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Finally I have the new bike 1/30/2008

Finally, I have the new 2008 RMZ250F. What a great bike! I just picked it up this month and didn’t have much of a chance to put all my knick-knacks on it, so off I went to Stoneyford to break it in on the snow and mud. Maybe not the best idea, but I’m sure it’s bulletproof, right? Right from the first trail, I knew I had made the right decision on bikes this year. I can’t believe the improvements in handling and power over the 2004 models. The story goes: Me and two of my friends took off up the nasty little trail up out of Mikey’s house. I quickly realized that not having the Rekluse clutch sucks! I can’t wait to get that back in the bike. Soon, we were up on the Stoneyford trails ripping the tight forest. I immediately clicked with this bike, stock suspension and all. I really didn’t expect to be very fast, since I don’t have my springs installed or any of my products that I rely on so much for performance and handling. I was really shocked that I had no arm pump (thank you to Flex Bars by Fasstco), and I was fairly close to a race pace in the tight trees. This bike turns on a dime with little effort. This is the first time I can really see myself back in the GNCC. We put in two very hard days, and seven hours of break-in should just about do it. Now it’s time to strip those forks and shock off and send it down to Faultline Suspension to do their magic. I should have my Rekluse and GPR shortly. Once I have all my products on this bike, I should be looking at some great moments of speed on my next trip out. Also, don’t forget to check out my recently updated site at New video by Nissan. You can hear my story of why I do what I do and see me riding my favorite spots in Northern California. I’ve also added the youth team I’m endorsing for the second year under the tab “Hardcore Racing Team.”


It's been a rough ride... 2/28/2008

It’s been a rough ride since I started riding again in October. This darn shoulder just won’t get any better. I’m still only lifting 3 lbs and have limited range of motion. My focus for now is to try and go to Greece for ISDE this year. I had watched a World Enduro in Greece from my hospital bed during my last surgery and was sold on that part of the world. Rocky, technical, hills, that’s my kind of riding. I’ve been working on conditioning daily and trying to get my endurance back but the injury gets irritated so quickly it makes it hard to put in one of those brutal workouts I use to enjoy so much. I was hoping to attend the Clear Creek national hare scramble but by the time that rolled around I was still hurting and pretty weak. I decided to do some training instead. I headed out to another part of Clear Creek to ride with a new group of guys I didn’t know very well. The first loop pretty much killed my shoulder and the sinus infection I was riding with made my cardio miserable. Somehow they convinced me to continue to a second loop and in the first few minutes I knew I made a mistake. However instead of turning around I got myself way out there in a creek having to climb a miserable sandy hill out. It took me 3 tries on something I usually would have just cleared the first time to get to the top. That was the end of my day. My shoulder was dead. I headed back to the van alone and got out of there. I spent the next 3 weeks icing, aching and not able to lift my arm up to my shoulder. I usually need a week to recover from a ride but I must have done something because it was unusually weak. This started me looking at finding the shoulder specialist in CO that I’ve heard so much about. Dr. Ting has long given up on my shoulder after doing two surgeries that gave me zero results. He’s asked me to search out another surgeon for a second opinion. Hard to hear that from a Doctor I’ve trusted 8 surgeries to in the past 15 years. I’m starting to think ISDE is out of the question. If I can’t handle two loops at Clear Creek I can’t handle 150 miles a day for 6 days in rocky Seres, Greece. We’ll see if I can get out to Dr. Millett with the Steadman-Hawkins group.

Staying afloat... 3/30/2008

March 2008

Staying afloat…

I’ll be heading up to CO to meet Dr. Millet with the Steadman-Hawkins group. I finally managed to get an appointment with him for April 10th. Now it’s time to gather my MRI’s and 3 years of doctor notes and head off to CO. I’m not too sure what I want him to say about it. Thinking of going through another surgery sounds horrible. I’ve already spent over $20,000 of my own money on my shoulder and ACL in the past 3 years so another $5,000 isn’t really in the budget. However if he can make a difference maybe it will be worth the pain of surgery one more time. However I’m prepared for him to tell me it’s over. I’m looking for a final decision on whether it’s on or off for my racing career. I’ve been dragging around for 3 years fighting this injury and it’s finally getting under my skin. I don’t see myself continuing for another year trying to make this shoulder work. I’ve been racing for 15 years and traveling nationals on a team for 6. I’m not sure what else I could do. It’s been a tough 3 years loosing my conditioning and muscle only to be replaced with wider hips and thighs. During this time of medical bills I picked up an evening job to supplement my income. Not racing means not earning my bonuses from my sponsors. They’ve all been very supportive through this whole ordeal though. They’ve all still provided me with product for the practice bike and no threat of termination. That’s been a huge relief. So now I work all day for the Bank trying to purchase auto loans and leases. The market is so tough right now with sales being way off and my competition with other banks is getting crazy. Then I head off to San Francisco to work for a Valet coming parking some pretty nice cars. The tips are good and I’m getting a lot of exercise running up and down those steep hills. It’s been exhausting but well worth it. There are only 3 of us ladies in the group of mainly young guys. Not such a bad way to spend my evenings. It’s short term and I’m sure the auto market will turn and my medical bills will be gone soon. Meanwhile I’m meeting some interesting people and seeing a side of San Francisco I never knew existed. No riding for me this month, trying to give my shoulder a break from last month’s mistake. It’s dry and dusty so riding is not so great out here in CA right now. I did get the chance to speak at Sister to Sister once again. It’s a group of young ladies getting ready to enter Junior High and High School. They have a one day workshop to prepare for the big change in their lives. I spoke on never giving up and not getting focused on the End of things but the New beginning of what’s next.  Next month I’m off to CO to see what my future will be in racing. Stay tuned.

Making a come back... 4/30/2008

April 2008

Making a come back…

My surgery is right around the corner. I finally have my head fully into this idea that I could get partial use of my shoulder back and begin riding and racing again. This month was full of training with weights and cardio workouts. Being prepared for surgery is just as important as the rehab that follows. I’m going to go in there leaner with more muscle so when I come out the gap won’t be so big to get myself into racing condition. I’m looking forward to my visit with Dr. Millett in Vail, CO on May 28th. His plan is more creative than any other doctor I’ve seen over the past 3 ½ years of this injury. I’ve had 4 others give up on me ever getting my strength back but Dr. Millett with the Steadman-Hawkins group sees it differently. With such a strong reputation for fixing the unfixable I have full trust in him to get the job done. He’s feeling confidant that I could come out of this after 4 months of rehab lifting 10lbs or possibly more. I’m at 3 lbs right now so that’s 3x stronger and I’m liking those numbers. That will put me at 50% to normal and with that I’m racing. I might as well since the intended race bike for 2008 is ready and waiting in my garage. Sponsors are lined up for ’09 and my race bike transportation is set. If all goes well I’ll be making a come back at the GNCC’s in 2009. Wish me luck! Surgery number 10 in my racing career…and yes I do beep going through security at the airport from all the metal plates and screws in collarbones, shoulders, and legs.  I did get a chance to finish my shoulder off by riding my first snowmobile in some soft Colorado snow thanks to Mike Stoveken owner of SILVERTHORNE POWER SPORTS in Silverthorne, CO.


The surgery... 5/30/2008

The Surgery…

Finally it’s time to head to Vail, CO for the much anticipated 3rd shoulder surgery. I was promised by Dr. Millett of the Steadman-Hawkins clinic he could achieve 50% use of my shoulder coming up from the now 15% use. We left on Tuesday for a Wednesday surgery. Lucky for me I was able to have my Physical Therapist there to observe and get good advice on rehab straight from Millett himself. The Vail Valley Medical Center was fabulous. Even from the greeter at the front doors to every single employee all the way into surgery. I came out of the 2 ½ hour procedure in very good shape. When Dr. Millett came to see me he told me things went much better than he had expected and now he sees a full 100% recovery in my future. I’m struggling to believe him when I haven’t had much use for over 3 years now. However as time goes on I think he might be right. I’ve had so little pain I barely use my pain meds and there is almost no swelling. It’s also possible that part of that is I was able to spend a full week in lovely Vail, CO. I went in for therapy daily then strolled through the main streets all day. I can’t remember a time I’ve ever been so relaxed. This had to be the best surgery I’ve ever had. Of course I haven’t seen the final bill yet so that might change. So how the end of this story goes is look for me in 2009!


Tick Tock Tick Tock... 6/30/2008

June 2008

Tick Tock Tick Tock….just waiting to get out of this sling. It’s now been 4 weeks since surgery and I’m half way through my time in the annoying accessory. I’m still wondering if the doctor is right that I’ll be 100%. It’s so hard to believe since I’ve been at 15% for years. However to help this along I’m in the gym 4 days a week killing myself on cardio machines and core machines. It looks like I’ll finally get to start doing some resistance training on the bad shoulder. This is where I’ll see if the doc is right. The key number is 5 lbs. I haven’t lifted more than 5 lbs since the injury back in 2005. The first time I surpass that number I might just pass out. So to keep myself entertained during this down time I’ve made my way to San Francisco to observe some of their large events. Last week they had their famous Gay Pride Parade that I’ve never attended. We headed out to catch that show and all I can say is it was crazy crowded with people of all walks of life. The city is extremely diverse. The food was great along with the various performers and bands. Earlier in the year I caught the Chinese New Year Parade and once again everyone you could imagine was lined up along the parade route. Good thing I’m tall or I’d never see anything going on out there. San Francisco shows up in huge numbers to support and celebrate all things. I can’t believe I’ve missed this all these years of living so close. Darn that racing and riding motorcycles! Of course once I have my arm back to full strength I’ll be gone again and the parades will have to go on without me.

Summer time... 7/30/2008

July 2008

Summer time…One thing about summer for off-road racers is that there are pretty much no races for a change. Since I’ve been down and out with this darn shoulder there haven’t been any races for me in two years. However at least I don’t have to feel like I’m missing anything for a few months in the summer. I’m working hard on my rehab from the 3rd surgery. So far it’s looking as if I’ll have a full recovery. Still too soon to tell but there is progress in areas that I’ve never had before. My spirits are high going into July. I finally get to trash this stupid sling at the end of the month and be free to roam without that horrid accessory. However before tossing it aside we headed out to my favorite spot for the fourth of July, Santa Cruz, CA. This is the craziest, pyromaniac, free-for-all, illegal fireworks show on the beach. The cops try to keep it somewhat safe however chances are if you’re on the beach you’re getting hit with a very large firework. The show looks like a grand finale at a baseball game for 1 ½ hours. I can only imagine how much money these people spend on this holiday stocking up on the biggest fireworks they can attain on the Internet. We chose to stand on the cliffs this year with a very large drunk college crowd. Being a college town it really brings out the wild ones. Streets are blocked off and the beach is crowded with all sorts of visitors. As the show was hitting its peak I realized standing 50 feet up on a cliff made us not observers of the show but actually in the show. Fireworks were exploding close to our heads to the point I had to put my sunglasses on to dim the flash and keep ash out of my eyes. Being into extreme aggressive sports I was in heaven. One firework shot off into our part of the crowd and people started hopping to skip over the spinning loose fire that was coming for us. No one was hurt during the crazy evening and what a blast it was to be there. I’ll be back for more next year! After that my Chef boyfriend and I headed for a great camping trip up in the redwoods of Northern CA. Those trees are amazing to see. Once we returned he treated me and my family to a great night at his Steakhouse and Wine Bar. I would have to say July has been a great month for me. However dating a head Chef has started to put some pounds on. I can already see how August will go. Me the gym and very few calories.

Still working hard... 8/30/2008

August 2008

Still working…

August has been a month full of physical therapy on my shoulder. We see some improvement and I still have hope in me to recover and ride in 2009. Just getting this nerve to talk to the muscles that have been unattached for over 3 years is a tough job. Same old story so no boring details of the gym. The rest of the month has been full of BBQ’s, pool parties and helping to organize my 20 year high school reunion. I’ve been reuniting with all sorts of old friends and it’s been a nice distraction from my daily grind in the gym. Just this past weekend I got together with someone I haven’t seen in 20 years and helped her paint her house in San Francisco. I’ll be planning some backpacking trips and hikes with her and her friends. It will be nice to get a workout outside of the gym for a change. Next month we have ISDE to look forward to. I attended one of our US Junior Team member’s fundraiser. Ryan Powell will be heading over to Greece to take the US to the podium. I hope to be there with him in 2009 helping the women’s team win back their world title as well. So that’s if for now. If I haven’t seen you in sometime come by the Maxxis truck at the St. Clairsville, OH GNCC in October. I’ll be there for the whole weekend to support Hardcore Racing Team and my other teammates on Maxxis and the Moose teams.

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