Trust in

I’m re-visting my read of the Flow book, which I received a few months ago but was halfway through another book, so I didn’t want to start another until I finished that one. This weekend, while posted up inside icing my broken arm, I cracked open Flow again and started over. Starting over is just something I do.

Since my injury almost three weeks ago, I’ve thought a lot about what went wrong. I talked to Pops about it; I explained what happened to my riding buddies; I prayed to the universe: what went wrong? I was riding so well; I was relaxed and confident, minimizing mistakes, knowing I was on the gas. I came into the check more worried about my time than I was exiting the chicane without crashing. And that’s just it. That’s why. I let my guard down. I lifted my ego up. Instead of trusting in my own race, I was worried, and that’s what lead me to my proper face-plant ending: the fruitlessness of my worry. It was so pointless. I wasn’t committed to what I was doing, I was worried about how I would stack up against the pro who had just passed me like I was standing still. So, that’s how I compared: I didn’t. I was disappointed I wasn’t winning; it was burning me up that I didn’t know what the plan was for me, anymore. What wasn’t working, I worried? It was me.

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So, the goal for the next four weeks, remember: today’s disappointment is tomorrow’s blessing. I’m not going to worry about it, anymore. It’s one of the hardest things to put into practice: focusing on what you cannot see, thinking only about what can be next, letting your skills do the work at hand so your mind is free to contemplate – thanks, Pops for the pep talk.

“Coming into the check can be a moment of pre-Zen. Everything is good. Everything is complete. Our guard goes down. You went down. Fate. No fireworks.” – Pops

 

 

 

Tough break

It’s been three days since I broke my arm at Round 1 of the 2017 KENDA AMA National Enduro Championship Series in Sumter, SC. Today is Day 1 of wearing a cast from my wrist to my elbow, and I’m over it, already, especially since I keep finding more things that trouble me: using a fork with my left hand, brushing my teeth, unscrewing tops or lids, typing (pecking), using the mouse, texting, washing my hair one-handed. The only thing I really must do with my right hand is write, and even that is almost illegible although still not as bad as my left-handed penmanship.

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Before Sunday, it had been three years since my last broken bone, so one could say that I was due for a trip to the emergency room, X-rays and a cast. So far, there’s only one thing I can’t do (besides ride, lift weights, practice yoga) and that’s floss, and I floss religiously.

Race day started off with me missing tech inspection, which never happens, but the club ran out of stickers for the 700+ rider event. I actually did not know if I even had a spot in the race until after 8 o’clock Sunday morning. I started at 9:36 a.m. from row 36. The first mile or so was a transfer section, which is essentially a warm up for everyone off-the-clock. We came to the start of the first test and took off in order of importance: Cory Buttrick in the Pro class, Neil Enman in A 250, Bob Bergman in A 40+ and me, ahead of two others on our row. From there, I rode 9 miles as hard, fast and smooth as I could to the end of the first test, my soft Florida set up somewhat OK for the harder pack South Carolina conditions. That is until my competition caught and passed me, and I noticed her KR4 suspension sink like she was riding a couch. I stayed focused enough to exit the first test in fourth out of 11 in Womens Elite. Ten feet later, in front of at least two dozen spectators and off the clock in a reset, I smacked a tree at a snail’s pace and proceeded to somersault through the air before landing on my head. Thanks to my helmet and hard head, I was fine immediately after the crash but just as I was moving to get up from my dirt sample, the bike chased me to the ground and the rear wheel came to a stop on my now broken arm. Snap! “Oww!”

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I ended up very thankful for all of those spectators who helped lift the bike off of me, the sheriffs deputies who notified the EMS, the moto dad, Jim Teagarden, who kept me smiling through the tears and gave me a warm spot to rest before the ambulance arrived, the cute medics in the ambulance who splinted my arm ever-so-gently, and the volunteers who carried me and my bike back to the pits. I ended up not last – 705th overall out of 725 entrants – I was 315th at one point – and finished 10th in my class.

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LiveLaps

Mondaze

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Before

Sometimes you win, sometimes you finish and sometimes you DNF. That’s what happened to me yesterday; my first DNF (Did Not Finish) of the season, which wasn’t my fault, really. I ran out of gas after the 40-mile-mark and pushed my bike about 2 miles, hyperventilating and crying, before two course workers rescued me with a splash of fuel. At the riders meeting, the club had said the loop was 38 miles, but it was more like 42, and I heard a few other two strokes ran out of gas, too. “Wtf???That’s not like you,” one of my buddies told me when he learned of my DNF.

The race was combined with an ISDE qualifier, which made for an interesting format that’s similar to how the enduros are scored out west. I was thankful to have experience with the transfer and special test sections. Usually, when you show up to the start of a race, you’re on the gas from beginning to end, but not this time. The first 6 miles didn’t even count, so I tried warming up without tiring myself out before the first special test, which is harder than it sounds when you’re all excited to race and your adrenaline is pumping. I had a new rear tire and rear brake pads, too. (Note to self: next time, warm up the pads – aka “bedding in” – before going out because it took me blowing out a few corners until they engaged.) By the first special test, I was ready to rip and of course smacked a pine tree right off the bat, which caused the vent hose on my gas cap to come loose and eventually fall off. Looking back, I should have stopped to grab it because I noticed gas immediately start spilling out of my full tank over every bump, and that’s what ultimately ended my day. I did try to MacGyver some duct tape over the hole in the cap so more gas wouldn’t spill out, but it wasn’t enough. I ended up being a few miles short of fuel.

“The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

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After

I returned to the pits almost an hour late to the start of the second loop and called it a day. I could have gone back out but I was so defeated at that point, both mentally and physically, that I decided to quit while I was ahead. After sled-pushing my bike for the last hour, I was torched, and I loaded up before the rain rolled in. On to the next – 48th annual Sumter Enduro in two weeks!

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The quiet pits

Peachy

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Northbound to Georgia

I love the kind of weekend where everything goes right, but when does that ever happen? Friday night, halfway through the 500-mile drive to western Georgia, I came down with a crippling stomach virus that thankfully didn’t make its exit until after checking into the hotel around midnight but left me praying to the porcelain God until dawn. In the morning, despite only a few hours of sleep and more nausea than appetite, I was still able to ride, thanks to some Pedialite in my Camelback and my insanely-high tolerance for pain and somewhat comfort being uncomfortable, though I don’t think I’ve ever ridden after falling ill, but there’s a first time for everything. All I had to do was show up and twist the throttle, right? Riiight…

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With conditions at Highland Park Resort the best they’ve been in a while, according to the Facebook page: “PERFECTION! Best weather in a long time, no dust, no rain, temps in the high 60’s. Perfect moisture in the dirt, trails and tracks,” I knew as soon as I started my bike , I would forget about my stomachache – even if I wanted to turn back immediately, the trails are all one-way so there was no going back. Not that I wanted to quit. The trails at Highland Park do not suck, but they are extremely difficult, which is extremely satisfying because there’s nothing worse than driving all that way for something that makes you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” At some point, I did wonder how the hell I was even able to ride such advanced trails since the park was packed but no one else was riding them. But I had something driving me: my race this Sunday in Seville, FL, which is sure to be sandy and nothing like the terrain in Georgia, but seat time builds confidence especially since I’ve only been married to this bike for 6 months. I recognized a few trails from my last trip to HP and rode some new ones, trying to push myself as much as I could despite my mind yelling that I needed to eat something or I should be in bed napping! Yawn…

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That’s me ripping at the top of the frame

Sunday rolled around and I felt a lot better after breakfast so I went out for another ride, letting the trails push me, which of course meant I was in for some soil sampling, and that’s OK. Crashing means you’re pushing past your comfort zone and that’s where the magic happens.

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Red clay weekend

Resting pretty

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My face during winter

Talk about a low-key weekend with temperatures in the low 50s; I barely made it outside to go anywhere besides bikram, it was too cold to go ride my dirt bike – I can’t believe I rode in the snow last winter in 20-degree temperatures. (In Canada, these “ice racing enthusiasts” embrace the cold!) At least I got a sweat in on Sunday at bikram, which I just joined to get me ready for my first race of the year on Jan. 22, a co-sanctioned event with the 2-day ISDE Qualifier, so that should be interesting if I’m stacked up against the women vying for the Women’s World Cup Team. This weekend, I’m heading back to Highland Park Resort in Cedartown, GA to train for a few days, which will hopefully be warm and not as dry as it was a few months back with some recent rain and “about 3/4 inch of snow, just enough to cover the ground and make it white everywhere,” according to the Facebook page.

If you caught Thursday’s press conference ahead of the first Monster Energy Supercross, you heard Chad Reed repeat how “sad,” it was that one of the sport’s legends, James Stewart, was missing from the lineup. Well, Chad’s comment must have fired James up because one day later, Instagram notified me that James posted about returning to racing before the end of January! Thank you, moto Gods! Now I’ll have a reason to watch!

It’s been 16 years since a Saturday night in Jan came and i wasn’t in a stadium doing what I love. But all I can say is it won’t last for long!!! Truly can’t tell ya how much I’m looking forward to returning doing it my way. After months of trying to make things happen, i realize that no matter what I would do, it wasn’t going to work. You keep doing the samething then it’s no one else fault besides your own no matter who’s doing it to ya. So we’re doing it on our own👊🏾 To all that supported me… I’ll see you soon. Too all that didn’t… I’ll see you soon. Wanna thank all my sponsors that are supporting me thru this adventure @redbull @gopro @oakley @dcshoes @sevenmx_ @bell_powersports. And most importantly, I wanna thank my fans for being Ultra Patient with me thru all of this. Wasn’t until last week that I actually had a final plan to go at it this way. For those that tried to break me. Sorry… but you can’t get rid of me that easy. Not quite done yet!”

A photo posted by James Stewart (@therealjs7) on Jan 6, 2017 at 6:18pm PST

Training days

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What better way to ring in the New Year than riding my dirt bike? Even better that the first day of 2017 happened on a Sunday. I pulled into Croom a little late (hoping for a Ronnie Renner sighting as he posted photos of him riding there just days before; damn!) and everyone was gone by the time I geared up, so I went out solo for a quick arm pump, warm up before playing follow-the-leader with three of my favorite A guys who, before I arrived, were just out for a leisurely Sunday stroll; it took me convincing them that we needed to ride fast because, “I’m training, remember?” and we were off in search of the least-ridden singletrack, which tends to be hard to find unless you have a really good line leader, which we did. I pulled away second behind him while the other two crisscrossed behind us, riding wide and cutting corners as we blazed the dusty trails ahead. At one point, we came through an unusually narrow rooty section at a pretty fast clip and before I could back off, my bike hit a steep, off camber root, which seat bounced me into the ground head and thigh first. OW! Of course, they said my crash could have been avoided if I wasn’t following so close. “OK, Dad,” I laughed as I picked myself and my bike up off the ground.

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The Team Wanker pits

After those guys split, I hooked up with some Wanker dudes who let me tag along on their joyride through the woods, including one on a freight train of a KX500. I kept pushing and riding aggressive, laying it over through the turns, trying to be as fast and as smooth as possible – did I mention I had a new sand tire on the front? Click here to watch a video of me riding. At one point through some tight switchbacks, I headed straight for a tree and locked up the brakes, squealing in delight that I barely made it by smooth…I can’t say the same for the guy behind me. Soon after that, I lost my rear brakes completely and had to pull over to let the group pass me, which reminds me that I need to order some ceramic pads: “Your rotor’s black.”

Looking back – it’s Tuesday and I’m sitting at my desk job with second-day soreness – it’s probably a good thing that my brakes went out when they did or I might have hurt myself. There’s a Fine Line Between Working Hard and Letting Go.

“If we push too hard, we risk breaking something important—our physical or emotional health.” – Michael Hyatt

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First sweat of the New Year

In tune

I’ve been scouring the web for news of whether or not the Stewart brothers will show up to Anaheim 1 next Saturday night. I’ve asked the insiders if it’s possible that they can just show up in a pickup truck or box van and enter – it is. There’s no room for their rig, though, so they’ll have to travel light…

I rounded out the Christmas holiday weekend by putting in a few hours at Croom and breaking in my new Alpinestars – thanks, Santa!

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Break-in time

With less than 10 days until A1, Transworld posted about having “some time to burn before the start of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Series” and catching up on Feld Motor Sports’ documentaries spanning the last three seasons. Score.

In other news, one of my motocross Google alerts pointed me to an article from allafrica.com about young racers in Uganda where “the sporting rivalry” between some families dates back to the 70s and 80s. Interested to learn more about the types of events, I read further to news that Maj. Muhammad Kiggundu was “brutally gunned down early this month. Kiggundu was a father to siblings Talha (MX1), Fathu (MX2) and Habib Kiggundu (MX50).”

The end of the year concludes racing seasons around the world and in the Philippines, Kenneth San Andres earned his 9th Rider of the Year title through victories in the Asian Supermoto, Pro Open and Pro 125 classes, saying his “success is for people who believe in me.”

“The challenge to be the best never stops,” San Andres said.

As for North America, I found this DMX Q&A with Canadian motocrosser Amelie Landry.

“I think it’s harder for a female to compete in everything, including everyday life! You always need to prove yourself a little bit more than boys, but honestly, I love this challenge. There is nothing I can’t accomplish as a girl.” – Landry