GS Trophy Qualifier

Mastering the Adventure: Lana's Journey from Racing Cars to Motorcycle Excellence

Guest:  Lana Tsurikova, autocross racer and GS Trophy Qualifier participant (Lana on Wheels)

Episode Summary:
From the roar of race car engines to the heart-pumping thrills of off-road motorcycling, Lana’s story isn’t one you stumble upon every day. Today, she sits down with me and shares the her tale of transitioning from a car racing champion to a motorcycle adventure rider. Lana discusses her systematic approach to conquer the off-road terrain starting on a KTM 390 Adventure. She demystifies the journey of learning to ride and the art of picking yourself and your bike up after a fall. Lana’s narrative is not just about personal triumph; it’s a beacon for setting achievable milestones and the relentless pursuit that follows.

If you’ve ever wondered how to elevate your riding skills to competition level, this episode is your manual, packed with insights into the dedication needed to excel in the demanding world of adventure motorcycling.

Full Transcript:

0:00:15 – Bret Tkacs
Welcome back to Around the Wheel with Bret Tkacs and today my guest, her name is Lana. She’s a rider who’s actually trained with me, a fantastic, highly driven rider who went from zero experience off-road to participating in a GS Trophy Qualifier in only three years. So she’s going to share with us the process it took to get from zero to “go in such a short period of time. Hey Lana, thanks for joining me and sharing your experience about getting into adventure riding, because it’s something so many riders really kind of struggle with and I think now it’s even – in some ways more difficult because there’s so many different ideas. There’s social media, there’s YouTube and videos and schools. What I like about your story is that you had a very specific goal from where you came from, and your very driven personality and you had a goal to where you wanted to be. Why don’t you share a little bit about that story with us?

0:01:26 – Lana
Sure, thank you, Bret, and thank you for having me. So yeah, I came to motorcycles from cars before COVID started. I used to race cars for 20 years and I thought I knew what I was doing. I was so excited finishing 2019 season, I got my second national championship in Autocross and I was so looking looking forward to next year, but it was cancelled.

0:01:54 – Bret Tkacs
Because of COVID?

0:01:55 – Lana
Because of COVID. Yes, we couldn’t instruct. You can’t sit in a car with another person, you can’t be instructor, you can’t invite students to see what you’re doing. Literally everything was canceled.

0:02:08 – Bret Tkacs
So what led you to the bikes and what was your goal? How did you end up? Because I know your goal was you wanted to do ,.. like a GS challenge or a GS Trophy, and that was your objective. How did you end up, with that being your objective? What led you to motorcycles? Besides, you couldn’t drive around in cars anymore.

0:02:26 – Lana
Right. So I was sitting at home and probably my husband is right that I’m adrenaline junkie. He just observed me bouncing from the walls – season 2020 – and he actually found this GS Trophy video online on YouTube. He turns the monitor to me and says did you know about this GS Trophy? And I looked at it like, oh, that looks good, I wanted. So that was it. Literally, he just showed me one video. I saw competition on wheels. It involved really good motor, so I wanted to do it. To say I didn’t even know how to ride? That would not be fair. I rode maybe four or five times per summer on street, but that was it. I never took my wheels off the pavement. So in 2020, I went and bought 390 Adventure KTM. You know, I didn’t know any better. I thought that’s perfect bike to start.

0:03:29 – Bret Tkacs
Lana, how tall are you?

0:03:31 – Lana
I’m five seven.

0:03:33 – Bret Tkacs

0:03:34 – Lana
So even reaching to the ground from that bike was a challenge. I knew right there I’m in trouble what I decided to do. I made a point to take that little bike. and I call it little because everything is relative right? I immediately took it off road and I will never forget my first fire road, how scary it was. You know everything is moving different places and..

But it was so fun and I will never forget the sense of freedom that cars – for some reason, cars do not give you that. You escape in the forest. You just take a random path in the forest and suddenly you turn off the engine and it’s silent. You can never get that sense of being one with the nature. I don’t know, that’s just something that I, when I close my eyes, that’s where I go in my mind to just endless sense of peace and calmness. But to get there you need to be really good on two wheels, right? So I kept pushing and I started taking lessons, because I knew next trophy GS Trophy be two years. So I need to be ready.

0:04:48 – Bret Tkacs
Well, you know they don’t do GS Trophies on 390 Adventures, right?

0:04:57 – Lana
Yes, I thought I would learn and then switch to a more appropriate bike.

0:05:03 – Bret Tkacs
And Lana, I think that’s something that a lot of riders struggle with is understanding and being realistic about where they need to start versus where they want to end up. I can’t tell you the number of riders who have trained with me that have started off by apologizing – when I go, “o what do you ride? Well, I only have, and it’s like, wait a minute, hold on. Whatever you ride is what you ride, whether it’s because that’s what you need to get better or because that’s what makes you happy. Be proud of whatever it is that you ride.

And I don’t think people realize the developmental process and the advantages of starting smaller, something reasonable that you can build confidence on, that you can pick up, that you’re not worried about dropping or damaging. You know, even bikes that have cheap body parts so you can really enjoy having a bike. Everybody’s focused on their objective and for many people, it’s what bike they want, you know, whether it’s a Multistrata or a GS or an Africa Twin or whatever it is. You know they’re just like that’s my goal and they want to go out and buy that dream bike and then they’re terrified that they’re going to drop it and dent it or anything else. I think it’s really important for anybody that’s listening to understand that starting off small, starting off with something that allows you to put your toe in the water and figure things out and, most importantly, to not be afraid to use it, to drop it, to take it places and to sell it when you’re done, is an important aspect of that process, of that development as an adventure rider.

0:06:40 – Lana
Absolutely. And, Bret, you actually touched on a couple of other aspects that I didn’t even realize what the stigma is around the notion of dropping a bike. To me, when you’re training, you’re dropping it, right? It’s a nature of life, nature of progressing from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow. So you’re absolutely right, I knew that bike would be down. So whatever protection I could install, I installed before my first ride and that was it. Since that moment it became a training vehicle, not something that you’re afraid to see a scratch on the peg, right? Oh, to be proud of what you’re riding, that’s something that I’m really happy

I had experience in cars because I observed exactly the same attitude in my students and cars. What are you driving today? Oh, I’m just in Miata. Oh, my God, you’re in a Bullet. You just need to know how to drive it. It is a momentum vehicle, so you have to carry speed through corners and people look at you like you have two heads. But you’re sitting with me in a BMW. I can’t carry that much momentum. So I will show different lines, different technique, but we’ll get to your car and try to squeeze as much as we can from your car. So that idea that any vehicle is amazing training vehicle is something that people probably do not fully appreciate and, as you said, is, the more you switch between bikes, between cars, the more you start feeling them and you do not drive or ride by memory of what your day-to-day vehicle can deliver.

0:08:23 – Bret Tkacs
You did instruction in cars, correct.

0:08:26 – Lana
Yeah, I’m racing instructor. Yep.

0:08:29 – Bret Tkacs
And I think that really sets you off on the correct path as well, and the fact that that meant you already had a mindset where you know the value of tapping into somebody else’s experiences, knowledge, and then to realize you don’t have to buy into everything that an instructor tells you or school tells you. You go in with an open mind, you leave the things that you believe on the shelf, you take it in and then, when you’re all done, you can reflect on it, sort through it and go what works for me, what doesn’t work? How do I reapply that? What was the first training you did and what did you take away from that? What was your greatest takeaway and what did you do?

0:09:08 – Lana
So my first training, I was really lucky. I did a two day session with Jocelyn Snow and Jocelyn is just an amazing rider and there were multiple factors why I wanted to train with her. First of all, she’s a lady. Second, she’s shorter than I am. I don’t want to misrepresent her numbers, but like if I am 5’7″, she’s 5’2″ or 5’3″, much, much smaller than me and no way she can reach to the ground from GS, right? We’re talking about 1250 GS.

So when I saw her riding and I watched multiple videos of her riding style and the way she teaches, she gives you confidence just by few words that she mentioned. You come back to her and she says, no, you can do it, just do a little tweak in what you’re doing and she sends you away again and you do it. So that kind of encouragement and belief in you as a student was something, something I actually didn’t see in other instructors. But everybody has their amazing and points that you always take home.

So about Jocelyn, her whole training for me and I told her I’m 100% novice, so treat me as from 0, from 0.0, and we’ll start improving from there. I came back with more confidence and more believing in myself that I can do it. Just in general. And of course she was not in a position to give me a list of drills to continue working on because I had to build up everything, from balance, from controls, from clutch work, everything, everything. But that believed that I can actually I can do it. Like you see the light at the end of the tunnel, that sort of was so important to instill in me that it is doable.

0:11:08 – Bret Tkacs
And I think there’s always kind of that soft spot, because the nice thing about a first instructor is when you leave you’re 100% improved.

0:11:16 – Lana

0:11:17 – Bret Tkacs
And I think most of us kind of have that memory of that first person because they create the greatest impact, because they had the first chance, the first try. And I’m actually getting ready to do a video on how to look for a trainer or for a school and how to sort through all the differences that are out there and how to decipher some of these websites and promotion and everything else. But the reality is – and one of the takeaways and I’d love to do a podcast on that as well – is it’s not whether you’re looking for the best, you’re looking for what the best is for you. It has to match your personality, it has to match your time, it has to match your development all the way through. Obviously, I make my living training, but there are definitely people where I start is ahead of where they might want to be, and it’s not often. But there are some that are just they need that. They’re just a little farther behind. And there’s others that come out and they’ve got a lot of experience and so they may be having different objectives and it’s pretty challenging as an instructor or as a school to meet all those needs and of course, like myself, I’m sure most of the schools are trying to meet that whole thing, but it’s really up to this student, it’s up to the person to go

“What is my best fit? Do I need something very simple, very basic in a field with just a couple of us, or do I need something live-fire? Do I need to be out in the woods? Do I need to be on the trails? Do I need something that’s going to be just one day and I can lick my wounds to go home? Do I need to immerse myself into four days so that I keep building on that day after day? People have to be very honest with themselves about what’s needed and what’s next. Now you started with one person. That one person isn’t going to get you to the GS Trophy.

0:13:04 – Lana

0:13:05 – Bret Tkacs
So where’d you go from there?

0:13:07 – Lana
The whole process was a really interesting journey because I knew from very beginning that I don’t know what I don’t know. All I knew I’m at point zero and I want to be a GS Trophy and at least to successfully complete two days of qualifiers. And what I was looking is sort of path like what do you train or what kind of fundamentals I need to build up first so that I could add on more and more challenging elements to ride all of the challenges that would be listed on GS Trophy and yes, we know that typically it’s around 20 challenges at each qualifier. At the nutshell, they require to be able to ride gravel, sand, dirt at speed or at almost zero speed, to be able to turn, to stop at any point of time. Full lock turns, you name it.

0:14:13 – Bret Tkacs
So how did you get to that point? What were the steps you took? I mean, you did training, so you did one class. I know you trained with me. Was I next or were there others in between? Did you leave her class and come to me? Did you spend a year practicing? What was that path?

0:14:30 – Lana
So the sequence was the following: I took training with her, then, like five or six months later, I came to your class in Virginia in Penmerryl, and I really enjoyed your class. With Jocelyn it was private; with you it was in a class and I was like how are you going to pay attention to me? And like we’re all on different levels, how are you going to handle that? But between you and Paul, you guys did an amazing job in actually providing almost individualized instructions and I will never forget you standing next to me on the uphill and saying, “nope, you stop here, you start from here. It’s like, oh, I can’t. No, you can. So and I saw that Paul was working with other people on something else and again, it was a two day class.

What I took back from there was that my balance improved since I saw Jocelyn. My clutch work, clutch control improved since last time. I was still really hesitant to go over logs. I did the little log with you. I was so proud about that. But I didn’t even come close to a bigger log that was on the higher hills over there and I didn’t try that clay uphill. I was so terrified. Forget about it. So what I learned? That I actually have pretty healthy evaluation of where I am and I was perfectly fine to walk away from something that I felt like, hmm, I’m not there yet, I will come back later. I want to be at that point capable of doing that uphill or going over the bigger log.

0:16:12 – Bret Tkacs
did? Did you take a year and practice? Did you jump right into another school? What was your next step? Well, actually, let me ask you this. What was the total time from when you started to when you actually did the qualifier? Three years. From zero – no riding offroad to doing a qualifier.

0:16:37 – Lana
I was brave or stupid in parenthesis. What I really wanted, I wanted to train with Jocelyn and then train through the summer and do GS Trophy in that season. Literally. I was like I’m doing that and actually what I forgot to mention, I took training lesson at BMW Center in Carolina right before that event, right before that qualifier in ’21. But didn’t go well and I missed qualifier that year. So then I signed up for 23rd, so total is around three years.

0:17:18 – Bret Tkacs
Okay, so we we’re six months in. You have Jocelyn Snow. Six months later you jumped in with me. Three years later, you took a class and did a qualifier. There’s two and a half years missing. What did you do in there?

0:17:33 – Lana
In between, starting with Jocelyn, I was trying to be on a bike two, three times a week literally, and it could be half an hour, it could be hour, it could be five hours, it could be the whole day, but we all have busy schedules. But I really wanted to continue building on. I don’t know if you talk to other people about this, but myself personally and you know I’m not 17, I find motorcycle skills incredibly perishable.

Only now – only now, when, like three years in intense training, I come to my bike. First of all, I stopped saying hi to it a while ago. Before that it was like ‘hi, can we go out today?’ Because it was that scary, the big one. And yeah, it behaved, it was a really good one. But only now, when I get on it, I don’t feel like I’m total novice and I don’t know what to do. I get on my bike, I hold it, I do static balance immediately and you know I’m doing cowboy mount because I’m short. So I’m like, hmm, I know how to do it, I’m out of my driveway and I’m out for practice. Until this summer, 2023, it felt like it’s still foreign to me, I still not confident enough to finesse everything on it. So I was training myself two, three times a week.

0:19:08 – Bret Tkacs
And I think it’s important to note. Just to reiterate and make it very clear – you didn’t say you’re getting on the bike two to three times a week. You are getting on the bike to improve two to three times a week. You are focused on specific skills or specific terrain and I know, because you used to reach out to me as well, going, hey, do you have any ideas or tips? Or hey, we’re trying to build a, you know, something that I can do training on. Do you have any ideas for this? I know you were very focused and very dedicated.

I don’t think a lot of riders realize or take it that seriously. You know, for time or just interest, but for whatever reason. So it’s not good or bad. You had an objective. But, you know, like Christina, who’s traveled with me, rides all over Nepal, she rode down to South America. She’s a very competent rider and she’ll often look at other riders and go, geez, why am I not as skilled as they are when they’re newer than me? But she doesn’t get on the bike two to three times a week and focus on her riding. She gets on the bike when we go ride and she rides. And I think that’s the most common type of rider. I’m just going for a ride and maybe you want to go and play.

But to focus on specific skills, specific drills, to hunt down training because you know where your weaknesses are and try to find trainers or schools that will help you address those weaknesses, is really uncommon. And I get asked that all the time well, how do I get to that level? Or even people asking, hey, I want to be an instructor, how do I do that? They don’t realize the background that comes into this, certainly from my perspective. And yeah, you can go get certified as an instructor with a school, but all you’re doing is reading a recipe and you’re reciting that to the riders. There’s a difference from being an instructor and somebody who’s mastered their profession, you know, who understands the physics of the bike, who understands dynamics of the riders, the mental aspects, the – just all these other things that go into it to be really, really good.

I’ve only gotten there because I want to be that – I want to be that for me, and to learn those things. That means I can share them with others and I work with people because I learn every single time I teach a class. I learn from those riders. I learn something about the bike. I learn something about humans, and I learn something about myself, and that’s what keeps me teaching is because, like you, I’m very driven to stay proficient and to be as good as I can be, whatever that is. I’m never going to be the best, that’s not my goal. I just want to be as good as I can be. I keep jumping back to this. Six months, you’re with me. What’s next? When was your next class? Was it a year out?

0:21:52 – Lana
I think, quite like in the three or four months after taking class with you, I went to South Carolina – the BMW Performance Center and I took class right there. They have a number of absolutely amazing, really talented instructors and I worked with Richie. I actually met him earlier and again, the reason I like training with him because he’s also short and I think he is like as tall as me and when I complained to him like I can’t hold it in this angle, he’s nope, you can. If I can, you can. And that gives me confidence that, okay, if he can, I probably should be able to do the same.

0:22:34 – Bret Tkacs
I’ve heard really good things from everybody I’ve talked to that has done the BMW – the East Coast BMW schools – and I’ve had a lot of people come through me after that school. I’ve always heard good things, so I’m glad to hear that was a good experience and that you got exactly what you’re looking for.

0:22:52 – Lana
Yeah, and they have really good – for those who don’t know, they can teach you off-road again. A lot of amazing instructors.

0:23:03 – Bret Tkacs
Oh, they have road courses. They have courses for women only, they have, yeah, they have a lot of variety over there. It’s pretty neat and it’s all subsidized by BMW. So even though it’s expensive, it’s actually less than the actual cost of doing the class.

0:23:20 – Lana
Right, but the word I was looking for is police rodeo and the reason I was looking for

that is because it is part of GS Trophy and initially I did not fully realize that I have to know how to do police rodeo. So just to make sure that people who listen to this podcast so yes, they also have amazing trainers that can teach police rodeo elements as well. Again, another person, Ricardo. He is former policeman. He worked with me on some, you know, circles and he said no, full lock and now go and I’m holding you and he tells me that he’s holding me from the back. Later he told me nope, I was not holding you, it was all on you. Okay, you tricked me. But again I left home thinking, okay, if I could do that with him standing next to me, I should be able to replicate it.

0:24:14 – Bret Tkacs
Absolutely. So that takes us through year one. What did you do in year two? Did you just work on your own and develop skills, or did you keep taking more classes?

0:24:25 – Lana
So I went back to the same school – BMW Center – a couple more times, just because they you know their playground is so good. They have everything. Like, for example, the gravel. The depths of that gravel and the sheer size of that pad is really impressive and you can really work on your skills. Plus, it’s targeted toward you improving, especially if you work one-on-one with the instructor. It’s really good. And I also took a couple of class.

No, I actually took only one class with Todd Zacker, again in Penmerryl, and Todd made his own impression on me in terms of what I’m missing from being an overall well-rounded rider. He looked at me and said “do you want to do this? I said yeah, and he do you want to do this? No, so he struggled with me but we had a lot of fun. And he said “you know, because you’re so concerned about trying something on a big bike, do you ever ride dirt bikes? I had 390. And I said no, I mean little bike. So he said “go get like 250 or less and just go in the forest and ride hell out of it. Don’t be afraid, just have fun in it. I want you to have fun. Oh, okay, and he was actually.

0:25:51 – Bret Tkacs
Lana, you’re kind of an intense personality. When you first told me that and I heard that I was like you know, I think I could have told you that without ever seeing you ride, because you’re just, you’re very focused, you know what you want and sometimes you forget that play is one of the best ways to learn. That’s actually an element that I pull into my training. If we’re not having fun, if we’re not enjoying, if we’re not laughing, if it’s not a relaxed environment, riders aren’t going to develop in the same way. You have to – that’s one of the best ways to shed that fearsfear isthrough laughter and having fun and realizing dropping the bike is okay. That’s part of the whole thing and everybody does it. There’s no shame in it. That’s just part of it. Crashing I have a problem with, but dropping the bike, that’s not a problem.

0:26:42 – Lana
Well, to take it to the next level, Todd gave me his, I think he gave me 350 on the day of training, just his own bike and gosh, I was laughing my head off. I had so much fun. So I came home immediately started searching, found 250 KTM here locally, bought it and gosh, I had fun. Every time I take it out here locally to the mountains I’m like, yeah, I’m having such a blast. So yeah, that was practically all of the training that I did. But feeling this niche of missing fun and some really basic running over big logs or bigger boulders or water crossings, little 250 made huge impact on my riding. I suddenly was not scared of bigger hills, bigger downhills. Actually, I’m scared more to go downhill than to go uphill. I don’t know if that’s typical or not. It seems like people have different preferences.

0:27:44 – Bret Tkacs
I think most people are more fearful going down, and it makes sense, because when you go down, when things go bad, it’s a lot harder to stop it. When you go up and things go bad, everything normally kind of stops on its own because you have gravity working in your advantage to stop things. I think people feel in far less control going down. Certainly in my years of training, down seems to be the bigger concern for most people. They succeed very easily going down. Once they learn all the skills it’s not a big deal, but mentally it’s a heck of a challenge.

0:28:21 – Lana
Yeah, and ultimately all of this is mental. I’m sure that my body and my fingers and my toes now have lots and lots of practice. It’s just my brain that still sometimes gets in the way.

0:28:37 – Bret Tkacs
All right, so let me take the – kind of the next step. So we started off at zero. You went to Jocelyn. It was first experience. It gave you confidence. You came and trained with Paul and I and you gained more skill. You went back to BMW. They’re local to you, very nice school. You’ve invested a lot of money and time into training, into motorcycles, everything else. You make it to the BMW Qualifier. Now did you compete or do the Qualifier?

0:29:08 – Lana
Well, qualifier is competition which is sort of local right? Local competition.

0:29:14 – Bret Tkacs
Now I’m curious when you were there, how well did you perform? And when you were looking at other riders, what did you notice about those riding abilities of those riders who did well versus those that really struggled? Because, again, people who are listening, whether you want to do a Qualifier or not, we all want to be in control, we want to be confident, we want to be good riders. What was it that you observed about those riders who did well versus those who did not, and how did you do?

0:29:46 – Lana
This is actually a really good question.

I don’t know how I did. I only know that I didn’t make the team. So this means I survived all of the challenges and I thought I drove relatively well compared to what I could see. And they break you in teams of four. So I really saw how my team was riding and then maybe glanced of whatever elements were closed physically to me. I could see some of them while I was in the previous station or something. So the scoring at Qualifier is not public. So even once it’s completely done, you don’t know where you placed and we had 60 men, 12 women and only two women made it to the team and only three men made the team.

I observed some of the riding in men’s and women’s, but if I would try to generalize, there are two riding schools or religions. One is that everything is in control, there is no emergencies, there is no drama, everything is under your tips of your fingers, and second one I call it send it, and God knows what’s going to happen after that. If a writerriderlike it, they catch the bike in the right position, and I don’t know in terms of percentages, but yes, there is definitely representatives of both of them and I was really lucky to observe the winner’s performance. For example, a lady who made the team, Emily, she was part of my team and she did absolutely flawless police rodeo section and there were four elements. I don’t think she ever even had a single dab and that’s unbelievable. Elements are so tight, so literally you have to use the last inch on every corner and she was just absolutely perfect. So it was really really encouraging just to see that in-person, to be there to observe that.

I came home – in two days I was back on my bike on parking lot. It’s like I’m getting to full lock. Why I’m not getting to full lock? If she can, I should be able to. So that was amazing.

0:32:20 – Bret Tkacs
I think often riding with people who are much better than you – not so much that it’s out of reach, but enough to inspire you where you just go well, it’s possible. They’re human, just like I am, so I should be able to do this, just like they do. And I do think there’s a lot to be said about being able to do things because you’ve seen them done, and this is one of the reasons why I’m not a fan of private training. I offer it, but I don’t really enjoy doing it in the fact that I think people learn more from the other riders than they do for me.

When somebody’s struggling and I go ride it and they’re like, okay, you can do it, but in their mind they’re still like, yeah, but I can’t. You’re an expert, you’re a professional, this is what you do for a living. But when they see other riders who started exactly in the same place, they did and they’re doing it, it inspires them to go there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to do this, and I just think that’s so valuable. And for you, trying to get to that upper level and to see people riding flawlessly in these very challenging events is probably what you needed to get to that next level. Am I wrong or am I on par?

0:33:34 – Lana
In terms of seeing that in person and encouragement and admiring that and being able that another human can do it. I absolutely agree with you. This is an incredibly powerful tool or a moment in time just to observe somebody else doing that so well. In terms of private versus group training, I’m listening and trying to put it on for myself as a student. I still see myself as a student more than more experienced rider. I would prefer still to do a personal.

0:34:09 – Bret Tkacs
And I think a lot of it for me is it could just be the way I run my school, because I know a lot of schools you show up and you wait in line and you’re waiting your turn and that’s always very frustrating for me as a learner. I try to keep my riders always in motion, always doing things, so that you’re not sitting and waiting for an activity, and I think that might make some of the difference on that.

0:34:31 – Lana
In your school – just reflecting back on how you run it and what I learned from you, I think between you and Paul, you do an amazing job keeping people busy and I don’t know how you guys manage it, but you indeed provide different levels of feedback and it felt like I have different level of expectations from you and Paul to do certain things compared to other people. It’s like okay, I should be able to do that. So, yeah, somehow you do it, but in general, I think I personally prefer more one-on-one.

0:35:06 – Bret Tkacs
Perfect. If you were going to offer a tip or piece of advice or a statement of motivation. What would you say to those that are listening to us right now? To get to that next level, what’s your greatest piece of advice?

0:35:22 – Lana
First of all, riding is not natural for humans and we should be really respectful of that and continue working and improving our skills. Don’t forget that it is highly perishable. I think that whatever your dream is, it should be achievable. I didn’t make the team this year. I will definitely come back and I will try again. My ultimate goal is to be the best rider I can be. Of course, I’m not going to be the world champ. No, it’s way too late for me. But if I can come back safely and bring amazing memories from some faraway countries, that’s something you cannot buy, something you cannot substitute with anything else. Be brave, dream and just work over the dream. It doesn’t come for free, requires a lot of time and patience.

0:36:15 – Bret Tkacs
Just to give something for people to chew on. I think that’s a great direction to go, thinking about the mental aspect of it. There’s a book that I recommend. I’ve done this beforev- it’s called The Upper Half of the Motorcycle. It’s on the unity of rider and machine. It was by Bernt Spiegel. It was originally in German, it’s in English and last I checked it’s out of print. You have to find them, you have to hunt for it.

Although the cover of the bike will show a superbike and a rider on the track, it’s not about what bike it is. It talks about the mental aspects, why we do what we do, why we’re influenced, how we’re influenced, how we’ve developed over time that helps you understand the motorcycle. And certainly, there’s a fair bit of tips in there for road riding, street riding. As adventure riders, we spend a lot more time on pavement than most of us like to admit. It’s a great read to follow up on that. If you guys are looking for something to go to the next step, I’m going to give my catchphrase on this one. I’m going to tap into something that Lana has already talked about. She talked about when she was watching people at the GS Qualifier that it was those that were in control, that were performing better, who made the team, and she was able to watch one of those riders.

One of the things you’ll often hear Paul and I say at training is riding is a process. It shouldn’t be an event. That’s exactly what we’re trying to get across to people is that if you go through the steps, if you understand the process, if you understand the motorcycle, that’s all it is. If it’s really exciting, I often say bad riding makes great video; good riding makes terrible video, but if it’s a really good video, that’s an event. That’s usually a dangerous place to be, especially when you’re riding very heavy, very expensive motorcycles, a fair distance from help or even communication to get help at times.

Lana, I’m really glad that you joined me on the podcast to share your experience and your process of getting from point A, which is ‘I’ve never been in dirt and I’m a very casual street rider’, to only three years later having the skills to go out and at least attempt one of those qualifiers. You’ve made a huge investment in two to three times per week focusing on training about taking – you had three schools the first year that you did this. You took another two schools the second year. You went back to BMW on the third year. This is a huge commitment and I just want to commend you on that commitment and for your accomplishments coming on the show and sharing it with those that are listening.

0:39:02 – Lana
Thank you so much Bret, and again thank you for having me. If those who are interested in GS Trophy, or at least learning more about it, I just recently released a video on it, so if you just go and Google on YouTube: Lana on Wheels, GS Trophy, you will see there. It’s, it practically talks from different perspectives on the entire event and what you expect there, so hopefully it would be helpful.

0:39:28 – Bret Tkacs
Excellent. Thanks for joining us on the podcast. I know I don’t put these out as regular as I would like to. I focus a lot on the training and on the videos that I put out. But I love doing these podcasts because we can get into conversations and depth that I can’t get into when I’m doing the videos, camps. There’s only so many people that can get into those camps and training throughout the year, so it’s kind of a limited access opportunity. So thanks for joining us and we’ll see you guys – or hear you guys, or you guys will hear us. How ever that works out, catch you next time.

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