Frid’Eh Update #3 | Shawn Maffenbeier | Brought to You by Troy Lee Designs

By Billy Rainford

Brought to you by Troy Lee Designs.
Week #3 belongs to Shawn Maffenbeier from Swift Current, Saskatchewan. | Bigwave photo

Welcome to Frid’Eh Update #3 brought to you by Troy Lee Designs. This week brings us to Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego. We aren’t at Petco Park along the water in the downtown area this year. I didn’t investigate anything and just this morning realized it was a different stadium altogether and not just a renamed Petco. I’ll be sure to read Sean Brennen‘s briefings from now on… 

Anyway, this stadium is on the San Diego State University campus and just opened in August of 2022, so it has that new stadium smell. We’ll take care of that as soon as practice fires up tomorrow. The open-air stadium and surrounding area has a definite Arizona flavour to it, if you ask me. 

The Dirt Wurx crew is working feverishly to get the track in tip top form for Saturday and Press Day festivities were cancelled again. However, I think we’re made it through the monsoon season here in California and things should be getting back to normal here soon. They pulled all of the previous dirt out and didn’t get this new stuff in until just Wednesday, so they’re working hard to get this place race ready. On a side note, my cycling shoes have dried out and the snails calling them home have been safely and humanely tossed out the window of the van.

Riders are all getting themselves situated in the pits on the brand new asphalt and will head to tech inspection starting at 1pm local time. 

I wandered around a bit this morning and found Parker Eales and Kyle Springman doing the same drive I was doing trying to find the entrance to where we needed to be. Who knew there would be so many dead ends and roundabouts?! 

Parker was able to get some good riding in at a track called Dairy Grindstone SX on Thursday. They said the track was great and there was a good number of privateer riders there making it a solid day of race prep. Let’s watch for him to come out swinging here in San Diego. 

We’re “officially” being told to call this Round 3 and the upcoming Oakland is to be called “Rescheduled Round 2.” It’s a bit clunky and out of sync but that’s what the SX brass are wanting us to do, so we’ll comply. Don’t @ us when you read it. 

It’s been a good few weeks down here so far and I’m looking forward to the sunshine that should be here for the rest of my stay. Yesterday, I got a chance to ride with Davis Brode who was always one of our go-to guys from Scott Sports Canada over at Mica Sport Canada in Bracebridge, ON. He calls the Huntington Beach area home now and is a real estate dude. 

We met across the street from Angel’s Stadium in Anaheim and the plan was to ride the bike path along the waterway to the beach and back. It’s 20K each way. It’s the same ride I did last year at A1, so I knew it. What I didn’t know or expect was the pace!

I assumed we’d be cruising along and I could catch up with Davis along the way and get a nice ride in at the same time. WRONG! 

As soon as we got rolling, the two guys who were with Davis, Scott and David, started smashing the pedals into the on-shore wind and I was forced to jump in line or get dropped off the back; no chatting, no warming up, and no talking about the pace we were planning to ride. The gun went off and we were hammering. 

I told them I hadn’t really ridden since late October but that didn’t matter. It was their Thursday ride and it was going to be fast. OK…

I sat back in 3rd or 4th spot and never took a turn pulling at the front. I told them, straight up, that I was in no shape to do so and they seemed fine with that. Davis also sat beck and didn’t take a turn. However, he also stated at the start that it was what he was going to do. 

We stopped for about 5 minutes at the beach before making the turnaround to hard back. Fortunately, we were going to be with the wind this time. Well, let me correct that, because the wind was at our backs, we were going to try to ride twice as fast on the way back!

As we took off, I looked down at my computer and called it out: 45kph…46kph…47K…P…H! What was going on? Were they going to hold this pace the whole way back? Yes they were. 

Because I was sitting in the draft, I was feeling OK. I decided it was time I suck it up and take a turn at the front. I went away and pushed pretty hard for a couple minutes. I sat up and looked back only to find that nobody even went with me! What a goon move. I let up and everyone regrouped but nobody even said anything. Not one word about why they decided then to let up. Oh well. 

In the end, it was a nice ride and I didn’t feel all that bad for lack of actual on-bike training the past couple months. I was a little shaky but that was because I was full of coffee and nothing else, on top of the effort. And to top it all off, nobody was planning to go for a burger and a beer after! What?! Come on! 

Thanks for the ride, guys. There’s a tentative plan to do a ride inland on Sunday and they promise it won’t be the same kind of hammer-fest that this was. I may have to show up.

We did a podcast interview with Shawn Friday afternoon. Check it out wherever you get your podcasts. | Bigwave photo

#3 is, of course, the career number of Shawn Maffenbeier. Shawn had a good early season last year but then suffered an injury that saw him having to finish 8th at the final round to ensure nobody could pass him to take the final spot on the final 450 podium position. He managed that and ended the season 3rd behind Dylan Wright and Tyler Medaglia – an all-Canadian top 3.

Shawn is currently working away in the family Speedy Creek bank machine business in Swift Current, SK (You get the name?) We’ve been having a difficult time getting together for an interview because when he has a second to chat I’m getting crushed on a bike ride or at a practice track, and when I’m ready to chat he’s elbows deep fixing some sort of bank machine issue. 

We’ve joked for the past couple seasons that Shawn is at a crossroads with his racing, along with other riders like Keylan Meston. The question of whether to continue chasing the dream or move on in life is one that every rider struggles with late in their careers. Shawn is no different, but it sounds like he will indeed be coming back to race the 450 class again in 2023. 

Nothing is official, so this is speculation at this point, but I think it’s more of a formality than speculation. 

Since we haven’t been able to corral Shawn for an interview before this Update, we’ll have to get him on the phone as soon as we can this coming week. I think they are also so close to inking the deal that he doesn’t want to say anything he’s not supposed to yet, out of respect to “the team.” We understand. 

After I finished typing this, Shawn got in touch and said he had some time while he was driving to his next gig, so we were able to get a conversation in after all. He had a lot to say about his 2022 season. I didn’t know it was as tough a summer as it was! His 3rd place will be that much more impressive once you listen to how Shawn describes it. Check it out:

Listen to it wherever you get your podcasts.

#22 Tyler Gibbs just got back from racing the German SX. | Bigwave photo

Tyler Gibbs just got back from the opportunity to race in Dortmund, Germany in the ADAC German SX Series. He got home a couple nights ago and we’ll get him on the phone for a podcast interview to go over it all as soon as it works for us both. Watch for that one early in the coming week.

It’s now gotten late, when you consider things in the Eastern time zone, so I’ll end things here. I’ve got a couple more things to post from today, so I’ll get to that right now. Be sure to check them out a little later.

Thanks for looking and we’ll see you at the races…

This shot with Maff and Parker Eales together seems like a great place to leave things this week. See you at the races… | Bigwave photo