Racing's Ultimate Double Header - Dirt Rider Magazine

What up? This is Ricky Dietrich and this is my first story for a magazine written by myself. So, critics please go easy on me!Our journey begins Friday June 12th 6:30am to the sound of my phone's alarm clock. About 20 minutes later (after a quick shower) I'm on the road to meet the team at John Wayne airport in Orange County. So-Cal traffic is amazingly a breeze this Friday morning, I make it to the airport on time and Mike Fisher and I board the plane together to start one of the wildest weekends of racing of my career.After a short layover in Denver, our plane finally arrives in Pittsburgh at about 6:00pm. My mechanic for the weekend, Mike Williamson, picks up myself and the team including Mike Fisher (manager), Kaipo Chung (suspension) and Derek Brush (motor tech) and head out to the track. About an hour drive and we arrive in Morgantown WV. We eat some dinner at this Beanery place and then get to bed at the hotel. About 12 hours of traveling and I am beat, I have no troubles falling asleep that night!Once again it is 6:30am and I am waking to sound of my phone's alarm clock! Except it's actually 4:30am California time. I meet the team outside and it's only a small 15 minute drive to the track. It is now Saturday morning the day of the High Point national and I am seeing the track for the very first time. The Saturday schedule of racing is jam packed and does not allow for much casual time. 20 minutes before my first practice I stand on top the Kawasaki semi to take a quick glance at the track before I fire up my scoot to turn some laps.Practice from High Point national 2009 is now in the books and I was able to record 10th fastest time in the premier 450 class. My better time coming out of my second session of practice, I rode tight in the first session and spent most of the time on the track just learning the new course. Second practice the track dried out some and had better lines. I told the team I felt comfortable on the new track and actually enjoyed it more over last weekends track in Texas. I made no changes to the bike after practice so Williamson went to work getting it cleaned up while I went to the Monster tower to sign autographs for the High Point fans. After meeting some of Pennsylvania's finest I make it back to the Kawi rig where truck driver / cook Brian Barnhart (Big B) makes me a lunch before the moto's begin.One of the luxuries of being under the factory tent is being able to watch the races while relaxing inside the semi. As I am putting on my gear for moto 1 I am watching the live feed on the internet of the 250 moto 1 race. This helps tremendously to see what lines the leaders are taking in their race. After some quick words with team manager Mike Fisher I head to the line for moto 1. Gate drops I get a descent start and the racing has officially begun. A few laps into the race and I start to realize I am not riding like myself. I crash while making a pass on Josh Hill but it was just a small slide out; I get up and keep going. Now it's a little over half way through the moto and I am really riding like sh*t! And I start to get mad at myself. I think I was feeling the pressure of everything I had on my plate at that time; Racing both days in one weekend, backing up my 5th place score from last weekend, performing at a level that satisfies a factory team. I had all this pressure on me and I was choking. But that is not me and I have never choked under any pressure any race! I pulled my head out of my butt and started racing. I was able to make some passes, find good lines and put on one of my best late race charges to get all the way up to 7th. Passing Josh after crashing early in the race battling with him. That first moto was a big step for my confidence competing against the best motocross racers in America.Moto 1 is in the books and everyone on the team is stoked on my late race charge and getting another top 10 finish. Though I am a little disappointed in my performance, it was still a good race and getting 7th is still a top ten where I set my goal at the beginning of the season. Big B makes me another snack and I talk with Fisher to go over sections of the track. I head up into the riders lounge shut off the lights and try to get a quick nap before moto 2.My hour of down time went by fast and seemed more like 10 minutes. I got up to the sound of the 250 moto taking off out of the gate. Again I watched the 250 moto live feed while putting on my gear. Trey Canard and Christophe Pourcel had an awesome battle going for the lead till Trey had a gnarly crash! I think at that moment it hit me that I had an important race the next day and going out and doing something dumb would be really bad. I didn't let it bug me, but I think it did play into my race strategy. I met Williamson down stairs and he had the bike ready to go and we take off to the line. After the parade lap we had about 10 minutes of down time waiting for the live TV. All I could think about was getting a good start and making this moto easy on myself. When the gate dropped for that 2nd moto my mind must have been on another planet because I got the worst jump possible! Only 10 feet out of the gate I was so mad I was cursing in my helmet at myself. Coming into the first turn dead last I dodge Josh Grant who is getting tangled with someone, but was not able to get out of the way of his swinging leg that basically drop kicked me giving me a good dead leg. But I did leave the first turn on 2 wheels about 3rd from last! (laughs) So now I got my work cut out for me to get back into the top ten. And go to work I did! I came around the first lap in 19th and lap 2 in 14th. I charged really hard those first couple laps and took a lot of chances but was able to get inside top 15. Now behind Justin Brayton we were both moving through traffic quite well until his bike picked up a big rock that hit my right hand. My hand went numb for a lap and at this point is when I started thinking of next days WORCS race. I didn't want to do anything dumb at the motocross race to jeopardize my WORCS race and now I had a hurting hand. I backed off and settled into a good pace to finish the moto scoring 9th. I was pleased with 9th after my horrible start and my combined moto's gave me an overall of 6th!

No time to celebrate though, I had very quick words with the team before taking a military style shower and I was outta there! Right about the time Reed was walking off the podium I was in a van hitting the road off to my next race. I ate dinner on the drive, chicken breast and steamed potato's prepared by truck driver Big B. A short commuter plane to Chicago and I was ready for my 4 hour flight to Portland. Everything was going exactly to plan at this point till my flight was delayed 1 hour 30 minutes. I had some time to kill so I talked with my trainer Ryan Hughes about how my moto's went and how everything was going. He was happy to hear how the day went and gave me advice on my upcoming race. About 10:30pm my plane finally arrived and I was off to Portland. Greeting me in Portland at 12:30 at night was my boss Jason Smigel, my mechanic Tanner Harding and Team Green tech Jeff Decker. On the drive up I was hungry again so we stopped at a local Shari's Restaurant for a quick snack. And finally at 2:00am I turned the lights off in my hotel to go to bed for the night. What a day!That next morning I had every intention of sleeping in till about 9:00am, but for some reason I was up at 6:30am again for the 3rd day in a row! And this is without even setting my alarm! (laughs) So I toss around for a while till I finally get up and get dressed. I meet the team outside who are all very surprised to see me up and awake. I was not tired at all so I went to the track early with the team. Getting to the track early was actually a good thing though and gave me some time to check out some sections. Shortly before the race started I had a lot of family and friends come to this race so it was nice to chat with them and see some old friends. But I was here to race not to socialize so I headed into the semi to get dressed and get my game face on!12:00pm noon the gate drops for the Riverdale Raceway round 6 of the WORCS series. After avoiding tangling with my teammate Destry Abbott down the start straight, I managed to get a descent start. I only knew about the first 5 turns of the racetrack and after that it was all new to me. Everyone I was racing against had an entire hour of practice on the course I was seeing for the first time. My lack of knowing the track played against me and I was loosing positions on the first lap. Then it got even worse when I came up to a trench crossing and went into it crashing instead of jumping across. I collected myself and finished the first lap well outside the top 10. I had my work cut out for me once again! I put my head down and charged hard. About half way through the race I was riding really well and Bobby Bonds was in my sights. I had finally caught up to the lead pack when I had a horrible crash hitting my head in the process. I got up slow and was having trouble seeing out of my left eye. Women's WORCS champion and good friend Maria Forsberg was first on the spot to see if I was ok. I was slow and sluggish getting back on my bike but I knew what I had to do. I needed to finish the race the best I could and get as many points as possible. The last thing I wanted to do at that moment was keep riding but I got back on my bike and kept going. After my crash I was off my rhythm and continued to crash another 3 times. All minor crashes I never hurt myself again but it did make me mad and I was upset with how the race was going. But once again just like moto 1 at High Point I was able to overcome my funk and get back into my grove. I made one of my best late charges again and was able to make it up to 7th. And surprising myself on the way with how good I felt. If I hadn't told anyone about racing High Point the day before, I don't think anyone would have known by how well I rode Sunday at the WORCS race. I pulled off the track fired up and ready for more. I was upset with my 7th place finish but at the same time I can't remember the last time I had a bad crash during a race. Crashing happens it's just a part of the sport we love but it did come at a bad time!So now it is 7:00pm at the Portland airport and I am getting on my plane to go home. Jason, Tanner, Jeff and I all get on the same plane to head back to John Wayne airport where my weekend started. I make it to bed about 11:00pm Sunday night. 2 races and 2100 miles of traveling has taken it out of me and I go straight to bed that night. The trip was a great success! I got top ten at High Point and top 10 at WORCS. Though I would have rather been on the podium at WORCS, I still pulled off both races with respectable scores in each. I am very happy to have gotten this opportunity and can't thank everyone at Monster Energy Kawasaki enough for coming together and letting me do such an extraordinary weekend of racing! Racing opportunities like this are rare, but these are the weekends I embrace and live for as a racer. It's been a fun journey and hopefully I will get to do it again someday! Till next time, see you at the races, RD