Five years ago, I was standing around at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds watching AMA Pro Flat Track racing. It was the Santa Rosa Mile, and I found myself leaning in on the outside rail, watching as riders entered into a very fast first turn section. As the afternoon wore on, I looked to my left and noticed that multi-time national champion Micky Dymond happened to be standing next me, doing the same thing I was doing. After saying hello and chatting for a bit, Dymond agreed to an interview, which can be found here.
During that interview, Micky explained that he was going to race a crazy bicycle race, which was called the Race Across America, or RAAM for short. He said he was deep into training for it, even though it was still some eight months out. Dymond, along with his teammates Ben Bostrom, the late Dave Mirra, and Dave Zabriskie, did in fact compete in and complete the race. Along the way, the group started calling themselves (using a name that Mirra came up with) The Legends of the Road.
For 2017, Dymond is back preparing for RAAM, and more physical punishment. But this time, it is different. Dymond has agreed to participate with the motocross equivalent of an all-star lineup, as he’ll team up with David Bailey, Doug Henry, and Jeff Ward. The team is continuing with the name coined by Mirra, and is pedaling across America to raise money for the Road 2 Recovery foundation.
Dymond and the team are hoping to raise $100,000. You can help by donating to their cause right here.
Racer X: Micky, I hear you have decided to come back for more punishment and do this crazy race again?
Micky Dymond: Well, you know, how do you say no to David Bailey and Doug Henry? When David asked me, there was absolutely no way I was going to say no! But it’s an honor to be part of this group. All three of those guys are superheroes of mine. I just kinda slid in there, and I consider myself lucky. We might be the only team like us, and maybe that takes off some pressure. But it is still 3000 miles, and a lot of things happen in that time. But I think this one will be slower pace. I am somewhat eager to just stay awake the whole time and experience it! But it should be a bit more enjoyable, as far as just pushing myself.
How was that first one you did? I know it was a few years back, but what do you recall from it?
I really loved the first time I did it; it was such an awesome experience. It was such a long and grueling event, and as it went on, the harder it seemed to get. Your mind and your body is telling you how crazy you are, and that you can’t go another mile. But you do, you push yourself and push on. For me, I cherish those things the most. All those things in life that are the hardest to achieve and take the most work, or the most suffering and sacrifice, those are the things that mean the most. So for me, I am like “bring it on again.”
So how exactly did these pieces fall into place?
The first I heard, David wanted to do it. It was his original idea to do it with a four-man hand cycle team. We talked about it, and I was super stoked for him. He asked me to help him, and with my experience and connections, I knew I could really share some wisdom. So there were no questions if I wanted to do it as a team member at that time, it was just a four-man team and I was going to help. Then it became clear that it might be difficult to find four hand cyclists, as well as the actual bikes, and it would be very expensive. People don’t realize just how much support goes into it. So for me, I just love the spirit in people that make them want to do this. David has that spirit, Doug has it, and Wardy is just a badass. Heck, he won how many championships, then almost won the Indy 500?! Growing up as a kid, I was always a huge Bailey fan, and then was on the Factory Honda team with him in 1986 and 1987. I was his teammate when he got hurt. So when it finally became clear that it was more realistic to look at two hand cycles and two traditional riders, David asked me. And, um, how do I say no to David Bailey? I didn’t want to find a reason to not make it work. It’s not like I have a super great job and can’t get time off. So I needed to find a way to make it happen. These things just have a way of working out, as they always do.
It is certainly not a cheap event. Tell me about the involvement with the Road 2 Recovery?
That’s for sure. And for me, you know, I live like everyone else. I am paycheck to paycheck—but I always find a way to go for the adventure. I guess that in life I could have been so much better off if I hadn’t chased the adventures, but I like the once in lifetime opportunities. To do something of this size, and with David, Doug and Jeff, and Road 2 Recovery, well that’s just awesome. I can help raise money and help inspire riders who were not as fortunate as riders like myself and Wardy. David and Doug have dealt with setbacks that I never had to live with, and I couldn’t begin to understand them. And to be part of that adventure, with them, well it’s just awesome.
So you guys are doing this to raise money for the Road 2 Recovery?
Yes. David had started to build some momentum with his effort and was talking to people about support. He talked to Jimmy Button, and he immediately wanted to be part of it. Jimmy wants to be there to help make it happen. So David and I did some rides together and we talked about what we could do to help them, and how it would all work. We asked ourselves, “How is this great for everyone?” Jimmy and the gang over there were working with Jessy Nelson, and I know David was helping them out as well.
Tell me about your team name: Legends of the Road.
When I did the race in 2014, we looked for a name. Dave Mirra came up with the name. It was a lot to digest at first, and I thought it was a little cheesy, honestly, but then it made more sense as time when on. And then in a typical Dave Mirra way, he sold us on it, he told us why it made sense to use. It meant a lot to all of us back then, and then when Dave passed away, that was the end of it. When I was speaking with Jimmy and Lori (from Road 2 Recovery) Lori suggested we bring the name back. It just made total sense. Now we are talking about something that could be an annual thing. For me, I just want to honor those riders that have had some issues and maybe can’t do what we can do. Look at David and Doug, those guys have no reason to put themselves through this. But they want to do this for multiple reasons, and that reason hit home with me. They don’t have to settle.
You’ve done this before, and you sort of know what to expect. Tell me about that?
Well, the biggest thing is that it is a physical and mental challenge like no other. It is 24 hours a day for eight to nine days. It is total insanity. Have you ever done a 24-hour event, or stayed up all night?
I’ve stayed up all night, but never raced for 24 hours.
Well, one 24 hour event is worthy of a lifetime, and most people won’t do a 24 hour event at all, let alone consider doing it for eight or nine days! That is territory that physically and mentally you don’t get into, ever, anywhere. That is unless you become the Book of Eli and travel through the Wasteland. But people don’t do this. I love the chance to find a way that it can be done for everyone, and prejudice doesn’t exist except in your mind. I don’t know what it’s like to be David or Doug, I don’t hear them saying “I can’t” or “I shouldn’t” in their spirit, and anymore than what I see in anyone else. So, I am a witness and observer, and I will put in every ounce of energy I have to make us good and help out along the way.
You had a setback a few weeks ago. What happened?
I still do some Supermoto stuff, and every now and then I still race. But I fell down practicing for a race at Stateline—for the Anthony Hart memorial race. We had bad weather, and I don’t know what happened, but I went down hard. I broke some ribs and had a stage 2 laceration on my liver. I sort of blew it off at first, but I should have known better than to just tough it out. Later on, I knew something was wrong, and then got CAT scan at the hospital. I had to stay overnight as I was bleeding internally. Luckily, that stopped on its own, but it was sort of a scare. So that was two weeks ago, and I have been just resting at home. I thought I would wait 10 days until I pedaled again, but today was my first day out. I just did a little ride.
How many miles is a little ride?
Just 15 today. I went just a little bit and climbed a few hills. I felt okay, but the ribs are a reminder that I hurt myself. I tried to get my heart rate over 120 and tested out the accelerated heartbeat. It felt good, so I will pick up the training program next week. You know, we all have setbacks. You try to get wiser from them, but this one was incredibly strange; I hit the ground so fast that I didn’t have time to slow down.
On a personal note, are you still living up north in the Napa area?
I am. We are still in Santa Rosa; I really like it up here. We have crested the wet season, or least the bulk of it. But everything else since the last time we talked is pretty much the same. Well, I am a grandfather now, my oldest boy had a son, so that is super cool. I do go back and fourth to Orange County a lot, so I see lots of friends and family down there. One thing I have been working on, a personal goal, is to do a solo RAAM in 2018. Also, I have been working on a book as well, that is close to being finished and released.
Any closing words?
Thank you for giving us a platform to speak about this adventure. I would also say that Doug Henry is the kind guy that if you gave him a wood boat and he had to paddle it all the way to California for this race, he would do it. I think that because of our collective fitness, we are going to be competitive and will hopefully beat quite a few of the teams!