Ann Deschenes-People You Should Know-From Adversity to Imminent SuccessPeople You Should Know, People You Should Know/Pg 2 — By Buddy Sampson on February 11, 2013 at 6:17 am
By Buddy Sampson
Ann Deschenes of Quebec City, Canada is a revolutionary. Why? She is revolutionizing the motor racing industry as we speak. The women’s motor racing industry, still in its infancy stages, has bright and amazing new stars, particularly in auto racing. But the women’s motorcycle racing industry, just commencing its ascent to the pinnacle of motor sports, has rising stars, committed to bringing the sport to the forefront. Ann Deschenes illuminates that credo, with her reality TV series, “Racing Girls Inc.” However, her path to the forefront has not been without its share of trials and yes, tribulations.
Ann has overcome adversity, from an auto accident that had left her extremely impaired, to financial difficulties, at one point living in her automobile. But she believes in her company, Racing Girls Inc. so much that she’s carving a story out of the clay of human endeavor and success. And she has reason to. Racing Girls Inc. is revolutionizing women’s sport. And she is generating a buzz that will make her success a foregone conclusion.
She started competition at the age of 11, competing in Snowshoe competitions, excelling at the popular Canadian sport. Along with her sister, France, she also competed in downhill skiing, always finishing in the top part of the contests. “I had never raced that before,” she laughed. “My dad said ‘just look in front, go fast and don’t crash.’ And I won first place. It was exciting.” The two sisters were tough to beat. “The funny thing was that my younger sister Fran, who is three years younger, who was in the same category (of competition) as me, would always get the gold (medal) and I would get the silver or the bronze,” she said. “But she’s fast. She is good in sports.” Ann also competed in track and field, excelling in endurance sports. While in high school, she was inspired by a novel she read and always pictured competing in motorcycle competitions and making a difference in the sport. “The description of the sense of power that you have and the freedom you have while riding, I could feel exactly what it was like and years later when I got a motorcycle It was exactly like it was described in the novel, “ she reflected. While studying in college, she bought her first bike, a Kawasaki KZ 550, intending initially to buy a car, but found that the weather was too challenging to ride at that time. “I took out my checkbook and I gave it to him and I said ‘I’ll be back in May to pick it up when the snow is out of the way,’” she laughed. “So I took a course, went back and picked up the bike.” Later, Ann studied in college, obtaining her degrees, including a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Quebec in Montreal and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration. The busy lady also found time to study Fashion, specializing in haute couture. She’s always had a desire to work in special education. As a result of that desire, she worked as a teacher for five years, and also took a job in which she instructed other teachers how to work with challenged students.
However, fate took an ironic twist. In 1994, Ann was involved in a terrible accident. Doctors told her that she was going to be incapacitated for the rest of her life. “I had several neck surgeries,” she said about the life-changing experience. “Now I couldn’t work anymore as I wanted. I had to redefine myself. This led to eight years of torture. For someone that is super hyperactive, like me, loves sports and is out there, I couldn’t do anything anymore.” It led to a downward spiral of medications and financial troubles. But Ann’s story is one of determination and persistence. While incapacitated, she read magazines about motorcycles and dreamed about racing. But she knew that racing bikes was a totally different experience; an experience she never encountered. “When I was riding, (previously) I was on the street,” said Ann. “It’s a different feeling than being on the track and having your knee down on the track at 100 miles an hour.”
However, in 2003, she received some distressing news. Her doctors determined that she was permanently disabled. Undaunted, she believed that she could rise above her unexpected trials. “I said, ‘I don’t think so,’ and I had been thinking for a couple of years doing research of what I can do,” said Ann. And she was successful. After several surgeries and hard work, she recovered and regained enough of her health to become optimistic. She stopped taking pain medication, as a result of her research, which she felt was interfering with her body’s natural healing process. Within six months, she was studying martial arts. “It made me feel more confident, and less afraid,” she explained. “And it was a lot of fun, it fit my personality.” She embarked to China and studied with the renowned school Shaolin in China, studying martial arts. “They were just starting to open up to women at the academy and a woman in the Chinese world is not very high on the list,” said Ann. “And if you’re over 23, you’re too old already in China and I was 41 at the time.” Most of the students there, because of the harsh conditions and fierce training left after a few days. Ann was determined to succeed. She trained there for an entire year. “When I started, I scored the lowest ever, the first month,” she said. “But when I left, I scored third. For a 41 year old, I was pretty proud of myself.”
Her confidence at a high level, Ann, inspired by a poster of motorcycle rider she kept posted in her place, decided to write a screenplay about a woman who competed in motorcycle racing against guys. “Never for a moment did I think that this girl, that’s 41 years old who has had a major trauma, would be putting her life at risk and her body on a motorcycle, never,” said the gorgeous lady. She found a prestigious riding school, Freddie Spencer’s Riding School in Las Vegas. Her decision was to learn from the best. And Spencer, an American, is a former World Champion racer. “They had to lower the bike because my feet didn’t touch the ground,” she laughed. “I was petrified.” She bought another bike and after the second day in training on the track, she found her passion. “I said, no, no, no, I’m selling everything and moving to Vegas and I’m going to take another class and another class and another class,” Ann explained, excited about the prospect of racing. “I was hooked.” She did odd jobs at the racing school, even mopping floors, just to be around the racing garage. Norm Harris and the other instructors took a liking to her, noticed her passion for the sport, and gave her riding tips. After a year, she made the decision to race. On January 7, 2007 she decided she had what it took to race. In fact, she chose her racing bike number, 717, because of the date she made the decision.
She competed in her first competition in May 2007 for WERA West in Las Vegas, Nevada, and, according to the script she made for her life, she competed against guys as well as ladies. “Even though I wasn’t very fast, I never got off my line,” she said, explaining that she was able to get in races due to her reputation as a safe rider, unlike many riders that often take unnecessary chances. But her first race had the signs of a mini-disaster. “I came in last and I got lapped,” she said. Due to magnificent strategy and gamesmanship she was able to advance in the competition. “But then, this is what I thought, ‘five idiots (riders) went over their limits and crashed,” she laughed. “I got points and the five riders that crashed were behind me (in the standings). I was laughing. It was too funny.” Her time on the track improved every race. Her reputation growing as a safe, professional rider, she subsequently found herself being invited to compete in major competitions. “I came in third in Utah in a national event because everybody crashed,” she gleefully said. ”I’m the luckiest person, you’ll ever meet.”
But crashes are a part of racing and Ann, in her first race in Canada, during a practice run, was injured in a crash, suffering broken ribs and a concussion. She returned to Las Vegas to recuperate and regroup.
Later, Ann got invited to compete in a competition in Canada, a women’s race. She drove to Canada and realized there was one deficiency in her racing skills. “I had never, ever driven on a track in the rain,” she admitted. “Those girls up there are amazing because they could race in the rain.” Ann found herself in the qualifying race and unfortunately, she crashed. “It was 100 percent my fault, “she said, crashing on a yellow flag, which was to indicate that riders should not pass. “It was what we call a low side (crash), so low side is a good crash, if there is a good crash, because the bike just goes in front of you.”
But Ann realized that she was becoming an inspiration to other women riders and realized that she can be the lightning rod to empower women to race. Women would approach her and ask about racing. Guys asked about getting their girlfriends and wives to race. Racing Girls Inc. was born and Ann relocated to Los Angeles to sell Racing Girls Inc. and her concept to network and sports concerns. She currently is shopping Racing Girls Inc. and is in negotiations to make Racing Girls Inc. a household name. Don’t bet against this lovely and determined lady. After all, she’s conquered adversity and is on the verge of imminent success, becoming a revolutionary in women’s sports. Ann Deschenes’ determination, her persistence, drive and beauty makes her, definitely, one of the People You Should Know.
Want to read more on Ann Deschenes? Visit www.AnnDeschenes.com.