Crispy Gamer

Help! I Try Real Life Motocross (A Girl Made Me Do It)



Nerd alert: Writer Does Stupid Physical Thing. So during theweek, I sit on my butt all morning and through the early evening, writing (andplaying games). This year, there’s mucho more writing due to the video gamehistory book I’m doing, The Game Changers. I hate leaving the desk, but when I’mdone, I’m leaving the country and no one’s gonna find me for months.

But the PR people got to me. When THQ offered a car service,I took three hours off to head out to the Meadowlands to check out the reallife dirt bikes and ATVs that inspired MX vs ATV Reflex. When they asked, “Areyou gonna ride?” I said, “Maybe.” But inside, I was thinking, “No way.” I ain’tno fool. They’re not gonna pay my doctor bills if I get hurt. I just cut off apiece of my finger the other day with an angle grinder, so I was more thanwary. I was cowardly. Yeh, like the lion from Oz.

After playing the game, which is hard like real lifemotocross, I started getting psyched about riding for real. That was weird, because I’d been fighting a cold all week, too. But there was a dirt track set up inthe parking lot with a few jumps. It had Harold written all over it (well, atleast in my mind).

They put me in gear, the shirt of which had a skeleton onthe chest. There was a cool helmet, too. With that helmet, I kind of felt likeMaster Chief. It changed my demeanor: I had the need for speed.Yippie-yi-yo-ky-ay.

I got on this huge ass ATV and after one slow go round, Isped up. I went around again, faster. When I came to a jump, I went fasterstill over it – and nearly went head first off the damn thing. That was it, I’d had mythrill and I drove back to the tent.

At which point this woman’s voice starts yelling, “Get onthe bike. Get on The Bike!!!” It was the sweet refrain of Jolene Van Vugt, thestar of the MTV show, Nitro Circus, and the only woman to do a backflip on a dirt bike incompetition.

Now, I’ve never been on a dirt bike before. I know moreabout the intricacies of the Kenyan economy than I do about the clutch on adirt bike, or any clutch for that matter. My heart was beating, too, and mymouth got dry like that time I met Blake Lively from Gossip Girl.

After three tries, I figure out the clutch and Jolene isyelling, “Go, man, go,” like I’m about to prove something manly. I’m thinking,I nearly fell off that ATV and that had four wheels. This has two. I better getoff: there was a reason they made me sign that form that says they’re notresponsible if I end up in a mass of blood and guts like Dante from Devil May Cry had hadhis way with me. 

“Go, man, go!” she yelled again.

So I did. I went around and I went around faster andeventually I flew through the air a bit as I went over the bump. It’s alwaysgood to impress a woman under any circumstances, and Jolene seemed prettyimpressed. I was impressed, too, when I saw the next journalist take a nastyflop. He was courageous enough to get back on, only to take an even nastierflop, the roll-around-on-the-ground-a-few-times-from-the-force kind. And therewere snickers from the motocross guys, too. I’m glad that guy wasn’t me.

A few minutes later, Jolene showed me this long, red scarthat went way up her right forearm. She’d broken her arm doing some crazy,crazy crap on a big ass dirt bike. “I tried to ride earlier today,” she said. “Butit still hurts too much.”  Actually, the redscar looked creepy/cool, bulging as it did over a green tattoo. But I’m glad itwasn’t me.

After riding, I had a new appreciation for the MX vs. ATVseries, and looked forward to the release of Reflex, which hits stores onDecember 1. I’m not getting on a dirt bike anytime soon, though. Well, maybe ifJolene eggs me on.