Hello and hope all is well. Straight to it, no foreplay: How difficult is it to manage the first pro holeshot? Underneath the exterior aura of a professional athlete, do pros have deep dark weak thoughts like “don't wreck?” Or are they inherently filled to the brim with self-belief?
With these answered, did Justin Cooper leave Hangtown reflecting on both motos with a tone of confidence, or with a quiet realization of the work ahead to not only be able to hold position, but learn the pro speed and pro race craft to rip through a pack?
On a separate note: Huge thanks to MX Sports and the AMA, it's great to see and hear the beauty of 125s back on track.
I can’t speak for other riders, but I can tell you that confidence is a fickle animal. There is a long history of rookie riders coming out swinging at the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross opener in Sacramento. Josh Grant stands out to me, but there have been many. These kids blast off to a holeshot in their first pro moto and look like they’re going to run away with their first win, then the race hits the 20-minute mark and they realize how tired they are with 15 minutes left to run. The confidence that was brimming a few laps earlier starts to disappear like a box of Twinkies at fat camp. That realization turns to panic and, like clockwork, you can watch the rookies start to take a peek over their shoulders. Yep, the veterans of the class are coming like a freight train. I’ve seen that movie before and it doesn’t end with the rookie on the podium.
After setting a blistering pace, Cooper was gobbled up by the former champions as the race came to a close. Cooper showed he has all the speed he needs to win races; it’s just going to take some time to develop physically and psychologically before that happens. I’m sure his team was thrilled with what they saw at Hangtown because the things he needs will come with time. It’s much more difficult to teach a rider how to go faster than it is to improve conditioning and mental strength.
Yes, it was cool to see the excitement about the 125 Class. From what I hear, the entries for the other rounds are already full, and they are going to have to run qualifiers on Fridays! That’s awesome, and it shows the promoters just how much interest there is in 125 racing.
So I am a late-thirties guy who's now a first-time father, and find it harder and harder to talk myself into riding now that I have a little girl at home. Having a baby really changed my way of thinking whether I like it or not. And though I still think that MX is by far the most exciting sport to be a part of, I find myself making excuses not to go ride—while in the back of my mind thinking of the risk versus reward of it all.
Also, I have friends around who always ask, "When you gonna get that little girl her first dirt bike!?" and all I can think is, shaaaa right! No way dude, like I want my little girl anywhere near these things!
Anyhow, I figured since you’re a family man, you could shed some light on the subject.
A fan of DP
I get your reluctance to get hurt. As a guy with a job and a family, you have to think about the consequences more than kids without responsibilities. I don’t know your skill level or history of crashing, but I’ve just accepted what my limits are and I make a concerted effort to stay well within those limits. Sometimes I’ll go to a track and there is a jump that a few pros are doing. I know I could do it in my head, but after a quick assessment of what could go wrong, I have to be all right with NOT doing the jump. Sometimes it bothers me, but making those choices keeps me safe and allows me to continue to ride.
Yes, there is still risk, but there is a fine line between making wiser choices and not living your life. I love to ride; it’s a mix between therapy and full-blown addiction, so I’m not willing to quit riding. Each guy has to make that call on their own, though.
As far as kids go, again, that’s a judgment call. My girls have bikes, but we just cruise around for fun. They aren’t interested in racing, but we have fun riding trails together and, with my supervision, I feel like I’m limiting their risk. Hope you can find a resolution, even if it’s trail riding or trials or whatever. Cheers.
This sport has an uncanny ability to squash news stories in a hurry. I’m guessing we will hear very little on [Broc] Tickle’s suspension from the motorsports media. This little hiccup ruins the credibility of the Baker Training Program, and no one wants to hear that.
If you think for a minute that this is some mistake in WADA testing or Broc downed a Five-Hour Energy Drink by mistake, you are a moron and probably believe in the tooth fairy also. And Broc did not suddenly turn into a chemist and research how methylhexaneamine can improve his stamina and take it all on his own. This was given to him to take, as with all the Baker riders. Aldon just missed the timing with Broc.
But here’s the real kicker. I’m totally okay with it. The level of physical demands these guys put their bodies through is insane. The human body’s ability to heal itself naturally is just not possible with the duration of a pro motocrosser’s training regimen. I would have thought these guys would be getting popped first taking a true anabolic steroid for its recovery purposes over a drug that increases stamina. And the right thing to do is tell the truth and not pull the MLB players’ bullshit stories of how you know nothing about it.
I know if you print this in “Ask Ping,” you are gonna tear me a new one and that’s okay. It will be a better “Ask Ping” entry than you having to answer questions about an electric motorcycle again.
No need to tear you a new one… sounds like you’re a big enough asshole on your own. Lol. I’m just kidding, man; you tee’d that one up for me. But I think passing judgment on Aldon or his other athletes is inappropriate. Yes, Baker used to compete in professional cycling, but he got out of it because he didn’t approve of the rampant drug use in that sport. I’m the type of guy who likes to make my decisions based on facts, and Aldon hasn’t had any other rider he’s training get caught using PEDs. So our only evidence is that his guys win titles? That isn’t proof.
I think we, as a sport, need to ask ourselves one question: Do we want drug testing or not? I’ll put you down for a “no.” Personally, I don’t want to see motocross turned into cycling in the sixties where the riders were hopped up on a mix of cocaine and steroids right up until their heart exploded like an M-16 in a mailbox as they crested the Alpe D’huez. Feld and MX Sports obviously felt the same way. Again, the rules are black and white. “Here’s the list of banned substances… stay away from these and you’ll be fine.”
Despite what Broc Tickle’s attorney keeps posting on his social media, you aren’t going to find methylhexanamine in any reputable pre-workout or recovery drink. It is still being snuck into some shady products made in clandestine compounding pharmacies; one of those products is a pre-workout called “Crack.” If you’re a professional athlete taking a pre-workout called Crack, you really need to reassess your decision-making methods. I think the length of the suspensions is harsh for our sport, but I’m a big believer in the rule of law in general. Don’t break the rules and you won’t have any problems.
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