Between the Motos: Victor SheldonWednesday, September 19, 2007 | 7:19 AM
On the Monday after the Glen Helen National, Thor MX team boss Victor Sheldon and three friends—including AMA National privateer Michael Sleeter—embarked on a 555-mile bike ride to raise money for fallen riders. They left from San Francisco and went all the way to San Diego in four days. Once Sheldon caught his breath, we tracked him down for this interview.
Victor Sheldon: Yeah, everything worked out as planned for the most part. We actually went further a couple days; we went 130 miles one day, which put us down in Malibu on the last day, instead of Ventura, which was a great call. Because going through L.A. was just a nightmare. You know how it is in a car, so you can only imagine what it’s like on a bicycle.
What time of the day did you go through L.A.?
Oh, right in the middle of the day! We tried to stay on the coast as much as possible, but we were trying to get to Oceanside—our final destination—before dark, so we were trying to go the fastest way and that was the PCH. But at the same time, it was pretty scary.
I can only imagine! Let’s back up. You undertook this tour with Todd Jacobs, D.L. Wood and Michael Sleeter. And you father was helping out as sort of your personal sweep wagon, right?
Yeah, we called him “The Commander” because he was on point every day. He made us breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. It’s true because after those day, you don’t care to look at a phone or do anything—you’re just wiped out.
Yeah, Sleeter definitely made the trip really enjoyable, because one minute his tongue was hanging down in the sprocket, and then the next minute he was ready to go! It was an up-and-down rollercoaster with him, but it made for a really exciting trip and it was fun having him. We’re also very proud of him, because he did have a tough weekend, and then he jumped in the motorhome right after the race, drive up to San Francisoco, sleep in the Safeway parking lot and then start riding the next day!
He also got some points at Glen Helen.
Yeah, it was actually one of his best nationals all year. I think he got 16th the first moto!
That’s pretty impressive—Glen Helen is no cake walk.
Yeah, he was 23rd at the halfway point of the second moto, and then he had a battle with a guy and then ended up crashing and tearing his radiator off. That’s a man’s track, you know?
You know what, I wanted to keep track of people beeping and yelling out the window, and nobody did anything till we got to L.A. Probably the most sketchy time was when D.L. Wood cased a rain gutter with his rear wheel going underneath the LAX runway, and he was scared for his life, which he had every right to be. He punctured his tire, and there’s not much room there going underneath that tunnel, but that was definitely the scariest part. But my strategy was anytime there was a tight road, I rode directly in the middle of the road—people are more likely to see you in the middle of the road before they are on the shoulder.
As far as all of the athletic accomplishments that you’ve had, which include eight Jet Ski championships, you won the Crossover event, along with a million other things. Where does setting up a challenge like this and completing it rank?
It’s right in there. We saw a lot of people doing it, and I think anybody if they put their mind to it can do it. The scenery is probably one of the biggest things that made it most enjoying. We would be riding along for eight hours a day on the bike, and 10 hours for the whole day, but the scenery made up for it. And that’s what really got you through it the most. Us four rode as a team, and we pushed each other pretty good, and that made it a little more intense. Like, we averaged 21 miles an hour one day, which is a pretty good pace. So, we did it a little harder than we had to, but at the end of the day we all felt better about ourselves.
Well, it was also all for a good cause.
That’s the biggest thing I got out of it. There were a few times that I was like, “Oh, this is tough.” But as I was looking at the donations, yourself included, and that really made it all worthwhile.
It’s the least we could do, and we were all cheering for you from afar. You need to try and put something like this again next year, and we’ll get a little more out front on it.
Yeah, I want to try and make it an annual event and I want to invite some of the top motocross guys to do it.
I’d make sure we went around it! [Laughs] But I highly suggest it, especially all the moto guys. They’re all in such good shape and they would have no problem doing it, and I think they would all feel really accomplished after it. So I want to try and invite more guys next year, for sure.
Well, congratulations in completing it. I’m sure you have a few sponsors you want to thank, including your dad.
Yeah, my dad Bill Sheldon, AKA “Commander.” Chuck Franklin helped us out with expenses, Racer X, Squadra, Oakley, Bell helmets, Thule bike racks, Road 2 Recovery, Michelin, Cytomax and Thor. It definitely wouldn’t have happened without them!