There was more than just a little excitement in the air when we arrived at the Rover staging area between Nelson and Castlegar, B.C., on June 22, 2012. Close to 60 riders showed up for this year’s Summer Solstice Ride. This has become a much anticipated yearly event for the riders of the Nelson, Castlegar, Salmo, Trail and Balfour areas. This year’s gathering had a little more meaning than the rides before it—more meaning for the riders for sure, as one of their own was in need of support, and boy, did they bring it.
The Summer Solstice Ride for Rodi saw generosity that was true to the big-hearted spirit of the Kootenays. More than $3,000 was raised for Rodi Devuono and his family, to help ease their financial burden while he recovers from illness. This is how we do it here in the Kootenays.
Choose your route
As we neared the staging area we were greeted by riders grinning from ear to ear. Waves ushered us on as the excitement and butterflies grew in our stomachs. My daughters were giggling with anticipation as they counted the number of ATVs and dirt bikes being readied for adventure.
Aaron Seminoff, who is the owner of Main Jet Motorsports in Nelson and my boss, is one of the key organizers of this event. He stood over the crowd and proceeded to organize us into two groups. The groups were categorized by those who wanted to go on a crazy single-track dirt bike adventure, or a slightly more tame ride for ATVs, UTVs, and those of us on bikes who weren’t yet ready for the crazy, psycho ride. My husband, however, went on the crazy psycho ride. Judging from the footage of him catwalking up a boulder-infested climb, I’m more than happy to have chosen the latter route.
Summer isn’t so bad
The ride had something for everyone. I wasn’t the only mom out there with her kids. This was a family ride, filled with fun and adventure. Mud, dust, ruts, sand, climbs and a little bit of meandering by the river created the perfect ride, in my opinion.
As we neared the main staging area, Seminoff signalled me to follow him. I turned my bike around and followed him into the forest. Woo hoo! Single-track adventure—within two minutes, I was upside down in the mud with my bike on top of me. Seminoff came to my aid and asked me if I was OK. I think he saw the sheer joy in my eyes as I replied, “I love this. This is freakin’ awesome.” Seminoff and I have a long-standing battle at the store surrounding what sport is better: sledding (my deep-seated passion) and dirt biking (Seminoff’s favourite).
Later on, he came up to me with a look halfway between gloating and pride and said, “Trish, I hate to break it to you, but you are a dirt biker.”
He was right, for all I can think about now is single-track, getting muddy and the sheer joy that a little bit of throttle and a whole lot of dirt in my teeth brings to my heart. Summer doesn’t suck! I have moto now!
Counting the days
After the riders all returned to the main staging area, stories of each rider’s experiences were shared over pizza, some bratwurst and a bonfire. I will forever remember my first Summer Solstice Ride. It was a feeling of being welcomed into the family you never knew you had. Dirt people are some of the kindest, most fun-loving people I have ever met. I need to find a bumper sticker that says I ♥ dirt people. The rest of the population won’t understand its meaning, but the dirt people will.
I’ll be counting down the days till the next Summer Solstice Ride, as will my kids. Even days after the event, my kids are still rehashing the summer solstice stories that fill their mind. Only 362 more days until we do it again.