There are moments in life that are defining; when they happen you know it…they challenge you, nurture you, grow you and change you.

My trip to California was one of those moments. When I came back I didn’t outwardly feel any different really, but while there I felt the change coming on and taking hold. It was something that helped shape my mind and make me stronger, more willing and eager. Today I just want to share with you some of my thoughts on what I feel about my recent trip.

It may not seam so with the onslaught of social media, but I’m a relatively shy and cautious person. I don’t like large crowds and I tend to shy away from the spotlight. When I’m in a social environment such as a party, I am stressed and struggling internally. Being a part of the Dainese grand opening and attending the industry party was one of those exact moments where I struggled. I felt really out of my elements and comfort zone. But these experiences are good for me, I hope to take away something every time I do these things so that one day it will flow effortlessly and I will be comfortable. I’ve come a long way already so I know at least I’m headed in the right direction.

So…California. I went to Cali thanks to my sponsor Dainese as part of their DaineseCrew experience. Along with the opening of the New D-Store in Orange County, they wanted myself and a handful of other influential Moto riders from across the country to represent and share in the adventures. We had a little bit of every type of rider amongst us and it was wonderful! Different makes, styles of riding and rider abilities. Being surrounded by these people was truly wonderful, each of them offered a different key perspective on life and moto culture.

dainese grand opening

I’m usually the type of person that get’s uneasy when I don’t know where I’m headed or on a road I’m not familiar with. That’s why this trip was so important to me. I knew I would be relatively alone, in a new place on an unfamiliar to me motorcycle. 2 years ago that idea alone would have completely freaked me out and no way in hell would I be willing to do it. But when Dainese called me 4 weeks ago to invite me to California I was absolutely overjoyed and at a loss for words. These are opportunities that come along extremely rarely and I truly cherish their value. A trip like this was something I had only dreamed of recently, but now it was actually happening.

On top of that Dainese informed me that we would all be doing the Jason Pridmore STAR Motorcycle School as well. At that point I think I almost passed out from excitement. I’ve desperately been wanting to do an advanced riding school but just didn’t have the funds to do it. I’ve been thinking about it for the last 6 months and trying to figure out a way to possibly do it next season. And here I was yet again with an incredible opportunity that had fallen into my lap. The excitement mounted and I have to admit my expectations for the week were starting to climb. This worried me because I’ve learned to not have expectations of things/people. But with some much excitement I couldn’t help it.

And to my pleasant surprise I was not disappointed. Everything was overwhelmingly spectacular lol. Now mind you, I try and have a positive outlook on things. Even when stuff doesn’t go my way I try and find something to work with. Fortunately everything went off without a hitch for the most part. Even though my schedule was pretty packed I still managed to enjoy what Cali had to offer even if for a few minutes.

 I think the most wonderful part of the trip was meeting all the amazing people. I got to see long time friends as well as finally put a face in real life to people I’ve been chatting with online for a couple of years now.

I also had the pleasure of meeting everyone from moto fans to world famous racers. The experience was truly inspiring and filled my heart with joy. In the end I can say that I truly never felt alone on my trip like I had thought I would. There was always a friendly face to turn to and for that I can’t thank those people enough!

Friendly faces and challenging experiences was the theme of the trip for sure! Because I didn’t know where I was half the time I wanted to make sure I would stay with our riding group at all times. This was easy enough as the general pace was pleasant and calm. However a few times I wanted to rip away with some of the more experienced riders of the group…and oh boy what an experience that was! I always preach about riding within your comfort zones and to your abilities. But sometimes we need to push ourselves to understand just what those comfort zones are. Because I’m usually quite cautious and reserved I have to be honest, I don’t really know what I’m capable of half the time. 34 years of self preservation do not lend their hand in being ballsy.

So I must say that I certainly realized my capabilities. Surprisingly I found out I’m capable of a lot more than I had originally given myself credit for. It really came as a shock to me; and so one experience led to another, teaching me new boundaries and comfort zones. One interesting skill I learned was lane splitting. It’s not something I practice in GA because it’s illegal here so the cars are never aware of you. Not to mention they feel they own the road and get offended when you pass them. I’ve actually been run off before trying to merge onto the highway legally! So with the danger of getting hit by an unaware driver I just never attempted it. It’s a very interesting thing really, I’m amazed at how much concentration goes into it, you literally have to pay attention to about 50 different things! I found it incredibly taxing and nerve wracking at first, but fortunately I had a good teacher that kept an eye out for me. Upon returning home I of course want to lane split now, lol.

All these new experiences allowed me to believe in myself a little bit more. I’m very self critical and tend to beat myself down; this causes more damage than good. So it was extremely rewarding to take away so many positive emotions from my trip. For once I felt like I had achieved some new goals for myself and was happy with them!

This of course transferred over to the STAR school. Along with the outstanding coaching of the teachers I was able to truly enjoy myself. I normally think a lot about crashing and stay pretty cautious. Not to say I didn’t think about it at times, but I distinctly could tell I was much more free in my mind, just focusing on technique and going faster. I left both days with a sense of self accomplishment. Upon returning home I timed my best gopro footage and discovered some really measly and pathetic lap times. Honestly I got a bit discouraged…my self criticism was grabbing ahold of me again… self doubt and negative thoughts were nocking at my mind again. “But no! I’m not going to let my wonderful experience be diminished by this realization!” I told myself. So I hold onto that wonderful feeling I felt when I was on track, when all felt perfect and I felt the best I’d ever been. There will be time for improvement and I don’t doubt I’ll come back next season even hungrier.

star motorcycle school So for now I take away a positive growth from this wonderful experience. So many people were a part of it and made it special that it’s beyond heart warming.

Words will never express the gratitude I feel for being invited on this trip by Dainese. So instead I write my feelings down and share them with you here in hopes of inspiring you to take a journey, a leap of faith, a step into the unknown and create your own adventure!!