ICYMI | Catching Up with Tyler Medaglia
By Billy Rainford
Don’t forget to wish Tyler “Happy Birthday” today.
Tyler Medaglia is the fun-loving, hard-working, race-anywhere rider who has the rare ability to balance the seriousness of Professional Sports with the light-heartedness of an every day racer.
He’s the two-time Canadian 250 MX Champion who left the little bike class for many years before dropping back down for the 2019 Rockstar Triple Crown Tour season.
He’s represented Canada at the MXON, he’s scored a win at the prestigious ISDE, he races GNCC events and does very well, he races bicycles and wins, and his better half is probably the fastest WMX racer Canada has every produced, Heidi Cooke. He’s also a father of 3. He’s one of the good guys.
Here’s a quick look at his 2019 season, before we get to our interview:
I just missed him when I was down in Florida last month. He was down with Kibby working on one of his many projects, My Pit Board. Here’s our conversation:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Tyler. First off, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. You probably already answered this one, but I don’t remember the answer. What was your first race number and how did you choose it?
Tyler Medaglia: Hello Bigwave and DMX readers! My first number was nothing special, just kinda whatever we had around for dirt digits, I think (7). Once I was on 60’s we went to a race in NY and my mom had to choose one for me at sign-up so she used my birthday (204). I ran that for a few years until I chose 117 based on looks in 2000 and that was my predominant amateur number.
Can you go back to your childhood and tell us how competitive things were between you and your younger brother, Jeremy Medaglia, when you guys were racing?
Things were always competitive with us in day-to-day life. We would fight playing mini stick hockey, shooting 21 in basketball, playing PlayStation, card games, roller hockey etc., but we rarely got into it on dirt bikes, to be honest.
There were times where he would be faster than me practicing and I would brake-check him or he would accuse me of cutting the track, but that was all pretty brief.
Our riding styles were so different that there would be tracks where we would excel in our own ways and we understood that pretty early on. It’s been so many years now that I actually just enjoy the times when we do get to ride together. We likely still will bicker over a board game though.
You won a 450 overall at Gopher Dunes in 2008 and then didn’t win another (450) till 2018, 10 years later….the year he was discovered… (Google it, Bowker!) I love this story. Can you tell us what that whole thing meant to you?
I like the Hip reference! The last time the Leafs will win the cup too, eh. I did do a lot of winning in between that time on 250’s, so it didn’t feel like a decade to me, but any time you can win in MX1 it’s pretty special.
I feel like I had a win in me in Manitoba that year, had that mechanical not happened, so I was confident coming into Gopher Dunes which has always been a good track for me, since it’s the track where you have to dig the deepest.
That feeling of pulling away in the second moto is what I’m chasing and why I continue to race and I feel I have that jam back since hopping back on the 450.
You dropped back down to the 250 class this past season. Can you sum up how that went for you? What did you notice was the biggest difference?
It went well. Not exactly how I wanted but seeing as though I hadn’t even sat on a 250 since 2011 it was good. The bikes vary a lot more in the 250 class. There were times when I felt I couldn’t ride any faster, like dragging my bars in corners and not making any mistakes, but still getting pulled.
Unfortunately for me, it was the last year of a 4-year model of the KX250 (the 2020 just got a ton of positive updates), so I expect my teammate Marshal (Weltin) to kill is this season.
In the 450 class it doesn’t matter where I’m at on the planet at any given race, I know I have the ability to get a holeshot. This year, if I was off on my gearing choice and an Intermediate started beside me on a certain bike, it was really hard for me to get a good start. Partially, too, because my starting technique on a 450 is really low rpms and on the 250 it had to be almost on the limiter.
My bike handled great and by the end of the season I was dialled in. 2nd overall for the year with no mechanicals, I was overall happy with how it went.
Hey, 450’s and 250’s will both be racing 25 plus 2 minutes in 2020. Being famous for your fitness, and moving back to the 450 class, what do you think of this change?
Ya, I’m not big on that change but I get it and the race generally is decided by that point anyway. Let’s do 3 motos? Hahah
You also play a part in the My Pitboard project. Can you tell us about that and what’s going on there?
The whole team with My Pitboard have been really working hard towards getting the unit firing flawlessly. We actually just spent 2 weeks testing new updates with myself and Mike Alessi and we are at the point now that even in less than ideal conditions it doesn’t skip a beat or miss a lap time. I have been using it every time I ride for past year and it really makes practice days more beneficial when you’re always pushing to beat or maintain a lap time that’s almost hard not to see. I don’t get nearly as distracted by other thoughts like I have struggled with in the past.
Training for the GNCC’s lately I’ve been on the bike for longer periods of time and it would be a lot harder without the unit, being an ADHD scatter brain.
Since I mentioned Jeremy (and it could have been his #4 week last week), what’s he been up to lately? Can you talk him into racing next summer?
Jer’s good. He’s been helping my dad with some work, playing lots of hockey and hanging out. He’s got a pretty good control over his health issue that had be bothering him for a few years. It’s hard to talk him into anything (Hahah), but I know he’s in the works of getting a bike and plans on heading south to ride for a bit, so maybe that will light a fire under his ass to hit up a couple races!
What have you been doing this winter for training and preparation? How’s the new KX450?
I’m actually home right now for a break. I did a 3-week training block down in Jacksonville, Florida, at my home-away-from-home with the Edgar family. I’m now on a rest week hanging with my 3 little monsters and my one big crazy monster (Heidi). I am getting ready for the first 2 GNCC’s so been training hard and putting my KX450 to the test!
We are heading to Cali to test with Pro Circuit in February. Hopefully, they don’t mind me just using the decals because the bike EATS out of the box. They did my first set of suspension for off-road and it works unreal in the woods, so I’m getting excited to line up with a designated off-road machine. Hydro clutch and e-start wasn’t hard to get used to living with either!
I have to mention your ISDE championship in Portugal this year! Where does this rank on your all-time list? You’re the first Canadian to accomplish that!
Ya, this ranks up there near the top. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a race and extremely gruelling. A lot of things have to play in your favour to do well day after day. Maintaining your own bike is challenging enough in a perfect world, but doing it all in limited quantities of time on top of riding for 8 hours a day was the most challenging part for me.
I believe Canada will be sending a World Trophy team for 2020 so with that and being on a KX450 it will be awesome to compete for the outright race at the front when the tests are smooth and fast. It’s like trying to get a fast lap time at Gopher Dunes during first practice versus at the end of second motos, comparing Club to World Trophy.
What will you do for the rest of the time between now and Round 1 of the Rockstar Triple Crown AX Tour in Sarnia?
Right now it’s testing and getting my race bike dialled in, continuing with my Migration Unlimited training plan, and first couple GNCCs.
How will the competition be between you and your teammate Matt Goerke now that you’re both in the 450 class?
Matt and I get along great. We are there to compete and we both understand what it takes to win. The pressure is on us to perform for the team and I know we won’t get in each other’s way. Our personalities are polar opposites and for some reason it makes the team dynamic work well. I’m looking forward to this season with the guys.
OK, how about this? What should we all be binge watching on Netflix right now?
Ah, that’s a good question. I prefer Crave because it has HBO shows. Deadwood was unreal! I’ve been watching YOU on Netflix lately. It’s OK but there is better on there. I actually went to see The Gentleman at the theatre and it’s the best movie I have watched in a long time. I highly recommend it.
OK, I took you into overtime there. Thanks for the chat. Who would you like to thank?
The team, Monster Energy, Kawasaki, Pro Circuit, Migration Unlimited, Atlas, Oakley, HAF and my family.