Vent Hose - Respect the Trail Riders - Dirt Rider Magazine

Dear Dirt Rider:
I'm a moto guy. I ride the track 99 percent of the time, and the other 1 percent I'm in the desert. One thing I never do is trail ride. I've always thought of trail riding as an easier, more laid-back, more average-Joe type of riding (though I have never said anything negative to trail riders or looked down on trail riding). So one day, a good buddy invited me to Corral Canyon OHV in Southern California for a day of trail riding, and I hesitantly agreed.As I attached the spark arrestor onto my CRF250R the night before, I caught myself thinking that it would be an easy, almost boring day of riding. But God help me, I was wrong. First off, my buddy has a CRF250X, so when we got to the foggy, windy, freezing-cold trail at 7:30 a.m., his machine fired right up with its electric starter, while I was stuck kicking my CRF-R to life. By the time my bike started, his bike was warmed up and ready. My machine finally got warmed up, and we took off.Immediately, it was a living hell. Mud, rocks, roots, ruts, steep uphills, steep downhills and extremely tight turns, and it was very foggy, so you couldn't see 40 feet ahead of you. (My buddy was already enjoying another advantage with his headlight.) Every turn and every foot of dirt was different, something I'm definitely not used to. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the trail turned into a huge slab of granite, and I lost traction and landed butt-first on the hard rock. Both my bike and I suffered. Every other corner, I had to stop or I crashed because everything was so different and unexpected. Within the first two or three miles, my buddy was at least 60 or 70 yards ahead of me, only stopping at trail divides. While I was struggling in second gear, he was pinning it in third gear and going faster by the minute.When it seemed like I had finally lost him forever, the trail looped around back to our truck. He was there, gear off, drink in hand, bike on stand, relaxing in a chair. "It's about time, dude!" he laughed as I barely had the strength to pull off my helmet. I examined my lid, and it had a bunch of new scratches on it from twigs and all my crashes. Same on my bike. Scratches everywhere! If I were a little more prepared (with hand guards, skid plate, etc.), it may have been different. The whole day was exhausting, and I think we rode less at Corral Canyon than I usually spend on the track! It might have been my moto-stiff suspension, my buddy's gnarly skill or my lack of skill (probably the last one), but whatever it was, I learned that trail riding is no joke. It is intense, technical, challenging and, surprisingly, very fun. I had an awesome time. Now, I'm still gonna be a moto guy, but my thoughts toward trail riding have totally changed, and I now view every type of motorcycle riding as just as challenging as the next. And who knows, maybe one day my spark arrestor will replace my 99-decibel open muffler full time...Brian Melzer
Carlsbad, CA