@PING 4

Ping chats about the safety of modern tracks, if pros ever hop on 125s for training, returning to riding after an injury, and how much metal should be in your body.

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Ping,

Saw the Joey Crown video the other day on the practice supercross track on Vital.  Why don't they fill in after the last lip going up the dragons back, or the centers of some of the rhythm lanes?  These guys aren’t going to land there unless “it” hits the fan.  If something goes bad, there is a chance that a trip to the ER could be avoided and a season saved.  

And another 125 question: Do any of the KTM / Yamaha guys ever practice on these during outdoor season? It seems like one day a week would change it up a little, slow the pace, and improve four-stroke corner speed.  I have a long drive coming up, saved the Todd DeHoop Whiskey Throttle show for it, looking forward to it (the show, not the drive).

Jared

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Jared,

I think there are a few instances where filling in the gap between doubles/triples would keep riders safe where they would otherwise get shattered into pieces like Chinese stemware. However, there are times it wouldn’t help at all. For instance, Cooper Webb’s brutal crash where he flew off onto the concrete like Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka coming off the top ropes. Even if that jump was filled in, he would have crashed in exactly the same way. The other issue is that dirt is one of the biggest expenses of building a supercross track, and they’d have to bring in significantly more soil. Supercross has some absolutes that you just can’t get away from: Riders are going to get hurt, Ralph is going to say “Drop the Gate,” and the boobies in the pits are faker than a Mexican soap opera. 

Do guys ride 125 during the week? Nah. While it would be a good off-season tool to ride for fun, these guys need to stay on the bike they are racing on the weekends. The idea is to be so tuned in to what your bike is doing that you know how it’s going to react before it actually reacts. You can’t bounce from bike to bike and make that happen.

Thanks for supporting the show… Todd’s story is great.
Cheers
- PING


Hey Ping,

I just finished listening to the latest Whiskey Throttle show on Todd DeHoop, which was amazing, I met him once in ‘96 at an arena cross… I held his bike so he could run to the bathroom before the main event that night. He is such a nice guy and I had no idea that he was thinking about making a comeback in 2002. 

Anyway, I digress. My question is how do you get back on your bike after a lengthy time away from it? I recently suffered a crash, not my fault by the way, some Spode ran out of talent and I was an innocent victim and I suffered a 3rd degree shoulder separation on my left arm and a severely sprained thumb on my right hand. Let’s just say that wearing a sling and a cast together isn’t ideal. How do you get through that mental block of is this sport worth it anymore and how do I get back to enjoying riding it all the while I am having flashbacks of the crash that took me out for 6 weeks? I know that you and GL have had some big ones, yet as soon as you get the green light to ride... you guys looked like you didn’t miss a beat. 

Thanks for your time Ping, Cheers!
Down and out.

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Down and Out,

I get this question often, and the answer varies depending on the situation. In your case, you need to take solace in the fact that you didn’t do anything wrong! Some jackwagon got squirrely and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time; could have happened to anybody. Listen, I understand the psychological challenge of getting your head back in the game. We recently had a rider die at Glen Helen preparing for the vet world championships and I know quite a few guys who are questioning whether or not they want to ride anymore. It’s normal to question behaviors that have significant consequences, like riding dirt bikes. Some advice I got in paramedic school stuck with me. My instructor would say, “Know what you know, and know what you don’t know.” In motocross terms, be honest with yourself about the talents you have and the talents you don’t have. And then focus on improving your weaknesses, particularly when it comes to technique. 

If you’re really struggling, start with some trail riding or just cruising around for fun. Eventually, you’ll find yourself lost in what you’re doing and not thinking about what might go wrong. You spend enough time in this sport and you’re going to get hurt. Sometimes it seems idiotic to keep riding. I lean on my favorite quote for comfort: 

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'Wow! What a Ride!'" – Hunter S. Thompson

Get healthy, start slow, work on your technique, and then keep living your life to the fullest.
- PING


Ping,

In a recent @ping question about pain in a guy's fibula where he has a plate, you responded, "again, the fix is to get any and all metal out of your body".  I broke my tib/fib last year and my Orthopedic surgeon put a rod in my leg, and it's still there, because he never mentioned it should come out.  Thoughts?

Best regards,
- Dan

Speaking of injury and coming back, you can see Christian Craig's scar peeking out here he got after breaking his back.

Dan,

I would refer you to last week’s column where I opined that you should take any and all metal out of your body if you can. Look, I have a rod in my femur, two plates in my arm, screws in my hand and knee and, if you ask my wife, a metal plate in my head. I know when the temperature drops, the barometric pressure changes or when it rains, long before it happens because all those spots ache. I plan on getting everything out that I can, but there is never a good time. Each injury is different, so speak to your doctor, but I would recommend taking it all out as soon as possible. Happy healing.

- PING

Do you have burning questions that need answering? E-mail Ping at ping@vitalmx.com. Want more? Click the @PING tag below to quickly find all the previous columns.

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