It was a debate whether to post this Adam Cianciarulo interview as a separate feature or not, but the insight was so meaningful that it warranted its own space. Seeing Cianciarulo back at a stop of the Monster Energy Supercross series is something that every fan across the world can appreciate, but where is his head at? It has been more than 700 days since he climbed up onto the 450SX podium and 349 days since he last hit a supercross track in anger. There has been so much time for reflection and self-improvement, so what steps has he made away from his KX 450? This sheds a little light on that.
Vital MX: How is the mindset? You have had some time off over the last year, but has that given you a chance to mentally detox and reset for another go at this thing?
Adam Cianciarulo: Yes and no. I think that I am in a spot now where I feel way more… Coming from where I have come from in the sport and always having some expectations, it is easy to feel like you have something to lose and like you are trying to hold onto something. I think that being away from it this past year, I have more of a sense of opportunity rather than a sense of having something to lose. When you are so far away from the sport, you realise how much you miss being around the races and seeing everybody and talking to everyone. Just being a part of it! I was just telling somebody not too long ago that a bad day at the races, even if you go out there and get a bad result, it is so much better than just not racing at all. I think that I have kind of re-established how I view myself in the sport, as well as the sport itself. I am just more grateful. I guess that you would call that a mental reset. It is also just realizing that I'm good without it too. Even if this racing thing were to not work out, I have got life skills. I can do other things! I know that sounds crazy, but when you are doing this every day from five years old then you know nothing else. Having that perspective has allowed me to feel less pressure.
Speaking of things that sound crazy. You love this stuff. You are probably the biggest fan here, but I get the impression that you are enjoying being here even more now. Who knew that there was another level to your appreciation of the sport, huh?
Yeah, I mean there is way more of a sense of enjoyment. I am not going to lie: Sometimes I was bullshi**ing. I just used to put so much pressure on myself. So much pressure! I had the highest expectations in the world and that is just really hard to rewire, especially as that is just me. I hate to say it, but from the time that I was a little kid… You go out and win, then everything is good. You go out and lose, then everything is bad. If you do not change that as you go into adulthood then nothing changes. It is the same kind of thing. I have been taken away from the sport, through injury, a few times and I was forced to figure it out this last time. There is more to this world than this dirtbike, which is very liberating.
There have been a lot of things to figure out, like you said. There is something that you do not to figure out though and I think people forget it: The speed, talent and potential has not gone anywhere. You have done eighteen 450SX mains and most of them have been good. Your 450SX debut was better than most guys! None of that has left you.
I will tell you one thing: I am not here because I have to be here or feel like I need to be here. I am here because I want to be here. I believe in myself and my ability. If I did not think that I could reach my goals then I would probably be asking the questions, just like you. I have the potential, speed and all of that. I have just got to follow the process, stay within myself and enjoy it.
If you find yourself falling into the same trap of putting pressure on yourself and judging yourself too harshly, do you feel that you will be able to snap yourself out of it quite quickly or end up going down that same negative path?
I have done a lot of work this off-season. A lot of work! Of course, times of high stress like Anaheim 1… If there is ever a point where you are going to slip back into your old mindset! I am sure that I will have to be disciplined and mindful. This type of change feels like a life change for me. It is going to affect my job, obviously, but it feels like a perspective shift. I think that it will be good, man.