Monday Convo:  Taddy Blazusiak

Monday Convo: Taddy Blazusiak

September 23, 2013 11:40am
Red Bull KTM’s Taddy Blazusiak is the dominant force in GEICO EnduroCross. He’s won the title every year since 2009, and even had a perfect season in 2011. But 2013 has been much tougher, with fellow KTM rider Mike Brown taking the first two points-paying EX rounds (the Enduro X races at X Games are similar, but do not pay EnduroCross Series points). At round three on Saturday night in Ontario, California, Blazusiak bounced back, managing to get around Brownie and hold on for the win. Back in 2007, Taddy was a relatively unknown trials rider who grabbed a dirt bike and promptly won the famous Erzburg Rodeo, and then took over EnduroCross. How much has changed since then? We asked him.

Racer X: You got the victory!
Taddy Blazusiak: Yup!

In the past this would be no big deal, but this year you’ve had some stiff competition. So this has to feel good.
Yes I’m very happy to get back on top. It’s been a weird year for me. I got hurt at the end of last year, and it took me a long time to get back on the bike and back into my training. Then at Barcelona I had another big crash, took me about a month to get back on the bike and back to training. I couldn’t do my job the way I like to do it. I pretty much feel like now I’m back on track. Tonight, it was a great race. We had a pretty crazy pace going for 12 laps with Brownie, and I’m happy with that. I had pretty good starts all day, too. So I’m happy with the way things went and now I want to carry this momentum into Denver.

Brown had won the first two points rounds this year, so it was pretty big to get one from him in a straight-up fight.
Yeah, it was pretty cool to see I had a little bit of speed over Brownie today. I was catching up, and from there when I got the lead, I was able to control the gap over him. But like I said, I’m still building up. Most importantly, I had fun out there tonight.

Taddy Blazusiak (1) outlasted Mike Brown (3) to win in Ontario.
Drew Ruiz photo

Yeah you said you liked the track.
Oh yeah, the track was great. It was fun. First practice, I thought it was going to be a little bit too wet. But once the racing started, and probably the first sixty percent of the race, it was really good. Then it started getting wet, and we had to go down to one line. But it was good racing, good for the spectators.

Wait it really gets wet from that one water section? Isn’t there sand after it?
Yes but the water still gets everywhere. Everywhere. The logs before the water section, it was hard to get set for them because it was getting wet and slick.

So the section before the water gets wet—the bikes drag water all the way around the track, the full lap?

In practice it looked like it became key to just start jumping entire sections. You guys were jumping the logs, and at one point jumping all the way over the water. You come from a trials background—you okay with all of that jumping?
The way I look at it is, I’ve been racing a dirt bike for eight years now. So I’ve been racing a dirt bike longer than I was a trials bike.

Ah, so you’re just a dirt bike guy, now?
I still have that trials background, for sure. I love those jumps. Those Endurocross style jumps, they’re scary at first. But I like them. It’s good for the fans, too.

Some of those jumps went away in the races. The last time you tried to jump that water jump, you came up way short, I think you cased the linkage right on a log.

When you were in the air, did you think it was going to be bad?
Oh yeah for sure, I was thinking of jumping off of that bike. No. I’m kidding, it wasn’t that bad. I was going for it every single lap, I just wanted to keep myself focused on that jump in the heat race just in case we needed to do it in the main. I just wanted to get it figured out.

You said you and Brown were running a crazy pace. Are you riding super duper all out in a 12-lap main, or are you trying to be cautious out there?
We are pretty much going flat out the whole time.

Blazusiak (center) celebrates another win.
Drew Ruiz photo

Oh yeah! It might not look that way from the outside, but from the bars, we are going all out.

Yeah and talk about the fitness part of that, with the high heart rates and stuff.
Oh, it’s so bad I don’t even want to think about that!

How do you prepare for this? A mega-high heart rate for a very short distance?
Well, you practice Endurocross, for sure. Also I do a lot of cycling. Some guys mountain bike, I like to road bike. I’ve spent most of my life in the forest so I just need to break it up a bit. The training isn’t much different than motocross. Maybe it’s a little higher heart rate but basically it’s the same as motocross training.

You came out of nowhere, it seemed, as a trials guy and jumped on a dirt bike and immediately found success in this. But that’s been going on for a while now. Do you ever get tempted to try something else, enduros, other off-road races, whatever? Or is this your home now?
I don’t know. So far, I’m really enjoying what I’m doing. This year has been tough at first, and winning these things is getting harder and harder. But I’m still having a lot of fun. It’s just so competitive right now, the pace of the top riders is getting faster and faster. So if you want to be competitive at the top level, at this stuff, there’s no way you can think about anything else. It’s one of those things—you have to commit to it.