Here’s what some our former students have said about us.
This was one hell of a weekend. And by “hell,” I mean far more intense both physically and mentally than I expected, and worth every single penny of the admission. I think I expected an MSF-style course but for dirt. The difference – for me, at least – was that the Dirt Camp 101 made me think more.
I came into this having ridden mostly street. I rode dirt when I was a little kid, but mostly I just commute on the highway now. I want to do a BDR, and maybe a Pine Barrens Rally, and then some big epic ride, so I knew I needed to get experience off the road. What I didn’t expect was how valuable the time standing around and talking would be. Mike’s way of explaining things just clicked, and the care he took in explaining, demonstrating, and discussing in Q-and-A was a lesson in itself. I’m a teacher, and I learned a lot about how to talk to a group about complex, abstract things. But Mike’s humor and straight-forward explanations really stuck, and when we were riding, it was like his voice was in my head, telling me what to do. It’s weird how much philosophy is involved, and he made that clear – the way you think about your relationship to the bike, how you see the trail with wide-eye and narrow focus, and how your body relates to balance, it was more than helpful. Even riding home on the Parkway his words made me feel more in touch with the bike. And his trail-side chats about ecology, cedar trees and frogs was a bonus I didn’t expect. I felt like we were getting lessons not just in riding, but civics, history, and philosophy too.
Speaking of what I didn’t expect, the other thing I came away with was Bill’s instruction about writing stuff down. It’s funny, Bill didn’t jump in too much, but when he did, lights just lit up in my head. His words have real power. He’s a smart, well-read guy, and everything from old-knowledge vs. new-knowledge to the importance of journaling to make learning “stick” – it really helped me as a human, not just a rider. The whole reason I’m even writing this is because of him: reflecting on the weekend is as important as doing the rides.
And the riding itself – damn, my body hurts. For my money, there’s nothing more valuable than an experience that changes you, and the physical demands of this course certainly did that. This weekend gave me experience doing things I didn’t even know I couldn’t do – skidding the front tire, counter-weighting to get out of ruts, simply stuff like covering the front brake and clutch with two fingers. Even crashing was fun. Well, not fun. But valuable.
I was talking to a couple of guys at the end, and all of us felt good about dumping the bike, because almost every time, Lissa was there, not letting us get back on until we thought through what we’d done, and what we should have done. Her words and calm, sure way of examining mistakes made them into real learning moments. The scars on my bike mean a lot more to me, because of the questions she asked and the advice she gave. I cannot overstate how valuable this question was: “So, what happened there?” When she asked me that, I looked at my bike on the ground, looked at my entry line into the corner, saw my tire tracks and my dabs, and actually thought through it. Having people who force you to reflect before you jump back on – that’s the thing I learned most.
That’s probably too much. But really, this weekend was intense for my body and my brain. Thanks, Jack, for putting something like this together — and finding this crew. The humor, intensity, support, all of it was far more than I expected. I think I said this to you, but I’ll say it again here: I came into this weekend not knowing what I didn’t know. I can’t image doing a BDR without your folks’ instruction.
Hope to see you all again,
Thank you for all the info. I had a great time at adventure camp and learned a ton. Last weekend I went to Famous Reading Outdoors and rode my XR650L the whole time. Before adventure camp, I only felt comfortable riding my KTM 150XC there. I had been discouraged by the size of the XR and was contemplating selling it for a smaller bike. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for giving me the confidence to ride this bike. I love it and I am keeping it. Also, Lissa is a bad ass and my personal hero, so please let her know this.
John and I had a great time taking your class. It was fun and filled with information. I truly appreciated the flexible delivery that Mike used. He was able to wrap his instruction around each rider’s individual needs. John and I each came away from the class with some very useful skills to improve our off road riding.
Just a note of sincere thanks to you and your Pine Barrens crew. Brandon and I did the MABDR last week departing Damascus VA Saturday mid day and reaching Lawrenceville Friday @ lunch. Great trip! I can’t tell you how many times each day I was so thankful that Brandon and I decided to take your Dirt 101 course. The skills we learned were extremely valuable, keeping us out of trouble and allowing us to excel along this route. Thank you..Thank you…Thank you.
Thanks again! God Bless! Brent
The 2nd day of the class involved a ride through the Pine Barrens with plenty of time to stop, chat and enjoy the beauty of the area. Mike Bradway led a nice discussion about the biological diversity of the Pine Barrens, conservation and minimizing the impact of motorized travel through the delicate ecosystem. Quite unexpected and brought back fond memories of the talks I used to give as a kayak instructor in the area. Good stuff. Just goes to show that everyone on 2 wheels is not out there to tear up the woods and leave a trail of trash in their wake…
I want to say thank you to the whole Pine Barrens team. Frankly, the class exceeded my expectations. I belong to a riding club with a friend and he frequently praises PBAC – and rightly so. The instruction level was much more professional than I expected and we were exposed to many more varied conditions and situations than expected. It was great butt-on-seat experience and I came away with much to practice and apply.
Keep up the passion! Best regards, Gerry