Ask Ping

Ask Ping

September 5, 2014 9:50am

Ping

As I was watching my copy of The Incredibles for the thirty-ninth time, I couldn’t help but notice the facial similarity between you and the young son, Dash. Then I was reminded of something I’ve wanted to ask you since you have taken a different path after pro MX. And it’s this:

While I enlisted in the Armed Forces, I was lined up in the processing center in a room full of naked men who were told to turn our head and cough as some old doctor touched, prodded, and pulled my family tree. Then every scar, lump, and bump was scrutinized by this same guy with a clip board trying to determine if I was worthy to be of service to the good ol' US of A or 4F. I wonder how the handful of former pro MX-ers, you included, pass the initial fire department physical exam with all the plates, screws, and obvious injuries/scars since you have to be “honest” on all this info?

Is there a blind eye cast, and it’s more your overall physical fitness that determines if they will consider you? Is it not as strict, or is it friends in the right high places that has some leverage?

Mike
In the Cajon zone.

What do you think it is, Doc?
What do you think it is, Doc?

Mike,

That's quite a picture you paint of the processing center. You had to be questioning your decision to enlist as you stood there in that cold room waiting for the doc to squeeze your cash and prizes. I can't speak for others but my physical evaluations have been very thorough. A blood draw, treadmill stress test with EKG, and a complete physical performed by a doctor are all standard in the process (That all comes after you've passed a written test, two interviews, a background examination, polygraph, and a psychiatric evaluation). You are required to write down every injury and surgery you've had, and my list always raises an eyebrow when the doctor first walks in. Three ACL reconstructions, one broken femur (with rod), two AC separations, multiple broken arms (with plates), a broken finger, and a broken hand (with plate) are enough to make any doctor shake his head. Ultimately, however, it comes down to function and movement deficit. Examining doctors have asked me to squat down and walk across the room like a duck, hop up and down on one leg, touch my heel to my butt, exhibit flexion and extension in my wrists, and demonstrate my shoulder mobility by examining doctors. Fortunately, I made sure I went to the very best doctors I could find to fix my injuries, even if meant traveling out of state. When your ability to make a living depends on a full recovery that becomes a priority. Many folks just go to whatever doctor their insurance will cover and as a result they get average outcomes. With Damon Huffman at LAPD, Travis Baker currently in their academy, Jimmy McGuire starting with Riverside County Sheriff, and Joe Oehlhof and I in the fire department, it is possible to race dirt bikes and leave healthy enough to do something else.

PING

 

Dear Ping,

Should we all start speaking German?

After many misguided and violent attempts, it would appear Ze Germans did eventually take over the world, albeit through sport this time. Their team of professional injury feigners rolled around like the whimpering sissies that footballers are long enough to win the FIFA World Cup.

Ken Rocket (I'm trying to write Roczen, but spell check insists I change it), anyway, he has near enough conquered the motocross world. His checklist is full of ticks. GP MX2. AMA lites supercross (forget East West, he's got one, which is one more than, well... near everyone). He helped win Ze Germans the des Nations and now has an AMA 450 MX title to boot. For sure they are all just memories, but my... What memories they must be!

Only three major titles elude him. One he can do little about in the AMA 250 motocross title. He certainly can do something about the 450 supercross title and the other... Some little thing called the MX1 world championship.

If America ever releases him, can he and will he have the inclination to go for a clean sweep? Has that ever been achieved before?

I can see parallel to a potential MX1-chasing flaxen-haired warrior, saddled on a green charge who will also miss a foreign shored lites MX title due to the MX2 age ruling (as well as want or lack there of).

Enjoy the off-season by wallowing in mud. Mud. Glorious mud... (Yes, I went there).

Regards

Andrew
From an Autumnal mud-bound England

Hmmm, what could I take a picture of? Oh yeah… me!
Hmmm, what could I take a picture of? Oh yeah… me!

Andrew,

It appears as though it is a red, black, and yellow world and we are simply living in it. Germany is enjoying some sporting success in soccer and motocross recently, and I don't think the motocross side of it is going to end anytime soon. Kenny Roczen is poised to take over as top dog, and unless he takes a year off to focus on posting selfies, I don't know who is going to stop him. If you are going off last season's results, Roczen was easily the fastest guy on the track most times; he just wasn't as solid as Villopoto. With RV likely out it will be up to Trey Canard, Justin Barcia, Davi Millsaps, Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac and others to challenge for wins. I don't think it will be long until Kenny adds the supercross title to his resume. Maybe even several of them. You kind of lost me with the British jibber-jabber near the end of your rant, but I think you are saying something about Roczen going back to Europe to win an MX1 title. It seems like Ken has already embraced the American culture too much to go back. Hell, he doesn't even have an accent anymore! He has a blonde girlfriend, he's shooting guns and fishing, and driving a lifted four-wheel drive truck. He may still like Euro techno, but Kenny has turned into a country music song in real life. Besides, Ryan Villopoto is going to come over next year and become the first guy to win all three big titles. Enjoy that.

PING 

 

Dear Ping,

I've noticed recently that the trophies they hand out at the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross National Championship are getting bigger than ever. I know making the podium after these races is a huge accomplishment, but what does one do with a guitar, a rifle, a huge stump, or a snowboard?  Whatever happened to plastic trophies with the 1970's cross up on top or the simple plaque with a picture of Jeremy McGrath on it?  I can't believe these guys have enough space on the wall in their garage or "home office." I don't see Trey Canard strapping on that snowboard to hit the half pipe at Mammoth anytime soon. I am guessing this trend will continue and promoters will try to one up the other with even more obscure awards. Anyway, keep up the good work.

MJ

Ah, the good old days when trophies were a little more simple.
Ah, the good old days when trophies were a little more simple.

MJ,

So it is your opinion that rather than waste their time on making creative, unique, custom trophies for the winners at the nationals, they should go back to the crappy little plastic stick with a marble base and a Roger DeCoster wannabe doing a butt-whip up top? This is what you're saying? That's just dumb. I'm sure you are a terrific guy and you have plenty of neat qualities, but you should really run your thoughts by somebody before you submit them in print. The tracks are all involved in a yearly competition put on by MX Sports to see who can come up with the best trophies for the riders. It was a way to encourage the track owners to be creative and make something that the riders will really cherish. The first supercross race I won was in 1995 in San Jose, CA. The trophy is stuffed way back in a cabinet in my garage because it is basically the trophy you described in your letter. I would rather have let them keep the trophy and add another $20 to my purse money. The guns they give away in Tennessee, the axes from Washougal, and the Thor hammers from Indiana were some of the coolest trophies I've seen in a long time, and believe me, when you work as hard as these guys do to win them you find a place to put them. Most guys have an entire room in their house full of trophies, bikes, and awards. You think chicks dig scars? You should see how they react to a room full of first place trophies. That's what I hear, anyway.

PING

Have a question for Ping? Email him at ping@racerxonline.com.