The Reality of Dreams

Becoming a pro athlete is in a word: tough. The odds are stacked against all who dare to dream. The bright lights of supercross call from the heavens and the glory undoubtedly tastes as good as one can imagine. The road to supercross or even racing your local AMA Motocross National is paved with obstacles no less daunting than the ones you’ll find on the tracks themselves. That’s why, for those seriously pursue the dream… you must be ALL IN.

Pro sports leagues are often referred to as a “meat grinder” because of the brutal nature in which a young athlete can be chewed up and spat out sometimes ten times faster than it took to get there. Then again, life is a meat grinder and none of us are getting out alive so let ‘er buck, right? Becoming successful in any field is extremely competitive. Supercross and Pro Motocross take 40 riders from each class into the “night show” or points paying motos while sending home anywhere from 10 to 20 competitors who signed up that day. Essentially, that means there are 100 jobs working behind the controls of a motocross bike if your plan is to make money racing in the United States. Does that mean I’m saying to not chase your dreams? Heck no, someone must rise to the top but know that the most sought-after jobs are also the most aggressively fought for. So be ready to fight for every inch.

As illustrated in the most recent edition of ALL IN, there is more to the method than just madness.

“I’m a firm believer that there not just one way to do this”– Jake Weimer.

Wise words from a guy who would know. Weimer, from Rupert, Idaho, dealt with his fair share of cold winters and months off the bike like fellow champions, Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey, Justin Cooper as well as Jeremy and Alex Martin who all hail from states that experience bitter cold temperatures for months on end. Of course, those young men all did a fair bit of traveling in the winter months, but rest assure that time off the bike is also something they all had in common. Those facts just make navigating your way to the pros all the foggier when you consider some of the sport’s greatest champions come from states like California or Florida where motocross is on the menu all the way around the calendar. So, what’s the answer?

The reality is there is no definite blueprint to use as a road map that will lead you to the top step of the podium at Anaheim 1. There is no hard and fast recipe, the only common ingredients are hard work, desire, consistency and grit. Oh, and a ton of patience.

Patience is a funny thing but then again there is literally nothing funny about being patient. In order to be in the ranks, you’ll need patience from yourself, loved ones and all who support you. The first two can be easier to come by but the third might be a bit trickier.

“These big teams just push these kids up there because to me, they don’t give two shits about them. They’re just tear-offs” – Ryan “Ryno” Hughes.

A tail as old as time is a young racer who toils in the amateurs for years only to receive about 18 months of good support at the pro level. Then, it can quite literally be over due to impatient teams and sponsors. Whether you choose to stay at a training facility for months on end aside, a racer can choose how they progress as well as how patient they’ll be with themselves. Once you master a certain skill level, a racer can choose to take that next step even before they’re “ready” even if they know they won’t immediately dominate. Believe it or not, a helping of humble pie along with the challenge of learning while you chase down your new competitors might just be the patient approach that will lead to many laps lead at the next level.

“Once you move up a class, you should be about to eventually match that speed because you’re racing that pace and learning from it. I see a lot of these kids hang back in classes and it hurts their progression.” – Ryan “Ryno” Hughes 

What it really comes down to, the goal is to not be hard on yourself as a racer if you move into the next class and aren’t able to lead wire to wire. Motocross is a challenge after all. A challenge to navigate the most gnarly tracks man can image and the challenge to overcome the adversity of getting beat, understand that feeling then the challenge to come back stronger with the lesson you learned through that loss.

“I believe it’s too negative. We need to build the kids up.” – Jake Weimer

So, realize that moving to the B or the A class and collecting results that don’t come with trophies or podium interviews are certainly not the end of the world and just might be part of your journey to the top. It is YOUR journey after all. No parent or coach can work the controls for you.

“Once the gate drops, It’s you… It’s very much an individual sport and I think it’s very character building.” – Jake Weimer

Bottom line is, yeah, the odds are steep and the risks are real but it’s called throttle therapy for the reason the lessons you learn at the track will serve you well no matter where you journey takes you. Facing fears, digging deep when you don’t feel like it, perseverance in the face of adversity are all necessary actions to be successful in motocross and in life. Love your sport, cherish the memories and be patient with yourself every step of the way. Maybe one day, you’ll hear the crowds chant your name but until them, grip it, rip it and enjoy.

Big Dog, out.

Did you like this content? If so, you might like the BigMx Radio podcast as well as the entire ALL IN series we have on the Vurbmoto YouTube channel. Leave us a like if you enjoyed the video, subscribe, and hit that notification bell so you never miss a video!

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  1. Damn, Big Dog… this piece hit home. Amateur ranks has always been near and dear to my heart, and it’s a brutal cycle sometimes to witness. Whether you’re a racer, family member, industry guru, and media guy – we all go ALL IN on this epic ass sport, and damn does it get tough, but it’s just as equally as awesome (most times).

    Also, insane work by Kyle Cowling. Thought provoking, inspiring, scary, and amazing all at the same time.

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