HUSTLE AND FLOW:
Hannah Hodges had a solid start to the racing season last year with a title at the Daytona RCSX in March as well as a 2nd place overall at the JS7 Spring Championship. The Floridian was in the running for the overall at Loretta’s as well but she had some bad luck and bike issues that ultimately hindered her results in the long run. The bad luck didn’t stop there as she tore her meniscus just before Mini Os, inspiring her to take a different direction and show up to race for fun on a 125. Although it was difficult to put her competitive nature on hold, it was still a good way to end the season before going into surgery to have her knee operated on. Considering the recent coronavirus pandemic, Hodges hasn’t missed too many races while recovering from her surgery and she’s used the extra free time to focus on finalizing the purchase of her very own property near her hometown of Deland, Florida. Not only is it her first home, but she has plans to build a race shop and tracks in order to facilitate her riding and training. We got on the phone with Hannah to chop it up about what she’s hoping to do with her new property, riding snow bikes in Utah last year, and racing the 125.
What have you been doing to keep yourself occupied during the recent lockdown period?
Well, I recently purchased my house and bought property so I've been trying to get the track dialed in and a lot of the tracks down here have still been open, they've just been limiting the amount of riders, so it hasn't been too bad. Getting food is harder than riding down here essentially, so it hasn't really affected me too much on the training aspect and I have a gym at my house. Luckily I've been pretty blessed with that.
Yeah, it seems like it hasn't had too much of an effect on riding and training for most people but it's just the trivial day-to-day stuff that has gotten a lot more inconvenient.
Right, you never think you'd have to search for toilet paper.
Talk a little bit more about your property that you purchased and how all that came together.
Originally I was just looking for land and I went out and found this property but they weren't really interested in selling the house at first. It came to be that the house was actually repoed and the bank that owned it contacted me and said "If you're going to buy this land, we'll sell you the house way cheaper so we don't have to deal with it." It was a real deal that I couldn't beat at that point, so I made the offer and got everything settled. The reason that the people let it go for so cheap is 'cause they couldn't get the permits figured out, so I've been working alongside the county to get all that sorted and we actually have the last inspection tomorrow with the house and then I'll be able to move in out there. I mean, this is my first house so getting the permit for the house alone and then making sure I have all the right stuff for the track so we don't get shut down, then buying equipment, and getting the track designed. There are a lot of steps!
Congratulations! This is in your home state of Florida, right?
Yeah, it's in Florida. It's about twenty minutes from where I was born and raised. We're in the same general area, it's just a little further out in the country so to say.
Is it cool to have your own property and motocross track so close to home? Is this something you've always envisioned?
Yeah, I really like where I grew up. It's a smaller town and we've got a really cool downtown area. My mom and dad and grandparents still live in Deland so it's nice to be close to them and I'm not too far from a bigger town, so it kind of works out having my own property that's a little further out with still being close to everything.
What sort of plans do you have with the property to facilitate your riding and also the training/coaching that you do on the side?
We already got the permit for the shop and that'll be going up as soon as the concrete's done and the house will be done next week. We've already started building the track, we're just going to reshape some stuff because it's been sitting for a while 'cause we wanted to get the house done so the county didn't give us any problems with the track. We got permission for the track right away so we know we're in the clear for that so really after this final inspection we'll be able to start doin' everything out there. It'll definitely be beneficial for my full-time training, I'll have more access to be able to train the track and if it rains we can just go out and prep versus a lot of the public tracks that decide to close if they get a little rain. It will definitely be more beneficial in that aspect and I won't have to drive all over God's green earth.
Have you been training and riding or did you take some time off?
It's funny 'cause I actually decided to get my knee fixed after Mini Os 'cause I tore my meniscus on top of my ACL 'cause my knee was giving me more trouble and I had just committed to getting that fixed. That actually got pushed back because my mom got hit by a car at the beginning of the year and was in ICU for a few weeks so that turned into a big deal for our family. My surgery ended up getting pushed back and I still ended up getting it. It actually worked out, I only ended up missing Daytona this year with getting my surgery so it was kind of crazy how all of that worked out but I'm back on the bike now.
How long have you been riding for at this point?
I had my last doctor's appointment a couple of weeks ago and I started easing back into riding. I don't wanna overdo it since this is already my second surgery on that knee. I'm just kind of easing back into it so I don't tear it again and the doctor was able to fix it up really well versus having to take stuff out like he was expecting.
What's the riding situation been like for you lately?
We've been pretty lucky lately. A lot of the tracks have been working with us and allowing us to come out so we've just made a schedule with some of the tracks down here and then I know a good bit of people from living down here all my life to be able to ride private tracks. I've just been easing back into it with all of that and we haven't really missed a beat as far as training goes.
How long were you laid up from your surgery? What did you do with all of that free time?
Luckily I haven't had too many injuries where I've been off the bike for a long period of time. Obviously, the first knee surgery was the longest I've ever been off the bike and then I broke both my wrists and that was my second longest. I haven't had too much experience with being on the couch but it actually worked out this time because I was able to help take care of my mom and help get her back on her feet and then with all of this property stuff goin' on that's really what I put my focus towards whenever I was injured and then obviously, I was working out and rehabbing my knee.
It was cool that you still decided to race last year at Mini Os and break out the 125 even with the torn meniscus. What was your thought process like coming into that race?
It was definitely different. I knew that my ACL was torn for several years and a week or two before Mini Os, I tore my meniscus on top of it and my knee was just super swollen and super unstable at that point. I knew I was going to have to get it fixed but with Mini Os that close, everyone was like "Why don't you just go have fun before you have surgery?" With it being so close to home, it kind of seemed crazy not to go and we decided to do the 125 and I was supposed to go in with the mentality of having fun but as soon as the gate drops, I can't break up having fun and racing. I pulled the holeshot and was given' it everything but the 125 blew up. I've never really raced 125s and we didn't know how long top ends last and everything else so what we were told and how long it lasted were two different things. We went and rebuilt it at Mini Os, the cylinder couldn't really make it the rest of the week strong, but it was fun! I love ridin' the 125 and it was fun to hang out with everyone and still get to race before bein' on the couch.
Sometime towards the end of last year you went out to Utah and ripped some snow bikes, what was that experience like for you?
The snow bikes were awesome! It was freezing though, I was born and raised in Florida so I'm not used to that weather and I have asthma, too, so it feels like it's impossible to breathe in that stuff and all of my injuries hurt. But it was awesome, I'd definitely go again! The snow bikes were a blast and then we actually rented E-Bikes too, so we were sending those down the mountain and then we went snowboarding for a couple of days. It was a lot of fun and I actually got surgery the day I got back from that trip so that was my last hoorah before surgery (laughs).
You've been on the bike for a little while now and you're easing back into it, are you thinking of showing up at Regionals and giving Loretta's a go this year?
I signed up for the Regional at Aonia next weekend. I'm going to race that and just see how my knee does, I really don't wanna overdo it with my knee 'cause he said he was able to fix it good and I need to treat it right to get it strong again. If my knee is feeling good then I'll for sure be at Loretta's, but like I said, it really just depends. I want to keep it good and not have to get surgery again.