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By Mat Hoffman and Mark Lewman (contributor).
Released september 24th, 2002.
Hardcover: 311 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.06 x 9.22 x 6.36
Publisher: Regan Books; ISBN: 006009415X; (September 24, 2002)

In The Ride of My Life, Mat takes readers on his humorous, hardcore, harrowing journey to the top as a bike stunt pioneer, ten-time world champion, video game superstar, X Games ambassador, recreational ninja, and the most innovative rider to ever hit a ramp. He shares stories of the wild experiences he's had while touring with some of the best riders around -- Dennis McCoy, Dave Mirra, Rick Thorne, Kevin Robinson, Mike "Rooftop" Escamilla, and many others.

www.ewirezine.com: An autobiography of Mat Hoffman written with Lew? How could I go wrong? While "The Ride of My Life" is a fun and interesting read, it's not perfect — some stories seemed to stop just when you were wanting more details. But it does cover a lot of history (from Mat's childhood through present day), and is written so that both riders and non-riders can understand it and appreciate what Mat's done for the sport.
There's a lot of BMX history in this book for younger riders to learn and appreciate, especially since Mat's been pushing riding longer than most of today's riders have been alive. (Yes kids, there actually was a time when flips and handrails didn't exist!) Old-timers like myself who remember when Mat first burst onto the riding scene will enjoy reminiscing about those early days: Mat's days touring with Skyway, contests at the Enchanted Ramp, adventures in driving the Sprocket Jockeys rig. And of course the book has plenty of photos, new and old.
If this book does nothing else, it proves two things. First, Mat has given his body to push vert riding. When you read about how many times he's damaged, trashed, and replaced body parts, it's crazy. In the course of doing that, he's invented some of the best and most burly tricks on vert today. And then there was his fetish with gigantic ramps... Second, he's done more for the sport of bicycle stunt than even we riders know — he's taken as many chances in his business dealings as he has on ramps. "The Ride of My Life" chronicles the troubles (and rewards) with running the Sprocket Jockeys shows, Hoffman Bikes, the Bicycle Stunt contests, and his dealings with ESPN.
If you ride, definitely check out this book. It's a fun and easy read, and you'll come away with an even greater appreciation for Mat.

This excerpt comes from CHAPTER 10, titled High Enough to Die. The airs I’m describing here took place on a giant halfpipe I built in 1993—it was early in the days of my experimenting with big transitions, trying find a way to get the most air possible. Which is where we pick up the story, already in progress…

|||| It took two years of planning and saving before construction on the world’s tallest halfpipe was nearly finished. In order to pump a twenty-foot tall tranny, I’d need speed. Tons of it. Without motorcycle assistance, the next best thing would be a giant roll-in, like the takeoff for a ski jump. I went with a forty-six foot tall platform that shot me into the ramp at a sixty-degree angle. The halfpipe took two months to build, and like its predecessor, was also a winter construction project. One night when I was close to completion, I could see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I was out there alone. It was mid-January and just after midnight. All I had to do was get the first layer of plywood on the roll-in. I didn’t have a deck built on that side of the ramp yet, and the roll-in connected to the roof of my old warehouse. I made my way up the roll-in, laying down one piece of ply at a time. I’d nail a short block of 2 x 4 sideways into the transition, to act as a step, while I attached the next piece of plywood up the ramp. Finally I’d gotten every sheet on except the last piece, which needed to bend sharply at the top of the roll-in. As I tried to get the plywood properly positioned, it popped off and began tipping sideways. I got out of the way and watched it slide down the ramp. The wood acted like a wedge, knifing under the top block of my wooden stairway to heaven. The block popped out with a chunking sound, then the sheet dropped down to the next step. Cachunk! And the next… chunk! Chunk! Chunk!, cachunk! chunkchucnkchunkchunk! I stood at the top of the roll-in and stared down at nothing but nails sticking out where the blocks had been. It looked like a runway of golf spikes, all the way down the sixty-degree wooden slope. I sat there for a while, dazed and thinking how in the hell something like that could happen with such flawless, total destruction. Then it dawned on me that I was stuck at the top of a forty-six foot tall structure and the only way down was to slide through a field of nails. I could wait until morning, when people would show up for work, and they could get me down. That was in eight hours.
|||| Twenty minutes passed, and I was freezing. It was windy, and I’d stopped working, so my body temperature was dropping. I knew I’d be a popsicle if I waited much longer. I stood there, no foot planks, looking down the barrel of the roll-in until I felt the Geronimo! instinct kick in. Because of the cold, I had on super thick Carharrt work pants and four layers of clothes, I went down the slide and the nails ripped my clothes to shreds. I got to the bottom, breathing fast, pant legs in tatters, and thought, “Alright, we’ll call that a night.”
|||| When the ramp was all finished, I stood on top of the roll-in with my bike. I could clearly see downtown Oklahoma City, ten miles away. The halfpipe resembled a giant boat. The stomach-floating effect of taking the roll-in was the same sensation as bungee jumping. I could drop in and clear eighteen feet on the first wall.
|||| The only problem was, my bike was too small—the wheel base was three feet, and the twenty inch wheels would quickly reach their maximum velocity. After my first air, the transitions would slowly bleed my speed no matter how much energy I put into pumping the walls. I went from eighteen feet, to fifteen feet, to thirteen feet. I’d need another solution besides the roll-in.

Operation Weedeater

|||| People sometimes ask me how I can stand living in Oklahoma, when the riding scenes seem to thrive in other places like California, Texas, or pockets of the East Coast. I’ve always let the space in my brain exist as its own environment. My body might be in Oklahoma, but my mind’s been someplace else the whole time. I’ve never really needed to subscribe to another social circle. I always had a ramp, I had a family, and I had weird projects running around in my head. All I need is a place to let them out. Oklahoma has been the cheapest laboratory I could find. For the record, Oklahoma is also probably the best place in the entire world to convert a bike to run on a reverse-engineered weedeater engine. Nobody involved ever questioned the ridiculousness of it. The general attitude was, “Yeah, that sounds cool man. Let’s get it on.” After some research into various motor types, I bought the biggest weedeater I could get. My friend John owned Road and Track, a local performance motorcycle shop. With John’s help, I repositioned the points so the little engine would run backwards, driving my rear sprocket. We machined a drive shaft for it, welded motor mounts to the frame, and duct taped the gas tank on. I had to use a tiny thirteen-tooth sprocket on my front, and a one hundred and twenty-two-tooth freewheel. There was no chain, so I tightened my cranks and pedals in place. We set up the throttle cable through my Gryo, so I could spin the bars and keep the throttle cable from tangling. After completion, I'd set up on the roll-in, grab the throttle and dive into the ramp with the engine whining at seventy-two hundred revolutions per minute, full speed. The first airs were in the nineteen to twenty-foot range. The bike had a weird gyroscopic effect in the air, and the engine, fuel, and extra metal on board put the center of gravity way off to one side. My back end would lag every time. It’s also weird getting used to the timing of a bike that doesn’t naturally decelerate; I’d re-enter the ramp with the throttle fully cranked, and have to let off before the opposite wall. What I was doing lost a lot of the elements an aerial has; on normal twelve foot airs you can look over your shoulder and see the coping as you start steering the bike toward re-entry. On twenty-foot plus airs, I would go fast and launch straight up like a missile, and try to turn around after I’d slowed down at the peak height. I had to wait until the bike has stopped upward momentum, and if my timing was off, I didn’t turn. I fell.
|||| It took a few sessions, but I got used to it, and began working up until I was clocking airs in the twenty-three and twenty-four foot range. Then MTV Sports called and asked if I was working on anything new.

Crash and Learn

|||| Maybe it was karma’s way of getting back at me for taking advantage of the deal on heavily discounted wood in Kansas City. The bill was about to arrive. MTV sent a skeleton crew of two guys, a producer/sound operator, and a camera man. They were in town for only two days. The first day was too windy to get high airs, and the next day it was gusting about twelve miles per hour. Any wind speed above five miles per hour made it really difficult to ride the big ramp because the higher altitude seemed to magnify the wind many times over. Having a weird bike with a weedeater engine didn’t make it easier. But I wanted to show them what I could do on the thing, and so I rode anyway. We taped for a few minutes, and the airs were getting higher, consistently over twenty feet. Then I missed my timing on one and didn’t rotate enough. I went from rocket to rock.
|||| I tried to keep my head from hitting the ramp, and took the force of the blow with my ribs. I saw stars, but didn’t get KO’ed. Sometimes when you hit that hard your body just starts throbbing, but you can't really diagnose what's wrong. You have to chill out and let everything settle down and figure out if you need to go to the hospital. I got up and walked it off, pretty shaken, and went inside the warehouse to relax a little bit.
|||| We watched the crash on video and it didn’t look that bad. I knew I’d slammed harder, even on smaller ramps. This was a smack-n-slide crash. My midsection got it pretty good, but I also caught quite a bit of the fat transition, which helped lessen the impact. What I didn’t know, was what was happening inside my body. I’d been beating on my spleen all year, taking crashes in shows and practices. The organ was in a constantly swollen state, and the impact from over twenty feet was enough to burst it. We were still talking about filming more high airs when I noticed my collar bones began to ache. I hadn’t taken much of the fall on my arms or shoulders, and I couldn’t figure out why they were throbbing. It was pressure from blood hemorrhaging inside my abdominal cavity. Before long I began to get dizzy. On the way to the water cooler, I leaned against a wall for balance, and the floor rushed up to greet me. Steve, my girlfriend Jaci, and the film crew knew this was not a good sign. I was only out for a few seconds, because as soon as my body got in a horizontal position my heart could generate enough pressure to get blood moving to my head.
|||| The paramedics were called and a few minutes later, when they arrived, I was worse. I’d passed out again from trying to stand up, and people were starting to get that crisis situation panic about them. The paramedic put a blood pressure cuff on me and took my pulse. He said it didn’t register, but told me not to worry because his medical gear had been malfunctioning earlier. Steve asked about internal injuries, and the paramedic told him I’d have bruising and discoloration, from the blood pooling inside. I didn’t. As I lay flat on my back, the medic tried his blood pressure cuff and got a weak pulse. I didn’t have five hundred dollars for the ride to the hospital and my health insurance was a shake of the dice, regarding what they’d cover and what they wouldn’t. We told the ambulance to go away, and Steve and Jaci brought me in.
|||| You turn into a mumbling, happy fool when you are about to die. And you don’t care. The human body is amazing the way it heals itself, reacts to trauma, or prepares to shut down. Your pituitary gland unleashes a flood of endorphins, which takes the edge off anything, and calms you down. Pain, stress, and fear start to melt away. “I need my keys,” I slurred to Steve as they tried to get me in the back seat of the car. “Don’t let me forget my keys.” I was talking gibberish; what I needed was a surgeon. Enroute to the hospital I was mad because Jaci wouldn’t let me go to sleep. The ER doctor examined me and told Steve I’d need an emergency spleenectomy to save my life. Inside my ruined spleen was leaking massive amounts of blood—I had lost four pints. He said another twenty minutes and I wouldn’t make it.
|||| A spleenectomy is one of the crazier abdominal surgical procedures. The doctors remove all thirty-something feet of your intestines and put them in a bowl next to you while they mop up the blood and remove chunks of broken spleen floating around inside you. Your spleen produces white blood cells, which helps your immune system fight off infections. But, it’s also somewhat of a bonus organ. Your body doesn’t need a spleen to keep on living. After the ruptured spleen is cleaned out, the doctors check your intestines for holes by hand, like looking for a flat tire in a bike inner tube. The surgery takes a couple hours, and the recovery time is pretty fast thanks to modern medical techniques.
|||| The first thing I saw when I woke up was the MTV producer. I’d just had my colon fondled from the inside, could barely open my eyes, my brain was spaced out on anesthesia, and my whole torso was throbbing from the trauma. “Hey, Mat. I know this is a bad time, but, could you sign this, ah, liability release form for us?” I couldn’t even hold a pen. I tried waving him off by mumbling that I accepted full responsibility, and would never sue anybody for something I did on my own. He said his job was on the line, because he’d forgotten to get a signature before we started filming. I signed the paper, and haven’t worked with MTV or attended any of their sporting events since.

A Big Ramp Inside

hoffman ride of my life book
Paperback: 95 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.31 x 8.98 x 8.22
Publisher: Motorbooks International; (July 2003)
ISBN: 0760315434

Book Description
Since coming on the scene in the late 1960s as a way for SoCal kids to get their after-school kicks, BMX has gone global, spawning a lucrative industry and mutating into several disciplines. This all-color look inside the realm of BMX spells out the sport's origins, equipment, and pioneers, and features present-day practitioners associated with racing, dirt jumping, flatland, street, and ramp. In addition to recognizing the foundation laid by old-school icons The World of BMX also includes completely dialed commentary and color photos giving play to today's top riders. Whether your thing's racing at the local track, boning up your ramp chops at an area park, or noodling around your neighborhood streets, there's something inside for you.

From the Author: Mountain Bike Madness is the book that will introduce you to the wild ride of mountain biking. It encompasses the history, the personalities who added to the cachet, the evolution, how to ride, where to ride, and who with. It's the straight story, the story it would take years to find out if you asked around.
Quite simply, there isn't a book like this anywhere.

www.danscomp.com: The World Of BMX Book: 96 pages of BMX history, equipment, and pioneers. This book covers the evolution of racing, flatland, dirt jumping, street and vert with past and present day riders of the sport like Mat Hoffman, Dave Mirra, Dave Osato, R.L. Osborn, Bob Haro and many more. 80 color photos.
the world of bmx
Imprint: ReganBooks; ISBN: 0060989165; On Sale: 9/30/2003; Format: Trade PB; Subformat: ; Length: ; Trimsize: 8 x 9 1/8; Pages: 208; $15.95; $24.95(CAN)

www.harpercollins.com: Since age ten, Dave "Miracle Boy" Mirra has been defying gravity and changing people's minds about what can and can't be done on a bike. But in 1993 he lived up to his nickname in ways that his fans could never have anticipated. Six months after he was injured by a drunk driver and told by his doctors that he would never ride again, he was back on his bike, competing in -- and winning -- high-profile BMX events. Since then he has gone on to win more X Games medals than any other competitor -- in any event -- and has inspired a devoted following always hungry for a new miracle.
Mirra Images captures all of Dave's most daring and explosive tricks -- carving flairs, wallride-to-tailwhips, and his record-setting nineteen-foot air -- in stunning color. In addition, Dave delves into his past and his personal photo album to shed light on his rise to the top of the action sports world and reveal a side of himself that has never before been seen. This action-packed photo-autobiography is the first ever look into the life, times, tricks, and bikes of the biggest of all BMX superstars.

Kevin McAvoy, Transworld BMX january 2004: Dave Mirra's autobiography has officially hit the streets, and if you're a big fan of his, it should hit your bookshelf, too. As the name suggests, it's packed with photos of Dave, from modern-day shots all the way back to when he was three years old. Some of the photos are pretty wild; you get to see him as a puny kid who's dwarfed by his bike, which is a sharp contrast to the way he is today. Dave focuses on the influences and evolution of his riding career, and tells tales of his first sponsors, his move from flatland to ramps, life on the road, the birth of the X Games, and the many endorsement deals that eventually rolled in. One of the most revealing stories refers to Dave's near exit from the sport; in 1994 he wasn't riding much and was thinking about moving on. Luckily, he signed with Haro late that year, and the rest, as you know, is history. In comparison to Mat Hoffman's book, Dave doesn't go into as much detail; he relies on the photos and short stories to get the point across. However, I'm sure you'll still find some stuff about Dave in Mirra Images that you didn't know before. It's an easy read with lots of photos, so put it on your Christmas list.

Bart de Jong, www.fatbmx.com, 2004:I contacted Dave for a copy of his book to review on FATBMX.com. He put his Familie in charge of it. The book arrived but also the $40,= USD shipping bill. That's one way to treat the media that you need for a (positive) review on the book. Needless to say the book isn't all that interesting. I feel like it has been rushed and not enough sources were contacted for (new) photo material or old stories. What you get is lots of pictures but little exciting new stories. If you follow the Mirra updates on his website and the BMX magazines and you've seen the Miracle Boy and Nyquist video, you don't really have to read the book. You already know the story of his life. It could have been so much better. Dave has plenty of stories to tell, some of them might not be book-worthy, but if you're telling the story of your life, you might as well share some of it with the fans who paid almost 16 bucks for the book.
The title of the book should stop at Mirra Images. It's more of a photo book. The paperback counts 200 pages and has lots of great pics from the early days as well as recent stuff. In that way I can see that Dave is happy with the book. Everyone would be stoked to have his own book with images from when you started riding till today. With an extra person helping out finding the pics (Losey) it only makes it easier. It's a nice diary for Dave to look back to every now and then as it will bring him lots of memories. To me it sounds like it was a "me too" project. It probably wasn't Dave's idea in the first place to write a book but after seeing Hoffman's "Ride of my life" book sell pretty good, the Miracle boy needed one of his own (his management thought). The cover of the book even looks the same as Mat's. But can you blame Dave? I don't think so. He's got his own diary/souvenir-book now, probably made a few bucks on it and carries on with his busy schedule of riding, doing shows, TV appearances, etc. He's a popular man and needs to stick in between the lines even though he'd like to step outside every now and then.
Anyway, if you're a Dave Mirra fan you need this book. If you don't know who Dave Mirra is and would like to find out in an hour or two, read his book. There are not too many BMX books around. Maybe people, unaware of BMX, will find this one in the Autobiography/Sports section in the library one day and get stoked on BMX. If that's the case, the book's a winner after all.
dave mirra images book