!MotoGP SPOILER! Fitness is Foundational.

4 Apr

After many blog posts, I’ve realized that I may be leading many people think that if your fitness is up to par, then there is no reason that you can’t ride at the top of the class and you’ll keep the bike upright all day long.

Well, after watching the Argentina MotoGP race, I was brought back to reality (rather harshly, as I am a Ducati guy).

When 8 of the worlds best motorcycle riders fail to complete the race, that’s not an indication of a lack of fitness. Instead it’s an indication that some other factor has come into play.

It’s tough to say that MotoGP guys aren’t in as good of shape as they could be. Nobody in the paddock is overweight or even average sized for their height. All are on the thin side. However, they are definitely strong with great anaerobic endurance. While their body shape and size is definitely an asset in a sport that relies on an optimal weight:power ratio, most track day riders are not that same size.

Back to the race this weekend. As rider after rider spilled to the tarmac, it was evident that these guys are strong enough. After hitting the deck, sliding 20-30 meters then sprinting to their bike and picking it up, their heart rate is going. Yes, adrenaline plays a role. Yet, many of these riders were operating at their highest levels of fitness!

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Espargaro and Crutchlow run to bikes after crashing in Argentina. Photo: http://www.crash.net

You start to look at the riders who can sprint to their bike and pick it up out of the gravel pit and get back to riding. Then look at those who can’t get their bike going. This is where fitness definitely plays a role! Fitness allows us to keep riding even after a spill. It allows us to keep going after a long day at the track.

And if you’re Andrea Dovizioso, it allows you to finish the race!

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Dovizioso pushes his Ducati the final 2 corners to secure 13th position in the Argentina MotoGP race. Photo Credit: http://www.zigcdn.com

So how does this play into your trackdays? Fitness is the foundation for sport. Athletes who are not fit for the sport will not be participating for long. Just because you’re currently riding track days does not mean that you have to stop and “get fit” before continuing to ride. Any improvement in fitness will pay dividends.

As for fitness advice following the Argentina GP, if you can put treadmill pushes or plate pushes into your training program. To do treadmill pushes, turn the treadmill off, get on it, grab the handles in front of you and start driving the belt using YOUR power. Lean into it and drive your legs into the belt. You’ll find there is a lot of resistance there. March on the belt for 15-20 seconds followed by a rest of 60-90 seconds.Repeat 10-times. As you improve in your ability to do this, try to push it as hard and fast as you can for 15-20 seconds. You’ll find this is incredibly exhausting but it will prepare you for those maximal effort situations such as dragging your bike off the road or pushing it for a bump start when the battery dies!

Have a great week and don’t forget next week’s MotoGP race at Circuit of the Americas in Texas!

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One Response to “!MotoGP SPOILER! Fitness is Foundational.”

  1. Chad Vance July 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

    First off I thoroughly enjoy your advice and the angle you take on rider health and fitness. Doing track days or racing, the rider needs to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Being tired is a distraction, having legs that get sore 10 minutes into a session is a distraction. These distractions take away from other things that need to have our focus, like brake and turn in points. As you point out, a rider can start getting fit at anytime in the season or out of season. It does take a bit of self discipline to get started and the results are hard to gauge at first, but stick with it, results will start to show in as little as 2 months.

    I look at it this way, when I did my very first race at the beginning of this season, I was unfit. Being unfit racing 6 laps in on an 8 lap sprint, my legs would burn, I would be out of breath, and my riding would get lazy. The last two laps are the two that need to be perfect. Earlier this year and I got to work eating right and working out. After my first race weekend I started riding mountain bike. I needed more CV and my legs needed to be stronger and have more stamina. This last weekend I finished in first place my first time this season. I was winded, but not nearly as bad as I was my first race this season.

    If we eat right, and workout, the work now will benefit our riding but will benefit us for years.

    Like

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