Wednesday Jul 22 2009
Rocklin motocross rider Greer flying high
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
14-year-old beats out 20,000 for shot at national competition
Katie Greer of Rocklin is racing her way to the top. Greer, 14, has been competitively dirt bike racing since she was 10 and recently beat out more than 20,000 other riders for a spot in a national competition in Tennessee. Despite her young age ,though, she’s proven to be a promising contender, not only among girls 17 years and older, but against boys 17 and up as well. During Greer’s first race at the Sacramento Raceways at age 10, she took home fifth place, competing against boys her age. Shortly after, in her second race, Greer took home first place and said she was hooked on riding. “Katie just came out of nowhere, winning,” Katie’s mom Lisa Greer said. “She stepped up on the bike and she has beat five or six pros.” But riding hasn’t come without its road bumps. At age 4, Katie was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that affects Katie’s diet and bone strength. Because of the disease, Katie must keep her muscles toned to protect her fragile bones. She spends three times a week working out at Ultimate Training Center while riding two to three times a week. During Katie’s first year on the bike, she was easily susceptible to bone breakage. During one crash, Katie broke numerous bones that resulted in three months recovery. But Lisa said that may have made her stronger. “Katie just came back for a vengeance, more determined,” Lisa said. Scott Davis, owner of E Street MX, a motocross track in Marysville, told Lisa that the true test of a rider’s progress and growth is how they respond after an injury. In Katie’s case, she didn’t let that slow her down. “I’m very competitive, I don’t like to lose,” Katie said. Her competitive spirit is evident in the trophies lining the floor of the living room — varying in heights, but they all show off Katie’s dirt bike riding achievements. Less than a year ago, Katie moved to riding a Kawasaki 250 motocross bike, that weighs almost 250 pounds. Her green bike is decorated with graphics from her sponsors Pro Circuit, Kawasaki, Oakley, Fly Racing, VP Racing Fuels and Monster, and also a small sticker that reads: In loving memory, 3/9/09, Pastor Nicolet. After the pastor Rick Nicolet’s death, Katie changed her riding number to 39 in his memory. “He was her No. 1 fan,” Lisa said. Katie said she thinks of Nicolet whenever she rides. Through Katie’s involvement in church, she’s inspired others in riding, Lisa said. One of Katie’s friends, Ryan Garcia, was a dirt bike rider who was in an accident at the age of 16 that left half of his face paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Now at age 18, he is able to walk, comes to youth group with Katie and rides a two-wheel motorcycle, Lisa said. “It pushes Ryan a lot because he wants to do what Katie does,” Lisa said. She said Katie is drawn to others with disabilities and inspires them. Katie admits that she’s somewhat fearless when it comes to riding. While most of her competitors get serious pre-race, Katie said she relaxes and has fun with it. And even though Katie has been competing for years, it’s still a struggle for her mom to watch her race. “As a parent, I support her 100 percent, but it is hard to watch,” Lisa said. “She jumps off 130 feet.” With so much promise at a young age, Katie already has big plans for her future. To go pro in dirt bike racing, riders must be at least 18 years old, but Katie said she’s determined to get there. “I’m going to keep riding, I’m going to go pro,” she said. After retiring from racing, she wants to either become a motocross photographer or a representative of Oakley or Pro Circuit sponsors, she said. Whatever Katie decides to do in the future, her passion for the two wheels is obvious. Katie will compete as one of 1,386 other riders in the 29th annual Air Nautiques/AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch Aug. 1-8, where many top professional motocross racers got their start. “The Amateur Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s is the event every motocross racer in the country wants to compete in,” said Event Director Tim Cotter in a news release. “A win at Amateur Nationals can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motocross career.” And Katie said she’s always out to win. Placer Herald’s Lauren Weber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.