The legendary Len Faltyn once said: "I would say that motorcycles are what I use to meet the nicest people I've ever met in my life. Basically, all my friends are somehow linked to a motorcycle." Len pretty much nailed it with this quote. I think for most of us who truly love the sport this statement is very true. I have met many people solely because of dirt bikes that I probably would have never met otherwise. I am willing to bet this is true for you as well?
Thus brings the tale of BrookStar, the namesake of the infamous Brooks's Crossing. First off, you are probably wondering what is a Brookstar? It started with a rockstar named Brock, aka: Brockstar. At the induction of Brook into our local riding crew the nickname Brookstar ended up sticking. Kind of like a bike stuck in a river or something....
The first time I met Brook, I believe he was riding a CRF450. The ride plan for the day was to make a loop down Puke Canyon and up The Iron Maiden. (If you've read "Escape From Apocalypse Canyon" this story predates that tale). We had a crew of 3 on this day consisting of: Serpa The Sherpa, Brookstar, and myself. Brook is a physically fit individual, but lets just say somewhat vertically challenged. A tall CRF450 set up for motocross is not ideal for gwarly technical single-track, especially on a hot summers day. We set off on a good pace, shredding a fun combination of well traveled trails of moderate technicality. Brook was hanging without issue and the ride was going swell.... that is until we reached the Iron Maiden. The Iron Maiden is an old dozer cut that was probably bladed in as a fire break someplace in history. It runs up a steep canyon filled with loose iron-like, jagged stones of death. It makes a final near-vertical ascent to the ridge top and has a deep rain-rut the entire length for added technical merit. It's probably not as steep as the Iron Giant at Erzberg, but a close second for sure. Its one of those trails where you have to maintain 2nd gear as downshifting ensures another attempt. To successfully make the final climb, you have to navigate a switchback while maintaining your momentum. Once you turn the corner, the trail shoots straight up. Any bobbling in the boulders at this point is not recommended. Looking ahead and planning a line though the rock strewn mine field is the only chance of success. For some reason, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure comes to mind at this point. "Put them in the Iron Maiden"
I battled though with a few well placed stabs for trajectory correction. I could hear Serpa right behind me on the gas as well. We both successfully reached the summit, but it seemed we were Brookless. We rested in the shade of a Pinion, while listening to a beautiful chorus of curse words and panic revving. This is one of those places where you really don't want to go back down unless its absolutely necessary. After overtime expired, I skidded back down to find a steaming Honda and a cooked Brook. He kinda looked at me cross-eyed and said "Dude, I'm done. I'm going back down and taking another way home".....And so, he did just that.
The next day he posted his bike up for sale. I felt a little bad as I thought I ruined the guys riding ambition, but that was actually not the case. Brook is one of those guys who doesn't really get mad, instead Brook was determined to get another bike more suited for trail domination. I think his next ride was a KTM 150, the ultimate motorized mountain bike. For increased skills training, Brook found a good riding partner in Cracky The Crack Squirrel. Cracky had been working on a new section of trail connecting the Trough Trial to the Ditch Trail, this connector had to cross small a ravine. I would describe the crossing of said ravine as almost a perfect half-pipe for shape and form. You drop in, then roll down across a tiny trickle of water and gooey mud which has the potential to totally ruin your day. The preferred line has a real nasty tree-root right a the top, leaving a slightly undercut vertical tire-grabbing hole. If you don't maintain proper velocity and body placement, this can make for a entertaining experience for your riding buddies. As Cracky explains it, Brook took no less than 8 tries; all resulting in utter failure. The unforgiving root pitched poor Brookstar over backwards time and time again. It was like watching one of those "look what happens when he reaches the top" repeating .gifs on Facebook. Where most would have found a way around, Brooks determination for success kept that 150 piss wound and coming back for more. I think his 9th attempt was successful, but it was too late. Amidst the laughfter and comical words of encouragement, Brooks Crossing was born.
This infamous half-pipe has ruined the days of many great rides since, I have yet to ride the trail and not have somebody in the crew fall victim. Nature Rich has gone so far to cut a trail around to curb his trail-side anxiety, and others have tried to burn in less-steep alternate lines. This of course is unacceptable and unjust to the original character of Brooks Crossing, so you may just find these options have been blocked. :)
Perhaps the best Brook story of all time is immortalized in the men's room at Carson Motorsports. If you've had to make a pit-stop while gathering supplies at CMS, you may have noticed this image:
On a ride with several infamous characters including Cracky and Brockstar; Brookstar literally launched himself into superstar fame. Luckily, it was just his bike and not his body, but the image of "Brook in the brook" often evokes questions for the CMS staff. "Is that photo-shopped? Is that real? Is that an entire bike? How did that bike get there?" What you can't tell from the picture, is that is a very steep and narrow canyon. The trail is cut in about 60' above, and its nearly vertical from the trial to the river. What saved the day was the happenstance that somebody had left a long coil of heavy duty rope trail-side in this exact spot. Coincidence? When Brook stripped down to his skivvies, and jumped into the freezing snow melt, I'm pretty sure he had a big smile on his face.
The point to the story is, you meet all kinds of people though riding dirt bikes. Some of these people are nervous novices, some are hardcore enthusiasts, some have different points of view, some are cool, and some are not. Some guys throw temper-tantrums on the trail, and some maintain a positive attitude regardless of the situation. My suggestion is to be like Brook; don't complain, stay positive, and keep trying.
Hope to see you on the trails!
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