Ask Ping

Ask Ping

July 17, 2015 9:00am

Ping, 

What, in your opinion, can be done to improve the safety of our precious sport? Besides requiring a DOT approved helmet I don’t see the anyone pushing for more/better safety gear and we are currently in another year of rider "platitude." I don’t need to tell you but when the stars of the sport are sitting on the sidelines it is less interesting and thus less valuable. It’s great that there are knee braces, neck braces, wrist braces, etc., should these be mandated? Is there even any science behind many of these products?

Don’t get me wrong, while I don’t want to see anyone get hurt, a little bit of danger is one of the things that separates MX from say ping pong or quilting.

Your thoughts? 

Rob

I know a few guys who could use this technology.
I know a few guys who could use this technology.

Rob, 

This is a very touchy subject because by mandating certain safety equipment you open yourself up to liability. What if you make neck braces mandatory and someone gets hurt anyway? Living in the litigious world we do, that is something that no promoter wants to get caught up in--having to explain why the neck brace you made mandatory didn't save someone's neck.

If you look at the injuries that the sport's top riders are suffering from, there really isn't a clear-cut answer. Chest protectors aren't going to fix broken wrists, and even riders with knee braces are blowing out ACLs once in a while. The athletes themselves need to be smart about their protection choices, and the teams should overly protective of their investments. Stick and ball sports have wording in their athlete's contracts that they can't do any kind of dangerous activity during the season to risk injury (and I guarantee fireworks are being added to every NFL player contract as a no-no). We don't have that, but then again, practicing and testing alone come with risks. Mainstream sports teams also do complete prior-injury and deficiency screenings before hiring an athlete to assess their potential for injury. We don't do that. We often fly by the seat of our pants in the motocross world, and the only way more protective equipment is going to be required is if the teams put their foot down and do it internally. Yes, motocross is awesome and amazing because it is so tough. But watching twenty-three guys race the last GP because everybody else is hurt is not good, and the fact that they made chest and back protection is interesting, but it would be difficult to do here because of liability issues.

And finally, better protective equipment will encourage more riders to use it. I think many companies are on the right track with this right now, and we’ll see big improvements in the next few years in safety gear.

PING

Pingaling, 

I just watched the new episodes of MX Nation and was curious of your thoughts. I'm a huge fan of Troy Adamitis and his work, and he highlighted the opposing trainers and methods of Roczen and Dungey. In one corner there are people trying to avoid burn out, and keep it fun. In the other, the trainers are at work 24/7 365, and crank out championship machines year in and year out. It seems like there are a lot of trainers out there and the main goal is different with all of them. Roczen's crew wants to win, but have fun. Coach Seiji and Andrew Short want to stay consistent and healthy all year long, but put winning on the back burner sometimes. And Aldon Baker's only acceptable form of currency is the number one plate.

What are your thoughts on having so many trainers in the sport with different goals?

Thanks!

YZ Woods guy 

Very fancy. Definitely not for everybody.
Very fancy. Definitely not for everybody.

YZ guy, 

There are definitely some different training styles out there, and that's okay. Much like a pair of overpriced, heavily bedazzled man-jeans, not every person fits into one program, and some just aren't comfortable being in them. Aldon Baker has an excellent program, but it’s strict and intense, and if you don't find some satisfaction and enjoyment in the work itself, you aren't going to last.

Ricky Carmichael and Ryan Villopoto both shined brightly under his tutelage, but they also burned out more quickly than they might have otherwise. Some guys aren't willing to move to Florida. If you have family elsewhere, it might be too much of an uprooting to ship the whole family out. Shorty seems like he loves Texas, and he and Seiji have a good thing going. I don't know exactly why Roczen left Aldon, he mentioned in a video recently that he wasn’t eating enough on that program and felt tired, but it also seems like he’s looking for a program with a little more balance of fun and "normalcy" than what the Bakery provides. Hopefully Ken can stay healthy next year, and we'll get to see if he can make his own program work. I know it seems like winning should be the only goal of every rider on the line, but that is just dumb. There are less than ten guys on any given weekend capable of winning, and many of them end up hurt or nursing an injury or working through confidence issues or bike issues or fitness issues. 

A good trainer will set realistic goals and continue to raise the bar as each goal is achieved. Different trainers are good as long as they are educated and understand the demands of the sport.

PING 

Ping,

Long time listener, first time caller. A few weeks ago you discussed the state of outside sponsorship. I may have another for the sport to exploit. Let me explain: I went to Glen Helen this year and volunteered to do the most thankless job... I stood in a corner with a yellow flag. After enjoying many nationals over the years I thought I should “give back” to the sport I hold dear and do my part to ensure the riders safety in my area, but I digress.

What I saw in the crowd that misty morning besides the black socks and flat brim hats was huge puffs of what I thought at the time was smoke. I assumed it was the younger crowd treating their glaucoma. Then it dawned on me they were puffing on an e-cig, I had no idea they were that popular. I chalked it up to a California thing but almost every national I watch on TV, when they do a crowd shot you see someone belching out a cloud of nicotine and water vapor.

Could this industry be the next revenue stream for our sport? Like the sugar water industry, I bet this product is cheap to make, the profits high and it fits the MX demographic better than OJ’s glove.

Kind Regards 

Oil Field Trash

Trash,

According to the information I've been able to gather on the subject, along with my own personal opinion, "vaping" is a safe and effective alternative to standing in a large crowd of people with a bullhorn shouting, "I'm a complete asshole." Listen, I'm willing to look the other way when it comes to energy drinks, caffeinated nuts, beef jerky, and whatever else the "extreme" generation peddles to make kids more "radical." I'm all for free enterprise. Besides, unless we get a Whole Foods grocery chain or the Paleo Diet bar as title sponsors of supercross and motocross, the products we endorse aren't going to be great for you. Video games, Taco Bell, Mountain Dew Code Red—all that crap is slowly killing us. But those idiotic electronic cigarettes are completely out of the question. We've come a long way since the days when Coors and Camel were the two title sponsors of the series, and we don't need to go backwards. I'm sure the profits are great, and you look super cool at parties blowing smoke out of your face like a brain-damaged choo-choo train, but I'm not supporting it.

PING