When I was racing, this was arguably the time of year I looked forward to and enjoyed the most. The fall is considered the offseason for the sport of motocross, where we would typically get six weeks to completely turn off our competitive side and enjoy some much-needed and well-deserved rest and relaxation. Fittingly, the offseason also coincides with the holidays, which makes for an ideal time to not have to think much about being on the bike.
It’s hard to really explain how much we put our minds and bodies through over the course of a 29-race season. Of all the things about our sport, I think the investment made to be at our competitive best is the most underappreciated aspect. Few sports require the same kind of focus and attention to detail that is necessary to be a championship-caliber racer. We’re constantly on the move, trying to find ways to go faster or get fitter. Most riders will spend three days in the weeks between races riding, looking to maintain our performance level and try adjustments to the bike that could pay off on the weekends. If we’re not on the track, we’re either in the gym or engaging in some sort of crossover training like cycling. In fact, we still engage in light cardio work even on our travel days around the races. There really is no sense of slowing down or taking a break, because you frankly can’t take the risk of a rival making any sort of gains.
For myself, I lived, slept and breathed racing when I was in season. You could say I put blinders on from January through September, because I was fully invested in doing everything I could to ensure I was in the best possible position to go out and win on any given weekend. That’s a byproduct of the work ethic instilled by my father when I was younger. I understood very early on that if you put in the work, it will pay off in the long run. So, when I was racing, I had no problem investing in the small parts that would ultimately make me better whenever the gate dropped.
I think the other important thing to consider as I explain the all-in mindset to chasing championships is the fact that we as motocross racers have a very short career. I myself enjoyed a 10-year run, which could be considered a long and healthy career. I also feel like I made the decision to walk away at a time when I was still in a position to win races. As I got older, my values and priorities shifted alongside personal milestones like getting married, and I chose to leave on a high note knowing that I accomplished everything I set out to achieve. I made the most of it and that remains one of the most rewarding aspects whenever I look back.
With that being said, I’d be lying if I told you that the racing bug is still in me. It wasn’t a big secret that I considered a comeback, and now I have the opportunity to work alongside KTM once again to help them keep their program in top form. I still love being on a dirt bike, but I also don’t miss that grind of it all whatsoever, and I’m reminded of that whenever this time of the year rolls around. I’m happy for my peers who are still racing to finally get that time off, but I’m also relieved I’m not in that same position.
The offseason is the one time of the year when racers can feel “normal” again. We don’t get the creature comforts that the vast majority of the population gets, like federal holidays, spring break and summer break, planned vacations, or even a little sightseeing while we’re on the road. We’re so wrapped up in the moment of the season that it's too great an expense to ever divert our attention away from the goal.
However, I’ve found that if you do it right, the offseason is also the most rewarding time of the year. It’s the culmination of 10 months of giving it everything you have, where you can take the time to look back at what you accomplished and feel a sense of pride that makes us feel like all the sacrifices and hard work was worth it. It’s pretty gnarly what the body is capable of enduring and we put both our physical and mental strength to the test every season. When we’re finally able to give our bodies that break it deserves, it really is gratifying.
When the time comes, it’s fun to dabble in the other things we all have interest in. For myself, that was golfing, fishing, spending time on the lake here in Minnesota, and taking the time to plan a trip where I can just be a tourist and enjoy the destination. It’s also nice to appreciate the simpler things in life, like the wonderful fall weather, engaging in various fall and holiday activities, and the opportunity to just enjoy being home. We racers are no different than the rest of you either, because when the end of our offseason starts to approach we dread leaving the slower pace of life.
The key to it all, in my opinion, is to just enjoy the moment. I’m so very lucky to have had a long and successful career as a motocross racer, and it’s the appreciation for that which inspired the creation of RD Coffee. I’ve put a little bit of everything I’ve talked about into the development of our lineup of roasts and it’s my hope that these beans can make all of your own personal investments a little bit more enjoyable. We’re here to fuel your pursuit.