Three months after I started riding dirt bikes, I decided it was time to start jumping jumps. That led to whiskey throttle on the finish-line landing at West Virginia’s Pyramid Valley Raceway, a broken scaphoid, and three months in a cast. Two years later, I was much more skilled in my mind, so it was time to start jumping again. I motored uphill toward High Point’s old Bradshaw Boulevard, forgetting that you have to actually memorize which jumps are tables and which are doubles. The first was a double, not a table, and I cased it badly and broke both ankles. It was at that point that I decided maybe jumping wasn’t for me. I’d focus on the woods, doing laps on GNCC tracks while I was there working for the series. Eventually I tried racing those races, with about the same horrible results as my early motocross attempts, sans broken bones. I’m almost 20 years into this experiment now, and all of that time dealing with mud, ruts, rocks, and hills has no doubt made me a better rider than I was when I started, back when practicing meant the three muddy practice laps before my motos at High Point and Steel City. Should a complete beginner try clearing those uphill doubles at Steel City? Looking back, no, but I only started riding in my 20s, and I had a lot of time to make up, and fast. Also, we had nowhere to practice. You’ve probably heard of the California practice-track heroes who never race? I found the exact opposite in Pennsylvania. They race, not practice, so if you want to ride, you have to race. And if you want to race, you have to jump.
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