Thursday, August 28, 2008

Washougal Fans

Part of my "job" as a racer is to always be cheery and approachable to fans. Even after a bad moto when all I want to do is hide away and not talk to anyone its not always possible. Washougal, which almost always falls on my birthday has never gone well for me. It is what it is. This year was no different and after my moto all I wanted to do was take a few minutes for myself and reflect, maybe sulk a little before moving on and preparing for my next race. As I was sitting there silently chewing myself out for missing the podium by one spot in the second moto, "no one cares who gets 4th, its not good enough, they only care about top three." This is something I have learned from my years of racing, noticing that when you win everyone in the industry is your friend but if you are not up there on the podium people who loved you all year look the other way when they walk by you in the pits. Its really sad and unfortunately adds that much pressure on you to perform.

So as I am sitting there mad at myself for letting everyone down I am interrupted by a line of people asking for pictures and autographs. I do my best to put a smile on my face and try not to roll my eyes when they tell me "good job" its hard for me to believe when I feel I did such a "bad" job. Its not that I am being a poor sport or a spoiled brat, I give credit to all the girls that beat me and offer up no excuses, they were just better than me that day. That's what drives a person to be a better racer. If you are content with 4th place you will never do better than that. But today I didn't have time to sit back and be "incontinent" I had to get up and respect my fans. And soon I was in a better mood, I obviously couldn't have done THAT bad if all of these people, girls and boys, women and men of all ages think I did so great.

My mood was already improving when I met Paige and Emma, pictured above. I have such a soft spot for little kids as it is but these two were particularly sweet. After signing Paige's hat and taking a picture with her, her younger sister didn't want to be left out so she came at me holding the sleeve of her pink sweater. I gave her parents a glance, making sure it was ok, signing a hat or T-shirt is one thing I didn't want to ruin her cute little pink sweater. They gave me a nod and I signed "GIRLS RULE!" and my name. Then as her mom took a picture she gave me what I needed, a hug. I work so hard throughout the year and it can be so discouraging, especially when I went to the race by myself, just meeting my mechanic a friend of a friend, that day. I had no one there with me to lean on. So while Emma was just being a sweet little girl who wanted to thank me with a hug, I need to thank her for brightening my day letting me know that 4th place isn't that bad.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

X Games

So there has been a lot of big questions about the women racing X Games. Was it exciting? Of course, was it scary as hell? Most definitely! I know a couple of the girls had more practice on a real supercross track than the rest of us, I personally had three days. That's about two months and 27 days shy of what the average guy spends before Anaheim one. I also only practiced on a ramp that was set up at 65 feet but when I got there they informed us it would be left at 75. Now 10 feet might not seem like a big deal but on a stock bike it was all I could do to get over it. And after having my "little sister" Ashley get banged up practicing before the event and then pulling over in practice just in time to see Alisa Nix break and dislocate both her wrists I was a nervous wreck! I felt completely out of my element, which I am sure it was obvious to see by observing me.

I know Tarah and Jessica were riding super well, but it just too big of a risk for me to take. I have never been good at jumping, and I am not saying I wont ever improve, I did surprise myself actually when I was practicing but when it came to the race it just wasn't worth it to me. I have trained my whole life to race motocross and I didn't want to throw it all away at a race I only got to spend a week preparing for. I loved riding supercross but just was not ready for a race. All along we were told that they were there to accommodate us, yet when only three out of nine of us were comfortable with the ramp they made us do it anyways, and didn't even seem to care when two people got hurt. I don't know about you but watching girls get hurt just so they can be on national television is not my idea of fun. Simply put it is a made for TV event that cares more about ratings than the safety of their riders. X games? I wont be back.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Well I’ve had an interesting last couple of days. On Monday I was getting into my truck when I saw my younger brother Ben’s glasses sitting on the dash. Both of my brothers wear glasses but only for driving, Ben drove my truck last and just left them in there when he was done. For some reason ever since I was a kid I have always loved putting on other people’s glasses just to see what I look like in them. Only this time when I did I was shocked, I could actually see all the different leaf’s and shades of green in the trees instead of just a green blur. Surprised I left them on while I drove 2 miles down the road to the store and couldn’t believe how much easier it was to read the road signs! My heart kept sinking further and further into my chest when it became clear to me I might need glasses myself. I have been so fortunate so far to not need glasses, like I said both of my brothers wear glasses as do both of my parents. Most everybody in my family wears glasses actually, on my mothers side there are 13 grandchildren and I am the 2nd oldest and the 2nd to last one to get glasses. The only one left without them is my 5 year old cousin Taylor.

As much as I would like to deny something is actually wrong with me, being able to see or not is not something to put off so first thing Tuesday I went to the eye doctor to get an appointment. Five minutes later I was sitting in front of the eye chart, and in another 30 I was watching an instructional video on how to put in contacts. Now most everyone has something that really grosses them out. For most people its blood, but for me it’s when people touch their eye balls. I can’t even look when kids turn their eye lids inside out, and to this day still throw a fit when someone tries to put eye drops in my eyes. When I saw the lady on the video putting in her contacts I got the heebie jeebies so much I had to turn away. If I couldn’t even watch someone else do it I knew I was in trouble.

I spent a good 45 minutes and had 2 different helpers (one had to leave because she was getting too impatient with me) trying to get those darn things in. Trying to teach my eyes not to blink when my finger is going in them is like trying to get my body to sit down going through a whoop section. It’s just unnatural. Finally I got them in, ordered a pair of glasses (not the ones in my picture that was just for fun) and drove home amazed at all of the beautiful scenery I could now see. I couldn’t wait to get on my bike. There have been times when I am riding when my eyes have been fuzzy but not wanting to get glasses I just ignored it. Since I can see fine up close its far away that I have trouble with I was anxious to see how much it would help to actually see the corner I was going into ahead of time instead of when I was actually in it. Everything was so much sharper and clearer it was amazing! And while its still going to take me awhile to get used to putting my fingers in my eyes I am really looking forward to racing with my new eyes. Of course now I am sure people will call me 4 eyes, I am not sure if I would rather have a nickname that makes fun of my vision or my big butt? Of course now that I can see myself in the mirror I understand why they call me White Chocolate….

FCA Camp, again

Once again I went to FCA camp, this time in Illinois. And once again I had a blast. A week straight of riding, hanging out with good christian friends, kicking butt at karaoke and most of all hearing the Word. It really doesn't get any better, that's why I keep going back. Check out some of the fun we had.

When you are running a camp with kids ages 5-19 you have to make sure they stay busy at all times, during the day it's easy because they are riding non stop but at night its harder. In comes FCA Idol where each "huddle" has to come up and sing karaoke. Here Allison, Chelsea, myself, Jessica and Abby are doing our routine to Taylor Swifts "Picture to burn." We didn't have the Karaoke version of the song so we had to memorise all of the words along with this sweet dance.
Can you believe we got beat by these guys????!!!! No talent, heck I knew more words to their song than they did (I did the exact same song "these boots are made for walking" at the Indiana camp) and yet all they did was show more skin and they win. I guess its the same every where you go, even church camp! hahahaha

There was a serious side to camp, at 1o o'clock Thursday night I was baptized in a pond by the light of a pick up truck. I was baptized before at 2 months old but as Steve Hudson helped me realise it was time to make the decision my own, not my parents.
On Tuesday night we had tornado warnings and spent an hour in the bathroom (the only concrete building with no windows) listening to the rain. Fortunately we were all safe, unfortunately the track didn't fair so well. So Wednesday morning to kill time we had a shaving cream fight. Here I am trying to work a can into Kevin Windham's hair while Steve Hudson (aka Santa) makes my head look like a sundae.

Razor anyone? I really don't know what to say about this picture...except see Tom standing there in the back? He doesn't stay that clean very much longer. All the kids really enjoyed how Steve and Kevin were such good sports.
The game was actually called "2 to do the do" where you were supposed to pair up with someone and see how crazy you can make the other persons hair. Of course it just turned into a shaving cream fight but eventually they decided I would look best with a Mohawk. Do you agree?After the shaving cream fight we went swimming and someone thought it would be a good idea to have a belly flop contest. The problem with me is as soon as I hear the word "contest" I'm all in. This would have been a winning flop except huddle leaders and instructors weren't allowed to win, so this was all for pride. Stupid I know.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hare Scramble

They look dorky but I was glad I had these on!
My bike got a little muddy...
wet, muddy, sweaty and tired, not a good look for me:(

Ok I know I have been making fun of my brother for getting into woods riding, not because I don't like woods riding, mostly because you always make fun of what you don't know. Well that and his gas tank looks REALLY stupid. But since he shattered his femur a few years ago, taking two years to recover he has been a little reluctant to jump again. And while he finally started jumping and riding a motocross track fast again, in the mean time he found a love for riding in the woods, where there are no jumps. And he finally put to use the 74 acres in our back yard that besides a mile long sandy whooped out motocross track is mostly woods. Right now we have a trail system that takes about 9 minutes if you ride the entire track with it, but he keeps adding more everyday. After riding it a couple of times, and getting a camel back and bark busters he finally convinced me to go to a hare scramble with him.

We both signed up for the Z class which is the next class down from expert, and runs for 2 hours. Now we are both super competitive, though I think he is more competitive when it comes to me than anyone else. He has been finishing 2nd most of the time this year behind a guy that catches up and passes all of the expert guys from a minute back. Sandbagger. Anyways I knew my brother was going to beat me going into the race, I never get to ride woods and there wasn't any motocross on this particular track, 9 miles of straight woods. But it sure didn't stop me from trying.

We started dead engine with a flag. Terry being on a 250 two stroke definitely had the advantage, and it seemed so did every body else because I only beat like two people. Somehow I got behind my brother and followed him through the first set of woods, I had no idea what I was doing I just know I hated having to ride as slow as the people in front of me and found a sweet cheater line to get around him and the guy in front of him. The great thing about woods is what would be cheating in moto isn't cheating in a hare scramble. The trails were very hard to pass on and the first lap (which took just over a half an hour) I was screaming and yelling at the slow guys to move over, especially the guys who weren't even in my class. Of course non of them even listened, however later in the race when I was getting lapped I made sure to stay out of the way. You know the whole treat others as you wish to be treated thing that I thought EVERYONE had to learn in first grade but I guess not. Anyways I was able to get around some guys and when we came through the check point the first lap my dad was going crazy jumping up and down because I was in 2nd and Terry right behind me in 3rd. We were keeping a pretty good pace and I thought we were going to keep it up the entire race...boy was I wrong!

The first lap we went through it was a little bit muddy but not bad. It has been raining pretty much non stop for the last two weeks though so the mud holes had no bottom to them and with each bike that went through they just got deeper and deeper. I was caught behind a slower rider in a different class who just refused to let me by so when I saw the mud hole up a head I jumped at the opportunity to take a different line and blow by him. Except I didn't know the line I took was up to my gas tank and ran straight into tree roots that were up past my front tire. I was buried. Coming from a moto back ground my first reaction was to get all frustrated and scream and look around for someone to help me. Except I was in the middle of the woods and the only people around were other riders who sure weren't going to stop for me, not even Terry who later told me he laughed when he saw me sitting there. So i realized the only thing I could do was to calm down and get my bike out myself. I surprised myself at being stronger than I had thought when I got my bike out of the first hole. Unfortunately though my gloves were soaking wet and my hands kept falling off the handlebars from there on out. I was so tempted to throw them off but all I could think was the blisters I would get and how I have to race in Colorado next weekend. So they stayed on my hands, but not on my bars.

The track (or trail or loop or whatever you want to call it) had changed drastically from the first lap and while I didn't get stuck in every mud hole, I did get stuck in quite a few. When I had to pull over for gas (I might wear a camel back but I still refuse to use a big tank!) I chatted with my dad a little while, I really was in no hurry I had already spent so much time digging my bike out. The last lap was the worst of them all, so many spots were impassable. People waiting for other people to dig their bikes out just so they could take their turn to get stuck (I wasn't the only one!) By the end some guys were actually helping me, and I later gave my jersey to one of the boys who stopped to help. Other guys would just call out to me "come on Sarah" as they went by me. I was super bummed when I showed up at the riders meeting and people right away knew who I was. I knew I wasn't going to be that great and having people recognize me while I'm stuck in the mud has got to be one of the most embarrassing moments ever. Not to mention frustrating. To make matters worse it started raining on the last lap so not only was I tired, sweaty and muddy but now I was wet and cold too. I have never been so happy to see the checkered flag as I was yesterday and lean my bike up against a tree. After pulling it out of the mud so much there was no way I could lift it on the stand.

Even though I was pretty much hating life the 2nd half of the race it was one of those things that afterwards you are happy you did it. Sore and tired my brother and I had a whole bunch to talk about on the way home. I was bragging about the sweet pass I made on him and all he did was grab his trophy (he ended up sixth after getting stuck several times, and I ended up a miserable 12th) and stick it in my face. We may get along better than when we were kids but you can still tell we are brother and sister. He told me he was laughing at me when I got stuck in the mud the first time. Then later he told me he liked another one of my cheater lines on the first lap. Three guys were piled up after one guy crashed in a tight turn so I just banzaied through the woods. I replied "oh you saw that? I was hoping you got stuck behind them. Hahaha.

Though it was miserable at the time every one I met told me not to be discouraged because it wasn't a typical hare scramble and they aren't normally that bad. I think I might try another. If anything its always good practice for Steel City. It's always muddy there! :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

FCA Camp

Jessica and Emily
The drummer of the worship band was so impressed with my singing he wanted my autograph!!!!
Isaac kisses my boot after we kicked his butt in Karaoke
Cara, Lauren, Kellie and me, you leave your daughters in our care:)

OK I have talked about going to this camp before, but I just can't stress enough how fun this camp is! For those of you wondering why I fell off of the face of the earth right after Freestone its because I flew directly from Texas to Southern Indiana to do my fourth FCA camp. Those of you who haven't heard its a Christian based motocross camp. Kids come to learn how to ride their dirt bikes and get taught by Nathan Ramsey, Kelly Smith, James Polvolny, myself and a bunch of local pros from the area, who were on hand this year. It's a lot of work standing out in the hot sun all day, then doing bible study, worship and chapel at night, then kicking every bodies butt at karaoke, staying up late talking in the dorms only to wake up at 6 the next morning to work out and do it all over again. I am still drained a week later but I wouldn't miss this camp for anything. There really is nothing better than spending time with fellow Christians who all have a love for our sport. And the friendships I have made at these camps I'm sure will be lifelong. I love kids and I am fortunate enough to have the kind of personality to match the maturity level of those around me, and really I enjoy being able to act like a 12-17 year old girl again hahaha. From practicing our "FCA Idol" routine, practicing kart wheels, doing our hair and make up, putting fake worms in each others beds (I still say I'm innocent, and there was no reason to toilet paper my bunk bed!!!) breaking out to go get Dairy Queen, to talking about riding, boys and more importantly God and what he has done for us and where we want to go in our lives. You can't say we are an up tight church camp that doesn't allow any one to have any fun. The best part is though that some of these kids have never even been to church before. They come to the camp just to ride their bike and by the end of the week they commit their lives to Christ. It's just the best feeling to know that everyone that works at the camp plays a small role in that. And just being there to witness it brings tears to my eyes. There are two more camps this summer, one in Illinois and one in Ohio. I am going to do everything I can to get to them, I really hope that you will do the same:)


OK I know it has been almost 2 weeks since my race in Texas but I have been a little busy, and my computer was broken. Is that enough excuses? Freestone went well, despite it being 108 degrees out! I think that global warming is only affecting Texas since I spent my entire winter in California and I can only remember 3 or 4 really hot days, and now its June in Michigan and we have yet to hit 60. But Texas, Texas was hot! I didn't even complain that our Sunday moto got moved from 2:40 in the afternoon to 10:40 in the morning. Riding with a bruised sternum it has been hurting me to breathe too hard, so I find myself holding my breath a lot, which is not good to do in that sort of heat. Anyways moto one didn't go that well. I had a decent start but honestly it was just one of those days when nothing seems to flow. I salvaged a third but was very disapointed with my riding. Sunday I felt much better on the bike, unfortunately I had to come from behind, but a bobble from Patterson put me into second, and second place in the points. I have some time off to heal now, and Colorado our next stop in the series happens to be one of my favorite tracks so I am looking forward to racing there. And I'll try to update this a little faster next time:)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


So Hangtown the first race of the WMA just got done. I have only been waiting for this race since the end of last years season at Steel City. All winter long I was training hard and felt ready to race. Unfortunately this last month of preparation didn't go as planned with a concussion a few weeks ago and a bruised sternum, I suddenly found myself wishing I had more time to heal up. Of course wishes rarely come true, so instead I just wanted to get through the first two weekends (back to back, getting ready for Texas now) on the podium, and come Colorado hopefully I will be 100%. Round one went pretty good according to my new plan and I went 2-5 for 3rd overall. It felt so good to be racing again:)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Going home

Sorry I know it has been awhile, but I have had a pretty busy week.

Wednesday May 21st, at 4:00 am my alarm went off and I groggily drove to the Ontario airport. I haven’t been home in five months and I was extremely excited. So excited I didn’t sleep at all which made for a long day of travel. Even longer is the fact that I live in the middle of no where, and to fly into Pellston, the small airport by my house it would have cost me over $1500 so I had to fly into Grand Rapids. So on top of the time change and my two layovers, when I got to Michigan at 7:00 pm my mom and I still had a four hour drive ahead of us! You know its love when your mother will spend eight hours of her day driving just to see you.

Ever since I left back in December I have had a fear that my then five month old Great Dane puppy would totally forget me. It would just break my heart, and I was hoping that he would at least remember my voice from the couple of times my mom has put the phone up to his ear and let me talk to him (maybe I shouldn’t admit that? Hahaha). Thankfully when I walked into my house Frankie woke up and came to greet me before my dad or brothers did. I bent down, though not very far since he is up to 119 lbs now and he just put his head in my lap and hugged me for ten minutes, till he got tired and went back to sleep. I was so happy my baby remembered me. The next day was a busy one with meeting the new baby donkeys, visiting with my family who came to visit and of course breaking in my bike and packing.

6:00 am Friday morning (that would be 3:00 California time) I got up to leave for Canada. My dad and I drove up to Sault Ste Marie where we met up with my friend Jessi’s dad and from there left for Montreal. I spent my second full day of travel in a week mostly sleeping. Saturday was just practiced and learning the track. Did I mention that in Montreal that French is the native language? So just signing up was a challenge, not to mention figuring out when we were supposed to ride because I couldn’t understand the announcer. Sitting in the staging area way too early I looked around for someone to ask what was going on. Happy to hear the man behind me speaking English my smile soon faded when I realized mini parents aren’t just in the States as I heard a father telling his 65 rider why everyone is so much better than him. I would like to see him hold the gas on off of those rutted jumps and charge into the corners. That’s why retired pros will always find jobs training kids because honestly parents, if you can’t get on a bike and show your kid how to do it, they aren’t going to listen or respect your opinion. Yelling at them and putting them down really isn’t going do anything but make them resent riding.

Anyways…Race day the track looked so good, to my joy they over watered it making practice a mud fest, with super deep ruts. Just the way I like it. The first moto I started off in third and just kind of paced Jacqueline Ross in 2nd and Heidi Cooke in first. A couple laps in J Ro passed for the lead and I passed for 2nd. After a NCE (near crash experience) in practice off of one of the many chopped out rutted jump faces I admit I was being a wimp off of the jumps and was losing time there. But luckily I made up for it on the rest of the track and passed for the lead with three laps to go. It must have been an exciting race to watch, because it was for the three of us. The second moto I finally pulled a holeshot and got out to a comfortable lead. Then to my horror when I went to lap a girl on the outside of a sweeper she looked right at me and pinned it into me! She proceeded by cutting me off on the face of the next jump so I couldn’t do it. I went from having a comfortable lead to getting passed!!! I passed Ross back right away but rode so tight after that just expecting every lapper was out to get me. As they say negative thoughts lead to negative actions and with 2 laps to go I tipped over in a corner trying to get around a lapper who was in “my line.” I of course blamed it on the first girl, saying if she wouldn’t have held me up I would have passed the other girl before that corner…Of course as much as it sucks that’s racing. I finished third, or as the announcer says “turd” and got 2nd overall.

The drive home was longer than normal, and I don’t just mean because of the typical tension after throwing away a win. It actually took us longer, like a lot longer, to get home. The alternator on the expedition went out, and it took us one battery, 2 alternators and my dad telling the car mechanic what was wrong, to fix it. Once again I didn’t get home until 11pm, Monday night a full 31 hours after leaving the track. That left me only a few hours to sleep wake up early to go to the chiropractor get my back and ribs put back into place and leave for the airport. I didn’t land back in California until 1 am, and woke up early the next day to test my race bike and get ready for Hangtown. Oh yes I have been busy, and haven’t spent much time in front of this evil computer.

It was great being home if only for a day though. I have missed my family very much, and just the fresh air of northern Michigan. And of course my sand track! So many things change when you leave for 5 months, not just the size of my dog, but the size of my little brother (he lost weight) and my older brother’s gas tank! Yeah somehow in the time I was gone my brother Terry went from motocrosser to hare scrambler, which means of course the over sized tank. I was almost embarrassed to see his bike with bark busters and a desert tank next to mine in the garage. Those two hour, half trail half moto races sound like a lot of fun, and as much as I’d love to try one someday I told Terry I would rather take my chances at losing time by stopping than using one of those hideous things.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Good times

Last weekend my best friend Jessi came to visit. With her living in Alberta (that's western Canada for all of you geographically challenged) and me moving between Michigan, California and anywhere else the wind might take me, its sometimes hard to spend any quality time together. Most of the time we meet up at a race somewhere but even that is tough because we are both a little preoccupied. It has been 2 years since we have gone on a trip together, just the two of us when we went to France where we rode double on this scooter in dresses on the freeway going 98 mph (150 kilometers per hour!) just to keep up with our friends in a car!
It was so nice to finally just get to hang out again. And the best part was one of my friends who knew I was in need of a day off sent us on some sort of scavenger hunt, giving us directions to different destinations but we didn't know what we were doing until we got there. First we went to Venice beach, it was too cold to go in the water but we got to walk around and see all of the weirdos. Like this guy in the american flag speedo. Then we went to a spa for massages and ended it with lots of shopping!!!! We stayed at a hotel right next to the beach and went out to sushi for dinner but instead of going out to the many clubs and bars in the area like most girls our age would, after such a long day we were in bed by 10. Anyways it was just the weekend I needed, but I miss her already. Luckily I am flying home this week to race a Canadian national so I will see her again soon!