Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sparring with my brothers

When I woke up this morning I laid in bed for a moment and as I have done after many a crash made a mental check of everything that hurt. Starting with my feet, the knuckle under my big toe is swollen and bruised. I have several lumps and bruises on my left shin, and skin scraped off of my knees. Not to mention the size 12 foot print on my butt! I cant even touch the right side of my rib cage it is so sore. Then again I can barely touch the keys right now to type this because my fingers are bruised. To top it all off I have a head ache.

But whats that you ask? How did I crash when I am at home in Michigan in the snow? Although I feel like I did three cart wheels followed by getting planted by my bike I haven't ridden since last week. I did however get the crap beaten out of me by my brothers. Now before all of you guys out there freak out on my brothers for hitting a girl let me explain that I asked for it, well kind of. Five years ago my younger (no longer little) brother Ben who long ago gave up racing after he had to learn how to shift a 60, found his calling in martial arts. He is now a black belt in 2 different forms of Karate, Arnis (stick fighting) and going for his black belt in Japanese Ju Jitsu in February. He is pretty much a bad ass. A couple of years ago my older brother Terry started training with him as well. This spring and summer I started going to the gym with them to work out and some how found myself in the dojo along side of them.

With the way the world is today I believe every girl should take some sort of self defense classes. I am still just starting out but with as much as I travel alone I feel better about myself already. In Ju Jitsu I learn all about defending myself from attacks and escaping from different grabs, all of these moves end with them on the ground and me stomping on their face and groin before running away. This isn't for messing around, and hopefully I never have to use it. In Karate I learn about striking, how to kick and punch properly. I have been told my punches are coming along pretty good after my guy friends make remarks about women belonging in the kitchen and not the track.

I have my very first belt test on Monday and I am getting pretty nervous. Luckily for me I have two brothers to get me ready for it so this last week we have been working extra hard. Last night however to break up the monotony of punching and kicking at a bag we decided to play a game of round robin. Most of the time when we spar we bring out the mats and ground spar, more like wrestling except instead of pinning each other you have to submit them with an arm or leg bar, choke, or something else of that matter. As much as I enjoy that I prefer when we stand up spar. I mean my entire childhood there have been times I have wanted to punch my brothers as hard as I can in the face, and now they let me do it. In fact if I really get them good they smile and tell me good job! Just imagine if my parents would have given us boxing gloves when we were little and told us to go at it we probably would have gotten along a lot better.

So last night after about a minute into my first round with Terry when he punched me straight in the eye (unfortunately it wasn't black this morning) I decided to put on some head gear. The rules: no kicking between the legs or the inside of the thigh, sometimes after making contact your foot will slide up the leg to the groin, ending the round fast. No take downs since we were fighting on a wood floor, and of course we weren't going all out to try and kill each other. But that didn't mean we didn't get a few good hits in.

Though Terry wasn't going all out a kick from him (all 240 lbs) would send me flying across the room. He also learned that kicking me in the liver will send me to my knees gasping for air. Another lesson? Don't taunt me repeatedly then leave your face wide open. Ben is the reason for my bruises though it was mostly my fault. First I went to do a leg kick only I'm still bad with my aim and he saw it coming and bent his leg, toes straight to his knee cap hurt me way more than it did him. Then I went to grab one of his kicks only with my fingers out and watched as they bent backwards. Ben also followed Terry's lead knowing my ribs were sore and gave me a few good punches. He just wanted to show my that I left them open, as terry would hit me on the head of I didn't protect that. I know this may sound weird to many of you, what kind of girl likes
getting punched and kicked by her brothers? The same type of girl that at three years old didn't like sitting and watching her father and older brother ride motorcycles. I cant stand not joining in on the fun, and growing up with only boys I wasn't allowed to be a wimp. I still have along ways to go when it comes to fighting, but fortunately I have some good teachers who aren't afraid to let me know when I let my guard down. As with riding you only get faster if you train with faster people. So I figure taking a beating from them will only make me better, and besides when they do let me get a good hit in there's no better feeling. OK well its time to train again, wish me luck for my test on Monday:)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope every one had a happy Thanksgiving. I know I did even though I wasn't able to make it home my roommates and I made the best of it. Kelly and I mashed an entire bag of potatoes, had stuffing, gravy, carrots, green bean casserole, the juiciest turkey I have ever had (wasn't burnt or dry I was shocked!) and pictured here is my pie! I started peeling the apples at 9:00 am and then started prepping the turkey right after. It was an all day affair (I'm not sure how Grandma's and mothers do it?) but it was completely worth it. I was surprised that something I cooked could actually taste so good. Though no one went up for seconds, because we all filled our plates so full on the first trip we couldn't move. All in all it was a great Thanksgiving. Just don't tell anyone I can cook now, I don't want any one to get any ideas that I'm going to start doing this all the time. The saddest thing is right now I am sitting in the airport on my way home and I wont be able to eat the left overs...However I already talked to my Grandma and she saved some of hers for me. The other downfall to the week is though I am glad to be going home to see my family I should be in Texas right now for the WMA cup. But with just picking my new Suzuki up last week there was just no time to get it ready for this weekend. Its a bummer I wont be able to go down, the Cycle Ranch track is great. So good luck Lauren, April, Ashley and everyone else. I will see you next time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I am not going to be able to make it home for Thanksgiving, which means I am going to have to try and cook myself! As I just said the kitchen is the last place I belong besides a garage and I have been looking online for easy recipes, if anyone knows of any I would be very would my roommates:)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bike work SUCKS!

Its true that when it comes to some things like never having to work on my bike I am very spoiled. My father being a mechanic, and a little shall we say "old fashioned" never made me work on my bikes growing up. My job was always to buy the groceries and get the motor home ready while him and my brother got the bikes and trailer ready. When I was about 13 once I washed my own bike but forgot to get under the fenders and did such a poor job my dad had to redo it. I haven't had to wash my bike since.

Now being spoiled is fun while it lasts but lets face it my dad cant be every where with me and its not always possible to sucker other guys into doing bike work. When I used to stay in Georgia I would bake brownies and cookies in exchange for an air filter (the worst job on earth!). But this morning I had to take my suspension off to take to Enzo and there wasn't any body around to bake for. Now suspension is a pretty easy job. I have actually taken off a few sets in my day, but today was just not going my way. First I found out that the head of Suzuki bolts are more shallow than on a Yamaha's. My favorite tool in the world is a T-handle because its about the only one I know how to use. But every time I would try to use one it would fall off threatening to strip the bolt. Not to mention I think whoever put my bike together used a gallon of lock tight and a torque wrench on every bolt. I had to use a wrench and hit it with a hammer to get every last one loose. Its funny I have so much patience for certain things and usually keep my cool very well. But bike work is not one of those things. I would rather pick up a pitch fork and shovel out my horse barns than pick up a tool. It took me nearly two hours today just to take my suspension off, and I never would have finished if I hadn't of asked my next door neighbor who was just standing outside in his yard smoking a cigarette. I actually didn't even expect him to help me considering my roommate shot his kids pet bunny with her bow and arrow. That's how desperate I was! Luckily he agreed and after struggling for almost five minutes he finally got it loose. At least I never have to worry about losing a bolt on this bike!

I know I sound ridiculous right now, I always say that girls can do anything boys can do. And its still true, I bet there are tons of girls who make awesome mechanics, I am just not one of them. A garage to me is just like a kitchen I just don't belong there, no matter what David Knight tells me. He joked this weekend saying I should enter the last man standing, and the only way I would finish is if they put a sink at the end of each lap so I could be the first one back to do the dishes! Too bad if I do too many dishes it softens up my callouses. I guess I'm just going to have to stick the one place I do belong, the track. Now I just need to find a man who doesn't mind cooking and working on bikes...


This past Saturday my roommates and I made the trip from Southern California to Las Vegas to check out the Endurocross. It was my first time attending and all I have to say is who ever came up with the idea has got to be the coolest person on earth. Just imagine how exciting supercrosses would be if they threw in a couple of rock corners and log or tire jumps? To see my long time favorite John Dowd struggle and not even qualify just astonished me. If he has trouble making it around how in the world would I even make it a lap? But that's the thing, while it doesn't look the least bit easy, it looks extremely fun. And next year my goal is to make it a lap around. If any one wants to help me train for it just let me know, I'm going to need all the help I can get!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Don't worry your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. That's me leaning over a Suzuki! I have been getting some questioning looks this past week at tracks all around southern California. I just signed with them last week and picked up my first bike today (the bike in the picture is borrowed). Its a very big change for me, considering I have been riding Yamaha's since '94 and have been riding for Yamaha since '99. It is still odd to look down and see a yellow fender underneath me. But besides the look of it, the feel of it is great. I felt comfortable on it right away and am excited to get my bike set up for me with suspension and handlebars. I of course want to thank Yamaha for all they have done for me through out the years, and now Suzuki for giving me this opportunity. So now that its official (I mean as soon as you blog something it HAS to be true right?) maybe I wont be getting weird looks anymore...

Hug your Grandma!

I got a very sad phone call two days ago, I knew something was wrong when my older brother sent me a text asking me to call home and when I did my father asked if I was driving or not. I knew he was going to tell me something that I wanted to hear. My Grandma Rose Mary had just passed away.

I'm still in shock I guess and don't really even know what to say. She suffered from a couple of strokes several years back and was put in a nursing home, the same one I used to visit with her and my Grandma Marcia during the summer months, volunteering to help the residents play bingo. I remember my first visit back after she started living there and wondered how she felt, for so many years she pointed out numbers on the cards for patients who had trouble. And now I had to help her because she couldn't see very well out of her left eye since the stroke.

Not too long after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and it may seem like a terrible thing to say but I have some of my favorite memories of her from this time. Only because she needed to be driven to a different hospital 45 minutes away for her radiation and when everyone else in my family had to work I got to take her. We got to spend a lot of time together on those trips and even though her body was failing her she was still alot of fun. My Grandma loved racing, she attended almost all of my races when I was younger, at one point she had six grandchildren and a great grand daughter all racing. She couldn't have been more proud. While most people in the home had a couple of pictures of their families up on the wall, her wall was covered with my pictures from magazines and trophies. One particular trophy was from Glen Helen in '04, when I went to say good bye before I left for California she told me not to come back unless I had a first place trophy for her...I sure wish she would have said that more often. Anyways one of my favorite stories of her was when I drove her to her radiation therapy. She was in a wheel chair by this time and the radiation unit was in the basement of the hospital. The hallways were big and very empty and I just remember running through the hallways pushing her making dirt bike noises, sliding through the turns, both of us laughing hysterically. Any other grandmother in the world would have yelled at me to slow down but she was loving every minute of it, even joining in on the brrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaps!

I could go on with these stories forever, and it really does make me feel better to think of all the great times we have shared. I am very sad but I know she is with my Grandpa now who passed away 21 years ago. If she has taught me anything its that true love can exist. After all this time she never took off her ring and even on her worst days if I asked her a question about my Grandpa (I was only two when he passed) her face would just light up and she would tell me stories like how he used to go watch her play soft ball because back then girls played in skirts (can you imagine if they made WMA riders wear skirts hahaha) and he liked watching her slide into home. I'm going to miss those stories.

She was the first person close to me that I have lost, all of my other grandparents I was too young to really remember. Because she kept going strong so long after her strokes I kind of took it for granted that she would live forever. So if you are reading this please do me a favor, go hug your grandparents, and parents, siblings, everyone you care for, life's too short not to.