Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Drifting - Off-Road Rding Technique


Shane Watts

Drifting is our third Advanced Fundamental skill, and it is essentially the same actions and execution as we used for last month’s topic, which was Grinding. Except unlike with grinding where we are sliding the bike pretty much straight along the edge of an obstacle, with drifting we are sliding the bike around the arc of a corner situation. This drifting skill is a huge help in us being able to maintain control of the bike while maximizing your ability to roost around a corner. Make sure to practice this skill in varying conditions and situations such as loose ground, hard pack, gravel, and even pavement if possible.

To be able to drift your bike well you need a good understanding and ability to adjust the three key points of cornering, which are 1. Throttle position, 2. Lean angle, and 3. your body position in relationship to the Principle of “The 90 Degrees of Traction”. We will discuss these more soon in our upcoming cornering article.

Find a smooth location, preferably with consistent traction, and start doing some varying sized circles, slowly increasing your speed until the rear tire starts breaking traction. You then just go a little faster focusing on achieving a continual drift. You maintain and control the drift by adjusting the 3 key points and using counter steering. If your bike is not sliding enough you either apply one or more of the following; 1. more throttle, 2. increased bike lean angle, 3. or turn the front wheel more towards the inside of the corner you are going around. Which one to adjust is dependent upon the conditions present. We will discuss this in next month’s article.

We give instruction and show actual demonstrations of this in Volume 1 of our new series of Advanced Instructional DVDs, that is now on sale through our online store. You can view some examples of this skill in the Promo teaser for Volume 1 at http://www.shanewatts.com Make sure you check it out!

About me:

http://www.shanewatts.com/bio


Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0


User Feedback


There are no comments to display.



Guest
This is now closed for further comments

  • Similar Content

    • By Gary Semics
      This technique is similar to the previous technique of carrying the front wheel over an obstacle. When you hit a jump with both wheels, you are going to go higher and further than if you had wheelied over it. Of course, this technique can only be used in certain situations and on certain kinds of jumps (usually from slower speeds and more rounded jumps). You can’t do it on higher speed, steep jumps or you’ll endo quicker than you could leave chili in your shorts. You may find yourself in the middle of next week before you knew what happened. But in the correct situation, this technique is a big time saver.
      The art of wheelieing is more than just cool. It’s also faster and if that front end gets up there too high by mistake, you’ll know how to handle it (assuming you’ve read my previous nine tips of this series.
      Gary Semics
      Professional Motocross Trainer
      If you like this riding tip, it's just the tip of the iceberg.  Get all the riding techniques and practice methods that will elevate your riding skills For REAL from our Motocross Techniques/Training DVDs or one of our three Instant Access Video On Demand Subscriptions.
    • By Gary Semics
      Is fear a good or bad feeling to have while racing? The answer is yes... and no. You should have just a little bit of fear but not too much. There’s that balance thing again, for everything in life and especially racing. When you do something like race motocross/supercross/off-road, etc, where a little fear is involved, all your senses are heightened. That little bit of fear turns on all your primordial energies. Your adrenal glands are activated, you have better concentration more blood is pumped into the muscles, your pupils dilate for better vision, and in short, your strength, endurance and reaction time are increased. You are ready for action. On the other hand, if you have too much fear you tighten up, your mind begins to race and you loose concentration.
      Think about this simple test for a moment. If we have two people, Harry and Chester, Harry is normal regarding heights but Chester is afraid of heights. We have a strong board that is twelve feet long and eight inches wide. We extend this board 3 feet off the ground and have Harry and Chester walk across it for $10.00. No problem, one at a time they both stand at the end of the board with relaxed muscles, steady concentration, looking out in front of them at the board and walk across it easily for the $10.00.
      Then we extend the board 50 feet in the air between two buildings and ask Harry and Chester to walk across it for $100.00. Harry is first; he stands at the edge of the board ready to walk across it. Harry has just enough fear to turn on all his senses, and he is 100% concentrating on his goal, walking across that board. He makes it no problem and collects an easy $100.00. Chester is next as he stands at the end of the board. His breathing is short and shallow, his muscles begin to tighten, the palms of his hands become wet and clammy, he feels a lump in his throat and Chester’s concentration is interrupted with thoughts of falling to his death or serious injury. Chester’s fear makes his goal of walking across the board much more difficult. Objects are those frightful things you see when you take your mind off your goals. It’s the same kind of thing when it comes to racing; too much fear makes you perform much worst.
      If anyone tells you that they don’t have any fear when they race, they are not being honest with themselves or you. Everyone has at least just a little bit of fear when they race. And besides, if they didn’t have any fear at all, they wouldn’t be able to perform as well. Remember, just a little bit of fear is enough to make it important enough to kick in the primordial juices without getting too much fear to tighten you up. So how does one produce just the right amount of fear without red lining the fear factor? Well, I don’t think anyone has a problem with not having enough fear. The question is how does one not have too much fear while racing? In short, the answer is confidence. The dictionary definition of confidence is: trust, reliance, self-assurance.
      If you have too much fear while racing or even riding a motorcycle, then you don’t have enough confidence in your abilities to do the job and the fear should be there. It’s there for a good reason; to keep you from getting hurt. The only way to get over the too much fear problem and to acquire the confidence is to earn it by being prepared and knowing your limits, not riding beyond your abilities. The following list breaks down the preparation and how to recognize your limits factors for an easier understanding.
      Preparation:
      Being in good physical shape
      If you’re out there racing or even riding and you’re not strong and in good shape, you’re just asking for an injury. And besides, you can’t ride well if you’re tired anyway. This is a big factor in earning that confidence, you have to put in the consistent hard training in order to get and stay in good shape. It’s important to be at your ideal weight and not be over weight so a good common sense diet is also necessary. If you don’t feel strong the fear factor is going to go way up. To get the most effective diet and training methods for motocross, check out my Motocross Conditioning Video or DVD from my website.
      Getting enough seat time
      There’s no way to feel really comfortable on the bike and not have too much fear unless you have ridden and still ride a lot. There’s no substitute for having the feel of the wheel so to speak. When you have a lot of riding time under your belt, the bike becomes an extension of your body and you know what it’s going to do before it does it. This way you can stay ahead of what is happening instead of not being sure and trying to catch up with it. How can you not be very afraid if you don’t know what that bike is going to do? If you’re going to ride really well, you have to put in the seat time.
      Having a well-prepared motorcycle
      If you’re riding a worn out bike, it’s only a matter of time before it breaks and you sure don’t want it to break on the face of a big jump. A serious racer has to have well maintained equipment. You or a mechanic has to go over the bike every time between rides. Every time before you get on it, you should have a checklist to go through. Things like: is there enough gas? is the chain adjusted correctly and oiled? Is the tire pressure right? Are the spokes tight? Are the linkage bolts tight? Are the controls working properly, especially the throttle? When you know your bike is going to do its job, it takes away a lot of fear and doubt.
      Don’t take unnecessary changes
      Whether you’re racing as a professional or an amateur, just go out there and have fun and do what’s necessary in order to reach your goals. If there’s a big double or triple that’s beyond your current abilities and no one in your class is going to be jumping it anyway, don’t be thinking you should try to jump it. If your thinking you should be pulling off some free style moves forget about it. Do you want to be a racer or a free stylist? If you’re finishing practicing for the day and your friend says, "Come on, you gotta try this jump I just found!", forget about it. Tell him you’ll check it out next time. Do what you feel is necessary and enough and leave it at that.
      Recognize your limits
      Every man or women has to know their own limits and you always have to stay within those limits while racing or riding. Racing is all about being on the edge, but you better know exactly where that edge is and don’t go over it. It’s better to slow down a little, get some points and race again next week than to crash and burn. Once you acquire a good portion of experience, it's really pretty easy to know where your limits are (you can feel them).
      When you’re flowing with the track and riding smooth, you’re within your limits. When you start to make mistakes like missing a line, making a bobble here and there, when your arms are pumping up and/or you’re getting really tired, when things begin to happen faster than you are anticipating them to be happening, these are signs of going over the edge. With the correct types of preparation and practice over each week and month, you should be able to increase your limits, but you have to be consistent and it takes time. Don’t try to rush it by riding over your head or it will end up taking you more time to improve. Remember to feel your limits and don’t go pass them.
      When you have these five previous categories covered, you will see the strangle hold of fear dissipate. Of course, as I explained earlier, there is always going to be some fear but it’s a good fear, one that will make you pay attention and heighten you abilities. Don’t ever take anything about racing or riding for granted. Just about the time you do is the time it will jump up and bite you. Always have that special kind of respect for it and make sure that you are always prepared and using your head every time you throw a leg over your iron horse.
      Over the years I’ve had a lot of riders, both young and older, tell me that they are having trouble jumping doubles. They say they can jump the same distance on a tabletop jump but they are afraid to jump that distance over a double. They are asking me how they can overcome their fear and do these doubles. Sometimes these riders are at my motocross school and are asking me this at the beginning of the school. I say, well I’ll watch your jumping techniques when we cover jumps and we’ll see what we can do about it. When I’m asked this question, I pretty much know what to expect and most of the time I’m right on the money. Their jumping abilities are in need of some serious improvements before they throw themselves at the mercy of the doubles. They say that they can jump the same distance on the tabletops but they don’t land on the down side every time. If that were a double, they would be doing some serious case landings and getting rebounded over the bars. They also have trouble controlling the angle of the bike in the air. Sometimes the front end is too high and sometimes it is too low. These are riders that are missing one or more of the five qualities listed above. I always tell them the same thing, that they should not be jumping doubles yet and that there’s a good reason for their fear. If and when they develop the control to jump and land just how they want to every time over safer jumps, then they will not have that terrible fear and they will possess the confidence to do the big doubles, big doubles no troubles.
      How does one acquire that confidence? Well, when we’re talking about big doubles, you first have to practice the proper jumping techniques over and over again on safe, forgiving type jumps, such as tabletops and/or step-ups. Once you have mastered the proper jumping techniques and you can feel the compression and rebound part of the jump so well that you can automatically react to it through your nervous system’s automatic reflex reactions, then and only then will you conquer the big no forgiveness doubles. Achieve the five steps above and you will conquer all but that little bit of fear that is suppose to be there. Mother nature cannot be tricked or cheated; she will give up to you the object of your desires only after you have paid her price.
      Gary Semics
      Professional Motocross Trainer
      If you like this riding tip, it's just the tip of the iceberg.  Get all the riding techniques and practice methods that will elevate your riding skills For REAL from our Motocross Techniques/Training DVDs or one of our three Instant Access Video On Demand Subscriptions.
    • By Gary Semics
      I remember one time when Jeremy McGrath and I were coming back from a long hard workout at the gym, we were driving pass a common fast food burger stand and Jeremy said we could go in there and ruin everything we just did. By now Jeremy knew that not only the training but also the diet was a necessary discipline for performance.
      You see, the bottom line of what training actually does is put a stress on your body which triggers an adaptation response. This adaptation response forces your body to adapt to the stress and get stronger. In order to adapt and get stronger it needs all the right building blocks at the right times and in the right combinations, quantities and qualities. This comes from your diet and supplements. If you put a lot of demand on your body by training hard and you don’t have the proper proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fluids for the rebuild you are wasting much of that hard workout. If you didn’t have the proper diet before, during and after a hard workout the benefit and gain may have only been 60% or even less instead of the potential 100%. If you do this over a long period of time you will quickly plateau, go backwards, develop overuse injures and/or get sick. What if you don’t train hard and have a poor diet, well then you better not get on a motocross track.
      I guess it’s safe to say that now a days most people know that a good diet has many benefits. I mean what the heck with all the scientific evidence how can one argue. So if not knowing isn’t the problem what is? For most people its probable many things like; procrastination, they’ll start a better diet next week but next week it gets put off to the next week and so on. For other people they don’t want to give up the tasty diet that they’ve gotten use to, these people think it will be too difficult to make a lasting change. Some kid themselves into believing that it doesn’t make that much difference anyway. Still for others it’s a lack of will power and the excuses go on and on. All these people are fooling themselves. They have themselves believing that to change to a high performance diet it would be painful and difficult when in reality their poor diet is causing them more pain and difficulty. Let me explain further.
      Our bodies are a complex organism. In reality our body is an ever changing field of energy. It is constantly regenerating itself according to its genetic code. For example every 5 days we have a new stomach lining and every six weeks we have a new liver. This goes on and on down to the last atom in one year. That’s right, science has discovered that through our cells dieing and regenerating new ones we have a brand new body every year. The food we eat not only gives us energy for moving and thinking it also gives us the building blocks that enable our ever changing field of energy to continue to reinvent itself. Sure we can survive without the optimum diet but we cannot strive without it. Without it our bodies and therefore our lives are compromised. We have less energy for mental and physical work and play, we have a compromised immune system and get sick more often; in short we age faster and end up living with chronic health problems. Then most people will fall into the pharmaceutical and medical industry loop seeking their medicated cocktails that can keep people alive longer but cause many side effects and people end up living longer but with a lower quality of life. Its high time people take their health as a personal responsibility and start eating for health and energy and not just for taste bud satisfaction. And you know what, taste bud satisfaction is a learned response and therefore it can be relearned and changed.
      For example up to the age of about 15 I really liked sweats but after I learned they were bad for my conditioning I stopped eating them, overall I started eating what I thought was healthy. After a few months every once in a while I would try a sweat drink or snack and didn’t even like the taste of it anymore. If you’re not already on a high performance diet you just need to get on one for a few weeks or so and change your eating habits. Once you do this and pass the test of time it will be easy. You’ve heard of certain aftermarket motorcycle products being referred to as a ‘must have’, well if you want to be a competitive motocross racer a high octane diet is a “must do”.
      Referring to the title of this month’s tip “The Big Factor in Your Diet” this paragraph hits that nail right on the head. Intake timing is another important factor regarding nutrition. Most people have it backwards, by eating a light or worse yet no breakfast, a light lunch and then a heavy dinner. By doing this not only is one not getting the fuel they need throughout the day, but they are also making their metabolism slow down and convert carbohydrates into fat for storage. In order to get the full benefits of sleep you should go to bed with an empty stomach. I’m not saying you should go to bed feeling really, really hungry but you should have already eaten enough earlier so you’re food is already digested and left the stomach. The ideal timing intake is a heavy breakfast, a hearty lunch and a moderate early dinner. You can have a nutrious snack between breakfast and lunch and/or between lunch and dinner but don’t snack after dinner. And you should eat dinner 3 to 4 hours before going to sleep. This will give you the fuel when you really need it and allow your body to shut down for a deep sleep at night. You don’t want your body to be digesting a heavy late dinner when it’s trying to shut down for a good hibernation type sleep. Do you know where the word breakfast came from? It means break fast; to break the night’s fasting state. If you’re not used to this type of intake timing it could be difficult at first but you can do it if you’re persistent and make the adjustment gradually. Once you’re body gets used to it you’ll be running on auto pilot. The majority’s habits are not always best; just look around you at the average person’s physic and health. If you want to sore with the eagles you can’t flock with the sparrows.
      Following are some meal samples and day and night race diet guidelines.
      Some of you may have seen the meal samples chart in my Training and Diet Manual that comes with my MX Conditioning Video or DVD, that is a good one too.
      MEAL SAMPLES
      Breakfast
      Try not to drink a lot of liquids with meals, unless you’re very dehydrated, especially coffee or tea. They dilute digestive juices. Go easy on margarine, butter, maple syrup, ect.
      You should have a good portion of fresh fruit with your breakfast. It’s good to add a ¼ cup of milled flax seed to a glass of juice. Add this to one of the following examples. Note; when eating eggs don’t eat more than two yokes a day, separate the yolks from the white on the other eggs.
      1. Oat meal and toast or a good grain cereal and 4 eggs.
      2. French toast or pancakes and 4 eggs.
      3. Rice and 4 eggs or potatoes and 4 eggs and toast.
      Lunch
      Add a salad made from good green lettuce or spinach and some raw vegetables.
      1. Salad - Steamed Veggys - Soft Boiled Eggs.
      2. Salad - Steamed Veggys - Soft Boiled Eggs - Pasta - bread.
      3. Salad - Steamed Veggys – Grilled or broiled Fish
      5. Salad - Beans - Rice.
      6. Tuna Salad - Soft boiled Eggs - Bread.
      7. Salad - Potatoes - Corn or peas with chicken or steak.
      8. Salad – Pasta – Bread.
      I know it’s difficult to get steamed vegetables so if you can’t get them eat a bigger salad and/or some brown rice or baked potato. I know many times you just have to get fast food or a sandwich, if so make the best nutritional choices available.
      Dinner
      Dinner is similar to lunch. If you ate a heavy breakfast and lunch and had a nutritious snack between lunch and dinner you won’t have to eat a huge dinner just a normal one and that’s what you want. You want a relatively empty stomach by the time you go to bed.
      You’ll notice that I emphasized salad, steamed veggys, soft boiled eggs, and fish in the lunch and dinner selections. You can have chicken or steak once in a while, but grilled or baked fish is better.
      It’s difficult to put all the foods of this list, of course there are many other meal combos and foods you can eat. Just try to get your proteins, carbos and fats from good natural, fresh sources.
      As mentioned earlier it’s important to have 4 or 5 small meals a day. The best way to do it is to have three meals a day from the above selections and have one or two smaller meals throughout the day derived from any combination of the above. Fruit and some raw almonds is also a good way to go for your between meal snacks.
      If you really do the diet thing right it will still take about two weeks before you can expect to see noticeable benefits. It’s not going to happen in just a few days. So stick to the plan.
      HOW TO FUEL UP ON RACE DAY
      DAY RACE
      Eat a good breakfast from the breakfast examples.
      Now, for the rest of the day, you want to time your food intake in the longest breaks between practice and each of your motos.
      Your next meal or snack could be something like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or some fruit with almonds or a turkey sandwich or some sports nutritional products that you like. Then for the remainder of the day, choose from one of the above as needed.
      Remember to stay well hydrated by drinking a lot of water and/or sports drinks. Don't mix sports nutritional products with other food. These products are designed and work best when taken on an empty stomach.
      With most of the sports nutritional products, wait at least 40 minutes before or after you eat. With most of the sports energy drinks, wait at least 20 minutes before or after you eat.
      These guidelines will keep you fueled up so you have plenty of energy throughout race day and at the same time you'll feel lite and ready for action.
      NIGHT RACE
      The best food intake for night races is very similar to day races. Now you have time to eat a good breakfast and lunch. Than instead of eating dinner you would eat the same as the day meal plan starting after lunch.
      Gary Semics
      Professional Motocross Trainer
      If you're serious about improving your motocross fitness you may be interested in my MX Conditioning DVDs which include a lot of info about nutrition.  Feed you body nutrient dense race fuel!  Or you may prefer one of our three Instant Access Video On Demand subscriptions.
    • By Gary Semics
      For most of the riders in the Northern Hemisphere, there’s very little if any riding in January. But, that shouldn’t stop you from staying in shape. As a matter of fact, that should give you the opportunity to get in even better shape. Sure, in the spring and summer you can get a lot of riding and racing in and of course this is a great way to stay in shape but it also can be hard on your body especially if you are taking frequent soil samples and you know what they say, if you’re not crashing once in a while you’re not going fast enough. Winter training is a great time to heal up any nagging injuries that you have been aggravating with continued riding abuse. It’s also a great time to bring all your muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints (your entire skeletal structure back into balance, this way in stead of being out of shape and more injury prone when you start riding again in the spring you will actually be stronger than you were last fall.
      So many people are missing the boat when it comes to the rewards of a good exercise routine. There is just no substitute for a good training routine. I was raised on a farm and ever since I was old enough (about 10) I had chores and a lot of farm type work to do. My Dad had an old school farm, no modern push button operations. There was a lot of carrying stuff, digging, putting up hay bales, straw bales, fixing fence, riding wild horses, yea, wild horses. I’m not kidding, the first thing they would try to do when I got on them was buck me off. Most of the time I could stay on so when that didn’t work they would just starting running as fast as they could no matter how hard I tried to stop them. If I was still on by the time they got tried then the training could begin. I fell off a horse plenty of times while it was running at top speed. Some horses knew how to get me off; they would jerk to the side really fast and hard. I always rode bareback so this would cause me to slide half way off and most of the time couldn’t get back on. At the same time I was doing this farmer, cowboy stuff I was also practicing and racing motocross. To make a long story short it was a lot of physical work. This all kept me in pretty good shape but it was no where near the shape I reached later when I learned how to train with weights and cardio programs. The biggest difference between physical work (such as farming) and an exercise routine is that physical work may overwork certain structures of the body and not work others enough. And there is seldom a long steady period of aerobic activity that benefits the cardio system to any extent. The frequency and consistency is usually not there either. Sometimes the laborer is working the same structures too much and other times not enough. With a well balanced workout routine you can manage the frequencies, durations and intensities in a well balanced consistent routine. This allows you to grow to higher and higher levels of fitness and overall health and strength.
      What about all the thousands for people who don’t have a physical job? What about all those people who have a desk, office or transportation job. Well, for these people a well planned exercise routine is a must, not only so they can race motocross but so your heart can keep beating.
      The proper diet and a good exercise program is the best thing you can do for your mind and body. When this is missing in one’s life they will look for fulfillment from other sources like; over eating, legal (caffeine and alcohol) and illegal drugs and other bad habits that end up taking them further away from what they are really looking for, to feel good. Sure they may feel better right after using their crutch but soon after that they are feeling even worst than before because of the side effects and withdrawals, so they use their crutch again and begin to spiral down the tubes to an ever declining feeling of well-being, a kind of roller coaster ride on rusty, bumping tracks. The human body has evolved over thousands of years and physical activity has always been a big part of that evolution. We are designed to physically work. If you don’t use it you loose it. The uneducated think exercise is just for the muscles but this is far from the truth. There are many systems in the body that benefit from exercise. Of course the obvious is the muscles and there is the entire muscle skeletal system, the respiratory system, lymphatic system and endocrine system. There are certain drug like hormones that are released during exercise that make you feel good and are really, really good for you not only at that moment but for hours afterwards. When one acquires the discipline to workout consistently they become content and don’t have the desire to look for this feeling from other negative sources. It all boils down to a matter of attitude, how you view the situation.
      One thing I can tell you for sure is that if you wait until you feel like exercising you seldom will. That’s why there is a warm up stage to working out. After an 8 to 10 minute warm up you are going to feel completely different. So don’t even pay attention to how you feel before you begin, pay attention to how good you’re going to feel about 10 minutes into the program and when you’re finished. The only problem with us older guys is that we warm up and wear out at the same time. I call it the microwave program; it makes for a shorter workout. Just kidding, it may take a little longer for us older people to warm up but once we get going we forget how old we really are and want to go for it. The biggest hurtle to overcome and make winter training really payoff is to make the commitment and follow through.
      There are four main factors that make up the program.
      1. Weight Training ( which is anaerobic)
      2. Cardio (which is aerobic)
      3. Stretching
      4. Diet
      Let’s take a look at some explanations and samples of all four.
      1. Weight Training
      Anaerobic means the circulatory system (blood and oxygen) cannot keep up with the work load, the muscle will fail. Regarding weight training for motocross I have found that circuit training works best. This is where you go from one exercise straight to another with no rest between. With circuit training super setting is a common method. Super Setting means to go back and forth between two or more different exercises. For example say you’re super setting two sets of bench press and lat pull downs. You would start with one set of bench then do one set of lat pull downs, another set of bench and another set of lat pull downs, all this with no rest between. Always warm up and warm down with cardio exercise before and after lifting. These periods should be at least 6 minutes each, 12 minutes is even better.
      2. Cardio
      Aerobic means the circulatory system (blood and oxygen) can keep up with the work load, the muscles can keep working. Studies have shown that it takes at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise with your heart rate at 70% of your max for you to get any aerobic benefit. Find your age at the right of the chart below. Fine the 70% vertical column, multiply the corresponding number by 6 and that’s about where your heart rate should be for 20 minutes or more. These studies also showed this would have to be done at least 3 times per week just to maintain what you already have. So if you want to improve your aerobic conditioning you should do more than 20 minute more than 3 times a week. It depends on how much other type of training you’re doing. For the average amount of other type training I recommend doing 30 minutes of cardio 3 or 4 days a week. I also recommend getting your heart rate up higher than 70% at a few different times through the workout.
      3. Stretching
      Stretching is one of the most overlooked disciplines with motocross racers. I guess it’s just too boring for them. I have to admit it is a little different than racing or jumping triples but so is sleeping and everyone does that. Again it’s all boils down to attitude, your view of the situation. Pacifying myself in front of the TV is boring to me, but many riders can do this instead of stretching. Which one is going to help your conditioning? Again, stretching is not just for the muscles, stretching has many benefits including the entire muscle skeletal system, lymphatic flow, even benefits for the mind; it relieves stress and allows you to relax better. I’ve found it best to do a 15 to 20 minute stretching routine late in the evening before bed. If you haven’t stretched much before it’s going to be tuff at first but stick with it for at least a week before you pass judgment on this discipline. You will be surprise at the progress you can make in a week. That feeling should give you the motivation to continue.
      4. Diet
      Diet, wow do most riders miss the entire rim on this one, or what? That’s because most modern day people are accustom to the quick fix and diet just doesn’t compute that way. For example let’s take the average American rider who eats, well you know, the average American diet. Say we put this guy on a high performance no nonsense high octane race diet. Okay, the first day the body goes oh yes, finally some real food. I wonder how this got past those selfish taste buds. The first thing the body does is go into clean up mode. It starts flushing all the toxins and garbage out of the large and small intestines and basically all the cells in the body. It’s like going into an old dusty attic with a broom and starting to clean up. At first there’s a lot more dust flying around. When all these toxins are released into the blood stream for clean out detail you are actually going to feel worst before you start feeling better. You see, the body will use what it can for its best resources. It may use energy and work eternally before it will express more external energy. It usually takes about 2 weeks for the average guy to begin to notice positive benefits from going on a high performance diet. This is another reason why this entire conditioning thing is more of a life style change.
      The body is a truly amazing organism. For instance, did you know the large and small intestines have waves in them? They are not just a tube like a pipe. The inter walls are made in a wave like fashion, folds. Inside the round intestine there are these waves that are folded upon one another. This allows a much larger surface area for food to be filtered, absorbed and eliminated through these deep layered wall like pockets. If you took the average person’s intestines out and flattened all the folds exposing the entire surface area of the walls they would cover a tennis court. When you consistently improve your diet, sleep, training, take vitamin and mineral supplements and reduce your negative stress levels you will not only feel better you will have the potential to race faster, harder and longer and the thing about it is you’ll like it. Don’t cut yourself short; you get out what you put in.
      As always ride smart and have fun,
      Gary Semics
      Professional Motocross Trainer
      If you're serious about improving your motocross fitness you may be interested in my MX Conditioning DVDs or one of our three Instant Assess Video On Demand subscriptions.
    • By Gary Semics
      About this time of year (March) most of the Northern Hemisphere is beginning to thaw from winter’s frozen grip. When two feet down in the ground all that frozen moisture begins to thaw it spells MUD, mud. Of course, even at other times of year mud can be a big factory. You just never know when Mother Nature is going to through a mud race in the mix. Anyone would prefer no dust, no mud ideal conditions but there are some riders who always manage to shine in the muddiest conditions. Like Josh Woods who got 2nd in the main in the muddy conditions at A1 in 2005 and didn’t even qualify for the main in the next 3 rounds. Why is this the case, well let’s brake it down and see why.
      Nine times out of ten these riders come from a muddy back ground. In other words then grew up in an area that had a lot of muddy riding seasons and they just got used to riding in the mud, it’s no big deal to them and they learned at an early age how to best deal with it. One of the best ways to deal with it is to leave your bike in the garage and go to the gym. Just kidding, that’s maybe if you’re an amateur and you live in So Cal or Florida because you know it’s going to stop raining soon and you’ll have good conditions again but what if you live where it doesn’t dry out for weeks, even months. That’s the way it is in Ohio and back when young racers were still in school if we wanted to ride we had to ride in whatever conditions were out there. I remember many days during the week practicing in the snow. There was a 4 acre lake that Frank Gallo and I would flat track around. It was more like straight up track around. We just had regular knobby tires so we had to keep the bike straight up, get our momentum going in forth gear (400 Husqvarna 4 speed) and we could slid around the entire lake while counter steering to the steering lock. Of course, it really helped that the bikes were so low we could stand over them flat footed on the ice. Throughout the winter and early spring when there were no motocross races going on here were Hare Scramble Races just about every Sunday that were like a cross between and enduro and a motocross. My point is we rode, made the best of what was available and had fun doing it. That’s why to this day riders from these type parts of the country are better mud riders than the golden boys from So Cal and the likes.
      Some riders get bummed out and loose their focus when faced with muddy conditions. But the good mud riders stay focused and concentrate on the race instead of being distracted with negative thoughts about it. The attitude has to remain positive. The positive mind sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible. The dictionary’s definition of attitude is; a mental position or feeling with regard to a state or fact. In other words it’s your perception about the situation. It’s the way you think and feel about the mud race. So one of the main factors about mud riding is to have a good outlook about it, stay focused on the task at hand and enjoy the process. Have a good attitude about these less than favorable conditions.
      Of course there’s a lot more to it than just having a good attitude and not minding getting yourself, all your equipment and your motorcycle dirty. There’s some smart ways to better prepare yourself and your machine. Such as the following;
      1. Look at the track: Study as much of the track as possible before your race. See where the best lines are, but especially see if there are some sections that you want to avoid. Like deep water or a place where you could get stuck. If you have a teammate or friend who just finished their moto talk to them and many times he can update you on important track changes. Many times when it’s this muddy you won’t get a parade lap, so take advantage of any other ways to know the track the best you can before you go out there.
      2. Prepare your vision: Roll offs are probity still the best way to go for the wet conditions but now some of the leading goggle manufactures (like Scott) are make special tear off so thin that you can stack about 30 on there and still have good vision. The only problem is it’s difficult to just pull one at a time off and you may pull five or six at a time. Always make sure you have no fog on the inside of the lens. Keeping the out side clean isn’t going to help if you can’t see through from the inside. If you are using roll-offs fix one or two tear offs to the goggles. Put some duct tape to the tear off flap so it’s easy to find and pull off. These first one (or two if it’s really muddy) will work good at saving your goggles for the start when you may really get blasted with a nice refreshing mud bath. To keep the mud off the top of the helmet and visor many riders tape a course form on there. If you don’t have this type of foam tape some tear offs to your visor and the top of your helmet. When the heavy mud builds up on there you can peal it off with the tear offs.
      3. Traction connection to the bike: When that bike gets wet and muddy, it’s not only going to gain some serious weight, but it’s also going to become difficult to stay connected to. A non-slip seat cover, full waffle grips, cotton mechanic gloves, and plastic grip protectors are some other helpful items.
      4. The extra weight of the bike: If it’s a sticky type of mud you should have your shock spring pre-load tighten up a bit, and your front forks dropped about two or three mm to compensate for the extra weight. This will help keep the bike at it’s normal ride height even after it gains 20 or 30 pounds of mud. It will also keep the mud from accumulating as bad if you spray WD 40 under the fenders and anywhere else but the rider’s contact points and the disc brakes and rotors.
      5. The Chain: Leave the chain extra loose because the mud packing in the chain and sprocket is going to make it much tighter. While the chain is still clean put an extra lot of chain oil and even grease on it. This will help to seal it up from getting as much mud inside the rollers.
      6. Tires: You defiantly want a good shape mud tire on both front and rear. Mud tires are made from a harder rubber compound with deeper wider spaced knobs. They will clean themselves out better and give you a whole lot more grip. Dunlop has an excellent choice with its 990 model.
      7. Attitude: And remember don’t let this part go unchecked. It’s still a motocross race and a good motocross racer is good in all types of conditions. Keep a positive outlook and have fun.
      “ The loser sees the difficulty in every opportunity, the winner sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.
      Following are some riding techniques that will also help you through the quagmire.
      Riding in the sand is similar to riding in the mud so if you’re already a good sand rider the adjustment to mud should come very quickly. Keep the front wheel light by keeping your body position and weight further back at all times than when riding in regular conditions. You still use your full range of movement but you’re a little further back in all those positions. Like; when you would normally be in the front of the bike you would still be toward the front of the bike but not quit as far forward. When you would normally be in the center on the bike you would still be toward the center but just little further back and the same goes for when your body position would normally be toward the rear of the bike, you’d still be in the rear body position but even further back. All this would keep the front end a little lighter than normal so it won’t steer with it as much and slide out or have it catch and plow into the muck and stop or throw your body over the handlebars.
      You also want to keep the throttle on more when riding in the mud. Of course, this is going to be obvious since you’ll need more power to get the extra weight through the soft ground but it’s also necessary in order to keep the front end doing what it’s suppose to do and not do what was just mentioned earlier. This means you don’t want to shut the throttle off any longer than you have to. As soon as possible get back on the power even if it’s just a little bit of power (acceleration) get on it earlier than you normally would in normal conditions.
      Keep the bike up straighter and steer more with the rear wheel. When it’s muddy it’s usually more slippery as well. This means you can’t lean the bike over as far because it will slide out from under you. The way to get around this fact is to steer more with the rear wheel than the front. This way you can still go fast around the corners by pivoting the bike on an arch through the turns. On some tight turns you can pivot it in one place but on fast more open corners you’ll have to pivot it through the turn on an arch. Of course this is only when the surface is slippery with no ruts. Set up the pivot or pivot/arch with the rear brake and continue it by slipping off the rear brake and onto the clutch and throttle. You go from the set up brake slid to a power slid in one fluid motion. If there are ruts check into a rut and get on the power early. Don’t try to brake slide into a rut, just steer into the rut with the front wheel and get on the power as early as possible.
      Mud like sand does not require as much braking power especially with the front brake. This is because the soft mud is going to really slow you down just by letting off the throttle. You have to be very careful as to how you use the front brake and many times you won’t need it at all. Remember you want to keep you weight back more but when you use the front brake it transfers weight to the front. This can cause many of the problems explained earlier. So use more rear brake and only use the front when you really need it and then use it lighter than normal. And remember to accelerate just before getting into the rut.
      Most of the time on these muddy tracks there will be really bad spots. Like; deep soft ruts or holes. In this case you want to slow down just enough right before the beginning of the rut or hole so you can accelerate into and through it. Many times you can carry the front wheel over a short soft rut or hole. If you come into this type area too fast and try to slow down as you get into the soft rut or hole it will be much more difficult to maintain control and it will end up slowing you down more than the correct way just mentioned.
      Quick reference mud riding techniques;
      A. Keep the front end light.
      B. Keep the bike more straight up and get on the power earlier.
      C. Not as much front brake.
      D. Accelerate just before getting into a rut.
      E. Carry the front wheel over the bad areas.
      If you want to be a competitive motocross racer you defiantly have to be a good mud rider. You may find, like I did, that many of my best races turned out to be muddy ones. A few days later when everything is all clean and shiny again it’s all good anyway.
      Gary Semics
      Professional Motocross Trainer
      If you like this riding tip, it's just the tip of the iceberg.  Get all the riding techniques and practice methods that will elevate your riding skills For REAL from our Motocross Techniques/Training DVDs or one of our three Instant Access Video On Demand Subscriptions.