Between the Motos: Victor Sheldon

August 15, 2007 7:37am

Motocross fans may recognize Victor Sheldon as the Thor MX team manager, or a past winner of the Supercross-Over race, or even just a close friend and riding buddy of Jeremy McGrath. However, in the Jet Ski world, he IS Jeremy. Victor’s got eight U.S. national championships and is a bonafide action sports icon. He’s also got a big project coming up that he came up with and committed to in order to raise some funds for injured riders. It’s called the Three Five Tour, and it involves riding bicycles from San Francisco to San Diego the week after the season-ending Glen Helen National. We rang Victor up this week to find out more.

Racer X: First off, Victor, it was good to see you at Loretta Lynn’s. That has become a busy week for industry reps like yourself.
Victor Sheldon: Yeah, especially with X Games going on. It’s straight from Washougal to Loretta’s, and then straight to the X Games. It’s a busy time of the year for both riders and industry workers.

Victor Sheldon chats with Chad Reed and Stefan Everts

photo: Steve Bruhn

Which scene has more class and hipness factor: The private Shawn White after-party at a Los Angeles hotel rooftop or the beer tent at Loretta Lynn’s?
To be honest with you, I’ll take the beer tent anytime! It’s always a lot of fun and there’s always a lot to talk about the next morning.

Like which pro rider was that guy at the beer tent…
[Laughs] Or which industry worker was that guy… But yeah, Loretta Lynn’s, I’ve been going the past three years, and it’s one of my favorite events of the year. You see the best kids in the nation, and the industry people have stepped it up as well. Our Thor tent this year was just amazing.

That’s the biggest structure I’ve ever seen at a motocross race. It was like the Shuttle launch tower!
Yeah, it’s pretty cool to be associated with that company.

As far as Loretta’s goes, it was incredibly hot this year, but that may have helped you out with an event that’s coming up for you with the Triple Five Tour.
Yeah, I’ve been racing jet skis for the last 20 years, and this time of the year has always been my busiest time for racing. I’m not racing this year, so I wanted to have something to look forward to for myself. So I talked to my friend D.L. Wood, and we came up with this bicycle ride from San Francisco to San Diego. We started working on it, and I talked to my wife, Piper, and she said you should make it into a charity. And then I talked to Todd Jacobs, and things just started snowballing. It feels really good to try and do something like this for myself, but also for a charity and make it viable for some riders who need support.

The Road 2 Recovery organization and Jimmy Button and Bob Moore and that entire crew, they’ve really made a difference in the last six years since the program started. They have the bowling tournament, which is the week before Glen Helen. And the Golf and Poker tournaments. But this is different. People aren’t going to participate in this; people are betting on whether you, D.L., Michael Sleeter and Todd Jacobs will do all 555 miles in four days. Do you have it in you? Am I taking a risk if I lay down $10 a mile?
[Laughs] Well, if you’re putting $10 down a mile, I’ll finish one way or another.

Wait, now that I do the math in my head, I’ll maybe do $2 a mile!
What’s funny, that’s what I’ve been saying to people. I’m like, “Yeah, just donate $5 a mile,” and then 10 minutes later they’re like “Wait, that’s $5,000!”

Regardless, it’s all for a great cause. It’s tax deductible and goes straight to injured riders.
Yeah, exactly. All four of us are going to decide where it goes, but I’d feel really good about giving it to someone who really needs the help right now. Some of the guys probably haven’t gotten the support that they deserve.

I know what you mean. Injuries don’t discriminate between the famous and not-so-famous, so that sometimes can make it difficult for some guys to get help, so well done there. Let’s talk about the nuts and bolts of this. What route are you taking?
We’re going down the 1.

Now I wish I was going, just for the first part of the trip!
Yeah, my father is going to tag along just for a little support crew, just in case we have any problems. But we have stages planned out for each day for where we want to start and finish. We’re starting at the  Golden Gate Bridge and we’re going down the 1. I heard a lot of great things about it and I know it’s a really scenic route.

What kind of bicycles are you using?
Just your typical road bikes. Me and Todd have Felts; D.L. has a Trek and Sleeter has a Cannondale or something. But they’re just pedal bikes.

Sleeter is also a pro rider—is he racing Glen Helen too?
Yeah, he’s going to be racing Glen Helen, and we’re picking him up there and going straight up to San Francisco in my father’s motorhome. I’ve been on him to get out on the road and get some saddle time because six hours a day is what we’re planning on being on the bicycle for those five days.

Six hours is about the maximum of a Tour de France guy, if I’m not mistaken.
Yeah, I think they bust out like 120 to 130 miles in five or six hours, but we’re definitely not going to be at that pace.

Either way, no matter what your level of fitness, it’s going to be tough to ride that far each day.
It’s going to probably be a little more than that. Six hours is the goal, but we want to be able to rest at night and be ready to go the next day, somewhat. If we’re putting eight hours a day on a bicycle and we’re not reaching our destination, it’s going to be hard. So hopefully “Iron” Montgomery and Cytomax will pump us up.

Well, you had a great journey through the action sports world, not only as a participant but through your athletes you support. What is the most physically demanding adventure you’ve gone on, and how do you think this will compare?
I think this is definitely taking the most preparation and most effort. But one travel which was really a lot of fun last year was the Erzberg Enduro. That was an adventure.

Mike Sleeter is racing Glen Helen then riding his bicycle 555 miles!

photo: Simon Cudby

That’s the climb-the-mountain rally in Austria, right?
Yes, that was a pain giver, but this is going to be five days of it. But it’s not like we’re doing this last-minute. We’ve all been riding our bicycles the last five months with this goal in mind. We’re putting a lot of effort into it, and I’m confident with all the guys that are going.

So how can someone sitting at home around the world that wants to support this go about sponsoring the Triple 5 tour?
Just click the link on Road 2 My wife just pledged some money this morning, and it’s working out well. It’s really easy.

You said there was a lot of preparation, so what are some of the companies who are sponsoring you guys?
They’ve all been super cool. I didn’t have to pitch anything to them; they were all like “we’ll help you.” Chuck Franklin is an attorney out of Phoenix, and he gave us some money for our expenses. Randy Richardson from Michelin tires and Iron Montgomery from Cytomax; Dan Weatherford from Squadra; Jim from Thor; and the guys at Oakley gave us some sunglasses. I want to thank them all.

Right on. I wish you luck, and I’ll see you at Glen Helen and we’ll be watching you.
Thanks, Davey. I really appreciate it!