ICYMI | Catching Up with Tyler Medaglia | Presented by KTM Canada
By Billy Rainford
Tyler Medaglia is about to race the first 3 GNCC races down south. In case you missed it, we caught up with him as he was about to head down to Florida to get ready. Check it out:
Tyler Medaglia is career #5. However, he’s moving on from full-time Canadian Motocross Championship contender to a much more diverse riding and racing program.
Tyler is the rider I have the most photos of. I spent too much time looking for the perfect photo to outline his career and then realized this isn’t actually a “This Is Your Life” interview here today.
I also went over to the Rockstar Triple Crown website to post Tyler’s results from last year and found that the site was down. More on that later…
Anyway, sit back and check out what Tyler has on the go:
Direct Motocross: Hey, Tyler. How are you doing?
Tyler Medaglia: I’m doing good. Hanging out.
Let’s back it up as far as the 2020 season. You were back up to the 450 class. How did the MX season go for you?
The Motocross season went good. I struggled a little bit with getting comfortable with the bike. There was a lot invested into the program, with Pro Circuit and stuff. We did some testing in California. The bike setting was a lot different than what I’ve been used to. It was really, really rigid. That’s kind of the trend. You may as well, when you get the shot, try something new and different that works for some people.
There were a lot of pluses and minuses. For me, being small on a 450 there’s a small window of comfort that you have to find and it’s tough. Being old school it’s tough. When I was young with my dad, you just kind of got on the bike and dealt with it. You just rode the thing the way it was. We put springs in the bikes and I would just beat the bikes into the ground…just ride them and ride them.
I rode so much that I knew what the bike was going to do because of sheer hours on the machine. It didn’t really matter if it was perfect or not. I just knew what the bike was doing and I would just adjust my riding accordingly. So, testing has never really been my forté.
So, I was scared to really make some big swings. Coming into the first round, I was only allowed to go 2 clicks one way or the other way. They didn’t want anyone using the bike as an excuse. Fair enough. That’s never really been my thing. I don’t like to blame the bike.
But…to blame the bike… (Laughs)…Nah, I had some really good rides. I had some rides where I felt great and then there were some where I didn’t really feel comfortable. I mean, for the most part, I was trying to ride my hardest, but at this point in my life there’s risk versus reward and if I’m not comfortable and I feel like I’m on the verge of eating crap and crashing, I’m going to back it down. I know where I can take my risks and where I can’t.
Progressively, throughout the season, I started getting more comfortable with a few little tweaks here and there. The speed was never an issue. I’ve seen “P1” on the board a lot in practice. I would usually end up in the top 3 in qualifying, so my sprint speed was there and I was happy with that.
Towards the end of the year I had that good ride at Walton where I led most of the race and then the last two motos of the year at Sand Del Lee it was dry and I went 3-2, so I’m not terribly disappointed with that, considering we raced in mud most of the season.
I’m not going to say I was as comfortable as I was on my 2018 bike because I really enjoyed that KX450 that year. Some years you just gel with bikes and some years you don’t. 2020 was a little bit of a struggle for me, but I did enjoy myself.
I enjoyed the team. We all worked hard and I can’t say that year was a failure or anything. I got on the podium which is the goal. I want to win but sometimes it’s just not in the cards.
And then how did your SX season go? I know it ended early. Can you tell us what happened?
Ya, so, in the spring I was riding with Talon (his son) in this sand pit. I try to take him everywhere I go. I make him ride some less than optimal spots, but if there’s something sketchy that I don’t think he can do, I’ll have my track going and he’ll skip the harder parts.
There was this little step-up on a ridge and I was jumping over the top of the lip and it was like a kicker. He wanted to hit it and I stopped on the top of the jump and I went to kick at the piece of clay. I fully committed to it and I missed the top of it and the weight of my boot hyperextended my knee.
It was a very sharp and abrupt pain for a certain amount of time. And the next day it was fine. Even a half hour later it was OK. I’d feel the pain every once in a while throughout the year.
I was working on my Supercross track at Pleasant Valley, putting in a lot of motos. I was really looking forward to that because that track was a lot like my type of track – outdoors, a little bit sketchy, it was different… I was really looking forward to it.
First lap around practice there was a finish line little double and then a left-hand bowl corner. We jumped the finish line on the first lap and I jumped into the corner and I was on a lean angle and my feet were on the balls. I didn’t even put my feet out. I don’t know if I landed in a shadow or the bike maybe stuck…I don’t know what happened but my feet were on the balls on the pegs and my knee went backwards as the bike compressed into the corner.
I got that crazy sharp pain and I pulled around and I went into the pits and told Kibby (Pollak) that it was hurting. I said, “Just give me a second and it’ll go away.” And then I went and put in a half-assed heater lap and went back to the truck and it wasn’t getting any better.
It started to swell up and it really started hurting. I tried to sit on my bike but there was no way. There was no way I could ride with it, so I said I’d sit out that night.
I went back to the hotel and iced it and took some pain meds and it was just getting worse and swelling up worse and it hurt more and more. I just needed to get home.
I couldn’t race the next day. I could barely get out of bad. I went home.
So, to put this to rest: rumours were circling that, because you’d already been told that you weren’t being signed for 2021 that maybe you just decided to call it quits.
No, no, no. I wouldn’t do that. That’s not my MO (Method of Operations). That’s greasy. That’s not what I would do.
I kind of had my mind shifted to a different direction anyway. It wasn’t even really a surprise [not being signed], to be honest. To have Matt (Goerke) and me on the team for a couple years was a lot of money, so I get it. Times are a bit tougher right now and you’ve got to save some money wherever you can. It’s just the way it works, right?
So, you still are retired from full-time Canadian Motocross?
Um, ya, I mean, it’s not that I’m retired, I just want to do some other things before my motivation drops or my ability drops. There are just some events that I want to do that I never really got the chance to do. Not just that I didn’t get the chance to do, I’ll just have a little more freedom to do it. To try some different series from the beginning.
I’m going to do the first 3 GNCC‘s and I can focus on that without having to worry about riding a motocross setting and riding a 450. I’ve been riding a lot of Hard Enduro-type stuff and I’d like to do Erzberg and some more classic Enduros like ISDE-type races that kind of have been my thing. I grew up riding sketchy corner tracks. I would just like to give some of that stuff a go. before I feel like I’m not competitive.
Erzberg this year? Tell us what we’re talking about here!
Ya, I mean, if they have it. It depends on travel. I was aiming for this year, for sure. It would be really cool. Something different. With some connections that I have I should be able to get in fairly easy and maybe do an MXGP. I’ve been talking to some people about maybe getting into that, doing one or two rounds of that and documenting the whole thing like all the different styles of racing. I think it would be a pretty cool season. Kind of a Ryan Sipes-type deal.
The older you get, the more you need things like this to stay motivated, right?
Ya, and I mean I’ve been doing the same series since like ’06/’07. It’s been the main focus. I never really got the full opportunity to give the AMA outdoors a go. And when I was getting better at Supercross it was kind of around the same time I signed with Blackfoot. Priorities set in and then I just shifted my focus to the Canadian stuff and that’s the way it went.
I’m just looking for a little bit of a change. If it’s feasible, right. There’s a shit-ton of expenses when you want to do a venture like this. This isn’t really a good time to be trying to round up sponsorship, really. I’ve just got to put results up. If you really want something bad enough, you can make it happen, right? If it’s not this year then maybe next year.
Motivation is one thing. I’m finding different things more annoying than I used to, like going on the trainer. You know what I mean? I can’t go more than an hour on it. The days of going 2-3 hours on a trainer are done.
And I know weightlifting and stuff is good, but I will skip a workout and go cut trails in the woods and haul logs and shit. Going to the gym…you just smell the gym and you get that feeling like, “OK, this is that place…the torture chamber!” I look at a rowing and it just makes me sick.
And then on the other side of things, I’m really enjoying mountain biking and running trails, and I still really enjoy Cyclecross, so there are still things that motivate me to keep my fitness up and little carrots to chase, right?
Fitness has always surrounded my. Like, Heidi is really fit and motivated and goes running all the time and likes mountain biking, and Mitch (Cooke) is right into running and cycling more these days than he ever was.
Mitch just bought a new property and we’re putting up a full facility. I’ve been working on the off-road trails for the last month, getting them ready to hold Hare Scrambles. We’re going to have a Motocross track there. There’s already the bicycle big jump line. It’s all really nice dirt, which is awesome. There’s lots of stuff going on to keep the motivation there to stay at it.
What’s it going to be called?
It’s going to be called Callus Raceway.
Cool. And how are things going with Callus?
Callus is going really good! The problem right now is just getting our product. We get samples and we test it and then we try to make adjustments. We make sure that we have a solid list. We wait another two weeks for another sample and then we approve that. We’ve got AJ (White) doing product design so we work with him on that.
We did a bunch of cold weather stuff for Christmas and now all the 2021 stuff, I think, it’s on its way.
We have a really cool video to be released for when the gear is ordered so you can see the video and know what you can get. It’s good and I believe in it and I love using it. I’ve been getting in trouble the last 5 years for using the gloves. I used all black ones so I don’t get in trouble.
We spent so much time making the glove perfect. It’s a contact point and a lot of people are very fussy about gloves. We took a lot of time to make what I think is the perfect glove, so I’m really stoked on that.
And now you’ll start using the jargon with words like colourways, SKUs and booking terms.
Ya, I start shaking when I have to talk to people in the retail part of it. Mitch is really good at it.
At least you’re an owner, so it’s a lot better when you’re that invested in a product you’re trying to sell.
Ya, there’s definitely better when you’re that invested. It’s something that I really need to figure out. I’m more happy when I’m in the woods cutting trails (Laughs).
And then there’s the My PitBoard side of things, too.
Ya, the My PitBoard thing is going really well, too. It’s starting to get traction. I’ve been getting a lot of interest and messages from pretty high-end athletes and racers looking to get them.
It’s all done in Ottawa so I’m in on the meetings and stuff and I’m in on the updates and testing them. We’ve got it to the point where you can set it anywhere. I was doing motos inside a barn and it caught every single lap. It’s legit. It’s a really good tool for getting better.
What’s keeping you busy with the kids these days?
Talon has a little 65 GasGas now that he got from Cobequid Mountain Sports, so he’s been coming to the rides at the Burge‘s arena. He plays pretty competitive hockey, too. He’s at the rink 4 times a week, Millie’s at the rink 4 times a week, and even little Poppi, she skates at preschool, so all the kids are on the ice. It’s a busy time right now. They’re firing on all cylinders.
And you’re playing too, right? What position do you play?
I play centre. I’m more of a defensive player. I don’t have great hands but I’ve got some speed. It’s kind of like my riding, I don’t have the most finesse, but I get in there and get it done and don’t quit.
So, what do you have as far as bikes go right now?
Well, I had been riding a KTM 300 XCW in the Hard Enduro-type trails that I have. There’s a really nice track that’s not too far from here called Dream Acres and my friends call the trails Nightmare where the Hard Enduro stuff is, so I’ve been riding the 300XC a bit.
I had a GasGas 250F that I’ve been riding a little bit to get ready for the XC-type stuff because I have a 350 XCF that’s on its way to Florida right now. A woods weapon, really. I really enjoyed riding the 350. I’m looking forward to that for the first few GNCCs.
I head back down to Jacksonville in the next…on Friday. I’ll put in a good solid training block. I feel like it shouldn’t take too long to come back, since I’ve been riding well into the winter here.
I’ll be back down there staying with The Edgars. They think they finally got rid of me! (Laughs) They’re like a second family to me down there. I love seeing Jim, Cindy, Pops and Kevin and the whole gang. It’s pretty turn-key for me. I’m lucky to have them, for sure.
Big Buck is the first one. I need to get redemption at that one. I did it last year but I’d flown in the night before straight from our California testing trip. I had a rear brake issue right off the bat. I crashed and, oh man, it was just a shitty race.
The Hog Waller one went well. But going down to specifically train and prepare for that, I’m looking forward to it. One of my big targets for this year is to try and beat my 5th overall finish. I’d like to try to beat my best result ever.
Well, I hope I’m able to get down there to see this firsthand. Thanks for filling us in on your plans and good luck. Who would you like to thank?
Thank you. Let me thank the Callus guys, My PitBoard, KTM Canada, Oakley, Cobequid Mountain Sports, my buddy Patrick Boyle, and The Edgar Family.