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.