Monday Morning Coffee
By Billy Rainford
Welcome to your first Monday Coffee of spring! Yes, it has finally ‘sprung’ and we are now only a few months away from all of this snow being completely gone here in Ontario. I kid, I kid. But wait, maybe that’s not too far off the mark if you live out in the Maritimes as they just received what is hopefully one last kick in the groin with a couple feet of snow.
I took a look at the forecast for the west and it really got me wondering why I ever left. It will be 23 degrees in Kamloops by the end of the week! When I spoke with Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki’s Jason Hughes on Friday, he mentioned that they have been at or above 15 degrees C for the past month-and-a-half in his hometown. That sounds great but when you love sledding in the mountains as much as he does, the fact that where there is usually 10 feet of snow and now there is only 2, the news isn’t as ‘warming’ as it could be. Hang in there, Jason, just be glad you’re not firing up the snowblower like poor Adam Turner out in Lower Sackville (chuckle), NS.
There were a crazy amount of falls this past weekend in Detroit. I don’t know exactly why, but my head was spinning while shooting photos down on the floor at Ford Field because of all the yellow, red cross, and red flags being waved. What are we doing about all the injuries we are seeing in our sport, that is the question.
I’m not going to get into this too much right now because you can look for an interesting and well-written piece by a guest writer later this afternoon on the topic. Suffice it to say, we need to stop burying our heads in the ground (literally!) and try to understand WHY these things re happening. It’s no longer enough to say that motocross is an extreme sport and injuries, and even deaths, are a part of it. It’s not good enough. More needs to be done.
Our hearts go out to the Hoeft Family who lost their son last week in Texas. Tyler Hoeft is the latest to pay the ultimate price for this sport we all love so much. Like I said, we get it, motocross is dangerous, but let’s not kid ourselves, more can be done. I have been known to get up on my soap box from time to time and harp about the fact that we should all look like hockey or football players when we throw a leg over a motocross bike. Why not? Can you imagine watching a football game where all they wear is a jersey and nothing else? Yes, that would be called Aussie Rules, but you get my point. My point isn’t that Tyler wasn’t wearing enough protection. I haven’t seen the crash and don’t know the circumstances. My point is just that we need to try to figure out causality and see if maybe there isn’t something more that can be done to lower the risks.
It’s not ‘wimpy’ to wear all the protection available. Hell, I say it’s much more ‘manly’ to want to be able to get up after a fall and be able to hop back on and continue racing! I actually used to wear goofy-looking Wayne Gretzky elbow pads over my jersey! I KNOW they saved a broken arm or two over the course of my racing.
I could literally go on about this all day long but I really need to get to my Detroit SX photo reports. I’ve heard that Kevin Windham will be making an appearance on the Pulp MX Show tonight to discuss this topic, so be sure to tune in tonight for that one. Kevin was and is a terrific ambassador for our sport and offered up his time to take the lead on this subject. You know it’s serious when someone who has gotten so much from the sport publicly states he is happy his son hasn’t shown an interest in racing, at this point. Have you ever asked yourself that same question? Sure you have.
Be sure to check back in here on DMX for an article on this topic.
New Orleans Arenacross Results
Canadians at Freestone Results
The Art of Bonking or How to Get ‘a Head’ in a Canoe Full of Ice Water
I mentioned in this past week’s Frid’Eh Update that I would spin the yarn of the time I completely ‘hit the wall’ during a race and wound up in a canoe filled with ice water, to my surprise. Well, here it is:
This isn’t a tale of a past motocross race gone wrong, it’s a story of someone totally ‘bonking’ during a triathlon. The reason this was brought up Friday was the recent suspension of MX2 champion Jordi Tixier due to his striking an FIM official after being told he couldn’t race because he suffered from heat exhaustion. This is a tale that confirms he was right to be told to stay off a bike and out of the race.
The year was 1996. It was an unusually hot and humid morning in early June in the small town north of Toronto, Ontario, called Bolton. It was the first time the President’s Choice Triathlon Series had been to this beautiful recreation centre and we were all excited to race the new course. When we first got there, everyone had that look in their eyes showing signs of fear due to the super-hot weather. I’ve always said I love to race/train in the heat. I’m the idiot who wits until 1pm on a trip to Mexico to go for a run. I love it! Well, I thought I did…
The pond we were to swim in was only 1km if you were to swim the entire perimeter. This was a sprint triathlon, so the distances were: 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run (actually, it’s been so long it may have been some weird hybrid mix of distances, but that’s neither here nor there). At the racers’ meeting before the horn sounded, were were told that if we got into any trouble in the swim to “just stand up.” The water never got any deeper than about 5 feet. Unfortunately, if you were to stand up, you sank an added foot into what can only be described as ‘goose crap.’ The water also had to be 90 degrees – it was gross.
OK, so the horn sounds and we head off into this murky, warm water and do our very best not to ingest any of this spawn. In hindsight, more of this slop than is healthy must have found its way into my stomach, and that almost made me sick just typing it. It was business as usual as I exited the water. I’m tall and skinny so I was always near the front after the first leg.
As I mounted my bike and headed out onto the bike course, I took my first gulp of water from my plastic water bottle and made a mental note of just how warm and un-refreshing it already was. I had 2 full bottles of water so I was fine for a short race like this…or was I?
I made sure I had finished all my water as I returned to transition for the final part of the tri which was either a 5k or a 7k run, I don’t remember.As I racked my bike and pulled on my racing flats, everything seemed normal – there weren’t more than 5 bikes in the rack (meaning I was up in the top 5 or 8) and I should be able to hang on for the run portion and have a pretty solid finish. Off I went.
I remember thinking, as I circled the beautiful property’s trails, that this week the race is sponsored by President’s Choice hamburgers. Mmm, that is going to be great when I’m done. I should hurry. I then started wondering when I was going to be done. I remember starting to swear in my head about how long the stupid run course was. I was getting increasingly ‘crusty.’ I was crusty to the point where I bet I would have taken a swing at someone if they told me I couldn’t race the next moto. 😉
I don’t remember anything after swearing like a long-shoreman. Fortunately (?), I have every single race I ever did on video because my parents never missed a race and my dad videoed them all. You can see me barely running coming toward the finish line and my dad mentioned that my knee must be sore because of how pedestrian I was ‘running.’
I crossed the line, handed the person my band, and proceeded to basically collapse in their arms. A few more people show up and start guiding me to the place where they had the canoe full of ice water. The video stops and restarts.
There I am, sitting upright in the freezing cold canoe throwing up over the side. My next move is to spot a girl who is screaming that she “can’t see” and tell her, “Hey, you’re pretty hot.” I don’t remember doing this. In my mind, my buddies were trying to dunk me under water and I was blurting out their names. Of course, it was the medics trying to save my damn life!
It looked like a wartime triage unit as bags of IV were hanging everywhere. For some reason, I didn’t get an IV! How was it possible people were worse off than I was?! The plopped me off to the side and handed me drink after drink that I just cradled in my arms. I had no idea what was going on or where I was.
In my mind, I must have been out on the course somewhere in the weeds clinging to life. I actually thought my jaw was broken, my elbows were bent backwards, and my legs were smashed. I also concluded that I would spend the rest of my days being cared for in a mental institute. Seriously.
My dad had put away the camera at this point and was seated beside me trying to get me to actually ingest some of these fluids I had accumulated. All I wanted was to plow my way into a delicious bbq’d burger but a medic came by and said, “You’re probably really hungry but we advise you not to eat a whole bunch quite yet.” What?! It as all I could think about!
So there I was sitting there in a heap, waiting to be placed into an ambulance and taken to the local psych hospital. After what seemed like an eternity, a medic came up and asked how I was. I said that I would need to get my face put back together and she finally told me that it was normal to feel like that. What?! Why didn’t someone say that 30 minutes ago?! Oh, and I finished the race??? And I won my age-group??? Wow.
I eventually regained my senses enough to stand up and sit at a picnic table and wait for the awards ceremony. Truthfully, I was in no shape to do anything but just sit. When they came to my age-group, he said, “And how about a round of applause for the first finisher to make it into the canoe!?” I was honoured. At least I had that.
I don’t think the series ever went back to Bolton. The point I’m trying to make is that heat exhaustion is NOT a laughing matter (even though I have shoulder-length hair and am wearing a Speedo in the video). If I was to think I could have gone out and raced a moto after going through that, I would go back and thank whoever it was that stopped me, not punched them. Then again, it would have been hard to at the time.
OK, I’m off to edit this ‘guest column’ and work on the photos from Detroit. Thanks for reading and have a great week, everyone.