But the work itself never stops. And with enough of it, Sodoma believes the odds of her making some money and making it as a professional are good.
"Racing is the most important thing; I'm obsessed," she said. "I don't mind making the sacrifices it takes to be the best. I'm dedicating all my time, everything to this. I don't want to let life pass me by, but it's a thing you have to decide you're going to do or not. It's what I want, it makes me happy. Besides, I don't know what else I'd be doing."
Two years ago, her life was panning out in completely different directions.
She was a waitress by night, a college student by day, and had a relationship that centered around cycling training--with Meiche, a competitive cyclist who placed second in the men's sprint race at nationals--crammed in between. She shared a two-story house near the beach with Meiche, where she ran with her dog, drove a Nissan 200SX and hung out with friends she sees very little these days.
It all melted like wax in March 1989, when she awoke one morning with numbness in her feet, a feeling she said spread quickly to her knees and eventually her stomach.
Four days later, she leafed through the yellow pages and found the name a neurologist, who recommended she undergo a series of tests.
She walked into Tri-City Hospital on March 9.
"It was so weird," she recalled. "I begged the nurse that night to let me walk around, 'cause I could just feel I was losing it."
Doctors diagnosed her condition as transverse myelitis, but nobody is quite sure what caused her paralysis, or whether her condition is permanent.
Sodoma thinks the paralysis may have been the result of an accident in Long Beach a year earlier, when she was hit by a car while on her bicycle.
"I never felt quite right after that," she said, suspecting a spinal injury. "My lower back hurt a lot."
Sodoma went through the cycle of denial and depression she described as typical, but said she snapped out of it sooner than most.
"I accepted it a lot quicker than the average person," she said. "I didn't really feel sorry for myself. I believe that things happen for a reason."
Said Ken Sodoma: "She dealt with it real well."
What it did was force her to look inside and re-examine her priorities.
"You always hear people say, 'You never know what you have until you lose it.' That is such a strong statement," she said. "I lost everything that was important to me--my house, my dog, my career, school, my car, surfing, running on the beach . . . But I survived. I'm a better person internally. I'm fulfilled with myself. It's a real peaceful feeling."
Sodoma said it's not glamorous being in a chair, it is strictly a mode of transportation, but that she, at least, has known the joy of walking.
"What people forget is that I had 22 years of walking, running, skipping and jumping," she said. "Some people never even get that. I'm consider myself lucky."
What would make her even luckier is finding a coach to help her train. Two of the top women wheelchair racers along with the best coaches, are at the University of Illinois, Sodoma said. As long as she is in San Diego, her options are limited.
"It's frustrating," she said. "You can't just buy a book. I'd love to find a coach."
Sodoma is taking classes at Palomar College, and is studying to be an adaptive physical education teacher, in hopes of passing her active lifestyle on to others.
"Being in a chair, you'll have so many more problems if you're not physically fit," she said. "It's helped my life so much."