SingularCity adventure seeker Barbara Bloom takes a 90-minute drive to the Temecula Valley and discovers the joys of dirt biking and playing with boys.
Gone are the days of “men’s sports.” Women are infiltrating many testosterone-charged pastimes, dirt biking being the perfect example. I’m pretty girly, but I like to dip into male-dominated fields to experience the dichotomy of the activity, so I signed up for a weekend of dirt biking lessons at MotoVentures. This dirt bike training facility, located 20 minutes outside Temecula, includes a 300-acre riding ranch, equipped with all the jumps and rolling hills needed to turn you into a motocross pro.
I drove to Temecula midday Friday and checked in at the Springhill Suites, which is a brand new hotel and very hip for the dollar. As soon as I settled my bags, I hit the skids and soaked in the most beautiful drive through Temecula Valley. That evening I enjoyed the town of Temecula, including a wine tasting at the Oak Mountain Winery, and dinner at Anthony’s Ristorante. The relaxing evening stood in stark contrast to my grungy, grueling activities of the next day.
Saturday morning, as I revved-up for my first day at MotoVentures. I wondered if I was in over my head. I gathered all of my courage and headed for my car, avoiding the breakfast buffet because of my queasy stomach. I arrived at MotoVentures at 9:30 and was greeted by owner and instructor, Gary LaPlant. After a few welcoming words, he shuffled me off to the storage trailer where the school keeps their riding gear. That’s where I met Brandon Hamlett, another instructor. Super hot. Super young. But I digress… Anyway, Brandon suited me up in an indestructible safety suit made of cushy padding including a chest guard. Once I was all wrapped up in protective gear I felt a bit less apprehensive and eager to ride.
LaPlant says that he gets quite a few women at MotoVentures. He says most are novices, wanting to try something new, and that most of the men who come there already have some motorcycle experience.
The weekend I was there, many of the students were seasoned dirt bikers and street riders who simply wanted to better their skills. With my lack of experience, I was placed in the novice group, but I didn’t mind since Brandon was assigned to be my instructor. This semi-private instruction was incredibly advantageous because I had constant attention and help, and it didn’t hurt that Brandon was a hottie!We started out with rudimentary lessons in handling the bike and turning. Later, we moved on to riding the bike while standing up on the pegs, then to more exhilarating tricks like side-skidding and k-turns. Before I knew it, I was zipping down the sides of hills and surprising myself with my comfort on the bike.
You don’t have to be a tomboy to enjoy a sport like this. And not all students have to perform the hot-dogger techniques the instructors demonstrate. They encourage you to go at your own pace and to do what makes you feel comfortable, yet challenged. The beautiful thing about learning how to ride a dirt bike at MotoVentures is the dirt! It’s almost completely devoid of gravel. Falling doesn’t hurt. I wiped out twice and was thrilled. No battle scars!
Each day went by very quickly and was an incredible experience that left me feeling exhausted but highly accomplished. At the first day, I relished the simple pleasure of washing the dust off my face and then messaging my girlfriends about how much fun it was to hang with the boys.
Once I’d transformed back into my usual girly self, I had a wonderful dinner and wine tasting at Thornton Winery’s Café Champagne. The management kept bringing course after course, wanting to spoil me with incredible crab cakes, warm brie en croute, roasted pear salad, pan roasted sea bass, braised boneless short ribs among other delicious dishes. I tasted over half a dozen wines and champagnes! It was the most exquisite torture! The evening was a proper break from the chaos of work, family and friends, but in the midst of all the pampering my mind was on the grimy exhilaration of dirt biking.
On my last day of dirt biking, Gary Laplante consolidated the students into one group and we practiced what we learned on Saturday, as well as small wheelies, riding along narrow planks and small jumps on the motocross track. Although I chickened out of a few maneuvers on the curriculum, I still executed a few tricks.
My weekend in Temecula was a balance of culinary sophistication with good old fashioned outdoor fun. I would recommend dirt biking lessons to anyone, especially to those who have never been on a motorcycle. If you are looking for adventure and class, Temecula is just two short hours away and you’ll be glad you came.
Copyright © Barbara Bloom/2014 Singular Communications, LLC.
VISIT / STAY / DINE
50250 Hwy 371
Anza, CA. 92539
32575 Rancho California Rd
Temecula, CA 92589.
Oak Mountain Winery
36522 Via Verde
Temecula, Ca. 92592
Temecula Creek Inn
44501 Rainbow Canyon Road
Temecula, CA 92592
Springhill Suites by Marriott
28220 Jefferson Ave.
Temecula, CA 92590