Frid’Eh Update #5 | Tyler Medaglia | Presented by Gas Gas Canada

By Billy Rainford

Presented by Gas Gas Canada
Week #5 belongs to multi-disciplined racer Tyler Medaglia from Brookfield, Nova Scotia. | Team photo

Welcome to Week #5 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week presented by Gas Gas Canada. First, the good news – being down here in California means I get to travel around in search of Canadians who have managed to get down here to either train for upcoming races or race Supercross. The bad news is that all this galavanting (Thanks, Mom!) means I have little-to-no time to dig around and get stories from things that are happening that aren’t right in front of me down here.

What I’m trying to say is that this Update will consist of just our interview with the #5 honouree, Tyler Medaglia. Fortunately, an interview with Tyler is always enough to satisfy most readers, so let’s get to it.

I’m sitting in the photo den at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, right now. Media Day for Round 5 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series just finished and I can hear the Supercross Futures class practicing down the hall on the track.

#23 Ryder Difrancesco looks to be the class of the field again with #15 Gavin Towers and #45 Brad West from Australia trying to do what they can to keep him in check.

When you’re done with the Tyler Medaglia interview, you’ll be able to check out some video from today. I’ll get to that as soon as I press “SEND” on this column.

Tyler finished 5th in the 2021 Canadian Triple Crown Series 450 MX series, AMA Pro Motocross at Fox Raceway, raced the ISDE, the MXON, and some GNCC events last year. He was super busy! We got in touch with him down in South Carolina where he getting ready to race a few off-road events before competing in the whole Canadian MX series again. I know, I was surprised too!

Here’s what Tyler had to say when we got in touch with him in South Carolina. | Ulf Viney photo from Pala

Direct Motocross: Hello, Tyler. Where have we found you today?

Tyler Medaglia: Well, I’m in Gaston. I don’t know how they pronounce it down here but South Carolina at GTR Complex. I’m with my friend, Nathan Ayles that I ride with. He’s from Moncton, and we do a lot of riding together, so we’re going to be doing some winter training and getting ready to do some off-road races.

Nice. What’s GTR? I’m not familiar.

Yeah, it’s like a 600-acre ranch with all kinds of single-track trails, double track trails, trails. There are two motocross tracks: a GP-like track, a whipped-out sand track, and a flat track. It’s quite the hidden gem here. It’s nice and clean. And yeah, we’re staying in this big apartment room above the main shop and there’s nobody else here, so it’s pretty awesome. And really good soil. We’ve been riding new trails and we’ve been here for a week-and-a-half now, so it’s pretty awesome.

Crazy. You mentioned you’re training to get ready for some some off road stuff, but we’ll get to that. Of course, we’ve got to backtrack a tiny bit here and just kind of talk about 2021 for a second. You raced the motocross portion of the Triple Crown Series and finished fifth place with a second place being your best overall. How would you sum up your your Canadian motocross season?

Yeah, it was good. I mean, I think it could have been better. I had an ECU issue at Sand Del Lee while I was leading, so that was a big bummer and a DNF. And obviously with a handful of guys that are all really close, and the top five that the variance and finishes aren’t that big. So you have one bad race, you’re pretty much screwed, especially with the mechanical. So that was kind of a bummer.

But yeah, I mean, I had great support from Alex (Parker) from Cobequid Mountain Sports. It kind of came together a little bit late, just because I was riding 350’s in the woods during the winter. And then we put something together for motocross kind of last-minute, and then it just, you know, it just escalated. And now we’ve got a really good program going on and to get onto the podium a few times there towards the end of the season, which was really good.

And yeah, we got the bike working good, so I’m really happy with it. And I’m happy with how the season went, especially how well ISDE went. That was kind of my big target for the year, if I’m honest. I was really stoked with how I finished.

Tyler has always liked the Whispering Pines track in Kamloops, BC. | Bigwave photo

I’ve got a couple things on the list here to talk about because with you, it’s not just about how the motocross season went. So, in 2022 are you going to do more motocross?

Yeah, I’m going to do the Nationals again. Yeah, I think just with with the program growing with Alex and stuff, and you know, with my relationship with Gas Gas growing I think they had some requests and Alex had some requests and then of course I have some. You know, there’s other things that I want to do as well and I get to do a lot of extracurricular stuff I guess and I got support to do so. So yeah, but you know, I’m going to do the Nationals again and there’s some good tracks on there.

We’re going to Kamloops, right? Is that still the plan because I really like that track? I really like Kamloops so you know for the series to start there that’s kind of intriguing for me and just that going out west for a couple of weeks is nice. I haven’t been there been out there for a while and Kamloops is really fun for me. There’s good mountain biking and there’s good trails and every time I go there I enjoy my time, so I can’t complain about the nationals starting out there.

Wow, that actually kind of surprises me, especially since it’s going west, that you would be in. I thought that almost would make you not but it’s just the opposite. Cool.

Yeah. Just with the break and the time off, and, you know, Talon at the age where he’s really into a lot of stuff. And you know, I mean, I don’t have to babysit him as much, you know? If we go out west and we go hiking, he could keep up? And if we want to go to Squamish and do The Chief he can do it.

We want to go mountain biking and the bike park in Whistler. He’s fully capable of doing the jumps and really enjoying it, so I think it would be a good thing to do. And then, of course, he’ll have his dirt bike in the trailer and he can race. I think it’ll be fun for him. Heidi (Cooke) likes the West Coast too, so we could probably make it a little vacation.

Alright, so going into the season, did you always know you weren’t going to do the Supercross portion?

Last year? Yeah. After I hurt my knee there I was getting ready for ISDE and I wanted to do FMSQ‘s in Quebec, so that’s kind of the opposite of racing like six-minute Arenacross races.

I was actually kind of joking with (Cole) Thompson on the line at Walton, saying like, you know, we’re really going our separate ways! Like he wanted to go back into the shorter Arenacrosses and I want to put the big tank on and ride in the gnarliest stuff you can find, right. So yeah, there wasn’t really a plan to do the Supercross.

Tyler winning the Gopher Dunes National in 2008 with Dusty Klatt and Kyle Keast. | Bigwave photo

So, your focus was ISDE. Are you going to shoot for that again?

Yeah, of course. I want to improve on that. And that’s kind of like the whole, you know, that’s what I’ve been working a lot on, on some of the technical aspects of the woods riding and riding hard enduro at home on my two-stroke, and then, you know, riding this weekend, it’s a National Enduro (NEPG). I’ve never done one of those before, so it’ll be interesting to see what it’s like.

And then the following weekend there’s a sprint enduro, and then the following week is a round of GNCC. So all this stuff is just really, I mean, keeps me preoccupied and, you know, sharpen the skills in the woods between the trees.

Wow. So it sounds like you’ll be crossing paths with Shelby Turner a lot down there.

Yeah, I think so. That’s kind of what she did last year.

Yep, she did.

I don’t know, I haven’t talked to her yet, but yeah, likely I usually see her at the GNCC.

Alright, and then you kind of, you know, you kind of jumped in and out of the GNCC last year. Are you going to try to do a full series on that or no?

No. If the first few rounds go really good, and, you know, something…you never know. But no, I’m committed to do the the Nationals and I want to do as many of the FMSQ series on the off weekends of some of the Nationals because I’d like to do some more of those. And, you know, Talon really does well in the woods stuff, too, so I’d like to do some of that series.

But yeah, I mean, again, it’s just the GNCC’s are really tough. Really tough and you need a lot of things to line up and three hours of riding at your… it’d be like doing a three-hour time trial. It’s tough.

Tyler at the Hog Waller GNCC in Florida in 2020. | Bigwave photo

They’re not fun, Tyler, you can admit it.

No, it’s, it is fun. It’s like one of those things where you get done you’re like, oh, man, that was a blast. But you know, it takes some mental toughness to get through it. But I mean, that’s just, I don’t know why I like that stuff, but I enjoy it.

Alright, well, the fifth thing on our list of things is Motocross of Nations. I mean, Italy last year was pretty cool. I know we could have done better of course, but I don’t know if you want to sum that up or not. But would you try to go back again, and how many times have you been? That’s a lot of questions.

Yeah, that was my eighth time. Oh, yeah, I would like to go back again. I mean, that would be the goal. My motocross speed was good last year. Unfortunately, I didn’t know it at the time, but I crashed when I got home between the two races between ISDE and MXON and I crashed, I thought I just got like a mild concussion, but I actually separated my shoulder too. And I was dealing with, like, when we got over to Italy, and we did the shakedown with the bike and instantly I knew that my shoulder was like really bugging me. Knock on wood, I haven’t had many injuries with joints. My left knee bugs me every once in a while and stuff, but I didn’t really know what the extent of it was.

Then when I crashed I had a good start in the very first moto but someone fell right in front of me and I hit his bike and crashed really hard. And yeah, I just put both my arms out and really hurt my shoulder. So it was, you know, it took everything I had just to finish the event and nobody likes to wake up in the morning and it’s pissing rain all day.

It was a tough one was especially with qualifying going so well for us. I mean, that race is tricky, man. Like, it’s wild out there. It’s very sporadic. People are running into each other and riding over their heads a little bit. I find that race more so than any other one and it’s a lot of pressure and it’s a sketchy race. But yeah, mud races suck.

I know you’ve got your My PitBoard stuff, the Callus stuff. What did you get up to when the season ended?

Yeah, we’ve been working hard with Callus. My PitBoard stuff was good. And like, Christmas was good. And the problem is with COVID stuff that there were delays in that hardware for the board. So that kind of stuff was a bit of a pain in the ass. But every time we have them, they’re always sold out.

So Kibby‘s been working on a new update for them – new software and an app. So that’s the next phase of that. And then with Callus we just launched all our new winter/spring colourways. And just keep getting more samples and trying to keep getting the gear better and better. And it’s at a place now where we’re really happy. So we’re just pumping out some new designs and having fun with it, really.

I like all the ins and outs of it and going and talking with AJ and designing things and you know, coming up with catchphrases and, yeah, it’s fun.

The Medaglia Family out west back in 2012. | Bigwave photo

Alright, so I was gonna ask you what your winter plans are? It’s kind of a usual question, but you kind of just outline three weeks of upcoming races, right, like, what’s your winter look like?

Yeah, pretty much. I mean, I wanted to at least get in some racing because I rode kind of late into the season, but it was more like trials-type technical riding and, you know, in the hardwoods, and going up hills and rocks and roots and stuff, so it wasn’t really like riding fitness stuff. And we’d been playing hockey and just the weather started getting crappy, so I was just, you know, I was like, well, you know, maybe I should head down, start my training, get some good base training in because for motocross doing the GNCC’s is like the ultimate base training, right?

Like you gain a crazy amount of fitness just, you know, doing those events. Last year, I was switching from bike to bike and this year I’m sticking with my Gas Gas 450, so it’ll be a seamless transition for me for anything else that I want to do. As soon as I transition to motocross and, you know, I just stiffen up the compression and away we go.

How long are you staying down there?

I’m probably going to go home after the first round of GNCC. I’m going to go home for a week break and then I’m going to fly back down to Florida and probably do the Florida round and the Georgia round. So the next two.

And then, hopefully, the weather starts breaking at home and I can go back home and go to Callus Raceway and work on the track and trails there.

Okay, now, I mean, I was surprised that you’re doing the full outdoor series again, but what’s the future? Do you think about it day by day or year by year? Or are you like, I’ve got five more years of this?

Yeah, I mean, if I don’t feel like I’m competitive then I don’t want to do it. But I feel like I’m still really competitive. People seem to think that I’m a lot older, just because I’ve had kids for a long time, but I had kids pretty young, right.

At 34, Tyler still feels like he’s got a few years left in him at the top of the field. | Bigwave photo

40 is still pretty young...

Yeah, exactly. I mean, I’m 34, and, yeah, I feel good. It’s not like, you know, people say when you’re ready to hang it up, you’re ready, and I’m still, you know, I still enjoy the thrill of doing well. And the training and all the intensity. I guess it is the adrenaline I get from riding and racing and it gives me structure, I guess. I know with the kids it’s structured too but I enjoy being kind of like a role model for my kids, you know? Just to show them that if you want to do good at something you have to put the time in and their sacrifices and you have to be healthy so, I like to be kind of like a role model in that way.

And our lifestyle is, regardless of me racing or not, it would be active. I mean, doing all kinds of stuff but the dedication and work you have to put into the professional athlete is a good life model, in my opinion.

Have you been watching Supercross?

I have been and you know what’s funny is I’ve been seeing you on Race Day Live just in the background. I see your head was staring off into the crowd. I kinda should have recorded it on my phone. It’s good. I love it. Man, there’s Billy. Look at him. What is he doing?

So yeah, I have been. I have been following along. And then we’ve been with Kibby and Eve Brodeur, we’ve been doing like these little recap videos. And yeah, just with the lap times and data and stuff. I kind of have to pay attention to the ins and outs of what’s going on in Supercross and it’s been an unbelievable season. So it’s pretty entertaining.

Ok, well let’s end it there, Tyler. Thanks for chatting with us this week and good luck in all your upcoming races.

Thank you.

Thanks for reading, everyone. I’ll get going on some video from today to show you what the track and the dirt look like here in Phoenix. Have a great weekend.

Tyler says, “See you at the…RAAAARRRRRR…I mean, races...” Bigwave photo