Joined: Nov 2007
Lol...I'm in my second midlife crisis. My wife also says, I pretty much have a midlife life crisis all the time and apparently I have an addiction for motorcycles. I used to ride hare scramble and all things motorcycle when I was in high school/college, and then life happened and the next thing I knew I was 45 before I got to ride again.
at that point, I got a cheap dual sport (xl600) and have been riding standard dual sport stuff (fire roads, etc...) and have been into riding hard single tracks. I have been itching to get back into hare scambles and endruros. money is an issue for me, since this is a hobby and my philosophy is "ride what you have". in any case, I came into a '84 xr350r, which I plan to race. having an old bike is a challenge sometimes for getting parts, but at the price, I think it's the most fun I could have for the $, since I don't have a small fortune tied up in a KTM or Huskie. besides, it's probably worth putting more money into safety gear, see below.
my training tactic is do do a lot of rugged terrain hiking/ride, some workouts, etc... but most of all, I found that if I ride the same difficult single track with my xl600, then riding the xr350 on the same terrain feels like a breeze. our terrain varies from hilly technical rocky stuff in the woods, to desert/prairie. I have found that staying in shape is really hard. if I don't ride for a couple of weekends, I really feel it. also, compared to when I was 16, everything heals much slower. nowadays, if I have a get off and twist/wrench my shoulder, it will hurt for the next 4 months, compared to a week or two when I was a kid. lol.
things to practice and get good at:
1. technical riding. practice slow riding with control and balance. imagine doing some low level trial bike type things with your dirt bike, riding up rocks, following creek beds, steps/ledges, riding over logs, etc... able to stop and balance your bike. I'm old school and ride with my feet on pegs, i.e.not motocross style, but you'll develop you own style. whatever works an minimizes your energy spent.
2. practice picking up your bike. you will drop your bike and nothing saps your energy on a 1-2hrs hare scramble then picking up your bike. lay it on the side and pick it up, then switch sides, do this until you can't anymore. that's the feeling you'll have when you drop your bike on the trail a couple of times.
3. starting your bike on all conditions, cold/hot. less of an issue with electric start, but still it's a pain when you flood you bike and don't have the technique down for getting it started again.
4. practice riding to minimize your and your bikes energy, learn to use momentum and ride smooth, you should get to the point of looking ahead and planning your line, rather than worrying about the rock right in front of you, because if you have a good line, the rest sort of takes care of itself.
5. pace yourself. typically, the guys that gets the hole short, is not likely to win or even finish anyway. most likely most of the experienced Super Sr. (50+) will pass you after the first couple of laps anyway... lol. after a couple of races you should be in the the "that wasn't so bad, maybe next time I can ride a little more aggressive" place at the end of the race. the first challenge will be to finish a hare scramble and want to come back the next time. so work up to riding a couple of hours without stopping.
I would look for a used bike in the 200-400cc range, a lighter bike (less than 300cc) is probably better if you're new at this (easier to pick up). smaller bikes are generally better for tight woods/rocky stuff, larger bikes for desert/speed/hill climbs. some of the bikes people have suggested are good choice. if you get hooked, this is not going to be your last bike, and you're going to find out what you want next after you ride for a little while. most of all, just have fun with this.
when I was a kid, I was racing an old xt250 (dual sport) and my brother had a xr200r.