Saturday, May 22, 2010
I was given an amazing opportunity to speak at a motoross ministry called Panic Rev this past Thursday. I've been blessed with making some amazing friends there and what's more it has provided fellowship not only with believers, but with believers who are so passionate about the same industry. I didn't present a message specifically but was asked to share my testimony and what God has been doing in my life. Part of what I shared was how I have seen Psalm 37:23 unfold in my life.
I recall about two years ago telling someone my perfect position in life would be to somehow blend the worlds of Freestyle motocross and being a worship leader. God has given me a passion for leading others in worship and through college I was involved in several different worship bands. Since graduating however I really found myself not playing guitar as much and never really had much of an outlet to continue playing.
As of lately God has been resurrecting that desire within me and giving me opportunities to continue leading worship. I've been playing off and on with the Jr High at church, joining the team in BIG church on occasion as well as leading at various small groups. I've been so blessed by the opportunity, and yet again amazed at Gods willingness to grant us the desires of our heart. Here I continue to pursue my passion in freestyle motocross and God is providing opportunities to continue to serve through music, another one of my passions.
Just a cool thought here this morning as I'm sitting here drinking my morning coffee :)
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Yesterday I was talking with Rob about the necessity of being in the Bible daily. He said it's every bit as necessary as food and water and we would never consider going two or three days without eating or drinking anything. I liked that and I agree but a struggle I feel is that so often my own daily quiet times don't yield much fruit. I feel like I spend time in the bible and in prayer and very rarely walk away with any sort of divine revelation. However, I continue to be in the word daily because, like Rob, I agree its a necessary part of cultivating a relationship with Christ.
I asked him if he felt like he comes away with something new, a new thought, a new insite or a deeper understanding everyday after being in the world. He said absolutely not. But he said if you plant a tree you don't get fruit off of it the next day. If you plant a tree it's not likely to produce fruit even within the first year. But you still have to cultivate it, prune it, trim it and in time it will blossom and bear fruit. That was the best explanation for having a daily devotional that I have ever heard.
This morning God brought John 15:4 to my mind. "Remain in me and I will remain in you, for a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine and you cannot be fruitful apart from me." The first word is remain. It means to continue in the same state; continue to be as specified; to stay behind or in the same place. Not to visit. Not to come. Not to check in. But to remain. To continue. Without remaining in God we cannot produce fruit. A tree cannot produce fruit if it does not continually have exposure to sun and moisture. Even in the most perfect growing conditions, a tree takes time to bear fruit. The beautiful blossom that turns into the nourishing, life giving fruit would never come if it weren't for consistent watering and sunlight.
While I don't walk away from my time in the word everyday feeling as though I just met God on top of mount Carmel, I know that by remaining in Christ He is constantly cultivating, pruning and shaping me so that I may ultimately bear fruit that shows Christ in me.
Pretty cool deal.
Monday, May 17, 2010
I know that I'm capable of talking to a wall but I realized this morning just how wordy I am. I have an ongoing microsoft word document that I started about a year ago. A journal of sorts, I found writing to be an outlet for where I am in life. I could vent frustrations, pray and just chronicle all the things going on in my life. The document is very long and this morning I realized that most of it has taken place since my move to California. I began talking about the move on page 13, which at the time I thought was pretty impressive. In four years of college I think I only wrote two papers that length.
Today the document is 46 pages long. That's a lot of venting, praying, and who knows what else! I thought for a moment perhaps I should publish it someday as a memoir or something. On second thought, probably not a very good idea. Maybe with a LOT of editing I could do something with the majority of it. But who knows.
Anyway. Things are going extremely well. I moved this passed week from the house I was living at in Rainbow, to Murrieta. I've been praying for an opportunity to move into town so I could be closer to friends, have internet in my home and save money on gas. God provided a nearly brand new house with a couple of awesome Christian guys for dirt cheap. I was getting free rent where I was at before but I'm saving a lot on gas by living in town. Amazingly, pretty much everywhere I go in town is within a mile or two of where I live. I actually have two rooms, kind of like a home office. Its a huge blessing as I can now walk out of my room, sit down at my desk and begin working on stories, photos or any number of other things I have going on.
I've still been looking for work but with no success. I'm very blessed by a company that has begun paying me for blogs that I write. It's fun to chronicle my experiences and share them with others, and a bonus to get paid for it. Right now thats my only income but God has been faithfully providing small writing jobs here and there to keep me affloat. One example, I did a story for a guy back in December and he had a difficult time paying me up until this past week. For my trouble he sent me an extra $150! That check is taking care of rent for next month so I'm continuing to trust that God will continue to provide.
I attached a few pics of the new pad. You can join me in praying for new opportunities with riding. Shows are super slow right now and I have nothing in the forseeable future. I did have an encourageing conversation the other day with a friend and fellow rider that I've looked up to for most of my life, Mike Metzger. We are going to work on putting some shows together in the coming months and both hoping for opportunities to ride. You can keep him in your prayers also as he sufferd a bad crash this past week and broke his femur. Its his fourth time so at this point its somewhat of a minor injury, but pray for a speedy recovery.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
One of the most exciting of those memories was on a family ATV trip to the beach. Between rides I could be found jumping my bicycle off anything and everything around the campground. I found an awesome embankment that served as a perfect jump. The only problem is you had a small area to land and slam on the brakes or risk face planting off a 3-4 foot ledge.
On my final run I pedaled with all my might and accordingly, flew higher than I had all day. The rest is mostly a blur but I remember my front wheel hitting first forcing me over the bars and into a bush. I jumped up to see my mom sprinting in my direction with a look of sheer terror on her face. I assured her I was ok but it didn't seem to settle her much.
Since I started jumping ramps there have been a few phone calls that went something like, "Mom, I crashed again." Though she's never seen me jump, my mom has been one of my biggest supporters. She's always asking for the latest news, and demanding that I send along photos, articles and any other paraphernalia that I come across. (Sorry mom, I'm not that big time.) When I have my own bobble head in stores, I will truly know that I have arrived.
Bobble head or not, mom has always been in my corner and I know she always will be. Here's a new photo from a ride session this past week. Huge thanks to Richard Hurtado of Backdraft Photography for coming out and shooting photos.
Monday, May 3, 2010
I do not race. I’ve lined up on an actual racecourse three times in my life and have been ill equipped each time. My first experience was in 2006 aboard a nearly stock LT250R. I was home on summer break from college and my dad suggested I give racing a try. The fellow running practice must have sensed my inexperience as he approached me and kindly suggested that I practice with the “old farts and women.” You can imagine how that experience went.
Fast forward to 2010 and I’ve got Wes Miller, world renown producer and desert champion calling me out to join him at some of the WORCS events. While my skills have increased a great deal since those days on the old LT, my equipment is still sub par. For the two WORCS events I’ve participated in I rode my trusty (and stock) TRX 450 the entire grueling 45 minutes.
Wes most recently talked me into joining him for the fourth round in Adelanto and I had declined his offer until I spied the guys loading their quads early Friday morning for practice. We loaded mine into the rig and it was off to Adelanto to see what the day would bring.
Upon arrival I was slightly intimidated by the track. There was a rather large 120ft step up and a semi-challenging double into a whoop section. As I began making laps on the course each time I came around to that step up I told myself “you’re a freestyle rider, you have nothing to gain and everything to lose.” I managed to talk myself out of going for it the first few laps but on lap four or five while I was again conversing with myself, I ended up pinning it and to my surprise cleared it with ease. I didn’t quite down side it to the 120 foot mark but I managed to land on top and not crash which was all I cared about. My newfound confidence lead me to attempt the double which proved to be not quite as challenging as I had thought. The only problem really came if you were to get squirly off the double and then lose control going into the whoops. One rider did just that resulting in the first of three air lifts for the day.
Race day dawned and Wes and I drove back to Adelanto eager for our perspective races. To our surprise the “desert” section of the course looked more like a 4.2 mile long motocross track. Be it we opted to only run the Friday practice we hadn’t even seen the majority of the course when we lined up to race.
I entered the Sport 15-29 B class hoping to improve upon my 6th place finish from Havasu. As I took my place on the unusually saturated starting line, I found a semi dry spot to the far left of the start. This would give me the shortest line to the first turn.
Moments before the race I met a fellow named Charley who, upon discovering that I ride for the Bomb Squad, suggested I do a little freestyle on the mx track. I told him if I managed to holeshot I’d give it my best.
The green flag dropped and I gave my little TRX everything it had. I was pleased to find myself in third place as I exited turn one. While I hadn’t managed to holeshot I did a little heel clicker over the first tabletop to appease Charly. Come to find out later he missed it.
As we left the motocross track I was able to sneak past 2nd place and put pressure on the leader. Deep ruts in every turn mad passing in the corners almost impossible but I found my opportunity down one of the straights just before reentering the motocross track. I snuck by and used the motocross track to put some distance on second place.
Again I was faced with the dilemma of attempting the step up or opting to play it safe as my arms were already burning from only one lap on the course. Windy conditions during practice had been sending me sideways in midair and I was afraid if that happened during the race I wouldn’t have the strength to muscle the quad around. I opted to try it anyway and was pleased to jump it cleanly as there was no wind to deal with.
I talk to myself when I ride. Sometime I pray. Sometimes I sing. On this particular day I was running though conversations I could have that might enable me to score some contingency money should I maintain my lead. Unfortunately fatigue began to set in and I was passed partway through lap three.
By this point we were starting to catch riders from the class in front of us and I somehow lost track of what position I was in. As I neared the motocross section for what would be the final lap a KTM mounted rider maneuvered his way around me. I recognized the name on his jersey as one who flipped me off during the race at Havasu and decided that I was not going to let him beat me here.
As we approached the ever-exciting step up I noticed that he chose not to jump it. I used this as an opportunity to close the gap and managed to almost land on him in the process. Realizing that I was in hot pursuit, he picked up his pace but I caught him again as we approached the double into the whoops. Though most of my body was aching, my competitive spirit won out and I opted to jump the double in hopes of making a pass. I lucked out and my counterpart chose to single it. Though it was ugly, I cleared the double, bounced through the whoop section and to my delight received the checkered flag a few turns later. Unsure of where I had placed I was ecstatic to find myself in third after viewing the results board.
The whole experience came as a personal victory to me. While I would consider myself an expert level rider I’ve spent very little time on a motocross track and next to no time banging bars in a live race. To have actually lead for a portion of the race was completely unexpected and finishing on the podium was the icing on the cake.
I’m not sure when I’ll be lining up behind the gate again but you can be sure that I’ve caught the racing bug. I am tremendously blessed to be at a place in my life where I’m able to pursue my passion and equally blessed to have friends that share my love for this sport.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
I'm turning over a new leaf. I must admit that between riding, facebooking, church activities and any number of other things that pop up on a daily basis, this blog has taken a back burner. I'm going to try VERY hard to not let that happen again. My posts will probably be shorter but hopefully more frequent.
The last week has had quite a lot of excitement. One positive thing is that a company contacted me about doing freelance work for them. All Terrain Research (ATR) is an offroad prototype and manufacturing company. They're owner, Jeremy Bratcher, contacted me and asked me to contribute content to their website. He said that he enjoyed my writing and thought that providing an inside perspective on the industry would be interesting to his readers. I'm SO thankful for the opportunity as it gives me yet another outlet for my musings and I'm actually getting paid for this work!
Last weekend my roommate and our company owner Wes Miller again talked me into racing a WORCS event with him. I've actually already written several recaps of the event, one of which was for ATR so rather than write another one, I'll post it here after Jeremy posts it to ATR's website. In short the race was spectacular. I almost took the holeshot (beating everyone to the first turn) and was able to lead for two of the first three laps. I finished the race in third place which was COMPLETELY unexpected. I had so much fun and was again so blessed by all the kind people in this industry.
Thursday: For as long as I can remember I've wanted to build a full on race quad. Money is no option, the best parts, just make it as cool looking as possible. Well we had a $15,000 limit but the quad we built was definitely one of the coolest I've seen. Dirt Wheels magazine was putting together a story on modified 450 quads and we offered to build the Polaris since they sponsor our freestyle team. While we had the quad almost a month prior to the shoot, we didn't receive all the other parts until this past Wednesday, including the motor which we didn't have until 9pm on Wednesday night.
We started on the quad at 6:30am on Thursday and Wes and I returned from dropping it off to be dyno'd at 1am Friday morning. Paint, assembly, graphics, studio photo shoot and finally the dyno. It was a long day but SO fun being a part of one of the most insane creations I've ever seen.
Friday: Yet another experience that I am going to write about in full and will post later. Needless to say the opportunity was spectacular. Dirt Wheels was testing all 6 of the race quads at the world famous Glen Helen Raceway. Simply being there was monumental for me as I've heard about this track for years but never actually been. I threw my gear bag in just in case they were in need of another rider but didn't expect much. I'll leave it at that until I put the story together but it turned out to be one amazing afternoon!
And that brings me to today. One organization I've been seeking to get involved with for some time is called Riders 4 Christ, a team of freestyle motocross riders devoted to spreading the message of Jesus Christ. I've tried multiple times to touch bases with them but was unsuccessful until recently. About a month ago I connected with Jimmie McGuire, a professional freestyle rider and one of the directors of R4C. We talked about adding a quad to their line up and have been in contact off and on since. Today I spent the afternoon at his house playing music and jamming on some worship songs that we are going to play at a worship service next week.
To cap it all off, as if you haven't read enough already, I FINALLY made some updates to my personal website so if you're not completely board checkout LocalHeroesNW.com
Thanks, check back soon and often. I mean it this time :)