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James Stewart Enters the Social Web with JS7.com and @JS7 Twitter Account

James Stewart. GuyB Photo.

Photo by GuyB.

James Stewart is destined to bring our sport to new levels. Just as Jeremy McGrath introduced millions of new fans to the sport, Stewart will continue to help motocross grow. His young edginess combined with his flashy personality and strong fan base will take him far in life, both on and off the bike.

Stewart's latest step to grow his prescence and popularity both inside and outside of the motocross industry include two different web projects.
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What is Your Favorite Electrolyte Replacement Drink for Cycling?

Sports drinks are crucial to cycling success. Photo by BurningKarma.

Electrolyte Replacement Drinks are crucial to cycling success. Photo by BurningKarma.

Nutrition is a huge part of cycling. Without proper nutrition, you will be unable to maintain a steady pace and your performance will be much poorer than what it should be. One of the most important parts of your nutritional plan is the electrolyte replacement drink you consume during your rides.

The world of electrolyte replacement drinks is very big, and there are a multitude of options on the market. Most riders have favorites which they prefer to drink. However, as a relatively new cyclist, I am still trying to find my favorite brand of electrolyte replacement drink.

As a result, I’ve turned to you guys, the loyal readers of MikeMartinRacing.com. What are your favorite electrolyte replacement drinks? I know some are better than others, and rather than constantly change my program trying to find the best brand, I’m asking you what yours is. Your responses will greatly impact my choice of electrolyte replacement drink heading into the near future, so don’t forget to leave your reply in the comments.
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Is 2009 The Year that the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Nationals Make it Big?

Is 2009 The Year that the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Nationals Make it Big?

2008 was big for the AMA Nationals, 2009 will be bigger. Photo by Paul Buckley

The Motocross Nationals have had a tough struggle in recent years. Between mismanaged promotion, loss and lack of title sponsors, the dominance of Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart, and being overshadowed by Supercross, It is incredible that the sport of professional outdoor motocross has survived at all.

Thankfully, it has survived, and for 2009, the landscape of Professional Motocross is looking extremely prosperous. New management, new television packages, great competition and celebrity involvement in the sport are all helping to boost the popularity and exposure of Professional Motocross, and because of this, I believe that 2009 will be the year that the Motocross Nationals make it big.

New Management

MX Sports is running the 2009 Nationals.

For years, the Motocross Nationals have been struggling under the joint leadership of the NPG and the AMA. This relationship has just not worked out for the sport. While they didn’t necessarily do a bad job, they didn’t do a great job either, and as a result, the Nationals floundered when compared to the rapid growth seen by Supercross.

Thankfully, for 2009, MX Sports, has taken the reigns of the nationals, and I am excited to see the same team who runs the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals work their magic on the professional nationals.

Some have expressed criticism or doubt at MX Sports’ ability to run a Professional race, as up to this point they have only had experience running amateur nationals. However, I am faithful in the fact that they will be able to bring their skill and professionality into the Professional Motocross Nationals.

Update: In the writing of this post, it slipped my mind that the same people who run MX Sports, are also responsible for running the Steel City and High Point pro nationals for a number of years under the name Racer Productions. My mistake, hope you'll forgive me.

In fact, their expertise has already helped the Nationals. They have secured a new title sponsor (Lucas Oils), and an incredible domestic and international TV package (more on that later). I am really looking forward to seeing MX Sports bring the Pro Nationals into the mainstream and showing the world how incredible of a sport motocross is. For years, our sport has been in dire need of a good leadership team to steer the sport in the right direction, and I believe we have finally found it in MX Sports.

Domestic Television Package

The 2009 tv package for the nationals is awesome. Photo by Lee Jordan.

The 2009 Domestic TV Package for the Nationals is awesome. Photo by Lee Jordan.

For many years, one of the major aspects which set Supercross apart from Motocross has been the television packages. Supercross has almost always had better packages with more live races and more races aired on major networks. In the meantime, Motocross has been stuck on sub-prime stations stuck in terrible time slots and simply not reaching the audience it should be.

All that has changed for 2009.

Motocross will have an incredible Domestic TV package for 2009, and I believe that it may be just what the sport needs to make it big. We’ve yet to see exactly how well produced the individual races will be, however, one thing we know for sure is that they will have an incredible air time schedule.

Here’s how the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship TV schedule will look:

  • 3 Live Coverage events on NBC
  • 3 Live Coverage events on Speed
  • Remaining races have same-day coverage on Speed (450s) and Tuesday coverage (250fs)
  • First motos shown on the web

This package should help get the nationals out to more people, in a more timely fashion, and with a more professional presentation. As a heavy internet user, I am very excited for the first moto web coverage, and look for them to expand this avenue more in the future.

However, this setup is far from perfect. I believe that in order for Motocross to truly benefit from the change, there needs to be more live events, more events on NBC, same day coverage for both the 450s and the 250s.

In addition, there needs to be internet coverage of both motos. I understand that in the current format, the promoters are trying to leverage the first moto internet coverage to increase TV viewers, especially for the second moto. But, in order to truly take advantage of the many benefits internet content distribution can yield, the promoters need to fully embrace it by putting both motos on the internet.

International TV Package

Chad Reed is a foreign rider who has made in big in the USA. Photo by GuyB.

Chad Reed is a foreign rider who has made it big in the USA. Photo by buy generic cialis online without a prescription

x.com/photos/features/Monster-Energy-Supercross-New-Orleans-2009,3661/Kevin-Windham,17319/GuyB,64″>GuyB.

In addition to the surprisingly good domestic TV Package, MX Sports has also secured, for the first time in the history of AMA motocross, an international TV package.

There are an incredible number of reasons why this is good for the sport. It increases the visibility of the sport as a whole throughout the world, increases the potential market for sponsors of the series, and exposes more children to the sport, ultimately increasing the number of motocross riders working, training and practicing to make it as a professional Motocross racer in the United States.

According to Nick McCabe, head of Commercial Development for MX Sports:

Making our series accessible to our international fans was a priority for MX Sports. We want motocross enthusiasts all over the world to have access to our programming and racing action.

This will ultimately make the AMA Motocross Nationals a more recognizable brand throughout the world and will build its popularity both here and abroad.

The full details of all the international television packages are not known at this time, but here are the few details we do know.

  • Broadcasted on the Motors TV, Nuvolari, Fox Australia, ESPN Brazil, and Greenlight TV networks
  • 430 homes throughout the world will be reached via the various broadcast networks
  • This deal will reach people in the European union, Russia, the Orient, Brazil, Australia, and more

Hopefully the international coverage of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships continues to grow and bring the great competition to the rest of the world.

Great Competition

The 2009 nationals will be more competitive than in 2008. Photo by Paul Buckley.

The 2009 Nationals will be more competitive than in 2008. Photo by Paul Buckley

The big talk throughout the Supercross season has been James Stewart and Chad Reed’s decisions to not race the Motocross Nationals this year. While Chad’s choice is nothing new, James’ was slightly surprisingly.

Regardless, the fact of the matter is that the two fastest motocross riders in the world will not be riding the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships.

And yet I still believe that this year will hold some of the best competition we have seen in many years. With the dominating riders taking the summer off, they are leaving the series wide open to the other riders to battle it out for the win. In recent years, we have seen Stewart and Carmichael take off for the win while the remaining riders battle for 2nd and 3rd. While these battles have been great, they have been under publicized due to the fact that they were for the runner up, and not for the winning position.

However, for 2009 these same riders will be battling for the win each weekend making the season one of the most exciting in years. Ryan Villopoto, MIke Alessi, Davi Millsaps, Andrew Short, Broc Hepler, Josh Grant, and many more riders will be duking it out all summer long for the National Championship. There is no clear leader in this pack, and I can’t wait to see who will come out as a winner.

While there is no obvious favorite heading into the series, I believe that Ryan Villopoto will transfer his speed and success from the MX Lites class into the Motocross class and once again have a phenomenal National season.

Celebrity Involvement

Brad Pitt's Pink Project is getting involved in Motocross in 2009. Photo from VitalMX.

Brad Pitt's Pink Project is getting involved in Motocross in 2009. Photo from VitalMX.

For years, celebrity interest and involvement in motocross has risen steadily. This trend has continued for 2009. The most recent development in this trend was Brad Pitt’s partnership with Carey Hart’s Hart & Huntington/Rockstar Energy team for the 2009 New Orleans Supercross. In an attempt to raise money and awareness of the devastation still present in New Orleans,

Pitt’s Pink Project helped support Hart’s team. The Pink Project is a subset of the Make it Right Foundation and the goal is to help rebuild New Orleans Lower 9th Ward. I find it incredibly inspiring that Brad Pitt chose the motocross community as an avenue to raise awareness of this project, and I believe that it is a sign of things to come and a representation of the power within the motocross community.

2009 is Going to Be Big

2009 is going to be big. Photo by FaeryBoots.

2009 is going to be big. Photo by FaeryBoots.

2009 is going to be a very big year for the Motocross Nationals. There are a number of growing factors which are all going to help boost the popularity of the Nationals to a whole new level. The competition will be fierce, the television packages superb and the promotion incredible. I am very excited to see how it will all play out, and I cannot wait for the upward spiral of our sport to continue.

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Running is a Great Way to Cross-Train, Even for Cyclists

Running is a great supplement to your cycling training. Photos by thebrandbuilder andaarmono.

Photos by TheBrandBuilder and aarmono.

I began cycling in order to train for motocross. I knew that I needed to be in better shape in order to perform at my absolute highest at the track on the weekends. I was never a huge running fan, and cycling was more similar to motocross than any of the other cardio activities I had tried. As a result, cycling became my training method of choice by default, not because I enjoyed the sport.

However, after spending an entire spring, summer and fall cycling almost every day, I grew to love the sport. The speed, adrenaline rush and sense of adventure I got from the sport left me dying to ride day in and day out.

After about 10 months of solid cycling, I have ben adding a good amount of running into my training program. Before cycling I really disliked running, but I have begun to love it. I still prefer cycling to running any day, but, running is a great substitution when cycling just does not fit into my program.

If you are currently a cyclist, and looking for a way to add some diversity to your program, running is a great option, and heres why.

Running Uses Less Time

A good workout while running can be accomplished in less time than cycling. Photo by donjd2 on Flickr.

A good workout while running can be accomplished in less time than cycling. Photo by donjd2.

I’m a teenager, and as a result I am a pretty busy person. Between school, homework, this website, and cycling, I have little to no free time. As a result, sometimes I don’t have two or three hours to spend on the bike. However, when I still want to get a good cardio workout in, I have begun turning to running. Spending 30-45 minutes running can give me the same workout in less than half the time.

The stark time difference between running and cycling may lead you to wonder why I don’t just run all the time. Well, the reason is quite simple: I don’t enjoy it. For me, running takes a lot of mental perserverance and it overall just isn’t as fun for me. If I based all of my cardio training off of running, I would have a very tough time running day in and day out, which would make my training less effective.

Running Uses Different Muscles

Running uses different muscles than cycling. Photo by Kiki Tohme.

Running uses different muscles than cycling. Photo by Kiki Tohme.

Unfortunately, when you cycle you use essentially the same muscles day in and day out. While this is great if you are trying to build those muscles, when cross training, it is crucial to build more than the standard set of muscles so that you are totally prepared for motocross.

This is where running comes in. Running works a totally different set of muscles as cycling which is a great way to round out your training and ensure that you are as prepared for motocross as possible.

Furthermore, this will allow you to train more often. Because running uses different muscles which allows you to put in hard days of riding and running back to back without feeling too many of the effects. This will allow you to train harder and more often and allow your muscles to recover at the same time, which is an earth shattering training routine.

Variety Helps Make Your Training More Effective

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, having variety in your training can help make your training more effective, which is, of course what everyone is trying to do with their training. Introducing running into your program in addition to just cycling can help keep you motivated to train throughout the week and prevent dry spells due to burn out.

Running in between hard bike rides helps to break up your week and really gives your training some variety. This prevents burn out and boredom from doing the same training rides every week. Even though I love cycling, after a few weeks I sometimes need a break. Rather than take a day off and waste valuable training time, I can now go for a run, unwind from cycling, still work my legs and get a good cardio workout in.

Breaking up your workouts with running is a win win situation no matter how you look at it. If you don’t mind running, then it is just another form of training. However, if you dread running (like I used to), then spending one or two days a week running will make the cycling days even sweeter and will motivate you to train even when your ti

red, sick, or the weather is subpar.

Running Is Mentally and Physically Tough

Running is mentally and physically tough. Photo by Unlisted Sightings.

Running is mentally and physically tough. Photo by Unlisted Sightings.

There is no doubt about it, running is tough. There is no relief from the pain and even when your going down hills, you can’t fly down them like you can on a bicycle. Running requires constant effort by your legs and as a result is an extremely tough exercise, both mentally and physically.

Mentally, running has always been extremely hard for me. I’m so used to the speed and adrenaline rush of motocross and cycling that it takes a lot to accept the fact that you simply aren’t moving fast, even when you’re putting in a very hard effort. This type of mental integrity, can actually be a benefit come race time. It helps to build your mental strength, which should help you out on the track at the end of a long moto when you really want to give in to the heat, to the fatigue and to the rough track, but know that it is in your best interest to push for 2 more laps until the finish.

Physically, the toughest part of running is that their is absolutely no relief. No matter the terrain, you always must be moving your legs, and even going fast down hills takes energy. While cycling you can recover slightly on downhills and flats, however, while running this simply isn’t possible and you are forced to put in a constant effort. This allows running to greatly improve the effectiveness of your training.

We’re In a Recession, and Running is Cheap

Running is a cheap form of training. Photo by jenn jenn.

Running is a cheap form of training. Photo by Jenn Jenn.

Our economy is in a very tough time right now, and motocross riders will be hit some of the hardest of any consumers. Everyone is looking to cut costs, and your training routine may be one of those areas in which to cut costs. I love cycling, but it can be a very expensive, especially once your equipment begins breaking and clothes need replacing.

Thankfully, running is a relatively cheap way to get in almost the same level of workout. It may not be quite as fun as cycling, but when your choice is between running or no workout at all, running is always the better option.

One of the greatest things about running, is that you can run under almost any conditions and with almost any equipment. While a good pair of running shoes is a plus and proper winter aparell is great for cold winter runs, household items can be made to work, making running much more of a budget activity. Cycling, on the other hand, requires special shoes, special clothes, a helmet and gloves. I’m not saying that all of the cycling gear is a waste, in fact it is one of my favorite parts of the sport. However, when times get tough, sometimes we need to cut costs, and running is one possible way to accomplish this.

Surprisingly, Trail Running Can be Fun

Trail running can be a fun form of exercise. Photo by anselm.

Trail running can be a surprisingly fun form of exercise. Photo by Anselm.

While running on the road is possibly one of the most boring training activities I do, trail running can be surprisingly fun. There are not a lot of mountain biking trails around here, and if there were, I am in no position to invest in an entirely new bike and set of gear just to mountain bike in the woods. However, trail running is a great way to see the sights and sounds of the woods for a low cost.

I first got introduced to train running during middle school where I was a member of the cross country team, and ever since I have had a soft spot for the sport. I don’t do it enough, especially because of the rough winter weather we’ve been having, but I will definitely be introducing it more into my program come spring, and more importantly, summer.

One of the great parts of trail running is that you can use essentially the same gear as road running. While mountain biking requires an entirely new arsenal of equipment compared to road cycling, you can basically use all of the same gear for trail running. This keeps the price low, yet maximizes the fun level of running, which can be quite boring in other cases.

Conclusion

I love cycling, it is my preferred cardio exercise and the main way I train for motocross. However, after months of cycling, I began looking for something new to introduce into my program. I wanted a way to mix up my training a little bit and add some more variety. In addition, I wanted to find a way to get my cardio in when I didn’t have 2+ hours to spend on the bike. For me, running has field this void and I have greatly enjoyed the nice addition it has made to my training. I still cycle for about 75% of my motocross training, however, running has offered a valid alternative when cycling just is not feasible.

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Follow Up: Suzuki’s 2009 Amateur Plans

Suzuki Logo

A few months ago, Suzuki announced that they were going to cut their amateur team. When the news was announced, I was extremely upset by the news and greatly felt that it would have an extremely negative impact on the future of Suzuki’s motocross program. Thankfully, Suzuki has now officially announced their 2009 amateur racing plans, and I am proud to present them to you.

Rockstar Suzuki Amateur Team

Ian Trettel Is one of Suzuki's rising stars

Ian Trettel is one of Suzuki's rising amateur stars. Photo by GuyB.

After initially announcing that their support of their amateur team would be eliminated, it appears as if Suzuki has backed off. They have announced that they will once again be funding a Rockstar Amateur team to support some of their fastest riders. Some of the riders on the team will be:

  • Ian Trettel
  • Justin Weeks
  • Jarek Blakovic
  • Jeremy Martin

To see the full list visit Vital MX.

This is an absolutely incredible move for American Suzuki to make. By planning to eliminating their amateur team, they were effectively cutting off their flow of fresh talent to their pro team and ultimately were reducing the number of pros, amateurs, and the number of general citizens riding Suzuki bikes.

By reinstating their amateur program, Suzuki has invigorated the youth perception of their brand and revitalized their potential both on the amateur, consumer and professional motocross levels.

Regional Contingency

Jimmy Decotis, one of the fastest rides to come out of New England in recent years, rides Suzukis. Photo by Paul Buckley.

Jimmy Decotis, one of the fastest riders from New England, rides Suzukis and collects their regional contingency. Photo by Buckley Photos.

When Suzuki announced to cut its amateur support program, there were also a plethora of rumors swirling around the internet that t

hey would be cancelling their contingency program. Surprisingly, I nearly believed them. It made sense, if they were in a dire enough situation to cut their entire amateur team, then cutting contingency was the next logical step.

Thankfully, this is not the case, at all. A few weeks ago, American Suzuki announced their contingency schedule, with hundreds of amateur races throughout the country on the list. While the full details of the program have not yet been announced, it is nice to know that they will be offering contingency in 2009 and (hopefully) beyond.

Contingency is a crucial part of any manufacturer’s marketing scheme. Contingency is important in order to get more people on your brand, ultimately maximizing your brand recognition and the effect you have on the market. Without contingency, many serious local racers would choose other brands as the idea of up to $1000 (for multiple classes) can be intriguing for many riders hit by the current economic crisis.

That being said, it is apparent that Suzuki has cut down their contingency program for 2009. For this, I 100% forgive them. If this is something which needs to be cut in order for Suzuki to survive the recession, I definitely understand, as I would much rather see limited contingency than to see them go out of business.

In addition, it also seems as if the biggest single amateur race in America, Loretta Lynn’s is not on the contingency list. This is definitely sad to see, especially for the elite riders who have the ability to make it to Loretta’s, however, most of these riders will spend the majority of their season at other races and Suzuki’s current schedule will cover almost every amateur racer over the course of the 2009 season.

If you want to see this entire schedule, check out the PDF provided by Suzuki

It is great to see Suzuki stepping up to the plate in 2009 and retaining their amateur program. I believe that it will help thousands of kids throughout the country and help to further push the Suzuki brand in our rough economy. While taking reasonable measures to cut back the costs of running an amateur team, as a whole they are doing some great things for the sport of amateur motocross and hopefully we will not see any more manufacturers even considering cutting their amateur programs.

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