Early Birds


Reading Aaron’s article today I recalled a quote that I borrowed from my father for the second movie in the Boondockers series (2 Tangly)– “I never knew how men could fight in wars till I had young fellows myself, they’re the only ones foolish enough to go at it!”. While Daniel and the boys in Utah are enjoying brilliant snow conditions we in Newfoundland are forced to endure an especially late start to the snowmobile season. This unfortunately results in some pretty fool hardy decisions as young fellows head out on the lightest dusting to try their hand.

Without a proper base the risk of damaging sled and body is exponentially higher than what one might expect later in the season. Rocks and stumps lay barely covered, just waiting to reach out and grab a front suspension bar or worse – hook your guts when you find yourself ejected from the pilots position. Remember if you’re not falling you’re not riding hard enough.

Now I realize we’re all anxious to get out but there are better ways to satiate one’s appetite while we await the snow that will undoubtedly arrive – hopefully sooner than later. For myself, as you can see by this and other recent submissions, I nurse times of drought with my writings. If this isn’t your bag than perhaps I might make the following suggestions:

1. Machine maintenance and or upgrades: Why not take the gas money you’re saving to get that pipe you’ve been eyeing, check and replace suspension bearings, install a high rise post and new bars, lubricate and inspect throttle and brake cables.

2. Location: Been thinking about the ultimate jump for the season? Take a drive around your community and let your imagination run wild. Inspect potential landings for hazards. Measure the in run and do the math / geometry to determine if the proposed stunt is realistic. How much speed can be attained, how much shoveling is required, what is the trajectory required to make the landing, etc.

3. Hit the gym: You can never be in too good a shape for riding. The best defense against injury is a fit mind and body.

4. Film: Research the cost and options for a new HD video and a good quality still camera. While many ride for the personal thrill there is nothing quite so exciting as sharing your remote action with others. Better still, the opportunity to submit your footage to the editors of Boondockers, Sled Necks or another leading film company and seeing your name and home town on the big screen

5. Gear Bag: Take the time to empty your bag to make certain all your gear is still in place and in good working order. Think of the first time you’re about to step into the saddle and make a mental check list of everything you require – Goggles? Knee pads? Chest Protector? Spare gloves and goggles? Ballycala? Neck warmer?

6. Trailer: This is perhaps the most overlooked detail for most sledders. Inspect the bearings, chains, electrical, lenses, hitch assembly, tie downs, etc.

7. Sweat Your Brains Out: There is a huge mental component to riding. Read magazines, watch movies, think about your riding position, revisit mistakes you made last year and prepare your mind to ensure better riding.

8. Road Trip: Not unlike Aaron and the boys in Idaho – pack up your gear and start your quest. You’d be surprised where you might end up and the wonderful folks you’ll meet along the way. Just be aware of the consequences – I hit the road in the fall of 2004 and never made it back to the island (aside for a few visits) until the spring of 2009.

They say patience is a virtue and while haste makes waste – Shooting the hands off the clock makes a heck of a lot more sense than taking a bullet early in the season!

5 thoughts on “Early Birds

  1. Andrew! got your voicemail the other day! need to call ya back! Love the list! Pigtails give me something to hold on to! 🙂 love the gym! Let it snow!

  2. Thanks for the reminder Andrew. Unfortunately the snow conditions down here are not as good as you might think from my recent post. You need to drive several hours south or north of Salt Lake to find any decent riding right now.

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