PLEASANT VALLEY - It's an addiction that has to be felt to be understood.
The power of the motocross drug was on full display Sunday at Round 5 of the CMRC Atlantic Region Spring Series at Pleasant Valley Motocross. Hundreds of fans and racers from across Atlantic Canada converged on the track in an attempt to get their fix.
"It's hard to explain, unless you do it. I guess you could say adrenaline or something like that," said Josh Archibald, a 23-year-old Brookfield resident. "Every time you ride you go through so many different things. Sometimes you hit a turn perfect and feel awesome but you hit the next turn bad and you want to quit. In one lap you go through a whole array of emotions so it's pretty exhilarating."
Hitting that perfect turn is a dogged pursuit that consumes most who ride.
"My last race was probably one of the best I've had so I'll ride for another six months just to get that feeling again," said Archibald, who has been racing for the past 11 years.
Racers as young as four years old took to the circuit to ply their passion. Riders are divided into classes according to age and skill to compete for points at each event. The racers with the most points in each class at the end of the season are crowned champion.
The CMRC (Canadian Motosport Racing Corporation) holds regional series across the country. The Atlantic region holds a Spring and Fall championship each year. Sunday's event was the second-to-last points race on the spring calendar.
Although they're only watching the action, it can be just as exhilarating for the fans. That was certainly the case for Mike Smith of Springhill, who only started attending races this season and was one of hundreds sitting on the grassy hill from where fans can see most of the circuit as riders churned up dirt and flew through the air on the edge of control.
"I love it. It's awesome," he said. "The first race, I just thought I can't believe we waited this long to come."
Smith said he had always heard people talk about taking in races, and now he realizes he didn't know what he was missing.
"We always thought that's not my thing, but once you come everybody is so friendly and everybody just gets along so well and you start seeing the same people every weekend, it's almost like it's own community," he said.
That's part of the reason why Brendan Clark, a 12-year-old Onslow Mountain resident, plans to keep on racing as long as he can.
"I like it because there is a lot of friends here and because I get to ride for fun," he said. "I just like to hang out and have fun and it's a lot of exercise for you."
Motocross is one of the most physically demanding sports as riders fight to keep their bikes upright over bumps and ruts. But it's also a sport that allows participants to make it as physical as they like from strictly a weekend hobby to a full-time job for professionals.
"It's an individual sport so you nobody is relying on you. If you want to practice, you practice," Archibald said. "At the national level it's a full commitment. You ride every day, do two 30- to 40-minute motos, eat healthy, stay active because its all cardio and strength."