1. Exercise. Picking up the bike really tires a fella out. I've started a training regiment. Squats, mounting the bike from both sides, balancing on the bike, push ups, pull ups and stair climber for endurance. The xc is pretty tall for me.
2. I'd practice proper technique picking up you bike ( using your legs).
3. It's ok to stay in your comfort zone. Don't go for the whole enchilada the first time out.
4. Protective gear! The only off road. Equip I have is sidi x fire boots and the dual sport helmet. My alpinestars leather pants and first gear mesh jacket held up fine for this winter ride.
5. If you don't have 160 mile range start planning how you will carry additional fuel. One rider lost his rotopax on the way to new Idra. Decided to forgo the ride and backtrack to see if he could find it. You might also work out something with a rider with extra fuel capacity.
The clinic is well worth it. Good luck.
That's all I can think of right now.
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