“A storm can be so dangerous, yet so beautiful at the same time.” - Michaela Trumbull
To some, a lightning bolt may represent power, swiftness, or even decisiveness in a split-second moment. To our good friend Michaela, the lightning bolt holds an even deeper meaning in her world. It is a representation of her Dad’s life and the power they both need in the battle against his brain cancer, and the competition she faces when hitting the race track.
Maybe some of you have heard this line before: that your life is the result of the choices you’ve made. The risks we take and the ones we didn’t — an everlasting battle between our mind and our actions. That was the adversity Michaela was facing when life had a plan of its own, as she and her family encountered circumstances they never foresaw.
Luckily, being the positive, contagious, and radiant individual that Michaela is, she was able to turn hardships into opportunities, as she made the choices and risks that ultimately propelled her toward positivity during a difficult time.
One of those choices was to apply for Royal Enfield’s Build. Train. Race. Program, an initiative that highlights women from all different backgrounds across North America and teaches them to build and race their own motorcycles at race track events. The program was something she saw herself pouring every bit of her being into, while allowing her to cope with life’s unexpected plans.
Unaware at the time that she’d be one of the seven women selected to partake in the program, Michaela went out on a limb to navigate Royal Enfield’s application process (which over 100 other women applied to). Rather than living timidly, she seized the Go Fast Don’t Die mentality, chased her fears, and risked her happiness to not only help herself, but to show girls — young and old –– that even they could be as big as their dreams.
After being selected, Michaela has beat the odds when it comes to having the least amount of experience and resources to help her complete her build and become a real life road racer. It didn’t surprise any of us, as we watched her go from tearing her bike down to the frame, to building it back up into a legitimate road racing bike, and ripping it on the track come race day at the Brainerd International Raceway on August 1st, 2021.
After having completed two races to date, we had some questions for Michaela about her journey thus far. Let’s see what she had to say:
GFDD: Where did your love and passion for motorcycles come from, and when did you start pursuing it?
Michaela: My love and passion for motorcycles started about 5 years ago. In college, my husband, Coy, bought his first Harley. Naturally, I would always ride on the back and loved it! I loved the fresh air, the open roads, and ultimately spending time with him. The motorcycle made me feel alive and free. One day we were ripping up Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota, and something clicked inside of me. At that moment I thought to myself, that the only thing that could make me feel more free was if I had the controls in my hands! I didn’t want to ride on the back anymore, I wanted to ride beside him, or better yet, in front of him! With him being the best boyfriend (at the time) ever, he took me to a parking lot and the teaching began. Before I knew it, I was buying my first dirt bike and my passion for motorcycles was growing. After the first summer of learning the ropes, I got my license and bought a street bike! Now several bikes and thousands of miles later, my motorcycle journey continues to grow!
What motivated you to apply to Royal Enfield’s BTR program?
Michaela: I have a great friend named Jen Muecke that works for Royal Enfield. We were on an annual moto trip across the West when she first mentioned the Build. Train. Race. program. She told me to look into it and see if it was something I’d be interested in.
I applied the first year for the flat track team and wasn’t selected. The next year, Royal Enfield posted a video talking about the road racing program. I bet I watched it about 20 times…and then sat on the video for about a month unsure if I should apply or not. Coy kept telling me to just send it and said, “if they met me, they’d love me!” He’s my biggest fan and always pushes me to chase my dreams.
With the heck of a year 2020 was shaping up to be and my dad's life being on a timeline due to a new diagnosis of stage 4 cancer, I thought to myself, “life is too short to do anything other than exactly what you want to do.” So, I applied.
What has been the most rewarding part of going through this program thus far?
Michaela: The most rewarding thing about this program has been the personal confidence it’s built and the ridiculous amount of happiness it has brought me. Additionally, the amount of people that have reached out to me and told me how much I inspire them to do anything in life fills my heart with joy.
What does the phrase “Risk Happy” mean to you?
Michaela: To me, ‘Risk Happy’ is about taking chances and truly risking it all. Your life’s timeline will eventually run out, so you have to continue to ask yourself if you're happy. The answer should always be yes. And if it’s not, then you need to risk it all. You won’t regret it.
What impact do you hope to make in the road racing industry, especially being a female in a male dominated sport?
Michaela: The impact I’m trying to make in the road racing industry is to inspire and show all the females out there that they can ride too! They can do whatever they put their minds to. With this sport it doesn’t matter if you're big or small, tall or short. It’s all in the time and practice you put in. No one will know you're a girl until you take your helmet off while standing on top of the podium.
What have you learned about yourself throughout this program?
Michaela: This program has taught me that my mind holds me back from a lot, and I am learning how to push past it. I have learned how strong I can be and how strong I will be with more practice. I’m a tough b*tch. I have played a lot of sports in my life, but I have never been truly passionate about a sport until road racing. Feeling the emotions and excitement in my body when I’m with my bike has inspired me to push more to fight harder towards my goals. This passion is growing each time I get on the track and my mind’s weakness is dying!
Looking back, what advice would you have given yourself before beginning this program?
Michaela: The number one advice I would give myself before I got into this program is to not be so hard on myself and remember to relax and breathe!
Who has inspired you throughout your road racing journey?
Michaela: Melissa Paris is a HUGE inspiration to me. She is a phenomenal coach, a great friend, an awesome mother of two, and an amazing road racer herself. Being able to talk to her about anything and everything, I have started to see myself in her. I feel her passion and determination in this sport and it just motivates me to be more like her. She is a go-getter and inspires me on and off the track.
What advice or words of encouragement would you give to any girl — young or old — who are thinking about getting into motorcycles at any level?
Michaela: Motorcycles aren't as scary as they look. If you have ever even had the tiniest thought of maybe getting on a motorcycle, do it. Try it once and I’d be willing to bet you won’t get off. Plus, I’d be happy to teach anyone how to ride!
How has riding helped you through hardships in your life?
Michaela: I never thought a hunk of metal could help me through life challenges all while creating unforgettable memories. But let me tell you, it has! My helmet is my journal. When my helmet goes on, ironically, my world slows down.
I have had three different street bikes and three different dirt bikes and each of them have healed me in their own way.
My race bike has earned the name Bolt and she has helped me through the biggest hardship in my 29 years of life yet.
Bolt was a challenge all of her own. I had to build her into a race bike not knowing anything about how to build a race bike, let alone how to build a bike in general. That challenge helped keep my mind straight while coping with the heartache of finding out my dad is fighting stage 4 brain cancer. With that kind of life changing news, focusing on my build was not an easy task. I fell behind on the process and almost tossed in the rag. I was so close to pulling out of the program but looking at that bike in shambles kept me going. Not only was I building Bolt up, but she was building me up too. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have this build to keep me focused on the positives in my life. From the outside, it probably didn’t look like that's the way I felt, but believe me, the pain, the anger, the confusion, and the tears were all there at full force. Bolt saved me and continues to do so. Also, I was lucky to have my husband holding me up and keeping me strong and motivated throughout the build. It’s a partnership I’m forever grateful for. I couldn’t race without Bolt and Bolt couldn’t race without me and neither of us could race without our greatest hype man and supporter, my husband, Coy Trumbull. We are the three amigos.
Michaela is a competitor. She is steadfast, determined, and hungry to be the best person, rider, and teammate she can be — all while being humble and eager to learn more.
If there’s one thing we all can learn from Michaela, it’s that you can accomplish anything that you commit yourself to — even while faced with uncertainty, doubt, and hardships. With the right choices and risks, you can create a life that you can look back on with no regrets.
Michaela faces one last challenge (for now) at Barber Motorsports Park over the weekend of September 17th in Birmingham, Alabama. Tune into MotoAmerica or Royal Enfield’s Facebook Live to watch her and her six teammates battle it out for those top three podium spots. ⚡️