The all-new ADV Challenge Training Camp is a special training event targeting riders wanting to learn on more challenging terrain than the regular ADV training camps offer while working to master big-bike offroad skills. Although the core lessons are the same as the regular ADV Training Camps, the Challenge Training Camp has a smaller rider-to-instructor ratio, providing the opportunity to learn skills while on trails, in ruts, on hills and other environments not suitable for large classes. Although all of the basics for riding big bikes off-road are covered in the Challenge Training Camp, there is no guarantee all the intended lessons will be covered due to situations that are expected to occur that can take a significant amount of time to work through. These situations provide unique learning opportunities at the expense of the intended lessons. There is no training prerequisite for this course, however riders who arrive without the required bike setup, riding gear or skill prerequisite may not be able to complete all or any of the training.
This training primarily takes place on Class 3 and Class 4 or unintentionally Class 5 terrain. You are not expected to be able to ride your adventure bike through this type of terrain when you arrive, but you are expected to have the physical conditioning and mental drive needed to methodically work through challenging terrain. This is not a class to show how much you already know or to pound your chest and “just send it”. This is a place to learn strategy and skills for overcoming difficult terrain on big bikes in a controlled manner.
Early check-in begins at 3:00pm on Thursday afternoon. You will have time to check into your room/cabin or set up your tent and get acquainted with your fellow participants and training staff.
At 7:00pm we host a welcome dinner (no cost) where you can meet your fellow riding partners as well as the instructors (including Bret) and discuss what specific skills you will be learning. It is HIGHLY recommended to join us for the the Thursday evening meet and greet.
Penmerryl is only 170 miles from Washington DC. At this location, you have the option of staying at this incredible privately-owned farm in a cabin, lodge room, tent camping (no cost) or your RV.
Training starts at 8:00am sharp (7:00 – 7:40am – check in for late arrivals) and covers the core skills of sitting and standing in loose terrain before moving onto more challenging skills. Snacks, water, and electrolytes will be available throughout training.
You will develop your off-road skills through a better understanding of forces and physics rather than the traditional step-by-step instruction. You will learn critical details that will lead you to excel in your riding skills. Understanding the “why” is critical to mastering your machine.
Challenge Camps are expected to be very unique due to the differences in the riders attending, terrain available and weather. The objective is to learn the following skills (same as the regular ADV camps):
– Seated and standing riding techniques
– Motorcycle ergonomics… setting up your motorcycle to your body
– Low-energy riding techniques
– Traction management skills
– Control of power delivery
– Slow-speed balance and maneuvering
– Lifting (single person and multi-person)
After a needed good nights’ rest, your mind will reset and you will be ready to build upon the skills learned the previous day.
This day is about turning the challenges of the first day into easier riding while reinforcing the techniques used on Friday. The ultimate goal is to reduce the energy you use while riding, and the risk of a crash. As a bonus, your big bike will feel lighter and more agile. It is likely that various terrain features used on Friday will be utilized again, offering opportunities to continue polishing your skills.
Depending on what terrain is available, lessons may include:
– Narrow track riding and ruts
– Loose surfaces (sand, mud, or loose rock)
– Trail turns
– Hills (ascending, descending, starting, stopping, u-turns)
– Slide turns and other useful skills that will set you apart from other riders
Time to get back to reality (we are not in a race or a trophy challenge). Take your new skills to the real world and join us for the day on public access land. This 4-5 hour class will slow down the challenges by traveling through local trails and roads taking advantage of your newfound skills. This is an excellent terrain reading class and a day for practicing good trail etiquette.
This optional training day is provided for an additional cost and is only available for the students who have attended both days of the Challenge Camp.
1. Can I bring my Honda Grom? (or fill in the blank with any other kind of motorcycle):
Of course! This class is not exclusive towards so-called adventure bikes or dualsport bikes. Whichever bike you want to learn how to ride off-road, you can bring to class. However, you may not be able to participate in all activities due to limitations in suspension and clearance.
Dirt bikes and small dualsports (like the Yamaha XT-250) are also welcome – since training is geared towards larger bikes, activities may be easier for you. Three-wheelers and sidecars are not suitable due to trail width and the types of lessons we teach. All bikes must be street-legal unless trailered to the training site each day. If you choose the optional on-trail ride, you must have a valid license plate and skid plate (OEM is fine).
2. Which tires should I have on my bike?
That depends. When the ground is dry or damp, the terrain can easily be ridden on street-biased adventure tires but when it rains, even the more aggressive tires may have a difficult time gaining traction in the red Georgia clay. Bret and Paul normally ride and train on 50/50 tires such as the Mitas E07+ or similar.
3. Do I have to buy new boots?
Maybe. Street boots are like leather slippers with padding and are not accepted at the training camps. Crashing at speed is very rare during training, but ankle and foot injuries are likely for riders wearing less than an enduro or MX boot. When learning new skills, slow speed tip-overs are not uncommon due to the inability to immediately apply all the lessons/coaching. This can result in a foot caught underneath the bike or getting twisted when doing an unintentional rapid dismount. An ADV boot with a stiff sole is the minimum requirement but we strongly encourage the most protective boot you can afford. Enduro/MX boots are preferred.
Hint: The more you can feel your controls and the more you don’t mind walking in your boots the less protective they are. Some people choose not to wear heavier boots because they can’t feel the controls. Being able to “feel” the controls underfoot is not essential. You can easily determine if you’ve shifted or if you’re braking even while wearing the heaviest motocross boots. Also, by practicing in dirt bike or motocross boots, you will learn how much pressure is needed to shift and/or brake.
4. Is ADV Camp set up near the training area?
No. The fire pit and camping area is approximately six miles from the training area, sometimes more depending on which part of the park we’re training in. The RV sites at Iron Mountain are five miles from our camping area and up to a mile away from the training area.
5. Do I bring my own food?
We supply morning coffee and energy snacks throughout the day that should accommodate most dietary preferences. Meals are not provided other than an optional graduation dinner on Saturday night in Dahlonega. Most riders choose to bring food they can prepare at camp with a camp stove. There is a restaurant at Iron Mountain Resort but nothing near the camping area. We will have a small galley kitchen for shared use with limited refrigerator space.
6. Will water be provided?
Yes, We will have bottled water as well as a larger drinking water source so you can fill up your water bladders or refill water bottles as needed.
7. What is the camping situation like?
You will be camping on an open, grassy knoll. You can choose to camp near other campers, or you can find spots farther away. There are no established campsites, but you will have access to an indoor bathroom and a shower that will be shared by up to 18 other people. Bring earplugs as sometimes you can hear OHVs at nearby Iron Mountain Resort, dogs barking at wildlife, or your fellow riders snoring.
Hotels can be found off Hwy. 52 and in nearby Dahlonega. Iron Mountain Resort has some rustic cabins available but we do not recommend them due to inconsistent quality and possible late night noise.
8. Can I bring my RV / camper van / bike trailer?
There are RV sites at Iron Mountain Resort, both with hookups and without. You will want to bring earplugs as the quiet hours in the park are not enforced and you can expect rowdiness to pick up after midnight. You can reserve and pay for your site directly with Iron Mountain Resort. The RV sites are six miles away from where we will be camping.
Self-contained camper vans and trucks with small bike trailers are welcome to park at our camping area.
9. May I arrive early?
No. Due to the noise at Iron Mountain Resort, we have found a nearby family willing to let us stay on their property. You will receive the address two weeks prior to the camp start date – until then, use Iron Mountain Resort as your destination for estimating travel time.. You may not arrive earlier than 3pm on Thursday afternoon because this is someone’s home and we need to respect their privacy.
10. Am I too old to take your class?
Maybe. Learning to ride a motorcycle off-road is mentally and physically challenging, but we have seen numerous riders in their 70’s do well while much younger riders struggle due to poor physical conditioning. Age matters, but it’s not about age. You can’t change your age but you can change your health. We strongly encourage you to come in the best physical condition you can manage. We teach low-energy riding techniques however learning by its very nature is not low-energy.
11. How large are classes?
Depending on the number of staff and how many instructors we have available, classes may have up to 18 riders but no less than 12. A normal class will have 2-3 instructors, including Bret Tkacs. Bret and Paul are full time professional instructors with more than 42 years of motorcycle skills instruction and are extremely skilled at managing and coaching riders on a personal level no matter how large the class is.
12. Can I bring my family with me?
Family members and significant others are welcome to stay with you at your campsite. As much as we’d like to accommodate those accompanying you, we need to focus on the paying customers and your family can spend time with you before and after class.
13. May I take the class double-up or with my pillion rider?
There is no straight answer to this question as it depends on many factors. Please email us for a more specific answer to your situation.
14. Is there a motorcycle rental company nearby?
We haven’t built any relationships with nearby motorcycle rental companies, but Eagle Rider does rent ADV bikes. Keep in mind, you may be tipping over (hopefully not crashing) during training so make sure your borrowed bike has crash protection.
15. What is the difference between ADV Training Camp and the Challenge Training Camp?
Both the ADV Camp and Challenge Camp teach identical techniques and lessons however the Challenge Camp cannot guarantee all lessons will be taught and I can’t guarantee all riders will be able to complete the training due to the location and style of training.
The ADV Training Camp is designed for all riders ranging from novice to experienced. The Challenge Camp also accommodates the same rider abilities but requires mental and physical fortitude. The ADV camp is not a prerequisite for the Challenge camp but is highly recommended.
These questions have all been asked by other students. If you find your question has not been answered, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your question may be added to this list.
Included in your cost: Instruction and personal coaching, snacks (fruit and snack bars), beverages (including coffee), on-site camping for tents and small trailers, graduation dinner, dedicated support vehicle for emergencies.
Not included in your cost: Optional training day (must be purchased separately), all meals aside from graduation dinner, gasoline, alcohol, travel or medical insurance, campsites for large trailers or RVs, hotel rooms, gratuities or your motorcycle – we do not provide motorcycles.