Cody Webb - Hard enduro Training for fans
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride with one of the world's best Hard Enduro Riders? What if you could take that a step further and hang out with him too after riding? This is exactly what a small group of enduro enthusiasts from all over the country (and Canada) got to do for 3 days in a row! I was lucky enough to snag a spot in this group to join in on what I would call a Bucket List item for me. I am from Ohio and have always wanted to ride in this terrain as well as meet and ride with a pro like Cody Webb so when this opportunity presented itself, I immediately reserved a spot! I am not going to focus on me in this article, but rather what it was like to be a middle of the pack rider embarking on a Hard Enduro Vacation with Cody Webb.
The trip was hosted by ReadyToRideRentals and consisted of 3 full riding days in some gnarly terrain followed by evenings of great food, beer and games. The night before the first ride, all of the riders arrived at the villa where everyone (including Cody) would be staying. It was very casual, as we all huddled in the kitchen space to chat about anything and everything; the cool part was the fact that we got to ask Cody anything we wanted. It was somewhat surreal to be standing by someone you follow online and be able to talk to him as an equal or friend. After a few hours of questions and general chatting, most of us went to bed early as we were given a hint of what we were in for the next day.
In my opinion, the trip was structured perfectly in regards to the riding aspect. Day 1 was the most technical, Day 2 eased up slightly and Day 3 was the least technical and just a blast; by Day 3 most of us non-professionals were a bit beat up, bruised and ready to just enjoy some fun riding.
Day 1 was the most technical part of the trip, but also the slowest; we were always within a reasonable distance to the trucks so if someone struggled, their bike broke, etc., we could recover as a group and keep going. This was a good way to assess the collective skill set of the group and adapt as the trip progressed. Day 1 was really a series of grueling valley descents and climbs. If I was on my own, I would have turned around and did something else, but this trip was designed to push you. If you were not falling, failing or ghosting your bike then you were not pushing yourself and that is exactly where the group found themselves. One of the coolest parts of this was the fact that Cody would stop at all of the majors obstacles and point out optimal lines and help the entire group through all of these problem areas. He was truly there to help us in every way possible. It personally gave me a level of confidence on a bike that I did not have before the trip! Day 1 was roughly 5-6 hours of technical riding which meant when we were done for the day, we were done for the day! Well, I was at least :)
Day 2 was much better. We all knew what to expect so we showed up earlier and collectively felt more prepared. Day 2 started out traveling up a technical washout with a good number of steep/tall step ups. The initial washout took us roughly 1-2 hours to get through at which point we pivoted to some fun land navigation and exploration across the endless valleys of the desert. This was my favorite part, because our goal was to get from peak to peak and we got to choose our paths and lines. This was tough as we were running along some really sketchy off camber hills; if we lost it, we would be sliding down the length of a football field or more. This was a great experience during the trip, because this type of riding was a different skill set than the washout/valley climbs and we got to practice them in some extreme scenarios! Halfway through the day (roughly 4-5 hours into riding) we went back to the truck to gas up. Here is where a lot of the fun started again; we ended the day riding up a super gnarly creek bed for 3-5 miles. I believe this is where all the excess bolder/rocks in Arizona came to rest so it was taxing on your body to do this for such a long stretch of riding. But imagine through this entire experience, you are riding along Cody Webb; that was our reality! I would be following him and he decides to do a stoppie right in front of me. When you see that firsthand, you are just enthralled by the level of skill he is showing that you almost forget to stop and not run right under his back tire. After getting back to the trucks, we concluded another 6-7 hour day of riding.
Day 3 should be considered our "Hard Enduro Recovery Ride" which was more about endurance with a good series of technical obstacles. Day 3 started out with a 5-6 mile traditional single track trail ride through the desert which allowed for a bit more open throttle. We probably covered more ground in the first 20 minutes of day 3 than we did the entire first day. This was followed by going up and down some moderately technical washouts and through jungle type of terrain at the base of some big valleys. Being from Ohio, I did not expect to see something like this in the middle of the desert so it was a really good experience. All in all, this day was pretty fun and relaxing; the ride flowed well and kept us moving almost the entire trip while still giving us selectively tough hard enduro challenges to conquer along the way. Our ride concluded after 4 hours, because we had a group event at "Top Golf" that evening.
So what is Cody Webb really like? From a technical riding perspective, it was absolutely mind blowing to see what he can do in person, but we all knew this would be the case. His professional portfolio speaks for itself. In my opinion, Cody is the top hard enduro rider in the US. On a personal level, you could tell he was the most down to earth guys from the second he arrived and walked into the kitchen to talk to all of the riders. He treated everyone as if he had known them for years and were equals on every level. Nothing was beneath him; at one point in the trip dishes were piling up so he just started washing the dishes to help out around the place. He was quick to compliment you on your riding technique when you did something right or to play off a joke you told. We all know he is light years ahead of us when it comes to riding, but you would have thought he was just one of the guys who signed up to ride and have a good time by the way he treated us.
I would like to give context and credit where credit is due. This event was put together by "Ready To Ride Rentals" and @MJSMotoPhotos which was a big deal, because there were so many moving parts that had to be organized and coordinated. Beau, who owns Ready to Ride Rentals, is among the nicest, most accommodating and accepting people I have met; he made us all feel right at home. Mary - @MJSMotoPhotos tagged along with us on the rides and took some of the most amazing photos; she definitely made me look a lot more skilled than I am. This part was very important to me, because she was able to capture these memories in a way that we could not do ourselves; she is a very talented photographer.