With the series finale wrapping up two weeks ago at Ironman, the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season is in the books. Without a race to look forward to each weekend until 2019, we asked Ryan Sipes, Kyle Chisholm, and Jake Weimer how they feel after a long season, what they do, and if they do anything different for rest and recovery, We also took a peek on Instagram to see how they spend time with their families now that the heavy travel schedule is over.
1. Think back to the end of a long season for you when you raced a full supercross and outdoor schedule. What did you do the week after the season was over?
Ryan Sipes: As little as possible. I was fortunate enough most years to be on a factory race team, so there was no cleanup or driving home and working on bikes. I would try to get out and play some golf or just hang out with my buddies. The stress less-ness of not having to race for a few months was glorious. The season is long, and when you can kick back and not worry about training, eating right, doing motos, you take full advantage of it.
Jake Weimer: When I raced both outdoor and indoor, after the season I would continue to train, but typically nothing high-intensity. Pretty mellow, but kept moving. I can only remember going on one real vacation after the season. I would still do some gym, but much mellower. Zero motorcycle for a week or two.
Kyle Chisholm: Last year (2017) wasn’t exactly a full season of AMA racing, but it was actually a little more racing than that for me. I did the full SX schedule and then did the nine-race series in Canada, along with a few AMA outdoor races and the MXGP in Florida. So it was a lot of racing like a lot of us racers do each year. And let me tell you, it’s a long season! For me, when the season is over, it's a time to reflect on the season and relax a little bit. The week right after, I always like to just stay home and relax. We travel so much throughout the year and train during the week a ton, so we’re really not home in the house all that much. It’d be interesting to do the math on exactly how much time is really spent at home. I usually catch up on some things around the house and try to be a little bit lazy [laughs]. I say lazy because I’m someone who always has to be doing something. I get bored easily and like to find things to do. I’m a busybody. And yes, it really annoys my wife [laughs].
2. How did you feel physically and mentally during that first week without a race?
Sipes: To be honest, more tired than a normal week. It was almost like my body stayed amped up during the season because there was so much I had to do every week to be ready for the next one. But when there wasn’t a race to look forward to, I felt just sluggish and un-motivated, except the years where the end of the season didn’t go well. Those years, I would start training that next week for Anaheim!
Weimer: Physically, a little tired, but I normally felt pretty decent, aside from an injury. Much bigger effect mentally for me. I would just feel like I could relax. January through August/September is mentally a lot: racing most weekends, traveling, and constantly trying to improve, stay fit, and manage health and injuries.
Chisholm: That first week without a race and without a race in the near future to prepare for always feels weird. You get a little time to relax and, like I said, it’s weird not having to be preparing—mentally and physically—for the next race. Most of the time, if you had a nice long healthy season, your body is pretty worn down and beat up. Even if you didn’t have any big injuries, your body is still beat up a little bit. We always have something nagging us and our energy levels may be a little low. The travel alone takes a toll on you. But that’s one thing I’ve learned to manage much better now that I’m older [and] more experienced. I like that better [laughs].
But yeah, it’s very important to pay attention to your body and really plan out training cycles throughout the season to maintain your body and energy as best as you can. And mentally, it takes a toll on us having to prepare each week for so long and go through all of what the race days throw at us. So I feel like, more than physical, the mental rest is the best part.
3. Did you do anything different for rest and recovery?
Sipes: I would always take at least two weeks off, if not more. I never did a ton of off-season races, so I knew I had time to rest and get fully recovered before diving into training again. And when I did start training, the pace was super relaxed compared to in-season. I would definitely try to sleep more, and maybe I had a few double cheeseburgers too, but I never went full pedestrian. I always felt like if I wasn’t training and eating right, someone else was and I was losing a step!
Weimer: I would definitely loosen up on what I was eating. I would say for a week or two, I would eat pretty much whatever I wanted. I’m sure there was some naps thrown in there [laughs].
Chisholm: For that rest and recovery period, I didn’t change a whole lot besides a few things. I try to eat a good balanced diet regularly anyway, and for me, that’s more of a lifestyle choice than anything. I like to eat healthy and feel healthy. But don’t get me wrong, if I want a little ice cream, I’ll treat myself [laughs]. Everything in moderation. These guys that never eat anything bad at all are either lying or depriving themselves for no reason. A little ice cream never hurt anyone. But it is nice to not feel so guilty if you eat a couple scoops of ice cream.
My sleep doesn’t change much. Resting is just as important as training, so I try to make that a priority always. Getting a nap in during the day right after a training session and good lunch is one of the best ways for your body to recover. I definitely tone back the training; I’d say I like to normally take a couple weeks totally off the bike. Maybe a week or so of no training. But then after a week or two, I like to just spend a couple weeks riding a little bit but just for fun. No serious motos or real structured riding. And maybe just ride two or three times a week.
And for the training, I never want to take off too much time so you don’t lose all of that base fitness you built up throughout the year. So just light cardio just to keep that base, and same with the strength training. It’s all about balance. Letting your body rest and recover, but also keeping the level of fitness that way you can build on that for the upcoming season to be even better. Because if you’re not getting better, then someone else is and they’re trying to take your job. So maybe a couple weeks totally off, followed by a couple weeks of easy training and riding for fun. But then it’s typically right back to the grind and starting the off-season phase of your training schedule.