Ashley’s Column — Maintaining My Edge

Circa 2010
Group of bikers racing each other on dirt bikes

Well, I’ve just started training and riding again for the 2010 season. After my crash last year, I took some down time so that my broken collarbone could heal. But just because I wasn’t racing doesn’t mean I wasn’t keeping busy. Whenever I have time off, my parents and I try and get all of my contracts done and then decide how I’ll train for the upcoming year.

One of the people who help me train is my riding coach. For two or three days every week, he and I go over some new skills and also practice some of my old ones. During the days I don’t spend with my riding coach, I ride with my riding partner so that we can work on the skills I’ve been taught. My friend Taylor Johnson recently came down to Florida to ride with me and run through some skills with my riding coach. During off days, Taylor and I worked on old skills and practiced motos.

What is a moto? It’s a preliminary race (or “heat”) that keeps motocross racing skills in shape and determines which riders qualify. Each race I compete in requires that I ride two motos, and usually each moto is about fifteen minutes long, plus two laps. It’s important for me to make sure to make my endurance is up so that I can easily compete in both of these motos without becoming tired. Sometimes it’s frustrating to work with a coach when I would rather just be out riding, but I know that training is something I need to do to continue getting better at my job.

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In addition to working with a riding coach, I also spend a lot of time with a personal trainer. This person’s job is to be in charge of my workout programs and to monitor what I eat and how I sleep and how I do pretty much everything else in my life except for riding! He often does exercise tests with me to figure out where my strengths and weaknesses are so he can use the results to determine my program every week. Because my program changes weekly, depending on my riding schedule and personal schedule, I never know what to expect. It is nice to know that things won’t be boring!

Every morning, I take my pulse and weigh myself and give all of this information to my trainer. Amazingly, he can tell me a lot about my health just by looking at my pulse and weight. One time he even knew I was getting sick when I didn’t even feel sick. Crazy, huh?

I do my workouts at my house, in a room that includes a rower, a stationary bike and an elliptical machine. Sometimes I use one machine for warming up and then another one for my actual workout. I also do some strength training, too, but most of it involves elastic bands or using my own body’s weight against me.

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Having a riding coach and a personal trainer really helps me do my best. Knowing I have them behind me relieves a lot of the stress I feel on race day because if I enter a race at 100% mental and physical capacity, the pressure I feel decreases. I know that a lot of times an athlete can feel stressed out or nervous, but I usually only feel stressed that I might let down my fans or sponsors. My strategy is just to go out and give my best in every race.

I recently went to an electronics trade show in Las Vegas for my new sponsor, Able Planet, a company that makes headphones and headsets, as well as the linx audio technology that is used in hearing aids. Attending the trade show was the first opportunity I’d had to meet everyone from the company. I also hooked up with another girl who is part of the Able Planet team. She’s a snowboarder named Lauren and she is deaf, just like me. We had a great time just signing and talking to each other. It’s always pretty cool to meet other deaf athletes. The company slogan of Able Planet is “I Am Able”, which is definitely something I think everyone should believe about themselves.

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