By John Basher
Life isn’t one-dimensional. Neither are you. Unlike most people who live on this rock we call earth, you are a motocross
rider. Bravo! The thought of twisting the throttle on a perfectly prepped track gets your blood pumping. If you’re like me,
then motocross is a big part of who you are. An argument
could be made that motocross is part of your genetic makeup. Maybe you’re a first-generation rider, or you come from a
long lineage of those before you who passed down their most
treasured gift—ripping terra firma with reckless abandon.
Whatever the case, just understand that you’re special.
The greatest benefit of riding motocross is that it forces
someone to be more than himself. There isn’t anyone in any
other sport or profession as well-rounded as you, aside from
those lined up to the left and right of you on the starting
gate. Think about it. Doctors heal people. Mechanics fix cars.
Daredevils tempt fate. Psychologists help the mind. Personal
trainers tune the body. You are all of these things and much
more. Thanks to motocross you’ve composed a sterling
portfolio for the job of life. In case you weren’t aware, below
are some of your valued qualifications.
Mechanic. This goes without saying, but motocross riders
are, at the very least, somewhat knowledgeable about how
a motorcycle works and how to work on it. There are those
who know how to split engine cases and replace the bottom
end on their four-stroke. Others hardly know the difference
between an oil filter and air filter. No matter the case, if
you can spin a T-handle wrench, then you’re a mechanic. It
doesn’t mean that the factories are going to come calling for
your mechanical expertise, but at least you can do something
that a vast majority of people can’t. Way to go.
“ASIDE FROM THE INTERNAL
AS SUPERGLUE—IS THE WORLD’S
GREATEST INVENTION. IT IS LIQUID
Doctor. Aside from the internal combustion engine,
cyanoacrylate—better known as superglue—is the world’s
greatest invention. It is liquid gold. A single dab of the miracle
stuff can instantly close up cuts. Did your wrench slip off a
bolt, causing you to punch the rear sprocket? Better grab
some superglue! There’s a reason why it has a place in a
toolbox. Of course, there are also universal fixes, like medical
tape to ward off blisters, duct tape for bigger jobs and horse
liniment for sore muscles. As for dealing with pain, any
diehard racer can recite the proper dosage recommendations
for Tylenol, Motrin and Advil.
Navigator. Subsequently, any injury-riddled rider knows
the quickest route to the nearest urgent care center for
those cases where superglue and duct tape aren’t sufficient.
Navigation efforts are saved for serious matters. There
better be a bone poking through your skin if you don’t want
your friends razzing you.
Nutritionist. Maybe you eat two bananas on race day.
Perhaps you’re more of the peanut butter-and-jelly type.
Whatever goes in your gullet, you’ve developed a proven
routine based on years of experimenting. Some guys won’t
eat at all between motos. I’ve seen riders toss back energy
drinks and munch on gummy worms throughout the day.
You do what works for you.
Psychologist. Motocross is a mental game as much as it
is physical. Anyone will ride when it’s sunny and 70 degrees,
but what about when the mercury hits triple digits, or there’s
someone breathing down your neck with half a lap to go and
you’re exhausted? Mental fortitude goes a long way when the
going gets tough. Self-doubt is a disease trapped inside of
every racer, but the best rise to the occasion.
Politician. A politician? Preposterous! Think again. Have
you ever complained about a track in an effort to get changes
made? Have you engaged in a heated debate with a promoter
after getting black flagged for taking someone out? Then the
politician in you is guilty as charged.
Sartorialist. A fancy word for someone who deals in
matters of clothing and style, a sartorialist is very much
aligned with the sport of motocross. Every rider, young or old,
has his own distinct style and preferences on what to wear
around his moto brethren. Maybe you like gear that
resembles a Rorschach test. Perhaps you envy Joseph’s
amazing technicolor dream coat. Whatever the case, all
riders care about how they look.
Public speaker. Motocross is an individual sport. Very
few, if any, will see that you nearly went over the bars on
the second lap or jumped the big double for the first time.
Fortunately, motocross racers are very good at reliving their
races by telling grandiose stories in the pits afterward to anyone who will listen. Another commonality among motocross is
that, when sharing our experiences, we lie through our teeth.
I’ll be happy to hear your story about dragging the bars in
the sand turn, but you have to listen while I tell you about the
time I passed Ryan Villopoto on the outside sweeper.