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.