Dirt Bike Ike II, Pursuing the Dream

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Michael Kitzmiller goes over a jump on his Yamaha dirt bike.


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Photo used with permission from Kyle Owen. Now, the year-old Vicksburg native is one race away from achieving the impossible.

Robbie Maddison

A top finish in either of the two heats or a top-four finish in the last-chance qualifying race would earn him a spot on the pro circuit known as the Lucas Oil Motocross Championship. That he'll be able to walk away from another race at all is a testament to Kitzmiller's perseverance and pain tolerance.

While he started riding at an early age, Kitzmiller's racing career didn't begin until high school.


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But the one race they'd never miss, even as Brian was trying to pull his sons away from the sport, was the annual Red Bud Nationals during the July 4th weekend. Not long after he started racing, Michael suffered his first serious injury during a race at Dutch Sport Park in Bloomingdale, Michigan, where he took a spill and broke his shoulder blade, fractured nine ribs and collapsed both lungs.

That injury set him back a few months, but Michael hopped right back on his Yamaha in and was on track to earn a spot at the Red Bud Pro-AM, but a series of crashes put his career, and his long-term health, in jeopardy.

Ride, hustle, kill, repeat: the underground cycle gangs of Los Angeles

I was being told nothing was wrong, so I thought it was just sore and that I was being a sissy. But as the pain persisted, Michael went to see a specialist at the University Hospital in Ann Arbor, and the news was not good.

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The lowest vertebrae in Michael's back -- the L4 and L5 -- had slipped out of place, creating nerve pain throughout his back and legs. The only option was to fuse the vertebrae, but it's a procedure not common in year-old people, so Michael opted to improve his condition as much as possible by increasing his core strength and daily stretching routines.

Epic 2-Stroke Dirt Bike Racing Battle - What Motocross Dreams Are Made Of!!

One of Michael's best friends since grade school, Lance Owen began riding dirt bikes behind the Kitzmiller home at age 6, and even though he knew what motocross meant to the family, he urged his friend not to get back on a bike. He committed to driving around the Midwest to compete in local qualifiers and collect the required 60 points in 18 months to earn his professional license.

Ride, hustle, kill, repeat: the underground cycle gangs of Los Angeles

I was being told nothing was wrong, so I thought it was just sore and that I was being a sissy. But as the pain persisted, Michael went to see a specialist at the University Hospital in Ann Arbor, and the news was not good.

The lowest vertebrae in Michael's back -- the L4 and L5 -- had slipped out of place, creating nerve pain throughout his back and legs. The only option was to fuse the vertebrae, but it's a procedure not common in year-old people, so Michael opted to improve his condition as much as possible by increasing his core strength and daily stretching routines. One of Michael's best friends since grade school, Lance Owen began riding dirt bikes behind the Kitzmiller home at age 6, and even though he knew what motocross meant to the family, he urged his friend not to get back on a bike.

He committed to driving around the Midwest to compete in local qualifiers and collect the required 60 points in 18 months to earn his professional license.

Sitting at 56 points with one race to go in August , Michael was on the cusp of his dream heading into a race at High Point Raceway in Pennsylvania when he suffered his latest setback. Fortunately for Michael, he was able to file an appeal to receive his pro license based on how close he was to reaching 60 points.

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Michigan man overcomes broken back to pursue pro motocross dream - buttletmosulhourg.ga

He pleaded his case and asked some friends in the industry to put in a good word, and the sport's governing body granted him a waiver and sent him his license. Every pro motocross rider must possess a certain amount of insanity to race around a winding and bumpy track at speeds ranging from 5 to 70 mph, and Michael is no different. What does separate him from most of his peers is that he's also holds a full-time job at Zeigler Motor Sports in Kalamazoo and that he's currently studying to receive his undergraduate degree in business from Western Michigan University.

Dream Of Riding A Bike.

Some of the guys, if they're on a factory team, they'll have a new bike every time they ride. Privateers that do it on their own like me usually have a practice one and one for competition. Everyone in the motocross industry will be in Buchanan the for the July 4th weekend, and Michael knows it's his best shot at advancing his dream of becoming a professional racer. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

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