Tucker and Twin Power brand ambassador Stephanie Pietz shares her experience at Colin Edwards’ Texas Tornado Boot Camp.
By Stephanie Pietz | Photos by Jim Press and Stephanie Pietz
The first day at Colin Edwards’ Texas Tornado Boot Camp was killer! All the instructors are totally rad and super helpful. I was honestly surprised by my first super pole. I was expecting to be a bit slower considering the small amount of time to get acclimated to the bikes. I finished in the middle of the pack, which I’m cool with, I know I’ll pick up my speed by the end of the weekend. My finishing time was 1:37.78. I believe the fastest in the group was 1:29. That’s not counting the instructors’ times. Those guys were ripping!
I had so much fun just playing around with everyone and keeping up with the guys on the track. Donna, our chef, is incredible and sweet and cooked us up some killer grub after riding all day. She and I really connected when I found out she loves red wine, haha! Everyone has great attitudes and wants to have fun. I’m excited for the rest of the activities for the weekend—especially shooting the 50 caliber!
Day two of boot camp can’t be described with any one word except PACKED full of every badass activity you can think of! We started the day with some freeriding and went straight into our first drills for the day. They made a contest of the stopping drills where you have to race to stop, haha! We had to race to the end and see who could stop their first tire completely in between two chalk lines. Which quickly became a battle of starts between all the grown-up moto kids. I had to show some of the guys up for sure! Including my “boss” Taz.
After that, we split into groups to work on body position and corner exiting. It’s insane how much a little bit of technique can change your entire riding ability. We rode a few laps with one hand on the gas tank which forced us to use more of our legs and body to maneuver the bike. It may sound lame, but it’s super helpful.
After lunch, we got to switch it up and play with some firepower. First, we did some target shooting with a .45 and a 9mm. I’m not really into handguns, but that’s probably because I’m not too great at shooting them! Still, it’s always fun to practice. Our next session, however, was all me! Colin brought out the 12 gauge for some skeet shooting. I think I may have surprised everyone with my skills! I absolutely love skeet shooting.
Later in the day, we teamed up for an hour-long endurance race. Three teammates, each rider switches off every 10 minutes, all on the same bike. I teamed up with Taz and David, and I got a killer start until someone crashed right in front of me and slowed me down. I’m not sure where we ended up finishing, and honestly, I was having way too much fun watching everyone scramble to switch riders to pay attention to our position. We finished the day with the famous super pole. I managed to take six seconds off my lap time from the previous day! I’m super stoked about that especially because I was a little worried about being exhausted after shredding all day. As usual, Donna killed it with dinner and filled all of our bellies full of chicken casserole before we threw in the towel for the day.
Saturday morning started a little slow for a few of us that had a run in with some Jaeger the night before. However, once I got back on the bike and pounded some water, I was back in the game! We started off running what I thought was the most fun drill of the morning. The 90 drills teach you to use the rear brake to slide around corners and line yourself up for a good corner exit, in repetition. We serpentined down the track hitting about ten corners each way, and it was super fun getting comfortable with the back end sliding around under you and learning how to control it. I think it helped when I carried it over to my super pole later that day.
After lunch, Colin and the crew set up a pretty badass shooting contest which consisted of all the disciplines of shooting we experienced Friday and added a long-range shot with a .308. I was asked to help keep score, so I got to watch a few people have a go at it and try to build a strategy before it was my turn. I was doing a damn good job up until the last shot. I just struggled with the placement of the rifle, and it set me back on my timing. There were five of us that finished in second place with 16 points, so it came down to our timing and unfortunately I didn’t make the cut. It was my first time doing any kind of shooting contest, and I wanted to do it again immediately after!
We wrapped up our riding every day with our super pole, which I managed to shave another two seconds off my time and finished at 1 minute 29 seconds. It’s amazing to watch every single person progress and speed up their finishing times. Before the super pole even began, the smell of the meat in the smoker had me poking around the kitchen like a raccoon searching for scraps. Nothing could have finished the day better than some good ol’ Texas BBQ.
The last day of boot camp was bittersweet. I was pretty bummed it was over already. It all seemed to pass so quickly. I guess the saying is true; time flies when you’re having fun. We did some freeriding and ran another turning drill. Instead of running another super pole, we all decided to play some riding games instead. We did a “slow race” where the winner was determined literally by who could get from point A to Point B the slowest. Which was a lot more difficult than it sounds! I totally blew it my first round. However, in the second round, I kept it together almost long enough to beat Taz! Almost!
After that we did a team race and when I say team I mean we all got a little TOO close for comfort. We had to use one bike to get all of our team from one spot to another, which ended up like a bunch of clowns trying to cram into a clown car! However, I’m sure they have much better success with that process. The picture explains it all!
We ended the last day with a literal BANG, and we all got to shoot the 50 caliber. It was a lot less aggressive than I anticipated but still made for an awesome experience.
Words can’t even describe how epic this boot camp was. Colin and his crew are all so down to earth, and the hospitality surpassed excellence. I would highly recommend this boot camp for any level of rider. I’m not only leaving with a few handy moto skills but also a lot of new friends!
A big thanks to Colin Edwards, the Texas Tornado staff, and the folks from Arai Helmet Americas for the hospitality.