Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another --- She shouldn't be alive

A story very similar to the Amy Racina story has just come to my attention today. Her name is Danelle Ballengee. She's an adventure racer and considered the best female adventure racer out there.

On Dec 13th of this year she was out on a normal 2 hour training run in Utah with her dog Taz. One misstep though and she slipped and fell about 60 feet where she bounced off rocks and boulders like a rag doll and ironically landing on her feet. She soon crumpled to the ground though due to pain. Danelle, was out in the middle of nowhere...with no one around. It was just her and her dog.

She crawled for five hours the first day getting about a half mile. She endured temps reaching into the 20's. She found a small puddle frozen over with ice she was able to break and drink a little water from.

She soon realized her only hope of survival was her dog Taz. And she basically told him that. After those words came out of her mouth Taz hit the trail...barking all the way. (I'm not a big dog fan, but this just warms my heart and almost makes me wish I had a dog). Taz would run back and forth, checking on Danelle for the next few days.

A search party was sent out on the third day. Taz was reconized by one of the individuals looking for her. They tried to catch the dog, but he wouldn't let them near him. They finally decided to just follow him. And after tracking him for about 6 miles, they found Danelle....ALIVE!

She was rushed to the hospital where docters were totally amazed that she was still alive. Despite the freezing temperature the types of injuries she had...most people die within 8-12 hours, not alive after three days! She was in surgery for 6 hours to fix her shattered pelvis and two fractured vertebrae.

And yes, Danelle still plans to be able to run again. Maybe not race at the level she once did, but she will remain active...I'll bet you anything.

TAZ (Photo by Pam Mindard)

If you want to read the full story on Danelle go to:

Story By ESPN:

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Michelle Thompson finishes 2,400-mile bike ride for her brother!

When a friend or a family member becomes ill, we often want to do something...whatever that might be... for them. It's so hard to just sit there and watch them go through the different stages of a disease.

Michelle Thompson wanted to do something about her brother who had been diagnosed with oral cancer (8,000 + people die from this disease a year). She knew her brother was in a battle with this cancer and she wanted to join in that battle. Plus she didn't want other people and family members have to watch their loved one get this cancer so she decided to raise awareness and raise funds for her brothers medical bills.

She set out on Oct 21st from Glen Ellyn, Illinois and arrived in Costa Mesa, CA at 5 PM on Christmas day. So far she has raised $10,000 for her brother. Since she doesn't have a non-profit status, Michelle is depending on "everyday people" to contribute what they can.

Michelle has taken time off work to do this for her brother. I also want to add that Michelle wasn't an experienced bike rider before this, but this adventure has changed things. I can imagine she must have had some major thinking going on during that ride. Michelle's outlook on life will never be the same after this big adventure.

For more information on Michelle, her trek and her fundraising endeavor visit:

This is a great site. Look at her pictures, read her posts. What this woman just awesome.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Update On Kathy Jarvis Protruck Race

But Kathy Jarvis Still Holds The Distinction Of Being The Only Woman To Solo Attempt The Race In A Protruck

La Paz, Mexico (November 20, 2006) – Kathy Jarvis was exasperated. Months of practice could not prepare her for the numerous technical difficulties that her Protruck would endure in the first day of the SCORE International Baja 1000. After successfully maneuvering 328 miles through silt beds, mud bogs and whoops she was forced to pull out of the race because of electrical problems with “Jinx.”

“Finishing this race was my goal,” said Jarvis, “but I haven’t failed. We I pursued my dream and I’m still pursuing it. Women need to know that they are strong enough to blur the gender lines and accomplish anything that they can dream. Sometimes there are things that are just out of your control and on this day there wasn’t anything else that we could do to get that truck to finish this race. That doesn’t mean I’ll give up.”

“I pre-ran the entire course in my stock 1998 Toyota Tacoma. I honestly believe that I could have finished the actual race in that Tacoma. It really speaks integrity of the truck,” Jarvis said.
The off-road race is held on a 1,052 mile stretch of rugged terrain leading down the Baja peninsula into La Paz, Baja California. It is the final race of the SCORE International Desert Series and the event routinely draws an impressive entrant list composed of celebrities like Paul Newman, NASCAR’s Robby Gordon, “Grey’s Anatomy” star Patrick Dempsey, Mike Metzger of motorcross fame, Julia Roberts’ husband and cinematographer Danny Moder, and Jesse James from the show “Monster Garage.” This year that list expanded to contain its first solo woman Protruck driver Kathy Jarvis.

Protrucks are full blown high performance race trucks that are disguised underneath a stock body and they are just one of several different vehicles that race in the BAJA 1000. Motorcycles, buggies, ATV’s and Protrucks all tested the limits of human possibility as they barreled down the rugged terrain of the Baja Peninsula.

Unfortunately for Kathy, there were several instances that she was careening down the peninsula in a shroud of darkness. Kathy’s alternator failed for most of the race causing her instrument panel, radio and GPS navigation to go blank.

“There were points where I really had to dig down and keep focused. I realized what was at stake for female professional racing. Every couple hundred feet there was a different hazard to avoid. The course tests your versatility as a driver, so my training as a stunt driver came in handy,” said Jarvis after the race.

Off-road legend Ivan Stewart was very encouraged with Kathy’s attempt and he tried to get Kathy to look at the positive. “She showed a lot of courage and professionalism in a form of motorsports that is very male-dominated. Her knowledge and appreciation of off-road racing makes her a very marketable force in our community,” Stewart said.
Jarvis, a professional stuntwoman by day, has been no stranger to hazardous and life-threatening experiences. She has jumped a minivan in a Taco Bell commercial, flipped a
flaming Chevrolet Suburban, crashed through buildings and performed many high-risk vehicle stunts and chases. Kathy has also been a stunt double for actresses Meg Ryan, Meryl Streep, and Anne Heche in blockbuster films like City of Angels and Six Days Seven Nights.

A few years ago, Stewart encouraged Kathy to start her own female Protruck team but that dream was derailed when she was diagnosed with a pituitary gland tumor that would require surgery. A botched procedure led her to decline synthetic drugs and embrace holistic treatments like Qi Gong, an expanded yoga program and acupuncture. Not one to sit idle for too long, Kathy continued working as a stunt professional and in February of this year she attended the Team O’Neil Rally School to hone her driving skills. Excited about rally racing, she entered and won her first National rally race, the Main Forest Rally in July of 2006.

“This was another big step for women in professional racing,” Jarvis said. “I’m excited to come back next year and compete against other determined and talented drivers and finish, I know I can finish.”

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An interesting Christmas Fact...

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

We should have known... ONLY women would be able to drag a large man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Shut up and Sing?! Not the Dixie Chicks!!!

A few weeks ago I was able to go see the Dixie Chicks documentary, "Shut Up And Sing" and I LOVED IT. I've been a Dixie Chick fan for a very very long time. This whole new CD they've created is just awesome. The "Shut Up And Sing" song is my personal favaorite. It's amazing what's happened since the little comment that basically shut down the Chicks business.

And now the Chicks have been nominated in all general catagories they could be nominated in...which is pretty awesome. Especially once you watch this documentary and see how the world pretty much turned on the Chicks.

If you get a chance, watch this movie. It's about women who believe in themselves, who aren't about to give up what they love doing, and have one heck of a come back.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Could be the first woman president of the USA

She's throwing her hat in, while it's not totally official, it looks like it's the direction she's heading in. I think if any woman had a shot at this, it's going to be Hillary!

I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about this!! We've got Pelosi as the speaker of the house, now we need a lady IN the house!

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