Ashley’s Column — Stop The Presses

Circa 2009
Group of bikers racing each other on dirt bikes

I am sitting in downtown LA right now at my hotel which is about ten minutes away from the Home Depot Center. I am one of the many athletes waiting to take part in X Games 15. This is my second year invited to attend, but my first year competing because I was out last year due to an injury.

As I have mentioned before, my sport is motocross. Motocross is raced on outdoor tracks usually at least two minutes long or longer. I race two motos and we are scored by the added points from both finishes. We race from15 to 20 minutes, and the course consists of long straightaways and turns and some jumps. For X Games I have to race supercross; it is not what the girl racers are used to at all.

The boy riders compete in two different series: One is motocross, the same circuit as the women, raced during the summer outdoors. The other series is in the winter/spring months and it is called supercross, raced mostly indoors, but some outdoor stadiums are also included. Supercross is a shorter track, very tight and mostly filled with jumps: triple jumps, double jumps, table tops…step ons, step offs, long sets of whoops (small, tight jumps that you blast through or double jump through). It is way crazy!

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All of the events at X Games are either at the Home Depot Center or the Staples Center, so obviously there is no place for a huge outdoor track. They wanted to include the girls for the first time last year so the competition was a supercross race. The boys were already racing supercross there and also doing “freestyle” moto. This is a big change from what we are used to, and it is also right in the middle of our motocross racing season. It is also an honor that ESPN X Games wanted to include the women of motocross in their program along with the men.

To prepare for supercross, you normally need a different suspension and different set-ups than our motocross bikes, so a lot of preparation is involved. We all have to work on our jumping skills as well. Last year’s preparation 10 ABILITY didn’t go well for this year I have been hard at work getting ready. Because I now ride for Honda/Red Bull Racing, they built me a separate SX bike. I love my supercross bike; it is built just for me. Suspension is definitely very important, so I went out and tested the bike. It fits me perfectly!

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I already had one practice; one more to go and then on to the race. Everyone here is pumped to win Gold. It is pretty cool to be here as a spectator too, because there are so many different athletes here and so many different sports—never a dull moment and always something to watch and do. I have a friend who competes in skateboarding on the vert ramp, another friend who does BMX freestyle, and another friend involved in Rally car. I try to get to all of the events to cheer them on because I know they will be cheering me on.

If you ever get the opportunity to attend X Games, come and check it out. If you see me watching, come by and watch with me! It is just a great place to hang out with everyone and have a good time.

Stop the presses! Can I get this last minute news flash before print?…I did it! I won Gold at X Games last night! It was an amazing feeling; I am so pumped and it was all so surreal that I can’t even explain how excited I was! Thanks to the deaf fans who waited around to see me right before my medal ceremony. It really meant a lot to me, and I am so glad that I had the chance to meet you all! More next issue…

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