that I rode bad, and we had a whole lot of fun. I was really appreciative of Bruce for taking a newby like me under wing.
 Darren and Bruce checking out Bruce's BSA
Butch (left) and Dan (right) check out Kenny's recently restored TY175

Trials riding is extremely fun, and not at all like riding a regular dirt bike. The body english that you have to use made me aware that I need to get some of those core muscles I hear people talk about. Heck, I was sore before I went to bed that night! Move slow, hold your body at some weird angle, it's sort of like Motorcycle Yoga. 
 If you like playing around on a dirt bike and want a new challenge, I highly recommend you give trials a try. The ITSA folks are eager to introduce new people to the sport, and everyone does all they can to help you out. It was a ton of fun. I'll definately do it again. 



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