Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lots and Lots....

It is amazing to look back on the time line of our lives and compare where we were and where we are now. Well over a year ago I started writing as a means of a release. It gave me some place to vent, to pray and if nothing else, a place to chronicle my journey through life. I started it October 28 2008 and its now a 37 page long running word document that I just keep adding to. Tonight I was reading back over some previous entries and I was amazed at the dramatic change I can see from then to now. Many of them jump out at me but one specific entry was from August 28 of last year, not quite 6 months ago.

I was in the process of building a new ramp and multiple times became worried that I was biting off more than I could chew. I would stand there in the shop and look up at this monster of a ramp and begin worrying that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I laughed tonight when I read that because I remember sitting there and thinking about giving up on the freestyle thing all together. Six months down the road I’m certainly glad that I didn’t.

I can’t begin to describe how crazy this journey has been and what a ride it continues to be. The latest excitement, upon returning from my trip to the south, has been getting back on the quad and improving my game. Recently I took a step that I’ve been waiting for, for a while and pushed the ramp back to a 72 foot gap. That is the money distance. Nearly all of our shows we will be jumping at a 72 foot gap (the distance between the takeoff and landing ramps) so finally making the push and jumping that distance was a good milestone. The sessions since have gone well (play Video). I've been able to get through all of my tricks and add some new variations. As of right now, I have no more shows scheduled until April but I’m hoping that something comes up and they can use me at least once during the month of March.

In the mean time I’ve been spending a fair amount of time with some friends I met through the local Bible College. They’ve been awesome inviting me to come hang out on campus as well as join them for an off campus bible study. Its been a refreshing change of pace to be able to spend time with people my own age rather than being surrounded by youth all the time. That said however, I’m still working with the youth at Life Church and continuing to build relationships there. Youth ministry is definitely a challenge. I struggle with the lack of discipline at times and those students that just seem to lack respect. Its been a long time since I’ve worked with youth so maybe that is just to be expected but its been a challenge none the less.

That’s pretty much it for right now. I’m filling my days with various web,/networking activities, riding as much as possible and spending time with the youth at church and my new friends at the bible college. There is also a family here in town that has taken me in on multiple occasions and more or less adopted me. They’ve been SO generous over the last few months and are always eager to provide a home cooked meal and fellowship should I find myself getting lonely. As a means of expressing my gratitude I do my best to keep the fire stoked and warm and the kitchen sink free of dishes. Pretty fair trade off if you ask me!

I'll leave you with a couple of videos from the road...
Freestyle tour video
Dancing Quad Rider

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

On the road...still

This is all so crazy! Two weeks ago I left California thinking I was going to Texas for a freestyle show. I had no clue what was in store but I can definitely say that I'm SO excited to be here. Currently I'm back in Duluth Georgia hanging out at the house of one of the other guys on tour. He has generously opened his home up to us as we are in between shows.

The first show was in Gonzales Louisiana and after that we spent the whole week hanging out here in Duluth. Thursday afternoon we drove a couple hours down the road to Augusta Georgia for our next two day event. The weekend typically goes something like this: Arrive in town Thursday night, check out the venue and spend the evening at the hotel. Friday around noon we usually head to the arena to set up the ramp and practice. This is kind of the most stressful yet most freeing point of the weekend. Every time I hit a ramp on a new setup its a little nerve racking. Granted we're using the same ramp, the same landing and the same quads, but it just still makes you nervous. Additionally we were riding on a cement floor so that made the run up to the ramp a little different. At first it was really tacky and you could accelerate quickly but as the day wore on it became polished and really slick. We didn't have a ton of room for a take off so you really had to be on the gas.

None the less we set up the ramp and I motored around the arena for a bit and finally went for it. First jump was perfect!!! I raised my arm and gave a couple fist pumps as I could breathe a sigh of relief. After that it was game on and I went through my whole bag of tricks and finished off practice satisfied. From there it was back to the hotel.

On show day we arrive two hours before it starts just so the promoter can keep track of us and make sure we're all there when the lights go down. The show starts at 8pm and they dim the lights and begin introductions. Not all shows are done in the dark but this one was and its so fun when they introduce you to tear around the stadium while they've got you in a spotlight. Its way fun and on Saturday night as I was in a bit of a dancing mood I hopped off my quad and busted out the worm. It doesn't work so well in riding gear!

That was the format for both nights and the show went awesome. A couple highlights were the pit party on Saturday before the show. Fans had an opportunity to come to the pits and meet all the athletes and take photos etc. It was a lot of fun and I love meeting the kids that are too shy to come up and say hi. Another funny thing was my debut of the "Cha Cha Slide." The promoters have rather interesting music played before the show starts and upon hearing the beats drop I wandered out onto the floor and busted out my best moves for the nearly 5000 people in the stands. It was hysterical and I didn't really know what I was doing but the crowd got into it and the promoter even told me I had to do it again the following night. I'll have video soon!

Lastly kind of the icing on the cake was getting a photo in the local Augusta Chronicle. A kid brought the paper to the pit party to have it signed and I was totally blown away. Such a neat blessing to have some added exposure and get my name and picture put in the paper. I ordered a few copies today so I'll post it up here when I get back to Californioa and get the paper.

The photos I included are of the pit party and our set up for the show.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Heights

So last Monday I got a phone call from our team manager..."I need you in Dallas asap to train for a couple days and then ride a show in Louisiana this weekend." My first thought..."cool." After I hung up..."crap! I've got to deliver!"

Everyday since coming to California has been an adventure and each one seems to be more exciting than the one before. I hopped aboard a plane for Dallas and arrived at our team's facility at the Moore's house in Krum, Texas that night. HUGE thanks to Wade and Michelle Moore for letting a complete stranger show up, stay in their house and raid their pantry! :)

I arrived Tuesday night and learned that Wednesday was to be our day for practice. Around 11am the bike I was to ride showed up and I was informed it had been crashed a few days prior. One of the wheels was about to fall off and no one really knew what was wrong with it. After 2-3 hours of working on it I felt I had it fixed for the most part and decided I'd take a run at the ramp. Apparently it was "fixed" all too well and I managed to over jump and miss the landing. I got a lovely little mark above my eye for my trouble.

With no time to worry about getting it looked at, I reared around and hit the ramp again, this time a tad slower. The rest of practice went pretty soundly. No more crashes and I was able to get through my whole progression of tricks.

Thursday was spent in the truck driving to Baton Rouge Louisiana. Upon arrival at the arena Friday afternoon I really began to get nervous. While the bike was running great, it was still semi unfamiliar and I was going to be jumping to a metal landing ramp instead of dirt, another first. Additionally the ramp we were using was a little different then what I'm used to (hence the over jumping).

The promoter was great and let me scoot the ramp up close to the landing and work my way back. After about 20 min we were jumping at show distance which was 65 ft. Practice was good and I actually like the metal landing. Afterwards it was back to the hotel to wait for the show to start at 8. The down time would've been nice but it was just more time to sit and think about doing everything right. Not going to far, not coming up short. I wasn't so much worried about my tricks, or the people in the stands for that matter. I just wanted to have the distance down.

Show time rolled around and it went off without a hitch. We ended up doing three shows Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. The only hickup was when I managed to wheelie over on myself in front of a couple thousand people. Not a big deal, just hurts the pride :) But everyone said that its normal to have some sort of a crash at your first show. Another fun bit was that a great friend of mine from my church in Hood River was able to come to the show. He lives in Louisiana now and actually was only about ten minutes from the arena so that was great to have him there for my first show.

I titled this blog New Heights for a couple of reasons. Obviously doing a show is a new thing and was my goal in moving to California but this weekend I learned to rely on God in a new, deeper way than ever before. SO much was out of my control this weekend. I didn't know what I was getting into or what to expect. There were frustrations at some points along the way and a lot of unknowns. I just kept calling and texting folks asking them to pray for the show and the whole weekend and it was amazing. I keep having to relinquish control and trust that God has me here. I'm having a blast, I enjoy the people I'm with on this tour but every day is seemingly another unknown. We're heading to another show this weekend in Georgia and I'm just trying to give God every day and say "this is where you have me." All I can do is trust that He will continue to sustain me and continue to provide as I'm on this journey.

Thank you so much to my friends, family and supporters that have been behind me on this journey. It'll be exciting to see what comes along next!!!