How to Become a 7-Time Champion in Motorsports With Motorcycle Hall of Fame Member Jeff Ward
All right. So we have got a hell of a treat for you today. And when I rattle off this list of accomplishments, it’s just unreal. 56 national wins, four time, two 50 motocross champ, two time, two 50 supercross champ. Um, what first AMA pro title was in 1984 in the one 25 class. Two gold medals, one at age 46 and the other at 48.
Um, top three finishes in the Indianapolis 500. Um, seven day, seven time participant in the motocross, the nation’s 17th motorcyclist inducted into the Motorcycle, Motorcycle, Motor Sports Hall of Fame, right? Um, and I know I’m missing more. Oh, maybe two AMA Supermodo wins. And I know that there’s more I’m missing.
What, what did I miss Jeff ward?
Uh, motorcycle hall of fame, I guess that’s, that’s probably a given. Uh, when the IndyCar race at Texas motor speedway, that was probably a big, big highlight of my IndyCar career, even though I did really well at Indy, I did win an IndyCar race and had a few polls. So, um, yeah, I think that’s about it besides doing rally cars and off road trucks and cycling events and the Ram race across America and the bicycles.
done quite a few things. So, but you got the majority of them.
So the first question I had, which has got to be, it’s the one that was like burning inside of me the most where I’m like, I’m not waiting to ask this. I’m going right on it at the beginning is what exact there’s got to be a process that you’re replicating because it’s not like you just the average person doesn’t go into all these different sports and different disciplines.
and just figure it out. This is not normal behavior. This is very unique. Um, is there some sort of process or strategy or way that you attack a new sport? Like maybe walk me through, you know, where I envisioned the conversation going is you leave one sport, you take a little time off, which for you is probably a month and then you get the itch to compete again.
And now all of a sudden there’s like this light bulb that goes off. A decision is made. Maybe give, like, walk me through the consistent replicable parts of your process that get you to all these achievements, if you don’t mind.
Yeah, that’s a good question. Cause it is difficult going from racing motorcycles, two wheels to four wheels.
Um, which I’d never done any go karting or any past experience whatsoever. I just wanted to keep racing. I couldn’t do it in motocross because physically at some point the body gives up and it’s a lot of years of grinding and motivation, there’s riders coming in. You have to keep stepping up. Whether it’s back in our era, it was bikes and technique.
Um, so yeah, when you’re 32 years old and you race against 16 year olds, it’s when you’re not winning enough and it’s like, okay, what can I get into now? Maybe where I could be at least on an equal playing field physically, probably better shape. Um, and cars is probably one of those. So I dove into the deep end and my mindset was, I believed I’m as good as those guys athletically, physically, mentally.
I just haven’t learned the process yet of what I need to learn of what this car is going to do. But once I do it, I have the ability to get to that level. So I was never intimidated by their talent or where they were at. It was just that I hadn’t had the experience yet to get to their level. So I went in with, you know, an open mind.
I mean, you just, there’s no stupid question, you know, asking all that. I had a lot of good friends, drivers, Paul Tracy, guys around Penske. that I could go to and ask these questions and weed out. And basically when you got down to it, even when I went to IndieLabs 500, Ari Leyendijk, you know, came up to me and he said, you know, I’m not going to tell you what to do, I’m going to tell you what not to do.
And that was a lot easier to learn because there was a lot less few of those than there was to learn how to get good at it. So once you weeded out what the nots to do, that got you to the next level, you know, and basically it’s not… Hitting the wall and ruining your car because you’re done for the day a motocross bike.
You can fall over You can miss a triple you can cartwheel straighten the bars get back out there and figure it out One mistake in the car, you know the indy 500 it’s totaled You know, you have to build a new car or your backup car and then you’re I can’t ruin this because I don’t have another car So then you’re really kind of intimidated and really don’t want to step above that comfort zone Put yourself in a worse position.
So mentally I’ve always been really strong with that. Even when I was training, doing triathlons, when I met the starting line, I believed I can win, you know, but realistically, no, I wasn’t going to be able to, but if I didn’t put my mindset at that top level, I wouldn’t get as much out of myself as I would have.
If I went in there going, let’s just see where this goes. So I would go flat out, you know, running until I realized I can’t do this. I would back it down, but I’d be way ahead of where I would, would have been. And same with the car racing. I kind of just jumped in and, and just felt that I, I was at that level.
And of course it just took a while to learn what the car was going to do because it doesn’t know who’s sitting behind the wheel. If it doesn’t want to turn, it won’t turn. You know, it doesn’t matter if it’s Mario Andretti, Paul Tracy, you have to make it with the suspension change, tire pressure. There’s a thousand things that can go into it.
The engineer is going to try that you need to feel if it got better or not. And then get going in that direction. So luckily I, I got on some good teams right off the bat when my indie lights, which is a step below indie cars, which is like jumping into the lights class and just super cross with a never doing it before.
So, um, yeah, it was, I just seemed to, my learning curve was pretty quick and I just wasn’t intimidated by everything around me or by other drivers or, or the, you know, the hype of being at an indie car race.
Yeah. And it seems like what’s really the thing that stood out for me the most about what you said is you believed in yourself before the evidence existed that you could.
And I feel that because I’m a mindset performance coach or a mental performance coach. And what I find is everyone is looking for the validation that they now can believe in themselves. So it almost seems like You flip that script and, you know, belief is such a powerful, you know, identity, belief, um, the values you have, characteristic traits you have are so powerful.
Um, how do you feel you were able to figure that out when everyone else seems to be doing the reverse and is waiting for the evidence to support the belief? How were you able to manage that piece? And also, how did you know? that it was so valuable to do so, because that to me is a very important part of your success.
Um, yeah, I think because, um, even growing up in mini bikes, moving up to bigger bikes, I was really small. So I was always getting the, Oh, you’re too small. You’ll never make it. Um, you know, there’s just so many different things that I was getting negative feedback on. And even when I moved into IndyCars, I had some sponsors where I was doing some smaller truck stuff that I had this goal that when I went to Indy, I go, you know, I want to go to Indy.
And they were basically saying, nah, you’ll never make it. So when somebody tells me that, that even it’s just a motivational factor of when I got into big bikes, it took me, I came in at 78. I didn’t win my first championship until 84. It took me six years to win a championship and as I was moving, I was only like 4’11 95 pounds when I was on my driver’s license.
So moving up to 125, you know, people were saying, no, he’s never going to make it. And I did get smoked. I got lapped on my first national, you know, both motos. I hole shot it, but then the next week I finished sixth overall. And then I got better and ended up seventh in the championship. So, it just ought to have been a mentality of, uh, you know, tell me I can’t do something.
And I’ll do it. I think I even put that into my own brain when I go up to do things I’m not familiar with. I’m almost putting that thing, that, that, that thing in there to where, you know, everybody’s expecting me not to be able to do this while I’m going to show them. So I don’t have all that pressure of, um, you know, I just, you get the, I don’t know what confidence built.
Maybe it’s a false confidence, but a false confidence is better than no confidence. So, uh, that was my theory. And even though at the Indy 500 is like, I mean, it’s a spectacle that I don’t care if you’re racing or sitting in the stands the morning of the event, you’re nervous. It doesn’t matter who you just just going out there.
But once you get the helmet on, you pull off the line, you’re warming up your tires. It’s it’s on. I’m winning this thing. I’m getting that guy in front of me. And there’s not one negative thought. Throughout, you know, the whole thing. So I just, I don’t know if you’re born with it. I think you are just, if it’s a way you can fool yourself maybe sometimes or something, but confidence is just, I’ve never lacked it and anything I’ve done.
And, you know, yeah, I’ve been beat and I’ve been smoked and, you know, just even in motocross where you thought you had it and you didn’t win, but. That was just more motivation to go back and work harder the next, you know, the next day. Um, and that’s what I thrived off. I thrived off having guys like Johnny Omar and Hannah and Ricky Johnson that pushed me.
You know, if I, they made me a better racer, a better athlete because of that. And if I didn’t have that, I would have never got to the level. And I probably wouldn’t have got to the level in car racing because it would have came too easy. So, um, when things come hard, you, I think you, uh, appreciate it, you know, a lot.
And it didn’t come easy for me. And it didn’t come easy in easy cars, Indy cars, I just didn’t step into, you know, open doors like, oh, here you go, here’s an Indy car ride, I had to go to races, walk the pits, talk to people, call sponsors, I bought my own car, you know, my Indy Lights car, um, you know, I jumped into the deep end, and because I’m just a racer, that’s what I live for, and I’m still about 62, and that’s still all I do is live for competing, um, I don’t know when I’m gonna wind down, but it’s still, uh, it’s still in me, and like I said, I don’t know if it’s It’s a natural thing or if it’s just something that, uh, it built along the way.
I love it. And it’s interesting because it seems like there’s no room for doubt. You know, a lot of times people are like, well, how do I build my confidence? How do I build my confidence? And I, I always look at both sides of the coin. So I say, well, what’s the opposite of confidence? It’s doubt. And so how do you remove doubt is also one way you can build confidence.
And when I’m listening to you, It doesn’t sound like you give any space, not an inch, not a millimeter for doubt. It almost seems like doubt doesn’t exist. Would that be an accurate statement?
Pretty much. I mean, cause I’ve raced with broken ankles for a few races before I’ve had surgery. And I mean, I go in still with the feeling I’m going to win this thing because I’m not going in going, I’m going to baby this thing.
I just want to milk it for 10. Because I’m not going to get the most out of me. So I was like, and it worked out, you know, I mean, I went to Nationals with the week after I had surgery, they went to pin it, it shattered. I went up to hang town and got second behind Ricky. I led the first moto, but I went in there with the mindset, I’m going to win.
And, you know, yeah, it was painful. Yeah. I couldn’t do a quarter of the things I, I wanted to do, but I was way ahead of where I would have been if I went in there just going, okay, I’m just going to. Milk it. I would have got a bad start. It would have just been a, you know, a depressing day, except I went out there, I got second, and that was a win for me with the condition I was in.
So that’s always been, like I said before, I go into everything as if I’m going to win this thing. And then I just, from there, I just deal with what is dealt at the time and make the best of it, whether it’s a bike that’s not handling well, or I got a flat tire, I picked the wrong, whatever it is, I’m just going to make the best of, it’s like when my mechanic, Michael McAndrews, he’s on one of my, one of the.
movie things where we’re in the donations and the second lap of the 500, uh, in the sand track, my shock blew out, all the oil blew out the smoking. And then my, he was saying something about, you know, he thought the race was over. He could see the shock was blown. And then he said, all of a sudden, two laps later, he goes, he’s making this bike look good.
He goes, that’s impossible. There’s no oil in the shock. How could it be? You know, I just adapted to. How the shock was springing like a pogo and changed my style and missed bumps and jumped, you know, so I just adapted to what, what I had, and that’s just been my whole career.
That’s an interesting topic as well as adaptability, because if you think about it, um, when things change, we go from, you know, being comfortable to now being uncomfortable.
And you see that a lot with athletes that, um, the comfort versus discomfort, the familiar versus unfamiliar, the known versus the known, these are huge topics that. I personally feel aren’t discussed enough in motor sports because I think that they have such a powerful influence on our behavior, the way that we think our beliefs, our actions.
Do you have a strategy for being adaptable or like how, what, maybe, maybe there’s like a narrative or story you have that’s attached to adaptability and also a tap, uh, attached to obstacles. Is there something, is there a way that you approach this? obstacles and challenges and in a way that just is almost like an on an auto adapt, if you will.
Um, maybe, I mean, one thing is, I mean, I don’t like getting beat. So that’s, that’s like, you know, if I get beat and everything’s fine, that’s one thing. But if, if I, if something goes wrong and I give it, I’ll never, I won’t not forgive myself, but I know I didn’t give a hundred. I don’t like going no. And I left something on the table.
Like I could have rode harder because just because I had a flat, I didn’t need to. You know, or pull in to say I have a flat and then go back out or, you know, I mean the donations, you know, I pulled, I pulled off my goggles in the first turn and I’ve seen a lot of guys come in and they come in three or four times to get goggles.
You know, I never pulled in. I raced the whole race. No goggles got almost, I got mud in my eye, like five laps from the end. I couldn’t open the eye. I kept, you know, I wasn’t pulling it. I could have lost my eye, but I just wasn’t going to do it. Just because I know if I got in and found out it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, I would have been, I didn’t give it a hundred percent, I could have gave more, so I, I just don’t, it’s just that mentality of, uh, just, and also just not wanting to feel at the end of the day that I, I left something on the table, um, whether, even, even though it was a 10th place, you know, that if it was a 10th place where I would have been pulled, somebody else would have pulled in the pits, then that’s a win, you know, for that day.
Cause those points add up at the end of the season.
Oh, for sure. It almost sounds like, you You had a fear of the feelings of guilt, shame, humiliation, embarrassment, that would be the result of you knowing that you did give up or didn’t give it a hundred percent.
Pretty much. Yeah. I mean, it’s just, uh, the way I am, I guess, you know, you know, maybe there’s other areas when if I’m doing another sport like golf or something else where it’s for fun and you know, it does, I don’t, I can’t golf, so I don’t care, you know, so I’ll go just chase it.
I wouldn’t even chase the ball, just put another one down. I wouldn’t even go get that one. I’ll just. and I don’t care my score. So it doesn’t bother me at the end of the day that I got smoked because, um, but when it comes to racing and behind the wheel, um, I mean, yeah, I’m competitive at golf, but I just, I just don’t care.
But it’s just something that if it’s my profession And I’m getting paid to do it. It’s just a whole different level than just something for fun where, you know, now I cycle and I raced my age group and I’m still super competitive because it is a race and I have competing gets other guys, which physical fitness comes into play.
And, you know, if you get beat, then that guy beat you because he was stronger or whatever, but you know, I’m still affected by that. And I’ll figure out, okay, what I need to do next. Maybe I trained too hard. Maybe I got to rest more. So I’m still on that pattern of that type of stuff. So. Um, but yeah, like I said with others, I just don’t know what, like, I just want to make sure I just gave 100%, you know, in the situation that I’m in on every race.
Now when you won your first AMA motocross championship in 1984, what were the things that you started to learn prior to that? Because obviously you’ve got a couple wins, you’ve had some success and obviously some failures, but you know, to win a race is one thing and it’s certainly an amazing accomplishment.
But you find that there’s a lot of people in the history books that have won races but have not won a championship. What was it that you learned either in 84 or prior to 84 after you turned pro in motocross? that you think kind of strung together the consistency of always being upfront to the point where you could win a
Um, I mean, definitely, definitely training. I mean, when I first came into it, I was riding a lot, but it wasn’t doing a lot of off a bike stuff. I mean, I was doing some weight stuff and Kawasaki had a football coach and we were doing some strength stuff, but it seemed to pump me up more than, than, you know, for writing.
So I got away from that. And then our bikes weren’t as good back in the early eighties compared to Honda. And Suzuki. So we struggled there and even probably went at a point where in 83, I was probably physically and mentally strong enough at that point, cause I was kind of a late bloomer, even, you know, uh, growth wise and weight wise, um, I could have won, but I just didn’t have the whole package yet with training and OSHA was on it and the Honda was on it.
And then I, uh, signed up Jeff Spencer in 84, who was training at a Honda for. I’ve hired him personally for myself and that really just having a better program. Um, I was never really, uh, rest state, like what do I need to do to rest and to build strength? I wasn’t a big strength lifter with, you know, power lifting like Jeff was with.
You know, uh, cleans and jerks and full squats. Everything was range of motion, all power, nothing with a wore out your muscles. It was just pure one lift strength, which is like on motocross. You’re barely hanging on until you need that power. And then you’re back to relaxing again. Um, you don’t need to do a hundred reps of lightweight, like you’re doing an endurance race, because that’s not, that’s just pumps that breaks down your muscle, then builds it up, which would create, you know, your muscles to pump and get tight.
And you lose a little flexibility. So he helped me so much on that end of it and getting strength where I just came leaps and bounds of, on my power. And then he was of course, Olympic cyclist, um, you know, sprinter. So I got really got heavy into cycling. Um, and it just, the whole package came together with, uh, stretching flexibility.
Um, and I won eight out of 10 nationals that year and I won like my first four or five super crosses that year. And that kind of clicked it going on. I have, you know, it was basically more of a routine and getting my training down to where I wasn’t just throwing stuff at the wall and, and seeing what worked.
Cause that’s kind of what motocross was back then. It was. You know, yeah, I hear Barnett’s out running two hours in the sand every day and, you know, five gallons of gas and you’re just like going, okay, I got to run five and you just don’t had no, just sometimes you go to the weekend and you were flat just because you did too much and you weren’t hydrated and back then, I mean, maybe we had Gatorade, right?
So it was like, there just wasn’t the scientific thing and the bodies are still the same. So it just got better and better. And once I got that program down, um, I definitely was one that was always willing to put in the work. Um, I used to drive to Carlsbad and practice, which was an hour south, and then I’d come home, shower, and then drive up to Pasadena to go to the gym, which was another hour and a half in traffic, work out, drive back home, you know, do my run at night and then do it all over again, like three days a week.
Plus, you know, so I had this routine going that, um, you know, I was willing to do. And that just started my career going. I was with my Jeff Spencer was with me till I retired in 92. So. Um, definitely having somebody on your, it’s, it’s, you know, you have to have a group of people around you just like everybody says today that, you know, you can’t be just getting so many things from 10 different people.
And, um, I seem to get it, uh, it took a while to get that program. And then once I got it, I was in a good space and we just managed everything injury wise and all that. So, uh, that was the biggest step. And then also getting that first championship was, yeah, it was stressful. Even though I had a pretty decent lead, it’s still stressful to.
Not have something go wrong that day. And then Miles mentality was once I got to that, it’s a, you know, wouldn’t you rather be in this situation than not be in this situation? So wouldn’t you be more upset if you were, you’ve lost the championship already, or you can’t win it, or are you going to be more nervous that you’re in it to win it?
You know? So it was like, yeah, okay. That sounds good that, you know, I know who I learned that from, but yeah, I’d rather be here having a chance to win it. So there’s, you know, then did not be here at all. So it took a lot of the nervousness off of, uh, like. Anything that you have to do is hard to do. It’s the things that you want to do come easy.
It’s like when people say I have to get a whole shot, you’re not getting a whole shot. It’s because you know, you, you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to have to get a whole shot. You got to want to get that whole shot, picture that whole shot and you will get the whole shot. So that’s kind of how, you know, that started working back then with, you know, and like, I know you do the metal stuff and Spencer was really good at that.
We, and I did talk to, you know, some people in a lot of. You get this little things from everybody when you listen to, you know, mental coaches on how to think and different things for different people, you know, and one, one guy I remember was, you know, when you’re out there, um, don’t think about, you know, like exactly what you’re doing.
Think about how you want to go out and show these people and these fans what you can do. Like, it’s almost like showing off. It’s like, okay, here’s the hype. Let me show you what I can do. And then everything else is gone because you’re only going against what, you know, yourself and the track. And you’re not worried about what anybody else is doing.
So that was always like, okay, I’m going to show you, let me show you this. And then you just went and you rode your best and you could just feel it like feeding off like the perfect turn. And like, well, that was great. And then you’re not thinking about everything else. And you just seem to go forward. And yeah, there were times when you got tight and you know, for whatever reason, the track wasn’t working your way, you woke up wrong, you had a stiff neck, but you just got to keep that, that percent of the drop.
For a championship, you know, this is, you know, like you said, people win races, but it’s the win that championship that dips got to be a percent or two, whether it’s off on your training or eating or stomach or flying or tired, but that can still get you on the podium that can still get you a win. And then there’s days you show up, you’re superman and you win both moto.
So, you know, there’s not too many guys. There’s a few of them that have done it, you know, the whole season. Um, that’s hard to do. But then also you gotta look at competition and And the things that come into play, uh, those, those times when you win, like when I won eight out of 10 races, it was just Johnny and I, he got second every race I got second, the other two.
So, um, yeah, that was, those were good times. And, uh, those were then the break, there were years when we had five guys that could win on any given day. And that made it a lot tougher to have a bad day. So, uh, but yeah, that’s kind of how things went on my career.
Yeah. I love it. And I think one thing that I caught that you said is.
The power of questions, you know, it’s interesting. And I, and I know you do coaching as well. But it’s almost like the better coach you become, the better the questions you ask instead of so much like revealing the answers. Cause I always find that if you bring an athlete and kind of maybe bring them down the trail of coming up with a solution themselves or answering a question themselves, one, I feel like there’s some sort of greater intrinsic value to that than for me to just be like, Oh, here’s the answer.
And so I think, um, the curiosity and questions are underrated. And then also what I thought was interesting is you combined curiosity or, you know, a question of, Hey, would I rather be leading the championship or would I rather be out of it? And so not only was that a great question, but it also, uh, challenged your perspective because obviously, as you know, like the way you look at things, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
And so you kind of took two powerful skills that I’m always coaching and you actually combine them together. And I think. That was certainly a powerful experience for you. Um, one thing I, I really want to know the answer to, uh, there’s a lot of things I actually want to know from you. Um, one of them is when I think about the sport, um, I, by the way, had more pictures of you probably on my wall, you know, uh, when I was a teenager, I took all, I ripped all the cool photos out.
And put him up. Uh, you know, I had that RJ side of me, you know, Rick Johnson, you know, when you’re a kid, he was kind of like the flashy guy. A little bit more like, you know, appealing to that 13, 14 year old, 15 year old guy that’s trying to get a date or at least get a woman to even look in his direction.
And then there was you who was like, consistently, quietly, always there. You were on the wall too. But what was interesting to me is that, um, you had. And in my mind, you have Johnny O’Mara, you have Brock Lover and you have Jeff Ward as like these nice, cool, calm, consistent guys. And then all of a sudden there’s like, boom, there’s like a Hannah and then boom, there’s a Rick Johnson or maybe even a Ronnie Lachine.
What was the dynamic? I mean, are there any good stories you can share or any fun, interesting anecdotal stories of just like the comparison between and maybe even some of the similarities to because I almost feel like there were two camps, you know, there were the wild childs and then there were the consistently cool kids that the parents were proud of that, you know, that were you guys, were there any good stories that came?
Were there any conflicts or did you actually find that You sometimes aligned better with someone like that because they were your opposite and there was something unique and interesting and kind of attractive in a way about that.
Yeah. Like RJ, I mean, Johnny was too similar of my personality. We were both the training fanatics, just serious up to the line.
You know, RJ was probably the first one. Bailey was super cool. You know, I mean, you’d even talk to you, you know, it was like. So it was, you know, there was some guy, I never talked to Ricky, you know, so Ricky was probably my first, you know, Hannah, of course, but I was so young at then. I was just a cocky kid that didn’t care, you know?
And, and, uh, he was always, you know, flipping you off or doing something if you passed him or he passed you back and you try to get under your skin or something. So you were that young kid that was a pest to him. Um, but then when RJ came, yeah, that was, it was, uh, I mean, he’ll tell you, I talked to him all the time.
And, you know, he hated me and I hated him just because we were, I think we were so opposite. I think he hated me because I was so damn serious and trained so hard where he didn’t want to quite do that. And now he had to because I was there, you know, and I hated him when he got in the victory when he won because he was so flashy and cocky and put you, you know, in your place.
And you were like, you wanted to go hit them. And so that just made you go home and work harder. And then he knew I was working harder. So he hated it. So it was that rivalry, you know, the whole time. You know, like the Bradshaw kind of came in and he was another wild child. And, and, um, so that same conflict was kind of the same and, but we didn’t really have it, you know, cause I was at my tail end of my career, but.
You know, I won races. It’s kind of more him and Stanton, maybe a little bit, which is Stanton’s my personality as well. Um, so yeah, and then there’s Mitasevich, but he was a teammate. Um, so we didn’t really have any conflict. Same with Lachine when he came on the team was more of a teammate and Ronnie has a thing to where he goes, man, I didn’t.
He goes, I didn’t want to hang out with Jeff because I didn’t want to do anything he was doing because it was like too hard. Like he wouldn’t come ride with me. He wouldn’t go do anything with me. He didn’t want to go play tennis with me. Or so, so he was just always laughing about it. And, um, so yeah, but there wasn’t really too much conflict.
Um, you know, I mean, yeah, there was a few times on the track and we’d hit one another and, but I could always trust RJ. Um, yeah, he was aggressive, but he wasn’t out to, you know, to take you out. Um, and he knew I wasn’t, I wasn’t that type of rider. I’d rather work for it and get you than clean you out. But there were times, you know, when you put the block pass on and it just happened to, you know, go your way and he went down or whatever.
And Brock was really mellow too. So we didn’t have too much conflicts on that. And back then, you know, the riders were pretty cool. I mean, we always had to run the donations together. So we would get to know each other a little bit more. And, um, you know, we worked really well together on that once we started winning, it became like a, a must for us to, to win that event.
So we did everything in power and we probably a lot of learned a lot of little secrets of each other at that time, whether we went running together and, you know, I found out Ricky couldn’t run that good, you know, it’s like, and then we always knew Johnny could kill us on runs and he always did. And that’s what he did for his focus.
I was more of a cyclist. You know, Bailey was good at everything. So it was kind of cool to get with those guys and and have fun at the hotel. And then we’d go back to Supercross and, you know, nobody talked to each other. We wouldn’t see each other because we were on the same team. And, um, you know, maybe we’d fly now and again together.
But, um, yeah, Ricky and I probably and Johnny were probably the biggest rivals through my career.
Oh, for sure. And what’s really interesting about that and, you know, because there were like three things that stood out. When I looked at your career, I said to myself, what are like three things? If I had to pick three things about Jeff ward that resonate with me most, what would they be?
One of the three, we kind of already covered, which is your ability to. Take a specific unknown process to me, which we’re starting to reveal on this podcast today, but take a podcast and the repeatability of your process. So the repeatability, your process is one. Number two, I want to talk about now, which is relationships, believe it or not, I noticed that with you, one thing that stood out for me, I always try to look at things a little differently than everyone else because I feel like I can find nuggets that no one else sees.
And I feel like with you, there might be something with relationships. So I want to explore that for a moment. And what made me come to that, that thought was, um, I noticed a lot of longevity and commitment with Kawasaki. Thank you. Um, I also noticed that it seems like there’s been a long term relationship with Troy Lee.
And then I also thought it was interesting that you had a relationship with Paul Tracy that was strong enough and had enough trust that that along with your commitment and you obviously purchasing your own Indy lights car did turn into you going into a sport that for many people, the barrier to entry is quite high in general, even if you’re already in motorsports.
But here you were coming off two wheels going into four. So, You know, maybe share a little bit of your thoughts on what is the value of relationships specifically in motor sports. And am I onto something perhaps that maybe there’s something that you’re doing different than maybe some of the modern day, uh, athletes where sometimes they’re on one team for two years, they underperform, then they bounce to another and to another and another.
Um, are we onto something? Is there something you’re, you feel that you’ve done differently? to, to foster relationships that are longterm and that are valuable and meaningful.
Uh, yeah, for sure. I mean, for one, I’m not greedy, you know? So I, I mean, I started with Kawasaki. I was originally with Suzuki and then Yamaha and then they didn’t have a workspace.
So I went to Kawasaki. Um, and of course at the time their bike wasn’t that good. Uh, the one 25, I was struggling, I wasn’t ready. So, you know, they committed to me, they stayed with me when I wasn’t performing. Maybe that, you know, cause Like a jimmy weiner or gala mojo that was winning races before that I was here I was 16 17, but so they hung with me for a while then, you know them when the bikes got good you know, and then I started winning then it kind of You know, it gelled together and at the time when other people wanted to hire me Of course I talked to him, but I just felt loyal to kawasaki at one them staying with me when times were tough, when I wasn’t winning, um, and not just passing me on.
And, you know, cause I was small and, you know, there was plenty of people saying I was never going to make it cause I was just hit or hit or miss and I could have been thrown out the back door and maybe the, you know, this day and age I might’ve, I might’ve been. So, um, that’s kind of, you know, what it did.
And that was with JT at first, then went to Cinesolo, they came over and, you know, they were the really first big brand that really believed in me and, and, and kind of made the company around me as the first big athlete here in the States. Um, and then they got Ricky Johnson, I think the next year or so.
So I felt loyal to them, you know, cause they got my career kind of going. So once things start, when I got into the, the top echelon, I felt the people that got me there deserved to be with me when the times are getting better and are going to be good because before that they weren’t great and nobody left me.
So that’s with Oakley, Cinesalo, you know, Troy Lee, Kawasaki, um, everybody that I, I raced with, I pretty much stayed with my whole career. Um, and that was kind of the, the theory, you know, the theory behind it and they’re like family. Um, and there was no reason to jump ship to go just because of maybe getting paid a little more.
Um, I felt like I could, to end, to learn a new bike, there was going to be learning, growing pains and maybe it wasn’t going to go the way you thought it was going to go. And I don’t know, when I look back on that, I should have stayed with Kawasaki. So I felt where I was at Kawasaki and all my sponsors that.
Um, you know, believed in me at the beginning when I wasn’t winning races. I didn’t have, I had no reason to leave them because now I made it to the top. So that was just, and with Paul Tracy, he just came to some races. Troy Lee was doing his helmets. We hit it off. He loved motorcycles. I went to a bunch of races with him when he was at Penske.
And then I went to Indy and he’s like, dude, you need to race here one day. And I’m like, no way. There’s, you know, you’re, this is like 1990. I’m like, you’re crazy. I didn’t even driven a car before. And he’d be like, oh, you can do it. I know you can do it. You just motocross is so talented of a ride. You know?
Of ability to do that. You’ll learn it easily. You know, you got no fear, you know, how to ride a bike, the balance, everything on a motocross bikes way more than you need to even think about an Indy car. And I’m like, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then as it got closer, I’m like, okay, what am I going to do when I’m done racing?
And my shoulder was jacked up. I’d have surgery. My last, you know, I made my farewell tour at 92. Cause I just knew that I didn’t want to do another season with my ankles and my shoulder. And, um, yeah, I won a national that year. I almost won the 500 championship again. I was pretty close. But I wanted to go into car racing with a name that hadn’t drug out for two or three more years and motocross and was getting fifth and 10th place and y’all.
Yeah, he was the guy that used to win. And so I still got support from Kawasaki when I moved on to cars. I still worked for them. I used that money to help buy the car. It was the car was branded Kawasaki. So if I did that, they let me use their PR firm for free. And so I kind of piggybacked off that to get good exposure.
And then Paul was always there, you know, he knew the top Indy lights team to talk to, you know, when I’m walking the pits, when you got Paul Tracy walking in with you to talk, it’s a bit, you know, when he’s racing for Penske and winning dominating races, uh, got doors open, you know, and, and, uh, helped me get in to talk to people and yeah, they knew who I was.
I mean, they follow motocross, any sport nowadays, but riders go to another, they’re just odd by your ability and it’s the same as you are of them. I’m like, you just wish you could switch roles and. And realistically it’s the same. It’s like, there’s as much headaches and that, and, and, and, and troubles and bad days, and there isn’t, you know, motorcycling and, um, but everybody always wants to try to the other sport.
And I was super lucky to be able to, to do that. There’s nobody in IndyCars that’s ever going to go to motocross and experience what a motocross rider feels when he races or jumps. And, um, I got to do that with IndyCars and, and, uh, it was something super I never dreamed I’d race seven Indy 500s and win races and do what I did in cars and, uh, it’s, I think it’s all because of the people, you know, around me and, and, uh, good people that I even got within the IndyCar stuff that, that maybe because I was from another sport that was a champion and I, you know, maybe I didn’t get in every sport there’s, you know, there’s bad deals to be made.
So maybe I got help that way because I didn’t, you know, somebody didn’t want to be a part of my bad deal. Um, then somebody else that’s. doesn’t have a name coming up that maybe didn’t get the equipment that he was maybe promised or something. So there’s just a lot of, uh, politics involved, I should say, in every sport.
Um, but I was just very fortunate to have good people and definitely. I think that’s what helped me out in the motocross. Like I said, I stayed with Jeff Spencer the whole time. And you know how trainers are nowadays. They’ll be with him for two years and it’s the trainer’s fault. I’m going to go somewhere else because I’m not winning.
You know? I’m not, not because I’m under trained, you know. So I’m either over training or under trained. It’s his fault. I’ve trained too many guys that it’s like, you know, I don’t know if I train them too hard or not, but it’s not near what I used to do. So I don’t know if that’s too much and maybe at that age.
So, but I always tried to Let them go of how they feel and, you know, and, and not over, I’m not the type of guy that’s going to pound it into him and do it. You got to be self motivated in the sport. You can’t have, it doesn’t matter if somebody’s yelling at you to do something. If you, if you don’t have the motivation of yourself to get out there and do it, then it’s, you’re not going to have that motivation on the track to dig that deep to win the race when the going gets tough, you know?
So, uh, yeah, the people around me were definitely a big, a big. Part of my career.
And it seems like they knew. So one, they knew you were loyal because not because you said you were, but because you showed it. I mean, there’s no, there’s no not seeing that in Jeff Ward. And then so loyalty, I think, um, for successful businesses and for businesses that invest in an athlete.
I mean, that’s what the investment is. You know, it’s almost like investing in a stock, right? You don’t buy a stock, you know, you might, you might buy a stock when it’s low, because you look at, you look at the sheets and you say, Hey, this is. This has got potential. I think this is a winner. I’m going to invest in this.
And so there needs to be loyalty because you don’t want to buy a stock low and then all of a sudden, you know, sell halfway on the way up, or maybe, you know, that person leaves you or what have you. So it seems like you exemplified loyalty. And it also seems like people knew what they were going to, because your consistency of process was there.
And it’s like, all right, this is how Jeff works. His work ethic is there. He’s going to figure it out. He’s you just got to give him time and tools. And just leave him alone. Like that’s pro, that’s how I would look at you. Right? I would say get, you know, he’s gonna be loyal. Just give him time and tools. Ask him if he needs you or don’t even ask.
Give him your phone number. He knows he’s, he can call when he wants and just let him do his thing. Like, you don’t have to babysit Jeff Ward. You don’t have to. You know, come on, Jeff, you know, you can do it. Like, uh, I don’t, I think you’re better off telling Jeff word. He can’t do it instead of that. He can.
Right. So, um, I think maybe that was what they saw in you. Cause I mean, that’s what I see in you. So I’m assuming that that was part of it. Do you think that there were other things that they saw in you or were there things that People that did believe in you or did choose to hire you or take you on as a, as an athlete.
Were there things that they mentioned consistently that you can remember that you think a modern day athlete would benefit from as far as like exhibiting those traits and learning those skills?
Um, I think you hit on the, I mean, they know I was, um, reliable that, I mean, I was going to be there, whether it was testing, um, you know, whether they called me up and said, Hey, we have to go tomorrow.
Cause we’ve got this party. Cause back in our day with the factory bikes. We didn’t know when we were going to get stuff thrown at us and just because we weren’t building it here. It was coming from Japan. We didn’t have, you know, the communication like we have now with, you know, you can see everything, do everything.
Um, it took forever to, so I think, I just think they, you know, knew I was just going to give it a hundred percent and they saw it with, you know, injuries. They saw it with, you know, just circumstances and stuff thrown at me that, you know, maybe other people wouldn’t, or maybe they thought they would have done that.
Um, so yeah, there’s just, uh, and like I said, it’s been since I was five years old racing many bikes. It’s always been that way. I was always been small. I’ve always been the underdog. It seemed like even though I was dominating many bikes, it looked like I shouldn’t have been, you know, just cause I had to start with milk crates and you know, then when I got on a 500, I wasn’t even five foot tall when I’d raced the 500 saddleback and three different classes and went them all.
And you know, I’d. And then I’d go to pro and get smoked and, you know, there’s just so many, and then I didn’t qualify for my first supercross race. You know, and so it was just so many things that were going on, but I was just never, I would never give up. I was always out there every day and I guarantee you, and you know, at Saddleback Park, I almost would ride every day.
There wasn’t a time, I guarantee somebody that went there, he could go there, you know, one day and not go and then go two weeks later. I was going to be there that next time he went because I was there every day. There was never a time that somebody wasn’t, that went riding that I wasn’t there because my mom would take me up there when I couldn’t drive, we were 20 minutes from Saddleback Park and she would drop me off with my gas cannon.
And uh, ice box and then go home and I would stay there by the concession guy that served food all day talking to him. I would just ride motos and she’d come back at five o’clock with the Cadillac and put my bike in the trunk. So that’s, that was my, you know, I wanted to go there. I made her take me there.
It was like, I did not. So, um, cause my dad was working. Um, this was like when I was, you know, Nowadays, you’d probably get arrested for, for child abuse. You know, I was 11 years old, 12 years old. She’d just drive up there, drop me off, five gallons of gas, food and, and leave. And I would just know everybody at the park and just go ride hills, do tracks, and then just sit there and wait for her to pick me up.
So, um, yeah, racing was in my blood and it’s just, uh, what I know. And just, I think people just saw that in me throughout my whole career that. Um, I just wanted to win and that was, that was going to happen because it had happened before that and they could see, well, maybe it’s going to make time, take time.
And like I said, they knew what the bikes weren’t great. They knew what we had compared to what we were racing against and with my age and the bike, and they could see the potential. Those guys are smart, you know, and those positions, cause they’ve been there with other riders. And, um, even when I was leading races, if I did crash, you know, you just don’t lead races cause you’re slow.
Um, so it just takes time to get things all put together and I was fortunate that, uh, it all worked out.
No, I love it. And um, the visual, the visual of you with the ice packs and the bike and mom leaving with like the smoke cloud behind the Cadillac and the concession stand, I’m loving the visual of that.
I’ve got that, that image in my mind. I love it. Um. The one thing I wanted to cover. And then after this, I want to move towards like modern day is the third thing I noticed about you that clearly stands out is just career longevity, longevity in general. And it’s interesting because I was talking to someone yesterday that asked me if I had read Tom Brady’s new book.
I think it’s called like TV 12 or something like that. And, um, They said something about how, like the average, I don’t hold me to this, but I want to say something like the average NFL career for an average player is like 2. 5 years. But then his was, you know, 12 or 11, 12 years, 14, whatever it was, um, longevity is underrated because you can’t become a legend.
You’re not getting inducted into a Holland hall of fame after a two year career, a three year career. I actually don’t know the math. I didn’t research this. But I can’t imagine if I had to guess, maybe you’ve got to have like a seven to 10 year career to at least have a chance or a stab at it. I’m guessing.
Um, so obviously longevity is key in motor sports, specifically motocross supercross. Longevity is, is definitely a challenge. Um, here you are still competing, still running. You’ve got surgeries over the summer and then boom, you’re competing, you know, You don’t stop. Um, what’s the key to longevity?
I don’t know.
I think it’s just love what you do. I mean, that’s the basic thing. I love athletics. I love being in shape. You know, I love waking up every day and reading like, how do I feel today? You know? Um, yeah, there’s other things in my life. I have four kids, wife, you know, I brought them up racing, motorcycles, soccer club, all the way through college with the one.
So I was doing a ton of other things. Um, but what everything, what everything seemed to wrap around was always, uh, athletics and just, you know, my physical ability to do what my next challenge always had to have a challenge. So, um, yeah, I think that’s just what keeps me going is just the next challenge. I seem to have, you know, and I don’t know when I’m 85, will it be to walk around the block faster than anybody else at 85?
I don’t know, you know, or the wheelchair. I have no idea, but it’s whatever it is, it’s going to be. What is that? What, how can I, you know, be the best at whatever it is today with my athletics and, and that’s just always been, I mean, my daughter runs marathons. She’s right. We did a triathlon last week, a team event with my other son.
And, um, so yeah, it’s just kind of been in the family and it just, I think it’s, uh, for one thing, longevity and life itself, anyway, I’m getting to an old age. Definitely is a big factor of being healthy and, and, uh, I mean, I’ve had my issues this year with, uh, with a fib and tachycardia. I’ve had two surgeries this year on my heart.
Um, just had colonoscopy stomach check to having to see you just because I don’t know if it’s, you know, I, my brain is still thinking I’m 20 and I shouldn’t feel this way or I’m, you know, or the fact is I’m just old. Um, so, but then I compare myself to some other guys that are 62 and three when they go cycling and they’re like, I want to be where that guy’s at.
But then you find out. You know, he’s an ex pro that won gold medals and he has never stopped cycling. It’s like, you’re never going to get there because his start heart is still in lungs are still twice the size of yours because he’s never stopped. You know, I wasn’t, I wasn’t a pro cyclist. You know, I trained cycling, but it was always a secondary to my motocross.
I could never want to wear myself out where I couldn’t race on the weekend. So I didn’t really pick it up till later in my IndyCar career. I didn’t cycle a lot and I really didn’t start picking it up again to my 10 or 12 years ago. when I seemed like I was getting overweight and a little bit. And, uh, and now I want to try to get to where I want to be, but I’m never going to get there.
I just have to be happy with where I’m at and just go for my own goals. And, you know, um, so yeah, it’s just every day is just trying to figure out stuff that to make me better.
And then, so if you kind of fast forward and we go into modern day, uh, motocross, supercross, um, are you still actively training and working specifically?
It’s, I think you are, um, with, uh, motocross, supercross athletes. What type of athletes are you currently working with? I’m not working
with anybody right now. I kind of, uh, last guy I worked with was, uh, I did Sealy for a long time and then Joe Shimoda. Um, and then I worked with, uh, Jet Reynolds and Ryder DeFrancisco for a little bit.
And then I’ve, you know, stuff’s always complicated because Ryder D had somebody, um, Jet had, you know, but then with, with team green, you know, they had tickle working with guys and then when they go to pro circuit, they got, so, you know, I was just kind of a middle man really to get them, you know, with Shimoda, I had to bring them from never riding the super cross, couldn’t get through hoops of his life, depended on it.
Um, brought him up slowly to get him to where he was almost winning races his first time out. You know, he knew his potential, but then he wanted, you know, he had to, he went to, you know, somewhere else and they have it. So it’s like you’re not gonna fight with him. And, you know, so I just kind of like, you know, if somebody wants my help, they’ll call me.
And, you know, I, I won’t, probably won’t even charge him. Just i’ll, I, I can give them a, you know, uh, I can talk to ’em, tell ’em what to, you know, what they think they should do or whatever. And like I said, if you can’t, you know, if they’re not gonna be able to do it themselves. You know, I don’t mind doing something over the phone and stuff like that to, you know, get their feedback of what they’re doing and where they’re feeling, you know, instead of having to be there every day.
Cause I was there every day with Shimoda. I flew with them. He stayed with me in the hotel. I had to drive him cause he couldn’t drive. So it was a big commitment. Um, and I enjoyed it cause he’s a great, look at him now. I’m so pumped for him. He’s such a good rider. And you knew that then you could just see it.
But, um, being from Japan and jet, he had different mentality, a completely different mentality. Of how things processed with being aggressive and mindset and worrying about stuff. And so that was a big part of it too, and which I enjoy. So, you know, down the road, there might be something where I do something more of, uh, I take so many riders and I talk to them three or four times a week and what’s happening this weekend.
I know all the tracks. I, you know, there isn’t anything they can’t tell me that I haven’t probably ran into myself with it. Whether it’s going into IndyCars, I never raced the 500 before. You know, so I had to get my mindset set on going into something I’ve never done. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
I’ve only been told, um, and get that mindset of like, I got this, you know, and, and basically they’re just human. They have the same issues, you know, they’re all nervous too. They should be more nervous because they’re expected to win. It’s like, so I had that part of it, but then when you get to that level, then, you know, there’s another mentality and when you’re expected to win, you know, you have to go this other route.
Um, so yeah, you know, I don’t train anybody right now, but you know, I just, I go riding with some of the guys, Rider D, I went with a couple of weeks ago and there’s trainers I know here that work with guys that will end up doing some rides together. And I’m always like, Hey, anytime you’re down this way and want to go for a ride, call me.
I know the hills. I know the trails. And it’s a recovery ride. Great. Cause I need recovery every day. So
So what, so when you think about modern day. motocross, supercross. You’ve worked with some of these athletes that are at the top. What do you see as the one thing that maybe they have as an advantage when they come to, when we were to compare them to maybe the eighties, you know, early nineties group of you and the boys.
Um, what do you, what do you feel like they maybe have on you guys? And what do you think maybe that they haven’t learned yet that you guys had that they don’t? Oh, I don’t know. I mean,
definitely things have improved with physical therapy machines. I mean, we, ours were like caveman stuff, you know, with diotherm.
And, you know, of course you have the put it in ice with, uh, you know, electrical pro, whatever it was. And so things have come so much further for injuries and preventive injuries. And we were just, I think we’re just like, you know, learning every, every year. of what, you know, and we weren’t that scientific about it.
I mean, I was, I had to look at Jeff Spencer. He’s a chiropractor. So at least I got adjustments and stuff like that. And, you know, and it got to the right doctors and, but there’s just so many things now that, that doesn’t even make it on the same level. And maybe that made us tougher, you know, maybe, I mean, I think we probably trained too much, um, overtrained cause we didn’t, I didn’t wear a heart rate monitor, so I didn’t really care.
It was either, you know, I went by. How I felt that day, you know, I would ride motos and if I was overheating, I’m okay, I’m done. I don’t need to push it today, I’ll save that for the weekend. But then I’d go home and still run, and then if I didn’t feel good, I’d back the pace down. But I always did my workouts, it was whether it was at the intensity of whatever my body felt like I could do.
But I knew where I was dipping into the, you know, the no man’s land, you know, and the suffering part. Um, but then I, you know, we used to race on the weekends on our off weekends. You know, go race three classes and make some money on the weekend. We didn’t take the weekend off. I never played a day of golf in my life.
So it was like, I’d rather go on a long mountain bike, or there was a triathlon that weekend, or I’d rather do the biathlon. I used to do biathlons in the middle. Half marathon and a 40k bike and, you know, the weekend in between. So yeah, I probably trained overtrained, but I still backed it down. I did my riding every day.
And, um, um, now I think it’s just more scientific. I just think it’s everybody’s on, uh, is, and I think sometimes that messes with your head when you. Do you realize, oh man, I’m a little tired. I’m a little over, everybody’s like, Oh, you know, like this is going to hurt, you know, it’s like, yeah, it’s going to hurt that this should hurt.
If it doesn’t hurt, then something’s wrong. So, um, that’s kind of my mentality. And then some guys don’t like that today, you know, of hearing that, you know, and it’s like, yeah, you know, it’s like guys didn’t want to go ride in 100 degree weather out in the hills because it was hot. I’m like, yeah, it’s hot.
Because when you go back, when you go back east and it’s humid, you’re going to be wishing you were out here three or four days, you know, it’s like, um, so that’s just the way I, you know, trained and it’s just different nowadays. Everything’s more structured and you know, you got to pull back all the time.
Everything’s pulling back. And I just seemed to be the one that always said to pull him back. I always went, I always went forward. Um, but I made sure I always tried to be rested for the weekend. You know, I did, you know, I’d never pull back on the workout day too much. I always did. I would never skip anything just because I just mentality wise.
I just could not, because if I skip the running, I knew Osho went running. So I still had to run. It was just my brain, even though I didn’t give the percentage I usually do, because I wasn’t trying to get the cardio out about just trying to get the motions out of it. So, but that also builds too. It’s also plateaus.
And then you get to be faster and you can run longer. And, um, and I also liked doing triathlon, so I always wanted to keep the mileage up so I could improve in that. If I improved in that, I improved in my motocross, you know, cardio too. So, um, that’s just kind of how I, I did my approach to the racing. But today the riders, I mean, yeah, they’re, they’re in great shape because they go full motos wide open and, you know, and, uh, I’m sure some get tired, but.
I don’t know if I’ve really seen a real hot, hot race yet for the last couple of years where, well, yeah, we did. We saw one at Paula and they cut the motos down. So, uh, there you go. We did 45 minutes, 45 minutes, plus two at Glen Helen, 106 degree weather with 78 humidity with smog where you couldn’t see the mountains.
But they had to cut it down to 25, you know, cause it was too hot. So that’s kind of the mentality, you know, back then they would have probably tried to add two more laps to the race that they could.
So, so just out of curiosity, how much do you think. A poor mindset and mental game has been, um, the thorn in rider’s side without, when I say riders, riders in general, not necessarily anyone that’s worked with you.
This could be a global statement, but how much do you think? motocross has embraced mental performance. And how much do you think maybe riders are suffering as a lack of having it? Um, because to me, I’m biased. So I always like to look for other people’s opinions. I’d be curious to hear about yours, uh, with some of the modern day riders that you’ve either worked with or, or been a part of, or, or just know of.
You know, before I answer this question, I’m going to plug my phone in because it went to 10%. Yeah, go ahead. And I don’t want it to quit. I’d rather have a pause than have to. Okay. Yeah. So let me grab my charger. Hang on. Yeah.
And I think I can still hear you while you’re plugging in. Oh, that’s true. Yeah.
Perfect. Yes. And we’re good. So, uh, what are your thoughts?
You ask the question again? I was
talking about that. Yeah. Yeah. No worries. So when it comes to mental performance, And we talk about the athletes that you’re aware of, or even just your thoughts in general. Um, how much emphasis do you think has put on it?
Do you think there needs to be more of it when you’ve worked with athletes or have heard of other people that work with athletes? Have you found that maybe the common link is not so much fundamentals and not nutrition and not fitness? But maybe the missing link is more of the mental side.
Well, yeah, I mean, yeah, I mean, that’s always the theory, right?
Is it, is it 80 percent metal, 20 percent physical, you know, what, there was always a percentage and, um, confidence is a big factor. I mean, I have to go with that. Just like I said before, with my IndyCar stuff, I went in confident. That I was the same level as these guys. I just haven’t learned the technique yet and what it takes.
If I went in going, man, there’s no way I can beat, you know, Al Unser Jr. in an IndyCar race or Paul Tracy, because I raced with them, you know, because they’ve been here forever. If I took that mentality, I’d have never, I would’ve never got there. I would’ve just been like, I would’ve seen them out there going, it wouldn’t have been in my brain.
It would’ve just been, Oh, they got me. Or I don’t know what I’m doing type of deal. But I just, my confidence was always like, I knew, I knew I could do it. I just needed to learn the ropes and. Um, confidence is probably, I mean, it’s, it’s a huge factor, but you can be the most confidence in the world. But if your body gives out on you 10 minutes ago in the moto, I don’t care what your brain saying.
It just is not going to work. You know, you can’t, it’s got a limit. Heart rate’s got a limit. Lactic acid’s got a limit. Everything’s overheating. It’s a limit. Your body will shut down. So it doesn’t matter what your brain’s telling you. Yeah. And the problem is with motocross, the talent and the effort it takes to ride a motorcycle.
Isn’t like cycling or running where when you bonk on cycling, you can still pedal. You can still back it down. You can still fuel yourself and maybe get motocross when it collapses. You’re going down, you know, when you come into the hoop section, when your brains, when your arms are tired and you know, that one hoop is going to hit you and you’re weak, you know, you’re going down the first thing you do when you come into those hoops is you dial down the throttle.
So, um, it kind of, it’s kind of, you can’t say it, you almost have to say it’s 50 50 because you can be the most confidence guy in the world, but if the body is given up and you haven’t trained it properly, that metal isn’t going to get you through except you’re going to back it down and maybe finish the race because you didn’t throw in the towel.
Um, because you’re mentally strong, but you’re definitely not going to beat that guy behind you that’s training harder than you, that has the same mentality. So, it’s kind of a 50 50 deal there, that if you can get both of those at 100%, then you’re, you’re, you know, that’s the bomb right there, that you’re going to be unbeatable.
And that’s where I feel Jet’s at right now. Um, I think he’s got the confidence that I don’t think anybody else has, besides maybe Tomac. Um, and that he has the physical ability working with Osho. I don’t think he’s as strong as Tomek is, but his riding style, uh, lets him get away with maybe not being as strong as somebody like a Tomek.
Um, I don’t know if that translates into Supercross next year where Tomek can muscle, outmuscle it, because you do have the hoop section. There is, you know, a little more barrier than, and strength than outdoors. Outdoors is more flow and, and missing bumps and breathing, right, where Supercross is a little more.
I think more strength involved, uh, cause you’re missing a lot and you’re overjumping and then you got the hoops for it. And, uh, I think Tomek’s on that same level. I don’t see too many other guys that are, uh, you know, I mean, um, Sexton’s up there, but then I don’t know if the mental game’s as strong as, as jets.
Um, uh, so yeah, there’s just, I think it’s a 50 50 deal on the mental and the physical, they both have to be at a hundred percent.
Yeah, for sure. And I even, I actually asked Chase Sexton’s dad. I thought this is the most interesting question I’d asked anyone, or at least the most interesting response I got from anyone.
I was at Daytona, I don’t know, maybe two years ago, whenever it was and asked his dad, I said, well, what do you and Chase do to work on the mental game? And uh, his response was two words. Just ride. Just ride. I said, okay. And I walked away. I’m like, that’s not, that’s not how it goes, you know? And it’s funny, you know, you talk to anyone, um, any of the top guys, they’ve all had mental coaches.
Like everyone’s at least explored the topic, right? You know, and I’ve, I’ve seen it with some of the athletes I have. I’ve worked with some guys for years and, you know, we’re always there, you know, like, uh, actually, if you get bored, I’m coming out to California next week. You should come out, uh, check. We have a formula drift event.
Uh, we’re going for the championship there. It’s in Irwindale. I don’t know how far away you are. Oh yeah, that’s like, it’s that. Yeah. Oh, okay. Yeah. So we’ll, we’ll talk about that, but it’s really interesting. But, um, you know, one thing I wanted to ask you with your background in Kawasaki, one thing that I’m interested in is your opinion on this is that.
I feel like culture is huge. Like once you do what I do for a while, the natural progression is to get into like leadership, emotional intelligence. You know, you start working with CEOs. Like I have a couple of CEOs I work with, with companies. That’s just like, seems to be the natural progression because even I’ve got a friend who, uh, Is, uh, the mental coach for UConn men’s basketball and also the Utah jazz.
And he’s the same, like we talk and it’s like, yep, we all moved to that CEO. And when you talk to CEOs, a lot of it is leadership. A lot of it’s emotional intelligence, a lot of it’s culture. And what I think is interesting is how many of these teams are actually working on these three things. And where my mind goes to, and I’m curious to see what you think, if you’re comfortable answering this, um, monster energy pro circuit Kawasaki was dominant.
I mean, absolutely dominant. Now, obviously you can’t be on top forever. It seems like eventually things tend to rotate, but from a culture standpoint, a leadership standpoint, is there something that you see in Kawasaki that you would advise them on where you’re like, Hey, here’s a great opportunity for you to improve?
Because it does seem like culture is important in motocross, but maybe not discussed as often. At least I don’t see it as often.
Yeah, I mean, I can see as a young rider coming into pro circuit, the pressure of having to perform with. with their record. Um, probably. I mean, I don’t, I don’t know. I don’t, I haven’t been involved too much with pro circuit, their rider, like their team at all.
Um, I know Mitch is a person. Um, I know he, I wouldn’t say he’s a slave driver, but he, you know, he expects excellence. Um, and that’s tough for a young kid coming in there, making mistakes and then getting beat down of like, you know, Of, uh, you know, why’d you do this? Or, you know, you need to do that. And it can send guys off on, you know, on a spiral downhill because of the additional pressure.
Um, like I said, you have too many people telling you what to do from the girlfriend to the mom, to the dad, to the friends, to the trainer, to the team manager, to the mechanic. And that poor rider at that age, when they’re 16, 17, and they’re on now the elite team, they just came from amateurs where they’ve won Loretta’s, they’ve been winning for years.
And now they’re getting smoked or they’re crashing. Um, mentally, yeah, it’s a breakdown. And, um, I don’t know if, I don’t know who they have, if Tickle is their guy, but I think Tickle works for, you know, the factory, but I think there’s this, some of these teams need to have some guys in there that maybe been there, done that.
Um, I know Stanton helped Honda for a long time. I mean, I went with Kawasaki a little bit. But then I also worked with Kurdowski and Luraku, who have already been there. They’ve already done it, you know, they know it. But, you know, I didn’t, I didn’t work with the Mitasevich when he came in, because I was racing.
I did help him because I went riding with him. I used to go to his house, wake him up, so he had to come with me. You know, I had to get him out of bed. You know, I was like a babysitter. So, but I, so I, but I helped him a lot. And I let him, I let him work with Jeff Spencer, which I didn’t let anybody, because I didn’t feel he was a threat.
But I also liked him and I wanted him to improve. And he went from, you know, the 1 25 to start winning and his strength, you know, he couldn’t even, he couldn’t lift his head that my warm up was his max, you know, so we got him up so much higher and that just kind of shows what I think if somebody was in there that’s been there done that can, that can be that guy they talked to and structured.
You don’t have to be the trainer. You don’t have to be the, you know, the guy that’s there every day whipping at him. And like I said, if he doesn’t want to do it himself, it’s not going to get done. So I don’t care who they give them. I don’t care if they’re, you know, they’re sleeping with them and wake them up every day to get them out of bed.
He’s still not going to put the effort in. So he’s got to put the effort in. But I think you just need somebody there to, uh, Get your head on straight to what you need to be thinking. And, you know, just even the day before and the night and getting up and getting to the track and everything needs to go in a rhythm.
I mean, it’s like, if you’re going to the track and you get a flat tire, it throws the whole day off, you know? And so there’s things that can, that’s just, you know, it can be just somebody coming up to you and asking you questions that you don’t need to be answering right now, um, because of what happened last week.
And, you know, I know you got, you don’t want to be a dick, but you also you’re there for, you’re a paid professional now. And I think some of these kids that get in there, they just got so many things bouncing off and they’re worried about their golf game next week and, you know, or where they’re going to go.
And it’s like, I don’t know what, you know, some of these teams have, but I’ve been around a lot of them, but I just think that, uh, structure is a big, a big part of it. And, um, somebody that has been there and done that on a T on a team that, and there, I think most of the teams have that now, I mean, club, all the guys there, they’ve got guys that have raced and been there and done that.
I don’t see too many of them that won, you know, six or seven championships that are hanging around, you know, Ricky was there for a little bit, Carmichael, he’s moved on. But if you get guys like that in there and guys that have been there throughout, they can really help somebody out. Just like Ari Leindyke and Paul Tracy and Guys like that helped me, you know, if I didn’t talk to them, I’d have done all these mistakes.
So like I said, just tell me what not to do. That’s what they said. It’s like, well, you could tell them what not to do and then they could do everything else and they’ll be fine. It’s so true.
Yeah. And I think maybe what also might be going on is I think that in motocross, supercross, obviously it’s results driven, but you know, when you’re in my field, You already know that you’re one of your biggest top three enemies, if not number one is hyper focused on results.
And so we’re always talking about how results are a by product, right? So for example, if I just sit here thinking about a result and I just think about like how bad I want it, I think about what it’s going to look like and what’s going to feel like. And I just focus on the result. It’s actually a poor use of my time because the reality is, is.
The result is just like this blink in time. It’s like a moment where like all of a sudden, you know, you cross the finish line, but it’s like, if you really break it down, it’s all the things that you did. It’s the preparation. It’s managing your emotions. It’s like you said, your confidence, your beliefs, obviously your narratives, um, your intentions, your execution, removing doubt.
Having a relationship with fear and knowing that fear you want to lean into, not pull away from it’s looking at things as a challenge instead of a threat. And so there’s like a whole bunch of tools that we offer. And it’s interesting that with almost every single athlete you say, well, you know, what’s your intention or what do you want?
And everyone just wants a result. And I’m like, that’s it. Like, it’s so empty. You know, it’s like the result is cool. I’m not saying that we don’t want results. We do everything for a result. I mean, that’s what motivates us. The only reason we’re motivated to do anything is for a ultimate outcome. But the thing is, how much time are you spending focusing on that outcome?
Because you spend more than 5 percent of your time on it. It’s probably too much because 95 percent of your time needs to be on how you’re going to get to the outcome. And so I think maybe that might be where pro circuit Kawasaki is running into problems. And then also if you hyper focus on results and the results don’t come, what comes next?
Feelings of guilt, shame, humiliation, embarrassment, which are the lowest energy vibe emotions on earth. And they really carry, carry with them a lot of weight and a lot of weight that weighs on your shoulders, pulls you down and also doesn’t set you, doesn’t set you up for success or making positive moves the next day and the following week.
So at least that’s my perspective on
things. Yeah, I mean, you have a more physiological or whatever thought process of it because that’s what you, my thought process is I hate losing. I hate that feeling. That’s it. I got one, one thing to think about is I don’t like to feel this way. It’s like, I don’t like, a broken ankle cause it hurts.
So I don’t want a broken ankle. I don’t want to, I don’t want to feel like a loser. So I should probably win. So it’s like, so it’s super simple, you know, it’s like, I don’t, it’s like for me, it’s like, and plus going into the race, I, I’ve always known that I put the effort in. That’s the whole, I never have gone in like a, you’d see on the weather.
Oh my God, it’s going to be a 98 degrees and humidity is 90 percent or it’s, and, and you know what humidity sucks. And if you haven’t done that already and figured out that you won’t die from it and you’ve already pushed through it. It doesn’t bother you. It’s like, bring it on. I’ll prepare for it. I’ll get up in the morning.
I’ll make sure I got my cold towels. I’ll stay cool, you know, and I’ll just go for it. But if you haven’t put it in, you’re like, Oh my God, it’s going to be hot tomorrow. Right then you’re done. You’re like, you’re already worrying about the overheating during the race that it’s going to be just so hard.
And I just, I never had that coming into it. Yeah. There were times when you’re sick injuries, but like I said, I always went to line with a hundred percent that I still could win this moto. And then just, you know, went from there, but, um, yeah, my whole philosophy was after a race, when you got, you know, when you, RJ beat you, if you went, you know, one, two, and he went two, one, the feeling of be getting beat was the only motivation you needed to go out to win the next week, you know, to be there.
I just do not want to feel that way again. And I did that a few times when I first started racing, when I wasn’t in shape, I went to those races that were a hundred degrees in Alabama and humidity and I died and I thought I was going to die. And I didn’t even want to race the next weekend because I knew it was going to be hot again.
And I, at some point I said to myself, I do not want to feel this way ever again. So I had to start training harder. You know, I had to, that was back when you just, I was just going off my youth and, you know, minibike status and thought I could rule the world as I moved into the bigger class. And, You know, there’s a few races where, yeah, you just thought you were going to die.
And, and it felt so bad because you were scared to race the next week when it was hot, because you knew how you were going to, what was going to happen. And you had to work on that to where you had, you got rid of that, that fear of, uh, you know, racing in hot weather and you had to kind of thrive on it now and, and want it to be hot.
And that was kind of the Barnett theory, you know, I mean. When Barnett would show up at the line at, you know, Millville and it was 100 degrees and he’d show up with his helmet on and his joke on, I think it’s foaming at the mouth. And, and I’m a kid like under an umbrella with a, with a ice rag on my head and you’re, and you’re down there looking at him going, Oh, I’m dead.
He’s like, he’s like doing his own starting gate and you’re in an umbrella while your mechanic’s doing yours. And right then you’re beat. Right. You’re like, you’re already done. It was just like, okay, who’s who, who can I beat on the line now? I mean, he’s got, he’s got ice pack on his head. It was years like that where, you know, I was a boy racing a man at that time, you know, and, and, um, it just, yeah, it just slowly, you know, you figure it out and, um, you know, it all clicks.
But like I said, I had a lot, I had a lot of people behind me that like, maybe nowadays it wouldn’t have worked out as great, but I was still. a top five rider, you know, I mean, I could still, I was still podium and getting a second or third. I wasn’t winning championships. So nobody was going to probably kick me out the door nowadays or whatever.
There’s plenty of guys still hanging around that are barely doing that. But, um, I just felt loyal back then when I was struggling and having those days to where they saw my potential, but I just hadn’t turned to a man yet from a boy and got the right training going and figured it all out, but nobody had it figured out back then either.
So, um, And then once we all did, then everybody did it.
That was the beauty of it. It was almost kind of like the wild, wild west in a way, you know, because there wasn’t so much. anecdotal evidence, you know, or if there was, you know, maybe that book wasn’t in your library. And it’s not like, you know, you had, what, I don’t even know.
Do we even have internet? When do we have Google? Do we have Google?
That was nothing back then. I mean, you had, you had a, you had a phone recorder at your house is about the only way they got information. You know, you had to go, you had to go to the library or you picked up a running magazine and read about how guys did intervals, you know, to get the heart rate and you kind of mimic that.
But luckily that’s, I mean, I, I really owe a lot to Jeff Spencer because he was an Olympic athlete. He went to the Olympic training Academy for sprinting and he had to do all those intervals and that’s what he had me do. You know, I’d run down to a track about three miles away from my house and I warm up and I do my.
my running intervals. And if it took me, you know, two or three miles and then I’d run back home, you know, so I had it all laid out and, you know, you’d sprint and do your heart rate and you didn’t have the watch, you had to do your counting and seconds. And there was nothing back then really to do all that.
So it was just all kind of hit or miss. And And, uh, it was just, yeah, to where nowadays it’s like you can go on the internet and get a thousand programs, whatever you want to get to level, bring up your, you know, your, your threshold and your heart rate and what zone to be in for rest days and, you know, how far to push it in each zone.
I mean, and it just gives, you don’t have to think so much, you know, and maybe that’s. Good. Maybe it’s bad. I don’t know. Maybe, you know, it’s hard to say where I just went off of feeling and I still did almost maybe two years ago to where I started wearing a heart rate monitor for the first time. You know, I was always, every day I went riding, it’s like, you don’t wear a heart rate.
I’m like, no, I’m just going to go to where I know I can’t go anymore. And then I know I’m doing too much. It’s like, how do you know if you’re tired the next day? Well, I’ll get tired twice as fast as I did today. And then I’ll know I’m tired. And it’s like, oh yeah, that’s true. You will. Okay. But yeah. You know, if I was racing professionally, then I would take it more seriously.
Like, you know, I need to be good on this day and I do for long rides. We’ll have a hundred mile ride coming up, race coming up called the hard man in December. And of course I’m going to monitor and be fresh for it. And, but like when we just ride every day for a month, you’re out with your buddies, you’re with.
you know, a buddy one day that hasn’t written a couple of days and he’s strong and you’ve been going for five days, you know, in the heat and he takes off and dang, you’re going with him. That’s it. You know, you’re not gonna, you just, you just have to. And then, you know, there’s days everybody’s taking it easy, but then there’ll be the day everybody’s got to show off, you know, on the hill.
It’s like nobody, nobody can go easy. Um, so you just kind of burn yourself out a little bit. And that’s probably why I might Tachycardia and AFib started up because I think my heart muscle is completely worn out. So now I’m on a different program. So now I’m trying to reinvent my, uh, my, my training strategies now at a late age.
So as we wrap things up, I’m really curious to hear like what. What are like the next challenges? I mean, obviously there’s almost like an addiction to challenge, right? And so there needs to be a challenge or else I can’t see you thriving with just sitting around. I mean, obviously. You got the great background.
Newport Beach. There’s probably some tasty, even though you’re happily married, there’s probably some tasty morsels that pass by daily on the paddle boards. There’s probably some beautiful boats that go by, but I don’t see you sitting there watching that. I see you sitting there saying, what is my next challenge?
So with that said, um, what is your next challenge? What, what are you working on right now?
Um, I think I’m, I mean, with the, I’ve had a lot of kind of reality checks here with the heart thing. I mean, I never had any, Okay. Problems with my heart. And so, I mean, it would just take off a fib at 250 beats a minute and stay there for four hours.
And, you know, then I had to be on blood thinners. I’m on blood thinners now because of my surgery. Um, and then I had. the tachycardia gone. And then all of a sudden that only happened when I cycled real hard. Then I was just sitting on the couch a couple months after that surgery and the heart would go off out of rhythm for seven hours.
Then I go back and then I cycled and a week later I’ll be sitting around just sitting, watch T go off again. So we went and got tested. So I had to have that ablation in two places. So that seems to be gone. And then about three weeks ago, I had an episode where I got super dizzy. My right eye got foggy.
So I had to go to ER. It seemed like it was called SVT, which is a different form of tachycardia, but they think that’s from the surgery. So like, I’m now I’m just trying to like, okay, I just need to see where I can get my level of comfort. Um, I’m only three months out from my flat second surgery and I’m getting pretty strong again.
I just did 45, 50 miles yesterday. But I’m not near as where I was and I’m just slowly trying to get there to see if I can creep up. My heart rate’s a little higher resting now, but I think because of the surgery and the inflammation. So, I mean, I still want to race mountain bikes for fun. I mean, there’s a lot of fun races in Arizona.
50 mile. The places you go to are fantastic, and it’s not necessarily a race because it’s so long. It’s just more of like survival and You’re fueling. And if you can get through without suffering and, and even if you do suffer, it’s always gratifying at the end. And you’re not really looking for the results so much except the fact, you know, more of the fact that you completed it and your training preparation worked, um, and your buddies are there.
So like this hard man coming up, it’s when we do every year and it’s, um, well, not a lot of guys I know is do it. We’re actually, I want to help with one of the promoters that helped put it on. Now we bought The, uh, hard man, uh, series that this other cross that I’m working with, we did some bicycle races on go kart tracks and it kind of went in the dirt, like supermoto so everybody could see the race thing.
It was super fun. So now I’m kind of doing that and more, I’m, I’m backing down, but then RJ called me and wanted me to do the Baja 1000 with him. So I’m like, I’m like, dude, I’d never, or if he actually wants me to run with his son, Luke, and then somebody else at DRW wanted me to do the, and they’re like, I’ve never raced in desert.
Not even on a motorcycle. And the guy. He’s like, dude, he goes, you’ll be as good as the guy, as the guys that are driving now without even driving the course one time, you know, it’s not that, it’s not that type of racing where you’re flat out. You need to make the truck finish. And I’m like, Oh, I don’t know if I want to do that.
And so, yeah, but so right now, yeah, it’s just kind of, uh, sorry, getting, uh, my health back to where I feel comfortable. Um, you know, and, and, and where I can push it. Cause right now I really can’t, my energy level, I listened to a couple of podcasts. I think it was with drew. Um, but gut health and all that.
And I’m seeming to be having some issues with that, with my, my vitamins, cause I’m really low on B12 and my division shows that I have some type of infection or maybe a bacteria, which I’ve had tested, which it says it doesn’t, but everything I read says I’m a deficiency and that leads to your gut of, you know, of the enzymes.
So I’m trying to get that. I might even give drew a call because he said something about, you know, Places out here to get that all checked because I seem to be like my power just is gone now And I don’t think it’s from the heart surgeries So yeah, I’m just trying to figure that out So that’s my goal now to get back to where that was and then just pick some right my daughter does a lot of the Like I said, she does marathons and she did the mountain bike races with me and to see out big races at sea otter so she’s kind of into it too, so It’s more of the family stuff now, but that’s still motivating When anytime you’re racing a bicycle, you’re doing any type of run.
I mean, as you know, when you want to go fast, it’s still going to hurt. And there’s still a, a managing process in there and getting up every day and cycling is another, you know, I just did the Peloton before a U Call because I didn’t have time to go. So I did an hour and a half on that. So sweated bullets on that and, you know, I got a big ride tomorrow.
So yeah, athletics keeps me going every day. That’s, you know, luckily. Knock on wood that I’ve been super fortunate with injuries. And of course I’ve had a lot of friends that been seriously injured. And, you know, we did the Ram race across America with Doug and David on the hand cycles race across America, um, which was, which was unbelievably hard.
3000 miles. You went from California to what? Maryland, I think it was.
Yeah. Annapolis, Maryland. Um, across the desert, it was 122 degrees. It was when Phoenix. airplanes weren’t taking off because it was too hot and we’re out there. Doug and Dave were there on these carbon fiber hand cycles that are about a quarter of an inch off the asphalt, which is you can cook eggs on it.
And they’re asked, we had to check them every time they came in, flip them over and make sure they weren’t burning. Their butt, because they can’t feel it. Right. So we
had to, were you the ass check guy?
We, I don’t, I wasn’t, no, I, I had, I had to rest. And, uh, but that’s a whole other podcast. Cause we have so many stories.
I mean, if one guy would have said, I don’t think I could do this. I would have said me neither. Oh, we’re done. We’re gone. Cause it was so hard, so hot. And just so demanding going all night long, all day long. Um, but once we got into Colorado and it cooled off, actually I got, you know, like three in the morning, it was like 35 degrees.
That’s not fun getting up and jumping out and going downhill at 35 degrees for four or five hours. And, and then we got into the rain and, um, just cramping and David and all those guys getting sick. And it was just, uh, But then once we got there and did it, it was just like unbelievable that for one, those two guys did what they did with the hand cycles.
Um, it was amazing. So, yeah, we did it for good charity, raised a lot of money for road to recovery and Um, I don’t know. I mean, I know David said before, like he would never do it again, but I guarantee if we all got together and said we wanted one person said, let’s do it. They’d all jump in again and do it.
So they’re crazy. But yeah, very, uh, one of my probably biggest accomplishments I think is doing that with those guys with, with no prep, you know, it was like three months out when four months out when I was asked, yeah. And actually I got hit by a car February before June on PCH and broke my tibia plateau.
and tore my MCL and ACL. Uh, I was jacked up for a while. And, you know, I still was able to, a couple of months out to get some, a couple of hundred mile rides in. And that was my preparation, you know, and Doug, Doug got asked around the same time and had no idea what the Ram was. David just asked them, do you want to do this bicycle race called the Ram?
And Doug’s like, yeah, I’m in. And as he talked to him, he’s like, yeah, is there a website on this? What is this? He’s like, it goes across America to Doug’s like, oh, and he had never even Hanson. He didn’t even have a hand cycle yet. He just started, he just built one. He built one out of, uh, out of wood and stuff in his garage and started doing it in his garage and then came out here and did some rides and we just took off.
So that’s the mental factor of motocross riders right there. That is a. Splitting, like, to the T of what motocross guys can do when they set their mind to it. And, uh, those two are just absolutely, you can sit down and talk to those guys all day long, um, for what they’ve gone through after, you know, their injuries, even more so than what they did before it.
It was just amazing. And their mindset, and they’re still the same way, like when they go to the line, their brain, their mindset is like, we’re doing this. We got this. It’s like, so it was, it was cool. A lot of good stories with those guys and Um, throughout the whole event, but they
love it. Yeah. And when I saw that, I was shocked myself and it’s just funny.
It just, it was a group of men that all had that common past. Everyone had their own journey, but you all kind of. Faced very similar challenges, some different, but, um, the fact that you guys all came together, you know, is what you Bailey diamond and, um, and Henry. Yeah. Just, just the thought of that almost gives you kind of chills thinking about that.
yeah, it was just fun. I mean, cause. We, it was like Doug and I were together. We do the rotations and then we, for a hundred miles, then we’d come in and try to rest. And then Doug, so we just kept, you know, every five hours swapping back and forth and just in the motor home with Doug and, you know, the stuff and then sleeping.
And he’s like, dude, you were, you were sawing trees down snoring, you know, we’re like two feet away. I’m like, no way, man. I went, he goes, dude, I’m going to tape you next time. And I’m like, well, at least that’s good. Cause at least I didn’t think I slept at all. Cause you’re so hungry and tired and wet and you know, you got to go to the bathroom and you only have like four hours, right?
And that, that vehicle you’re in has to drive to the next destination to get there when, you know, when David and Mickey get there and then you have to be ready when they get there to take off. So when they’re, you know, you’re still driving two hours, even though it’s a hundred miles, they take four or five, you know, five or six or whatever, depending on the terrain.
And then you have to get there, get your rest. get ready, get dressed and they’d be ready for them when they get there. You know, and you’re, by the time you lay down, you know, all of a sudden you get the radio call, they’re 20 minutes out and you’re like, what, you know, you’re waking up and Doug’s got to get in his wheelchair and out that, you know, we had things to get out and we got to get your kid on.
And I mean, I was just like for seven days and in the rain, you know, the one time he didn’t even take stuff off. We were wet. I was too tired to even, I just slept in my wet stuff and got up and. Went back on the bike with everything all wet again. It’s like But the poor guys that had to drive the motorhomes had to keep going too so we you know, at least we got to rest they have to keep driving and rotating and there’s like 12 or 13 people that it takes to do that with three vehicles and a we had a motorhome and a bus and Um, it’s a big ordeal.
It’s if anybody’s out there that it doesn’t know what the ram is race across america go Go on their website and check it out. It’s a And then you got the guys that do it solo and then you just go like, yeah,
I have an athlete in mind. Josh Shepard. I’m going to, I’m going to present this to him because he, uh, he loves a good challenge.
And, uh, I think this might be right up his alley.
There’s a guy that is on a hand cycle to do as a solo, we, we got to pass him probably like 300. They, they take off a week before the, uh, the teams do, cause you can, you know, you start catch. So it kind of almost kind of almost ends at the same, but not really.
Um, they end up a little bit before us actually anyway, but we caught up to him and, uh, I remember I think it was either Mickey or, you know, Doug were on the hand cycle. So they got to catch up to him and, and talk to him because he’d been going for like nine days now by himself, you know, so, and he’s got his own van, he’s, he’s, he’s got no legs is what he has.
So he’s, he’s cut off at the, you know, the legs. So he’s in this little, he’s got a couple of trick chairs and. You know, he’s been going the whole way. So Doug, you know, they got to talk to him a little bit while they were climbing and, and then, you know, it got to keep going. So that was just super cool. But, you know, those guys, they were just so in awe of this guy had been going for nine days by himself for what we just went through with three other guys helping you out, you know?
Um, yeah, it’s really, when you think, uh, You know, you train hard and you suffered and you go see what these guys can do, what the body really can do. Uh, it’s, it’s amazing. So, yeah, it’s, it was, it was a cool event and super glad I got to do
it. Yeah. And it’s almost like the journey and the story of how you got there is more important.
It’s like, nobody needs to know what the time was or how did you do, how did you finish? Because there’s really no value in that. The value is in all the stories. You know, the frying of the eggs and the ass checks and the, you
know, we would, uh, be like in the middle of Kansas at three in the morning and we have checkpoints, right.
You know, cause they had, that’s what they have on the maps where you can, and you can follow us live stream so you can see where it’s. And at so many of these checkpoints, we had tons of motocross people coming to see us. So it was just, we’d pull up and it’d be fans there. that we’d have to put the happy face on, you know, because everybody’s there, you know, it’s like, what are you doing here?
It’s three in the morning. Well, while we live in, we live three hours from here in North Kansas and we saw you were going to be here. So we drove down, they have their kids, they drove through the night. There’s like 20 people there and, you know, and Doug and them are taking off or I’m, you know, whatever.
And I’m staying and make, you know, it depends on where the transfer was, you know, so they tried to go to the. To the checkpoint. See that’s where everybody’d be. Yeah. But during the, the route, it was just whenever we felt like transitioning when there was a hill, I’d always take over ’cause Doug couldn’t go up the hill.
So I’d do the hills and we’d see if there was a downhill, he’d get more of that. So we never knew when we were gonna stop to tra, you know, to tag each other. But at the checkpoints, we were always there with the motor home and stay there for an hour, probably after the other team left to clean up. And so there’d be a lot of fans there that were really cool.
And sometimes you’d come in pretty pissed off. You know, Mickey would come in pissed yelling at the, at the driver because they went the wrong way one time and you know, they’re like, Mickey’s best fan is over here. Number one fan and he’s and he’s all like, because Mickey’s so cool. He’s just like, Oh, God, thanks.
Sorry. You know, I didn’t mean to go off like that. I’m just, we went the wrong way. And by this time we’re just in la la land, you know, at four days in and we don’t even know up from down and we’re looking for hamburgers and Started off eating gels and, you know, heat and hammer and being all athletic. And then about two days in, we’re like, give me anything, pizza.
I want burgers, give me burgers. You were just eating anything you could eat. Cause you were just, you couldn’t put enough food in you. Right. You just weren’t sleeping. Your body’s just going, it was just a nightmare of, uh, of stuff. So it was, uh, yeah, it was really cool event. We need to all four get, we really all four need to get together.
And do a podcast on all our, we, we talk to, when we get together, like when I call Mickey and talk to, we always get back onto the Ram this immediately we talk about stuff and we just start laughing and then things pop up that we didn’t even remember that he remembers. And we’re just like, Oh my God, you know, and it’s just so amazing.
And so we really need to all get together, especially nowadays with every podcast that’s out there. millions out, you know, so this would be something really cool that I think every generation, even now the generation would think we’re crazy and I guarantee they wouldn’t want to do it. I’m sure they have no aspiration of riding a bicycle across the country.
Um, just to listen to all the stories and what we went through and what accomplished. And, um, we tried to get a couple of years down the road to get some other people to, to come on board, to try to do a, but Hannah rides a lot. You know, but nobody really seems keen on going across country. I’m up for it.
I’m up for
it. Yeah. I mean, I don’t understand why you’re not getting a ton of people. I mean, your email inbox, it’s going to be flooded. I mean, who doesn’t want, I mean, you’ve sold the story so well. There’s the raw,
there’s the, it’s called the raw race across the West, which takes off the same time that goes to Durango, Colorado.
It’s one of the stops. And I’m looking at like, there’s a couple of guys I know live in Durango to do maybe a two man team that’s about 900 miles. So it’s, it’s not crazy amount of writing. I mean, it is, but, um, that would be fun to do. And then there was even thoughts of like solo, you know, because it’s halfway, you know, so, um, that’s been on the radar, but right now, I mean, like right now I’m trying to get to where I need to be comfortably, but.
That’s still on the mindset, but, uh, I’m sure there was somebody, Mickey or somebody would want to do that if You know for charity, I mean we’d have to we have to run around making money and make it a big thing and I think nowadays we we do it better than we did back then with the With instagram the internet more a little bit more and and maybe you know We had it back then but we really I mean we did as much as we could with it But I think we could probably now do a lot more and a lot better if we we did that for charity And i’d be up for that.
Well, i’ll make a donation if you do the ram again I’ll donate a thousand dollars.
All right. We got to start.
All right. So yeah, you’ve, now you’ve already got your first donor, so you know, you might want to think about it, but wow, Jeff, I am so grateful for your time. Love the last, the way that we ended things with the story of the Ram.
Um, so many great take homes from this. So, you know, we have a variety of athletes that listen to the podcast from all different disciplines. And so I think that a lot of the things that you shared are not only going to help the motocross and supercross community, but I think a lot of these things can apply to anyone that’s an athlete or even anyone that’s not an athlete that just wants to have the right mindset for just success in general.
So I just can’t thank you enough. I mean, love the tips. Yeah.
One thing I would get at me. I know. like mental stuff you talk about is, um, is like after your sport, you know, when you retire, a lot of athletes football play, you know, they don’t know what to do. They get depression. You know, um, I’ve been super fortunate because I have done everything I’ve wanted to do and love what I’m doing.
Like I’ve kept, like you said, I got X Games gold at 48. I’ve never stopped, so I haven’t had that. I’m kind of feeling it a little bit now, but I know a lot of athletes go through it. It’s I just think it’s so super important to find something that You know, you totally love to do whether it’s in athletics because usually all these sports are athletic retire early, you know, because of the athletics it takes to be in that sport is to find, you know, something in that area that makes them happy that keeps them going because it’s just super important to where when people can’t do what they love to do because of injuries, you can really see that side of it that how they struggle because they can’t do what they want to do.
And I think it’s super important for athletes when they’re done racing, whether it’s motocross to pre plan what they, like, I kind of did with car racing to get into something before you get there and not know where to go with your life because it can be a struggle.
Yeah, I think that’s huge. And, you know, we saw that with Michael Phelps and I think, you know, the, the thing is, is that, and so the reason why this happens in my opinion is that if I ask you, who are you, and you were to say, I’m Jeff Ward, I race motorcycles.
It’s no, no, no, no, no. That’s not actually who you are. You’re Jeff Ward, you’re a father, you’re a friend, you’re a son, you do race motorcycles, you race cars, you do this, you cycle, you know, and when your identity and sense of self, which is that, like, if you imagine a pyramid, it is the foundation for everything.
When that foundational element of identity and sense of self now becomes I am nobody, um, which is obviously not true, but if you don’t prepare for it, like you said. It will feel true. That is the, that is the mistake that many make. And I love that you pointed that out because you know, the depression rate and all that, when you look into it and you see how many athletes struggle, and this is why a lot of athletes even try to go back into sports or maybe some even go down the wrong path after is, is because they didn’t prepare for it.
And it’s amazing that people don’t talk about this more often. So I’m glad you
brought it up. No, I understand the pyramid because my family means the world to me. That’s my biggest accomplishment I’ve ever had as my family. And everything they’ve done, I’ve been there, I don’t think I’ve missed a soccer game with my kids, or I went to Ponca, Loretta’s, did the whole thing, and that pyramid is great, it’s that one piece at the bottom corner over here, if I’m not happy, and doing what I love doing, you know, that piece is, it’s gonna, it’s gonna crumble, you know, and I know, it’s just hard to, you know, like, just find out, I mean, people, you gotta get paid, you gotta find a job that gets paid too, unless you’re that, Well off in your sport that you put aside and you can just do what you want to do.
But everybody seems to have to do something where they make a living. Um, so I’ve just been fortunate to be able to make a living at racing and still been able to do that. But it’s, yeah, you got to just find something that makes you happy that gets you up in the morning. And that’ll keep the family and everybody, you know, happy as well.
So, you know, um, but yeah, I’ve been fortunate. But yeah, like you said, planning is a big key and figuring out. Everybody plans their retirement or should, you know, with money. But if, if you’re mentally not happy, then that, that’s not gonna work out very well. That’s so
true. But, uh, I love it. Geez, that would be a darn good business.
We should think about putting together because, uh, to have something I’ve never even heard of a business that, um, supports athletes that are transitioning from, you know, active, uh, you know, involvement in sport to retirement. So you got my brain thinking already. Yeah. So now I have like business idea of like 107 now , it’s kinda
like the military.
It’s kinda like the military. You know, when they get out, like there’s so many programs now to get them into other, my, my son is in the military, he’s in the army and Intel. And, um, he’s out right now and he’s doing his own thing, but you know, he’s helping do some stuff through racing, trying to get military people into race, car racing and, and doing stuff.
He’s starting to do some car stuff. And so he’s doing that aspect of it, but it’s, it’s kind of like that, you know, when you’re, if you just get thrown, you need to have people out there where you can go to and say, Hey, what can I do now? Here’s my skillset or here’s like, you know, whatever you want to do that you can get into and You know, planning it.
I mean, everybody writers got family to have businesses, probably something they probably fall into and stuff. But you got it. It’s hard as an athlete when you love what you do. And then you go into something that is not getting up every morning to jump out there and attack the world. You know, and, um, the family is one thing that gets you doing it.
But, uh, it’s not everybody’s fortunate to have the job they love. And I think that maybe planning a little bit as a athlete definitely helps for sure. Yeah. Oh, absolutely. But
yeah, I love it. Jeff, thank you so much for all your time. Um, so much information here. I still am looking at how much you definitely owe me a pen because it took me a pen to write all your accomplishments down.
So, uh, but we’ll call it even on that because I appreciate all the tips you offered.
Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Yeah. Thank
you. And, uh, where can anyone find you if they want to reach out to you or have any questions? Uh, where’s the best place to find you?
My email, I get wardy racing at aol. com or they can go on my, um, my Instagram, which is Jeff ward, three X and leave a DM.
I always go through my DMS and they’re just erase them out, you know, cause there’s always something that people use, I guess, you know, if you don’t follow that, go into the one that, you know, you don’t follow. So I found that out recently that I had thousands that I didn’t know about. I’m not very savvy on the internet stuff.
So now I go in there and clear out everything to make sure if I don’t miss somebody that’s, Hey, I got this or that, or. You want to do this or, you know, so, um, that’s a good place to do too. Or even just in the comments or something, say, Hey, you know, I’m interested in, you know, helping you out or helping me out, do something or something, and, um, I’ll definitely get back to him.
I’m pretty good at that. Yeah. And
thanks for going through the comments. I asked for your goggles in 1992 and I appreciate you just responding last week, so I want to thank you for
that. So you got a pair of them
on the way. So I’m checking. Oh, okay. This guy seems to come. Daily. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve got a wife that gets Amazon packages on the daily, so I’m hoping it’s going to come through Amazon or UPS.
I don’t even have any old race goggles. What I have is, I mean, probably an old, my son’s. I don’t even ride it anymore. I haven’t ridden in two or three years now, moto. So, like, yeah, I just have, I’ve done a couple of photo shoots and I’ll go out with a couple of friends. I did Mammoth, I can’t remember how long ago it was, but I just, um, I feel so good not riding now.
It’s like shoulders and, When I go ride, everything hurts, but it’s just like the muscles get used that and the joints that move that movement where I don’t hurt on the bicycle or stuff. So I kind of stay away from it. I’ve seen so many friends that are still trying to ride fast and getting hurt. And I know, I know my mentality, I know my mentality.
I’m not going to go ride slow. So it’s just best I don’t go do it. Yeah. The
same way I used to race supermoto and a couple of my friends are still doing it. Same age as me. And I just go back to, like you said, I’m just like, I don’t want to befriend the nurses again at Concord Memorial Hospital. Yeah. And uh, I already know what my deductible is.
I don’t wanna pay it. And uh Exactly. I don’t wanna be in pain. It’s nice to wake up and feel
okay, . Exactly. That, that’s where I’m at right now. So , I’m all good.
Well, thank you so much and, uh, we’ll talk soon. Thanks again. All right. Take
care. All right. Take care. Bye-Bye.