Nicole Bradford interview - Dirt Rider Magazine

You may not have heard of her, but current U.S. Women's Trials Team member Nicole Bradford was an ISDE vet before switching to leaping from rock to rock. Bradford earned a bronze medal at the 2001 ISDE in France and this past year finished the grueling Scottish Six-Days Trial, making her the only woman in the world to ride and finish both of these famous six-days events.Age: 31Hometown: Gypsum, CO ("the poor part of Vail")Occupation: Kitchen designerFamily: Husband, Ben BradfordYears Riding/Racing: 27/8Accomplishments: Finishing the 76th International Six-Days Enduro (ISDE) and the Scottish Six-Days Trial (SSDT)-and being the only American to do both six-day events; two-time Trial des Nations team member.DR: When did you start riding motorcycles? NB: When I was about two, my mom would hand me off to any of the riders in our local riding club - Timberline Trail Riders in Steamboat Springs, Colorado - and I would ride on their gas tanks for hours, sometimes even falling asleep. Then when I was four, my parents bought me a Suzuki JR50; I could ride it way before I learned to ride a bicycle.How old were you when you began racing? I was actually pretty old when I started racing compared with when I started riding. When I was 12, my parents divorced, so my riding became a bit limited. When I graduated from college and got married, I told my husband I would not ride a horse, as it had no brakes, so we bought two enduro bikes. I taught him to ride and then began racing when I was 23.What classes have you raced? In my first year I raced in the women's C class in enduro, then quickly moved to the men's 200 B class because I did better if the event was longer. In my last year of racing enduro, I was in the men's 250 A class. In local trials, I ride the men's Advanced class, and at the Nationals I am in the women's class.Do you feel as a woman competing that you get more, or less, respect from your male competitors? When I got really fast and could hang with or beat the men, then I actually did get a lot of respect. Many of the men hated when they found out they were on my minute, but they were pretty cool about it. Only a few would not let me pass, but eventually they gave in. A lot of wives would tell me they only came to the event because if I beat their husbands, the ride home was really fun.Do you have a riding mentor? I was about 14 and working a check at the Timberline Enduro in Colorado when a woman rode through my section. It was a check on the A/B loop, so I did not understand why there was a woman coming through. Later, I found out it was Kerrie Brokaw and that she was really good and raced in the men's B class. From that moment on, she was my hero. Today we are friends. She is an awesome enduro and trials rider, and the day I beat her, I realized just how good I was.Why the switch from enduros to observed trials in 2002? In 2000, I decided to buy a trials bike to improve my riding skills. I had always heard it would, so I gave it a try. Two weeks after buying a new Gas Gas trials bike, I went with Brokaw to watch the UTE Cup Trial - held every year in Colorado. The loop on the UTE Cup is often harder than the sections, which is why the race is different from most trials. On the loop, I met Dale Malasek, the U.S. Gas Gas importer. He asked me how long I had been riding trials. He was surprised to know it was only two weeks and asked me if I had plans to compete. At the time, my answer was no; I was set on riding and finishing the ISDE in 2001. He told me to give him a call afterward, and he would sponsor me. After I finished, he gave me a call and next thing I knew I was in Texas picking up my new bike and competing in my first National.What do you think of observed trials? Do you miss enduros? Observed trials is much harder than it looks, especially for someone who has spent the last 25 years learning to go fast. Each time I ride my trials bike, I learn something new or get , so I am always excited to go out and practice. There are times I really miss enduros. Sometimes when we have trials that have 20-mile loops, I go really fast on the loop like I used to when I raced.What was the hardest event you ever rode? While the ISDE is about 200 miles a day and the Scottish Six-Days Trial is only 100, is on a bike without a seat, and you have to ride through several miles of moors - basically big, huge mud holes - each day as well as walk and ride 30 sections. So I would have to say the SSDT was the hardest. the worst weather in 15 years; it was very rainy and very cold. Each day the moors would either suck you in or make you flip over the bar. The only good part is with no seat you have no monkey butt.What's the weirdest thing you've seen at an event? At the 2001 ISDE, on the sixth day we had a final moto, and while racing, all of a sudden I looked over and there was a guy in nothing but a bright-red thong and cape setting off fireworks 2 feet from the track. Now that was weird. The funniest thing I have ever seen is a guy bent over, his pants dropped down and bare butt showing, as his friend used some pliers to pull out part of a cactus. When I rode by, I could not help but yell, "Yeah, naked men!"You also teach a women's riding school each year in Oregon ... Two years ago, Ellen Sanford asked me if I would teach a school on her beautiful ranch in Oregon. Moose Racing helped sponsor the event, and we had about 20 girls attend. It was a huge success, and the girls learned a lot of skills. This past year we added another instructor and had 28 riders. Trials riding has taught me a lot of techniques that made me a much better enduro rider, so for the most part, I am teaching basic trials techniques using an enduro bike.What advice would you give to women who want to ride or race motorcycles? I would tell them to find another woman to teach them rather than their husband or boyfriend; they will love it!