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 ]

I'm sorry to hear about your brother. I think it's a matter of how much risk you want to take. I don't take all that much, personally - maybe being 43 is the trick, or crashing a few times. There's just a speed I'll go, and no faster. Plastic is my friend, except for my elbows. I may break a bone eventually but so far it's just been bruises and pulled muscles. It's absolutely worth it. Call me slow or wimpy- but I want to be riding well into my 70s.

:) Mac

along this line, last wednesday, we went to the local track and rode it, it was ok, but eventually, it became boring, same course, same turns, same jumps, etc(look kids, big ben). im getting ready to go back to sea, and i was contemplating selling my bike as it wouldnt get used, but then sunday, we went to the woods, and after riding through a nice 1 track trail that was overgrown with ferns, then climbing Helmet Hill(i named it this after my first attempt at it and throwing my helmet up the hill, then back down the hill) stopping to admire the obstacle i just conquered, and saw a doe maybe 75yds away. i would never sell this bike and wont quit. thats what its about to me.i ride way inside my means, and every now and again, my bike lets me know im being stupid, and i ALWAYS far so good.

I too am really sorry to hear about your brother. His injuries sound very serious. I understand why you would say it may be time to hang it up. As everyone knows accidents can and do happen. And as Portland 650 stated dirt riding does involve risks. I've had my share of riding accidents too but pushing ourselves is the only way we can progress and become better riders. Every time I go on a ride I try to remember that I have a wife and a mortgage and that I can't afford to be seriously laid up. I love riding and I hope to be doing it for a long time to come. As for hanging it up only you know what is right for you but remember this, it could just as easily have been an auto accident or maybe something at work or anything else. You just never know. I wish you, your brother and his family the best of luck.

Mike :)

I don't know how this may sound, but here goes. All the horror stories I've heard from people just give me more reasons to stay away from MX, and racing (even hare scrambles). For one thing, I don't feel the need to ride at mach speeds all day. Another thing, I love riding too much to seriously hurt myself all for the sake of going a little bit faster or clearing some jump. I guess I'm just a be it.

If you're gonna go out and ride MX or race, then its up to you if its worth it. Like Dana said, know your limits. I do, and thats why I'll just stick to the woods, and keep both wheels on the ground.

We all know the risks associated with our sport. A motorcycle has no conscience or feelings, and if you treat it poorly. It'll dump you like a hot potato... I too broke my leg once doing jumps, and I had some serious misgivings for my pass time. Some friends have had the same kind of reflections during rehab. It helps to slow your speed as you get older and wiser. This sport aint for sissies.

Feet Up it seems the other folks posting have never really got hurt so they think it cant happen to them.I used to be in that category.Now I know everyone thinks if they hold back a little it cant happen to them, but accidents happen no matter how careful you are.Two years ago I broke my collarbone really badly, I could not ride for 3 months but of course I went right back at it.The day after christmas this year I screwed up a large double at the local track, wheelied out and came down on my feet without the crf under me.Broke my foot basically in half right down the middle with my tech 6 boots on. A lisfranc dislocation its called with plenty of crushed bones. Surgery of course with 5 pins up to 6 in. long protruding out of my foot for 5 weeks.It wasnt any fun having them pulled out with a pair of forceps either.Almost 6 months now and still limping.By may 1 I started riding my bikes again.Every time I go to the track my foot is real soar after and limping more. My foot is supposed to heal for 6 to 8 months more so hoping for the best.Two weeks before the crash I got booted off my med. insurance policy and even tho every Doc gave me discounts the bill is up to $14,000. Of course I do landscaping and could not work 4 months and limping sucks.Sold my 98 t100 truck and a tractor.Married with an 11 year old daughter who loves her xr70 too.I am still addicted but I think I will give up the motocross track for good.One mistake on todays big jumps could be your last and that is not worth it to me.Everytime someone goes down hard they are simply lucky if nothing is broken.From now on it is off road only for me.Anymore broken stuff and my wife promises to put both my bikes out of their misery with my shotgun.

Your story is very sad. Here is my strange advice:

I used to ride big bikes. I had a 6 cyllinder CBX. We ran the back roads at ridiculous speeds. 135 was a "cruising speed". I would go out riding for 45 minutes or an hour, and then come home and chill. I would sit there realizing how lucky I was to have gotten home without getting killed or arrested. Today, I would still like to have a big bike. I lust over the Yamaha VMAX! But I'm older now. (45) I know my reflexes aren't what they once were, but if I had a big bike, I would still go for high speed thrill rides. So I will not ever buy a bike like that again.

A few years ago I didn't have any toys. I had sold them all to focus on college. I was talking with an older friend that used to run with me. I was debating about buying a motorcycle or a jet ski. He said "the water hurts a lot less than the ground when you fall". He was right, so I bought a couple of jet skis. I have since had a bad accident on a Jet ski that dislocated my hip. OUCH! I only ride stand up jet skis now. They have slower top speeds but are much more challenging.

When I was young I also raced dirt bikes, and developed an exceptional skill for wheelieing. Two years ago I bought a BRP to ride wheelies on. I have done a little trail riding, but the dust and bumps and heat are much worse than I remember. So, I just do wheelies and cruise the back roads at around 75 mph, not 135!

What I'm getting at is this...If you are the type of person that enjoys adrenaline, then you will need an adrenaline inducing toy of some kind. However, because you are not as young as you once were and have more responsibilities than you once did, you must factor risk into the equation. But, anything you do has risk. As I get older, I look for things that give me a high thrill to risk factor...Inline skating (top speed 25), Stand up jet skis (top speed 48mph) BRP (haven't been over 95)autocross II (top speed 60)

There is no adrenaline inducer that comes at no risk that I know of. As Clint Eastwood once said, "A man's got to know his limitations."

Learn your limitations and stay within them and have fun. The alternative is to get rid of everything that involves risk and live a boring life. But that's not really possible. You are always at risk. A plane could crash into your house as you read this.

I certainly don't mean to discount your friend's situation, it will be a tough road for him, but he is young, when he gets well, he will still look for that occasional adrenaline rush. Perhaps he will find something with a better thrill to risk factor. Good luck to him and to you in your decision whether to sell your bike or not.

Feetup & sliding - Sorry to hear about your brother, I hope everything works out OK. Is it worth it? Hell yeah. The grin I get when I'm riding, forgetting about work, the yard every other problem is something I could never give up. 100% happiness on a bike, I don't know anything that comes close to this feeling.

Ive been riding my XR650R for about 2 months now. My friend bought a Husky TE610 to go riding with me. 2 weeks ago we were headed up Cleghorn Road and he high-sided coming off a burm. He landed on his knee on a rock. It basically ripped all the fatty tissue out of his knee (no bone, ligament, or tendon damage). He's taking 2 weeks off of work to recover. He cant wait to go riding again. He admits he was going a lttle fast.

For me the ride is about the journey not how quick I get there. I goto Saddleback and ride moto every so often but I just ride around the jumps and practice my turns. I also ride canyons with my buddies (with supermoto wheels). Again its about the jouney, not the speed.

Ive checked out the shop's GSX-R1000 a couple times. Its easy to get sucked in. In the blink of an eye youre doing 140mph. But then I get off the bike shaking.. not my idea of a good time.


I'm really sorry to hear about everyone's spinal misfortunes. I have been riding for 12 years, trials, motocross, trails, desert, etc. I have never broken a bone or had a serious injury while riding. I have attained Expert status at the national level in AMA Trials, and can hang with the best on a fast bike.

I make errors, though, too. All of my close calls have been no different than these guys: I once clipped an Aspen tree going so fast that a branch close to the trunk caught my tool bag and ripped the 2" nylon webbing where it was laced through the buckle! A few more inches and I would have been in similar condition, or worse.

I've just gotten lucky, and I have to assume that I alway will. For me, driving to work is statistically more than ten times more dangerous than any ride I've ever been on. Riding is worth the focus, pain, joy, work, exercise, and cost every time I go.

MY condolences go out to all those less fortunate than myself, get well soon. If you choose not to ride, please DO NOT try to scare, shock, inspire or mortify me into any sort of paranoia that might compromise my concentration when I clear that double or splatter that 7 ft ledge.


I too, am sorry about your brother's accident, and wish him well. Hell yeah, its worth it. Everything fun has risks. I separated and broke my shoulder after casing a double last year, 3 months to heal and I was back on two wheels, and one wheels, and no wheels (made the double that time). Do everything you can reasonably do to protect yourself, and enjoy the sport. My two boys look like the michelin man in all their pads. I never ride without all my gear, for me, and to always set the example for them. Maybe I'll buy myself a neck brace too now.

I once used to be a balls out banzai rider, riding a '84 YZ 490 and '88 CR500 to the hilt. 55+ horsepower on 240 pounds of bike was one hell of a power to weight ratio. I used to think balls out was the only way to go. Not too long ago I took a nasty spill on my KTM 300 EXC (trying to ride like I was when I was 22, and had plenty of time to ride), watched my bike cartwheeling end over end, skidding along the ground and taking a rock in the lower back and ended up taking 4 months to recover. Now, my outlook has changed. Though I still like to open it up from time to time in open sections, I am now more of an "explorer" - I just like to ride a bit more mellow, torquing along, and checking things out.

When I think back to how fast I used to be on single track with my YZ 490, I amaze myself, but I really cant afford t think like that anymore, cause I'll end up hurting myself. Back when I was 17-22, there was competition among friends as to who was the best rider, but that logic has changed. I have a family and a mortgage to worry to consider. I guesse age really does mellow you out. Its nice to think about the old times, when "hyperspace" would set in as that big two stroke was hitting its oats, but my perspective has changed. I need to return in one operating piece to my family.

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