Heavy Metal Guy Takes on Big Hill Jam Hill Climb on a Trail Bike

I have this “mobile stage” that is a remodeled 24 foot U-Haul, my band used it over the last almost 15 years to do cool things involving music. I’m 40 now and the stage has 300,000 miles on it so we don’t really use it anymore for long distance shows. Luckily right up the road from where we live there is this yearly moto event called “Big Hill Jam” put on by moto racers Josh and Justin Hill where we set up our mobile stage for them to announce the event and then play music at night when the riding is done. There’s a best whip contest with most of the same riders from X-Games, a pit bike super cross race, an electric bike super cross race, freestyle/freeride demos, and it’s round 4 of the Motoclimb Superseries.

Motoclimb Superseries is an AMA sanctioned hillclimb series that strays a bit from the traditional hillclimb races of heading straight up a hill by adding in more turns and jumps to combine motocross with hill climbing, hence the name moto-climb.

No stop on the circuit pushes this moto-hillclimb envelope more than Big Hill Jam, Josh and Justin always have some new gnarly obstacles like last years semi vertical 25 foot climb right out of the starting gate. The last few years I always sat there and watched not really ever thinking of actually doing it, also am pretty busy during the day making sure the sound is running properly, so it was easy to make an excuse for not doing it. This year though, after trying my hand at hare scrambles earlier in the year, I signed up as soon as I could, no turning back now.

I woke up that Saturday morning in the mobile stage just like any other day, I put my pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else, only this day I was going to race in a hillclimb competition and then rage a show in a mobile stage, a feat I would be willing to say NO human anywhere ever to exist on this planet has ever done, who cares about the Guiness world records, these are the Coors Light world records.

I make it sound like I woke up ready to rip and in all reality I had been there for a couple days, was up pretty late the night before, and was like what am I even thinking? It wasn’t until I fired up the generator, opened the door, turned the speakers up to the 11 setting, then like the guitar part at the beginning of Back to the Future proceeded to wake everyone up that was still sleeping by playing the entire album by White Zombie Astro Creep 2000 start to finish at 180 decibels through 12,500 watts pushing through top of the line Cerwin Vega speakers. If you are unfamiliar with being on a stage, especially not performing just sitting in a chair behind the speakers smoking a joint, while everyone “out there” is getting their eardrums pummeled with the sweet sound of a perfectly balanced speaker setup, I am basically sitting there getting laid by the sound system, and not in a sexual way, something about the bass just pummels your soul with something better than caffeine. So right around the middle of Super Charger Heaven I stood up and was ready to rip.

Crackerbox pulled up the sick old school Chevy C900 with my Moab edition murdered out 2021 KX250f in the back and we unloaded my tool for climbing to the top of the mountain. I put on my full set of LBZ K-stars gear straight out of 2001 and was ready to actually just get this over with as I was starting to question my decisions a bit, weed will do that to you, but LBZ gear will balance out the effect.

The race was supposed to start at 10, people kept asking me if I knew where the lineup was as there were 40 or so amateur riders, and we are amateurs for a reason, but everyone just kind of headed over to the starting area around that time, I had a good spot up front under a tent, because it was 100 degrees out. I then found out I was 37th, so I decided to head back to the stage and chill for a bit. It was awesome because the back of the stage was about 40 feet from the starting line and I could watch.

I mainly went there to drink some water, but then I ended up smoking some weed, I also was running the playlist in the background so change some music around, adjust some things, back to smoking more weed, watching more hillclimbs, then Craig Bentley the announcer says “hey Aaron, you’re up next!”

So I put out the joint, put on my helmet, gloves, goggles, fired up the bike and took off to the starting line. Smoke coming out of my helmet as I rode off, I felt like Ron Lechien, a true legend.

The course this year was wild for amateurs compared to last year. They had us starting out at the same spot as the pros this year going up that initial vertical wall, then over three jumps you can double, then up and to the left over a steep tall freestyle landing, up a right handed sweeper with a left handed off camber, then a right turn and straight up another wall jump with greater consequences, then if you make that it’s another couple hundred feet up a super loose and steep bank to the top of the hill.

But you have no practice, just straight into race, so here we go. I jumped way too high on the first wall jump not knowing what to expect, made me too squirly to do the next double, up over the hip, started sliding down the right hand sweeper to the left quite a bit, no time to shift down to second before the wall jump, jumped too high, landed too hard in soft dirt, wrecked but didn’t fall down the wall and got off the hill safely so I was stoked on that. I then went from not really wanting to do one hillclimb and hoping I don’t get a second run, to hoping I do get a second run because I’m making it to the top this time.

I got over there earlier for the second run and was talking to quite a few of the riders. Everyone just super cool ranging in age from 12-probably my age but I would like to think there were a few people over 40. Everyone’s just constantly trying to decide how to execute a good run, the whole no practice only two chances thing really changes the game, do you play it safe, do you go fast, but not too fast, there’s just a lot of strategy going on, mixed with gambling, and endurance doesn’t come into play, so it’s just a really good representation of any riders true ability. I went into this wondering how people drive across the country to ride for 30 seconds two times, and now I want to drive across the country to ride for 30 seconds two times. Like my reference to Ron Lechien earlier, this really takes you back to the days of out of shape dudes smoking a camel with a half face helmet on, a prostitute in the back of the truck(not like one you paid, one you met at a bar the night before that was off duty and you convinced her to quit and come with you for a better life), a case of Coors original in the cooler, 12 hot dogs, and enough gas to make it half way to the next race hoping your new girlfriend can foot the bill….sign me up. None of these people are out of shape, the pros are actually very well fit pro level athletes, but for me, an out of shape 40 year old musician with a history of motorcycle riding, I see a glimmer of hope for a good time, give me 30 seconds and I’ll show you a good time….I’ve said that a few times in my life.

Alright round 2, I’m making it to the top this time. I did literally the exact same things in the exact same places and wrecked in the exact same place…what a bummer. Oh well there’s always next year, now I had a show to play, and a world record to break.

At approximately sundown we started raging music for the fairly large group of people that had been standing in the sun for the last 12 hours drinking beer instead of water. It was an amazing show, there was even a blow up sex doll moshing around at one point that made her way into the mobile stage and slept with me that night. There’s a video of the actual show out there somewhere, I can’t really describe every detail but it was magical and amazing and awesome and a great way to finish out the day, doing two things that had never been done before.

Just when I thought my hillclimb/show record would be set for awhile, it was broken, Justin Hill and Patrick Evans jammed with us in the mobile stage to finish the night off, making them the first people to do a hillclimb, do a freestyle contest, do a pit bike race, aaaaaand play a show in the mobile stage in one day, but the clear winner of the world record ended up being Justin Hill because right after breaking the record with Patrick Evans, Justin jumped off the stage and crowdsurfed all the way up the hill. So, Justin Hill became the first person to do a hillclimb, do a freestyle contest, do a pit bike race, rage a show, and crowdsurf up a hill all in one day….in his backyard, good luck beating that.

About the author

Born in the early 80’s, I have been riding since motorcycles had kickstarters on them. I put in a fairly solid young motocrosser “career” of taking racing seriously from about the ages of 11-21. After realizing making a living in motocross would be near impossible I hung up the helmet and tried my hand at music. Somehow that actually worked and led to 15 years of being able to play music almost every day.