March 2020. COVID-19-related quarantine and restriction orders quickly changed the direction of our lives forever. With the world shut down, we hoped we’d be able to go to the place we always go, the track.
Trav had rented a storage space and we brought the bikes to Austin, not knowing how long we’d be otherwise locked down. There was one track in the area available to us. So we showed up. It was just us but I felt like I was in the Macy’s Day Parade. I was THAT EXCITED that we would get to ride that day.
At this point, I’m about 6 months into riding. Still intimidated by ruts and sticks and stones and the ever-looming fear of injury.
As we are finding a spot to park, I am just taking in the track. I couldn’t see it all. it was long and there was a wild terrain. I figured it hadn’t been prepped in a while and it had very clearly rained (a lot!) and there were RUTS.
Trav was so excited because obviously, this is just right up his alley. I’m like, “Oh! how exciting for you… I think I’ll sit this one out.”
The only time Trav is ever “mean” to me is when he thinks I’m being a sissy. And it’s not based on his standards. It’s based on mine. When he realizes that I’m falling below my own sissy standards, knowing that ultimately I will never be satisfied with myself for it, he intervenes right then and there, or at least attempts to.
I flat-out refused the track, so he suggested trails. If you didn’t gather this yet, I don’t (didn’t) like ruts. I agreed to the trail, because the ruts on the track were ridiculous and at that point, in my mind, a trail was basically a wide luxurious crushed granite jogging trail that meandered through the beautiful forest.
WRONG. It’s more like one giant 3-mile-long rut while you duck and weave at a high speed through the dense woods sort of experience. So, that was fun. I will give him this… that was also the day that I (mostly) made peace with ruts.
I only went down twice, which I was actually pretty proud of. Once because my bars clipped a tree. And twice when he said “I believe you can do it” to me taking a 10 foot gulley with a 90 degree turn on the way up and a jump at the top. I did make it 90% of the way up before I gracefully laid her over asked him to ride her to the top. Good times. Loaded up. Went back three days later (with my girls).
Apparently my ballin’ trail skills impressed him, because he was very confident I was ready for the still-hadn’t-been-prepped and got-more-rain track. Here is the catch: since we had the girls with us, we couldn’t ride together. They’re only 4 and 7, so someone had to chaperone in the pit.
He goes out to ride first. He comes back. I’m still not convinced this is a great idea. He tries to explain a section of the vast track that I should take. Not clear – at all. But, being that I love a good challenge, I rode my bike over by the track. I figured if I just got as far as the track, I wound’t wuss out. I got there, confused AF. Absolutely zero idea of this section he so clearly sees.
I noticed one other person at the track. A GIRL! Her name was Nix. Serious MX girl. Motovan, trailer, super sick bike, major setup, even a dog. She was clearly super comfortable there. I explained the theoretical section just like he did and also explained that I was confused. She attempted to explain in another way. I was still confused.
She asked if I’d like to follow her around. I reluctantly said yes. So she put on her FLIP FLOPS and a HELMET. I was like wow, if she’s out here in shower shoes, LFG. So we did, 2 laps. And I did not crash or die. Very exciting. And then, she waved me on and said she’d follow me. Ummmm, okay (terrified). But guess what? Nailed it. Boom, baby.
Milestones. Trail day was a milestone. Nix day was a milestone. I would define a milestone as an experience that caused a positive and progressive shift in your perspective.
I also realized that same day that if I was lucky and if I did things right, some day I’d be the Nix.
We didn’t get a picture together, so here’s one from her Instagram. She’s rad and I hope I remember that day for a long time.
Fast forward 8 months later, it’s a sunny Fall afternoon at Rio Bravo MX in Houston and I have been crushing motos for 4 hours. Our crew had already left the track. Just me and Trav left, sitting in our sling chairs soaking up the sunshine, talking about the day.
We noticed a young girl, probably 8 to 10 years old, checking out the day track (which is super long and deep into the woods – you can’t see it all from any one point) from the fence line. Her dad was with her, but wearing flip flops and didn’t bring a helmet.
I don’t remember exactly how we begin talking to them, but I know was drawn to the whole situation like a moth to the flame. After we said hello and began talking to them, I realized she wanted to ride the day track, but she was nervous (she had been riding on the night track, but hadn’t been out on the more challenging day track yet) and her dad wouldn’t be able to follow her without a helmet. I could tell he knew she was ready. She just needed the right nudge. As a parent, I also knew he sure would appreciate somebody out there with his girl, keeping her safe.
I asked her to give me 5 minutes to put my gear back on. I told her I would lead her around and show her the beginner-friendly and safest lines. She was in.
She sped onto that track behind me like a champ. As we rounded each corner and every other time I turned around to make sure she was alright, my heart swelled with pride. She was doing it! And she was doing it well. I never sensed a timid attitude from her. She was quiet, but she was ready and she was confident. This was a MILESTONE for her.
After the first lap, she was still on my tail, so we went for that second lap. And then when it came time for the third, in true Nix fashion, I waved her ahead. Without hesitation, she absolutely crushed it! She either followed the lines I showed her or chose her own that were even better. It was glorious. And it was one of my favorite MX girl moments. I wish I would’ve caught her name. But I certainly won’t forget her brave little spirit.
What a gift to be that girl for someone. That more experienced, confident girl who is willing to suit back up and show you a little bit of the way, really just to shine the light back on you and let you know that you can pave your own way, whenever you’re ready.
People don’t usually come out and ask straight up why I moto, but they don’t have to. I know they’re wondering, especially if it’s not something they have experience with.
This story is a great example of why I moto.