Thursday Rev Up: The HeatThursday, May 27, 2010 | 6:13 PM
In this article…
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up. I just got back to my desk from riding some hard motos. I've been riding for a couple months and was just getting used to a good practice without feeling too punished. This time was different. I think summer has finally arrived; at least it has in the south. She's about 90 degrees, without any wind at all and as most of you know, this creates a different day of riding your dirt bike. With the summer season of professional and amateur motocross now in full swing, I wanted to talk a little about how gnarly riding in the heat is.
I was blessed with a body that sweats like a fire hydrant in 60-degree weather. This has been hell with embarrassing armpits on my grey shirts, but it's pretty cool to be able to sweat about 10 pounds in a long, hot day. But, I digress. Riding motocross in the heat is a different animal than riding in ideal conditions like the boys saw last Saturday at Hangtown. By the time I get my bike unloaded and get my gear on, I'm already sweating pretty good. I try to wait till the last possible moment to throw on the goggles because that foam only lasts about three laps, and I just can't bring myself to glue a maxi pad to them.
Starting the moto is the best part of the situation. You're finally moving through the air, creating a sensation of the extinct breeze. This feels good for a few laps, but then you begin to notice that your feet are getting squishy in your boots. The once tight, secure feeling in your boots has transformed into feeling like somebody put a cup of Jell-O inside your socks. Your heel raises up a little, beginning to burn that nice little spot behind your ankles. The next thing to go for me is the gloves. This is bad. If you're a Vet rider like me you are well into your arm-pump threshold by lap four, when your hands start getting greasy it crushes said threshold into oblivion. I'm trying to do 10-lap motos on my track, and as I pass lap five, I'm already thrashed. I couldn't be more soaked if a flagman dead aimed me with the fire hose.
Eli Tomac knows the importance of hydration, too.
Steve Cox Photo
Under normal conditions, a rider finds a happy medium halfway through a moto. You've found a groove and some consistent lines, and you can click laps off until they throw the beloved white flag. Not when it's hot. No, sir. By this time, the last and worst thing to go is your goggles. Your hands and feet are mushy and you're still trying to hit your marks, and then comes the pleasant sting of sweat flying inside the goggles every time you hit a jump. The first drops are vicious, then you get a little used to it and click off a couple more laps and lose a second or two off your lap-time. As I was taking my final lap, I thought about how I felt when I started the moto – crisp corners, scrubbing the jumps, hard on the front brake, and riding with style. Felt strong. I thought, "How did I become this mess in only 15 minutes?" From eyes to toes, everything stings. Dead-sailor style off the jumps and you could probably ride a MTB faster around some of the corners.
I was already peeling off gear before I stopped back at my truck. Brand new helmet thrown off like a catcher's mask, gloves ripped off with my teeth, and jersey pulled off with more passion than a Vegas stripper. Water. I dusted three bottles of high-quality H2O in less than a minute then threw myself on my tailgate with a thud. As I listened to my blue hot header pipe make little clink and tink noises, I had only one thought, "How do those animals go 30+2 in this shit?"
I suppose that is why they make the big bucks. Speaking of that, how about that performance we saw out of Eli Tomac? We were well aware of the history the GEICO crew had in grooming a newbie through Loretta Lynn's then him debuting with a holeshot or one solid moto, but the greatest rookie performance in the HISTORY of the sport? Better than Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart's debut? My man brought the heat, ladies and gentlemen! He said he was "tired" in some post-race interviews, but #243 (Hola, Mr. Ursic!) didn't look the least bit tired. The only thing that may have had the slightest effect on him winning was the restart in moto two. But, I think he would have come through the pack from 10th. You can Monday morning quarterback any win, but the main factor I see changing his prowess is one he'll face in Texas in two weeks: The heat. It'll be hot and sticky. "Ice" Trey Canard will be back for revenge.
A win in your first-ever national, much less your first AMA Pro race? Check.
Steve Cox Photo
Weege said enough about Hangtown and I'm going to rev you for Freestone for next week. Just thought I'd share an experience with y’all this time around. Till next time, keep a bottle of water and some fresh gloves close to you if you're riding in the heat this weekend. Maybe try one of those maxi pads on the goggles. Have fun, and be safe!
Thanks for reading see you next week.
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Check out MY LIFE IN MOTORCYCLE RACINGin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
Jean-Michel Bayle, the iconic superstar of yesteryear, raced motocross for the first time in twenty-one years at the Vets MXdN in England. Page 126.