Jan 28 2010

Trouble Shooting: Arm Pump

I recently had a conversation with a rider who was looking to get back into racing after a little break.  He is a quick kid and riding a 450.  Now, unless you are Davi Millsaps or Josh Hill, most people are going to have to take a little bit to get back into race mode, especially if you are of a smaller stature.  Even if you are a mini rider stepping up to big bikes, arm pump is something that might be a burden.  I was thinking to myself, why do you get arm pump?  A few ideas popped into my head and some of them might be easy to fix, while others may take some time.

First of all, form is the most important thing.  Obviously, you want to keep your head up, looking ahead and not at your fender.  Your elbows should be squared up, grip the bike with your legs and keep a neutral, attack position over the bike.  This is numero uno.  If you have your elbows are down, your back and arms come into play more.  Once this happens, your upper body becomes fatigued and you just get tired.  Thus, you get a death grip on the bars.

This leads me to my next idea.  Gripping with your legs keeps the bike from dancing underneath of you.  It tracts straight in the rough stuff and you don’t ride like a goon.  As I have said before in previous articles, your legs are a larger muscle group and take a greater load of stress for longer periods of time than your chest and arms.  If you have “chicken legs” (i.e. weak legs), then they are going to burn out early in the moto.  When this happens, your upper body has to compensate and takes over.  If you are still riding when your upper body burns out as well, your form suffers.

When you have been off of the bike for a while, you lose that moto “muscle.”  You’ll feel those muscles when you ride after a long hiatus and your back or your quads are sore.  This happens for northerners that can’t ride in the winter.  You’ve lost the endurance and strength.  That is why is it important to train in seasons if you live where the weather won’t let you ride.  Don’t kill yourself with cardio; concentrate on getting back that overall strength.  Once, regionals and regular weekend racing starts, you can go back to cardio and interval sessions.

Finally, maybe you have a mental problem.  Not, literally; you don’t need to see a therapist.  What I am talking about is a mental block, so to speak.  You “psych” yourself out and at races or qualifiers and you make yourself more nervous.  Maybe you need to podium to win the series or something.  You add stress to yourself on the line and second guess your abilities.  That is the difference between champions and the guys who fill up the gate.  Dungey, Stewart, Carmichael, Villopoto…they all knew what they had to do, but they just went out and rode.  Block out the doubts and ask yourself, how did I get here?  You did it once before, just let it flow out of you.

If these suggestions don’t work, get forearm surgery ….that’s a joke.  Don’t do that.

Jan 26 2010

Training while Sick

Everyone get sick.  This is the perfect time of year for colds, the flu and any other crazy sickness there is.  The weather here is Florida changing from warm to cold, and then back to warm.  It is wrecking my body’s immune system!  I recently came down with a small bug that left me with a sore throat and a little tired.  Despite lots of rest and liquids in me, I woke up yesterday feeling a bit groggy and still a bit weak.  It was the first day of my workouts for the week and I was a bit hesitant to go to the gym.

So I looked and asked around and found that if you are feeling up to it, then go for it.  However, there are a few things to take into consideration.  Remember that I had gotten plenty of rest and was just feeling a bit tired.  I was not running a fever and I was able to get out of bed and go to class.  Training with a fever is something that is not advisable.  Your body is running a higher than normal temperature as it is and elevating the temperature could lead to a more serious illness.

If you have a head cold and can barely get off of the couch, you are better off to stay on the couch.  Once, you start to feel better, you still have to take it easy with the exercise.  I have learned this the hard way a few years ago.  I was sick for a few days during the week and started to feel better on Friday.  I was wanting to race on Saturday and convinced my dad I was feeling better.  Although I had an okay finish that race, the next day I felt terrible.  I had the cold again, but it was twice as worse.

So, really what I am trying to say is that if you can perform everyday activities fine, then take it easy in the gym.  You have start listening to your body and you will know when you can and can’t train/ride.  Light cardio is probably the best idea because you are not exerting a lot of force on the body.  Just remember to have plenty of water with you before, during and after your workout.  It is even more crucial when you are sick.  If you are good from the nose up, you should be okay.  Just be smart about it!

Tired of Being Tired?

Jan 25 2010

Smoother Corners

Billy Laninovich is famous for always saying, “You jump for show and corner for dough.”  This is the best way to put it for amateurs.  Everyone loves a good whip, if you don’t you aren’t human.  But one thing that separates the pros from the amateurs is cornering.  At the professional level, every jumps the same thing and unless you can scrub harder and lower than everyone else, you need to be quick in the turns.  Normally, people try to brake later and/or get on the gas earlier to improve corner speed.  However, one thing that can have you draggin’ your bars by next week is minimize clutch play.

If you ride consistently at a track, you always hear it.  You approach the corner, downshift, let off the clutch and get back on the gas.  That BRAP! BRAP! before the corner.  This not only kills your clutch plates, but it forms those annoying rollers in turns and slows down your momentum.  Whenever you are slipping the clutch, trying to get the RPMs up, you are not putting power to the ground.  That is the main difference between the pros and amateurs; once the pros are done braking and downshifting, they let off the clutch smoothly and get on the gas.

This habit of revving the motor up before a corner is something I do and everyone else does.  We are all guilty of it.  To get rid of this, you have to really concentrate on letting the clutch out once and just getting on the gas.  It helps a lot if you come in with a bit more speed and momentum so you don’t have a chance to hold the clutch in and rev out.  A good place to start is on a faster, wide corner where clutch play is minimal.

Once you have that part smoothed out, move on to tighter, inside ruts.  This is where most people hold in the clutch and roll towards the corner. This is where you form the braking bumps because you slow down too much and get anxious to get back on the throttle.  Again, come in with a bit more speed (don’t just bomb through the corner), get the braking down and get off of the clutch and back on the gas in one, fluid motion.  You will be able to carry a hell of a lot more speed through turns and cut your lap times down significantly.

Jan 23 2010

New Link

What’s up guys. I came across a site that has a lot of great info on bike maintenance, upcoming race date and a bunch of other stuff. Check it out!


Jan 21 2010

Phoenix Fiasco: Maintaining Your Line

By now, everyone who watches professional motocross should know about Phoenix.  The whole round in Arizona sucked for James Stewart, Kyle Partridge, and Chad Reed.  The press and forums lit up as soon as it happened and is still being talked about.  Although, the riders are looking forward to another round (possibly a mudder?) at Anaheim, the scenario keeps running through my head.  This is every riders worst nightmare; getting landed on by fellow racer.

Obviously James Stewart is the fastest man on the planet.  He knows this and so does everyone else who lines up next to him.  When Stewart got a mid pack start, he was surrounded by the “average” professional supercross racer.  From the Skype interview, Stewart says that he was behind Windham and was about to crash into the back of him.  Logically, you want to avoid crashing on a triple of that size and Stewart moved over into Partridge’s line.

It would be safe to say that 95% of the people who race motocross could not actually jump a triple in traffic.  I am not bashing Stewart in anyway, but he needs to follow his line and be more aware of his surroundings.  He is not in the front and he is surrounded by people.  For Kyle Partridge to say that he lost all respect for Stewart is a bit harsh, but I would be pissed too.  He was looking to have a good heat race and make the main.

I don’t care if you are an A rider or just learning how to ride, everyone needs to stick to their lines.  I am guilty of it and so is everyone else, including Stewart and the rest of the pros…Chad Reed included, but that is another article.  Anyway, keeping your head up and looking at the approaching obstacles and knowing who is around you is basic stuff.  This keeps you and the rest of the riders safe…and happy.  What happened in Phoenix was a bunch of crazy events that went wrong.  I know Stewart is fast, but as the “leader” into mainstream exposure, he has to be on the lookout for other riders and maintain his line, especially at his pace.  Try your hardest to maintain your line, don’t do anything stupid and everyone will be able to ride next week.

Here’s a video of the situation.  The first 30 seconds cover all of the angles pretty well.  The other part of the video covers Reed’s incident.

Need All Day Energy?

Jan 19 2010

4 tips to keep you going at the track

Maintaining a steady diet is essential for motocross.  Not only do you provide your body with the right nutrients for throwing down good motos, but you also help keep your energy levels up.  There is no need to be on some ridiculous diet that disregards a whole food group.  Having a spread of different foods when you are riding, keeps your energy up and prevents you from wearing out during your time at the track.

Here are 4 tips to help you ride at your best:

Good Breakfast – Eating something in the morning gives your body fuel for the day.  If you are skipping out on breakfast, you are seriously hindering your chances at having a couple good motos.  You are “breaking the fast” your body enters each night.  Think of it this way, you wouldn’t line up on the gate with no gas in your tank would you?  A few good foods for breakfast are low sugar cereals, fruits, juices and egg whites.

Staying Hydrated – Although it is still cold out, drinking plenty of water is still a must.  Even if you are wearing a hoodie while riding, your body is exerting force and at work, resulting is heat and sweat.  You might not feel as thirsty, but your body needs to replace those fluids.  At lunch time, you can even mix a little bit of a sports drink in your water.

Snack Right – I love going for the concession stand at the track between motos, but most of the time, that stuff is fried or covered in powdered sugar.  Having a few snack foods from home will keep your stomach full and prevent you from getting too hungry.  When I say snack, it doesn’t have to be a complete meal; you can get some fruit, vegetables or a granola bar.  For skinny guys, like me, keeping calories in while exercising is important because our metabolism is so high.  We burn food off quickly and it needs to be replaced, before the body starts taking glycogen from our muscles for energy.  This is when you start to feel tired and weak.

Meals at the Track – Lunch (and dinner if you stay long enough) should be light like the snacks.  Meats like turkey and chicken are great and throw in some vegetables and you’ve got a nice sandwich.  You don’t want to be bogged down when you are done with lunch, so eating a little bit will help keep you light on your feet.  If you are still feeling hungry, grab a banana or something to hold you over during your moto.

There you have it, 4 tips to keep you going throughout the day at the track.  Although track food maybe delicious, you are better off to eat some food brought from home.  There will be less sugars, sodium and crap to bog you down during the day.  This isn’t a crazy diet, just smarter choices that will pay off at the end of the day.  And probably less trips to the nasty Porto-potties.

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