Most trainers are known as positive people who know how to pick up an athlete when he’s down, but few are more positive, and seem to have more fun, than Pablo Toribio, James Stewart’s guy. We never, ever see this guy without a smile on his face. Of course, we’re not the ones he’s forcing to do another rep, either….

The cool thing about Pablo is that he runs his own gym during the week in a unique place for a motocross guy—New York City. You’ll see him on Twitter posting about 5:30 a.m. spin classes for business types in Manhattan. But he was, is, and always will be a motocross guy. A positive one at that!

Racer X: I don’t know if people realize how cool this is. You’ve got a background in the sport. You’ve worked with other riders. You’re James’ trainer now. But you’ve got a weird deal during the week. You almost couldn’t be further removed from what goes on in motocross.
Pablo Toribio: Exactly. I have my gym in the city, but I talk to James every day. We have a great relationship on the phone, and just work out by the phone and everything works perfect. During the season I go to all the races on the weekends, and in the off-season, we spend a lot days together at the track and in the gym.

What is your motocross connection? To be a guy from Manhattan doing spin classes there but still be a moto guy, how did that all come about?
I used to race professional motocross in the Dominican Republic. I was the Dominican Republic champ for a little while. Then I moved to the US and kept learning. I raced pro here; I made one national at Budds Creek. I was on the Dominican Republic Motocross of Nations team at Budds Creek in 2007—that was it for me, that was a great experience. I started learning more and more about the training side of the sport. I decided to be a personal trainer because I wanted to know better about my body for racing. I learned all that stuff, I studied everything, and then there we go!

James and Pablo celebrate James' win in Detroit.  Photo: Simon Cudby
James and Pablo celebrate James' win in Detroit.  Photo: Simon Cudby

How did the gym thing come about?
[Laughs] Well it’s funny, I was working out at a gym all the time in the city—I was really working hard there every morning. The owner of the gym asks me “What do you do?” and I told him I race motorcycles. He says, “Why do you have to be in shape to ride motorcycles? Doesn’t it do all the work?” I was learning more and more and eventually I opened up my own gym.

How did you end up making the connection with the guys that race here?
I used to train Justin Barcia. That’s a New York thing. Me and Justin were really good friends when he was a little kid. From there I brought him all the way to where he is in the 250s.

Even when he was down at Millsaps Training Facility and all that you were still involved?
Yes. I was the one who brought him to Colleen’s and Davi Millsaps and their facility.

Were there times where you weren’t coming to all these races? Or were you always pretty much around?
Always was around. This is what I love to do!

So you were with Justin pretty much his whole 250 time?
Yes, and then Davi and then James.

Ah yes, you had the Davi connection. So, in 2012, you were the “Davi lost 40 pounds” trainer?
[Laughs] Yes, that was me. In one month!

Pablo has also worked with Justin Barcia and Davi Millsaps. Photo: Chase Stallo
Pablo has also worked with Justin Barcia and Davi Millsaps. Photo: Chase Stallo

C’mon!
[Laughs] We made it happen.

C’mon Pablo, that’s not good! Forty pounds in one month, that can’t be healthy!
No, no, it was good! He did it. It was healthy. It was fun!

But he had a good year that year. He turned his career around.
Hey man, that’s how it is!

That had to be a big challenge then because I know Davi was coming back from some huge injuries, kidney problems from a big crash and such. The first year back from that was not a good year, 2011. What a rebuild that was.
It was a lot of hard work with Davi, but I’m glad we did it. We put our heads together, heads down and we worked hard. It was good.

This guy here, James, it’s kind of the same thing. When he rides like he did tonight, we all know he can do it. But there have been other times where I’m sure you guys are like, “C’mon on, what is going on here?” It’s been very up and down the last few years.
Exactly, but with James it’s a little easier. James is really, really determined. And I love him because I understand we’re both determined to make it happen. He’s just … he has unbelievable goals and determination.

I think that almost gets forgotten because we know how much talent James has, but usually when people are saying someone has talent then they’re dismissing the hard work part. But he is as into motocross and likes riding and studying it as anyone. It’s not just talent.
It’s not just talent. His talent is a gift and it helps a little bit, but another point is, and the point that I bring is that we work out and we work out every single day. Sometimes he says with his photos, “I’m on the couch.” No, no, don’t believe that because that’s not right! He’s having fun with that. We work. James works really hard.

When he throws a picture out there that makes it look like he’s chilling, there’s been hard work going on?
Oh yeah!

So this season, how good do you guys have to feel? You’ve really been chasing it for a year or two now, getting close, almost there … now it’s really starting to come together.
Yeah, it’s really good. I’m really happy. I’m really proud of him. The whole thing we wanted to change was ... I said to him at the beginning of the season, the best time you raced was when you were racing the 125s. I said, “I want to see your body the same way.” So you see he’s a lean, mean machine right now. He’s really lean, focused, and everything. He’s really fit. I’m so happy about that.

Will the Racer X Staff survive Pablo's spin class?Photo: Pablo Toribio
Will the Racer X Staff survive Pablo's spin class?Photo: Pablo Toribio

Nights like tonight it’s got to feel good, when you come from that far back.
Yeah, 14th in the start and come back and kill it. That was awesome.

During the week do people even know that you do this, your clients during the week?
Yeah, most of my clients know that.

Do they know anything about motocross?
Some of them, they start learning. They’re looking forward to seeing when they’re coming to New York. It’s going to be awesome.

So they’re going to get to check it out?
You should come to my facility and take a look and check it out. I can invite everybody to the spin class!

Yeah, right, kill our entire staff….
[Laughs] No man, it will be good!