Dedicated? Oh yeah. Shes hoping that dedication pays off in Texas this weekend. Submitted photo
Megan Ring is in her element when the mud is flying and the huge motorcyclexjumps leave those watching a competition in awe.
Although she's yet to reach her 30th birthday, Ring has been riding motorized bikes for almost a quarter of a century.
This weekend, the C.B.S. native has taken her love of motocross racing to Texas, where she is competing in the 2007 Women's Motocross Association's Champion Cup, Nov. 22-24.
The race draws women from all over the globe and features multiple girls and women's classes.
Ring competes in the novice class.
The term motocross is derived from the words motorcycle and cross-country.
A business analyst, Ring's passion for bikes dates back to her childhood.
When other five-year-olds were playing Barbies, Ring was out riding her older brother's dirt bike, under the watchful eye of her father, Ed.
"When I got off school, that was the most exciting thing I looked forward to," the 29-year-old says.
"I was too small to start it on my own, so Dad would put it by the side of the picnic table and I'd stand on the picnic table and start the bike. When I was done, I'd call out to him and he'd come and grab the back."
Over the years, Ring has graduated from dirt-bike riding to become the first female to race as part of the Newfoundland and Labrador Motocross Association.
She rides a Honda CR250.
"My coach, Andy Young, taught me everything I know about riding," Ring says.
Ring's race sponsor for the Texas competition, Parts Canada, sells motocross gear, including clothing and protective equipment.
"Todd Winsor is the representative for Newfoundland and Labrador and they gave me two full sets of gear from the new '08 catalogue. I just can't believe how good they've been to me. It was like Christmas when they gave me all this gear."
Most of the competitions in this province take place on the Brian House Memorial Motor Track on Bell Island. House lost his life while competing in a national event in Moncton two years ago.
Wabana's council and citizens support the sport on the island. The local Boys and Girls Club benefits from the gates and canteen.
No Sunday ride
There is a huge difference between motocross riding and racing, Ring says.
"When you're racing, it's the adrenaline rush, the pain in your stomach and the thought of oh my God, why am I doing this when you're up at the startingxgate that's exciting. But when you're just practising, any worries you have are completely gone."
Because there is only a handful of female moto-cross racers in thisxprovince, Ringxnormally competes against men.
However, she says, the number of females entering the sport is growing.
It's a sport she says where, in this province, everyone is treated alike.
"If you need help, someone is there to help you. But if you fall down, they'll ask you if you're all right. If you say yes, they'll tell you to get up and haul your bike up and continue on," she says.
Ring admits that while both her parents have been supportive of her chosen sport through the years, her father is much more relaxed about it than her mother, Ann.
"Mom has had her moments of being a nervous wreck. When she comes out to the races, she paces back and forth. But Dad - he's just a regular dad. He knows more about it."
Ring has had more than her share of spills over the last year.
"I've broken my wrist, my arm, my vertebra, and my leg. But that's it," she laughs.
With the biggest race of her life just days away, Ring's thoughts were on winning in her class.
Doing so takes as much mental preparation as it does physical training.
"What I need to remember is my form, but fear comes into mind, especially because of the injuries I've had lately. But I wipe all that out of my mind and concentrate on the race."