Our family of four enjoys a good many outdoor activities, be it baseball, softball, having a weenie roast in the backyard, or swimming at the pool or in a lake (not my darling husband, however, aka Mr. Landlover). Myself, I’m kind of a fair-weather girl; I love to soak up some sun & get a nice tan, but I’d prefer to be somewhere bug-free and 70 degrees. This is far from the environment where my husband, CF, and son, Sid, like to hang out. If you read my previous blog post, you might get the idea we’re a motocross family, and this idea would be correct; however some of us “dig it” more than others. If you aren’t familiar with motocross, I think I can sum it up like this…
Standing in the hot sun, dripping with sweat & covered in dust, or in the freezing rain and chilled to the your very core, inhaling fumes, shouting your conversation over the Braaaaap Braap Brraaaaappp of the bikes, watching and PRAYING FOR your friends and loved ones out on the track as they duke it out through 60-120′ tabletop jumps, racing each other into tight corners, and inevitably becoming distracted with concern for the guy who went down in front of you and appears to be in writhing pain.
Oh wait, no… that would be the wife/mother/spectator definition. I’ll try again. My guys would probably say something like this…
Motocross is a sport where man and machine come together to test the balance between fitness and skill. All of the dirt, grime, fumes, noise, and occasional blood and/or broken bones make up a true rider. And nothing jumpstarts your adrenaline like the drop of the gate, and the race for the holeshot (the first rider through the first turn on the track). Riders are fearless, they are quick to react, and rarely waste time thinking about their wellbeing on the track, because after all, they did that before they straddled that bike to the starting gate & put on all the gear (helmet, neck collar, chest protector, riding boots, etc..).
In all fairness, I will have to say that fellow Motocross riders, and their families, are some of the nicest, most trusting people you’ll ever meet. Attending a race is like going to a great big family reunion, except that the people you “pitt” next to talk in a language of whoops, rhythm sections, tabletops, doubles/triples, and scrubbing or casing it. They also don’t mind a little dirt on their food, or standing in long lines in the hot sun to gingerly (okay, that’s me) squat in a port-a-potty. But seriously, these people would give you the shirt off their back, a spare spark plug, or even lend you their bike after you just crashed & burned yours. It’s a place where you can leave your bikes and gear unattended to, and nobody would ever bother it.
I wish we could feel that trusting back at home, as we lock everything up tight. We used to have that small-town sense of security (population of 250), knowing our neighbors well, and not ever locking a door, much less a garage. But we were burned, and learned our lesson the hard way, twice to be exact.
In the spring of 2010, we had purchased a Honda CRF 80 for Sid. He & Emily had long ago outgrown their CRF 50 bikes, so selling those to recoup some of the expense of the newer bike was logical. I posted a short note on my Facebook page, and asked anyone interested to contact me. We had a couple of friends interested, and within a week, those bikes were gone; however not because we sold them. Sid wanted to hop on his old bike, and compare it with the new one. Unfortunately, when he went to get it out of the garage, it wasn’t there, nor was Emily’s. CF called and asked, “Did you sell the bikes?” Of course I hadn’t, that would have, at the very least, been the topic of dinner conversation. I had to look for myself, and sure enough, the bikes were gone!
None of us could remember an exact date we had last seen the bikes, although we knew it hadn’t been more than a week. The sheriff was called, and a report was filed. I called our insurance agent, and expected to file a claim. They were off-road bikes, meaning they couldn’t be licensed, so we just assumed they would be included under the contents of our garage when it came to coverage. We couldn’t have been more wrong! Apparently, since a dirt bike has a VIN number, it requires an automotive policy before it will be covered from theft. However, even though our riding lawnmower has a VIN number on it, that particular item would be covered if stolen. Apples to oranges, right? We were not only thieved from, but now we were also out the $1200 we were hoping to recover from insurance. Questions plagued us, such as, “Who would have done this to us? Why did they steal the two little bikes, and not the 3 bigger ones? When did this happen, and where were we when it did?”
It was upsetting, yet were were relieved it wasn’t Sid’s newer, bigger bike, nor the other two (CF’s or mine). The garage we kept all the bikes in was actually an old chicken house that we converted into a two-stall garage. Although you could lock the door, there really wasn’t a great way to secure the items inside. It was an old building, and quite honestly, it would have only kept honest people honest.
Over the next days and weeks, we blocked the service door and garage door with a locked pickup parked in front of all. Although you could get into the garage through the windows without much trouble, you could only get a bike out through one of the doors. We kept this routine up for weeks, before CF decided it was all for nothing; surely the thieves would not come back again. I, on the other hand, was worried sick that they would return. And on the early morning hours of what would have been Sid’s very first motocross race, that is just what happened. We awoke at about 6:00 AM to get everything packed. I went about gathering the cooler, and all the food items to take along for the day, while Chris headed out to the garage to load the bikes. They were gone.
Emotions of every kind seemed to hit at once. We felt physically sick, we were heartbroken, we were mad! They not only stole CF’s and Sid’s bikes, they stole Sid’s first race from him; something my guys were so excited to do together. Instead of waking our 9-year-old son to tell him it was time to get ready, we instead had to tell him the bikes were stolen. He was heartbroken. Who steals from a child? It was so cruel.
We called the sheriff again, of course, however they were not much help. CF walked behind our property and found the knobby tire tracks where the bikes had been pushed through the soft, wet ground. The tracks were visible off and on to a place a half mile down the road, where you could see they were loaded into a trailer or pickup. Tire tracks, shoe imprints, and some sort of ramp left their mark on the soft gravel road, and a little further down, you could see the tracks where they literally took a joyride with Sid’s bike and jumped the ditches with it. All of this made us sick, especially knowing they robbed us while we were at home, sleeping.
I’ve never been a violent person, but when someone assaults your family the way those thieves did, it can bring forth the most twisted of thoughts. I can’t tell you how many nights I sat vigilant, waiting for them to return. We still had my bike, it was fortunately kept elsewhere during the last burglary. I tried baiting with it, washing it in the front yard, leaving it out all day for everyone to see, and then staying up most of the night, waiting for the thieves to return. They never did. The thought of how I would catch them, stop them, and what I would do to hurt them… these things took over my mind months. We were pretty certain these thieves lived close by, likely were people who knew us.
Over the next couple of months, we replaced the two bikes for my guys. They raced them on Sundays, and were locked up tight in the garage when they weren’t being used. How did we secure them this time? With about 40′ of log chain intertwined through all the bikes, and 8 padlocks. If someone wanted to steal one now, they’d have to come prepared to work at it. A new motion sensor was also installed, one that only sounded inside the house. Did I ever wonder, “Was this a sign, are we not meant to race?” Of course, that would be the worrier in me. But did we move on and did the guys follow their dream together? Yes, definitely. The road to recovery after someone violates you, in any form, is a rough one, but coming out of it a little be wiser, a little more cautious, and a whole lot stronger only means you have grown. And knowing that our children have experienced, first hand, how it feels to be hurt like that, I am confident they would never do anything like that to another.