Written by Grace Schuessler | Photographs by Justin Edelman and AdvRally.com. Posted in Occasions
It’s simply after 7:00 a.m. on Day Three of the Geico Journey Rally in Julian, California. I’m half asleep, ready to get espresso with my teammate Fernanda, who’s equally in want of caffeine as we put together to gear up.
Immediately, Justin steps instantly in entrance of me, smiling.
“You’re chipper for this time of the morning,” I tease.
He rolls his eyes. “You have got an opportunity to win the business division if you happen to get sufficient factors at the moment.”
Fernanda grabs my arm. “What?!”
His coy smirk will get wider. “Simply thought I’d let you understand,” he remarks, then disappears into the breakfast line.
I look at Fernanda, and she or he is flabbergasted. Our workforce hadn’t come right here to win, but when the prospect was inside our grasp, we couldn’t let it slide away. “Let’s get the women,” I declare, grabbing a espresso.
Like all rallies, the Geico Adv Rally has its distinct vibe. It’s a one-two punch, consisting of a scavenger hunt by means of the huge terrain of SoCal and one of many last hoorah weekends of the driving season. Riders kind groups, earn factors reaching on and off-road targets designated on the occasion map, then doc their conquests by way of social media. It’s enjoyable, difficult, and tends to get aggressive… quick.
In the beginning, Group Trash Panda put our drive to win on the again burner. Our focus was a movie challenge highlighting girls in journey driving. We have been lucky to collaborate with EcoFlow, off-grid energy options enterprise that was our title sponsor, and Alpinestars, Sena, and Harley-Davidson Pan America, who offered our 4 2021 PanAms for the rally.
Justin, our fearless chief, managed to piece collectively the one all-female workforce from totally different areas of the bike world: Maggie the moto gypsy, Staci the touring foodie, Fernanda the spicy street demon, and me, the scrappy renegade. Every of us had our personal experiences with ADV driving, some extra seasoned than others, and together with tackling unfamiliar terrain, we have been additionally hopping onto 550-lb. bikes we didn’t personal. It was going to be one hell of a weekend.
We woke on Day One of many rally to a brisk 38°F, intermittent rain, and wind gusts at 15–30 mph. For reference, my seat was utterly frosted over, so we layered ourselves with each thermal we packed to remain heat.
The occasion workers gathered groups at hand out our maps and scorecards, and by 10:00 a.m., whatever the temperamental climate, camp emptied in pursuit of victory. Group Trash Panda congregated to do our homework first, checking climate patterns and consider how finest to earn factors whereas avoiding the gales of the desert and mountains.
Our resolution? An all-pavement loop all the way down to the Tecate border, one we must journey expeditiously to make the 5:00 p.m. cutoff. Whereas we froze a lot of the afternoon, we destroyed our objective, reaching each pinpointed vacation spot and roaring into camp at 4:50 to beat the deadline.
Day Two was a change of tempo. With the intention to get our demo journey factors in with Harley-Davidson and knock out a number of off-road targets, Justin Kleiter of Pan America took the Trash Pandas on an journey route towards the Anza Borrego Pictographs. Initially, taking giant, heavy bikes by means of deep sand was intimidating, however the workforce had a blast as soon as we had a number of minor drops and wipe-outs below our belts.
By the top of the day, we have been professionals at lifting these 550-lb. monsters, laughing over our coms when issues received squirrelly beneath the tires, and cheering one another on as we tackled obstacles. It was definitely a team-building train, however extra importantly, it was a bonding expertise that set the inspiration of friendship for our ragtag crew.
In the reduction of to the morning of Day Three, when our goal abruptly shifted as a win appeared more and more possible. With rising enthusiasm, we mapped a route to achieve essentially the most factors attainable, geared ourselves up, and took off in haste. With Maggie navigating, Staci and Fernanda on her tail, and me sweeping the rear, we reached every deliberate goal, survived one other two demo rides, and tried (botched) a spherical of video games earlier than we turned our scorecard in. Later that night, when it was introduced that the Trash Pandas gained the business division, the 4 of us have been astonished and exhilarated—a number of the finest moments really come from sudden successes.
In conclusion, I do know I communicate for the Trash Pandas after I say, that whereas I’m pleased with our win, I’m much more grateful to journey away from the weekend with some unbelievable friendships, born from a love of bikes, journey, and experiencing life to the fullest.
Till subsequent time. Dwell wild. Journey free.
Grace Schuessler, aka “the sleek renegade,” is an writer, vagabond, and journey bike rider, exploring the world on a Honda CB500X. Observe her journey on YouTube, Instagram, or TheGracefulRenegade.com.