So K-Dub, how did the Team Puerto Rico thing come about?
Man, it was a long discussion over many months. I was kind of leaning towards a no, and not for any other reason than that I was just struggling with where I was and a bunch of different stuff. I’d opted out, and then the whole Unadilla thing happened with Ronny Mac and the team changed its format. I got another call from Travis [Pastrana] and after that, I figured I needed to try to do this. It’s the right thing to do for Puerto Rico and it’s a fun thing for me to take on.
I’ve been away from the sport a bit with raising a family and chasing kids around. It’ll be nice to get back out there. It’s such a huge race and I’ve only had the opportunity to race it three times in my life. One of them was spoiled by September 11th happening that year. I went to Brazil and went to Erne, France, and actually won that one, so I’m honored to have a chance to ride out there and hit the ground running with six weeks of prep. I’ve got my back against the wall, but we’re doing all we can to make sure I’m ready for the race.
We’ve seen the video of you running around like Forrest Gump and all, but have you been putting some training into this? How serious are you taking it?
I am, I’ve actually been riding at a facility down here near where I live called The Real Deal. They work with a lot of fast kids, so I’m able to ride with the amateurs and up-and-comers, which is fun. They’re able to keep me pushing and on pace. It’s been good to ride with them. I’ve been running and beating up the pavement as much as possible. I’m slow as crap on the road and on the bike, but I’m gaining strength. Last week – which I guess is four weeks out from the race – I did five twenty-minute motos in the week and one thirty-minute moto.
I’m riding a bunch and I’m just starting to get to that thirty-minute mark with a couple weeks to go. I’m pretty pumped with where I’m at for literally coming off the couch six weeks ago and having not ridden other than at a little regional area qualifier or Party in the Pasture. Other than that, I haven’t done anything of significance since a few years ago. Look, I’m going to be as ready as I can be and it is what it is. When I get there, regardless of how I finish, I’ll know that I did everything I could in that six-week period.
You kind of answered my question, I was going to ask how much quality riding you’ve done since you retired. I know you host the Party in the Pasture and ride with everyone there, but beyond that.
Yeah, not enough to prepare me for the biggest and toughest race of the year where you’re competing against three of the best riders from every country. Nothing can prepare you for that, that’s for sure.
The last time you came out of retirement you rode a Honda CRF450R and blew everybody’s minds, right?
Many moons ago, Donn, many moons ago.
What is the current bike that you ride at home right now?
Honda is in full support and GEICO and the whole team is all in. I called them as soon as I committed to Travis and the team. They were like, ‘Yeah, we’ll get you a bike dialed,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, so when will that be?’ They were talking about sending one in two weeks and I couldn’t spare two weeks, so I wound up going to the local Honda dealership and just buying one.
It just seemed like the thing to do. I bought one and rode it stock for maybe a week. Since then, Factory Connection has been testing with me through the mail. We’ve been talking back and forth about what we like and what’s working and not working. Ziggy is probably going to come down and spend the week with me, but we’ve had parts trickling in and that sort of thing. I’ll have a good race bike there at the track and I’m testing as much as I can right now and trying to get my endurance up.
So, the bike I shot this morning was a ’19, is that what you purchased?
Yeah, I bought a ’19.
Okay, so what is your opinion of the production ’19 now?
Coming off the couch it was great. I mean, talk about blowing people’s minds two questions ago, at this point I’m just hoping that I don’t blow people’s minds with how slow I am right now. I will tell you that as I progress, I can use a little power here and power there, but suspension wise, it’s more needing a little stiffness. I’m a heavier guy, I weigh 225 pounds right now, but I’m starting to push it to where I’m needing to stiffen up or get more power or braking or whatever. That’s a sign to me that I’m getting better and faster.
This may be a trivial question here, what will you be wearing?
Head-to-toe, I’ll be wearing a 6D helmet, SPY goggles, Shift gear, Gaerne boots, and I think that’s about it. And by the way, with your last question, I didn’t touch on this, but in five years I missed the air fork thing and there’s been a lot of progression, but I didn’t tell you the thing I liked most about the bike; that it doesn’t come with a kickstarter. I don’t care how much weight is on that bike with the addition of the battery and all. You could take a regular car battery and bolt it up under the seat for all I care. I love not having to kick that thing.
Well, we can’t wait to see you in action at Red Bud!
Thanks for checking in. I may not blow people’s minds, but I will tell you that I am going to give it my all!