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Team K&N Rider/Suzuki City's Sherri Cruse's First X Games Experience

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The peristyle and triple-jump took a toll on Cruse's rehabbing vertebrae.
The peristyle and triple-jump took a toll on Cruse's rehabbing vertebrae.
Team K&N Rider/Suzuki City's Sherri Cruse's first return to racing after a back injury was X Games 16, her first X Games and according to Cruse, it wasn't her best showing. And for good reason, during the first outdoor race of the season Cruse fractured her T7 and T8 vertebrae, along with severely spraining her wrist.
Team K&N Rider/Suzuki City's Sherri Cruse's first race back after her injury was the physically daunting 2010 X Games.
Team K&N Rider/Suzuki City's Sherri Cruse's first race back after her injury was the physically daunting 2010 X Games.


"Rehab has taken longer then I really wanted," says Cruse. "The hardest part was not being active, or on the bike. I am just now getting back to my full training schedule and it's the end of August, but things are going great."

The first X Game practice was on Wednesday at the Los Angeles Coliseum and it went well enough. But, there are two triple-jumps right after the start, which comes right after a long runway down the peristyle, and it has an extreme steep face and landing, and that took a toll on Cruse.
The peristyle and triple-jump took a toll on Cruse's rehabbing vertebrae.
The peristyle and triple-jump took a toll on Cruse's rehabbing vertebrae.


The peristyle jump takes riders 120 feet from the floor to the top of the stadium, between the infamous arched columns (hence the name peristyle), where riders then make a U-turn and launch back onto the stadium floor. It's an impressive feature and unique in Supercross racing, and it can be brutal to riders even in the peak of conditioning.

The second practice was cut short due to a delay in the schedule, and the third was a timed-qualifier.

"I had some issues with my back hurting and just was not feeling like myself during the timed qualifier," said Cruse. "I used the time to try to learn some of the rest of the track, but I was not doing the triples. My qualifying time was off from where it really should have been."

The race was held on Thursday and was carried live on ESPN. Cruse had the outside gate, which was a disadvantage in her opinion. And because of the live television coverage there wasn't time for a sight lap though, but the track hadn't been ridden much so it was fine. Cruse says she was pumped for the race, much more then she had been for practice.

"I got a good jump off the gate and a decent start, running in third or fourth. Right after the first rhythm section I was high in the berm, and another racer came in and slammed into me. We both crashed. My throttle was stuck in the other bike's rear spokes. Her bike kept running, mine died, and I was in dead last. I got going again, but the main event was only six laps (a little over six minutes), and I finished a disappointing eighth."

"The X Games really put me in check - I thought I was ready," remarked Cruse. "Although I struggled in some of the practices, when it came to race time, my adrenaline really kicked in. I was still stoked to be a part of the event though."

Cruse grew up racing motocross and then switched to the World of Off Road Championship Series (WORCS) for a while. She won the Women's Pro WORCS in 2006.

"I went pro in the outdoors after that and focused again on riding moto-cross. I had ridden a lot of arenacross style tracks growing up, so I was pretty excited for the X Games. I rode the Women's Super X the first year they ran it, which was 2008, and I took home a Silver medal. That was one of the biggest moments for me."

There are three races left in the WMX Nationals that Cruse plans on racing in next. "I might do a few WORCS races in the fall too," adds Cruse. "I just started riding and training with Destry Abbott (professional motorcycle racer with successful clinic in Glendale, Arizona) and I think that will end up being really helpful."

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