Are these things worth it? UPDATE !!

Heres an update on Mike Garzoli, the subject of this post.

On Thursday June 20, Dr. Bruce McCormack at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco

performed a pretty radical laminectomy on his back. The procedure involved straightening his spine then placing

Ti rods down the sides of the spine through holes drilled in the vertabrae and somehow

hooking them to the vertabrae. He also had to have a bone graft taken from his hip(which hurts as bad or worse than

the the incision in his back-which starts at the most prominent vertabrae at the top of your shoulders below your neck and goes

all the way dow his spine to the bottom of his shoulder bades). He is still in the hospital and I am not sure when he will get to go home.

He has been walking a little and seems to be doing as good as expected. He got pretty shook up this morning when the Dr. told him how close

he came to being a quadrapalegic(SP?) or even dead.

Just to address a few things from this post.....we have both been riding for over 20 years, Mike was a pretty successful local racer in the 250 intermediate class several years ago and

definately knew his way around an MX track. Neither of us were doing anything recklessly, and had been practicing this whoop section for over a half an hour. He just took a bad line on a tired and worn out bike(1991 CR250 he has had since new)

We were both wearing all of our protective gear with the exception of neck braces

(funny I posted this topic a while back- )

BTW- If I ride again it won't be without a neck brace- I think in this case it may have minimized some of the damage Mike sustained due to the fact it was a compression type fracture from landing on his head.

Finally, I would like to thank all who responded to this post and took the time to email him, it helps. I also want to thank Dr. McCormack and the California Pacific Medical Center for absolutely top notch service. Trust me if you live in Northern California

and find yourself in a similar situation (god forbid) do yourself a favor and request Dr. McCormack and the CPMC; after speaking with him about my bro's injuries and what he did to fix it without paralyzing him, he is truly the Ricky Carmichael of neurosurgery.

Thanks again for all your support guys(&gals)!!

I have a wife and two kids, good job and a CRF450. Last October I broke my knee and was out for 3 months. I had good insurance, and financially I was OK. My knee will hurt forever. YESTERDAY-FATHERSDAY- I met my younger brother(30 years old- two sons) at a track halfway between our homes (2hrs). On the last lap of the day(the track was empty perfect fathers day)he swapped ends in the whoops and landed on his head, splitting a new Moto 6. He took the ambulance ride and found that he had broken 4 or 5 (i cant remember the number) vertabrae in his back, one completely disintegrated. His spinal cord is in tact and so far he is not paralyzed. As I write this, neuro surgeons are coming up with a plan, which will likely involve surgery and rods in his spine. He is the sole provider for his family, his wife works part time here and there but raises the kids(the kids ride too). He has no sick time through his employer, and mediocre insurance(the kind that pays 80%)HE was lying in the ER with his kids sobbing at his bedside and tears running down his face as he said "it just isn't worth it".

So I ask you guys is it?

I got back on after I broke my knee but, now I think i may finally hang it up for good.

All this after a play day at the track for fathers day.

His name is Mike Garzoli and can be emailed at

[ June 24, 2002: Message edited by: feetup&sliding ]

Yes they are, I have been riding since I was 17 and I am 36 now. I ride street also and have seen a lot of friends killed(street) and others paralysed(dirt). You have to look at it as a way of getting away from the troubles of work and other issues. Even one of the guys I know who is now in a wheel chair says he would do it again. At least he was able to enjoy it while he could. Anything can happen at anytime. Tell him to hang in there. It could always be worse. I know this sounds harsh but at least he is still here to watch his kids grow up. Lesson to all look around and enjoy life.

Sorry to hear about your brother. I went riding yesterday and held a little back 'cuz I didn't want to get hurt on Father's Day...and I'm the sole provider for my family, have had both knees rebuilt when I was 17 and 18, and tweaked my ankle just a little bit yesterday.

However, I just can't seem to get enough. The danger element is always there. But you always end up telling yourself, "I think I can jump that". I have fun, and try to stay within my limits. But you always ride on the edge...otherwise it isn't as much fun.

I hope your brother and your families get through all of this quickly. Hopefully he'll be able to ride again. I'm sure he would enjoy, although he might not think it's a good idea now. You know the feeling. You get hurt. You're bummed. You're gonna hang it up. And then, you fire it back up again.

Ride Safe.

First of all, I'm very sorry to hear of your brothers accident. As for your question, I don't believe that any of us can answer that for you or anyone else. That's a decision that we can only answer for ourselves. This incident should remind us all though to realize our limitations and that's the risk we take everytime we get on our bike. I hope your brother comes out of this okay.

[ June 18, 2002: Message edited by: dirtdad ]

I think it is worth it. There is not a second of each and every race that I dont think about my wife and kids. This keeps me in control and rubber side down. Every time i get kicked or pull something stupid I think about them and I slow down and ride within my abilities. I stil finish pretty good and have a feeling of self accomplishment regardless of where i finish!

It is some sort of personal challenge i guess.

I feel deeply for you and your brother but I will have to still say that if I did not ride that I would only grow old more quickly! :D

Riding is not EVERYYHING anymore but it sure is SOMETHING.

Do me a favor and DO NOT give it up. You will only regret it when you are 80 and your grandkids are 20.

I am sure your brother would tell you that you should not change your life because of something that happened to him.

I have a friend that had his best friend get paralyzed during the first race of the yr 2 yrs ago. He never admitted it but his wife told me that it just bothered him to be able to ride and his friend having to sit in a whchr for his whole life. His friend is constantly telling him to start riding again .......even if it is NOT racing. It is affecting his whole family. His wife used to race and now since her hubby is not racing , she quit racing too!

You dont hve to race to have fun but surely dont give up riding all together! It was not your fault. It could happen to anyone at anytime but if you lock yourself in a room away from motorcycles you will still die SOMEDAY. Just in a different way.

Sorry I hope you don't think I am cruel, I just think you will only regret quitting. :)

My family's prayers and hopes are with your family and your brothers and his family! :D


[ June 17, 2002: Message edited by: THUMPIN' ROCK HUCKER ]

Man thats to bad about your brother, best wihses to him and his family. You ask if its worth it? To me it is, to my wife it's not. But to me everyday that i wake-up something could happen to me. Im a police officer so i think about my job everyday and ask myself is it worth it! What im trying to get at is anything we do in life is a risk, rideing motorcycles is a risk.But their is nothing more in the world that i love to do then take my boy out rideing with me. One of my best freinds broke some bones in his neck, he had bolts sticking in his head for 8 months. His mother and wife would always say was it worth it? He always told me it was. Good luck to ya, keep rideing bro. :):D


I will keep your brother, Mike, in my prayers. I pray regularly (every day on my way into work and many times during the week for my family and others).

I do pray now for God to sustain Mike and the Holy Spirit to move powerfully on behalf of the Garzoli family.

I have a family and understand your question. I had a spill 10 weeks ago. Stopped riding for 2 months while healing. Did some motorcycle maintenance and added a couple of items to the bike. Now I'm back to riding, with a little more restraint.

Is it worth it? Yes.

Why? Not everyone can ride (for one reason or another) and experience the sense of balance found in dirt bike riding. I can therefore I do ... as does my wife and my son and soon my daughter.

Sure beats growing old without a fight.

Finally, if it isn't fun anymore don't force it. Fear is your enemy, a healthy respect for danger is your friend.

I returned to riding after 21 years away from the one sport I truly loved to ride with my son. I ended up in the hospital in intensive care from gangrene of the abdominal wall due to a ruptured appendix. Could not be told yes or no as to whether I would live. I held on by thinking about riding again with my son. I have buried friends from motorcycle accidents and have friends and know of many professional motocrossres that are now paralyzed. All returned in some way to this sport. Right now I know you and your families hurt very badly and as the others have said I am putting your brother, your families and YOU on my families prayer board. Plesae be strong for your brother's sake and for his family. If some sort os fund is established for your brother and his family please post an address for us to be able to contribute. I do not pretend to speak for everybody here ( I am a newbie to this forum) bbut I have noticed that everyone posting here puts differences aside when somebody needs help. The flames may get warm sometimes but this group has a big heart for our brother and sister cyclist. Rest assurred that it is worth it to ride and I hope you and your brother are back out with your riding buddies soon. Keep us all posted.

[ June 18, 2002: Message edited by: Florida 426 ]

The way I look at it, there are 2 types of riding, Trail vs. MX. In my humble opinion, MX is far, far more dangerous than trail riding. Both types of riding are extremely enjoyable, and there are inherent dangers in both. I think most people who ride transition from MX to trial as they get older. Why do they transition:

1. As you get older, your bones just don't mend as fast or as well as they used to.

2. You got a wife, kids, dog and a house to take care of, and you can't afford to be off work for that long.

3. You still love to ride, but you need to choose a version of the sport that is less likely to get you injured.

My first few experiences on a dirt bike were on an MX track. It didn't take me long to realize I was not meant for that kind of riding. A few cased doubles and urinal bleeding really puts the writing on the wall. Soon after, some friends of mine took me trail riding and now I'm more hooked on riding than I ever was.

I'm not putting down MX and the guys who ride MX, but I think most people will admit there are greater risks involved and that type of riding is just not for everyone. Everyone who rides dirt bikes tries MX, but you have to know you limitations and be willing to admit it.

My point is there are many ways to enjoy riding dirt bikes, and some of which are less dangerous but no less enjoyable. I tell my wife and my boss that my dirt bike is my psychiatrist. When I'm riding I don't think about work, or money or any problems I may have . . . I'm just plain old enjoying myself. Without my psychiatrist(s) (Dr. 426 and Dr. 250) the world would bring me down and drive me nuts !!! There are inherent dangers in everything we do, everyday in life. People die from playing softball, football, baseball, water skiing, snow skiing, mountain biking . . . this list goes on. Why did these people choose to do these sports, because it brought them happiness for those few precious hours in their life. Laying in a hospital bed hours after a bad riding accident, in pain, and worrying about supporting your family is not going to illicit a positive response about riding. Remember when God closes a door, he opens a window. A year or two from now, your brother will have healed mentally, physically and financially, then ask him how he feels about riding. He still may not want to start riding again immediately, but he'll probably tell you how much fun it was, and that he still thinks about getting back into it.

My prayers go out to Mike and his family, God Bless !!!

Iam with you fla. 426! The best of hope and love to the Garzoli family.

The only time I have second thoughts about if it is worth it, is about an hour after I accidently trip into a post like this. I guess I need to try to stay out of them a little better.

1 hour later:

Lets ride!!

Can't add a whole that hasn't already been said but here goes anyway, and best wishes to your brother.

1. No sport is for everyone. Some people have the knack, the feel, for mechanical equipment and mastering them, others don't. Whether it's dirtbikes, or cars, or boats, etc., some just have it and enjoy it, others don't. Name a sport or any activity, and you can find tales of injuries. That young girl was killed in the stands by an errant hockey puck, for crying out loud.

2. I know in our area, the tracks have "personalities", that is, a certain type of rider frequents each one. Some are full of Travis P wannabes, others filled with "40 something" dads and their boys (like my buddy and I). Pick which feels best to you and enjoy. As for my buddy and me, we ride hard but we know there are no trophies and we have to be at work on Monday. We started slowly and worked our way up, from XR's to YZ'z (the bikes are way faster than we are but we now can appreciate their capabilities and enjoy them). I have heard of several tales of people starting off on 2-stroke 250 MX bikes, apparently unaware just how hard these things can bite. It would be like handing a newly licensed 16 year old a Ferrari F1 machine. Too much too fast.

3. Two phrases come to mind that apply to all kinds of things in life:

a. A man's got to know his limitations.

b. Ships are safest in harbor, but that is not what ships are for.

Good luck to all, be safe and have fun.

Gotta respond to this one, because I blew my knee out a few years ago and was outta work for a month and have pondered on this same thought.

Since I re-entered the sport now at 25yoa I question myself frequently and would refer you to an excelent quote by Ego in a different post regarding takin the "big jumps" etc. vs the risk of injury (I know thats not what happened in this case) I hate to use the term, "you only live once" because it is so general and happy go lucky sounding, but in a way thats how i have justified my returning to dirt bikes after starting a family. BUT I am very and I stress very careful about how I ride these days compared to the High School days of reckless riding.

When I think about NOT riding because of the risk, I think about a guy I work with who is 45yoa and just bought a kx125 (he only weighs like 105lbs), I dont want to find myself hidding in my living room watching sports because of the inherit risk of injury outside of my home.

Instead of pegging the throttle when my buds gain on me on the track, I think twice and just have fun ridding, again Ego makes a great point of this in many of his Post's.

Im certainly not down playing your Bro's injury, but trying to explain how I keep myself on the blue beast, yet I stay very cautious of how I ride and what risks I take when Im ridding, and still have a good time without scaring myself into zero activity and making sure I still enjoy my favorite hobbies and childhood toys. Im sure Im going to have some big crashes ahead, but right now I just try to have fun without gettin crazy


(sorry that was a long one, but a subject I understand, wish the wife did !!!)

[ June 17, 2002: Message edited by: Unibomber ]

Man that’s tuff, I agree with DirtDad,

I am a father of two husband of one, I am my Kids FATHER. To answer that for myself "MYSELF" I had to look at my whole economic picture, Insurance, Money, savings, comfort.

Before I started to ride again I looked at the probability if I got hurt,

Do I have insurance?

Do I have Money In the Bank?

What if

What If

What if

The sport like all sports is dangerous and come with known risks; I personally would not be riding if I could not answer yes to all of my questions. After all I have a responsibility to my kids and wife first before me, That’s what marriage and family is about "PERIOD".

And with that I ride very conservatively, I enjoy watching these guys clear tops, jump doubles, and yes I am envious, but I ride now to enjoy the time out and put back to the sport, giving my daughter and son a chance to enjoy what I grew up in. Maybe I am just old, maybe I am scared, maybe I have gotten smart and figure hey my mind says 19 my body say 45 Ohhhhhhcccccchhhhhhh.

I am truly sorry for your brother, I will be praying for the family and he to recover quickly

Isaiah 40:31

Good luck

[ June 18, 2002: Message edited by: E.G.O.**** ]

Motocross has become an extreme sport. The bikes are faster, handle better so when the rider takes a soil sample the injuries tend to be more severe. All that airtime comes with a price. It's not a question of IF its a question of WHEN. Many insurance companies will not pay if you are injured racing in a sanctioned event. Check the fine print in your policy. If you can't afford to feed your family if injured you don't belong on an MX track. People that ride motorcycles tend to be "live for today" type of people. One good injury without insurance can cause you to lose everything you own. I feel sorry for any rider that has been hurt riding. It could easily have been me. And if a fund is set up I will contribute.

One thing I didn't notice on here. Disability insurance!!! How many people get injured in a car. How many people get injured falling down the steps. Maybe the steps aren't quiet relevant but there is a risk in getting out of bed each day. You just have to weigh the options as to whether the risk is greater than the reward. If someone doesn't have money saved up, vacation/sick days accumulated and I think most importantly disability insurance, if you have a family you are gambling with their well being. Also, think about the people that get hurt. Most of the instances I've heard of it's either a professional pushing it beyond their limits or a person who is trying to do things who hasn't learned how to ride properly and control their bike. (I know, there are freak accidents but again they happen in everything.) Personally, the times I crash are when I get fatigued or pushing myself too hard. If I ride within my limits very seldom do I have a spill. (I'm winning the points in my region in the +B classes. Not tooting my horn but to let you know I'm not lugging around in 2nd gear.)

I see so many people at most of the practice days I go to and at the tracks who have such bad form that they scare me to just watch them ride. It's like anything else, if you devote the time and effort to learn to do something right, then you eliminate a lot of the risk and also makes the riding a lot more fun.

In closing, I'm real sorry to hear about your brother. I wish him a speedy recovery.


May God bless Mike Garzoli. He is in my prayers. I hope he has a speedy recovery.

Feet Up,

Thank you for the update on your brother. We all are still praying for him and you and your families here, and I am sure many more from the site. It is good to hear that a good surgeon was there when your brother needed. I was fortunate to luck into the areas ace trauma surgeon when I went to the hospital. That really helps everyone to feel the confidence these special people seem to radiate. Please keep us posted as your brother progresses and if you need anything. It souunds as if you are holding up well. I hope you are alright and you both do decide to ride. If your brother cannot ride again I wish him the best in his future . May God bless him in his recovery, make him strong when he faces the trials ahead and be with you and both families during this time. Be strong and be ther for your brother. Oh by the way I am a victim of a comperssion of three discs at L-1, L-2 and L-3 from a work site accident. I have parylsis of the right leg and some other problems, but I came back to ride. NO pity for me I was blessed and I now I can hope for others to be healed. Keep the faith and we will be behind you all. Dirt bikers are a supportive group :)

Peace be with you.

I'm never going to ride my bike again! Neither will I be in a moving vehicle, take a plane, work, mow my lawn, lick an envelope flap, clip my nails, weld, sneeze, ogle a female in the presence of my sweetheart, buy me mum a blender for Mother's Day, use a ladder, etc...

I WOULD lock myself in my house but I need groceries. Life is for the living in spite of the risks. Risks are everywhere. Seems to me that minimizing risk as much as possible is the way to go.

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